Chase Dittmer proves that the most experienced may not have the best insight. As a small business owner and writer, my challenge is how to expand my customer base to include the younger generations. Mr. Dittmer offers interesting insights into how to market using the various social media outlets. I’ve considered the demographics, but he points out that there are prime times as well. Hate to admit it, but I never gave that fact much thought!
I recently found myself in a discussion about the ebook publishing company Smashwords vs newcomer Draft2Digital. The competition has been good for Smashwords in that I have received regular emails regarding updates that authors have been asking for and I have to believe that D2D is the reason.
Karon Thackston discusses the idea of authors creating a marketing circle rather than the traditional funnel approach. I have to agree that keeping my readers informed and engaged is a top priority, but easier said than done!
As brick and mortar book stores disappear, how does one “discover” new titles? Once discovered, what motivates the consumer to choose print or digital? Can we really blame Amazon, or are they just at the right place at the right time?
I do have to disagree with one of Mr. Esposito’s conclusions: I write because I have to and would do so even if my books didn’t generate any revenue!
YouTube is an area of social media that I find the most challenging: when to use it, how to use it, and what level of professional videography is required? According to this article by Chris Atkinson, I may have been over thinking it!
Do I really want ads that are specifically targeted to me based on my past behavior? Call me old fashioned, but I prefer to decide what I need or want!
I ran across a clipping in my archives (read: piles of paper on one of my many “desks” at home) reprinted in the Gettysburg Times by Tony Gonzalez of The Tennessean titled, “Historians use divining rods to find old cemeteries.”
Now, the historians I know are probably going crazy right now. Dowsing falls in the category of the paranormal which, to them, has no place in providing information from the past. The problem for me is that I’ve seen too many times when the documented history has validated paranormally obtained information.
Like the time in the Gettysburg Hotel when Laine Crosby, an Investigative Medium, was “communicating” with a man she said had worked in the hotel when it was a bank. However, she saw him in the blue uniform of a Union soldier and he said that he was from Gettysburg. I told her, indeed, there was a unit that fought at Gettysburg that had been recruited in Adams County, of which Gettysburg is the seat. I asked could she ask him his name. Hesitatingly, as if listening to something that was hard to discern, she said “Cul…bert…son. I don’t know if that’s his whole name or if he’s telling me he’s Culbert’s son.”
Later research confirmed there was a Culbertson who fought with the unit. Skeptics will say she looked it up ahead of time, but from her reaction when we were talking, I’m convinced she didn’t even know there was a unit from Gettysburg. Later, she came up with the name again, while visiting the David Stewart Farm outside of Gettysburg. The Civil War era Culbertson never lived there, but the family later bought the place, and it was a WW II era Culbertson that was communicating with her. This was all confirmed later by the current owner who had the deeds and records of the farm.
As far as dowsing is concerned, I have had several personal experiences that convinced me that something is going on that can’t be explained.
My first experience was with the late Cecil Downing, a soft-spoken, unassuming man who had discovered several hundred wells for people all over the state of Pennsylvania. He dowsed a site on the battlefield known for its numerous camera fails. As he walked with his forked plastic rod, it would dip suddenly toward the ground. He spent well over an hour walking back and forth and determined there were “ley lines”—lines of energy—radiating from one specific area. It was his contention that spirits could travel more easily along these naturally-occurring paths of energy.
It made sense to me. I have the theory that ghosts are “energy thieves.” Since they cannot create their own energy by eating (like living beings create their energy) they have to get it from somewhere, like batteries, natural sources, or living human beings.
My second experience in dowsing was with my wife Carol. Keep in mind she was a biology major in college, in retail for a while and finally ended up in computers. Needless to say, she has a scientific, inquisitive, analytical mind. So when she first picked up dowsing rods, it was with a heavy dose of skepticism.
We were in an abandoned churchyard near Bowling Green, VA. We were told there were emptied graves nearby. It was fall and the leaves lay in an even carpet through the woods. Carol began walking with the copper rods—two wires bent at a 90 degree angle inserted into a sleeve so they would turn freely. As she walked along, the rods began to cross. She then stepped into a depression which was once a former grave. She backed out of the depression, and the rods uncrossed. This happened several times during the session.
Also sometime in the fall, again with leaves obscuring any depressions in the ground, we were at one of the temporary cemeteries established after the Battle of the Wilderness in 1864. These graves, too, had been emptied years before, the bodies taken to the Fredericksburg National Cemetery. Again, as Carol walked along, the rods began to cross, then she stepped into a depression. She back out, and the rods uncrossed.
Finally, for my book, Civil War Ghost Trails we were conducting a “mini-investigation” at Shiloh Battlefield in Tennessee. I was using a recorder to get EVP. We had heard that after the battle, there were so many Confederate dead that they were forced to bury them in mass graves. The Park Service knows that there were eleven or twelve mass graves, but the 19th Century commission could only locate five. Carol, using her dowsing rods, with me video recording the event, tested the ability of the rods to find graves over a known mass grave. Indeed, they reacted. Carol then moved behind the site and the rods began to react again. Individual graves now lost? Possibly.
Writing Blood and Ghosts with Katherine Ramsland and working with Gregg McCrary, former FBI profiler taught me that investigators should not rule out any method that leads to clues or evidence. In conversation, Gregg said, “Whatever works.” Perhaps historians’ and other investigators’ concerns about obtaining evidence paranormally can be summed up by one of the historians working in Tennessee to locate graves with dowsing rods before they are destroyed by modern development: “I can dowse, but I do not trust this method. It can’t be explained why it works.”
But it does work.
I’ve never thought of this process as “self-delusion” but if the shoe fits…Kudos to Mr. Jacobs!
I might not agree with all the facts Mr. Greenberg included in his article, but I like his approach to the epic event that the Battle of Gettysburg represents.
The armies left Gettysburg—or what is left of the armies. One third of the soldiers who marched into the Battle of Gettysburg did not march out. They lay dead, dying, wounded or are “missing,” throughout the fields and town.
First, the wounded. If they couldn’t walk because of the nature of their wounds or there was no kind-hearted soul to help them, or if the combatants retreated from the area where they fell, the wounded lay suffering in the hot sun or pouring rain, sometimes unable to reach their canteen or food. If they were mobile or helped along, they would somehow make their way to an aid station (sometimes just a shady area in the rear of the battle lines) or field hospital (often a nearby farm house or barn) to be treated.
As I mentioned in a previous blog, the field of antiseptics was not explored until the late 1860s, so successful treatment by a surgeon didn’t mean the wounded man was out of the woods. Gangrene often set in and the soldier might suddenly die two weeks into his recovery.
As the July days went on in Gettysburg, those few left behind to administer to the wounded realized the logistics of feeding and supplying the wounded scattered all over the battlefield in barns, farmhouses and private homes was a near impossible task. So by July 20, Camp Letterman General Hospital was established about a mile out on the York Road for the 4,217 wounded that remained. According to Greg Coco in A Vast Sea of Misery, by July 25, 16,125 wounded had been transported out of Gettysburg.
The spot chosen was part of the farm of George Wolf called “Wolf’s Woods,” had abundant water supplies, and was where the railroad paralleled the York Road for easy transport of the wounded to the railroad cars. Ironically, it had been a favorite picnic spot for the locals. Deaths continued, however, even under the better conditions of the general hospital, so in the compound was a structure known as “The Dead House” and a graveyard. In late November Camp Letterman was closed.
What of the dead? Hardly anyone realizes that virtually every soldier who died at Gettysburg was buried twice.
First they were interred where they were killed on the battlefield, sometimes by comrades, sometimes by local farmers who couldn’t stand the stench. If they were buried in a farmer’s cow pasture, it is easy to see how a wooden headboard with identifying information could be knocked over and the gravesite trampled so that within a year the site would disappear.
As the post-battle rains came and the bodies bloated in decomposition, the women of Gettysburg might look out their kitchen window some morning and see an arm or head emerging from the earth. Horrified, they would tell their husbands to do something. They would contact their political representatives. It got so bad that word reached Andrew Curtin, wartime governor of Pennsylvania, and he assigned the duty of purchasing acreage for an official cemetery for the reburial of the dead to local Gettysburg attorney David Wills (of the Wills House on the Gettysburg Square).
Wills purchased 17 acres on Cemetery Hill, right next to the citizens’ Evergreen Cemetery and, appropriately, a major battlefield landmark. Soon after, exhumations from the battlefields, transportation of the bodies and re-burial in the new cemetery began.
Re-burials were halted in November 1863 while President Abraham Lincoln dedicated the new Soldiers’ National Cemetery at Gettysburg. Burial crews were still working in the spring of 1864.
But the soldiers buried in the National Cemetery were only the Union soldiers. What happened to the Confederates?
Being the “enemy,” the Confederates remained buried on the battlefield until various “Ladies Memorial Associations” from the South contacted some Gettysburgians who had been instrumental in the Union re-burials. Dr. Rufus Weaver, son of Samuel Weaver who oversaw the Union re-burials, was contracted. He halted his successful college teaching career at a medical college in Philadelphia and worked from 1871 to 1873 at disinterring 3,320 Confederate remains, shipping them to major cities in the South such as Charleston, SC, Savannah, GA, Raleigh, NC, and Richmond, VA. Weaver, per his contract, was owed $9,536.00 for the work. Although he tried to collect until 1887, he was never paid.
When I was a park ranger visitors would ask “Did they get all the dead?” We asked our bosses what we should say and they said to tell them all the bodies were removed. Whether they truly didn’t know for sure or whether they were trying to keep visitors from digging on the park I don’t know. Later studies confirmed that many, many bodies remain unaccounted for. As well as hundreds of Union soldiers, Greg Coco estimated as many as 1,500 individual Confederates remain unrecovered. The most recent remains were found near the Railroad Cut in 1996.