Fort Mifflin is an historic site steeped in not only American history, but paranormal activity. Originally commissioned in 1771, the fort is located on the Delaware river, just below Philadelphia. Early in it’s history it was actually taken by the British for a short time as they captured Philadelphia during the revolutionary war. The fort suffered a great deal of damage, but after regaining the city, the US Army rebuilt the installation in 1794.
The fort was decommissioned in 1962, but not before being instrumental in many historic events, such as the war of 1812 and the American Civil War. In fact, many a man fought and died in and around the site. While we could write a book on the colorful history associated with this fort, that’s not the purpose of this article.
Recently, GhostTheory was contacted by one of our readers, Nat Condo, who spent a night at Fort Mifflin on a ghost tour. Suffice it say, Nat got his proverbial money’s worth…in spades! This is Nat’s story and I must say, the more I spoke with Nat, the more I was amazed by his experience:
There were several of us staying at Fort Mifflin overnight. Going down the list, we had Wayne the on site caretaker, Drew, a civil war re-enactor (Drew got us in that night), his buddies D and Isaac, my friends Ed and Cam, Rich who ironically was from a paranormal research group and two women. Of the two girls, only my wife, Gillian was on site for the pictures, our friend Meghan hadn’t yet arrived.
As soon as we arrived at about 3pm we walked through a main gate over a little bridge. When my wife got to the middle of the courtyard, she turned around and caught a glimpse of a tall, cloaked, dark figure with an odd tricorn hat walking out through the gate she had just entered through. Initially, she thought it was our friend Ed who was a tall guy (why was he dressed like that?), but seconds later she realized that Ed was examining the large flagpole at the other end of the courtyard, and he was wearing a green T-Shirt and no hat. She then went back out to the parking lot and I started taking pictures.
It was in this series of photos that I took the one below.
Everyone was accounted for and there was in fact, no one in the vicinity of the ‘window photo’ room. However, I wanted to be up front about everything, especially the number of people on site and that’s why I went through the list at the beginning.
I snapped this picture with a Nikon Coolpix point and shoot as I was trying to capture the reflection of the flag in the window.
The figure, appearing in the bottom right pane is quite small, and to me does not look like a reflection. In fact, it seems as though it is almost floating in front of the pane of glass. The face is vague, but appears to have two faintly glowing eyes. There is a support post that you can see reflected in the window and the subject seems to be overlapping it a little.
Here is a more panoramic view of the area:
I had sent the pictures to a paranormal researcher who is very familiar with Fort Mifflin, and was actually present that night. That particular room in the Officer’s Quarters is associated with Elizabeth Pratt, the famous “Screaming Lady” of Fort Mifflin. As the Legend was told to me by caretaker Wayne, she had two little daughters, Emma and Katheryn, each under the age of 10. Sadly, both children died of yellow fever which likely set Elizabeth’s eventual suicide into motion. The likely clincher was the fact that her husband was away, fighting in the revolutionary war. This left her all alone to deal with the loss of the girls. Legend has it that at times; she can be heard screaming in anguish.
Examining the room, there are two little dolls sitting on a fireplace mantle and Rich, the researcher, actually went out to the Fort afterwards with the pictures to see if the figure in the window we are seeing is one of those dolls, since it is small. Rich explained that, from such an angle, the dolls are not visible in the window, which left the photo still unexplained. For anyone who can’t quite make it out, here’s a picture that clearly indicates where the anomaly is:
After talking to Wayne and learning of the various spirits that haunt Fort Mifflin and his many varied encounters with these spirits, he decided to show my wife and I the Barracks attic, which is not normally open to the general public. Upon entering, we saw original doors and windows from the colonial period and a creepy wicker wheelchair. In the corner under the eaves, Wayne pulled out a box. In the box were some very old bones, a few ribs and a femur I believe, but definitely human. Wayne said he found them many years ago while digging on the grounds, although there was no official record of anyone being buried at the fort. With that said, the bones could have been colonial, Civil War period, or even older Native American. The attic gave me an overall creepy feeling, which made possible paranormal activity that much more believable, especially when considering these old human remains.
In the middle of the property there is a mound with an arched entrance. This is called the powder magazine where munitions were strategically stored. Out of the corners of my eyes I kept seeing movement in the entrance, like someone standing there that I couldn’t see with a direct look. I was told that there is a spirit that guards the powder magazine and some have reported seeing it carry a dim flickering lamp. I could feel the hair rising on the back of my neck, as I was sure something was in that archway. Everyone else was sitting around a fire at the time, so I knew nobody was in the powder magazine. To top everything off, I could feel cold spots as I examined the various areas of the magazine.
As we were all sitting around the fire talking, D headed into the casemates. The casemates at the fort were used for various purposes, including barracks and confederate holding cells. They are alleged to be a hotspot for all sorts of unexplained activity including EVPs.
D was setting up his gear to sleep, when all of a sudden we heard a loud wailing sound coming from the casemates. We rushed over thinking WTF is going on? As it turns out, D had brought a Theremin with him and had set it up to see if it would have an effect, or go off by itself since it is activated by disturbing electromagnetic fields around an antenna. Putting your hand close to the antenna and moving it around produces a wailing sound. D played with the thing for about an hour or so with the volume cranked up.
Around midnight, we were all exploring the different buildings on the grounds. I decided to do an EVP session in Elizabeth’s room by myself. I asked some questions while I recorded the session on my phone. When I played the session back I distinctly heard a female child’s voice say: “Hello, I’m Catherine, who (or maybe how?) are you?” Some of the others in the group were in other areas, but none in the same building. On the recording it sounds like it was in the same room with me right near the recorder. It was absolutely Class A and sent shivers down my spine.
Listen to EVP here —> Mifflin(2.1)
At this point I thought it might be a good idea to look into this EVP Nat recorded. After listening myself, I had to agree that it was chilling. In fact, I was so impressed that I felt I needed to bring John Mizzi in for analysis. John is an expert in EVP analyis and has worked with us before. This is what John told us:
On the screen capture notice the frequencies on the first part of “hello” this is called a bell curve and is indicative of a paranormal audio wave form. This is part of the model for an evp which I have developed. This is based on Dr Barrie Colvins work (he gave me permission to use his findings). it also fits the intonation and speed differences which is my Hypothesis on the “paranormal bubble” and of course you don’t know what that means because I have not made it too public yet suffice it to say that it fits all my criteria. For the evp being paranormal in nature with a scientific explanation. During playback at different pitches the phrase changes slightly from:
Hello….I am….just…..hiding it
This is what the words look like on sound level analysis:
Getting back to the conclusion of Nat’s story:
At various times in the evening we all kept hearing a faint clanking noise coming from the blacksmith shop. Wayne said this was very common, but he has never found a source for the clanking. He said, the sounds always stop as soon as you near the shop. Some of us thought we saw shadows darting around in that shop.
The final event of the night happened around 3-4 am. We were all bedding down for the night, D and Isaac had already gone to sleep in the casemates. Rich went home and Wayne had gone to bed in his room as Cam and Meghan sat talking in a car in the parking lot. In the barracks, Drew was sleeping on a cot, Gillian and I were getting into our sleeping bags and Ed was sitting about 3 feet away at a table dozing (He snores quite loud so he was trying to sleep with his head propped on his elbow to prevent snoring).
Everyone was quieting down for the night when the silence was broken by two screaming female voices coming from right outside the window near us. Just seconds later there was a loud CRACK! Ed shouted: “HOLY S*** WTF WAS THAT!” as he jumped up and ran to the light switch. At the same time, I remember feeling something on my sleeping bag which turned out to be bits of glass. There had been a bottle sitting close to Ed on the table and it was now smashed partially into powder, as if someone had hit it with a hammer, attempting to drive it down through the table top! Ed said he was showered with glass. We all just looked at each other in amazement. To this day, I have kicked myself for not taking pictures of the smashed bottle. None of us were particularly frightened, more startled and amazed. After a bit of discussion about the night’s events, we finally all settled down and went to sleep.
The next day, Ed told me that up until then, he never believed in paranormal activity but he could not explain what happened. Isaac and D had nothing to report from the casemates and were a bit disappointed that the Theremin didn’t go off. In fact, I still believe D’s set up session of the Theremin earlier had a lot to do with the other strange occurrences.
All in all, my wife and I enjoyed the experience. Oddly enough, we had some subtle activity at our apartment for a week or so afterwards. There were footsteps, raps and other subtle but disconcerting things. We were getting worried that we had brought something back with us, but then it died down. It was probably just psychological overflow.
On a side note, I later asked my father, who is an organic chemist, if there were any feasible conditions for a glass bottle to spontaneously explode or break like the one we had seen. He could provide no explanation.
Editor Note: Nat had provided another apparition photo with a description. Unfortunately, it didn’t make the cut. Also, Nat will be checking comments and answering any questions you may have.
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NOTE: If reusing the EVP analysis, please cite John.