The Farnsworth House Inn

Posted by blogger in Ghosts of Gettysburg
The Farnsworth House Inn - Photo

Built somewhere around 1810, the Farnsworth House Inn is today a local tourist attraction that operates as both an inn and a tourist shop. Located in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, it is believed to be extremely haunted due to its connections with the Battle of Gettysburg that took place in the 1860s.

The land on which the Farnsworth House Inn was built was initially owned by Reverend Alexander Dobbins, who later sold it to John F. McFarlane. Recorded as being the home’s first resident, McFarlane owned the land until his death in 1851.

After his passing, the Bank of Gettysburg took ownership of the home. From there, it would pass on to several owners until finally being sold in 1972 to the Shultz family, who maintain ownership to this day. It is the Shultz family who first reported that paranormal entities inhabit the residence.


Farnsworth House History

As an interesting aside, before the Shultz family bought the Farnsworth House Inn, it was owned by the Black family, who ran it under the name “The Sleepy Hollow Inn”. The Blacks advertised their inn using the historical fact that the home had 135 bullet holes riddled in one of its sides; a result of the Battle of Gettysburg.

Taking place in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, the Battle of Gettysburg is the sole reason as to why so many places in and around the city are said to be haunted. A staggering amount of deaths occurred in that time – numbering in the tens of thousands. As a result, the lost spirits of those who died in the war are thought to haunt much of Gettysburg.

Being present during the Battle of Gettysburg, the Farnsworth House Inn was occupied by Confederate forces who utilized the structure as a make-shift hospital and headquarters, a practice that was common during the war; many of the surrounding homes and buildings would often become centers for planning attacks and treating the wounded.

It is from this practice that many such places acquired their tales of hauntings over the years. Unfortunate as it was, these make-shift wards saw countless deaths and injuries to soldiers who were often treated by civilians.

During the third day of the Battle of Gettysburg, Union soldiers stormed the Farnsworth Inn, killing many Confederate snipers who were posted within. Those snipers had been stationed there to utilize the towering structure in an attempt to pick off Union soldiers as they crossed the nearby Cemetery Hill.

Fabled Farnsworth Frights

The Shultz family claims that a whopping 16 spirits occupy the residence, each one having its own name and personality. The spirits include an 8-year-old boy, several soldiers, and a former midwife. Seeing as how the residence was indeed used as a hospital during the Battle of Gettysburg, the sightings of a midwife and soldiers seem to validate their claims.

With the many members of the Confederate Army who died in the home, it leaves little doubt as to why so many apparitions of soldiers are claimed to have been seen. They say that these soldiers continue to patrol the house, as if stuck in a continual loop, forever fulfilling their military duties.

There have been numerous reports over the years of guests hearing the sound of heavy breathing, along with the strong scent of cigars, perhaps once smoked by the commanding officer that used the home as a temporary headquarters.


A very eerie account to say the least, and what is most certainly attributed to the ghostly midwife, guests who stay at the inn have experienced the sensation of being tucked into bed once under the covers.

There are several photographs of an entity in a window that people have captured from the street below. These most commonly come from a particular room referred to as the “Sara Black Room”, named after one of the family members who previously owned the residence. This room is by and large considered the most haunted of any in the house.


One of the more common encounters within the Farnsworth House Inn seems to occur only in the dead of night when all is quiet and calm. In the empty attic, the sound of a Jew’s harp can be heard playing tunes throughout the night. Believed to have been played by a young soldier while at his post, this creepy event is sure to scare the socks off of anyone who might be staying there that night.

Disembodied footsteps are also a common occurrence, as if pacing – or patrolling – up and down the halls. While fulfilling their daily tasks, employees have attested to feeling the sensation of being followed around while working. Of course, when they turn around, no one is there. These footsteps are said to be quite loud and obvious.

Ghastly silhouettes have been seen by many patrons of the inn, including its employees. They say these apparitions are visible in several rooms, quickly vanishing after making themselves known.

One such figure is predominately seen in the dining room, while others have been witnessed sitting on the edges of guests’ beds. It’s even been said that the mattresses will invert where the ghost is sitting, as if weight is being applied!

While male apparitions are mostly seen at the Farnsworth House Inn, there are many accounts of a female spirit, thought to have lived within the residence long ago. Said to be extremely life-like, patrons have mistaken her as a staff member!

The Cranky Kitchen Cook

She is described as being an older gal who is dressed in 19th century clothing and is most often seen roaming about between the hallways, tavern, and kitchen. Here, she has been spotted looking over products on the shelves, as if deciding what she’ll fix for dinner.

In what appears to be an effort to make her presence known, she will sometimes frequent the restaurant area, where she behaves rather rudely to the eatery’s staff. She has even been physical with them, as one waitress claims to have pulled from behind by her apron strings, nearly causing her to fall backward.

It sounds like this particular demonic entity doesn’t take too kindly to cooking that isn’t hers. So far, she appears to be the only otherworldly force at the Farnsworth House Inn that is of a malevolent nature.

There is, however, a more lighthearted tale to be told out of all of the haunted happenings known to occur within the Farnsworth. A few years back, during Halloween, a local radio station was doing a special broadcast from the inn that involved the crew dressing up in blue costumes. In an interesting twist, they kept referring to the radio host as “Captain”.

Their blue clothing and repeated use of “Captain” seemed to stir up the ghosts of the soldiers, who were seen on that particular evening more so than any other time. They were witnessed running all over the inn, as if fighting the Battle of Gettysburg all over again!


Presently, the Farnsworth House Inn is a major tourist attraction for lovers of all things paranormal. Its rich history serves as the backdrop for all of the otherworldly activity that occurs inside its walls. With the claim that 16 different entities inhabit the grounds, one shouldn’t have to look very far to find a poltergeist.

Ghost walks and tours are available to the public, offering an inside look into the history that went in to making the Farnsworth House Inn what it is today. Every weekend, real-life ghost hunts are held, allowing patrons to bring whatever kind of investigating equipment they wish in the hopes of capturing one of the inn’s many specters.

The owners are so confident in the frequency of paranormal activity that they say guests needn’t even try to find the ghosts. The ghosts will more than likely find the guest.



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