The United States Military Academy at West Point is the oldest continuously occupied military facility in our nation’s history. Of course, anything that old just has to host a few resident poltergeists, doesn’t it?
The Continental Army first occupied West Point, New York on the 27th of January, 1778. Home to seventy-four Medal of Honor recipients, the academy has a legendary place in the military history of the United States. The defenses where designed by the Polish engineer and combat hero, Tadeusz Kosciuszko. The Point is situated on the high ground above an “S” curve of the mighty Hudson River. This strategic location prevented the British fleet from sailing upriver and cutting the colonies in half during the colonial period. General Benedict Arnold’s act of treason was an attempt to turn this facility over to the British. West Point became the US Army’s academy of engineering and artillery in March of 1802
Civil War commanders Robert E Lee and Ulysses S. Grant are former alumni of this prestigious academy as are Douglas MacArthur, George S. Patton and Dwight D. Eisenhower, just to name a few. Yes, indeed, West Point has seen its fair share of history and apparently, left some of it behind.
Let’s fast forward to the year 1972.
A plebe (a freshman or newly entered cadet), housed in room 4714, 47th Division Barracks, headed for the bathroom late one night when he chanced upon an otherworldly phantom. This particular entity stood about 5’6” and wore a tattered, full dress gray coat. He held an old musket with a vintage Civil War bayonet attached. Now for the part that gives me the shivers… his eyes were all white and appeared to glow. They didn’t so much as have a speck of color whatsoever. None. They were just...white. Now, lest you think the cadet was perhaps deep in his cups, or sleep walking, a total of five other persons reported seeing this same spirit over the course of several days. Oh, and by the way? Just down the road is the lovely village known as Sleepy Hollow. Honest. I’m not kidding at all.
|Karl Bitter - 1867-1915|
Henry Villard memorial in Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, New York.
A few otherworldly residents of West Point include but are not limited to the following:
· At 5’3” (perhaps not so very intimidating to some) we have a Jackson Era soldier, complete with musket and shako (a tall cylindrical military hat). They simply call him the West Point Ghost.
· In the bootlegging, gangster era of the 1920’s, we have the story of two servant girls who fled their home on Professor Row one dark and stormy night. (Okay, no mention was ever made of a stormy night. I just made that up.) Anyway, these poor, terrified girls ran screaming from the house in the middle of the night, half-naked, terrorized by the ghost within. A priest was called in to exorcise said spirit. Was he successful? I don’t really know.
· Molly is a cantankerous Irish cook with a definite attitude. She’s often seen in the basement kitchen, eternally kneading her bread. The superintendent has to deal with Molly since she resides in his quarters.
· We also have reports of shadows, rapidly dropping temperatures, spinning bottles, spirits rising up from the floor, rocking chairs that rock of their own accord, and neatly made beds, unused by anyone living, found rumpled come the morning.
Anyway, I just love a man in uniform... And If I have to see a ghost, I would just as soon he’d be wearing one. Perhaps that's why I wrote about them in both "Spirit of the Rebellion" and "Spirit of the Revolution."
So...What about you?