ROAD TRIP II

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Road Trip, Part 2
A Little Known Necessity
Of Spirits and UFO's

By Jon McClintock
AMG Investigator

Pennsylvania is so rich in historic treasure that it's natural to be dismissive of "reconstructed" or restored sites with a cloudy history. Gettysburg, by itself, rates a trip here - and no battlefield I've visited is more thoroughly documented. Then there's my hometown area, Philadelphia, that made some impressive news "four score and twenty years" before.

Sadly, there's as much myth as fact along Independence Mall…but some great, original buildings are in perfect preservation.

Keeping the above in mind, my lack of enthusiasm about visiting an even older site THAT HAD TO BE REBUILT may be forgiven. Al, on the other hand, was eager to do a road trip to Fort Necessity because an archeological team with which he works was scheduled to do a dig in the near future.

Al wasn't interested in arrowheads. He wanted to see the nearby Mount Washington Tavern, a major stopping point along The National Road (Route 40) before there was a nation. Such places seem to be ghost-magnets and the drive down through Ohiopyle and the famed Yough River rafting area on a sunny day was beautiful.

We were disappointed upon arriving to find the tavern closed for repairs. But a spunky little National Park Service Ranger - "Margie" - soon lifted our hopes and opened an adventure.

Yes, she said, people had seen and heard odd things (herself included) - and a fellow spirit (pun intended) from California State University whom we met at the Independent Ghost Hunters Conference in Camp Hill - had done an investigation.

Better - for us - tales were told of odd occurrences in the vicinity of the fort.

Some background: Fort Necessity is along Route 40, about 11 miles east of Uniontown in Fayette County. It's set in an area known as Great Meadows in which future President (and surveyor) George Washington had a financial interest. But it wouldn't rate a mention today if it weren't for Washington and his men having a very bad day on July 3, 1754.

The colonials were in the region because wealthy Englishmen and Virginians claimed 200,000 acres of land. The Brits and Colonials dropped back to Great Meadows as Plan B when they failed to kick the French out of what is now Pittsburgh. The French guarded this land to the west carefully, considering today's Canada to be "New France."

Washington, just 22, was already battle-tested after a May skirmish in which he'd killed Joseph Coulon de Villiers, Sieur de Jumonville. (See Part One) As June came and went, a necessity arose for holding a garrison of 293 men and officers. Washington thought the scene looked "a charming field for an encounter."

Charming as it may have been, Washington was suing for surrender after a daylong battle in soggy conditions. The garrison wasn't as ideal a cover for the Brit-Colonials as were the woods for the French…and Indians (who played both sides, depending on the circumstances).

In a delicious irony, the commander of the French forces was a relative of the Jumonville whom Washington had hastened into Orb State a month earlier.

And so it was that, led by Ranger Margie, Al, Marty, Jo and I trudged the woods and fields more than 250 years and three days later. And that's when we passed in and out of the paranormal as easily as we tramped through history.

Jo's field notes of the day record a moment that still haunts Al.

"Walking along the Braddock road Al stopped and stared into the woods, he later said he saw an Indian with a sort of club. Back at the visitor center he looked through several of the books until he found a picture of the club and it is called a ball club.



The Visitor's Center, too, turned into a pleasant surprise for ghosthunters. Margie seemed relieved to find some people in whom she could confide some tales. And she must have had an appreciative audience - beyond the five of us on this mortal plane.

Again, Jo's notes capture the moment(s) best:

"There are two bookcases full of books pertaining to the French and Indian War and local Native Americans. The books on the shelves occasionally fall off the shelves for no apparent reason and at a particular time Margie saw a hand push the books off, it was a native hand (as she called it) with tattoos and wasn't attached to an arm. As Jon and Marty were looking at the books they started to fall off the shelves. In the ladies restroom there is a door to one of the stalls that swings back and forth for several minutes by itself. Several EVP were taped in the visitor's center and also in the parking lot. "Hello" recorded entering the visitor center. "Thank you" and "I'm so thirsty" recorded in the parking lot.

I'm one of those people who rarely witness or feel anything I can honestly say is "supernatural" or paranormal. The mood was set in the Center for my Jumonville Glen encounter later in the day, in which I felt an atmospheric change and got an outdoor, daylight orb photo.

Standing next to the large, solid book racks, I found one on an eye-level shelf that struck my fancy. Marty and I were discussing the Fort, hauntings and such things when two sets of books on a higher level FLEW out more than a foot and landed on the floor. We looked at one another stunned and I put them back in place. Moments later, where no person stood, another half-dozen books tumbled to the floor for absolutely no earthly reason. I could get used to this new twist in paranormal experiences, but I could not capture one anomaly using the digital still camera to verify a presence.

We've recently learned of an excuse to be back in the area again, so as our Summer '02 Road Trip wends its way to a finish, we look forward to a more traditional investigation with IR digi-corder and all the probes!

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KECKSBURG

What can you say about a town nicknamed "Roswell of the East" that has a major road called "Meteor?"

The man who's kept Kecksburg, Pennsylvania on the UFO map is Stan Gordon, about whom you can read at the site below - or through a Google search.

http://www.post-gazette.com/magazine/19980908ufol.asp

A very full day at Fort Necessity and its environs concluded with a tour of this small, unlikely "Roswell." Stan Gordon has produced and sells a video that sounds very convincing in making the point that all the facts have not been revealed.

But what remains for the road warrior who finds this small town with one main street are three things:

* The Giant Talking Head (our nickname for the UFO mock-up on view near the fire hall, a leftover of a segment on Unsolved Mysteries),
* Meteor Road,
* and a ridgeline that a local told us is Where It All Happened.

Kecksburg is a town upon which fame, if nothing else, fell in 1965.

In many ways it's no different than Quecreek, Shanksville or battlefields on the map that, in Washington's words were: "a charming field for an encounter."

That's the lasting lesson of Road Trip 2002. From literally down the street from my office to a short day's ride over hill and valley, we're finding paranormal in the history of small towns, woods…even roads.

End Part 2.



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