For centuries on this practical old Earth, people have reported visions of ghostly apparitions, things that go bump in the night, eerie sounds, movement of objects and such. I had an experience that was definitely unusual. Although it wasn't actually ghostly it was certainly unsettling.

As president of our local union at the Stony Brook University, I attended many seminars and workshops dealing with union matters. Most of these seminars took place throughout New York State. In the fall of 1992, one was held in the upstate town of Saratoga. Anyone interested in the Revolutionary War history, should remember "The Battle of Saratoga" turned the tide of war for the colonials.

The seminar had ended early one day and I decided to use the time for a visit to the Saratoga Battlefield Park, which was only a few miles away. Unfortunately, the season had ended a few weeks after Labor day and there were no tour guides available. However, the park ranger told me I could have a map and take my own tour and follow the trails from one battlefield site to another, including checking out the many monuments, and encampment areas, where both the British and Colonials had stayed and planned their attacks for the upcoming days.

It was somewhere around 3 p.m. on that cloudless, unusually warm day when I started my tour of the many encampment areas and houses where the officers stayed. It was on one of these off-the-beaten path walks that I had my unsettling experience. I stopped at an area called The Great Redoubt, which is a large group of log fortifications used to protect the British flank and rear. I read some plaques that described what took place there, such as the daring cavalry charge made by General Benedict Arnold that turned the day for the Colonials and routed the British.

Walking out to the area where the charge took place, I noticed it was to the side of the open battlefield itself, almost completely closed in by a long run of trees and forested area. I sat down for a bit to try to get the full perspective of what it must have looked like at the time of Arnold's charge and what the Colonial army must have felt facing all the British cannons and muskets.

Suddenly a stiff wind started to blow, all the leaves in the trees began fluttering and branches bending. I thought nothing of this until I realized the wind and blowing amongst the trees was taking place only in the general area where General Arnold's charge took place. The immediate area also took on a cold and damp feeling and although the sun still shone bright, the entire battlefield took on a hazy look.

Bracing myself to rise, my hand grazed across something of a metallic nature. I saw what resembled a coin sticking half out of the ground. I dug it out and, sure enough, it appeared to be a very old, very worn and dented coin, about the size of a quarter. It had some sort of lettering and possibly a date, which I could not make out. I dropped it into a pocket and left the park. When home I would take it to a numismatist to find out its date and value, if any.

Upon returning to my car, the chill and dampness that had pervaded the site disappeared and the warmth of before returned. The wind had also stopped and the haze over the battlefield was gone. To say the least, I felt spooked about the whole incident. Back at the hotel I called my wife to tell her of the experience and that I would returning home that night, a day short of my intended stay.

We tried several places at the time to have someone tell us of the coin's origin and worth. The best answer we got was that it was possibly forged in 1812 --- after the coin was cleaned and put under a microscope. Also the markings were cleared up a little better and were thought to be of Dutch or Germanic origin. Perhaps we will try again. With today's advances in technology we may get a better finding.

But what was an 1812 coin doing sticking half out of the ground in the middle of a 1777 Revolutionary Battlefield in 1992? For my part, this experience will always be a bit unearthly.



By Phil (Poppy5535@aol.com)



 


 



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