Manassas National Battlefield - Real Manassas Haunted Place
Today the field is a public park, open for visitation; it is also rumored to be haunted by the spirits of the soldiers who were slain in the bloody battles that took place on its grounds. In July, 1861, the First Battle of Bull Run took place here, followed by the Second Battle of Bull Run from August 28th-30th. It was here that General Thomas Jackson gained his nickname "Stonewall Jackson." Apparitions of soldiers in uniform have been reported regularly.
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This story is from the mid 1980's. I have been a horse enthusiast and rider for most of my life. I have always loved trail riding and have had the opportunity to ride on the battlefield trails twice. One of the rides was quite odd. It was in the early summer and I was riding with a friend. It was just the two of us and our two horses. It was a lovely day with clear skies and it was not too hot. My friend was riding her Morgan gelding and I was following within about 2 - 3 horse lengths behind on my Quarter horse mare. We had not seen any other riders that day. We were passing through an area of open woodland. Visibility was quite good as the trees were not dense and the trail was straight. I heard the sound of horses coming up from behind us. There was also the sound of jingling as one would hear on a horse wearing a harness. My mare noticed this sound as well. She began rotating her ears and tipping her head slightly, trying to spy the new horses behind her. We were not moving very quickly, and the horses coming from behind sounded to be coming at a speedier pace. I called out "riders coming by!" to my friend while turning in the saddle to see who was coming up. Absolutely no one was there and I had a good view in all directions - including back down the trail. I was totally confused and turned forward in the saddle just in time to see my friend's gelding (a steady-eddy "old man" of about 19 years old) lurch to the side of the trail. My friend appeared to get knocked sideways out of the saddle and landed flat on her bottom on the ground. She was an excellent rider, with many years of jumping and trail riding under her belt. Not that one can't go off regardless of experience - but this was really unexpected. She was fine and I almost laughed - asking her what in the heck happened there?? She said that she had no idea. One minute they were riding along, the next minute he seemed to be knocked sideways by something - and she was knocked out of the saddle. We shrugged it off as "horse weirdness" and rode on another 20 yards or so. We came to an open grassy area, and both horses stopped dead in their tracks with their eyes firmly fixed on something in the middle of the clearing. Ears pricked forward, nostrils flaring - frozen in place. Both horses were staring at a fixed point in the middle of the clearing. Absolutely nothing was there. The gelding actually stepped back a few steps very nervously. My mare extended her neck and stretched her muzzle forward as if she was sniffing a person's hand or a treat. Then, very suddenly, she jerked her head upward and ran backwards several steps, holding her head up and waving it side to side as if something had grabbed at her reins. The area definitely had taken on a very strange feel and we were trying to collect the horses as best as possible and simply get out of there. The horses were trying to step sideways, backwards...all over - still trying to keep their eyes in the middle of the clearing. My friend got her gelding turned back on the trail and headed out to the right of the clearing. I and my mare followed. My mare was more than happy to go - tucking her hindquarters up under her and nearly pushing over the gelding as we went. Within a short distance, everything returned to normal. I have not experience anything like that since. It was very odd and unnerving. I've been around horses for over 40 years and can say this was atypical behavior for both of the horses involved. There was nothing mundane in the area that would have caused either of them to act in the manner that they did. I've seen many horses spook in my life, and this was not a typical situation. I don't have an ordinary explanation for it. It was as if a group of invisible riders had approached and passed...while perhaps even attempting to interfere with our horses. Maybe even grabbing at my mare's reins.Posted 10/24/23
I've told this story before, it happened to me years ago. I was walking on Manassas battlefield with my dog. Several things happened that seemed odd in hindsight, but the capper was in the late afternoon when my dog suddenly broke free from me and ran off about a hundred feet. She kept her eyes on me and kept walking parallel, but wouldn't come back. And then I noticed a rider on horseback coming up the trail towards me. I didn't want my dog to spook the horse, so I kept walking down past the rider who turned and gave me a weird smile as I walked by. I smiled back but sort of winced as he had a badly deformed face - like a huge red blemish. I went on by and after a few minutes my dog returned to me. The whole time I was thinking "odd, that was odd. " I turned back to see where the rider had gone. And in an empty field in the middle of the day - he was simply gone. There was no place he could have gotten to that would have taken him out of view. He just disappeared.Posted 10/25/20
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