Wednesday, May 27, 2009

They Finally Saved the Fort

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" Do you believe in ghosts?

***Here's where Anne planned to put the picture of Fort Mifflin, but she can't figure out how to load it since she just cleaned her C Drive***

Do you believe in ghosts?

Wow. That's a loaded question. We haven't discussed ghosts much here at TGAB, because first of all we would have to define the concept of "ghost," and proceed from there. And we haven't got all day, for the love of fruit flies! There's furniture to be cleaned.

For the purpose of argument, let's just say that "ghost" is a catch-all word for paranormal phenomena that includes the extrasensory perception of departed people whose spirits linger between dimensions.

Whew. Forget the upholstery. That's a damned good definition!

There's a Revolutionary War-era fort on the Delaware River just downstream of Philadelphia. It's name is Fort Mifflin. The fort has been preserved as a museum, but I must warn you: Its official web site has annoying sounds of cannon shot ... and its location is right next to Philadelphia International Airport. Whether you plan a virtual or a real-time visit, you're going to hear some really really loud noise.

If you Google "Fort Mifflin ghost" about a gazillion sites pop up. The fort is notorious for its paranormal activity. During the Revolutionary War, American patriots were killed defending it (fruitlessly). During the Civil War, it served as a less-than-sanitary prison camp for Rebel soldiers. Bound to be a few ghosties hanging out there.

Last year, not surprisingly, Fort Mifflin ran into financial difficulties. Its staff got laid off and its bills went unpaid. Finally the only remaining employee put on his thinking cap and asked himself, "How can I save this museum?"

Answer: Reach out to the psychic community.

A year later, Fort Mifflin is chock-a-block with funds, it's open every weekend, and many special events are scheduled for the summer of 2009. This is because, through psychic and paranormal Web sites, the Fort's director was able to raise donations to balance the budget.

What the American soldiers couldn't save in 1777, they've saved in 2009.

The fort will be holding a paranormal investigation from July 31 through August 2. If you want to register for it, you can email to make a reservation. Or turn down your speakers and hit the fort's home page.

I haven't had an extra-sensory experience in 34 years. Truth be told, my five senses sometimes let me down. But I'd like to go to Fort Mifflin sometime this summer, and that weekend sounds like a promising one. A bevvy of psychics trying to communicate with deceased Revolutionary War soldiers would sure beat a bunch of fat, old, drunken men in polyester re-enactor uniforms, pretending to be something no one would ever choose to be -- a doomed young man, cut down in the prime of life.

A toast to the ghosts of Fort Mifflin! Haunt on, elusive phantoms. There are bills to be paid.


Debra She Who Seeks said...

Bravo to that last employee who had the courage to think outside the box and reach out to non-mainstream support!

Mama Kelly of 2 Witches Blog said...

::insert spooky music::

As I read this post I looked up Fort Mifflin as Phila is not all that far away and thought it would be a good day trip for the family this summer.

As the page came up I heard the name of the fort on my TV - hubby had just flipped over to TAPS which was airing a special on this location.

Gotta say I loved the coincidence

Anne Johnson said...

Mama, if you decide to go, let me know. It would be fun to meet up there. I'll bring the Spare.

beweaver said...

They might be fat and drunken, I'll give you that, but as a re-enactor in my not so distant past I can attest that they tend to be hyper vigilant about certain particulars. Clothing and accessories of all kinds are one of their fussy issues. I'm certain their uniforms are wool, linen, and cotton. :-)

Can't wait to hear about the ghosties...

Anne Johnson said...

Yeah, I was kidding about the polyester part.

Fort Mifflin Newsletter said...

Thank you for bringing to light the plight of Fort Mifflin on the Delaware and how a grassroots group of dedicated volunteers have come together to keep the doors open for future generations. Not only is Fort Mifflin grateful for all the support is has received from the paranormal community, but from all the musicians, actors, artists, veterans, scouting troops, school groups, nature lovers and others who have generously donated their time, money and facilities to put together some really great fundraising events to benefit the fort.

Because of those people, the word has gotten out to the public via newspapers, radio shows, podcasts, and blogs like yours.

Now, the focus is on keeping the momentum going so that future generations may be afforded the freedom to experience this historic gem like no other in America.

Check out and for a host of upcoming events. The next fundraiser is SAT, JUNE 20th with a day for the kids at the fort followed by A NIGHT OUT WITH THE AMISH OUTLAWS sponsored by GRIPP & NIPPI held at The Field House, 1125 Filbert St., Philadelphia, PA. There will be some great auction items, including a $1000 condo vacation courtesy of TAN vacations! Please contact for more info.

Aaaargh! Since you already have a parrot sitting on yer shoulder, perhaps, yer best suited to attend PIRATE DAY AT THE FORT on SAT, AUG 22nd. Don't ferget yer eye patch!

See ya there, matey! P-)

Patricia Stalter
"The Fort Mifflin Cannon," Newsletter of the Fort Mifflin Historic Preservation Group
[For a FREE subscription send a message to with "SUBSCRIBE" in the subject line.]

yellowdog granny said...

when my 2 sons were very little 3-4 maybe ..we lived in a house that was occupied by a spirit..never was afraid of him, or the kids...they said he was a nice kid and carried books...

Chas S. Clifton said...

Not only is there no polyester, but some reenactors diet like supermodels to look properly gaunt.

The author of this New Yorker piece, Tony Horwitz, expanded it into a book on the psychic space still occupied by the Civil War: Confederates in the Attic. You might enjoy it.

Anne Johnson said...

I read that book. For awhile I was considering writing a screenplay about those guys. But frankly, they could never diet down more than my three ancestors buried at Andersonville. This might not be information they would like to hear.