Saturday, April 27, 2013

Harpers Ferry KOA Campground

Civil War trench at KOA, by StoneSentinels.com
I'd like to thank Melinda from the Theresa's Haunted History FaceBook page for the tip on today's location!

The location is the KOA campground in Harpers Ferry!  Over 30 years ago, this land operated as a Civil War Showcase Museum, which held different living history events throughout the season.  It eventually became a KOA campground, and then later The Holiday Travel Park.  After that, it was officially known as the Harpers Ferry Campsite, catering to many of the re-enactors and visitors to Harpers Ferry National Park.

In 1996, the family-run franchisee company, Recreational Adventures Co., took over the site and returned it to a KOA facility, complete with a host of improvements and amenities for the modern guest interested in the history of the area as well as the other recreational activities offered.  One offering that does NOT get published in the pamphlet is the haunted camp store.

According to Melinda, a local paranormal investigation team was called in to deal with a host of paranormal activity, mainly affecting the camp store.  The most disturbing activity that was witnessed was the apparition of a woman crawling and dragging herself across the floor.  She was missing the lower half of her body.

Colonel D.S. Miles
I honestly have no idea how this woman got to where she's been seen, or who she may possibly be, but I wouldn't completely rule out the turbulent Civil War history connection.  The site that now houses the KOA campground and where actual trenches can still be seen was the site of the last stand of Colonel Dixon Stansbury Miles.

There really isn't a ton of information available about this battle and its my theory that the cause of this is because the old adage of history being written by the winners.  Since the defeat of Colonel Miles and the surrender of Harpers Ferry on September 14, 1862 by the Federals happened with the culmination of this battle, sometimes known as the Sheraton Heights or the Boliver Heights battle, not much gets written about it.  Local historian, Dennis Frye, has written the most thorough account of the incident that I've found and that article can be found linked below.  However, just briefly:

Colonel Miles had taken up his headquarters at Harpers Ferry as commander of George McClellan's Railroad Brigade, protecting the railway from Confederate troops.  In mid September, as Stonewall Jackson's troops surrounded his position on Boliver Heights, things still looked promising.  However, things suddenly changed and by Sunday September 14th at 8am Miles had surrendered.  Jackson lost 289 men, but there was no mention of any Civilian/female casualties....

Still, with such a historic reputation, awesome activities for both history buffs and outdoorsy-types, AND the possibility of seeing a ghost, I know exactly where we're staying the next time we go to Harpers Ferry! With the demolition of Harpers Ferry's most haunted hotel, this is an awesome alternative.  As an added bonus, the campground is pet friendly!

Frye's Historical Account

KOA Website

Other Harper's Ferry Haunts to check out while you're in the area.  Scroll down to the bottom of the page!

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