Thursday, December 21, 2017

HGB Ep. 237 - Gettysburg College

Moment in Oddity - Brazilian Treehopper

There are around 3200 species of the treehopper insect. One of these is the Brazilian Treehopper, which seems to be a part of the Addams Family branch of the insect family. This is an insect that leads a solitary life in treetops, feeding off the sap in leaf stems. Pretty normal bug stuff, until you see the thing. The Brazilian Treehopper has an odd antenna-like appendage that sticks up out of its body and this antenna has four round appendages coming off of that. Each of those have little hairs covering them. They look almost like four eyes looking off in different directions. There is also a long spike shaped piece that comes off the rear of this attachment. Scientists are unsure if they actually have a purpose, such as to scare off predators, or if they are meant to be ornamental. Now you know you want to go Google an image, so do it. We think you will agree that the Brazilian Treehopper, certainly is odd!

This Month in History - Silver Bridge Collapses in Point Pleasant

In the month of December, on the 5th, in 1967, the Silver Bridge that spanned the Ohio River in Point Pleasant, West Virginia collapses. The Silver Bridge was an eyebar-chain suspension bridge that was built in 1928. The bridge got its name from the silver paint that was painted on its aluminum frame. Just before sundown on that cold December 5th day, commuters were making their way home from work either driving back across into Ohio or West Virginia. An eyebar that helped suspend the bridge fractured, and the 1800 foot structure fell into the river. Forty-six people lost their lives and nine others were seriously hurt. One of the survivors was Charlene Wood, who was pregnant at the time and driving a 1967 Pontiac. She said of the event, “As I was approaching the bridge, the light changed. When it went to green, I started over the bridge and there was a terrible shaking of the bridge. My father was a riverboat captain and had talked about barges hitting the bridge and the pier, so when I heard that, I automatically put my car in reverse.” Her car stalled, and she continued, “by the time I got my car stopped, mine was on the very edge where it broke off.” Many people believe the legendary Mothman either caused the tragedy or brought a warning that it was going to happen when he is rumored to have appeared before the bridge collapsed.

Gettysburg College (Suggested by listener Kaydi Bigelow)

Gettysburg is a town in Pennsylvania that is well known for its haunts. The place is steeped in history from the bloody Battle of Gettysburg to one of the most well known Presidential speeches of all time, the Gettysburg Address given by President Abraham Lincoln. So it only makes sense that spirits would be alive and well here. One location that is overshadowed by the Gettysburg Battlefield, but which seems to be just as haunted, is Gettysburg College. The college was founded before the Civil War in 1832. Fighting forces would cross the campus and several buildings would become field hospitals during the Battle of Gettysburg. Listener and Executive Producer Kaydi Bigelow suggested this location and she shares with us her experience of growing up in Gettysburg and attending Gettysburg College, along with the stories of the many spirits that still seem to be hanging around the campus in the afterlife.

Anti-slavery theologian Samuel Simon Schmucker founded Pennsylvania College in 1832. In 1837, the college moved into Pennsylvania Hall. This hall was built on land donated by abolitionist Congressman Thaddeus Stevens. Stevens was a lawyer for many years in Gettysburg before getting involved in politics. He eventually became the largest landowner in Gettysburg. He was fiercely against slavery and after the Civil War, he made it his goal to get African-Americans their Civil Rights during Reconstruction. He obtained this goal when he authored the 14th Amendment, which guaranteed full civil rights to citizens of all states. It is only fitting that the most important battle of the Civil War would be fought in Gettysburg and it was a great Union victory.

The college expanded and grew over the years after the war. In 1921, Pennsylvania College became Gettysburg College. The campus now stretches over 225 acres and sits adjacent to the Gettysburg National Military Park. There are over 90 buildings on the main campus. Pennsylvania Hall still stands and serves as the Administration Building. There is the College Union Building, Eddie Plank Gym, Masters Hall, Briedenbaugh Hall, Musselman Library, Weidensall Hall, McKnight Hall, Glatfelter Hall, Schmucker Hall, Brua Hall and various dorms and fraternities. The Quad is located outside of the library and is nicknamed "Stine Lake." There is no lake here, but several decades ago, a large muddy pond would form in this area due to bad drainage. That issue had been taken care of, but the nickname has remained.

Kaydi shared many tales of haunting experiences people have had throughout the years at the college. Are these students and faculty just imagining these occurrences? Is Gettysburg College haunted? That is for you to decide!

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