Our visit to the Battlefield was more dramatic than I had expected. We arrived with little more than an hour before the parks scheduled closing at 9pm. The heavy rain had let up but the dark clouds still lingered and continued to threaten. The storm had produced some spectacular cloud formations that just added to the already dramatic scenery. It created a rather eerie setting for the battlefield.
As we drove the length of the battlefield the group grew quiet. Maybe it was out of respect; maybe we were quietly trying to comprehend the history that took place on that very site but whatever it was, it was certainly unusual for this group. Once we arrived back at the monument honoring the lives lost during the Battle of Little Big Horn, we began to explore on foot.
With the black sky threatening above, we were the last remaining visitors of the day so we took the opportunity to take some EVP readings. Mike spent some time recording around the monument’s burial area and then turned me loose on the Custer Battlefield Cemetery. I must say, I felt a little awkward walking between the grave stones recording for any unusual sounds and specifically asking if anyone (or anything) had a story they wanted to share. I have never done anything like that before and although I do believe spirits remain around us, I have NEVER really wanted to hear from them. My first recording lasted about 10 minutes and as I walked away from the cemetery, I felt compelled to go back. This time I chose to record in a lower part of the cemetery. As I walked along, the birds squawked and the thunder crashed in the distance. I was wandering through a row of grave stones when the strangest feeling came over me. It was not one of those feelings where the hair on your arms stand up; it was more of a fluttering in my upper chest area. It stopped me in my tracks. I was standing on a grave but for some reason I did not even take a look at it. Instead I felt compelled to move up to the grave stone on my left. I walked around to the front side of stone and continued to record. I had not been reading the stones (with the exception of one stone during my first recording) but bent over to get a closer look at this one stone. It was the grave site of a Margaret J. Littlejohn. Margaret had died at 36 years of age in 1878. Being that I am also in my mid 30’s I felt a sort of strange kinship with this woman who had lost her life at such a young age. I stayed and recorded for a moment more before continuing on. Soon after leaving Margaret’s grave stone, the park ranger announced the park would be closing so I said goodbye and wished all a peaceful resting.
The feeling I had behind Margaret’s grave stuck with me. So when we returned to camp, and I logged on to do a little research. It turns out Margaret was a Laundress for the men in Company One and had died at Fort Buford (North Dakota.) Although originally buried elsewhere, she was eventually reburied at the Custer Battlefield Cemetery. The internet source I used said Margaret was held in high esteem amongst the troops and was only one of 2 women buried during that time. I want to do some research to find out how true that is but either way, it was certainly a strange sensation that lead me to Margaret. Out of the hundreds of grave sites there, who can really say why I ended up kneeling in front of this particular one, but since I did, I will continue to research this woman. I’m looking forward to playing back the EVP recordings…..maybe she’ll tell us why.
– Tracy Northby