Surprised to Hear the Most Haunted Camp in Texas May Be Here in Tyler?
I've lived in Tyler since I was a kid. And although I was familiar with Camp Ford, which is located at 6500 US Highway 271, about 0.8 miles outside Loop 323, I'd never heard rumors it was haunted until fairly recently.
If you're not familiar, the Smith County Historical Society confirms that "Camp Ford was the largest Confederate Prisoner of War Camp west of the Mississippi River during the American Civil War. Established in August of 1863, the camp was not closed until May 19, 1865. At its peak in July 1864, over 5,300 prisoners were detained there."
If you're a history buff you are welcome to check it out any day from sunrise to sunset. Admission is free.
However, if you have more interest in paranormal claims, you may find it fascinating that "ghost hunters" have ventured to Camp Ford and the claims made have been surprising to many.
Although when you consider the camp's past, it becomes somewhat easier to believe if you're inclined toward the possibility that ghosts are real.
I tend to be more skeptical about such things, myself. However, there have been paranormal investigations at Camp Ford over the years. I had no idea. But why? What allegedly happened here that would give ghost hunters and investigators the idea that they may find something of interest to them there?
You can find various online sources. However Wikipedia claims that in addition to the regular "business" of housing POW's during the Civil War, there were horrible things that took place here during that time.
Wikipedia shared there was a published piece called Summary Executions of Local Citizens, Recounted by 49th Ohio prisoners at Camp Ford: From "Twenty Months in the Dept of the Gulf, by A.G.H. DuGanne which claimed that during an episode known as the 'Match Plot.'
Some of what is claimed includes the arrest and execution of hundreds, the torment of some local citizens--including hangings and even a few incidents of burning people at the stake. WHAT? You can read more via the link above.
Some claim the spirits of these who were killed haunt the place. Some even say Camp Ford is THE most haunted camp in the great state of Texas.
(I find this claim hard to believe, but obviously how can we confirm that to be true?)
Again, it is open daily from dawn until dusk and admission is free. I wouldn't recommend going after dark--for various reasons.
Here's a quick virtual tour of Camp Ford in more recent, peaceful years: