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Mystery Walk uncovers hidden gems

By Staff | May 15, 2015

According to tour leader Dana Mitchell, a story can told, but a mystery must be experienced.

That’s the philosophy behind the Shepherdstown Mystery Walks.

A mix of ghostly urban legends and forgotten about true life tales, the mystery walk in is a 90 minute stroll through our community’s past.

Mitchell, who grew up in Washington, D.C., said history has always been a part of who she is.

“I was practically born in the elevator of the capital,” she said.

Growing up immersed in and infatuated with history, Mitchell learned all she could about the area’s storied past, only ever quietly toying with the idea of leading an informational tour about the nation’s capital.

“I was shy when I was younger,” she said.

When Mitchell relocated to Shepherdstown a decade ago, her husband encouraged her to finally put her love for history to use.

Last year, after many years of research Mitchell decided it was time to create what she sees as a fun experiential history lesson for visitors and locals.

“You’re actually seeing these things and touching the limestone that was Thomas Shepherds’s fort. “

Beginning at Shepherdstown’s historic little library and culminating at the Shepherdstown Visitor’s Center in the Entler Hotel guests get a full circle view of historic downtown.

Stories range from tales of buried elephant bones to mysterious supernatural occurrences and the true shocking accounts of local crimes and even murder.

Mitchell said one of the most popular stories is that of the murder of the beloved Shepherstown resident Susie Ferrel, which occurred right on New Street, near the old fire hall.

But the tour also introduces participants to little talked about local history, perhaps for the first time. The Beeline March, and French and Indian War are also topics covered on the tour.

Mitchell said the first-time visitors get to see the town in a whole different way when they follow this trail of stories.

“They’re walking the back streets of Shepherdstown. They really enjoy being behind the scenes.”

Ten city blocks and about 23 stories are covered in all.

“I hope they’re informed, educated and entertained,” Mitchell said of the tour’s mission.

“That means more important to me than anything.”

The cost of the Mystery Walk is $12 per person. This amount can be paid in person before the tour begins at the library. Each tour is capped somewhere between 15 and 20 people, so space it limited. The tour is held every Saturday evening at 7 p.m. The start time is subject to change throughout the year, depending on the sun set.

Find out more information about the walk by visiting www.shepherdstownmysterieswalk.com/