Shepherdstown: Host to Ghosts
Last week broadcast journalist Pat Lalama and producer Aaron Burke visited Shepherdstown to explore its unique history of paranormal activity as part of a potential television documentary series.
Setting up shop Wednesday morning in the Entler hotel, the pair listened to experiences from more than 30 local residents who can attest to otherworldly experiences.
Traveling from Los Angeles, California Tuesday evening Lalama and Burke organized several interviews and tours of the town with assistance of Shepherdstown Visitors Center Director, Jan Hafer.
Lalama explained that she was first drawn to Shepherdstown after spotting Shepherdstown Police Chief David Ransom, who spends some of his free time as a paranormal investigator, in a Smithsonian documentary chronicling an Opera House performance last year.
“I don’t know if I believe in ghosts or not, but we take the fact that people do very seriously,” Lalama said.
Burke explained that their trip was an exploratory excursion to gain firsthand knowledge about the town and its residents.
“This is a scouting mission to meet people and explore the possibility,” Burke said.
Though the Chief was Lalama’s initial draw, both she and Burke said their interest in really in telling the story of a whole community and its ghostly happenings.
“It’s all about the citizens,” Lalama said.
“We want the whole town involved.”
Historians Jim Price and Jim Surkamp were on hand to facilitate Wednesday morning’s discussion, framing the collection of stories in actual historical events.
“There’s a historical element that really backs up these stories,” Burke said.
Lalama and Burke said they heard a range of stories from locations all around town and on Shepherd University’s campus.
Stories were shared about popular places like Shepherdstown Sweet Shop, the Shepherdstown Middle School and even sightings along Flowing Springs Road.
Hafer said many of the residents’ stories built on one another creating patterns and offering real legitimacy to the experiences.
“There’s a good interactive vibe to everything,” Burke said.
“You get the sense that its a large family.” he said of the community.
After taking an official ghost tour of Shepherdstown Wednesday evening, the pair returned to the west coast with plans to continue researching the possibility of a project.
Those interested in sharing their stories or learning more about the project can contact Jan Hafer at the Shepherdstown Visitors Center.