By MARY STORTSTROM
SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. — The spooky series “Ghosts of Shepherdstown,” which highlights local paranormal activity, will get a second season, according to Shepherdstown Police Chief Mike King.
The show, which is filmed documentary-style and includes interviews with property owners in Shepherdstown who claim unexplained phenomena occur in their residences or places of business — as well as dramatic recreations of events — aired on Destination America last year.
Among the “paranormal experts” on the show is Nick Groff, whom King said, “really knows his stuff.”
King, who was featured prominently in the first season of the show, said the town’s former police chief was “really into ghosts,” so King continued working with the network upon taking the position as chief.
King said “Ghosts of Shepherdstown” shows the law enforcement side of responding to calls for unexplained activity.
“Of course no one calls the police department and says, ‘There’s a ghost in my house.’ People do call and say they can hear someone walking around, and think someone broke into their home, but they turn the lights on and no one is there,” King said. “I’m a skeptic; I’ve never seen (a ghost) but something is making the noises.”
King said the Shepherdstown Town Council approved the filming for the second season at its January meeting. However, the majority of the filming for the second season will not take place in Shepherdstown this time, King said.
Marianne Davis, director of the Shepherdstown visitors center, said she also heard that more of the ghost stories to be featured in season two of “Ghosts of Shepherdstown” are areas outside the corporate limits of Shepherdstown, which she says may lead to more tourists visiting Jefferson County and its supposedly haunted locations.
“We have gotten more visitors because of the show. People who have never been to Shepherdstown come for the first time because of the ghosts, ghost tours and because they want to see the buildings featured on the show,” Davis said. “After that first visit, they come back to explore the rest of the town.”
Davis said some of the locations or ghost stories were changed by the show’s producers “to make good television.”
“Some people think it’s a bit much, but there are intelligent people in Shepherdstown who have reported these things. Shepherdstown has a long history, so most of these reports deal with events that may have taken place in the 1800s or early 1900s. I’m glad (the show) gets people thinking about the history of Shepherdstown,” she said. “It’s an old town, so many things could have happened here.”
According to Davis, residents of Shepherdstown are “having a good time with the show,” and the reputation the town has gained among paranormal enthusiasts.
“I think the residents of town are taking it in good fun. A local bluegrass band, The Speakeasy Boys, have written a great satirical song,” she said.
According to Charlotte Fletcher, publicist for Destination America, an affiliate of the Discovery Channel, said the first season of “Ghosts of Shepherdstown” is Destination America’s “most successful freshman series ever,” based on Nielsen estimates. She said an average of 735,000 viewers over age two were tuned in at any given moment during a new episode, according to Nielsen data.
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