Why some folks call this “the Most Haunted Town in America”
Since it’s 30 years older than the United States itself, Shepherdstown has had a long time to build up some spooky good ghost stories— enough to earn it a reputation as “Most Haunted Town in America.”
Its haunted history has been the focus of a TV series, “Ghosts of Shepherdstown.”
Here are just a few spooky sites to check out:
1. Historic Shepherdstown Museum
The old Entler Hotel now houses the Historic Shepherdstown Museum, but back in its heyday in the early 1800s, it was a gambling hub. A wealthy businessman, distraught after losing his money in a card game, shot himself to death in the hotel’s backyard. A young man named Peyton Smith was brought to the hotel after he was wounded in a duel following a card game, and he cried out repeatedly for his mother. Sadly, he died before she got to him. Some say they can still hear Peyton’s anguished cries.
2. Shepherd University
On the campus of Shepherd University, McMurran Hall was also a hospital during the Civil War. If you’re strolling the grounds late at night, look up at the clock tower and you might see a shadowy figure peering out from behind the shutters. Students at Miller Hall have reported strange noises and apparitions, and several other buildings on campus are rumored to be haunted.
3. The Entler-Weltzheimer House
The Entler-Weltzheimer House, also known as the “Little Yellow House,” was built on the site of what was a fort during the French and Indian War. In 1910, the house’s owner, a cobbler named George Yontz, was found murdered outside the home. Is the ground cursed by blood that was shed there 150 years ago? You be the judge. If you listen carefully, you might hear the taps of Yontz’s cobbler’s tools at the house.
4. Shepherdstown Sweet Shop & Bakery
Shepherdstown Sweet Shop Bakery is known not only for its tasty pastries, but also a special guest the proprietors have dubbed The Colonel. Shop employees can sometimes feel him brush past them, and other times they overhear the murmured conversations of invisible entities. The building was one of several commandeered for use as a hospital after the bloody Battle of Antietam, and some people believe The Colonel might be one of the soldiers still wandering about, checking on his men.
5. Old English Cemetery
Dana Mitchell, who shares these stories and other legends on her Shepherdstown Mysteries Walk, said she’s even had a spooky encounter of her own at the Old English Cemetery.
“I saw the ghost of a little boy who communicated his name telepathically to me as Conner,” she said, adding that she later found the headstone for a boy named Joseph Conner who died in the early 1800s. “Other people tell me they’ve seen him, too. And a lady who was walking her dog there threw a ball— only to have it roll back out to her.”
Are you brave enough to confront these spirits? If you’re feeling especially courageous, you can complete a spooky trifecta of haunted Jefferson County with ghost tours of Charles Town and Harpers Ferry.