Shepherdstown, West Virginia Hauntings

Hauntings

Shepherdstown is a town in Jefferson County, West Virginia, USA, located along the Potomac River. It is arguably the oldest town in the state, chartered in 1762 by Colonial Virginia’s General Assembly. 

Potomac River falls

Shepherdstown is well known for being the oldest town in West Virginia. It is also referred to as the most haunted town in America because it has always been home to inexplicable hauntings, strange accidents and unsolved crimes and mysteries. In a town of 1,700 residents, almost every single person has had an experience and the police have joined with the paranormal community to help solve some of the town’s deepest mysteries. Some of the events occurring in this town include the following:

  • Strange lights
  • The haunted Entler Hotel, now the town’s visitor center and museum
  • Haunted streets that begin from the top of town at Duke Street all the way to River Road
  • The ghost of Peyton Smith, a poker player who challenged another player to a duel after an argument
  • Table 25 at the Yellow Brick Bank
  • The clock tower of McMurran Hall, Room 1

Battle

The Battle of Shepherdstown, also known as the Battle of Boteler’s Ford, took place September 19–20, 1862, in Jefferson County, Virginia (now West Virginia), at the end of the Maryland Campaign of the American Civil War.

Shortly before dusk on September 19th, Union Brig General Charles Griffin sent two regiments across the Potomac River at Boteler’s Ford. They attacked Pendleton’s rearguard, capturing four artillery pieces before being recalled. Pendleton incorrectly reported to Gen. Robert E. Lee that he had lost all 44 guns of his artillery reserve.

Early on September 20th, Porter sent two brigades across the Potomac on a reconnaissance-in-force. Major Charles Lovell’s brigade of Regulars encountered Maj. General A.P. Hill’s “Light Division” about a mile from the river. While withdrawing back to the ford, Hill’s men attacked under heavy Federal  fire and the casualties were tremendous.

Col. James Barnes’ brigade was ordered to the top of the bluffs to cover the retreat, and two more Federal brigades were ordered to cross to the Virginia side of the river. After a violent clash along the heights bordering the river, Porter ordered a withdrawal. The colonel of the inexperienced 118th Pennsylvania  refused to retire until orders were received through the proper chain of command. Their first time under fire, the 118th Pennsylvania were driven in by four Confederate brigades and suffered 36% losses.

Total Union dead and wounded at Shepherdstown makes it the bloodiest battle fought in what would become the state of West Virginia.  George McClellan decided that an active pursuit of the enemy was not possible at this time and established a defensive posture along the Maryland bank. And for the Confederates, Robert E. Lee chose to abort his army’s movement back into Maryland. With the Confederates driven from Northern soil, President Abraham Lincoln used the opportunity to issue the Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation on September 22, 1862.

Friends

Peyton Smith was not intent on killing his best friend over a game and according to the story, his pistol was not loaded intentionally. His friend attempted to shoot over Peyton’s head but missed. Peyton was taken to the Entler for treatment but died from the wound. He reportedly had been placed into Room 1. Since the tragedy, several people have reported hearing him crying out for his mother.

Yellow Brick Restaurant

The manager of this establishment has reported paranormal activity. There is a story of a woman back in the mid 1900’s who was too afraid to sit at Table 25, stating there was a ghost of a woman who lives in that booth. Wine glasses have fallen off of racks and there are reports of a stereo being turn on that plays old time music. The below photo is from yellowbrickbank.com.

bank

Other Occurrences

The paranormal activity is not exclusive to the downtown Shepherdstown area because additional hauntings have been reported at the Shepherd University’s campus. An old man supposedly haunts the clock tower of McMurran Hall. This location was also used as a hospital during the Civil War and it is believed that soldiers haunt the location. The photo below is of Shepherdstown’s Presbyterian Church which was also used as the hospital for wounded Confederate soldiers. (Historic Shepherdstown Museum)

church in Shepherdstown

Finally

A six part series is coming our way in June that investigates the reports about  this town and the paranormal activity.

Thanks for stopping by and feel free to leave any comments or questions below. Happy Memorial Day Weekend to all.

Haunted U.S. Roads

Memorial Day

86 Comments

  1. Stephane Jutras

    I’m from Quebec State in Canada and I love watching the show. I’m not a skeptic and I do believe that paranormal activity is true. With that said, it doesn’t mean every cases are true. But there is something strange and that need to be explain in Sheperdstown. It would be great if the investigators could find tangible proof and could explain at least few events that occured. Keep up the good work and I’m sure they will find some answers.

    Reply
  2. Leyann Nel

    Hi all
    I love watching this show all the way from south africa keep up the good work
    Leyann

    Reply
    1. Donna L (Post author)

      It’s great a get to receive a comment from South Africa all the way to Georgia, U.S.A. Thanks for stopping by.

      Reply
  3. Geniac

    I will avoid ridicule on personal belief systems. That being said, my choice is to remain the quintessential skeptic. Most of the individuals reporting paranormal incidents in Shepherdstown and elsewhere are female. Is there an emerging pattern here? Yes. The girls are ‘wired’ differently.
    I live in Martinsburg eight miles to the west. I played keyboards at the Yellow Brick Bank Restaurant from late 1999 until June 2010. When I started this gig, the owner was Kevin Connell and the manager was Mike Luksa. Kevin sold the place and moved back to his permanent home in New England. The new buyers were the Lowe family who also own the Clarion Hotel. Mike departed and bought the Press Room on German St. The Yellow Brick Bank management and staff never mentioned table 25 during the length of my keyboard gig.
    May I suggest an exercise in logic and common sense: Shepherdstown is very old, incorporated 1762. The structures downtown are very old. Strange noises and tappings are to be expected. There is an obvious absence of reported paranormal activity at the Bavarian Inn and the Clarion Hotel. Why? Because these are relatively younger buildings. It would be safe to claim that our TriState area is rife with paranormal incidents. Gullibility is out of control.
    Perhaps a few tangible clues could be found via a quick surface study of the neurosciences. The human brain is complex to the extreme.
    My personal preference is to remain the Eastern Panhandle skeptic.

    Reply
    1. Donna L (Post author)

      There is nothing wrong with healthy skepticism. My personal belief is that everyone is a skeptic until they have their first paranormal experience. I have not personally visited this town but plan to in the future. Many, many old buildings have their paranormal associations. Some people are more open and sensitive to such experiences while others are not. I remain open minded and have talked to both men and women who have had interesting stories to tell. Most were not at any reputed haunted locations rather, in their homes. Thank you for taking the time for your input.

      Reply
      1. Geniac

        At the ripe ‘young’ age of 79 I can assume that my first paranormal experience has yet to occur. Some of my family members make this claim. My number of Shepherdstown contacts has dwindled to just one. He was updating me on a mutual friend (another keyboard artist) who is confined to a nursing home by reason of advanced Alzheimers. Our talk relative to the ‘hauntings’ was secondary. During our conversation I claimed knowledge and understanding of a Book written thousands of years ago. The content has information that can change minds about this topic. The Book is praised by it’s adherents and ridiculed by the unbelievers. There remain two searches that may be of interest: Look for data on “stimulation of right angle gyrus of the brain”, lab tests and spontaneous occurances. Any good search engine will direct you to sites that specialize in the neurosciences. Lab tests have proven that the stimulation will produce out-of-body and near-death sensations. All five senses can be affected. Next, launch YouTube and enter: “can the dead speak to us”. The lecturer identifies the Book to which I referred by it’s name.
        At the very least, the info you find will not be dull and boring.
        Stay well.
        In the music,
        Geniac

        Reply
        1. Donna L (Post author)

          OK, understood. You are a non believer here to convince people with your presented evidence, suggested readings, etc. As this is a website dedicated to the topic of paranormal and most are believers, including myself, I’d suggest, at this point in time, you focus on another website. You’ve made several comments. All duly noted. Thanks.

          Reply
          1. Geniac

            Hello (and farewell) Donna L. Your points are well stated and well taken. This will be my final message. That being said, at no time did I present a negative critique.
            Please understand, I never considered paranormal activity to be connected with Shepherdstown. Yes, I worked a day job but Shepherdstown was an opportunity for me to keep my jazz chops viable, it’s close proximity was a good incentive.
            Old age and reduced mobility has taken a toll. i.e. communication with like minded jazz friends in Shepherdstown has dwindled severely.
            I wish you well in your chosen profession.
            Take care,
            GS

  4. melissa allen

    I have been watching for a couple days now. Yes, I know the show has been filmed last year. This was just the first I heard about it. I find The crew to be credible and compassionate. Nick is a true investigator, always has been. Ghost Adventures was lucky to have him. I think spirit forces threw a wedge between him and Zak, they bought into it and they lost each other….just what the spirit forces wanted. They were to good together. As for Elizabeth, she is trying to understand her gift and I will be patient with her.I wish the crew would stay there longer and bring in Amy Allan to get a read on the place.

    Reply
    1. Stormy

      I believe that town is haunted. I agree, that Amy Allan needs to be called in to read these areas. Especially around that town run..

      Reply
  5. dorlene

    Is the police on the show for real or are they actors?

    Reply
    1. Donna L (Post author)

      They are not actors.

      Reply
  6. Dee Mittie

    The town is absolutely beautiful but the program series smacks of one giant tourist commercial. Sad that Shepherdstown felt they had to go along with this just to draw tourists to their town.

    Reply
    1. Geniac

      I live in Martinsburg, eight miles west on state road #45. Shepherdstown is a tourist attraction. Also, they have Shepherd University, heretofore known as Shepherd College.
      Because of it’s age, Shepherdstown is historic. The ‘beauty’ that you observed is the result of high tech enhancement by the tv crew. This is not to suggest the town is ugly, just very old. Close proximity is the only component that attracted me to this series, all of which has been uploaded to YouTube. My remaining local contact rates it as mediocre-to-poor tv. I am going to search my contact list to determine if there may be more than one remaining contact. At my advanced age, 79, flexibility and mobility are slowly failing, truth be known, I am just old and cranky. For more info, read my earlier posts. So far, the web moderator has replied to this first post

      Reply
  7. Karin Holley Anderson

    I would love to show some of the places that I felt undeniable presence. I can only go if it is not crazy busy. I need the quiet to feel. And yes I was also raised in house in mclean, va called prospect hill built in the 1800’s. I know presence and have seen a girl ghost. I have the mirror from the maids room in the basement. I love the large graveyard. Karin

    Reply
  8. Christie

    I would love to come too shepardstown one day! Its beautiful

    Reply
  9. Susan Dos Santos

    Hello Donna , My name is Susan and I live in Ontario , Canada . I have always had a interest in the Paranormal as I have experienced as well. I have been watching the series on the Paranormal activity in Shepardstown , WV and have taken a great interest in this town in particular in the USA . I would love to visit , perhaps in the following new year . Can you kindly add me to your mailing list .

    Best Regards ,
    Susan

    Reply
    1. Donna L (Post author)

      Certainly Susan and thanks for your feedback!

      Reply
    2. Judith Beachy

      Please add me to your mailing list Thank You.

      Reply
      1. Donna L (Post author)

        Please go to main page and join the mailing list there. There is info you needs to complete. THANKS!

        Reply
      2. Valerie Licciardone

        Please add me to your mailing list. I would love to visit your town. It looks beautiful and I too am interested in the the paranormal.
        Valerie Licciardone
        10 Regents Place
        Yorktown Heights, NY. 10598

        Thank you.

        Reply
    3. Stacy

      Come on down WV has alot of paranormal happenings plus a ton of other great things to do. Hope you get a chance to come and visit

      Reply
  10. TONY

    Why only in USA These things dont happen in the rest of the world

    Reply
    1. Donna L (Post author)

      You can’t be serious! Paranormal activity is reported all around the world.

      Reply
      1. Ethan Witt

        Let’s see island of the dolls Mexico City, Auschwitz Germany, Draculas castel, Thad just a few.

        Reply
        1. Donna L (Post author)

          The focus of this website (see introductions) is focused on the United States. Thanks.

          Reply
        2. Piotr from Poland

          Auschwitz is in Poland and not in Germany. Auschwitz is the German name for the Polish city of Oswiecim.

          Reply
          1. Donna L (Post author)

            I am glad that you clarified that fact for those that are misinformed. Thank you.

  11. Vinhole

    While reading all the comments and have watched a couple episodes I just don’t know what to think! I want to believe but you have to do a little more to make me a believer!

    Reply
  12. Allan

    I attended Shepherd College in the 70’s and never experienced anything abnormal. It was a beautiful town with lovely people and never hear a word about ghosts

    Reply
    1. karin

      I also went to shepherd collage in 1976. You could feel a heavy presence, esp down the road past the yellow brick house. I choose to stay there. I walked a lot in Shepherdstown rode with mary ann brown? Saw many beautiful ruins off of Shaw Rd which are now golf courses. Everything has changed the pool hall is a boutique, Shepherdstown is no longer the beautiful sleepy town. I did feel presence no doubt. We used to talk about how many houses were hunted back then.I loved the churches esp the episcopal church on main st. Also the house on high street on the corner and some of the houses in between high and main st. Remember the E-Z duz it band. Karin

      Reply
      1. Stacy

        Things being changed is a stsrt of many paranormal occurances. Spirits are used to things being the way they are supposed to be when they were alive when things change things start happening

        Reply
  13. Linda Myers

    I love the show Nick Groff and Bill Hartley are great,Elizabeth Saint not to sure about.I hope the show continue.

    Reply
    1. Ruth

      I’m very skeptical of Elizabeth too. She takes away from the show’s credibility.

      Reply
      1. River

        Ya but she’s way cute

        Reply
  14. Thomas Kinsel

    Hi Donna
    My name is Tom…i am planning a vist to sheperdstown in a couple weeks are there any hot spots around the town that i can take video or pictures?
    Also…planning on staying only a day or two so most of my ghost hunting will be outside.
    My gmail is littlebit8023@gmail.com

    Reply
    1. Stacy

      Hey did you catch anything???

      Reply
  15. Dana

    My family wants to visit, where should we stay? Any suggestions???

    Reply
  16. De Norton

    My grandmother was a Shepherd. I’m checking out to see if Thomas was a relative. When and what channel is this show on?
    My sister and I planning a trip there soon!

    Reply
    1. Donna L (Post author)

      This series has been on for a while. Discovery Channel in my area. Please check your local listings.

      Reply
  17. Rachel

    I’ve lived right beside Shepherdstown my whole life and have been there so many times I can’t count. I’ve spent summers there for camps and have never expirenced anything in this town. Not saying it’s not real. But it’s crazy to see all this happen here!

    Reply
  18. Kristy

    Id like to be apart of. Oon Donnas mailing list thanks

    Reply
  19. donald mochrie jr

    as I watch this show it makes me laugh…to think nick left ghost adventures to look like a fool….second of all the woman who says she has powers is a joke….this whole show can be debunk and sorry how come we never hear from any of the old timers….why cause they know this show is just huge joke….I have saw and had paranormal experiences all my life and 90% can be explain….whats next the bigfoot of this town……..

    Reply
    1. Catie

      Ghost adventure’s was 1000x’s better … idk he left the show for this one, dumb move .. I like Zak’s new show deadly possessions

      Reply
    2. Ruth

      Elizabeth makes this show far less credible than it might’ve been. And some of the “evidence” is ludicrous.

      Reply
    3. Geniac

      Donald, do not know if you visit this site often. IF yes, picture, if you will, the adherents are overwhelmingly female. Observe the pattern.
      To summarize: The girls are ‘wired’ differently. This is not meant to ridicule the ladies, just a comment from an old cranky senior citizen. Read my earlier posts.
      Stay well,
      Geniac

      Reply
  20. Laura Rios

    I love the show I see every Sunday I wish continue the program! I love sheperstown I live in jersey but I like west virginia

    Reply
  21. LINDA

    I’ve been watching the show and I’m a big anything paranormal fan but….. even though this ghosts of Shepherds town is good, I can’t help but feel some of the people the interview are actors and one of the investigators is actually listed on her Facebook page as an actress so it kind of kills it for me. So I wonder how much of it is all for show. Either way I’m still watching it lol.

    Reply
    1. Ryan leer

      Even though the show is good, point is unmistaken. Actress or actor listed on a “reality ” show? I’m from lower mass and love the history and experiences. Can we have less cheesy people cover the story? Maybe the real deal and history would be respected. Not another “dude did u see that” ghost show.

      Reply
    2. Geniac

      Linda, follow the money. Research teams do not and cannot afford to work pro bono.
      Middleway WV receives little or no publicity. Launch your search engine of choice and enter “wizard clip” without the quotes of course. Our Tristate area was the scene of many battles in the 19th. century war that I prefer to identify as “The War Of Northern Aggression” which spawned a lot of these anecdotal tales. Put your search engine to work on “bloody lane” which occurred near Sharpsburg MD, just across the Potomac from Shepherdstown.
      “Seeing is believing” is yet another phrase with which we are all familiar. It cannot even meet the criterion of ‘axiom’ because it is not a self-evident truth. Which begs the question; what is being seen and heard? That which is provided by clever imposters.
      Stay well.

      Reply
  22. Kathryn Windsor

    My husband and and I have been to Shepardstown several times but never knew about the paranormal activity. We are going back in the fall and I will definitely be looking at the town in a whole different light!

    Reply
    1. Donna L (Post author)

      Keep us posted on your experiences when you do visit the area!

      Reply
  23. Holly Rexrode

    I went to Shepherd College back in the 80’s and I never heard of any ghosts or hauntings.Knew people who lived in the town and they didn’t mention anything. We went on day and night walks-nothing. I’d walk to St. Anne’s church in the dark-nothing. I had classes in McMurran- nothing. Walked the towpath- again nothing. Maybe I wasn’t sensitive enough. Anybody else from Shep Prep out there.

    Reply
    1. Donna L (Post author)

      Thanks for your comment. I believe some people are more sensitive to experiences which might explain the fact that you never heard or saw anything paranormal.

      Reply
    2. Rich Keller

      Hi Holly. I graduated from Shep Prep in 1976. Lived on campus in Kenamond Hall my sophomore year. Word is that Kenamond is haunted, with paranormal activity. Story is that a boy was killed on the spot where Kenamond was built when he slipped on some rocks and fell to his death where the land drops off down to the Potomac. Supposedly his ghost haunts Kenamond, turning students’ radios and turntables on and off, activity of that sort. Never noticed or experienced anything unusual or out of the ordinary myself. Like you, I wondered if I wasn’t sensitive enough to detect paranormal activity. Also heard that Miller Hall was used as hospital during the Civil War, and that it is haunted with the ghosts of soldiers who died there. I did hear an account of a student who lived there, who did experience paranormal activity. Don’t know if it is true or not.

      Reply
      1. Karin Holley Anderson

        Hi Rich, also a shep prep 1976-80. What about the house with the red lights outside of town. I used to hear about it a lot. I was young but I felt presence as I walked a lot. Had friends that lived there. Rode ponies off of shaw rd behind the Bavarian Inn. There was a caboose also down along the Potomac River. Also in Maryland what was the town along the river. That tri-state area was crazy with history. I miis the quietness of shepherstown. Went back way too busy. Karin

        Reply
    3. Chuck Simmons

      I also went to Shepherd College in the early 80’s and lived in Kenamond Hall which is supposedly haunted by a young boy and I never experienced anything. Even walking around the church’s graveyard as part of a fraternity ritual, yielded nothing. Sorry, Shepherdstown is no more haunted than any other town.

      Reply
      1. Donna L (Post author)

        Well, no location is haunted until one has an experience!

        Reply
    4. Karin Holley Anderson

      Hi, I also love Shepherdstown in 1976-1980. The street that went down past the bank you cannot deny the heavy presence. I will go back to make my peace please keep my e-mail. I went with someone to the large graveyard and took many pictures. I would love to have those. Found a not blood relative baby Sigler my grandmothers second husband. Karin Holley now Anderson.

      Reply
  24. Shannon baldwin

    Have the investigators gotten rid of any ghosts?

    Reply
    1. Donna L (Post author)

      That was never the intention. The activity continues.

      Reply
      1. Diane

        Oh but according to the show, the activity has greatly decreased since the supposedly released quite a few spirits to the light!

        Reply
  25. Erin

    Me and my cousin live in Wichita, Kansas. I’ve done a lot of research on this town and when I graduate college, I’m thinking of visiting Shepherdstown because I LOVE the idea of investigating haunted places. Plus it would answer alot of my questions.

    Reply
  26. Tammie L. P

    I was born and raised in wv and have never heard of shepherds town . I decided to watch the show a few nights ago ant that’s when I found out it was in wv . maybe some day me and my husband will visit the town. I think it would be great to visit the oldest town in our state . I just need to see how far it is from where I live.( Jackson Co wv) Riley area.

    Reply
    1. Tammie L. P

      Oops! Riley wv .not Riley

      Reply
      1. Tammie L. P

        Ripley, sorry the spell ck is changeling the word Riply.think I have it right now .lol

        Reply
    2. Donna L (Post author)

      I think you would really enjoy yourself. Let me hear back from you after you go!! Perhaps you’ll have an experience of your own to share.

      Reply
  27. Chrystal

    I just visited Shpherdstown today. My 5th great grandfather was the owner of Entler Hotel (Daniel Entler) finally took the 6 hour drive to visit and take a personal tour 🙂

    Reply
    1. Donna L (Post author)

      So, what did you think?

      Reply
  28. Roni Paris

    If we wanted to do a paranormal investigation in the area who do you contact

    Reply
    1. Donna L (Post author)

      I do not live in the area but, you can contact these folks and perhaps they will lead you in the right direction. Good luck! (They are on Facebook)

      Shep-Town Paranormal Society

      Reply
      1. Rith

        The medium was I spotted her on a Netflix show was dissapointed

        Reply
      2. Karin Holley Anderson

        My name is Karin. I was there in the late 1970’s I have questions. There was presence. I would love to come when is not so crowded. I walked a lot, as there was nothing else to do. I macramé in town near the bank. Went to the 1872 club and watched the snow fall.

        Reply
        1. Donna L (Post author)

          For safety reasons, I have removed your personal telephone number.

          Reply
  29. Becky

    Donna, you must have a blast living in a town with such rich history and ghosts on top of that ! I love to visit historical sites back east, so I am definitely putting this town on my list.
    Thank you.

    Reply
    1. Donna L (Post author)

      Oh, I do not live there! Just wrote a story about the place. We live in San Diego–lots of haunts here too!

      Reply
  30. Deborah V

    Now I want to visit. Thank you for the history and information.

    Reply
    1. Donna L (Post author)

      You are most welcome. Thanks for stopping by.

      Reply
  31. Rosemary Reichel

    My husband and I have been watching the series. Very interesting. Love the show. Can’t wait til the next one.

    Reply
    1. Donna L (Post author)

      Send me your feedback afterwards. Thanks!

      Reply
  32. Richard Harris

    sounds like a place I would visit

    Reply
    1. Donna L (Post author)

      I’d also love to check that area out. Very interesting!

      Reply
  33. David

    So will you pubkish again?

    Reply
    1. Donna L (Post author)

      Yes, I publish articles monthly. Feel free to join the mailing list!

      Reply
      1. a.j. kulesza

        please keep me updated at ajkulesza823@gmail.com

        Reply

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