Those applying for the post of police officer in Shepherdstown, W. Va., should be prepared to deal with anything.
The job posting for an additional police officer is posted on the town’s website. It describes the town of 1,700 people as a vibrant community that has a constant influx of tourists. It does not mention Shepherdstown’s most recognized feature: its ghosts.
Shepherdstown, named after the founding Shepherd family, is the perfect epicenter for paranormal activity. It is one of two oldest towns in West Virginia, founding in 1762. It is on the Potomac River and has a Town Run where water flows through the town. It also has clay soil, as Shepherdstown was once noted for brick making. Both minerals and water are, theoretically, connected to the paranormal. Shepherdstown is also noted for tragedy, from major floods to the Battle of Shepherdstown, a defining Civil War battle in 1862. Battles in Maryland and surrounding areas resulted in 5,000 to 8,000 casualties sent to Shepherdstown. The wounded and dying reported filled every building from houses to churches. Even alleys and streets became home to those trying to survive their injuries.
The town, which is only .37 square miles on land and roughly 1,700 residents, reportedly is one of the most haunted towns in America with every building having paranormal activity from voices to apparitions to physical attacks. This makes a police officer’s job an unusual one, if you can believe reports, in that the station gets many calls related to paranormal activity.
What makes for the perfect storm for paranormal activity also makes for great television. Destination America introduced the series Ghosts of Shepherdstown last year. The show stars famed paranormal researcher Nick Groff of Ghost Adventures along with Elizabeth Saint and Bill Hartley.
But not everyone is buying the idea the show’s paranormal research and findings are real. Even Groff’s fans are dubious.
The show’s premise is the number of paranormal calls to the police department forces Shepherdstown Police Chief Michael King to turn to a paranormal research team for help. Since there are only four officers in the department, they don’t have capabilities of truly investigating every call other than to check for safety.
Critics find it difficult to believe any law enforcement would consider consulting with a paranormal research team. Skeptics also think the cases are just too convenient and solved too effectively. Some say it is “obviously fake.”
While King said on the show that paranormal activities has slowed since the team wrapped up its work, the publicity has also brought more living souls to Shepherdstown to enjoy its art, music, restaurants and perhaps ghosts.
It could be surprising for a police chief to call in a paranormal team, but Shepherdstown is full of surprises. After all, it was the site for a meeting of Israeli and Syrian leaders in 2000 to discuss peace between the two countries.
Yes, a Shepherdstown police officer must be prepared for anything.