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Director documents ghost stories
ST. MARYS -- Ghost stories abound in St. Marys.

There's the headless pirate who roams the waterfront looking for his stolen gold (and his head), and the little girl who is often seen late at night peeking from windows of the upper floor of Orange Hall, a three-story mansion built around 1830.

The ghost of Archibald Clark still lurks around the home he built more than 200 years ago, and the sightings from Oak Grove Cemetery, built in the late 1700s, include soldiers, yellow fever victims, heartbroken widows and widowers and others who met untimely ends.

The city has had its share of ghost hunters who have spent the night in old buildings, cemeteries and in the historic waterfront district filming and recording the paranormal.

That's what gave independent filmmaker Jesse Haskell the idea of making a full-length film that gathers many of the ghost stories from residents.

"I thought it would be an interesting subject," he said.

Haskell emphasized he and his crew were not seeking evidence that would prove or disprove what many people believe to be true. He just wants to gather the stories into what he believes will make a compelling documentary, called "Ghosts of St. Marys."

Haskell plans to interview dozens of people for his documentary during the week he and his crew are filming. On Sunday alone, he interviewed 15 people who shared their ghost stories.

Barbara Ryan, who is involved with many community organizations, is among those who believe many of the ghost stories.

"I say, how could it not be?" she said. "St. Marys has a way of retaining spirits. They tend to linger here."

Ryan says she knows of some businesses that have ghosts, but she was unwilling to identify them because the owners are afraid it could drive away customers.

She said one of the spookiest places is the upper floor of St. Marys City Hall, where a lone jail cell that hasn't held a prisoner in decades remains.

The cell, which many people aren't aware of, was where the last hanging in St. Marys was held. Some claim the ghost of the man lurks near the pauper's cemetery where he was buried and in the cell where he was held on murder charges.

"It's a chilling place," Ryan said. "The spirits in St. Marys, they're prolific."

* Reporter Gordon Jackson writes about Camden County and other local topics. Contact him at, on Facebook or at 464-7655.

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