Not Another Auld Lang Syne

Venues offer alternatives to New Yer's Eve

Venues offer alternatives to New Yer's Eve

November 30, 1999|By TARA REILLY


While some might be toasting loved ones when the ball drops tonight at midnight, others might be raising a glass to the paranormal.A West Virginia ghost hunters group is planning a "Toast a Ghost" event tonight in what the president of the association described as a haunted site in Berkeley County.

"Our goal is to find and photograph a (ghost), and we're usually successful," Susan Crites, president of the West Virginia Society of Ghost Hunters, said Friday.

Other New Year's Eve activities happening throughout the Tri-State include bingo, a gospel concert and an all-night skating party.Crites said the ghost hunt costs $15 per person and will begin at 9 p.m., wrapping up with a picnic at midnight that includes food and sparkling cider.

The organization has ghost-hunting equipment that participants may use during the search, but they should bring their own cameras to try to capture ghosts on film, Crites said.


Crites said sometimes ghosts can be seen with the naked eye. Other times, ghost hunters might pick up unusual formations in photographs. But if you can't see them, "you can certainly hear them," Crites said.Crites said she and others were looking for ghosts last week in Washington County along the C&O Canal towpath.

"We heard dozens of sets of footsteps coming towards us in the snow, and there was nobody there,"

Crites said.

Crites said many of the reported hauntings in this area tend to be of people dressed in clothes from the 1920s and from the Civil War years.

She believes that many times, ghosts go about their business without taking a particular interest in the living.

"It's like they don't care that we're there," Crites said.

The same can't always be said for some people who sign up for an evening of ghost hunting. Crites said sometimes, they become scared and stunned by what they see.

"We've had people pick up their kids like the child was a pack of flour and take off running," Crites said. "People can become very frightened."

She declined to say exactly where the site is in Berkeley County in which the group will search for ghosts tonight, in case a large number of people show up without being registered. To register, call 304-754-6983 or send an e-mail to

If ghost hunting isn't for you, maybe an evening of gospel music is.

Don Sneckenberger, president of Morning Star Productions, said a gospel concert will be held tonight in the auditorium at Heritage Academy on Walnut Point Road, just west of Hagerstown.

"It's just a family event," Sneckenberger said. "We sing all evening."

The event, called Secrest Memorial Sing, has been held for 27 years, Sneckenberger said.

The Skyline Boys Quartet from Manassas, Va., will be the featured performers. Bob Gay and Judy Bollinger of York, Pa., and Harvey Bricker Jr. of Mercersburg, Pa., also are scheduled to perform.

The concert starts at 7 p.m., and usually runs until about 11 p.m., Sneckenberger said. For more information, call 301-733-9365.

In Halfway, the Family Skating Center, will hold an all-night New Year's Eve skate party from 8 p.m. until Sunday at 6 a.m. The $15 admission includes skate rentals, party hats, noisemakers, a light show and a free pancake breakfast after midnight.

More information may be found at www.familyskating or by calling 301-582-2020.

Bingo Island in Hagerstown is holding a New Year's Eve celebration from 5:30 p.m. to 1 a.m.

Barbara Dunlap, co-owner of Bingo Island, said the cost is $50 for a package that includes food and refreshments. About 200 people usually attend the annual event, she said.

Dunlap said more than $15,000 in cash prizes will be awarded, and that three $1,000 games are guaranteed. Bingo Island also will provide free transportation for those living nearby.

Bingo games stop about midnight so people can watch coverage from Times Square and join in the countdown to 2006.

When the ball drops, so do balloons from the ceiling of Bingo Island, Dunlap said.

"It's a great place if you don't want to be around a bunch of drunks," Dunlap said.

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