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Ghost hunters society founder faces charge in Berkeley Co.

September 06, 2006|by MATTHEW UMSTEAD

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - The founder of West Virginia Society of Ghost Hunters was arraigned Saturday on a charge of delivery of a controlled substance after a woman told police the accused had counseled and given her medication, Berkeley County Magistrate Court records show.

Susan R. Crites, 55, of 208 Ruffed Grouse Lane, Hedgesville, W.Va., was charged with delivery of Percocet by Berkeley County Sheriff's Department Lt. Gary Harmison. A $20,000 bond was set for her case in an arraignment hearing by Magistrate Sandra L. Miller.

The victim told police that Crites started treating her in November 2005 after initially meeting the accused when she became involved with the Society of Ghost Hunters.

The victim said Crites told her she was a doctor after she became ill and gave her medication for what was later determined to be a cancerous growth, records show.

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"Susan told her it was all in her head and counseling would help her," Harmison said in complaint filed with the court.

Another woman told police in a statement that Crites had her gargle with Alka Seltzer and Vitamin B for a strep throat diagnosis that was not correct, records show.

"I have received written statements from other subjects about being counseled by Susan Crites and they thought she was a medical doctor," Harmison said.

Crites refuted the charge when reached for comment Tuesday night, citing her "long record of service" to the community and having "not received so much as a parking ticket" in her past.

"The charge is without merit," Crites said. "It is untrue."

Crites has written at least two books about ghosts in the Tri-State area and in an interview in October told a Morning Herald reporter she was developing a database about ghost sightings in the area.

Percocet, which contains acetaminophen and oxycodone, is commonly prescribed to treat moderate to moderately severe pain, according to the Web site, www.healthsquare.com.

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