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Authors tell ghosts' stories

October 07, 2009|By JENNIFER FITCH

MONT ALTO, Pa. -- A ghost stories presentation Wednesday at Penn State Mont Alto drew a crowd of 12 -- or was it 13?

Athena Varounis and Deborah Heinecker talked about possible hauntings of several Franklin County, Pa., sites, including the college's Wiestling Hall. They talked about the building's attic, one-time bedroom and basement, all of which surrounded them in the student center.

The dominant spirit the pair feel they discovered in the building was forestry expert Joseph T. Rothrock.

"I could feel this gentleman behind me, and he kept saying, 'This is my domain. I don't get any respect,'" Heinecker said.

"He kept following us around," Varounis said.

The women investigated Wiestling Hall while working on their new book, "Franklin County Ghosts." Varounis retired from the FBI and Heinecker has helped police departments using her psychic abilities.


Varounis lives in Waynesboro, Pa., and decided Franklin County was woefully ignored by paranormal investigators.

"Gettysburg always gets the publicity, and I was tired of that," she said.

On Wednesday, the women talked about three types of hauntings -- traditional, like at Wiestling Hall; residual, like the ghosts walking across Gettysburg battlefield; and portals, like spirits passing through dimensions.

A woman named Sarah Hurley Matheny was shot on the steps of Wiestling Hall and dragged into a bedroom to die many years ago. Varounis said Heinecker walked into a room and said, "Oh, someone died in here."

Everyone has intuitions, but some people are more aware of how to use them, Heinecker said.

People who use electronic devices all the time aren't as perceptive, Varounis said.

"You're missing a lot of things because you're not in the moment," she said.

The women are scheduled to speak at several of the sites they researched. They'll be at Waynesboro's Renfrew Museum & Park at 7 p.m. today and Greencastle's Allison-Antrim Museum from 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday.

They'll also return to Franklin County's old jail for tours in late October. Included is one event with an overnight stay.

For more information about the old jail offerings, call 717-264-1667 or e-mail

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