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Author serves up creepy tales

October 18, 2009|By DAVE McMILLION

CLEAR SPRING -- Michael J. Varhola was in town Sunday, offering up some creepy tales fitting for the Halloween season.

Varhola studies ghosts and has released a book about the paranormal in the Old Line State.

In "Ghosthunting Maryland," Varhola divides the state into six regions and profiles the best destinations in each, according to Amazon.com.

Varhola came to the Washington County Free Library's Leonard P. Snyder Memorial Branch in Clear Spring Sunday afternoon to relate to about a dozen people some tales of the spooky, including a trip he made to Monocacy National Battlefield near Frederick, Md., in May.

The Battle of Monocacy was fought July 9, 1864, and pitted about 5,800 Union soldiers against 15,000 Confederates advancing on Washington, D.C., through Frederick County, Md.

Varhola, a freelance writer who obtained a journalism degree from University of Maryland, College Park, in 1993, said he went to the battlefield with members of the Maryland TriState Paranormal group.

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Varhola said a member of the group told him about an encampment he could see at the battlefield. Varhola said he tries to be skeptical of ghost stories, then he saw a photo of the Maryland TriState Paranormal member standing in the battlefield as he pointed toward the encampment he claimed to be seeing, Varhola said.

The photo showed a gray-colored "mass" beside the man, Varhola said.

"Absolutely bizarre," Varhola told about a dozen people before a book signing at the library.

Varhola said he has never seen a ghost, but he talked about his experiences with orbs, which he said could be ghosts.

Orbs cannot be observed with the naked eye, but they can be captured in photographs, Varhola said.

"They are something that exist in a wavelength or a range," said Varhola, who also wrote a book titled "Ghosthunting Virginia," and books relating to the Civil War and Great Lakes shipwrecks.

"Ghosthunting Maryland" covers tales of Ellicott City, Md., considered to be the most haunted town in America, and Varhola talked Sunday about experiences friends have had at Antietam National Battlefield.

Varhola talked about his most frightening paranormal experiences, including a site in Virginia that is said to be linked to a serial killer.

Varhola said one photo taken at the scene shows a white orb that, when magnified, shows an angry face. Varhola said a picture of him taken at the site shows orbs converging on him. He recalled how he experienced a panic attack when the picture was taken.

"It scared me so much ... that I decided I would never go back there," Varhola said.

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