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Iconic Parkersburg supernatural expert honored in costume parade

Published: Apr. 25, 2021 at 11:11 PM EDT
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PARKERSBURG, W.Va. (WTAP) - The ghouls, goblins, and witches of Parkersburg gathered to celebrate the life of Parkersburg icon Susan Sheppard on Sunday. It took the form of a parade, closely mimicking the path of the Haunted Parkersburg Ghost Tours Susan founded, ending at Riverview Cemetery for a memorial.

It’s not every day you see all the creatures of Halloween traveling past the blooming flowers of spring, but Sunday was special. This was for Susan - an astrologer, a poet, an author, and a keeper of lost souls.

Her daughter Scarlet remembers her fondly.

She said, “My mom was a unifying presence in Parkersburg - to make everyone who felt different or who felt unbelonging belong.”

Scarlet was the mind behind the parade. She said it was inspired by her mother’s love of New Orleans and Day of the Dead traditions.

In fact, it was a New Orleans ghost tour that inspired Susan to start the Haunted Parkersburg Ghost Tours.

Scarlet was on that trip.

She remembered, “You know, we took that tour and she thought Parkersburg’s got as much history as New Orleans, it’s just nobody knows about it so she’s really a historian but she knew that the ghost angle would really hook people in.”

Susan was more than a local icon, she was a presence that touched people’s lives.

“I’ve had like 25 people tell me they felt like my mom was their kindred soul. That’s a huge legacy to leave - to make everyone feel so special,” Scarlet said.

Susan was surely the queen of the local misfits.

Scarlet remembered, “We talked about the word ‘witch’ kind of following her around as we grew up and maybe it started as not such a nice term but she reclaimed it.”

Susan built a legacy through her studies in spirits and astrology.

According to her daughter, she was born with an eye for the supernatural.

“She can tell stories of being a little girl and having supernatural experiences. The first thing my mom and dad ever did was she read his cards and she was like 17.”

Susan’s expertise in astrology lead her to being a regular on multiple local news programs, including WTAP.

Her book about past lives has sold tens of thousands of copies and was translated into many languages.

Scarlet exclaimed, “She’s a Parkersburg icon, which is crazy. I mean, who among us feels like we’ve become an icon? She’s like Prince or she’s like Cher. I don’t know, she’s like all the one-named people. She’s...she’s Susan.”

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