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August 30, 2011

‘Ghost Hunters’ to feature Hill View Manor

NEW CASTLE — Paranormal investigator Candy Braniff’s first lesson about Hill View Manor was “everyone in New Castle has a story about it.”

Tomorrow, some of those stories will be shared on an episode of the Syfy Channel’s “Ghost Hunters” series.

The “Ghost Hunters” crew spent three days in April investigating the former county nursing home, assisted by Braniff. They also interviewed former employees and residents.

Since 2009, Braniff has leased the property from Triko Enterprises Inc., a Pittsburgh-based development firm, which purchased the facility from the county in 2004 after it closed to patients.

At Hill View, Braniff conducts her own research as well as offers tours. In addition, she and a staff of volunteers work on maintaining the 85-year-old structure.

“The lease allows us to conduct paranormal research while putting money back into Hill View,” the Neshannock Township resident explained, noting that more than 100 groups have spent time investigating.

Among them have been the casts of Discovery Channel’s “Ghost Lab,” Travel Channel’s “Ghost Adventures” and now “Ghost Hunters.”

“This is the longest-running paranormal series on TV, the show that got the ball rolling for the other shows out there,” explained Braniff, adding that although she welcomes visitors to Hill View, trespassing is prohibited and no one is allowed on the property without permission.

“We want to respect those that are still here and not turn this into some sort of haunted Halloween attraction,” she said.

While contractual obligations prohibit Braniff from talking about the “Ghost Hunters’ ” findings, she promises that the show will reveal a lot about those who still call Hill View home.

In a media release, Syfy spokesman Thomas Dima said the “team calls this investigation the best they’ve had in a long, long time.”

Referring to “Ghost Hunter” Steve Gonsalves, Braniff added with a laugh, “There is one thing I can tell you — Steve’s afraid of spiders.”

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