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"Haunted Richmond" on richmond.com

Dot Com Creeps

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Last year, actor/director Grant Mudge chased fictional phantoms; this year, he's going after the real thing.

In a serialized Blair Witchlike movie called "The Ghost Hunters," Mudge played Dr. Bruce Elliot, a parapsychologist looking for ghosts in the Fan. His exploits, along with those of five of his "students," were broadcast exclusively over the Internet at richmond.com last Halloween. The series generated more than 300,000 hits, reports Richard Foster, online editor for richmond.com. "It was stunning," says Foster. "It was the most traffic we had had on anything at that time."

As a follow-up, richmond.com began broadcasting "Haunted Richmond" this week, a new film that explores some of the capital city's most famous reportedly haunted locations: Berkeley Plantation, Reveille Methodist Church, even Crab Louie's Restaurant near Brandermill. This time, Mudge will only play host, and, though he hasn't seen any ghosts yet, he has run across other notable beings: the series begins with Virginia's First Lady Roxane Gilmore giving Mudge a tour of the Executive Mansion.

"She told us some of the stories that have been passed down," says Mudge. "But the Gilmores haven't experienced anything that couldn't be explained — she's pretty skeptical." At least one person working on the film is no longer skeptical. While exploring Berkeley Plantation's basement alone, Mudge's co-host, Bret Hutcheson, encountered "something intense." A chill suddenly spread over his body from his head to his feet. "He says it was like someone poured ghost all over him," relates Mudge.

While no phantoms will show up in "Haunted Richmond," Foster says it is a fun and "sort of sneaky" way to talk about Richmond's history. "We found that Richmond has a rich history of ghost lore," Mudge says. "A few of the stories are people just blowing smoke. But in a few of these places, there's definitely something going on."

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