EBENSBURG – The Cambria County Board of Commissioners on Thursday granted a team of “ghost hunters” permission to film an episode of their new Travel Channel show at the old Cambria County Jail in Ebensburg.
Commissioners Thomas C. Chernisky, B.J. Smith and Scott Hunt approved a “location release” agreement with MY Tupelo Entertainment LLC, doing business as MY Entertainment, to film at the old jail. MY Entertainment produces the show “Destination Fear” for the Travel Channel.
No dates have been set in stone, but filming is expected to take place in January or February and to last for two or three days, according to Michael Gelles, the county’s chief clerk.
“Destination Fear” follows Dakota Laden, billed by the Travel Channel as a “maverick paranormal explorer,” as he takes sister Chelsea Laden and best friend Tanner Wiseman on “a cross-country road trip to visit the most haunted locations in America.”
“At each terrifying stop,” a promotional blurb on the Travel Channel’s website claims, “the trio’s unbreakable bond is put to the test as they face their deepest, darkest fears.”
The show’s first season premiered in October. So far, the trio of co-stars have visited the Statler Hotel in Buffalo, New York; West Virginia Penitentiary in Moundsville, West Virginia; and Pennhurst State School in Spring City, Chester County, among several other destinations that are allegedly haunted.
The old Cambria County Jail, which was built in 1872 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, has previously been the focus of an episode of the Destination America show “Paranormal Lockdown,” starring paranormal investigators Nick Groff and Katrina Weidman. That episode was filmed in November 2017 and aired in December 2018.
The North Center Street structure last housed prisoners in 1997, when the new county prison opened along Manor Drive in Cambria Township.
Also on Thursday, the commissioners approved several personnel actions. Thursday’s meeting was the Board of Commissioners’ first regular meeting since several new elected officials – including Prothonotary Lisa Crynock, Recorder of Deeds Melissa Kimla, Clerk of Courts Max Pavlovich, Register of Wills Cindy Perrone and District Attorney Gregory Neugebauer – officially began their terms on Monday.
Carla Portash, the former first deputy in the Cambria County Prothonotary’s Office, was removed from the payroll effective Jan. 3. Portash, who had worked in the office since 1988, ran for prothonotary last year, seeking to replace longtime Prothonotary Debbie Martella upon the latter’s retirement, but was defeated in November’s election by Crynock. Also departing the payroll was Barbara Plazek, the former first deputy in the Recorder of Deeds Office, effective Jan. 4.
New hires approved by the commissioners on Thursday included Bernadette Sheehan, first deputy in the Prothonotary’s Office, effective Jan. 13; Megan Bradley, first deputy in the Recorder of Deeds Office, effective Jan. 13; and Jessica Smego, second deputy in the Recorder of Deeds Office, effective Jan. 27.