By Sarah Moore | 03/16/2010
An eleven-year-old Chet Shifflett went to the traveling carnival expecting to see the standard elephants and games but instead found a surprise that would inspire him for years to come.
A magician happened to be with the troupe and gave multiple 15-minute performances throughout the day. The trick that hooked Shifflett was a vanishing bowl of water. His interest drove him to ask his parents for more money and he purchased a ticket for every show on the schedule. “And really all that I was concerned about, it really wasn’t even the magician, it was that one effect. It drove me nuts!” Shifflett said.
He and his friends pulled their money together and purchased their first magic kit. Shifflett made his debut in the school talent show.
Soon after, teenage distractions had Shifflett focusing on other things, and he stopped pursuing the act. Then at the age of 22 he came across a magic book in a bookstore and thought, “I’ve got to have this.”. He bought the book and studied it from cover to cover. His love of magic was rekindled.
Shifflett and Kelly moved back to his hometown, Marlinton, in 2000 after Kelly finished photography school and opened Picket Fence Photos on Main Street. At the time it was the only photography studio the town had seen since the 1970’s. The Shifflets aren’t the only photographers in town anymore but they think having some competition can only make their business better. Of course, they have since branched out, so that photography is only one of the services the offer to Marlinton residents.
In 2005 the studio moved to the front room of their restored 110 year-old home on 10th Avenue, which came equipped with a picket fence. Two years later they purchased an adjacent home as a place to expand their interests. The home now holds the Magic Parlour, a fine art gallery featuring Kelly’s work and a gift shop. The Shiffletts would eventually like to see the studio move here as well, along with the creation of their dream Bed and Breakfast.
The Magic Parlour is designed to serve as an intimate space where neighbors and friends can gather to enjoy a weekend show. The bistro style tables and candlelight provide a mysterious setting while still keeping the onlooker connected to the performer. The Parlour seats about 12 but Shifflett has been known to also perform at the local opera house.
He and Kelly will both tell you that they wear many hats. “We definitely possess an entrepreneurial spirit,” Kelly says, “We are certainly not afraid to get out there and try things.” Eventually they would like to see the Magic Parlour doing three or four shows a weekend. Shifflett plans on switching the shows every couple of weeks or more often if the demand exists.
The last show he performs is always his favorite. He admits that the applause, whether from five people or 400 people is a high that can’t be replicated.
“Whether it’s a 10 -year-old kid or a 40 year-old-man, the moment that you do something and their mind can’t comprehend it… You can see their mind racing. That’s one of the things that inspires me.”
Mike Smith takes full advantage of the wildlife surrounding him. As park superintendent at Droop Mountain Battlefield State Park, Smith has acres of land to forage for food and hunt for animals. According to Smith, foraging provides a healthier way of living, but more importantly, a chance to get outside and connect with nature.
Michael Buttrill manages a 15-acre organic farm in Renick, W.Va., where he produces his own biodiesel fuel to power his vehicles and tractor. Michael has been perfecting his fuel for seven years with a goal to live more sustainably and rely less on non-renewable resources.
Innovation Zone has brought an entirely new learning style to Doddridge County High School. Every other Friday the school runs on a two hour early dismissal schedule when students separate into different groups to learn new skills from teachers and community volunteers.
Dr. Mark Cucuzzella has been a runner his entire life, but when injuries plagued him throughout high school and college, he searched for a remedy other than his doctor’s advice of “don’t run.” He began to shave the heels off of his own running sneakers, becoming a true pioneer in the minimalist running movement. After opening Two River Treads in Shepherdstown, W.Va., one of the first minimalist running stores in the United States, Dr. Cucuzzella solidified himself in the running community.
Shepherdstown, W.Va., native Carlos Niederhauser can look back on a life that had him participating in the world’s longest car rally, traveling the globe, fixing foreign race cars, developing real estate and becoming a landlord for over 100 Jefferson County properties.
After the death of her father Dr. John Moossy, Joan Moossy honors his memory by publishing his autobiography and working to preserve his art and home in Shepherdstown for aspiring artists. Coming from New York City, she is dealt with the decision on how to continue her father’s legacy within this tight-nit community. Joan looks to open the doors to her father’s house and welcome any artist who is looking to getaway from their everyday surrounding and rekindle their passion for art.
Story Synopsis- Sheila Brannan lived her life in a constant creative roll until a brain aneurysm in 2007 threatened her stained glass career. Since recovering from that, she is back in her home studio and has gotten to a place she considers to be the “new normal.”
Lars Prillman is a 28 year old organic farmer in Shepherdstown, W.Va. He spent his early 20s as a traveling musician in Knoxville, Tenn. He found his “calling” while doing an apprenticeship on the farm of one of his former 4-H counselors. He now runs his own farm with the help of his family.
Phil and Shanna Mastrangelo own Mellow Moods Café & Juice bar, an organic restaurant in Shepherdstown, W.Va. Their hope is to give people a vacation-like atmosphere in their everyday lives while serving locally-grown, healthy foods.