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Oct-23-2006 11:52printcomments

My Travels With the Ghosthunters

I believe that a good percentage of things described as paranormal activity can indeed be explained via scientific means. But even if the percentage that can't be explained is only five or ten percent, that is still a large number and that has my attention."

Ghost and Tim King
Photo by: Martina (Delude) Baker
Courtesy: nwpprs.com

(INDEPENDENCE) - During my time on this earth as a reporter I've frequently diverted from the mainstream crowd to pursue subjects that were more on the edge. One example would be the hundreds of hours I have spent accompanying ghosthunters to haunted locations.

I have had a few hair raising experiences over the years, but I stick closely to my role as the observer and I have no particular sensitivity to the paranormal. Unfortunately, I think I am too anxious and interested and that does not help. A friend on an investigation once asked, "What will you do if one really shows for us tonight?"

My answer... "I'll focus my lens, adjust the iris, and try my best to get in close."

Over the years I have visited location after location, often with a paranormal researcher or a whole team of them. One investigation was at the Speakeasy Steak House in Independence, Oregon. This old river town can hardly conceal its otherworldly activity and if there was ever a competition for Oregon's most haunted town, Independence would surely be at least a strong contender.

The business has been closed and locked up for a long time now, and I can only wonder if the ghosts actually ran the people out of the door.

The Speakeasy investigation spanned three adjacent weekends, and the story below is something I wrote at the time. My friends Todd and Martina Baker from the Pacific Paranormal Society nwpprs.com took the photo of the ectoplasm over myself and the owner of the establishment. Through unusual circumstances, this photo was "documented" with my video camera, read on...

The Speakeasy Ghosts

Saturday night was the second point in a continuing investigation at the Speakeasy Restaurant in Independence, Oregon. It was an interesting and enlightening experience to say the least, and it was the second weekend in a row that I visited the historic 1889 establishment in an attempt to determine the source of a number of odd sounds, feelings and manifestations that are noted with an increased frequency as of late.

The Speakeasy Restaurant is housed in a picturesque old building (The J.S. Cooper Building) that has stood over Independence for 114 years. Its structure is brick and it has the feeling of a building that was intended to last over a long span of time.

On this visit our time was spent in the upstairs area accessible only by a locked, outdoor entrance. This is the main area that seems to be the most active part of the building in regard to haunting sounds and the like. Having said that, it should be pointed out that there is not that much contrast; all three levels of the building have plenty of activity.

During the restoration of the building one of the most shocking events, and almost certainly the only "violent" one, occurred when one of the heavily-weighted mannequins located in the second-floor somehow flew forward into the window shattering it and sending shards of glass crashing onto the sidewalk below. This easily could have killed someone beneath had they been walking directly below the window. As always, the upstairs area, accessible only through one door, was locked and totally unoccupied. At least by any living persons.

Last weekend Cathy Duncan, Adrienne Duncan and Ginny Peterson from the Trails End Paranormal Society joined my wife and research partner Bonnie King and myself in round one of the investigation. They noted energy readings in different areas with their EMF detector, fluctuations in room temperature with a spot thermometer, and they had apparent good success using dousing rods to trace sources of energy. One area emitted particularly strong kinetic energy near a brick wall in the basement.

Last night I learned that a murder occurred in that basement about twenty years ago. This crime should be relatively easy to pin down, as I am told that numerous people presently living in the community remember it. Many stories related to me by the owner tend to come from the elder residents of Independence, and some come from people who simply eat at the restaurant. I have found a high degree of corroborating information in these stories and each step seems to put the complicated puzzle further into perspective.

In addition to this investigation, information on the entities in question also comes from a number of other sources, and probably will continue to as long as the restaurant remains open and the town's old-timers come to visit. I believe that a good percentage of things described as paranormal activity can indeed be explained via scientific means. But even if the percentage that can't be explained is only five or ten percent, that is still a large number and that has my attention.

Last night I brought a completely different group of researchers to the building: Christina Bennett is an Archaeologist from West Salem who specializes in recording EVP, (Electric Voice Phenomena) Martina DeLude is a psychic from the Portland area who with her significant other R. Todd Baker, head the group Pacific Paranormal Research Society. I was directed to them by NW Ghost Author Jefferson Davis from his faraway post in Afghanistan.

On this most recent trip, I attempted to record audio through the use of a broadcast-quality wireless microphone. I am not convinced that it means anything, but that mic sure recorded some funny interference if that is indeed what it was. Much of it is probably nothing but there was no object within the restaurant that could have caused the sounds. A blender being used at changing speeds and starting and stopping frequently could have caused it, but the place was closed and locked up. Quite a few times it sounds like someone could be trying to talk and it is picking it up.

The thing that makes the Speakeasy story so noteworthy though, is that it doesn't host a ghost, it hosts several different ghosts. And in these somewhat rare cases according to investigators, one particular ghost will be the most pronounced and 'in charge' in the ghost line up or pecking order. I'll bet you didn't know it worked like that? I was a shocked by it, but then it is only one of many things I've been shocked by recently in relation to this story.

My overall goal here is to help understand what it takes to cause these spirits to 'move on' if that is indeed the answer to their situation. I understand that some ghosts never move on, and that the older a place, the more haunted it can be. This is particularly true in Europe and other continuously settled regions of the world. But most spirits receive no form of counseling and I am told that this is sometimes all it takes.

The investigation culminated with Martina taking a photo of what is described as an "Ectoplasm" looming over me as I recorded the strange audio in the building. My pro video camera was rolling when the picture flashed, and without shutting it down, I walked it over to Martina's camera and the image was instantly visible. This is what aired on KATU Channel-2 News, which is my former employer. It was an interesting and sad experience because according to both teams of investigators, at least one of the spirits is that of a child, one who died probably more than one hundred years ago. Another is desctribed as the spirit of a young woman who was murdered. One male ghost at the building is described as kind and caring, while the ghost of an older male there is believed to be more hostile.

I'll try to bring you more of these experiences as we enter the final days toward Halloween. On Tuesday, look for my story about devil worshippers on the Oregon coast.




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Adam October 30, 2006 10:34 pm (Pacific time)

I slept with a ghost last night... she was a dead ROOT!


Dear Hank October 25, 2006 8:22 pm (Pacific time)

Accident and horrible. Already heard all of the bad Von Bulow jokes. Sorry.


Henry Ruark October 25, 2006 10:01 am (Pacific time)

Al: Gotta ask -- was it natural or did they just give up ? Best regards...


Albert Marnell October 24, 2006 8:56 pm (Pacific time)

Tim, you are a great writer and a very bright guy. All of my relatives are dead and some of my friends. I got news Buddy, when you die the worms eat you. Do you remember that "Death Is Communion With Nature?" I forgot who said it but eventually we become part of the ecosystem in a different form or maybe just a piece of dust blowing in someone's eye. I wish my mother would come back in the form of a ghost so that I could blast her (sorry Mommy, I loved you but you were a royal pain in the ass!)..... Now watch the women get all defensive.


Leonardo October 23, 2006 7:25 pm (Pacific time)

I suppose this falls into the category of poltergeist, although there's no sound associated with what happened. I wouldn't say I believe in ghosts, yet I have no other explanation for what happened to me. I moved to Salem in the summer of 1984. My then wife (from whom I am now divorced) had a younger brother, who had run away from home. No one knew where he was, and he made no effort to contact his family. I never actually met him, but I'd heard many stories of the kinds of things he would do to irritate his brothers and sisters. One particularly annoying stunt was to walk up behind someone and flick their ear with his crooked finger. A few weeks after our arrival we received a phone call from a police detective in Eugene, Oregon. He had bad news. He asked if we could drive down from Salem to identify a body which they believed was my wife's missing brother. It was. He had been living in his car and had been taking his meals at the Eugene mission. They found him with a knife wound through his head. Who murdered him or why is a mystery to this day. A short time later (maybe a little more than a week) on a Sunday evening, I think, I was sitting in the front room of a very large house which we rented. (The fire station in south Salem on Battlecreek.) The TV was on, and I was sitting on a futon couch which was pushed flat against the wall. The only other living being in the house was my son (aged 2) upstairs asleep in his crib. My wife wasn't home at the time. Then all at once, I felt something press the temple of my glasses down over my ear. It pressed so hard that my ear folded over and the ear-piece of the glasses held the flap of my ear down. I turned instinctively to slap away the hand which had done the deed. No one was there. The couch was low enough to the ground so that no one could hide beneath it, but I checked anyway. No one could have moved in or out of the room without my seeing him or her. The doors were all locked (I double-checked). I checked upstairs and my son was still asleep in his bed. There was nowhere in the large, open living room area where anyone could hide. My head wasn't resting against anything. If anything I had been leaning away from the back of the couch with either arms folded or chin in hand. It wasn't a dream. I was wide awake the whole time. It wasn't that late either. About 8:00 PM. There are no muscles in the ear/scalp area which could spasm to pull the ear down with that much force. And even if there were, it was the ear piece being pressed down which bent my ear. The ear piece very definitely held my folded ear down. Folding down the ear wouldn't allow my glasses to fall down over it. My glasses fit too snugly for that to happen. I have no rational explanation for this, and I doubt anyone else will either. Does that make me believe in ghosts? If it wasn't a ghost, it was surely something equally as mysterious.


jessica October 23, 2006 2:54 pm (Pacific time)

whoa! i have goosebumps-- i grew up in a haunted house in fort stevens and i know they are among us!thanks for the story

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