Posts Tagged With: ghosts


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Ruby Beach is a small beach we visited on the way to our camping spot at Ocean Shores. It is a very pretty beach with vicious rip tides and undertows. No one swims here. To the right of the cove are the ghosts of former headlands, like so many Washington beaches have.

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A lot of beach “bones” in the middle. They amaze because many whole trees die on this beach.  Signs warn to keep clear of trees rolling in the surf.

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The waves can’t seem to figure out what direction to move. They overlap and surge across one another and reveal the type of turmoil that creates rip tides and undertow.

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The headland to the left of the cove kind of gives you the full range. It was a misty, cold, 9:30 a.m. when we stopped.

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It too has a string of ghosts almost in a half circle, suggesting what the land underneath the water looks like.

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Only gulls and mullets seem to occupy this space. I had hoped to see signs of sea lions.

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Again, you can see the criss-crossing tides.

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On the right side of the cove, you can see water on both sides of this set of stacks because a river flows into the ocean at this point. People used to find ruby colored crystals in this brackish water which gave it the name of Ruby Beach.  I was able to find a narrow spot and cross over for some close up of these interesting stacks.

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They add to the beauty of the beach, but in the end, they are stone edifices with top growth on the larger ones.

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Pretty and colorful. At Ocean Shores, we tucked in during the rain. Did laundry. Some computer work, trying to get insurance ironed out for Doug who has begun building on the new house in Oregon that replaces what was flooded out last year. We move again this morning to Twin Harbors State Park.



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Our travel goal yesterday was to avoid the boom-town of Williston and seek out the little town of Baineville, just on the border of N.D. and Montana. Jim found a website for Buffalo Trails Museum at Epping, which was closed, but we decided to have a look at the area anyway. It was about 10 miles out of our way. The turn-off required us to cross two lanes, a meridian and another two lanes of oncoming traffic and whoops!  The road is gravel? Oh, well, we’re committed. We bumped miserably along popping rivets and screws and bolts, we are sure,  for about ten miles.

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we pulled into town and parked next to this ramshackle old building.

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There wasn’t a car or a person anywhere in sight. With a one block main street we just walked along taking pictures of this “ghost” town and peeked in the windows.

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After a few minutes of poking around, Heather appeared out of nowhere and began watering plants in front of the school.

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She took us to the Museum office and introduced us to Shelly. These two women are the only two people who have keys to the buildings we were looking into and even though the museum was closed, they opened up  the buildings and allowed us to tour the complex.

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In the front part of the office was a dental exhibit, all items here have been donated by locals. I don’t know the population of the town in 1905 when Epping was founded adjacent to the Northern Pacific Railroad, but in 2010 the population was 100 people according to the census. DSC09676 (Copy)

In every building, the human figures were made out of papier mache  by a guy named Elmer. DSC09667 (Copy)

Behind the office was some rolling stock. Kind of reminded me of  a Bonnie and Clyde affair.

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My quest for something I’ve never seen before was soon answered. This little wooden horse-drawn wagon is a school bus.

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Elmer did a lot of work here. A life sized diorama of his family, with Elmer in bed getting medicine from the doctor, his little brother crying.

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This gentleman reading the paper in an exhibit looks just like pictures of Elmer.  In fact, almost all of the gentlemen in the exhibits look like Elmer.

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Elmer put together several very authentic box dioramas in which he went to the hill where this Indian village was located, he studied the topography, even picked the grass from the site to make this scene.  He must have been an interesting character.

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One building has a unique cement floor.

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The one room school house classroom is in beautiful condition.

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North Dakota winters require a mighty stove and this one is a beauty.

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You’ll notice in this kitchen exhibit the wall paper is made from newspaper, not uncommon in the early 1900’s.

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Another item I’d never seen, a painted story hide.

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And from the General Store, a marshmallow beater. I can’t quite fathom how I’ve managed my life without one.

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The cafe building is historic as is the tavern. Both are open businesses. The tavern was closed but the cafe was open. We didn’t see any activity around the cafe for the hour we wandered the street until lunchtime. Then out of nowhere a few trucks and cars pulled up for the daily special, a cheeseburger and tomato soup. DSC09757 (Copy)

We practically sat under this buffalo head for our lunch. But, I’m digressing. This is a ghost story.

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This exhibit is one the ghost likes to fool with. There is a big space between the two shelving units in this building. Heather and Shelly never enter this room alone because it gives them the willies and they have the only keys. The board was replaced, by a carpenter, screwed in, and, when they returned, it went missing. After three tries, they gave up.

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A glass stopper collection was removed for dusting. The girls placed them on top of the case in rows. When they returned, they were disheveled and moved around. Twice. Lights that have been turned out, go on. They think they know who the ghost is.

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The man who owned this hardware store hung himself in the open window above so everyone returning from church could see him hanging there. They replaced the window. And the next day it was broken out. They replaced it again. The same thing happened. Now, they just leave it open.

We left Epping glad we braved the bad road and got direction from the girls to a short gravel road to a paved highway that took us right into Williston. We breezed on through.DSC09784 (Copy)

Everywhere, we see mobile homes in clusters, temporary housing for oil workers. Billboards advertise for house builders needed, jobs, jobs, jobs. It is a boom phenomena. People rent out space in their yards to two or three mobiles.

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Road workers needed.

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Every half mile or so, we see another well going in.

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Bainville was another gravel road town without even a mom and pop store or gas pump. A post office and a church with a few houses. We pushed on 14 miles west to Culbertson, Montana and spent the night in a delightful city park.


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Today is St. Patrick’s Day, celebrated in Murphys yesterday. Since my mail is by the pound, I read a notice the parade would be on Sunday. I stumbled onto the corrected date in a later notice. Went late, missed the parade, had a good beer, enjoyed the green hair, the bands, and best of all, I got a ghost story.

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Not everyone wears green hair, of course, but everyone has fun. I know this guy is bald, so he enjoyed his hair and later let everyone try it on.

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Others take their costumes seriously, as this young man very authentically dressed.

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At 3:30 in the afternoon, the pony rides were starting to pack up and leave.

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The main band stand on the street was  still pumping out tunes.

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There were a lot of places to sit, and Jan and I enjoyed a huge pretzel at Cactus Jacks. I had my first dark beer since getting home. The woman on the right is holding the tallest green margarita I’ve ever seen. They were all over town.

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Jack’s rock band was so loud and the dance floor so crowded, we sat outside and still had to shout at each other to be heard.

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Jan doesn’t drink but a sip of wine now and then. She is Italian so I had to take her picture by this barrel.  Every time I come home, there is a new tasting room in Murphys.

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Newsome-Harlow’s courtyard had a good band.

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Their courtyard is a pleasant place to sip and chat. The fire was going in the pits, even though the weather was perfect.

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Jan found a dragonfly to put in her pond.

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I found some cute bird houses, but didn’t buy. I liked the idea of a waterproof roof.

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We got to the end of the street, Tom Scheller, the owner of the IDEA store, pointed out some fun stuff he added to his building, which is the old International Order of Oddfellows building from the Gold Rush days. A woman standing nearby said, Have you heard about the ghost?”  Me:  “What ghost?”

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Tom was getting his stuff moved back inside, ready to close up for the day. Tom and I were in Murphys Merchants Association together many years ago. He bought the building 37 years ago and I’ve been in Murphys 35 years. I regard Tom as a down-to-earth credible guy. Hey, Tom?

This is the story he told me. “I’ve always heard creakings and what sounded like footsteps in this old building,  mostly when I went upstairs. He took Jan and I to his side door where the stairs can be reached from the outside, and a second door leads to his main display downstairs. “I had just locked my outside door. The door to my showroom was closed. I started up the stairs and I heard heavy footsteps coming downstairs. I backed off and decided to turn around when a whoosh of cold air hit me, the footsteps passed me and I heard a click of my  showroom door as though something passed through it. I’ve had people get spooked when visiting the upstairs showroom over the years, they described it as a feeling of someone watching them. I’ve always ignored it. But, we’ve had some activity downstairs too.  I or my employees have been sitting behind the counter, working on the computer or whatever, and papers will be picked up off the top of a file cabinet and dropped to the floor. Things have moved off the shelf and been dropped on the floor. We always joked about a ghost. We have a non-smoking environment here, but I’ll open up some mornings and find a wisp of cigarette smoke hanging in the far left corner of my shop. Then one day, a physic, who was touring with some people, looked up and said, you have a ghost, his name is Joe, he is sitting right there. She pointed to where I see the smoke periodically. I was still a bit skeptical but one day, I was doing some remodeling upstairs and I opened up the floor boards and found three bricks, one imprinted with the name Joe. I’m convinced now that I have a ghost.” (Me too.)




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The setting was anything but ghostly and I’m a major skeptic, anyway. Calaveras County’s old courthouse and jail in San Andreas was a temporary home to wild and dangerous characters during the gold fevered 1800’s. Here, members of the historical society gathered sociably for wine and beer before dinner in what was once the jail yard.

The walled yard is made of native stone, mortarless, and is called dry wall; now over-grown with vines, and beautiful. I spent a lot of time here when I wrote historical features in the 1980’s. Black Bart, the  infamous poet bandit was kept in the jail.  And judge Gotttschalk committed suicide inside the courthouse. Tour guides point to blood spattered books in the law library from his suicide. The building has  been declared haunted by people who have worked here over the years.

Records indicate several inmates were buried “behind” the jail. No one knows whether there was a body under a broken headstone left from 1882. The top of the stone was missing and then rebuilt from pictures. The first court house was a tent. The second one, made of wood, burned. The fine old brick building is too small for a modern court and has been turned into a showplace museum by the Calaveras County Historical Society.

The Historical Society removed an unused public oven from the gold rush town of Calaveritas in 1994 and rebuilt it in the courtyard. Community ovens were made from native stone and held together with mud from heavy clay soil. Ovens like this one hold up well if covered over by a roof. The oven has drawn members to meet in warm months outdoors for pizza, home-baked bread with a salad pot luck, or chicken bargeques. It takes about three minutes to cook a pizza in this oven and they are delicious.

I sat with Sylvia and Cliff Edson, a local restaurant owner who just bought an old Victorian and is restoring it while living in it. They are dealing with ghosts, or several spirits in their house. Sylvia gets frightened by them. Cliff has had the house blessed several times, and is a believer. They don’t upset him. They were stunned to find out the subject of the meeting was The Paranormal. They hadn’t read the notice about who the speaker would be.

I have no idea how many pizzas Clyde Weddell made that night. He made three types, sausage, pepperoni and pesto with sun-dried tomato.  Absolutely delcious.

When Clyde makes pizza, he tosses it into the air. I was never quite able to catch the pizza in the air, but it was fascinating to watch him work. As it got dark, he donned a headlight.

After dinner, we listened to Rick Panzarina talk about debunking and validating ghosts, or paranormal presences in old buildings, businesses and private homes. He turns most of the seekers away, after determining they are only interested in sensationalizing their claims. He says, a good ghostbuster doesn’t  ask for money to investigate your ghost because then, they would always find a ghost.  He uses lasers, 11 cameras, video equipment, and high tech sound equipment. He gave results of having investigated the ghosts in the Court House and other places where he has found evidence of paranormal activity. The blood on the books, if it is blood, did not belong to Judge Gottschalk.  All he had to do was look at the date Gottschalk killed himself, and the date the books were published to know the “spatters” couldn’t have been from his death. He could find no para-normal activity in the Courthouse. He explained in detail how wooden floors make popping sounds that closely resemble footsteps. He and his team of seven people do not allow whispering. They address any presence in a loud voice and ask it to declare itself. They got one very clear “Hi!” Once, out of about 50 buildings. They do not play to sensationalism. Some people would rather have their “fun” reputation than have a ghostbuster disprove any paranormal activity. And, for tourism in the Motherlode, that is quite all right with the locals. Almost every old hotel in the area claims to have a ghost. It is soooo fun!  I’d love to have a ghost in my house. Wouldn’t you?

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After visiting the Slaughter Ranch, Jim wanted to visit the small town of Douglas for several reasons. First, because when he returned from Panama in 2004 with his friend Bud Kuball, they exited Mexico with their motor homes at this portal. Back in the United States after 343 days.

It was late in the day when we crossed into the town of Agua Prienta. It was closing down and  not very exciting compared to the others I’ve visited, but I enjoyed the idea of a sixth border crossing, especially this one that had meaning to Jim. Each crossing has something unique.

In enjoyed the series of  ten tile mosaic figures decorating the walls of the portal.

It was a brief stop and back to Douglas a town that never had a major fire and now has 335 buildings on the Historic Register.

One of the old grand hotels still in use is The Gadsden with its sweeping staircase, dark wood, marble columns and mirrored dining room.

We had lunch and wandered around admiring the hotel and later the town.

The beautiful ceiling and chandelier.

Huge stained glass windows.

It’s kind of fun to step back into yesteryear and think the Slaughters must have come here for dinners with friends.

Douglas also has four churches on one block, each taking a corner. This is supposedly the only place in the world where that happens. First there is the Episcopalian Church above.

The Baptist Church.


And the Methodist.

The Catholic Church of The Immaculate Conception dated 1907  is on the next block over and visible from the Presbyterian Church. One can conclude that Douglas is a very devout community.

We walked around the older part of town and saw some of the historic old buildings with their fancy facades and charm.

The VFW we visited a couple of days ago was haunted.  Tombstone Cemetery had several  wrongful deaths. Many people were hanged in this part of the country.

The Gadsden Hotel is haunted.  Hmmm!  We must be getting close to meeting a ghost.

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The Mother Lode has an abundance of ghosts and spirits that reside or at least visit local hotels. Why hotels? Well, each has its own story. Columbia’s Fallon House, had a paranormal researcher use high tech instruments to see if they were haunted. His conclusion? “Yup, You’ve got ghosts.” Visitors and employees have reported ghosts in the Murphys Hotel, Jamestown’s National Hotel and Willow Hotel. Columbia’s City Hotel, Dorrington’s only hotel, Sonora’s Gunn House, and Groveland’s Hotel Charlotte. But, the most well known is the Hotel Leger in Mokelumne Hill. The ghost has been continually reported from the early gold mining days and people still get spooked in the old inn. None of the ghosts are dangerous, some hug men, others tuck you into your sheets or move things about. So, if you are looking, come on up and try one of the rooms. The employees know which rooms are most likely to experience a visit.

What gets my attention are stories from children who have no idea what sensationalism is all about. Like the 9 year old boy who told his mother, as they drove by a certain spot, on a street in their new neighborhood. “That’s where the car hit me!”   She ignored it the first time. Then, when he described being on his bike, and dying. She objected, but he was so chillingly serious she became intent on debunking and defusing his constant attention to that place. She talked to people in the neighborhood, and discovered newspaper articles about a boy who was killed in that exact manner, at that exact spot, many years earlier.

If I knew the mother? But I don’t. Still, I’ve heard a number of them and they give me pause. I have to ask myself, why would a mother put her reputation and that of her child at risk to ridicule? And what benefit does such a tale serve them? Unless it happens to me, I guess I’ll never know.

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