Every single haunted object in The Traveling Museum of the Paranormal and the Occult comes from Planet Weird‘s decades-old private collection or has been donated by different individuals for a variety of reasons. Many of the items have been given to us by frightened folks looking to rid their lives of troublesome pieces, but others come from people with an interest in having us study them in our paranormal research lab. Case in point: the Crescent Mine Artifacts loaned to us by our good friend Patrick H.T. Doyle, star of Syfy’s Ghost Mine.
For those unfamiliar with Ghost Mine, it was a fantastic reality series that followed a group of rough-and-tumble miners who’d begun work on Oregon’s famously haunted Crescent Mine, only to encounter frightening paranormal phenomena brought on by the land’s mysterious past. Paranormal investigators Patrick Doyle and Kristen Luman were brought in to help document and investigate the ghostly activity, often to stunningly creepy results.
Unfortunately, Ghost Mine ended its second season with a massive cliffhanger, and with Syfy neglecting to green light a third, the series never got the chance to run its full course, leaving us with more questions than answers.
We’re big fans of the series, not only because Patrick has been a friend for years, but because it was smart, gorgeously shot, and above all, the legends surrounding the mine were captivating. So when Patrick sent us an email in May asking if we would be interested in showcasing an item from the mine in the Traveling Museum of the Paranormal & Occult, we jumped at the opportunity.
A few weeks after the email, a well-packed box appeared on the doorstep of Weird HQ. Inside was an old wooden crate that contained a foot-long rusted mine drill, a golden coin, and a chunk of rock. There was also a message:
“There were many times during the filming of Ghost Mine when I would explore the mine all alone. No cameras. No crew. And as I wandered deeper into the more active areas of the underground I would talk to the spirits of the old miners and to the Tommy Knockers who might be keeping an eye on me.
One evening, around 3am, I couldn’t sleep so I grabbed my flashlight, a voice recorder and my flask and entered the mine. After 30 minutes or so I came to a caved in drift that we had discovered a few days earlier. During our investigation of this area at that time we recorded very clear EVP’s of men having a conversation and the sound of metal tools on rock. And it was in this pile of dirt, rock, and rotten timber we discovered the belongings of a miner – a glass water bottle, grease tin, oiler’s can and a leather pouch that might have held food. This was also the pile in where we dug out a few odd bone fragments. The opinion of Papa Smurf and Eddie at the time was that some poor soul got “Slabbed” here, miner-speak for having died in the cave-in.
I sat on the pile of rubble and stared back down the dark drift. As I spoke out loud to the old miner who might have lost his life there, asking questions like, “Did you die here?” and “What were you doing when you died?” my foot slipped off the rock it was resting on and plunged into the thick, orange mine muck along the mine wall. I felt something under my foot so I reached down up to my elbow in the muck and pulled out this drill.
Was this an answer to my question? Was this the tool the miner held when he died? Was it this tool which caused the cave-in that killed him? In any case, this drill was lost in the muck nearly 100 years ago. Finding it was either clumsy luck or the work of someone looking to give me answers.
I’ve had this drill in my personal collection of Ghost Mine artifacts for a couple years now and it is one of a half dozen on the shelf that seem to move on its own. I have come down to my office to find it flipped around, on the floor and most recently, on a different shelf.
I built the box the drill rests in from an old dynamite box I recovered from that section of the mine and included a chunk of quartz from the cave in pile. The brass tag is identical to the tags we all carried into the mine just in case we needed to be identified after being slabbed like the unfortunate soul who died with this tool in hand.”
In the months since we received Patrick’s artifacts, we’ve presented the museum at Ohio State Reformatory, St. Albans Sanatarium, and many other haunted locales, but made special note to keep a close eye on both the new objects and the responses they elicit from visitors who feel inexplicably drawn to them. Strangely enough, one of the first things we noticed is that the rusty drill bit has a strange attribute we’ve only seen a handful of times in our paranormal career: it draws itself to women.
If you know anything about mining superstition, you’ll know that having women in or even near a mine is considered some of the worst luck that any prospector could possibly bring down on themselves. There’s a lot of possible explanations as to why this superstition got started. Likely it was associated with the fact that historically the only time a woman needed to visit the mines was when something terrible had happened to their loved ones. These visits were seen as a bad omen for men who relied mostly on luck to keep them both prosperous and alive inside deep in the unpredictable and dangerous environments below the surface of the earth.
Being a woman, the strange draw to the rusty drill bit immediately piqued my interest. I, too, have felt a bizarre attraction to the object which I can’t exactly explain. At first I thought maybe it had something to do with Patrick’s fantastic eye for aesthetic and attention to detail (seriously, just look at how this thing is displayed), and though both of those things are true, I have reason to believe there’s more to it.
Perhaps the miner whose items Patrick discovered is still lingering with the drill bit, and maybe he elicits such a strong reaction from women because he still believes that he’s inside the mine. This theory was only strengthened once we began to conduct live EVP recording sessions with the haunted item. Over the course of two hours last week, with dozens of live viewers tuned in, museum director Greg Newkirk and I used a Panasonic RR-DR60 in an effort to contact the entity attached to the item, only to receive some startling replies upon audio playback.
Not only does the spirit (or spirits) attached to the artifact seem to know both Patrick and Kristen, we’ve also captured the same disembodied voice confirming the state the Crescent Mine is located in, repeating names of cast members, and intelligently answering questions posed by the viewers in the museum’s live video chatroom. When asked what message the spirit wanted us to share, a voice sorrowfully answers, “don’t forget me”.
Question: Did you like having a woman in the mine?
Answer: No.. I didn’t.
Question: Did you cause the mine opening to collapse?
Answer: The collapse wasn’t me.
Question: Do you know what year it is?
Answer: Yes. Doesn’t matter.
Question: Is there a message that you want us to share with someone?
Answer: Jennifer, I’m sorry.
Question: Do you know that there are people who care about you?
Answer: Then release me.
Question: Do you like where you are now?
Answer: I can’t see.
Quite often the same male voice refers to a “Jennifer”, repeatedly saying that he’s sorry. Amazingly, much of the audio captured is quite clear, and it seems that whoever (or whatever) it is that’s attached to the mine’s artifacts is very eager to talk, even if they aren’t aware of where they are. Could this be the ghostly voice of the miner killed in a collapse, still believing he’s trapped in the dark depths of the Crescent Mine?
Paranormal investigation is a lengthy process, and our research with the Ghost Mine artifacts will be no different. Over the next new months we’ll continue to conduct experiments which will hopefully help us discover more not only about the drill, but the mine itself and the mysteries it contains. Though it’s absolutely no replacement for another season of Ghost Mine, in time, we hope to dig our way to the truth. This is just the beginning.
Want to see the, experience, and investigate the Ghost Mine artifacts for yourself? Check out where the Traveling Museum of the Paranormal & Occult is going to be next!