Sunday, August 2, 2009

The Yellow Jacket Mine : Part 2

A couple of things we learned from our previous visit to Gold Hill, come early if you want something to eat, and the chance to explore the Silver Terrace Cemetery; which is larger than it first appears, and closes at dusk. With this in mind, Paula , Jessie and I met at the Gold Hill around 3 pm on a sunny Sunday afternoon. We checked into the cabin, unloaded our gear, and set off to the Silver Terrace Cemetery. Driving through Virginia City on this trip was a completely different experience than we had when we were up here in February. The good weather had brought out the bike enthusiasts by the hundreds. The town was hoppin'. We drove to the north east edge of town to the cemetery. There were quite a few visitors exploring the cemetery. Paula wanted to see if she could find any tombstones of miners of the Comstock Era that had died around the same time as the Yellow Jacket fire. No such luck. While there are some impressive marble to be found, I believe that miners, being of the working class, were buried with plain wooden crosses that have long since deteriorated. The cemetery is quite beautiful and the sense of bygone times and the history here weighs heavily on a person.

We headed back into town and grabbed a burger and fries at one of the cafes. We spent a while enjoying the friendly service and each others good company. Thus fortified, we proceeded on to Gold Hill and the Miner's Cabin.

We set up our equipment, video cameras, voice recorders, checked our battery packs and chose who was going to sleep where. Paula volunteered to sleep by herself in the smaller room 19, as she was used to sleeping by herself and I snore (Personally, after the last experience I had with Paula and unusual odors, I had a sneaking suspicion she didn't want to be accused of any strange smells or noises this time around). But we were cool, Jessie readily admitted to producing any number of noises and smells, and I respect that. I sleep like the dead, and was not likely to be bothered.

Since it was still light out, we decided to walk up to the incline chute of the mine and get some pictures. While we were poking around near the old structures, I noticed that there was a great deal of quartz in the area. Huge veins of it, in fact. I recalled reading that high levels of paranormal activity can be found in areas containing certain types of stone, quartz being one of them. After satisfying our curiosity, we headed back to the cabin, where we spent a few hours of down time, watching TV, listening to audio from our last investigation, and playing on the computer.

Finally, the bar volume dropped to a level where we could turn on our digital recorders without getting a lot of background noise. We did a sweep with the ambient thermometers and the EMF detectors. The temperature was pretty constant throughout the cabin. We did pick up high EMF readings around the bookcase in room 18, but we figured out that the electrical wiring ran through the wall behind it. We turned on the video recorders and went lights out. We started in room 19, taking pictures and doing some EVP work. None of us got any feelings of ghostly presence, so we moved into room 18. Again, we took some pictures and asked if there were any spirits that wished to communicate with us. We all agreed that we got no sense of paranormal activity in this room either. The hotel bar had closed by this time, so we decided to check out the Great Room again, since we had some pretty good luck with EVPs there on our last visit. We left the camcorders and one digital voice recorder running and headed out.

As we entered the darkened Great Room, we noticed that the gate into the bar was still open. We heard someone moving around in there, and figured it was probably the bartender closing up. We decided to wait until he was finished before beginning any investigating. I sat down on a sofa just left of the entrance into the bar and waited. Paula and Jessie crossed over to the other side of the room to the right. Soon, a man emerged from the bar. He was an older gentleman, and obviously "in his cups", if you get my drift. For a split second, I thought about sitting quietly until he noticed us, but then I didn't want to be responsible for giving the poor man a heart attack, so I spoke up. "Hello", I said. The man stopped, turned slowly in my direction and peered at me. Very slowly, he began walking toward me in a semi-crouch, staring at me all the while, until he was within 6 inches from my face. The alcohol fumes rolled off him. He stared at me for a long second, and then (apparently having made his mind up that I was real), said, "You know, you scared the shit out of me, you could have let me know you were here". Hmm, I thought I had. He mumbled something about ghost hunting, wished us good luck, and soon left with his ride. We had the room to ourselves and got down to investigating.

Paula noticed a cold spot near the stage are of the room, but we decided that she was picking up on a draft from the bar entrance. We saw and felt nothing, although Jessie caught some light movement with her camcorder. We reviewed the footage right then, and couldn't decide if it was a flying insect or some other anomaly. Paula and Jessie kept hearing a strange rattling noise, but upon investigation, we pinpointed the strange noise as the ice maker in the bar. Shortly afterward, we decided to call it a night and headed back up to the Miner's Cabin.

We gathered up the equipment, Paula stepped outside for a smoke and Jessie got ready for bed. Paula came back inside a few minutes later and said she kept seeing a light down near the remains of the adjoining Crown Point Mine. I looked where she indicated the light to be. Sure enough, there was a light of some sort down toward the mine. We decided we had to investigate it. Jessie, not wanting to be left alone, got out of bed and joined us. Half way down the hill to the mine, we spotted what turned out to be a reflective surface on an old boat trailer. Mystery solved. We went back to the cabin and spent an uneventful night.

We did not capture any audio on this investigation. If there are ghosts that still remain at the Miner's Cabin, they were silent the night of our visit. Paula felt she had captured a ghostly face in the window of one of the old mine buildings, but nothing very conclusive. I caught a blur of light as I snapped a picture while standing in the kitchen, facing toward room 18. In the picture is Paula. She is sitting on the bed. There are a couple of orbs to the right of her, but I really don't put a lot of stock in orbs. However, in the upper left hand corner of the picture there is a blur of some sort, that I have not been able to identify. It is not a reflection, as you can see in the photo I have posted, half of the blur is not against any solid surface. By the time I will have posted this, I have not reviewed the footage that Jessie shot with her camcorder in the Great Room, so I do not know if the traces of light she captured can be ruled out as a flying insect or not. I don't feel that we came up with any hard evidence of whether or not the Gold Hill Hotel and Miner's Cabin is truly haunted, but then maybe we are not meant to. Maybe, the individual visitor to Gold Hill needs to make up their own mind.

No comments: