We've put a rush on the book so that it can be released on the same day that the movie was actually set to be released. What better day to share the story of Wellington than on March 1, 2010 - the 100-year anniversary of the tragedy that affected so many there? The book will be available on March 1. We'll have links here.
Exciting news. Well - at least exciting to me. The rough draft of Avalanche of Spirits is done. Now comes the refining process.
Thanks to all who have shared their experiences at Wellington with me. I hope I've done you justice in sharing your stories.
Many of you may already know this, but this book was originally a movie. Due to circumstances well beyond my control, we decided to write the book first. Maybe the movie will follow in the future. No matter how I do it, I promised I would tell the story of Wellington. That is what I am doing. I owe it to the spirits I believe I have encountered there.
Like the movie would have been, this book will be my love letter to Wellington. It is an amazing place and an amazing story. I spent my entire summer at Wellington, and now it is snowed in. There is a definite sense of withdrawal. Wellington has gotten into my blood, and I am looking forward to the spring thaw.
Jim and I spent the day at Wellington with some friends. We hiked to he town of Scenic. This is where they put those who had died in the avalanche on sleds and sent them down the hill from Windy Point to Scenic.
It's a pretty daunting hill.
Still - it is a gorgeous hike and well worth taking if you get the opportunity. To get to Windy Point proper, hike along the edge of the old Windy Point Tunnel (which has collapsed inside and isn't safe to pass through inside. You'll know you're there when you get to the point.
In going over the audio from our shoot this weekend, it appears that we have some rather unusual audio on one of the recorders. We're still trying to figure it out - but if we can't find an explanation for one of them, it will be among the most unusual audio I've ever gotten.
We spent our day up at Wellington yesterday - and actually got some really interesting information and had some cool experiences.
As we dropped down into the Tye River Valley, we couldn't help but notice that fall color was already painting the mountains and the valley. It will only get more beautiful as fall progresses. If you do decide to go up and check out the color at Wellington, be safe and be prepared. One of the investigators with us actually was down in the tunnel and fell and sustained a rather serious injury.
To all of you who read the article in the Everett Herald about Wellington and came up on Saturday to see it yourself, we enjoyed meeting and talking with you.
Wellington is so much more than a "haunted site." I can only hope that our finished product generates the respect we have for the town of Wellington and all of the people who lived and died there.
Thanks to those of you who have been contacting us through our contact form. We're happy that you have discovered Wellington. It is a beautiful and peaceful place. If you decide to go check it out yourself, please help us to keep it that way!
Wellington has been reclaimed by the wild. There is often no cell phone reception (depending on your provider). You have to travel down a country road to get to it. There's a chance that AAA and other roadside assistance won't be able to get to you there, so plan for every contingency.
You will be hiking in the back country. The Cascade tunnel is dangerous. There is danger of tunnel collapse and flash flooding - even during the summer months. It has been blocked off on the Wellington end for this reason - there is a real danger to people walking through it that has nothing to do with ghosts. There are also parts of the snow shed where concrete has crumbled. Always be aware of your surroundings and watch for falling rocks and concrete.
If you go to Wellington, please go prepared for the wild. Bring water. Pack it in - pack it out. Be prepared for wild life - some of it large wild life. We always have - at minimum - several canisters of bear spray for our own protection. We also avoid going of alone. Staying in groups is a good idea. The mosquitos are huge and hungry. Bug spray is recommended.
After mid-November, Wellington is unreachable until the spring thaw. The danger of avalanche is very real. Even in the summer, it gets cold in the evenings.
While there is a great deal of paranormal activity at Wellington, it isn't constantly active. There have been times where there is no activity at all. Please respect the spirits that remain there. They died a horrible death. They've been through enough without having people coming out and doing a little guerilla ghost hunting and provoking.
It’s 5 a.m. and I can’t sleep. I awoke a few hours ago to a dream of Wellington. And then I started to think of the children there.
There were eight children on the train that day in March of 1910. They ranged in age from an eight-month- old infant named Francis Starrett to a 9-year-old girl named Lillian Starrett. On the train were 18-month-old Varden Gray, who was traveling with his parents John and Anna. All three of the Grays survived the avalanche - three of eight passengers who were on the train when the avalanche occurred that made it out alive.
The Beck family wasn’t so lucky. George and Ella Beck were traveling on the train with their three children; Leonard, who was almost three, Erma, who was 4-1/2, and Harriet, who was six. The family had been living in Marcus, Washington, but were aboard the train returning to their home in California. They never made it home. The entire family perished in the avalanche that claimed 96 lives.
Three-year-old Thelma Davis was traveling with her father, George. Thelma and George had recently lost Thelma’s mother, and they were returning home to Seattle. During the nine day ordeal while the train sat stranded in the snowy mountains, Thelma grew more distressed with missing her mother. Thelma and her father were also killed in the avalanche of March 1.
The remaining three children were part of the Starrett family. Ida Starrett was traveling with her parents, Mr. and Mrs. William May, and her three children - Francis, who was eight months old, Lillian, who was nine years old, and Raymond, who was seven. On March 1, 1910, half of the Starrett family would survive. Ida, her mother and seven-year old Raymond were trapped in the debris awaiting rescue, unsure what had happened to the rest of their family. As she lay trapped in the wreckage, Ida could feel Francis wiggling under her. Eventually the wiggling stopped, and she knew her baby had smothered to death. Ida also lost her father and oldest child, Lillian, that day. Only Ida, Raymond, and her mother survived.
One would hope with a death that horrible, the children were unaware what was happening, and that they returned quickly Home. And yet, it is evident that a child remains behind at Wellington. NWPIA believes they have captured evidence of the child - both on video as an apparition and as a disembodied voice calling “Mama.”
Many who visit Wellington feel touches on their legs, as if a young child runs past and brushes up against them. I have captured audio anomalies that sound like a child trying to interact with my children and with the toys we bring with us to the site. And then there was my experience with what felt and sounded like a child who rode in the car with me when I left Wellington and then came to visit my home.
I have firmly come to believe that there is at least one child who hasn’t found his or her way home and remains at Wellington. This doesn’t sit easily with me. It haunts me.
If there is a child - or children - remaining at Wellington, how confusing it must be for those small spirits. Do they know what has happened to them? Do they know that they can go Home, with no need to be trapped calling for their mother in a cold snow shed high in the mountains? And what is my role? If I know they are there, am I to help them? And if I am to help them, how?
What started as a curiosity about the paranormal has, for me, become so much more. There is something about the thought of the spirits of innocents remaining trapped at the location of their own personal tragedies that is utterly heart wrenching. One moment, they were vital, alive, warm little bodies all snuggled in for the night. In the next moment - who knows? Who knows what they have experienced since March 1, 1910. Who knows how many of those six innocents who died on that morning returned Home and how many remain. And who knows how often those who survived relived the unspeakable horror of that experience as they grew into adults.
For many, ghost hunting is a thrill. They go into “haunted” places to taunt and provoke in order to get a reaction from the spirits so that they can go home and tell ghost stories to their friends. They tromp through with equipment, trying to discover evidence without ever thinking or realizing that what they may be dealing with is just as conscious and capable of feeling as they are. How confusing or upsetting would it be for those people if someone came tromping through their home - laughing, yelling, provoking and taking pictures without so much as an introduction or a request to visit?
I’m not suggesting that anyone stop ghost hunting or investigating. I am suggesting, however, that it be done with care, respect and compassion. Perhaps it is from that place that one can truly meet the spirits that they encounter and find out how those spirits can best be served. Perhaps our best way to truly understand ghosts is to stop making it about us and what we’d like to experience or learn, and to start making it instead about how it is that we can truly help those who remain.
Greetings! It was a beautiful day at Wellington today. Peaceful and sunny, with very few hikers. We met up with Jayme and Bert and got some great footage.
The ghosts were quiet today, as well, but we weren't there during their active prime time. We had a close encounter of another kind, however.
Today we hiked on top of the snow shed. It's a little bit of a climb, and if you go up there, I urge you to be careful because there is a lot of slippery moss. It's a long drop. Grippy hiking boots are strongly advised. We came across what we think is probably a cougar's territory - the smell of cat urine was very strong throughout the area as if it had been marking its territory. Fortunately, we smelled him but didn't see him.
As we continued on in the forest behind the roof of the snow shed, we walked through the trees and looked at places where we think the railroad's runaway track was. Unfortunately, as we wandered, one of us stepped on a yellow jackets' nest.
It started with my son, Tanner, yelling, "Ouch ouch ouch!"
Next came Jim, and finally another friend. I was ahead of the pack and well away from the bees. We were probably pretty lucky. Tanner was stung twice in the calf. Jim took one in the calf. It could have been much worse, all things considered. We were probably lucky we didn't run from swarm of angry bees and right off of the snow shed.
Even with the bees, it was a gorgeous day. The bees just serve as a reminder. Wellington is nature at its rawest. There is wild life there, and it will hurt you if you encroach on its territory.