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Local author's take on Syfy 'Ghost Mine' show

OK, so I was scarcely aware there was a Syfy channel and, most certainly hadn’t heard of a TV series called “Ghost Mine.” I probably would never have watched it either, except for the fact the producer called recently and asked to interview me. Now, how could I turn that down? Of course, I could have easily turned it down, but at this late stage of my career it was a new experience, and, within the bounds of legality, I welcome those. by: SUBMITTED - Nokes

Turns out, the “Ghost Mine” crew, which is filming in the old gold mining area of Sumpter, wanted to do a segment on Chinese gold miners. They had read my 2009 book, “Massacred for Gold: The Chinese in Hells Canyon,” and considered me an expert. Now, who was I to disabuse them of that notion?

So I tripped up to Baker City where I spent the day being interviewed on camera about Chinese miners and the massacre story by the two stars of the show, Kristen Luman and Patrick Doyle. The premise of the show is that Kristen and Patrick are assisting a half-dozen legitimate gold miners (yes, they are real miners) in determining the potential threat from paranormal activity lurking in the depths of the mine they are working. I was interviewed in Baker City’s historic Geiser Grand Hotel, itself said to be a repository of a ghost or two.

I was told later that the interview turned out well and at least part of it will be aired on Wednesday, Sept. 25, in the fourth segment of an eight-part series. If anyone cares to watch, “Ghost Mine” airs on Wednesdays on Comcast channel 59, or 759 in HD. I don’t know whether I will come across as looking authoritative, or ridiculous — more likely the latter, I suppose. But it’s been fun.

For those interested in gold mining history, Sumpter is known today for being home to one of the very few remaining gold dredges, a three-story floating building, one of several throughout the West which effectively tore apart western rivers while dredging for gold.

The Sumpter dredge was in operation as recently as the 1950s and is maintained as a historic site by the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department.

Sumpter was once a town of more than 2,000, but the population today is probably little more than 200, not counting the 40-person “Ghost Mine” crew. Much of the town was destroyed in a devastating fire in 1917. The town is tucked into northeastern Oregon’s Elkhorn Mountains on the banks of the Powder River, an area littered with scores of old mines, including one not far away operated by some of my ancestors. And, yes, Sumpter was given its name by Southern sympathizers during the Civil War, although they misspelled the name.

This is the second season for the “Ghost Mine” series. While I probably never would have watched it were I not involved, I think I’m honest in saying it is at least interesting, especially to those wanting to know more about gold mining and mining history — not to mention paranormal activity.

Greg Nokes is a West Linn resident and author of “Breaking Chains: Slavery on Trial” and “Massacred for Gold.”




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