'Ghost Mine,' filmed in Oregon, premieres this week on Syfy
PORTLAND, Ore. - Another season of a reality show filmed in eastern Oregon premieres this week.
"Ghost Mine," which combines underground mining and paranormal investigation, was renewed for a second season. There are 12 new hour-long episodes starting Wednesday on the Syfy channel.
The show was filmed at the Crescent Mine near Sumpter, Ore. Two of the main characters - father and son Duck and Dick Secord - are from Cottage Grove, Ore. And there are a few Portland folks in the mix as well.
The premise is that while a group of miners search for gold in an effort to strike it rich, two paranormal investigators try to figure out what's behind the strange noises and apparitions in the mine.
We talked to Portlander Patrick Doyle, the lead paranormal investigator on the show, about the new season to find out what viewers can expect this time around.
"We're getting right into it this year with the action," he told us. "You already know the characters, you already know the location and we get right into the mystery."
And according to Jamol Eli of Portland, one of the 'greenhorn' miners on the show, there is plenty of mystery this season.
"A lot of paranormal things happened and just strange things you can't explain," Eli told us. "It blew me away."
Eli said he has always believed there are unexplained things in the universe. Some of his fellow miners are huge skeptics, though, and we asked whether those men had been convinced, even a little, this time around. Eli said he did see some of that happen.
"There was a definite change in some of the miner's attitudes, whether it be things that happened to them or things we experienced as a group," he said. "I would say there was a definite change in a couple of them."
Watch the Trailer
Doyle added that this season they look to the area's history to try to understand some of the strange things they are experiencing. And he said he and his partner, Kristen Luman, found great evidence to support a link between the past and the present.
"We dug really deep into the history of that area," Doyle said. "Not only Sumpter, but Baker City, Granite and other surrounding areas. We discovered some really tragic and horrific events that happened in that area and they do link back to the mining community and the Crescent Mine where we are working."
The Sumpter fire of August 13, 1917. Photo taken from school house steps looking west down Granite Street. Ellis Opera House is the large building on the left. Large brick building on the right is the Sumpter Hotel. Photo courtesy of the Baker County Library in Baker City, Oregon.
Skeptics vs. Believers
Now of course anytime you bring up the term 'paranormal activity,' there are going to be disbelievers and folks who say this is all just for television ratings. What does Doyle say to that? He welcomes all of it and said he and Luman are just as skeptical as others about what they see and hear.
"I don't think you can be a good investigator in the paranormal if you're not a skeptic," Doyle said. "You have to be questioning everything that you are hearing and seeing. You can't let your imagination get the best of you. You can't turn everything into a ghost or something paranormal."
Doyle added that the miners help the investigators know the difference between the normal sights and sounds of a mine and what isn't quite right and might be paranormal.
Patrick Doyle, Paranormal Investigator on the Syfy show "Ghost Mine." Photo by Todd Meier/Syfy.
"Buckett, Dingus and Eddie are our three biggest skeptics," Doyle said. "And I love them for it. It's great because we tell them what we're hearing and seeing and show them photos and play them noises. And they are actually very helpful in giving us other possible explanations of what we're seeing and hearing."
There is no question that working in a mine is highly dangerous, especially when you walk into one that hasn't been touched in a century. For Doyle, this has been a once-in-a-lifetime experience but he does realize the situation he has put himself and his partner in. He described one close call that could have killed him.
"Eddie actually saved my life this year," he said. "I was standing in a new tunnel and some rocks started hitting my helmet - little small rocks started hitting my hard hat - and he pulled me away right before a 150-pound stone fell from the ceiling and landed exactly where I was standing."
And even though the miners are experts in what they do, it's not a safe place for them to be either.
"There were some real dangerous situations - life threatening situations," said Eli. "Some real safety concerns."
"It is a very dangerous environment and that is the scariest part," Doyle said. "Even when we're investigating, we have to remember that yes, we're here to do a job, but we are in a foreign environment. We need to respect it. We need to pay attention to everything that Stan and Eddie and all the guys have taught us and really just be aware. And be more aware than normal."
Dick Secord Jr. "Greybeard." Photo courtesy of Syfy.
Both Doyle and Eli said what began as a strained relationship between the miners and the paranormal investigators has now turned into a good team atmosphere.
"The real hard-core miners weren't having it at all, especially last year," said Eli. "But it's neat to see the relationship they have built in the last two seasons."
"They are such a good couple of people and human beings," Eli said of Doyle and Luman. "It was just really neat to see everyone get along."
Watching the Show
If you've never seen "Ghost Mine" or missed some of last season's episodes, you can watch some of the past episodes online. The new season premieres on the Syfy channel Wednesday night and will be preceded by a one-hour special where the miners and investigators gather around a campfire to talk about the highs and lows of Season 1.
Doyle said the location is part of what sets his show apart from other paranormal shows - that and the fact that he and Luman are on site for an extended period of time.
"The other shows, they go to a location after a claim is made maybe months or years later. And they are only there for a night, or maybe two nights, hoping to find evidence," Doyle said. "Whereas Kristen and myself, we're at this location for an entire three months and we're working beside the guys that are going to have those experiences. When they have an experience, Kris and I can be into that mine, into that area within seconds or minutes to investigate. So it's a better chance that we are going to find better evidence. And I think that we have found really great evidence because we are on site during the hauntings."
We asked Doyle whether a third season might be in his future and he said he would definitely like to continue this type of work.
"It is possible that there are other mines in the world or the country that have similar problems to the Crescent," he said. "So you never know. It's an open book."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.