PORTLAND, Ore. - "Having Hollywood show up at your door is something you never think about - you're just out there doing your job."That job, for Larry Overman, is to mine gold from the Crescent Mine near Sumpter, Ore. He and his wife, Stacie, bought the mine in late 2009, not knowing at the time that it would soon become the center of a paranormal reality show that airs on Syfy."That was the furthest thing from my mind when we bought the place," Larry said. "We bought the place with the goal of reopening it and producing gold. We're just like anyone else in gold mining - we want to make money from it."But the Crescent Mine has a long history attached to it and there are those who believe it could be haunted. That's where paranormal investigators Patrick Doyle and Kristen Luman come in - the two are looking into the strange sights and sounds inside the mine to try to determine what's going on. In the meantime, a group of hardy miners are doing what they can to find gold. Add a few television cameras and a production crew and you have "Ghost Mine," which is now in its second season.
For the Overmans, the mine is first and foremost a business and they said in the beginning they were a little skeptical about talk that it was haunted. But the two are beginning to believe that perhaps there is something strange going on there. Stacie described what happened during one of their first times inside the mine."We were about 2,000 feet into the mine and were expecting people to show up on the mountain about an hour later," she said. "And I said 'Larry, do you hear that?' And we stopped to listen, because we were walking through and slushing mud and stuff, and there was a long conversation from two men. We couldn't tell what they were saying, but that was my first experience. I was like wow - there's a conversation going on here.""I actually chalked it up to the people that were meeting us must be early," she added. "So we turned around and walked all the way back out and there was no one on the mountain at all. That's happened to us a few times.""I really didn't pay attention to ghost hunting, or anything like that at all, until after Season 1 of Ghost Mine hit the air," said Larry."The stuff out here at the mine - I would chalk it up to echoes or the earth moving," he said. "My theory is, and most miner's theories are, that if you don't hear the ground talking to you, there's something wrong. That means the fault zones are aligned and something big is getting ready to happen. A lot of guys can predict small earthquakes because the ground quits making noise."This June 11, 2004 file photo shows the massive Sumpter dredge, in Sumpter, Ore. The dredge was one of three that took some nine tons of gold from the Sumpter Valley. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)
Gold mining goes way back in the Sumpter area. It all started in 1862 when five men came to the area, found some gold while panning and decided to stay. It didn't take too long for gold mining to take hold there and a city to form. By the early 1900s, the town was bustling with activity, but a fire destroyed it all in 1917. No one died, but the miners went elsewhere. "The more we learned about what's actually going on up there, the more I thought about the men that were up there and the dedication they had to have to be able to even be in this particular area," said Larry. "They had to have loved it. And when they moved on their spirits, I think, came back.""As long as we respect them, we have no issues," he added. "It's when the people there don't respect them is when we have issues - whether it's by theft, going into an area that they shouldn't be in or going against the grain."Larry said that's when they seem to be seeing the paranormal activity. Now of course, not everyone is a believer. But the Overmans said even if you're a skeptic, there are plenty of other reasons to watch Ghost Mine."It's beautiful scenery," said Stacie. "A lot of people don't see Eastern Oregon very often, or have an idea what Eastern Oregon looks like. We are at 7,900 feet up there on the mountain. It's beautiful."Larry and Stacie got married at the mine. Photo courtesy of the Overmans.
"And there are no other shows on TV that show hard rock gold mining - not one that I know of," Stacie added. "So just getting to watch how to hard rock gold mine - not just digging in the dirt, not just placer mining - that alone is really awesome."And then there is the history."We dug really deep into the history of that area," Doyle said in an interview early last month. "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."If you've never seen Ghost Mine or have missed some episodes, you can watch some of them online.
KATU Web Producer Max Barr contributed to this report.