The Crescent Mine was abandoned 80 years ago due to a number of horrible tragedies and until recent years it lay dormant and hidden from the world, buried beneath an ominous mountain located in the woods of rural Sumpter, Oregon. Some things won’t stay buried, and some things should, the cast finds out after two harrowing seasons tempting fate.
A brave group of miners accompanied by two paranormal investigators seems to have woken up an evil force contained within its dark precipices and it nearly claimed their lives, in season two’s startling conclusion. The unsuspecting group got lured back to the mountain two seasons in a row by the infamous gold mine and the promise of untold riches hidden within.
The SYFY series started and ended just like the Hollywood blockbuster, Raiders of the Lost Ark. Ghost Mine contained everything Indiana Jones himself would expect to see, booby trapped tunnels, secret societies, beautiful women, and an ending that left the entire cast running for their lives as the mine collapsed on them nipping at their heels as they narrowly escaped its angry jaws. Viewers and cast members alike gazed stunned at the cloud of dust and pile of rubble that permanently sealed the Crescent mine and all its secrets for eternity during the season 2 finale.
The shock and disappointment didn’t end with the collapse of the mine though, because soon after the series ended for the season, rumors began to circulate about the show’s demise, and soon it was confirmed by various cast members and a Syfy representative who said, “After two seasons on Syfy, Ghost Mine is not being renewed for a third season.”
I had a chance recently to speak to one of the show’s two paranormal investigators, Patrick Doyle, about the show and its uncertain future, in an attempt to clear up all the unanswered questions.
Russell Dickson: Would you like to clear up the controversy over the show not being renewed for a third season?
Patrick Doyle: I would like your readers to know not to use the word canceled. We were not canceled; we are just not coming back this season.
RD: Will you be going to a new television network?
PD: A lot of people are asking online if we can go to a new network and I don’t know how that works, other shows have done it in the past. Sometimes shows get sold or picked up by another network.
RD: What got you interested in the paranormal?
PD: At age 7, I was a latch key kid. I would go home and play video games until my parents came home. One day I heard a noise in the basement, so I went to check it out and when I opened the door I saw a shadowy figure staring up at me. Instead of running away like most normal kids would, I took a step down towards it and as I did, it stepped away and vanished.
RD: What made Ghost Mine stand out and connect with its fans so much?
PD: I think too much time is spent in this field doing investigations and not enough time doing research. If you look at the leaders in the field they always look back at the history of the locations and they don’t just try and document strange occurrences.
RD: When doing an investigation, what is the most important piece of equipment?
PD: I always say it is a clear head. That is why I like to bring Kristen in. Because of her background, she knows how to interpret certain sensations in different situations. As far as a single device, I would say that I collect more anomalies on a voice recorder than anything else.
RD: Is the Crescent Mine the most haunted location you have ever been to?
PD: One of them yes, it definitely has a lot activity; the show is more of a highlights reel. There are times when Kris and I go in there and don’t get anything. It is just like any other location – it is hit or miss. It is probably in the top five most haunted locations.
RD: So when you look back now at all the bulkheads and mason symbols, do you think they were just trying to tell you to keep out because the mine was unsafe?
PD: That is one possibility; there are a lot of unanswered questions still about what went on there with the masons. I have been in contact with a few since the start of the show. I have a mason’s handbook that someone anonymously gave me. It has a bunch of rituals and stuff in it. We know for a fact that masons held ceremonies inside of caves. The reason for going into the earth was tapping into that power. The Crescent Mine was a place where the masons met, especially after the 1907 fire in Sumpter. It burned everything, so they relocated everything into the mine. We found artifacts in the ballroom. That was an area that had been sealed off for 80 years or so. It was air tight. We found some great artifacts. Every one of them tied back to an initiation ritual.
RD: So what do you think was behind the stone wall from the last two episodes and what do you think could have caused the putrid smell, was it possibly a mason crypt?
PD: You know we have been thinking about it, all the miners and a bunch of other people. There could have been a vertical tunnel or shaft that maybe an animal fell down and rotted down there. It smelt like death, like rotting meat. We don’t know what’s back there, and now never will. I talked to Stan and he said it would take too many man hours and too much money to dig out that area. It is so buried now. I don’t think it showed on that episode just how far back that stone wall was. In that drift where the timber is, and all that stuff. Everything was just jam packed within that space. It looked like it was booby-trap-like. Stan said if one thing fell, everything would collapse, and that’s exactly what happened as we were running out of the tunnel.
RD: Is there any chance of getting back there again?
PD: I have to agree with Stan and say that thing is buried forever. We will never know what’s there.
RD: Did the mine collapse as quickly as it seemed on the finale?
PD: About 8 seconds after we exited the mine it just came down behind us. The portal at the front of the mine came down about 8-12 seconds after we got out.
RD: What caused it to collapse?
PD: Stan said it is something called an air blast. I don’t know too much about these mining terms other than they do occur and they are rare. He is the expert. It could have been a booby trap activated by Eddie knocking out that stone in the wall. It could have been an air blast triggered by them hammering on that wall. It is one of those mysteries we will never solve because we can’t get back there anymore.
RD: What about the opening on top of the mine?
PD: People always ask can’t you go through the portal that you rapelled out of on the backside of the mountain. The answer is no, because when that stone bulk head gave out, it collapsed the entire drift all the way to the backside of the mountain, so there is no way to get through there.
RD: Maybe it was a blessing that it collapsed when it did and nobody got hurt?
PD: Yeah, it would have been great to see what was beyond that stone wall. It was very disappointing, but it is better that we all left with our lives than anything else, that is the main thing. It is a good day when all the miners go home. It is a very dangerous mine, there were a few times during the show when the cameras were not even on when rocks came close to crushing us. Mining is a very dangerous profession. I have respect for miners all over the world now.
RD: Are you happy with how the show turned out this season?
PD: I am proud that we were able to bring some facts to life that no one knew about like the Chinese massacre at McEwen where 18 Chinese immigrants were burned alive in a cabin by ranchers and cowboys in an incident sometime between 1900 and 1905 in Baker County. It was a great achievement for the show. So at least we were able to get those Chinese miners a little peace.
RD: Has everything you have learned about the massacre and the Chinese miners at Crescent Mine affected you personally?
PD: Yes very much so. It is something that is hard to explain. I just felt incomplete. I just felt like I had too many unanswered questions. It could be what we went through at Snake River and the other massacre sites or that we were actually in touch with these Chinese miners that were suffering. I had this heaviness within me that I needed to take care of. So when the idea of traveling to China popped into my head, there was no question about it.
I started off in Hong Kong, and then visited an island near it. I found some burn houses and temples and learned a little more about how they are used. I was invited to a burial and saw how the burn houses were used and I burned my own prayer paper.
I talked to a man in his 80’s that had family members in the Portland area that were miners. He told me how his ancestor never came home. I learned a lot on that trip, it was very cleansing. When I got on a plane back to Portland I felt like the heaviness had lifted.
RD: Are you glad for the opportunity you had with Ghost Mine?
PD: Definitely, it was a great experience, made some great friends. It opened up a new avenue in paranormal research.
RD: What do you think of all Ghost Mine fans out there?
PD: The fans are great, we love all the fans, everyone is currently reaching out to the powers that be asking for a renewal, and we appreciate all that support.
Hopefully if the demand is there, and it has happened with other shows, you will see us sooner, rather than later.