Penny Marshall Says Goodbye

Penny Marhsall as Laverne

Penny Marshall in character as Laverne DeFazio. Photo courtesy of ABC/Wikipedia.

It rarely seems to fail. Within moments of reading a celebrity has died, if they are going to show up, they do. Nonetheless, I was surprised to see Penny Marshall appear in my kitchen on 12/18/18.

She first showed up as she looked in her later years. I asked her if she was okay. She said, “Oh sure, I am fine.” She didn’t seem to find the dying part difficult but said the complications from diabetes make her feel awful prior and that diabetes was a “terrible” way to go.

Quickly realizing she could change her appearance she flipped back to her “Laverne” look from the show that made her a star. She noted her slim waistline with approval and quipped, “Easiest diet ever!”

She seemed eager to see her brother Gary again. Gary died two years prior to Penny in 2016.

Like so many others I grew up loving “Laverne and Shirley”. I thanked Marshall for her lifetime of stories and great entertainment. She accepted the compliment but with a certain amount of innate modesty. “It was fun,” she acknowledged.

Overall Penny Marshall seemed to be in an excellent mood and was looking forward to whatever adventures came next for her.




(c) 2018 Lynne Sutherland Olson. All rights reserved.

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Northern State Hospital Farm, Sedro-Woolley

Cow Barn Northern State Thendara M Kida-Gee

Cow barn at Northern State Hospital. Photo courtesy of Thendara M Kida-Gee

Insane asylums are not pleasant places in any era. Our investigation picked up on assorted assaults, two attempted murders and more than a few cover ups.

The Northern State Hospital Farm allowed the Northern State Hospital for the mentally ill to be self-sufficient. With a 700-acre spread combined with lumber and quarry operations it essentially became a profit center for the State of Washington with involuntary labor in the form of forcibly committed “insane” patients. It opened in 1909 and ran until 1973 after which it was turned over to Skagit County.

Although a wide range of ages were committed to Northern State most of the ghosts I saw there were in their teens and 20’s. That makes sense if you consider the buildings we toured covered the dairy farm and commercial kitchens that put out assorted foodstuffs year round. Able bodied workers (patients) were a necessity.

This was one of the AGHOST events open to the public and once again I found myself wandering through long empty buildings with Sam and Al, with Al and I usually picking up on a lot of the same things. Because it becomes nearly impossible to separate our real-time impressions, this account will be written as a melding of our respective experiences. Thus far I have only found a handful of people I can do this with, but Al happens to be one of them.

NS Harvest Celebration Barn 10.21.17

Harvest Celebration cow barn at Northern State Hospital October 2018. Photo by Lynne Sutherland Olson.

Our experiences started out at one of the remaining cow barns, although by October 2018 the overhang had completely collapsed. First thing I saw was a harvest picnic buffet set out under the veranda roof. The white covered table had bunches of brightly colored dried leaves and a few small orange pumpkins. Most significantly on the far right end of the table was a glass bowl of pink hued fruit punch someone thought it would be fun to spike with alcohol.

The consequences of that prank played out in the dairy barn across the road from the one pictured above. I saw a blond 14-year-old girl cornered and beat up by two or three fellow male patients who were a handful of years older. It read more like an attempted rape, but she fought and the worst didn’t happen. It was bad enough. She was wearing a scoop neck, peter-pan collar cotton print dress with small flowers in the pattern. It was her party dress, made by her mother and put on with excited anticipation for the harvest celebration. The older teen boys ripped it in their attack. She was upset about both the attack and the destruction of her dress. She fought them off and ran, humiliated and bleeding from the nose with some facial bruises already showing.

The events Al and I saw unfold in the adjacent dairy barn didn’t end as well. At the far end of the barn close to the rear doors we saw a  male staff member rape a Native girl, another teenager. It was pretty much every female’s worst nightmare including violation with a bottle in addition to unwanted genitalia.  I think that was the first time. It happened again, but a subsequent rape included multiple men. She fought like hell but there were too many of them and they had her isolated. Both front and rear doors were closed at the time and the cows were out to pasture, so didn’t kick up a fuss at the disturbance. Her ghost told me she became pregnant after repeated rapes, delivered a child and died of a subsequent childbirth induced infection. She was only 16 or 17 years-old.

NS Rape barn 10.21.18.jpg

Cow barn where Al and I saw assorted past sexual assaults unfold at the former Northern State Hospital. Photo by Lynne Sutherland Olson.

In the first third of the barn another sexual assault occurred, this time a teen boy attacked by a male staffer. The boy wasn’t able to stop the attack but he managed to noticeably damage his rapist. The story flew around the farm like wildfire. Everyone knew what had happened, but the victim was not punished because it was known that staffer routinely did such things. The rapist was the head dairyman at the farm at the time and the boy we saw him assault was not his first nor his last victim. More on him later. The teen boy was eventually released from Northern State and came back when he had grown into his full strength. He cornered his rapist in the same barn and nearly killed him. No charges were ever filed. At first I questioned what I saw because a bullwhip straight out of an “Indiana Jones” movie was involved. However Al independently saw the same thing. Unlike the famous movie prop this one was the natural brown shade of the hide it was made of and broke off into two long whips with knots tied into them at the tip of the whip. The knots increased the damage by ripping out chunks of skin on top of the brutal lacerations.

NS Rape barn interior 10.21.18

Interior of the cow barn where assorted assaults took place at the former Northern State Hospital. The first assault I saw took place in the rear left corner, the second about a third of the way in also on the left side of the structure. Photo by Lynne Sutherland Olson.

A few hundred yards away was another cow barn but this one had a grain silo attached at the end for cattle feed. This was the site of an attempted murder, but I doubt you will find it in any history books because the intended victim survived. Both Al and I saw a teen boy intentionally trapped inside the silo as it was being filled with dried wheat. The  victim was shoved in there by three other boys, also patients. Two of the three were the real instigators. I saw the wheat pouring in around the victim. He curled up into the fetal position to try to protect his face from the stinging surge of kernels. This created an air pocket that allowed him to breathe shallowly for a few hours. The third boy affiliated with the attack came back around sunset that day, dug out the would-be victim and helped him crawl out.

The intended victim not only survived being entombed in the gain silo, he made it out of Northern State Hospital and lived to old age He did not let the incident slide. When he was free of the hospital he lived a full and successful life as a businessman with lots of connections in the community. He used those connections to get even. The primary would-be murder applied to a regional bank for a loan many years later. His would-be victim had a talk with the branch manager and the loan was denied. A second application for a loan from the same bank a few years later was not only denied, but resulted in the aggressor loosing his financial shirt. The aggressor’s wife left him, he lost his house, his job, everything. The shade of the teen who survived being buried alive made sure of it. He remains proud of it to this day. The second would-be murderer was also tracked down and made to pay for his crimes. The third accomplice was spared the victims wrath because he walked away, wouldn’t be part of the matter and came back and dug his friend out, saving his life.  I think the shade of the survivor would have spent all afternoon telling us about his successful payback, but we had to move on.

NS Grain Silo 10.21.18

Grain silo next to a dairy cow barn at Northern State Hospital, the site of an attempted murder among patients. Photo by Lynne Sutherland Olson.

Revenge seemed to be an ongoing theme in the course of our visit to Northern State Farm. The dairyman who raped a male teen patient in one barn showed up several other places doing the same thing to other victims over the course of our visit. One of his preferred locations for such attacks was the barn that held cows waiting to be milked. It was attached to the milking room the equipment for which remains in place today.

Many of the attacks of this particular dairyman happened when he was a single man and lived in the private room and bath attached to the main milking barn. Eventually the dairyman married and a home was built for him and his family across the courtyard from the milking barn. The home was a dark gray shingle sided cottage with a covered front porch. It sat beside two more of the massive cow barns, long since gone. Today all you can see is part of the concrete floor of one of the structures. Not surprisingly marriage did not cure this fellow’s predatory practices. He and his wife had two children, a girl and a boy. At some point the rapist did something to his son that was the final straw for his wife. I wasn’t given the details and was relieved to not have to know after an already full afternoon of witnessing past rapes and assaults. This is the dark side of mediumship few talk about for obvious reasons. It is always horrifying to witness even as a past event and unfortunately negative events tend to stick to locations. I have seen such things endlessly at all kinds of institutions, former hospitals, nursing homes, insane asylums, prisons, military bases etc… bottom line, sometimes man’s inhumanity to man becomes overwhelming.

Once the rapist dairyman’s wife decided enough was enough she started planning. One night he crawled into bed in a long old-fashioned cream-colored men’s night-shirt and a matching hat to keep his mostly bald head warm. Once he was asleep, she emptied the contents of kerosene lamps over him, smashed the glass globe of the bedroom lamp into the floor and lit a match. She made sure the kids were safe and raised the alarm. The cottage burned. Her husband survived, but just barely. Horrific burns covered his body that healed into permanently twisted flesh. He was never functional again and spent the rest of his days in a different hospital, out of sight and no longer able to harm others. I am not sure he could talk after his “accident”. His attempts sounded garbled at best. Once again, the staff knew what really happened but the wife was never turned over to authorities. Instead she was quietly shipped out-of-state with her children and never returned to Washington. The hospital certainly didn’t want the scandal nor the years of abuse by their former employee to come to light.

The commercial kitchen and attached refrigerator room is similarly crumbling over time. I saw all female workers in the kitchen. A great deal of equipment remains in the building from lockers for the girls to stash their personal items in to rusted out rolling trays for the preservation of perishable foods until they could be picked up from the loading dock at the back of the kitchen. First thing Al and I saw were chickens being processed. Just like my own grandmother told of such tasks in the family deli growing up I picked up on a similar lack of enthusiasm among the female patients pressed into such jobs. I saw two 1920’s era delivery trucks could pull up to the concrete deck of the loading dock. One of the deep dual ceramic sinks survives as does the built-in work benches along the walls. I saw apples, berries and choke cherries being made into preserves and I think sold to local grocery stores in addition to supplying Northern State and the two other mental hospitals in Washington.

The types of fruit I saw being made into preserves was partially confirmed by the long neglected remaining apple trees nearly growing into the building at this point. As Al is a landscape architect by trade he pointed out the choke cherry bushes to me after we left the building. Al alarmed another member of the group when he picked a few of the apples off the trees and bit into them. Being aware he knows his stuff when it comes to plants I didn’t blink and munched on a few he offered me. If those trees were properly tended today the fruit would be amazing. (I grew up in a family where wasting food was considered a cardinal sin, so my mind still rebels at wasted bounty.)

As our group made its way back to the parking lot Al stayed on the far side of the road. It didn’t take me long to realize why.  I saw and heard some of the more disabled patients rosted out of bed at night and taken to the barn that they called “the hospital”. It was no hospital, it was a site for punishing patients that drove the staff nuts. I am sure it did not happen throughout the entire history of Northern State Hospital. Based on the garments the patients were wearing I would guess the early years of the institution’s operation which depending on different sources commenced in either 1909 or 1912. Both male and female patients were sprayed down with water in winter cold barns. I couldn’t go any closer, I had seen and heard enough for one day so we headed for our vehicles with the screams of past patients ringing in our ears.




(c) 2018. Lynne Sutherland Olson. All rights reserved.


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What Graves?

Our current political discourse isn’t the only time I have encountered “alternative facts” formerly known as lies. In my work as a medium I have repeatedly stumbled across graves official records or administrators swear don’t exist. Since I have not had permission to dig up such locations in search of evidence it is always a conversation I lose with my easily dismissed psychic impressions. That doesn’t even take into account the wishes of the occupants of the graves who often want their stories told, but are not keen on the idea of being dug up. (For example I have yet to meet a mummy on public display who is happy about being an object of curiosity.)

A recent trip to Wellington, WA was yet another experience of having detailed  information about the location of a graveyard that official sources insist never existed. When my friends and I arrived at the trail head parking lot we learned the US Forest Service was conducting an amateur forest archaeology dig with interested members of the public. The painstaking work of searching for artifacts took place next to the trail not far from the first Cascade tunnel built in 1900 for the Great Northern. Only an hour or two in strips of rusted metal and bits of shattered glass were already stacked next to the work site.

The Party You are Trying to Reach Doesn’t Exist
One of my friends managed to talk a retired Forest Service historian at the dig into addressing our  collective impressions of an abandoned pioneer cemetery in the long defunct town of Wellington. Her take on it was no such cemetery ever existed in Wellington, wasn’t reflected in the town records, nor had ever shown up in pictures of Wellington before it was intentionally burned and torn down in 1929 when the Great Northern railroad officially left the area.
Just one problem, the occupants of that officially non-existent graveyard complained to myself and another medium with each visit that many people come to view the site of the 1910 train wreck but nobody ever visits them. My August of 2018  visit resulted in full color visuals of what the graveyard looked like in the years it was maintained. I saw a double row pf identical rough-hewn blank tombstones. My perspective may have been of the back of the stones, which could have explained why I couldn’t see names and dates carved into them. Or perhaps the markers were never inscribed, but records of who was buried were kept separately. (That was certainly the case in the pauper’s graves many generations of my family sleep in. No markers at all, but the local parish office had the records of placements and internment’s going back generations.)

The unmarked tombstones were short. They only reached mid-shin on a man of average height. The tops were rough-hewn arches and sides with smoothed faces front and back of the stones. The stone used was the same mottled granitic boulders that litter the old railway grade. (The Cascade range is largely made of  varieties tonalite and granodiorite. Geologists call these types stone granitic because such rock looks a great deal like granite.)

Simple Granite Tombstone
Simple tombstone similar to those I saw at the lost Wellington cemetery. Photo courtesy of Franklin Granite Works & Heath Memorials.
Although it was possible to walk through the ruins of Wellington back in 1984 when I was taken on a high school field trip through the abandoned town, all such paths have become hopelessly overgrown in the three and a half decades since. There is no visible path to the cemetery whose occupants keep begging for visitors. At this point we would probably need a drone to search for it. Even then it would be tough to find the stones among a century worth of unchecked Pacific Northwest growth which can easily obliterate an open clearing in two or three years.One thing I have learned as a medium is that being a ghost is frequently a wretchedly boring occupation. So I was not surprised the dead in the officially non-existent pioneer cemetery felt left out by the hikers and explorers who flock to Wellington each year.
One of the things the retired Forest Service historian told us was the Great Northern Railroad used a lot of Japanese labor in building the Wellington track. There was a documented hospital in Wellington. So my question was, what did they do with the laborers or the hospital patients who died, let alone the townspeople? The only answer we got was that Wellington’s dead were buried elsewhere during the heyday of the town. Where that elsewhere was located wasn’t volunteered. That didn’t make a lot of sense to me. Every Civil War battlefield, prison, insane asylum or TB sanatorium I have visited, including the one smack dab in the middle of colonial Williamsburg had a graveyard in close proximity to it.
Waverly Hills Graves
Seven or eight years ago I made a couple of trips to investigate the notoriously haunted Waverly Hills Tuberculosis Sanatorium in Louisville, Kentucky. My first time down the “death tunnel” where staff rolled the bodies of the expired TB patients down to a train track behind the hospital for shipment home I was greeted by a group of ghostly children, still wearing their early 20th century hospital gowns. They really wanted me to know they were buried not far from end of the tunnel. Yet when I talked to the Waverly Hills front office about it, the daughter of the man who managed the acknowledged mass graves on site told me point-blank there were no human graves down by the old train platform. The occupants of those non-existent graves begged to differ.
Unsuspected Graves
In the course of doing client work I have found more bodies than I can count on private land that officially are not there. One notable case was that of a Native American guide whose grave ended up half under a huge boiler below the cement floor of a farm-house in Eastern Washington. The people who built the house and generations of the same family who have lived there since had no clue there was an undocumented grave under their foundation. I only came across it because the grave was unsettled and had attracted a dark entity that was causing problems for the current generation in residence. The dark entity had been feeding off the negative energy emanating from the unsettled grave of a murder victim who was still mad as hell about his death. Once the dark entity was dispatched and the occupant of the grave crossed over all the problems stopped.
A recent investigation of the park that once housed the Martha Washington School for Insane Girls had similar bodies and haunts, although the park service will tell you no such graves exist there today.
Considering how many billions of people have lived and died in the history of human life on our planet, good luck finding any piece of land that doesn’t have some human remains in it. It is folly to think all graves are documented. What gets annoying  is to be repeatedly told they don’t exist when their occupants are incredibly insistent they do. Living or dead, nobody likes to be forgotten.
(c) 2018 Lynne Sutherland Olson. All Rights Reserved.
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Wellington 2018 Trouble with Toffs



Wellington First Cascade Tunnel Distance Shot 8.18.18

The first Cascade Tunnel for the Great Northern Railroad operated between 1900 and 1929. Today the path is closed and fairly overgrown with salmon berry bushes. Note the remnants of the letters that spelled out CASCADE above the tunnel entrance. Photo by Lynne Sutherland Olson.

Growing up I loved the voyeur show, “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous” hosted by Robin Leach. My August 2018 return to Wellington resulted in being shown the dark side of “champagne wishes and caviar dreams” cicera 1910.

I went back to Wellington with a group of friends, Sam, H.B. and Al who is also a medium of considerable ability. Our initial stop was the first Cascade tunnel built for the Great Northern Railroad that was completed in 1900. Less than a decade later the second, larger and better placed Cascade tunnel was in operation so the first tunnel was abandoned.

My 2015 visit to Wellington introduced me to the unpleasant ghost of a long dead railroad administrator who had been involved in fudging the numbers estimating avalanche risk. His lies eventually resulted in the worst train wreck in US history on March 1, 1910. That man’s shade still hangs out in the first Cascade tunnel. He is an angry, bully of a spirit that holds the ghost of a female victim of the 1910 disaster and her two children hostage in the tunnel. First time I met him the woman he was bullying told me she was the wife of one of the top railroad engineers. Back then she and her young daughter were willing to come to the front of the tunnel and talk to me. This time I saw the same woman but with two children she insisted on trying to hide from the bully ghost behind a large boulder in the back left corner of the tunnel.

She was a lot more distraught this trip. Once again I asked her, do you want to move on? You know you don’t have to stay here with this jerk, don’t you? She wasn’t having it. Despite her tears and fears she kept telling me, “I have to stay here so my husband can find me,” and “I have to wait for my husband,” over and over. I tried to explain he would have a better chance of finding her on the other side, but she remained convinced she had to stay in that crumbling tunnel for him to find her. This is the frustrating and sad part of my work. That poor lady and her young children didn’t need to stay there as earthbound ghosts, but she retained her free will and I could not nor would I try to force her to leave.

As expected the silk clad bully who remained dressed in morning coat and a top hat just as he was three years ago wasn’t pleased with my meddling. This time he brandished his silver topped walking stick like a staff and told me to leave. Not impressed I took my time. Normally ghosts are smart enough not to attack me. He wasn’t. As our group walked away from the tunnel he threw the equivalent of a psychic spit ball at me. Dumb move. The minor assault bounced off my shields but those protections are set up to repel such attempts and threw a pulse of energy back at the bully that sent him flying as if gut punched into the back of the tunnel. He didn’t come back at me and the last I saw of him he was yelling at the ghost kids.

Wellington First Cascade Tunnel Interior 8.18.18

Interior of the deteriorating First Cascade tunnel 8/18/18. Photo by Lynne Sutherland Olson.

Geeks Bearing Gifts

The night before the trip our group discussed potential gifts for the spirits of Wellington. Both Al and I heard requests for vodka, whiskey and pillow mints. I also heard a request for spiced rum. We stopped at a discount liquor store and bought tiny sample bottles of each type.

At one point Al and H.B. descended into the heart of the valley that still contains the rusting debris of the 1910 train wreck. Al left the pillow mints in a location the ghosts of the first class ladies who died in the disaster deemed was far enough off the public path to avoid detection by other hikers. They had specifically requested pink and white pillow mints. We could only find a bag of mixed color mints at a Fred Meyer in Monroe. Interestingly the ghost ladies told Al they didn’t see the colors in the modern mints that were not available in their era. To them the entire package contained the sweets they were familiar with.

Wellington Ladies Gloves

Visitors to Wellington routinely leave gifts for the victims of the 1910 train wreck. H.B. and Al found this pair of modern ladies leather gloves carefully laid out on a rock near part of the rusting wreckage. You might notice moss is just starting to make inroads on the leather, indicating they had been there for at least a number of weeks. They were left respectfully in place.  Photo courtesy of H.B.

Object Time Travel

Three years earlier Al had left a baby bottle with actual milk in it in an area he had repeatedly heard the hungry cries of a ghost infant. The mother of that child, also still a ghost in the valley that became their grave back in 1910 thanked Al in 2018 for the milk and told him that somehow the bottle kept replenishing so the baby wasn’t crying in hunger any longer. Al asked me, how would that work?

I didn’t have the faintest idea, so I asked my peanut gallery of guides and got an answer that sounded like it came straight out of “Star Trek.” I have known for a long time intent is everything in paranormal work, including ghost hunting. The new twist on the impact of intent was that the bottle of milk placed in 2015 with kind and compassionate concern for the ghost infant  who was trapped in essentially an imprint haunting, entered the 1910 timeline from the perspective of the ghosts of the tragedy. I was further told the milk replenished itself like some sort of video game reset after a character dies because the bottle and it’s contents were energetically a part of the 1910 timeline despite the fact they were placed in 2015. By nature imprint hauntings are snippets of time that run in perpetual repeating loops. Because the bottle of milk entered the timeline of the haunting it refreshes or replenishes since it has become part of that time loop. That was the first time I had ever heard of such a thing. Rest assured I will be checking to see if something similar happens in future investigations.

Eternally Entitled 

Less pleasant was the first class man who had requested the spiced rum. Al asked the ghost I started calling the businessman due to his suit where he wanted it placed. The ghost of the businessman demanded it be placed farther down the wreckage of the train. Attempting to comply, Al stepped onto a piece of rusting metal and his foot went straight through it. Fortunately he wasn’t injured but he told the businessman ghost he wasn’t going any farther and if the haunt wanted his spiced rum, he had to come get it where Al placed it. This common sense decision for his own safety was not met with a gracious response by the shade.

It was at this point strange things started to happen. First Al could feel his physical energy draining out of him at an alarming rate. Then his cell phone started pinging with a number of messages from assorted real life people including his fiance Sam, and myself among others. Thing is I hadn’t sent Al anything from my phone when he and H.B. were in the valley with the wreck. About an hour later when Al and I had returned to his vehicle not one of those prior cell messages or notifications remained on his phone. I double checked my phone and as I knew to be true, I had not sent Al any kind of message when he was exploring the wreck and placing the gifts the ghosts of the victims had requested.

Safe Passage

When Al and I headed back to his vehicle, Sam and H.B. decided to go further up the trail. Al knew his energy was too low to interact with the ghosts up ahead. I did a quick check in with the Medicine Woman who guards the unmarked Native burial ground and requested safe passage for both Sam and H.B. She granted it, so I told the guys, you can go up the trail but I have given her my word you will stick to the path and only be passing through with due respect. So you need to make good on that promise. They assured me they would and continued up the grade. Sam knows from experience to take such warnings seriously. H.B. had good intentions but he got a little loopy on all the intense energies in play around Wellington. As an empath just getting used to his abilities it is a common experience. I once got loopy after witnessing and reporting on a 500 year ceremony the day it had taken place five centuries back. Sensitives can and do get overwhelmed at times and may not be completely aware of to what extent in the moment.

I think that is what happened with H.B. who felt compelled to start singing less than respectful cadence calls from his Army service days. Lucky for us the Medicine Woman also saw what was going on and gave him a pass. She is not a spirit I ever want to cross. I have a good idea of how powerful she is and how intensely protective of her people in spirit. I still remember three years later how she greeted the spirits of the railroad executives who cheated her tribe in obtaining the land for the Great Northern and plowed over an ancient graveyard in the construction process. You couldn’t pay me to mess with her in this life or any other. That is why we ask for safe passage each time we visit Wellington and go past the snow shed. Not too far past that point is HER territory.

Can You Hear Me Now?

Al and I sat in his van, hydrated and chatted about an hour when his phone started sending a string of location notifications from Sam. Sam and I happen to have the same cell provider and phone. Keep this in mind.  One of the notifications came through with what looked like a request from Sam. Below the map showing his position was a text message: “We are located 29 miles away from your current location in Baring.” There is in fact a Baring, WA, but it is 26 miles and 36 minutes away from Wellington by car. There was just no way Sam and H.B. had traveled that far on foot in such a short period of time.

Al and I were puzzled and he texted Sam back, asking if Sam and H.B. wanted to be picked up on the lower trail. There was no response. Al decided that was probably what Sam was requesting as we were losing daylight. So we headed 15 minutes down the mountain to the other entrance of the Wellington trail system. No Sam. No H.B. No vehicles at all in the parking area. No cell reception. My cell, the clone to Sam’s had zero reception in that location. Al’s phone with a different carrier managed to get limited service in one spot of the parking lot. He called Sam who wanted to know where on earth had we gone? Sam and H.B. had been completely surprised to return to the Goat Head trail parking lot and find the van gone with no note or text of explanation. As Al and I headed back to retrieve Sam and H.B. he noticed the previous location message was gone from his phone. I knew it was there half an hour earlier, I saw it myself. Then the message was gone but the location notification remained.

As we drove back Al and I agreed someone in spirit was playing us. Al commented, “I hope that ghost who was pissed off about the placement of the spiced rum isn’t in the van now.”  I had not thought to look, but when I did the ghost was indeed sitting in the van behind Al. The entitled ghost of the business man told Al with pure malice, “Now you know what it feels like to get poor service.”

Al doesn’t freak out easily, but he was getting chills at that point. I was simply pissed off. I called in my backup and they drop kicked the ghost of the businessman back to his wrecked train car and made sure the haunt couldn’t come back. Last drink he will ever get from our group.

By the  time Al and I got back to Sam and H.B. they were sitting in the dark. Both men are vets and Sam packs so no worries about their safety, but puzzled by the evaporated message. Sure enough Sam’s phone showed he had sent nothing but automated location notifications. No messages in the key time frame.

A Powerful Thirst

The ghost we brought the vodka for is a spirit we simply call “The Russian”. He was a laborer who helped build the Wellington snow shed, a structure so solid that demolition crews who tried to blow it up after Wellington was abandoned in 1929 gave up on the project. Despite the subsequent 89 years of zero maintenance the concrete and re-bar bones of the structure remain.

The Russian was working with other laborers at breakneck speed the day of his death. There was a lot of pressure on the construction crews to get the shed built before the next winter set in. He was not well that day, in fact in quite a bit of distress. He literally fell down on the job. His pressured co-workers didn’t want to deal with a man down and sealed his dying body into the wall of the shed where he fell. His ghost has been there ever since.

When the guys headed down into the valley to walk around the train wreck I elected to stay in the snow tunnel. Around 4 pm on a warm summer day it was a refreshingly cool place to wait. I had been there about twenty minutes when the Russian started in. “I want my vodka! Now!” I told him truthfully I didn’t have it on me, it was in H.B.’s pack which was at that point in the valley below. I might as well have been talking to a cement wall. (Literally, I actually was come to think of it.) The complaints and demands continued. “Where is my vodka? It get thirsty holed up in this wall! I want it now!” I assured him it was coming. The diatribe continued until I lost patience and told him in no uncertain terms that if he treated his friends in the labor crew the same way he was treating me it was a small wonder they walled him in to die. At that the commentary reduced to muted muttering.

One the guys got back up to the snow shed we duly found the spot the Russian’s body is interred in and left him the tiny bottle of vodka. He still wasn’t happy, wanted to know why it wasn’t a full bottle. Al reminded him he was lucky anyone visited him let alone brought him a drink. That had no impact on the rant. We left but the Russian’s voice didn’t fade until we were nearly out of the snow tunnel and back on the trail.


Nothing New Under the Sun or the Ground

The lack of gratitude and major attitudes of all three ghosts, the toff in the top hat, the businessman who was insulted over a 100 years later because someone he viewed as a servant wouldn’t endanger themselves to deliver his drink to the spot he wanted it served and the haranguing Russian all reminded me that ghosts don’t change much simply because they are dead. As long as spirits remain earthbound and don’t cross over into the presence of the Divine they tend to remain just as nasty or wonderful as they were in life. They retain their world views, biases, entitlements and grudges. It is one of the reasons I much prefer working with those who have crossed over to the Divine and come back to visit, usually to comfort, console, protect or otherwise engage with the living left behind.

Ghosts usually don’t scare me but they can be every bit as inconsiderate and selfish as those of us with breathing privileges. This is where discernment, protection and boundaries come into play with ghost hunters. It is good idea to set up protections and clear your personal space and your vehicle when you leave the site of an investigation. There are a number of methods which can be read about online or in countless books.  I like to set the intention before I visit a densely haunted location that nothing is allowed to follow me home. So far that has worked with the occasional angelic assist. Once our group got back to my place Al made sure to smudge himself and his van with sage before going to sleep despite the fact it was past one am the next morning.




(c) 2018 Lynne Sutherland Olson. All Rights Reserved.





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Wellington 2018 Return of the Madam


Wellington Bordello Chase Lounge Green

Green chase lounge similar to the one in the Wellington Madam’s boudoir. 

Mid-August 2018 myself and three friends returned to Wellington, Washington, the site of the worst train wreck in U.S. history when a massive avalanche swept a train off the tracks of the Great Northern line on March 1, 1910. During my first visit to Wellington in 2015 with fellow medium Al and his other half Sam, I encountered the town Madam not far from the Iron Goat trail head. She was quite the character then, even more so now.

My return visit included Al and Sam with the addition of H.B.  Al is one of the few other mediums I can work with in tandem smoothly. We are each able to leave our egos at the proverbial door and tend to get the same key information from most sites and situations. Subsequent puzzle pieces that are different tend to add to the overall picture rather than devolve into hubris ridden debates about who is right or wrong. Being vastly different people we each pick up on details the other doesn’t. When that information is used to fill in the missing puzzle pieces the results can be impressive.

H.B. was the ultimate skeptic, so it was rather fun when the Madam decided to talk to both Al and I at the same time. My account is a combination of what Al and I each picked up on standing in the location of the Madam’s bedroom in the long gone Bailet’s Hotel whose concrete foundation we could barely make out among the vibrant overgrowth of  ferns that cover the area today.

The Madam’s bedroom walls boasted waist-high wainscoting topped by vertical panels of bordello red velvet wallpaper. In the middle of each panel of wallpaper was the outline of a black emerald cut rectangle. There was a subtle pattern stamped into the red velvet of the wallpaper. After a great deal of online searching Al and I found the design. It was a popular Victorian fountain, impressed into the velvet of the wallpaper panels. It was a touch disconcerting to realize I was essentially standing at the foot of  the Madam’s bed.

Wellington Bordello wallpaper pattern FOUNTAIN

Plaster relief of the fountain pattern impressed into the red velvet wallpaper of the Wellington Madam’s boudoir.

Supported by a large wooden frame the custom-made bed was somewhere between a modern-day double and a king in size. It’s most striking feature was a stunning carved headboard of stylized wings that curved up from either side of the bed frame, but never quite met to create a full heart shape. The carved details of the feathered wings were incredible. My impression was they were meant to be either stylized angels or eagles wings. The Madam told us the dark, reddish black wood the headboard was made of was called dragon’s blood. Madam bragged to us that her custom made headboard had “cost plenty” for her to import. She also told us such wood is no longer available. A quick Google search confirmed there was a dark-colored wood of that name that has not been commercially available for furnishings since the 1890’s. Later research revealed H.B. was wearing a ring of Tibetan prayer beads around his wrist made of dragon’s blood wood. When he bought it he thought the name of the wood was just so much marketing. Turns out it was not. Nice touch the group skeptic was wearing dragons blood jewelry.

Dragons Blood Bracelet

Dragons Blood Tree

Dragons blood prayer beads bracelet. Dragons blood tree versions of which are found in  China and Yemen with both Dracaena and Daemonorops resins are frequently marketed today as dragon’s blood. The blood-red resin is made into wood varnish to create the distinct dark reddish hue seen on the winged headboard of the Wellington Madam’s bed. 

Above the embrace of the curved wings of the headboard was an oval framed photographic portrait of an older woman in a high-necked dress.  She had a black gemstone hairpin securing her bun. The deeply carved roughly oblong design was probably Asian or Indonesian in origin. Eventually Al and I realized the photograph was of the Madam’s mentor, the madam who had trained her in the profession years earlier. We also came to the conclusion many of the luxurious furnishings in the room had been inherited from the Madam’s mentor, including the hair pin which Madam was afraid to wear as she was convinced it would have been stolen. I am certain there was nothing else like it in Wellington’s jewelry boxes.

Another interesting thing about the bed was its frame was held together via simple gravity. It could be quickly and easily dissembled, packed up and moved if the Madam needed to clear out quickly.

Madam’s room was a long rectangle on the second floor of the hotel. It probably took up at least half the length of the building. Standing in front of her bed against the long back wall of the room I sensed the stairs were in the middle of the wall to my right. To the left of her bed was a heavy set of  ornately carved dresser drawers with brass pull handles graced with a rounded corner rectangular framed mirror. To the left of the bureau was a long brass pole mounted a few feet from the wall for her male clients to hang up their attire.

The far left wall, was populated with touches of elegance likely not found in many other rooms in Wellington. In one corner was a stand alone Tiffany style electric floor lamp with a beautiful umbrella shade done in reds, yellow, orange and deep purple stained glass.

Wellngton Madam Tiffany Table Lamp Dragonfly

Dale Tiffany style desk lamp similar to the one on the dressing table of the Wellington Madam’s boudoir.

Next to the Tiffany floor lamp was a gleaming, dark upright piano with matching bench. The piano was flanked by a long Louis XVI emerald green velvet chase lounge. The chase had a lion skin rug, complete with head draped over the foot of the lounge. Above it was a wooden shelf that supported two four-taper baroque sterling silver candelabra. Talk about mood lighting. Madam told us that was her “seduction spot” complete with birthday suit visuals. Being both female and the only straight member of our group I didn’t give much thought to the images she shared.

Thus it was hysterically funny when Al, who is not remotely inexperienced with the intimate practices of both genders blushed bright red. Madam crooked a finger at Al and told him to “come here”. She was completely unconcerned that she wasn’t his demographic nor her lack of breathing status. Both Sam, Al’s fiance and H.B. said they had never seen him blush so hard. I certainly had not but Madam succeeded spectacularly. Of course Al standing the middle of a field of ferns, eyes clamped shut, fingers in ears singing, “La, la, la, la, I don’t want to hear that,  I don’t want to see that!” only added to the general hilarity.

To the left of the green chase was a small ladies dressing table topped by an oval wood framed mirror. A second Tiffany’s lamp, this one a table lamp, sat on the back left corner of the dressing table. Next to the dressing table was a small square stand that held a plain white ceramic washing bowl. The washing bowl was accompanied by a cobalt blue glass pitcher for water to wash with. Madam told us the cobalt pitcher was a favorite of hers in part because her mentor, whose portrait hung above her bed hated the color blue to the point that neither of the Tiffany lamps she inherited had any trace of blue glass in the design of their shades. Madam noted with considerable satisfaction that sunlight streaming in from the window next to her wash stand would not only light up the cobalt pitcher but throw deep blue patches of light onto the unlit Tiffany lamp shades. I guess most of us go through life with a bit of a rebellious streak against some of the views and biases of our elders and the Madam was no exception.

The long wall opposite the Madam’s bed had a shallow built-in closet flanked by two large mullioned glass windows that looked out onto the street below. The corner closest to the door boasted a red velvet ladies chair with small arm rests and a rounded upholstered back.

The tiny closet not only held the Madam’s dresses but also doubled as the sleeping quarters and work space of her personal maid. The maid, a fair young woman with brown hair under a mob-cap, wore a simple brown or gray homespun dress covered with an off white apron. She slept on a pallet on the floor of the closet. Interestingly she was barefoot. That would have made escape difficult if not impossible. Both Al and I saw the maid furiously sewing up rips and gashes in Madam’s wardrobe. We concluded  the Madam’s trade was rather hard on her clothing.

Periodically in the course of her work the Madam required fast costume changes. If a client was headed up to her room the maid didn’t always have time to leave it. At those times she would be banished to her coffin like closet bedroom and was obliged to wait for the business transaction to conclude before she could sneak out.

The Madam spoke of her best customer who was also one of her most challenging. Daily bathing wasn’t a common practice in many western settlements, let alone railroad towns. Her best customer was a tall, burly fellow with shoulder length curly dark brown hair who abhorred wearing hats, unlike the shades of the railroad executives I had previously encountered at Wellington. The quality of his clothing was high, but the fabric was cotton, not silk other than the occasional silk cravat for special events. He paid handsomely for her services. We concluded he was probably one of the top foremen on the line. He was also an incredibly hairy individual from roughly collarbone to ankles. Madam told us he was sometimes so ripe that not even she could stand him. Thus the luxury of a long ceramic tub and a full body shave was employed prior to getting down to business. After such ablutions she would rub him down with some sort of scented oil a former Chinese maid had turned her onto. Neither Al nor I could place the scent but according to Madam it went a long way to making her best customer more pleasant to engage with.

Despite his more casual sartorial style this gentleman moved in the top circles of Wellington society. Several times a year he would bring Madam and two or three of her best girls to exclusive fancy dress parties. Madam would be his companion for the evening and always had a new dress for such gatherings. She and her top girls were the only women allowed into the gentleman’s smoking rooms. Wives were banished to all female sitting rooms after formal meals. This common custom in upper crust society definitely worked to the advantage of ladies of the evening. Being human Madam wasn’t happy about the names the wives of her clients called her in town. So at these events, in full regalia she would saunter into the wives sitting rooms and mention which of her girls their assorted husbands had chosen for the evening, only to sashay back to the men’s smoking room and the evening’s entertainment as the wives watched in helpless fury.

Another one of the Madam’s top customers was the husband of the lady who lead the Temperance society in Wellington. He couldn’t get a drink at home, so he frequented the Madam’s establishment where he could enjoy his sherry in peace. Madam told us he wasn’t much of a drinker and never went in for hard alcohol. He just wanted somewhere to relax with a drink or two without the inevitable domestic upheaval at home. I felt rather sorry for the man. Madam found the situation amusing.

At the head of the Iron Goat trail the US Forest service has a picture of both Bailet’s Hotel and a group photo of a number of women clustered on the deck of the building. Our group was chatting with another hiker, a young woman up from Seattle for the day. After taking a closer look at the group photo I looked at Al and tapped the image of the woman I thought was the Madam with no further explanation. Al pointed to the same figure nearly at the same moment, laughed with a big grin and simply said, “Yep.” That poor hiker had no idea what we were about but was polite enough not to inquire. Lucky for me Sam is not concerned about the fact his fiance and I complete each others sentences when working together, or sometimes skip words completely.  However, I think witnessing that dynamic rather blew H.B. out of the water.

There is only one other psychic to date I connect with that well. He occasionally shows up in other posts about locations outside US soil. I will say it is a lot faster and easier to read locations with each of these guys respectively because massive amounts of information pass back and forth in the blink of an eye, cutting down on a lot of time spent explaining the multi-layers of data in play well beyond shared images. It is important to be around understanding people when such dynamics are unfolding because frankly it is rather rude to non-psychics in the vicinity. I compare it to being a non-English speaker in a group of native English speakers talking a mile a minute. It is impossible to follow unless you are “in on” the “conversation” or energy being read at any given moment. Our group clammed up when other hikers passed us on the trail until they were out of earshot. It would not be kind to scare the locals into next week. So much of my work is focused on reducing fear of the paranormal, last thing I wanted to do was increase it for others enjoying a hike.



Lynne and Ed Wellington 8.18.18





















Lynne and Al heading into the Wellington Snow Shed 8/18/18. Photo courtesy of Sam D.


(c) 2018 Lynne Sutherland Olson. All rights reserved.

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Mass Graves – Past, Present and Future


Mass Graves in Texas

Mass Graves in Texas 2012. 

For most people there is a moment when shit gets real in times of national crisis.. For me that moment happened in my kitchen last night. I had just finished reading the article below from 2015.

Mass Graves of Immigrants Found in Texas, But State Says No Laws Were Broken

Earlier in the day I had been getting ugly and horrifying like/as images between the mass graves of Nazi victims found in the early 1990’s in the Black Forest of Baden Wurttemberg, Germany and the fate of many of the children currently held in concentration camps all over the U.S. (I am not going to politely call them detention camps because that is not what they are.)

After reading the article, a group of dead children showed up in my kitchen. They were grade school age kids, Hispanic and in great distress. I think they were among the dead in the 2015 Texas grave I had just read about. They huddled together with a great deal of crying and screaming going on.

I wasn’t sure how to help them, when my guides told me to call in Our Lady of Guadalupe. She is a popular and well-known case of visitation of the Virgin Mary. There have been a number of such cases over time but this version of the Blessed Mother would have been well known to children coming out of Mexico or other South American countries. I have seen her image at home altars as a guest in homes of Hispanic friends.

Our Lady of Guadalupe

I asked that Our Lady of Guadalupe show up and take the distraught children home. Thankfully she wasted no time in appearing among them. The impact was immediate. The dead children recognized her and flocked around her as if greeting an old friend. The tears and cries of fear petered out as all the children in the group became aware of her presence. Some of the kids brought her to the attention of the others, “Stop crying, look, SHE is here.” The hunched body language of fear and distress evaporated. The children stopped huddling together and stood more spaced out, aware of each other but no longer terrified and lost.

As the figure of the Virgin of Guadalupe started to walk into a wall of light past the point I am allowed to see, the children utterly transformed, not just their body language but their physical appearances. They chose to show up in their best clothes, clean, their hair done with care. Some of the boys wore dark suits, others shorts and summer style dress shirts. One little girl in particular caught my eye. She was dressed in a nice knee-length white dress (perhaps for Easter or from her First Communion ceremony, she looked around seven or eight, the right age for that sacrament) Her hair was done in free-flowing pigtails with cute faux flowers that looked like silk daisy’s adorning each elastic. She had a shiny multi-colored Mylar pin wheel in her left hand as she skipped next to the familiar figure leading them all home.  She was chattering a mile a minute and singing snatches of songs, relaxed, excited and happy as any child might be on a family outing to a fair, parade or holy day celebration. It was a joy to see her transformation.

As privileged as I was to see the change in the dead children and know that particular group has crossed over safely, shit just got incredibly real for me. This is happening in the US. The place our school teachers and parents said such things never could. It has been going on for at least a handful of years and it is ramping up quickly. I didn’t like the comparison images to the Nazi graves in the Black Forest one bit, but I know from experience such images are not presented to me without good reasons.

I do not want to spend the next 10-15 years helping innocent children whose only “crime” was their parents sought better lives for them cross over after horrific and premature deaths. There is no policy on earth that merits such cruelty. We are not deterring illegal immigration we are on a course of increasing attempts at genocide of innocents. This must not stand.



(c) 2018 Lynne Sutherland Olson. All Rights Reserved.

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Anthony Bourdain – Crossing Over

Anthony Bourdain

Anthony Bourdain. Image courtesy of Twitter. 

Not being a Bourdain fan, I didn’t expect to hear from him at all, let alone eight hours after his death via suicide became public. As you might imagine, he was pretty confused at first.

Bourdain first showed up in his pj’s consisting of patterned long flannel or cotton pants and a white crew neck undershirt. Not surprisingly in light of his well-known drug and alcohol abuse history he had indulged in both prior to hanging himself. This would account for the soiled condition of the front of his shirt. His hair looked like he had run his hands through it a number of times in agitation prior to taking that final step. I think it would be fair to say he wasn’t thinking remotely clearly at the time he took his life.

Based on our interactions I would say the women in his life were key to Bourdain. Once he left his body he was looking for a recently deceased female relative and was deeply upset he couldn’t find her. I tried my best to get him to calm down, but my normal approach of invoking angelic help only scared him. When the angel I had called in to help made an appearance Bourdain cowered in terror.

I tried a different approach by asking if someone from his family might come from the other side to bring him home. An elderly grandmother figure appeared. Bourdain instantly changed to a childhood version of himself and asked this grandmother if she was there to take him to hell? She told him, “Tony, don’t be silly, I am here to take you to heaven.” At this all the fear and worry vanished and Bourdain although he remained in his boyhood form stood up and took her hand.

The last I saw of them she was telling him all the wonderful delicacies she was going to make for him on the other side.  Spumoni and biscotti were both mentioned.  Bourdain was a world-famous chef, known for his love of the local dishes of many cultures. He was French on his father’s side, and Jewish on his mother’s. So I wasn’t quite sure what to make of an apparently Italian nonni showing up. When I asked where did the Italian grandmother figure come into it I was told she wasn’t a blood relative but someone who filled a grandmother role for him growing up, a bonus grandmother so to speak. She was a close family friend. I am simply grateful she showed up for him in his hour of need.

Rest in peace Tony, may all your demons now be gone.




(c) 2018 Lynne Sutherland Olson. All rights reserved.

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