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.
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.
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.
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.
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.