by Karen Frazier, Managing Editor
I’ve been losing a lot of sleep as I struggle with my recent experiences. I’ve relayed some of them in my blogs about our visit to the site of the Wellington avalanche disaster.
Still, I haven’t told you the whole story. Mainly because I am still processing it and trying to decide what, if anything, this all means to me. Will it cause me to shift my paradigm from “I don’t know” to “I believe”? Really. I don’t know.
Still, I have decided to share this with our readers, because I have always been extremely open about my thought processes about the unexplained, the unseen and the paranormal. I have to admit. I am nervous about sharing my experiences and my thought processes – because for me, I am struggling right now with where I go from here as one who has always perched carefully on the fence.
I will share my experiences. Please be gentle with me. But in being gentle, please share your true thoughts about what I am telling you. This is how we learn, this is how we move forward. I am open to what you have to say. I think.
Preamble aside, here are my recent experiences that are causing me to re-evaluate my “I don’t know” position on ghosts.
Before I get fully into it (oops – more preamble), here’s what I told Jim. There are two explanations for what I experienced – and what I am continuing to experience – as a result of going to Wellington. Either a) I am losing it or b ) something is going on. I’m having trouble wrapping my brain around either explanation, quite frankly.
First you can take a look at my Wellington blog, which explains some of it, including the history of the site, etc. There is also an excellent book called The Cascade White, which talks in great detail about the Wellington avalanche disaster where at least 96 souls perished on March 1, 1910.
While at Wellington, I had a sense that a child was following me. In my head, I saw a three year old boy. Blondish – dark blond really with kind of a straight fine hair cut that boys of that age often have. He was wearing what I would term a newsboy cap. Longish shorts with thick, dark stockings and black shoes and a warm “pea coat” style coat. I mentioned to one of my friends that I sensed this little boy. When I discussed it with Cheryl, I thought that he was too well-spoken (I have no idea why) to be that young so I said maybe older like six. But my first impression was that he was three. I then ignored my impression and used my logic to get to six.
At this time, I knew nothing about any of the victims of Wellington, I hadn’t read the book, I knew little about the tragedy (other than a vague outline of what happened and the date on which it had happened).
So – as I mentioned in a previous blog, this site comes with the weight of history. You can feel history there and you can feel the weight of what happened there. Perhaps it is the long concrete snow shed that is twisted and gnarled at the end where it was crushed under the weight of snow. Perhaps it is the ominous hill perched above the shed. One can only imagine it full of snow waiting to come crashing down that steep and unforgiving slope.
I’ve spent a lot of time in the wilderness and in the mountains, and it has never felt like this. Perhaps it is merely that I know what transpired there, and all of those lives lost feel like a weighty thing. I am still logical enough about this to question everything that I am sensing and feeling.
All around Wellington, there was something there with me. It started when I was simply sitting on a bench minding my own business. It continued the entire time we are there. It poked me. It pulled someone’s hair. I believe it spoke on an EVP that I posted – the one audio recording that I have been unable to logically explain away, and believe me – I have been grilling Jim about logical explanations. When we left, it got in the van and sat beside me. It didn’t feel malevolent. Only curious. And childlike. It was at this time that I started with the image of the young boy in my mind’s eye. But I was ignoring myself. It was certainly my imagination. How silly am I to think that I would have a young boy attached to me?
By the way, many who know me will tell you this. I give off a serious “mom” vibe. Children have always flocked to me. They adore me and I adore them back. I was originally going to be a teacher – but I loved the kids and disliked the parents and administration. Still, I’ve done a lot with kids over the years in various volunteer capacities because of my love for them.
Anyway – we got mostly down out of Stevens Pass in the Cascades to the town of Monroe and I still felt this little presence with me. I thought I was nuts. I felt silly. So I didn’t tell Jim and Bill, who were in the van with me. When we got to the town of Monroe, about an hour out of the pass, we were racing a train on the flats out of the mountains. There was huge excitement that I could feel about that train. Again – I don’t know why. I wish I did. Anyway – that little presence – it was still there. It was a feeling – physical. Along the side of my face, top of my head. I didn’t really see or hear anything except the image of the child I described above in my mind’s eye.
Certainly, it could still be imagination and I was and continue to be very aware of this fact.
I closed my eyes and told the little presence, “You can’t come with me. I am going home. You have to go back to your home.”
At the moment, it didn’t feel stupid to be saying it – it felt like what I had to do. The feeling on my face and top of my head immediately went away.
Another team. They left maybe 30 minutes to an hour after I told the little spirit to go away. One of the team members is also a mom – and she even had her 13 year old son with her. I mentioned to her the next day that I’d had “something follow me” in the van. Much to my surprise she told me that they’d had the same experience. They had to stop the car part way out of the mountain and tell whatever was with them to go back. They left at about 2 a.m., so this probably happened no later than 3.
At 3 am, Jim and I were finally getting settled into our hotel room at Captain Whidbey Inn on Whidbey Island. We turned out the lights to go to sleep. There was that little presence again. I silently asked it to go away. I woke Jim up, and it took another good hour to get to sleep. At this point I still didn’t know about something “following” another group home.
A few days ago, I was sitting in my living room on my computer, much as I am now. I was alone in the house with all three dogs, who were curled up on the couch next to me. I heard a “click” in the entryway, and the dogs went crazy. I went out to the entryway, and my son’s saxophone neck strap, which had been on the stairs underneath his yearbook where I’d put it earlier that day, was lying in the middle of the marble entryway floor. It was the clip where it attaches to the sax that had made the click. The dogs were insane – growling and barking. but they are small dogs. They do that.
I turned to look out the screen door to see if anyone was outside and I heard a very quiet, soft voice behind me say, “Hi.”
I felt that feeling on the side of my face and my head again. The little presence – for lack of a better term – was back, although I saw nothing but the image of that little boy in my head.
I am angry with myself.
I said aloud, “Please go home. I will come visit you soon, but you can’t come visit me here.”
The presence immediately was gone. I am angry because I should have whipped out a recorder, a ghost mike – something – and started asking questions. I didn’t, which was very poor investigative technique.
Still, I am struggling with this. Like I said – there are two explanations. One means shifting the very foundations of what I know to be rational, scientific and true. The other means that the latent family insanity is setting in.
A few hours earlier, my friend the UPS guy had delivered The Cascade White. I grabbed the book and looked for a roster of the dead. I wanted to prove to myself that this whole thing was in my head. That it was my imagination. It took quite a bit of digging, but this is what I found (and I had to dig not only through the roster of the dead and injured, but also through various pages and chapters to discover ages of children, etc.) There were something like six children listed as deceased on the train (I don’t have the book right here – it is back in the bedroom where Jim is sleeping off a night shift). One was an infant boy with the last name Starrett. I believe he was still a nursing baby. There was a three year old girl by the name of Thelma. There was an older girl I believe – the older sister of the infant, also last name Starett. And then there was the Beck family. The names of the Beck family are listed in the book, except one was listed as “unknown first name” Beck, child, killed. This is where I had to start to dig. It didn’t mention the age, and since there was no first name, I was unable to determine whether the child was a girl or a boy. Still, it was my last chance for a 3-year-old boy. Every other child killed at Wellington was ruled out by nature of age or sex.
I found the answer in one passage, talking about how the “three-year-old” Beck boy was getting along famously with Frances Starrett, a seven year old boy who would survive the avalanche. Both of the boys were fascinated with the three-year-old boy’s toy train, and they spent hours rolling it along the aisles of the train.
Next, I decided to look up the fashions of 1910 – particularly winter clothes for boys. Imagine my surprise when I saw what they wore. Newsboy caps. Long shorts with thick black (or dark) stockings. Dark shoes. Heavy coats that looked like pea coats.
Could I have known about clothes of that time without realizing it? Oh probably – I have a lot of crap stored in this brain of mine. Could I have somewhere heard about a three year old boy? Maybe – but I asked about kids and recall being told, “maybe there were families – I’m not sure.” I could not remember someone telling me any more than that. Could the “excitement” about the train have been just me feeling stressed from the whole Wellington story and have nothing to do with the fact that a 3-year-old boy on the doomed train had a toy train that he loved and spent hours playing with? Probably. Could the saxophone strap have been moved by a dog without me noticing it sometime before the click in the entryway? Sure. And could the click have been something outside? Probably. Whatever it was, it freaked the dogs out and woke them from a sound sleep.
When you add all of this together, it is a lot of interesting coincidences, if nothing else. Especially when you add to it my experiences at Wellington where I picked up the same energies independently of another person without knowing what she had picked up. That audio clip – which is much clearer on the Olympus than the hi-def H4, but still very recognizable on both – is further confounding to me.
For me, it is confusing. I always said that I would know when I found that thing that made me believe. I don’t know if this is it, but it has come far closer than anything else. Two explanations. A) Losing it. B ) Something is going on. I am less sure of my “I don’t know” position than I have ever been. That’s a tough one for me – to just make that leap from “I don’t know” to belief, just as it would be equally difficult for me to make the leap from “I don’t know” to disbelief.
Anyway – that is the entire story. I’ve been keeping it to myself because I know how nuts it all sounds. Really. I do. Choice A (crazy) or choice B (something’s happening)? I’m open to a choice C, if someone’s got one.
Enjoy Karen’s blogs about Wellington? Karen’s new book, Avalanche of Spirits: The Ghosts of Wellington> is now available. Click here to buy.