by Karen Frazier, Managing Editor
Paranormal Underground Magazine
It’s 5 a.m. and I can’t sleep. I awoke a few hours ago to a dream of Wellington. And then I started to think of the children there.
There were eight children on the train that day in March of 1910. They ranged in age from an eight-month- old infant named Francis Starrett to a 9-year-old girl named Lillian Starrett. On the train were 18-month-old Varden Gray, who was traveling with his parents John and Anna. All three of the Grays survived the avalanche – three of eight passengers who were on the train when the avalanche occurred that made it out alive.
The Beck family wasn’t so lucky. George and Ella Beck were traveling on the train with their three children; Leonard, who was almost three, Erma, who was 4-1/2, and Harriet, who was six. The family had been living in Marcus, Washington, but were aboard the train returning to their home in California. They never made it home. The entire family perished in the avalanche that claimed 96 lives.
Three-year-old Thelma Davis was traveling with her father, George. Thelma and George had been away from Thelma’s mother, and they were returning home to Seattle. During the nine day ordeal while the train sat stranded in the snowy mountains, Thelma grew more distressed with missing her mother. Thelma and her father were also killed in the avalanche of March 1.
The remaining three children were part of the Starrett family. Ida Starrett was traveling with her parents, Mr. and Mrs. William May, and her three children – Francis, who was eight months old, Lillian, who was nine years old, and Raymond, who was seven. On March 1, 1910, half of the Starrett family would survive. Ida, her mother and seven-year old Raymond were trapped in the debris awaiting rescue, unsure what had happened to the rest of their family. As she lay trapped in the wreckage, Ida could feel Francis wiggling under her. Eventually the wiggling stopped, and she knew her baby had smothered to death. Ida also lost her father and oldest child, Lillian, that day. Only Ida, Raymond, and her mother survived.
One would hope with a death that horrible, the children were unaware what was happening, and that they returned quickly Home. And yet, it is evident that a child remains behind at Wellington. NWPIA believes they have captured evidence of the child – both on video as an apparition and as a disembodied voice calling “Mama.”
Many who visit Wellington feel touches on their legs – as if a small child runs by and brushes up against them. I have captured audio anomalies that sound like a child trying to interact with my children and with the toys we have brought to the site. And then there was my experience with what felt and sounded like a child who rode in the car with me when I left Wellington and then came to visit me in my home.
I have firmly come to believe that there is at least one child who hasn’t found his or her way home and remains at Wellington. This doesn’t sit easily with me. It haunts me.
If there is a child – or children – remaining at Wellington, how confusing it must be for those small spirits. Do they know what has happened to them? Do they know that they can go Home, with no need to be trapped calling for their mother in a cold snow shed high in the mountains? And what is my role? If I know they are there, am I to help them? And if I am to help them, how?
What started as a curiosity about the paranormal has, for me, become so much more. There is something about the thought of the spirits of innocents remaining trapped at the location of their own personal tragedies that is utterly heart wrenching. One moment, they were vital, alive, warm little bodies all snuggled in for the night. In the next moment – who knows? Who knows what they have experienced since March 1, 1910. Who knows how many of those six innocents who died on that morning returned Home and how many remain. And who knows how often those who survived relived the unspeakable horror of that experience as they grew into adults.
For many, ghost hunting is a thrill. They go into “haunted” places to taunt and provoke in order to get a reaction from the spirits so that they can go home and tell ghost stories to their friends. They tromp through with equipment, trying to discover evidence without ever thinking or realizing that what they may be dealing with is just as conscious and capable of feeling as they are. How confusing or upsetting would it be for those people if someone came tromping through their home – laughing, yelling, provoking and taking pictures without so much as an introduction or a request to visit?
I’m not suggesting that anyone stop ghost hunting or investigating. I am suggesting, however, that it be done with care, respect and compassion. Perhaps it is from that place that one can truly meet the spirits that they encounter and find out how those spirits can best be served. Perhaps our best way to truly understand ghosts is to stop making it about us and what we’d like to experience or learn, and to start making it instead about how it is that we can truly help those who remain.
Enjoy Wellington evidence? Karen’s new book, Avalanche of Spirits: The Ghosts of Wellington> is now available. Click here to buy.