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It's Fall on the Coast: Summer is Here
Into Oregon Coast Sentinels Brings More Ghosts to Light
|Heceta Head Lightouse
– Halloween may be over, but interest in the chilling tales
of Oregon's lighthouses remains high.
are, well, still in the spotlight, with a film about Oregon lighthouses
ready for release and two episodes of The
Oregon Coast Show spotlighting the haunted lighthouse legends.
Yet there’s more
to these stories than meets the eye, say staff at BeachConnection.net
and locally produced TV show The Oregon Coast Show. In the midst
of preparing for projects of their own and collaborations on others,
both camps have discovered much about lighthouses, their ghosts
and other paranormal stories of the coast – and they’ve
found all these elements and experiences have weaved the two crews
together in some interesting ways.
It’s a massive
tale of discovery that stretches over time: from the beginnings
of the lighthouses, through to their creepy tales and other oddball
bits of history, to the background behind the research that went
into the various projects.
House in Cannon Beach: Keep reading to find out what haunts
this watering hole
And then there’s
the spooky ending to the story, where BeachConnection.net again
learns about more creepy ghost tales on the coast from an Oregon
Coast Show cameraman.
Ghosts on TV
The Oregon Coast Show
(Channel 22, KPXG), will spotlight these haunted tales the following
two Thursdays – Nov. 2 and Nov. 16 – at 7:30 p.m. on
channel 22, or on Comcast cable ch. 5. It will also air Thursdays
and Fridays on Nov. 2 - 3, and Nov. 16 – 17, in Tillamook
County and Lincoln County, on Charter cable ch. 18.
episodes are partially footage from Oregon Coast Show producer Scott
Gibson’s DVD “Oregon Lights,” which will be
released soon for purchase. Other parts of the Oregon Coast Show
segments on haunted lighthouses come from BeachConnection.net editor
Andre’ Hagestedt, who acts as the on-air reporter, transitioning
sections of the show segments and sharing his own knowledge about
the subject. See
the story on Oregon coast haunted lighthouses
Filming of “Oregon Lights”
storytellers can be the storymakers as well.
Such is the case with
Scott Gibson, cameraman and producer with Oregon Coast Show, who
produced “Oregon Lights” around 2000, which then aired
on OPB a couple times. The film will soon be released on DVD for
takes the viewer on a tour of all the lighthouses up and down the
coast, through their history, and touches upon the legends of hauntings
as well. It even features interviews with author Jim Gibbs, who
not only served aboard the crazed Tillamook Rock Lighthouse until
it was shut down in 1957, but he created his own small lighthouse
with his home in Yachats.
It was a labor of love
for Gibson, who thought about the documentary for years. “Ever
since I was a kid I had a fascination with lighthouses,” Gibson
said. “So I was happy to blend my skills as a producer with
a fascination of mine. I really loved making this documentary.”
The film took about a
year to make, with Gibson having to rent equipment for $300 a day
at the time, since he didn’t have his own broadcast quality
gear. “It became a real ‘magical act’ for me to
coordinate interviews and days that were available to shoot at the
various lighthouses,” he said. “Plus, I had to coordinate
with the ever-changing Oregon coast weather.”
Postproduction took another
three months, and still included a lot of exhausting driving between
the coast and Portland.
at Yaquina Head
The making of
the film had its perks, however. Most lighthouse officials gave
Gibson exclusive access to areas not normally permitted to the public.
He got to see a lot of things most people don’t.
But one hurdle was the
officials at Cape Arago’s lighthouse, on the south coast.
“The Coast Guard Chief from Coos Bay at that time would not
allow me to cross the footbridge to get right up to the lighthouse,”
Gibson said. “He said it was a liability issue, and I explained
that I would sign any necessary waivers, etc. But he wouldn't budge.
It seemed to me like he just wanted to throw his weight around.
I saw the footbridge myself and it would have been safe for me to
walk across it.”
Gibson learned much from
his documentary work, including the revelation that the Yaquina
Bay Lighthouse’s ghost was from a work of fiction. In the
DVD, he’s careful to point that out, and to dispel the myth
that Yaquina Head’s lighthouse was accidentally built in the
no reason a lighthouse as tall as Yaquina Head would need to be
placed high atop Cape Foulweather where it would be in the fog line
much of the time,” he said.
The ghost stories didn’t
faze him at all. Gibson is a realist – but one who knows first
the sad truth about Oregon’s lighthouses. The DVD ends with
a poignant statement about what won’t ever happen again with
these wonderful icons.
“I don't know if
any of the other ghost stories have any credibility, but lighthouses
are truly remarkable structures,” Gibson said. “It’s
sad to think another one will never be built.”
Connection to Beach Connection
It was about
2001 when BeachConnection.net editor Andre’ Hagestedt saw
Gibson’s film, “Oregon Lights” – some five
years before they actually met. This, like anything about the coast,
grabbed his attention, Hagestedt said. He watched it intently, and
even took notes.
heard the story about the ghost in Yaqunia Head’s lighthouse,”
Hagestedt said. “It enthralled me.”
Rock Lighthouse, on the north coast
Not long after,
Hagestedt was assigned a story on coastal ghosts for the Salem Statesman
Journal. He called up the Bureau of Land Management to find out
more about the ghost story, and got an interesting surprise.
“They told me they
had just gotten a letter from a descendant of the guy who was supposedly
the ghost, and she said the guy had actually moved to Portland and
passed away there in the 30’s,” Hagestedt said. “There
was no ghost there.”
In the summer of 2005,
Gibson and Hagestedt met, as part of a shoot for the Oregon Coast
“I remember babbling
on about coastal ghost stories to the crew, including that experience
where that ghost story was ghost busted,” Hagestedt. “It
was kind’a funny the odd looks of recognition on our faces.
I was talking about having seen the ghost story on HIS video, but
didn’t totally realize who had done it until that moment.”
Life X-File in Neskowin
That shoot took
place in Neskowin, with the crew interviewing Hagestedt about what
is called the “ghost forest” there – nearly petrified
stumps from a forest about two thousand years old.
At one point, with Hagestedt’s
feet submerged in wet sand during the shoot, he felt something sting
his foot. He pulled it out, finding what looked like a bug or wood
chip in that spot. He brushed it off him and let his foot sink back
Then the weird stuff
“It kept stinging,”
he said. “But I ignored it for ten minutes, thinking this
has got to be my imagination. But after awhile I looked at it again,
and the same black object was there. It was a bug of some sort,
and it kind of looked like a leech – somewhere between that
and a potato bug.
“And the crew actually
filmed this: there was a little bloody spot there. Whatever it was,
it actually drew blood. So there’s proof.”
Part of the crew included
on-air personality Cindy Hanson, also the PR person for the Oregon
Coast Aquarium. She said she was pretty well versed in aquatic life
and species, but had no clue what could act a bit like a leech.
“I swear I might’ve
encountered a new species,” Hagestedt said. “No one
there, or my friends at Seaside Aquarium, had any clue what this
Ghosts and the Coast
shoots the Pacific panorama
hear about these horror movies being filmed where the subject matter
seems to bring up some sort of dark energy, and bad things happen.
When Hagestedt filmed
the haunted lighthouse segment for Oregon Coast Show recently, he
said the vibe got weird.
was Lincoln City resident Jim Kusz, who does a lot of video work
for various news agencies, commercials and for Oregon Coast Show.
It turned out that Kusz had a lot of new ghost stories – and
new angles on old ones – that Hagestedt hadn’t heard
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and Hagestedt’s girlfriend Melissa Haines met at a secret
spot in Depoe Bay, with dramatic crashing waves.
“First, there were
some weird noises where we were,” Hagestedt said. “It
was just birds, I guess, but it was broad daylight and they sounded
like kooky moans. Jim and I laughed and made scary noises.”
At one point, Kusz was
filming Melissa in the distance, looking out over the sea in a wistful,
slightly moody moment, possibly for use in the ghost segment. Kusz
made a joke about “Oooo, and there’s the ghost girl…”
– a reference to the teen ghost story about the Yaquina Bay
Just then, said Hagestedt,
another unseen bird made one of those weird noises.
“The part that
really freaked us out, however, was his ghost stories,” Hagestedt.
“And, it turned out, he was the guy who had filmed the footage
they use in the ‘Oregon Coast Ghosts’ videotape that
the Lincoln City Visitor’s Center sells.”
Kusz told firsthand stories
about filming the ghost hunters in the video who were checking out
the ghost at the Spouting Horn in Depoe Bay. He talked about witnessing
the two ghost hunters telling the third to be still, as the ghost
was screaming and yelling at him.
“It’s a particularly
chilling moment on that video,” Hagestedt said.
Kusz talked about the
legend of the Oceanlake firehouse in Lincoln City, where he had
brought the ghost hunters to do some fake ghost shots.
Apparently, Kusz hadn’t
told them this place was supposedly haunted. He told them to just
relax while he set up. They soon came up to him and said, “There’s
a presence here.”
They told Kusz
something to the effect that “there’s pain in his chest.”
him out, Kusz said, who later did some research on the firehouse.
There was a 1940’s fire truck still in the firehouse for show.
Kusz said he discovered it was the same one that carried away a
firefighter who suddenly had a heart attack while on a call. “The
man died on the way to the hospital – in that very fire truck,”
In preparation for these talks on the paranormal on the coast, I
did some more digging around. I found some more interesting ghostie
tidbits about Cannon Beach.
|Spooky something at Warren House
around the Warren House, I heard some hair-curling tales about a
supposed ghost there. Some employees talk about a presence that
spooks people every once in a while, including the tale of a specter
that creeped out a repairman so bad he ran out, ashen faced, refusing
to come back in.
One of the chefs talks
about something that freaked him out so bad he started crying. Some
employees there say they’ve encountered something otherworldly,
while others say “no way.”
this inspired me to play around with fake ghost shots at the Warren
House, which you’ll see here. See
the story on Oregon coast haunted lighthouses