Miners are a hearty lot. Every day, they go deep underground with picks and dynamite. They pound into centuries old rock and hope that the roof won’t come down on top of them. They do this because hidden in those walls are bits of glimmering gold – enough to turn paupers into kings if you get it right. If you get it wrong, you better hope the worst you walk away with is empty pockets.
For those with the dream, there are only two things that will stand between them and a gold mine; red-headed women and ghosts.
The series is set in the Sumpter area of Oregon. Sumpter was home to a gold boom at the turn of the century but lost everything when a freak fire devastated the town in 1917. Many of the mines were abandoned even though they still had veins of gold. One of those was the Crescent Mine which was the site of so many tragedies it was deemed to be haunted.
Fast forward 80 years, and now a new owner is ready to give the mine another go but this time, he’s bringing in reinforcements – a pair of paranormal investigators who are determined to find out the truth.
The miners in this tale are mostly experienced workers and they come with colorful handles such as Bucket and Duck. Duck got his name because he had a habit of cutting his dynamite fuses too short (follow through on that and you’ll get it.)
The crew also includes two newbies both of whom are looking for a fresh start. One has a large family and has been unable to find a job for years, this mine is his last hope.
The ghost hunters are Patrick and Kristen. They arrive with an array of high-tech gear that will allow them to monitor the mine from the safety of the basecamp outside. They do venture in now and then to investigate claims and that makes the miners nervous. Part of the problem is an old miner’s superstitious that says it’s unlucky to have a woman underground. If she’s a red-head (Kristen), it’s even worse.
Beyond the superstition, the men simply aren’t thrilled with the idea of two techy, professor types, bumbling around inside a crumbling mine. Can you blame them?
In the pilot episode, which airs January 16 at 10:00 on Syfy, Duck and one of the newbies hear noises while planting dynamite charges in the mine. And can I stop here and say really? You let a newbie plant the charges in the mine? Duck hears three distinct taps which he attributes to a Tommyknocker, kind of spirit known to inhabit mines. Tommyknockers are said to knock out a warning when the mine is about to collapse, so Duck runs for it and sure enough, part of the mine caves in.
For the skeptics, you could say that what Duck heard was the first few stones falling from the roof and he was wise to run. Which brings me to the biggest issue I have with this series, hearing noises in a dark mine doesn’t mean it’s haunted. More likely it’s full of critters and shifting earth, both of whom will make plenty of odd noises. So how can we say for sure that the incidents are spectral?
Patrick and Kristen sit the miners down to show them some “proof.” They play three EVP sessions that contain ghostly voices. I could only pick out one that sounded like a heavy sigh. The other two I couldn’t make out. In all fairness, that could be the screener. Sometimes these discs aren’t as sharp as they’ll be for the airing so it’s possible they’ll tweak the sound to make it more audible.
They do show another piece of evidence that’s pretty compelling. They set up a laser grid in the mine and capture a black shadow moving low across the grid breaking the light beams. Since they were filming in the dark, it could have been an animal, but it’s creepy either way.
As with all ghost hunting shows, Ghost Mine works if you believe what you see. If we assume that they are going to air real, unaltered, photography, audio and electronic results, then it’s exciting. If ghosts are hanging out anywhere in the US, a turn of the century gold mine is a likely place to find them.
I hope both the miners and the investigators find what they’re looking for.
Ghost Mine airs Wednesdays at 10:00 on Syfy beginning January 16.