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Local miners impressed with 'Ghost Mine'

Posted: Wednesday, Jan 23rd, 2013

photo by Jerry Thompson From left: Joy Norman, Duck Secord and Laura and Dick Secord celebrated watching the first episode of “Ghost Mine” on Wednesday, Jan. 16. The show premiered last week on the Sy Fy Channel.

By Jerry Thompson

For the Sentinel

The airing of the first episode of the Sy Fy Channel’s “Ghost Mine” last Wednesday night was met with approval by Cottage Grove miners Dick and Duck Secord.

Duck and his son Dick were two of eight miners featured in the six-week series, filmed at the Sumpter mine near Baker City, Oregon. They celebrated seeing the edited first episode last week with a large group of friends and family at Dominos.

Until the show aired, the Secords have not been allowed to talk about their mining/television experiences that took place last summer from June through August.

In the first episode, it appeared as if Duck left the show after his first day of mining. Actually, he was at the mine for five to six weeks until he couldn’t tolerate the “tommyknockers” (ghosts) any more or having a woman in the tunnels.

“I’m working and all of sudden see a small stream of dirt coming down between the rocks,” Duck explained. “That’s the tommyknockers warning us.”

Duck said he had the same experience at his mine, the Evening Star in Bohemia country. He got out, and when he came back in the spring, he saw that there had been a cave-in at that point.

“I am superstitious to some extent, but not overbearing,” Duck said. “Watch it; if you don’t believe in ghosts, you might when you’re done. They have some pretty good stuff they captured, but it’s bad luck to have a woman in the tunnel, let alone a redhead.”

Dick was skeptical about the two paranormal investigators (Pat and Kristen, the redhead).

“I was trying to figure out their BS, but I couldn’t do it. There were things with their equipment that were on there that I couldn’t see how they did it, if they did do it or not. Weird stuff happened. I don’t know how I feel about it. I know I saw some things and watched what they did, and it impressed the hell out of me. I did see some things that I can’t answer.”

The Secords were selected to be on the show because of there numerous years of mining in the Cottage Grove area. Dick has been in Cottage Grove since 1974, and his dad arrived in 1979.

“We were doing a mining tour up at the Evening Star and some guy remembered us and knew we specialized in old mines,” said Dick. “And that’s what this was, an old mine. We loaded up our equipment and headed over and it kind of just snowballed from there.”

The Sumpter mine is located at an elevation of 8000 feet, and it takes about one hour to travel three miles to get to the site. Everyone but Dick and Duck stayed in cabins at the mine. The Secords parked a trailer in the town of Sumpter and stayed there most of the time.

The Secords can’t talk about how much gold they found, and even if they were allowed to, it just isn’t a kosher thing for real miners to do.

“How much money you make is something you don’t talk about,” said Dick. “It’s a personal thing for a lot miners. We just don’t talk about it.”

After over 30 years of mining, both tell people interested in mining, “don’t quit your day job.” Dick says mining will be his retirement and he plans on working with prospectors and the mining clubs.

“Tunnels are like a magnet…they just draw you right into them,” said Duck.

“It’s a lifestyle…good people.”

For the complete article see the 01-23-2013 issue.

Click here to purchase an electronic version of the 01-23-2013 paper.

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