Ghost hunters investigate Port Gamble cemetery on inaugural mission

PORT GAMBLE – It’s 11:14 p.m. Friday.

Six representatives from the newly formed Paranormal Washington, an investigative team modeled after the SciFi channel’s television show “Ghost Hunters,” have gathered for their first-ever investigation at the historic Buena Vista cemetery in Port Gamble.

Overlooking the decrepit mill site, the investigators talk of a decapitated spirit while Kelly Beem, director and founder of the group, checks off his list of equipment — an Electromagnetic Frequency (EMF) detector to determine paranormal “hot-spots,” Electronic Voice Phenomena (EVP) recorder, video cameras and K2 electric spot thermometers.

The current temperature: just two degrees above spooky.

“The mill is very much haunted too. Some man lost his head while working there,” Beem said.

It’s 11:23 p.m.

Camera flashes abound as the investigators test equipment walking up the hill to the cemetery.

Half blind, the crew stops as three shadows appear near the Post Office.

No need for an EVP here, it’s just your typical, every day trio of civil war reenactors going for a nightly stroll while sipping beverage from a Mason jar.

The timing conflict of having 400 campers for Port Gamble’s Civil War Reenactment during the first inaugural ghost hunting investigation, however, wasn’t of concern to the team. No one was crazy enough to set up camp in the cemetery — besides the ghost hunting crew.

“By having all the people around it will either scare the ghosts away or agitate them,” said investigator Sondra Vath. And they were on a mission to find out.

In the dark cemetery with tombstones more than 100 years old, the worst fear of the team was “getting shot by a Confederate soldier,” said investigator Jeremy Lymburner, with a laugh.

It’s 11:45 p.m.

Everything is quiet on the battlefront and lanterns are extinguished in the varying encampments. Armed with tape recorders and temperature gages the investigators set out to refute obscure shadows or capture the tell-tale signs of the unknown.

“First, we identify the problem and then try to debunk it,” Beem said, adding it’s necessary to rule out all other possibilities before claiming definitive paranormal.

What they were looking for: residual and intelligent hauntings.

“Residual is an episode in time, say for instance something you love so much, like a woman who loves baking at night, she does it every day. The spirit holds on to it and is completely unaware,” Vath said. “Intelligent is something that can come up and put its hands on you. It does something to get your attention.”

It’s 12:13 a.m.

The team gathers around the grave of an infant with the last name Lorette, who was born and died on Oct. 14, 1931.

“There is a tree growing right out of where the child would be buried,” Beem reported Monday after reviewing the EVP recordings.

“We were sitting around talking and [in the tape] we hear either a faint child voice saying ‘hmmm’ or ‘hey,’” he said.

The team didn’t capture any apparitions; however, Beem said they recorded at least five voices on their EVP — none of which were the team members or anyone from the present-day civil war.

“We asked Charles Lee Barton to speak to us and on the tape you hear a voice say, ‘not now,’” he said.

The creepiest instance happened to investigator Nikki LeGros.

“She felt a really cold spot on her back,” Beem said, adding that the temperature dropped there from 55 degrees to 44.

“I asked for it to move the body temperature back up 10 degrees,” Beem said, adding that immediately the temperature went back up to 55 degrees.

“I said, ‘amazing, that’s pretty good, still disputable though’ and after that [on the tape] you hear a man’s voice saying ‘you’re welcome.’”

Beem said in the paranormal line of work there are skeptics. Part of his job with the team is to prove there is or isn’t paranormal activity.

The team was organized to give people peace of mind and a resource to call for a second opinion on “paranormal” instances. They even have a help line: (360) 447-7257.

“Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. There are other things out there,” he said. “It’s a different plane of existence.”

To listen to the EVP tapes garnered at the investigation of the Port Gamble cemetery, or for more information about Paranormal Washington, visit

Paranormal Washington hosts its next meeting at a Perfect World in Bremerton at 6 p.m.

Staff writer Jennifer Morris contributed to this report.

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