Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Armory apparitions | Local News | The Register-Guard | Eugene, Oregon

Our local paper, Eugene's Register Guard, had the following story about local ghost hunters on the front page yesterday. By line: Serena Markstrom.
Armory apparitions | Local News | The Register-Guard | Eugene, Oregon: COTTAGE GROVE — A group of women who claim they can detect paranormal activity say there is something strange in the downtown neighborhood that houses the National Guard Armory.

And with the city’s blessing, they have done some investigations at the 33,080-square-foot, 1931 armory, concluding that there are several spirits with ties to the military who hang out there.
Cottage Grove is roughly twenty miles from Eugene. It's considered a UFO/Bigfoot generally supernatural hotspot. Cottage Grove was where our own orange orb journey began years ago: we drove down to Cottage Grove to visit friend, friend wasn't there, we were feeling inexplicably anxious and odd, we left, and sighted an orange orb-craft (not a spirit orb) experienced missing time, and all manner of basic UFO High Strangeness.

Your basic skeptic went along for the ghost hunting investigation; city councilman Jake Boone. I assume he was there as some sort of representative of the city, since the city had to give permission to the group to visit the armory. Personally, I wouldn't allow skeptics on my investigations, but that's just me. So lots of expected comments by Boone about how silly the whole thing is. And we are not at all surprised that Boone is "...the son of a hobbyist magician" and knows better, as an adult, since he was "...most likely being duped by his dad as a kid."

Now, one thing that is interesting about the skeptic Boone's presence (and the article seems to be more about Boone and his skepticism than the ghost hunting team) is his attempt to disprove the reality of the spirit world. At one point he asks if he could call out names of once living officers, to see if the spirits would respond. The names he called out were fake (unknown to the ghost hunters) and, a-ha! proof the whole thing is silly. That little stunt doesn't disprove a thing; one could make the argument that the spirits were responding in Trickster fashion. Annoyed, or, amused, by being teased.

And, the bullet quote pulled for the article?
"They were not trying to fool people. They were fooling themselves.” ~ Jake Boone, Cottage Grove City Councilor

This story annoyed a local citizen, who wrote a letter to today's Register Guard, calling the story "tripe" and "hookum." [Story about ghosts wasn't news, Register Guard, 7/2/13] The letter writer had a good point about the story appearing on the front page, instead of "real" news. On the other hand I find it interesting he missed the skeptic slant given to the article.

Now, all this is my own take on the piece. I have no idea how Markstrom, who wrote the piece, feels about this. I think I'll ask her.


The Atomic Fruitbat said...

Hi, Regan!

I'm Jake Boone, that guy who appeared in the Armory story. (I saw your letter to the editor about it, and a bit of cursory Googling led me here.)

The newspaper article was (as is standard) a much-condensed version of what actually went on that evening at the Armory. As a result, some quotes are paraphrased or taken out of context; sometimes important details are omitted, and the best that one can reasonably hope for is that the end result, after the writing and editing processes are complete, at least gets the gist of it right.

In this case, it got it right, broad-strokes-wise. The Coast Ghost folks are nice people who are very happy with the results of their evening's work, and I'm not convinced that they found what they think they found.

Unfortunately, most of the reasoning leading to that conclusion was lost in the process of winnowing down hours of activity and discussion into a few short paragraphs (the stuntman list, for example, was an illustration of a point that didn't make it into the article, and appears to fall rather flat on its own).

If you're interested in more details about what went on in the Armory that night, I'd be perfectly happy to meet with you and explain more thoroughly. My contact information is on the City of Cottage Grove's website; please feel free to give me a call or drop me an email if you're so inclined.

If you're not interested, that's okay too. I just thought I should proffer the invitation.

Regan Lee said...

Thank you Jake for contacting me, much appreciated.

I have no doubt the story was edited, much left out, etc. That's how it goes in the biz. Been there.

Still, it all gets down to one thing: skeptic vs. so-called believers. Sigh. Been there done that as well.

More to come on this, quite possibly, for I admit I am intrigued. Appreciate the invite.