‘Ghost Mine’: Digging for ghosts – by Rob Owen (The Oregonian – January 14, 2013)


Click here to view the first episode: http://www.syfy.com/videos/Ghost%20Mine/vid:2618988

Syfy’s “Ghost Mine” takes two popular cable TV reality genres — dirty jobs and paranormal investigations — and mashes them together.

Instead of sending Oregonians into Alaska, as Discovery Channel does for “Gold Rush,” “Ghost Mine” brings the action to eastern Oregon as miners and ghostbusters work side by side at the Crescent Mine near Sumpter, about 30 miles outside of Baker City.

The six-episode first season was filmed in the Elkhorn Mountains this past summer. Cottage Grove’s Dick Secord Jr. (also known as “Greybeard”) was among the miners recruited. His specialty is working old mines and finding gold previous miners have left behind. He calls it “detective mining,” the kind of work he’s done with his 82-year-old father for decades. Secord said it was his first time being filmed for a TV show.

“After a day or so you don’t notice (the cameras),” he said. “You’ve got to keep an eye on the (crew) because you don’t know what’s going to fall where.” Stranger still was the presence of paranormal investigators.

“My first thought was, I couldn’t quit laughing,” Secord said of the “Ghost Mine” premise. “We’ve got hundreds of hours underground and I guess we’re pretty closed in. I’ve got my nose forward looking for one thing and there’s a lot of stuff we overlook, stuff you block out. It was very interesting. I learned a lot.”

Secord, 59, won’t say if he saw ghosts. He’s already learned the importance of not spoiling TV show plots (“You’ll have to wait and see”) and mastering the tease: “I can tell you I’ve got a whole new outlook on it.”

Dave Caplan, vice president of development at 51 Minds, the production company that brought “Ghost Mine” to Syfy, said Oregon was chosen for production after producers learned of a supposedly haunted mine.

“I called the mine owner, Larry Overman, and found out he was this Texas oilman, with no experience in mining, and he was determined to reopen the mine,” Caplan said. “But he’d already had one crew of miners that was scared off and he was running out of time and money.”

Producers took the show concept to Syfy. Tim Krubsack, senior vice president of alternative programming, recalled a pitch meeting interrupted by a fire drill.

“They had a couple ideas they wanted to discuss and there was a fire alarm exercise and we all had to evacuate this 32-story building and as we go they start telling me about this haunted mine in Oregon,” Krubsack said. “It was a known haunted location, which obviously fits in our wheelhouse rather nicely.”

Syfy’s other paranormal shows include the popular “Ghost Hunters” and “Ghost Hunters International.” But “Ghost Mine” marks Syfy’s first entry into the gold mining craze that’s been popular across cable networks with shows like “Gold Rush” and “Bering Sea Gold.”

“What makes gold mining really popular now is in this economic climate where people are struggling and looking for ways to make money,” Krubsack said. “These guys are out there, very relatable, blue collar, hardworking, doing everything they can to support their families. A lot of people can relate to that work ethic and those struggles.”

For the rest of this article, please go to The Oregonian website: http://www.oregonlive.com/movies/index.ssf/2013/01/ghost_mine_digging_for_ghosts.html