Spirited hunt in Port Angeles: Paranormal group hears tales, seeks evidence

PORT ANGELES — In the bar at Michael’s Seafood and Steakhouse, all of the spirits are not on the shelves, some who have spent time there told paranormal investigators this weekend.

Some spirits sit in booths awaiting service, the Monroe-based Paranormal Investigators of Historic America team were told Friday.

Others sip drinks and chat with friends. Some get up and walk to the restroom, their images reflected when they pass a glass office door.

One casts a large dark shadow as it swooshes down a hallway.

Another rearranges the place settings.

One even appeared to a diner.

“She had on a brown dress with frilly sleeves and her hair pulled back, like someone in a service job,” said Dan Addison of Port Angeles.

“I thought she was real until I saw she had no legs below the knee.”

Dan and Rita Addison, whose hobby is staying in haunted hotels, are regulars at Michael’s at 117B E. First St., in Port Angeles.

The paranormal investigators visited the restaurant at midnight and used machines to attempt to hear, see and record anything not of this world.

“We saw the black shadow,” said Debbie Knapp. “We were sitting in the dark next to the back booth. It came out of the bar area and went up the stairs.”

The group’s devices did not detect any ghostly voices.

It was the first night of a two-day visit to Port Angeles. Earlier that night, the group explored the Port Angeles Underground.

Saturday, group members intended to explore the Family Shoe Store at 130 W. Front St. — which once was a downtown brothel — and the Museum at the Carnegie, 207 S. Lincoln St.

Knapp is manager of the Lewis County Historical Museum, and Kathy Gavin, who led Friday’s investigations, is president of the museum.

Both donate their time to the paranormal investigations group, as does Vaughn Hubbard, a retired Lockheed engineer who formed the group to promote an interest in historical buildings.

Hubbard designed some of the equipment and converted a black van into the group’s command vehicle.

The group does not charge for investigations, and provides site owners with free DVDs of its findings, with the goal of encouraging people to visit historic sites and buildings in Washington state.

The paranormal investigators will go over the recordings and tapes they made during the visit, and post a report on their website, www.pihausa.com.

Earlier in the evening, Don Perry of Heritage Tours, who is also deputy mayor of Port Angeles, led the paranormal investigators on a walk-through of the Port Angeles Underground.

Also on the tour were Barb Frederick, director of the Port Angeles Downtown Association, and Willie Nelson of All Points Charters and Tours.

The below-street-level area was once the main floors of buildings and sidewalks that were relegated to darkness when the city streets were raised from 6 to 15 feet in 1914.

The engineering feat left the entire main floor level of city buildings below the street, a section of which is on Perry’s twice-daily historic walking tour of downtown.

Setting up a camera and a parabolic dish that records low-level sound, the investigators sat quietly in the darkness of the now-abandoned rooms in the Kuppler Building, used for decades as a police training and boxing club.

Holding electronic field monitors and tape recorders, the investigators introduced themselves, then invited the local spirits to come out and talk.

Nobody spoke up.

In a Kuppler Building underground room used to store equipment, the window open to the original sidewalk, the monitoring device held by Perry was the only one to light up.

“I’m watching this thing go nuts,” he said. “They’re comfortable with me.”

Perry said psychics have been drawn to the underground after an article about the group’s plans to investigate it was published in the Peninsula Daily News.

Four of the six reported sensing a presence, Perry said, and he has had people on the tour say they felt that someone touched them on the shoulders.

Perry’s daughter, Cindy, 29, who has been a tour guide since her father started the tours nine years ago, said that she has felt something ominous at one end of the end of the largest room of the Kuppler building.

Sitting next to Knapp in the adjacent boiler room on Friday night, she felt the hair on her neck rise and a cold draft right before a loud cracking noise.

Turning on a flashlight, Knapp discovered that a flashlight she had placed with other equipment on the ground had apparently been picked up and dropped several feet away.

At Michael’s, the investigators talked with staff members who say they routinely see a dark shadow moving down the hallway connecting the new and old parts of the restaurant.

Past “activity” included seeing people sitting in booths — who turned out not to be there — or reflected in the glass office door next to the restroom.

Customers have reported decorations on the wall moving, and both owner Michael Lynch and his daughter, Sarah, have seen faces other than their own looking back at them from mirrors above the bar and on the wall.

Activity has been increasing in intensity lately, one staff person said.

Psychics who have visited the restaurant told staff that the entities include a female and a large angry male who may be Native American.

Lynch said his presence may pre-date the building, the old part of which was built in 1930.

There are also reports of a small blond boy who runs through the hallway and rearranges the place settings.

Staff member Melanie Martinez said she heard a boy who, entering the restaurant with his parents, was pointing out to his father places where “the boy died.”

Martinez said she and other staff have seen the shadow at the same time, and while it has scared off newly-hired staff, she is not afraid.

“It doesn’t feel evil,” she said. “It challenges what you believe is real.”

________

Port Townsend/Jefferson County reporter-columnist Jennifer Jackson can be reached at jjackson@olypen.com.

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