‘GHOST MINE’ INTERVIEW: Patrick Doyle on the shadow figure of his youth

Patrick Doyle in 'Ghost Mine' — Photo courtesy of Syfy
Patrick Doyle in ‘Ghost Mine’ — Photo courtesy of Syfy

Patrick Doyle, star of Syfy’s Ghost Mine, was stuck between a rock and a hard place for three months. His challenging time investigating the so-called ghosts of Crescent Mine in Sumpter, Ore., have been documented and presented in a six-part reality series. His partner in the paranormal investigation was Kristen Luman, a psychologist. Together, they tried to convince the superstitious mining team that the efforts to identify the trapped “souls” in the mine was a worthy endeavor.

Those who have been following Doyle’s adventures know that he won over the hearts of the miners but still had the difficulties of investigating paranormal activity half a mile into the earth. The season finale airs this Wednesday at 10 p.m.

Recently Doyle offered his thoughts on the investigation and how he became involved in this unusual field. Answers from this phone interview have been slightly edited.

On getting attached to the Ghost Mine project … 

“It was pretty much a random chance. … Larry bought the gold mine, and he was kind of new to the whole business. And he had to taken some photos of some mists and some figures and stuff like that at the mine. And he goes, ‘What do you think?’ talking to his friend. Like it might be haunted or something weird going on here. He had some weird feelings.

“Then my friend said, ‘Well, I know this guy Patrick. He can probably answer some of your questions.’ So from there, I just met with the guy. And he said, ‘Would you be interested in coming up to Sumpter and checking it out?’ And I was like, ‘Yeah definitely.’ Because investigating in a mine is a whole new venture for paranormal investigating, especially going that deep into the earth and all the training we had to go through. And also … investigating in a working mine. Like some people have been in to downed mines, but this is the first time it was in a working mine, working side by side by actual miners. So it all just happened really quickly after that. It was pretty much a surprise, and a happy surprise.

Patrick Doyle — Photo courtesy of Syfy
Patrick Doyle — Photo courtesy of Syfy

On the presence of ghosts in Crescent Mine …

Mines themselves are pretty much like open tombs. People die in those things, and sometimes back in the day, especially our mine, the Crescent Mine, being 100 years old, sometimes a cave-in happened and they just couldn’t dig the bodies out. So they could still be trapped in there, those souls. …

“I check out the library. I check out the Sumpter Cemetery. But a lot of people died in that area at the time. And a lot of those guys were miners and they were just accidents, people getting slabbed by giant rocks and just other accidents. So with all that death, not only in a mine but in the city itself, that history with the fire and corruption and all that, there’s really no surprise that we’re finding so much evidence.”

On working with the miners …

“All they want to do is get in there and get that gold, because that’s their paycheck. And they don’t want anyone getting in their way, and that’s what Kristen and I were. We were in their way. So at the beginning, yes, it was a lot of just uncomfortable situations, not only in the mine but even during the reveals because we were cutting into their time.

“But over time they started seeing and hearing some weird things that they couldn’t explain. So you only see so much on the show because we have such limited time, but they were coming to us a lot of times saying, ‘Hey, I heard this thing. I’ve never heard this before in a mine. I’m kind of seeing something here, or I’m feeling weird I’ve never felt.’ So we definitely won them over, I guess, became part of the team. We’re more welcome now. They invite us to the campfires now, which is awesome. … These are great guys, and I’m happy to call them friends now.”

On the challenges and benefits of working in a mine …

“There were a lot of challenges, but there were also a lot of benefits because the gear that we use in paranormal investigation, a lot of is experimental still. And the mine just gave us a new area to experiment in, which was great. …

“[The environment] really took a real toll. Some of the devices actually got destroyed because of the muck and the water and the altitude and all that. … There was no Wi-Fi signal, there was no cell phone signal, and when you’re a half mile, three-quarters a mile into the earth, of course you’re not going to get any straight waves from cell phone towers and radio waves. So you’re not going to get that interference that could kind of mess with your devices. So the evidence that we were collecting in the mine we feel is cleaner and richer evidence than evidence that you might get at a location say in a suburban area.”

On the creepiness of the mine …

“I’m not claustrophobic or afraid of the dark, but it is creepy in there. I always explain it’s like entering the alien world, because that’s what it is. You feel cut off from real life. You could be 100 yards in there and it’s the blackest black you could possibly imagine, and the sounds echo all around you. And it’s just that dripping and that wind.

Kristen Luman — Photo courtesy of Syfy
Kristen Luman — Photo courtesy of Syfy

On staying in one location for the investigation …

“This is the first time that I can think of that a team has been allowed to stay at a location for an entire season. I mean mining season not TV season. And like you said, most investigations that you see on TV, it’s like you’re there for two nights or three nights, and you got to get out of there.

“Another great thing about Ghost Mine is we were right there working with the guys, so when there was an experience, an activity, or they had an encounter, we could be in there within a minute, two minutes, just to try to figure out what’s going on. But the other investigation style, it’s like you’re invited to a place, they tell you the stories that might have happened over a year ago, you set up your equipment, and you hope to catch something. We had a better chance of catching stuff because we were right in there right after something happened.”

On the investigation’s findings …

“Kristen and I definitely think that there is something going on not only in the mine but in the town itself. And it goes back to just the history of the town and the tragedy it suffered. So it’s safe to say that yeah Sumpter is a very haunted location.”

On his paranormal beginnings …

“I’ve been doing it for 15 or so years now. It started at a young age at 7 when I had an encounter with a shadow figure. And instead of running away from it, I actually stepped toward it because it was more curiosity than fear. So over the years I was experiencing more stuff in that house, but you know I was never afraid. So I got a little bit older and I started hearing other ghost stories and reading books and seeing movies. …

“That interest grew in me. I didn’t know anything about paranormal investigating or these teams, the groups that go out. It was just me going to cemeteries, checking out old places. When I went traveling with my family, I’d check out the so-called haunted places and do my own investigations the way I thought they would be done. And it’s just grown from there.”

Courtesy of Syfy
Courtesy of Syfy

On that childhood encounter with the shadow figure …

“I can picture every second of that encounter. … It should have been scary because I heard the noise in my basement, and I was a latch-key kid at the time. So I’d let myself in after school, play some video games and just hearing some noises down there. … Opened the basement door, looked down the stairs and there’s this guy standing there, wearing a hat, no facial features or anything, just a black man. But something inside me told me that he was smiling up at me. So it was just that stare down for a while and that’s when I should have ran away, but I just took that first step down the stairs. And when I did take that step, he just kind of, I could feel his expression change and then he just vanished.”

By John Soltes / Publisher / John@HollywoodSoapbox.com

  • Click here for our interview with Kristen Luman. Ghost Mine’s season finale airs Wednesday, Feb. 20 at 10 p.m.

John Soltes

John Soltes is an award-winning journalist. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, Earth Island Journal, The Hollywood Reporter, New Jersey Monthly and at Time.com, among other publications. E-mail him at john@hollywoodsoapbox.com

3 thoughts on “‘GHOST MINE’ INTERVIEW: Patrick Doyle on the shadow figure of his youth

  • September 23, 2013 at 8:59 pm

    I absolutely love this show ! Between Ghost Mine and Haven, I am totally blown away each week. I love the miners, have gotten where I can recognize them, love the way they have finally accepted Patrick and Kristin, and love the evidence they have gathered so far, especially the one that looks like a man back in the cave. I just hope SYFY know a good thing when they see it and keep it on the air. Tommyknockers !!

  • October 22, 2013 at 9:00 pm

    Enjoy Ghost Mine. Also enjoy Ghost Hunters. Anything with ghosts and paranormal stuff–bring it on!!

  • November 24, 2016 at 7:09 pm

    I can not believe it. Ghost where, telsa what. The only thing is a bogus show. Give me a break. I watch because the pretty Kristen.
    ( I would rather watch paint dry)
    invite me sometime


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