The paranormal is the norm for local author Kent Goodman who has authored eight books on topics such as crop circles and ghosts. His book, “Haunts of Western Oregon” has plenty of material on Eugene.
Goodman, 58, wasn’t always a believer in ghosts. Goodman said when he was 15 or 16 years old he was playing guitar at a friends house in Montana, which was haunted.
“I said, ‘I don’t believe in ghosts.’ My friend said, ‘The Captain (the ghost’s name) doesn’t like it when people say that,'” Goodman said. “Then a candelabra on the dining room table turned around and fell off the table and it started scooting towards me.”
Goodman said he has been a believer ever since, but his paranormal experiences are not limited to spirits, “I’ve been in the presence of ghosts. I’ve seen UFOs, and I’ve been chased out of a campground by a sasquatch. I consider myself to be pretty lucky.”
As for Halloween—Goodman loves the holiday because it is based off ancient traditions from the British Isles, whose inhabitants he believes were more in tune with the supernatural.
According to Goodman, the ancient inhabitants of Britain believed, “All Hallows Eve is when the curtain between the living and the dead is stretched the thinnest.” Goodman added that the Celtic people worshiped their ancestors on Samhain.
“I think they were more in tune with the earth and its vibrations and the energy and the spirit of the place,” Goodman said of the ancient inhabitants of the British Isles. “They worshiped their ancestors, they could feel if their was a presence a lot easier than we can. We’re so out of tune with the natural world.”
Goodman believes most ghosts are harmless, but there is some negative energy. He said many times ghosts will appear to loved ones or repeat a traumatic event from their life over and over without interacting with humans.
The best way to stir up specters from their haunts? Since ghosts don’t like change, according to Goodman, and remodeling and changing an old home can bring the ghosts out of the woodwork.
Goodman submitted to EDN the following information on local haunts:
“There are a fair number of ghosts present in Eugene, which makes sense. It’s the largest town between San Francisco and Portland and home of the University of Oregon. A large percentage of the area’s spirits are active in the schools with just a couple doing their bit “off campus”.
“The most famous local haunting is the one at South Eugene High School. It’s so well-known that we even know the name of the ghost – Robert Granke. Apparently Robert was high up in the catwalks above the stage in the school’s auditorium during the late Fifties when he fell to his death in the seats below. Ever since then, the auditorium has been haunted, and there’s even a Robert Granke chair that not many people feel like sitting in. Robert can be heard walking around and can sometimes be seen as a shadowy form in the balcony.
“Once, a theatre teacher chased what he thought was a student in a white shirt through the catwalk. It was stuffy, dangerous and very claustrophobic in the narrow confines, and try as he might, the teacher could never quite catch the student, who was always just out of reach. Finally, the instructor knew he had him cornered as they came to a brick wall. However, the “student” simply passed right through it. The teacher made it to the stage floor in record time after the encounter.
“The Fox Hollow Elementary School has its own ghost, that of a young person called Opal who has been seen many times. When the area gets dark at night, witnesses have heard a voice calling the name “Opal” again and again. Whoever the child is, its presence can be seen on the playground equipment as it shakes and bends even when there is no one there.
“Lane Community College also has a haunted area, in this case the elevator in the center building on campus. It was in this same elevator shaft that a janitor fell to his death in the Sixties. At sunset his pitiful cries for help can be heard, and he sometimes likes to take passengers for an unexpected ride into the spooky basement.
“The Pocket Theatre, in the basement of one of the oldest buildings on the University of Oregon campus is reputed to be haunted. The tiny space is already very small and cramped, and it doesn’t take much imagination to feel a presence there, as many theatre students do. Strange movements and voices have also been seen and heard in the nearby costume room.
“Room 101 in the Stafford Hall (a residence hall) holds an attraction for a dark male figure that can be seen peering into the windows or darting around corners. He can often be seen standing across from the Pioneer Cemetery that is situated a short distance away from the building. He only appears late at night when the campus is very quiet. A case of a spectral peeping Tom? The cemetery is also home to a ghostly bagpiper and a woman in a white, flowing dress who slowly walks the silent place…two feet off the ground.
“A few of the area’s grand homes are reputed to harbor spirits, including the Victorian Shelton-McMurphy-Johnson House and the Campbell House, now an inn. Both residences have had their share of ghostly footsteps, unseen presences and certain rooms that have an undeniable unwelcoming feeling.
“In one apartment building downtown, the renter often hears the radio turn on in the living room around three in the morning. He then gets up, walks into the room and sits down to listen to music for twenty minutes or so with the older gentleman sitting in the easy chair. He is the previous owner who, judging by his clothes worked on the railroad, and had died a few years ago. Another case of ghosts in the house concerns a possessed china cabinet that belonged in a Eugene home. According to family members, if you looked in the china cabinet you would not only feel a presence but could clearly see the reflection of the family’s deceased grandmother.
“Woodland Park is the location where a young boy who apparently was shot while on the playground. If you visit there after midnight, he might approach you and warn you to leave. The town’s art cinema The Bijou is also reported to have spiritual rumblings, perhaps because it served as a mortuary for many years. Making improvements and repairs is one way to scare up dormant ghosts, so with the recent refurbishment of the theater, who knows what once-sleeping spirit might awaken?
“The K-Mart store once featured an auto service center that is now closed. However, an unseen but clearly-felt presence is there. In addition, night workers tell of doors opening and closing by themselves, sign moving of the own accord and on one frightening night a 10-foot section of Talking Elmo dolls all started chattering away at once, even though they aren’t sound activated. The Toys R Us store has the same problem in the upstairs section of their warehouse. Boxes have been thrown, all the lights go out, walkie-talkies suddenly go silent…in fact, it’s said that workers will only go in using the buddy system because of the weird phantom activity.”
Certainly he wants them to win games. It’s foremost in the minds of all Oregon high school football coaches who opened the first week of two-a-day practices this Monday. But as Chris Miller embarks on his second time as the head football coach at South Eugene High School, the former NFL and Oregon quarterback recognizes several factors need to be established at a school that’s won one game in three years before anyone can concern themselves with victories. Miller describes his two simple goals for his players: “One is to learn how to compete…They haven’t been pushed. The bar hasn’t been set really high. We’re setting that bar high. And, two, is to earn respect. These kids were laughed at. These kids were made fun of. When people look at their schedule, they think, ‘Oh, here’s South. Here’s an easy one. We’ll kill them.’ So I want these kids to earn respect so when they walk around these hallways or around town and someone sees them wearing a South Eugene football shirt, people think, ‘Oh, South Eugene. Those guys are playing tough over there.'”
Miller coached the South Eugene Axemen for three years, from 2002-2006. After a rough1-8 first season, his teams finished 30-13 and made the playoffs in four of the five years. The respect for Axemen football has collapsed over the last three years. In 2012, South Eugene lost all 10 games, with only two close scores, a 48-42 loss to Willamette and a 28-21 defeat by Thurston. The team’s last win on the field came in 2010 (although they won a game by forfeit in 2011).
Entering his 11th year as a coach, Miller returns to South Eugene after working three years as the quarterback coach for the Arizona Cardinals. His team returns 10 returning starters. On offense, five starting players return from last year: Michael Bennett (junior, offensive lineman), Liam Duncan (jr., quarterback), Thayne Kollmorgen (sr., wide receiver), Quinton Richardson (senior, offensive lineman), and Conner Still (sr., tight end). Defensively, five starters are back: CJ Hodgson (sr., safety), Michael Selvan (sr., safety), Bennett (defensive line), Still (defensive line and linebacker), and Richardson (defensive line).
“We’re going to run everything on offense,” Miller said. “We’re going to run whatever fits. One thing about me is I’ve seen about every play run imaginable known to man because in the NFL you can access every single play (digitally). So there’s no secrets. I have a got a big grab bag of plays we can draw from, and I’m going to run what fits our personnel and our kids. Some people are locked into schemes. There are numerous schemes that fit our personnel, and that’s yet to be determined.”
The transition to a new coach includes new coaches. Miller has brought with him a crew of former players and coaches to his locker room. New to the team are former Oregon Duck and NFL running back Dino Philyaw (assistant head coach in charge of running backs); former Churchill defensive coordinator and Portland State football and basketball player Kevin Leonard (assistant head coach/defensive coordinator); former South Eugene High and Southern Oregon University player Alex Morrison (offensive line coach and assistant defensive line coach); and former South Eugene High receiver and cornerback Logan Beal (wide receiver and defensive back coach/strength and conditioning. Miller retained three coaches from last year’s team: Sean Emrick (assistant coach – quarterbacks, running backs and wide receivers); Don Oakerson (defensive line coach); and Karsten Tindal (assistant coach – offensive and defensive lines).
The coaches are working with about 75 players this year, compared to the 52 to 54 who turned out last year. Miller characterizes his team as green to football and the culture he’s attempting to foster. “The culture around here has been trying hard and being close is OK,” he said. “…Football’s a game you just can’t go through the motions. Guys have to love it. That’s the number one thing we’re trying to instill in these kids. This is a special game. This is a game about life lessons. It’s a game about family, having your brother’s back. These guys haven’t been taught. They don’t know that. Not everyone’s going to love the game at the same level. But, still, how you play football and how you compete translates directly to the classroom here at South, translates directly to life, when you go to college. When you get out of college, 50 percent of college graduates can’t find a job. You better go out there and be special and find a way to compete so you can find work.”
There will be much work to be done. His initial focus with his players has been the fundamentals. The coaches have stressed basics, things like knowing where to line up, knowing that, as a receiver or tight end, you go when the ball moves and not on the snap count. Miller said he and his staff have assumed the players knew nothing and have been teaching everything. “They’re eager, they’re anxious,” Miller said. “They want to learn…They’re working hard. We have some bullets in the gun. We have some weapons. We’re not going to be shooting blanks.”
As a team in the 6A Southwest Conference, the Axemen will have their share of challenges, including defending 6A state champion Sheldon. Miller is a 1983 graduate of Sheldon and was drafted in the first round by the Atlanta Falcons in 1987. He played 10 years in the NFL with the Falcons, St. Louis Rams and Denver Broncos before being named to the 2004 Class of the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame. This year, though, he begins a second attempt at reviving South Eugene football. And while competing and earning respect are the main targets for this group, winning isn’t too far behind. “Win our first game. That’s our third goal,” Miller said. “(South Eugene’s) won one game in three years, so if we win one, were off to a good start.”
South Eugene Football Schedule (games start at 7 p.m.):
- Aug. 30 – Churchill
- Sept. 6 – at Willamette
- Sept. 13 – at Sheldon
- Sept. 20 – South Medford
- Sept. 27 – at Roseburg
- Oct. 4 – Grants Pass
- Oct. 11 – at North Medford
- Oct. 18 – Crater
- Oct. 25 – at Thrust
Erin Clark heard the rumblings as she caught her breath on the track at Roseburg High School. Moments after winning the 3,000-meter race Thursday at the Southwest Conference district meet, the South Eugene High School senior remained unaware that she’d also set the new state high school record with a time of 9 minutes and 37.91 seconds.
So when she overheard several of her teammates’ parents say she’d run two seconds under the state record 9:39, she didn’t believe it. “I was like, ‘What? I don’t really think that’s right.’ It didn’t feel like we ran that fast.” Confirmation came a minute or two after the race when South Eugene distance running coach Jeff Hess told her she’d broken the 33-year-old record.
Actually, as the race neared its conclusion, even Hess was uncertain if Clark was on pace to break the state mark. Hess said he was standing near Crater High distance coach Justin Loftis at the time. “(Loftis) was saying, ‘She’s going to break the record! She’s going to break the record,” Hess said Friday. “And I was like, ‘No she’s not.'”
With less than 300 meters left in the race, Hess looked at his watch, but he’d calculated wrong and expected Clark to finish at about 9:40. Clark, 18, broke the record set in 1980 by Sprague (Salem) High School’s Kim Roth, who went on to run at the University of Oregon. While there was no big announcement or production made of it at the district meet, there is no underplaying the significance of her performance.
“We kind of had to spread the word,” Hess said. “Most people weren’t aware. They knew it was fast, and they knew Erin’s race was incredibly impressive. Everybody watching it regardless of if they knew the time could tell that it was something special, but there was no announcement about the significance of the time.”
To Hess, the race was significant for two reasons. First, of course, was the obvious: Clark ran the 3,000 faster than any other girl in Oregon high school history. At a different level, though, was the way in which she achieved it. Hess described the first 2,000 meters as nothing special for Clark and Sheldon’s Maggie Schmaedick, who finished second at 9:44.20. Everything changed with about a kilometer left. It was then that Schmaedick made the initial move to pick up the pace, and Clark followed.
“At that point it became obvious they were going to run faster than the average race for them,” Hess said. “…it was a beautifully powerful finish…It was Maggie’s move that made Erin’s finish possible because if they’d just cruised along at the same pace…(Erin) wouldn’t have run as fast.”
To highlight the speed at which Clark turned it on, Hess points to the 3:01 in which she ran the last kilometer. “Those who understand the significance of it will be wowed,” he said. “That, ultimately, is the second most significant thing about it.”
A day after the record-setting race, the lanky, blond runner who will run for the University of Colorado next year was preparing for her final district meet events, the 1,500-meter race and 4×400-meter relay. On Saturday at districts, Clark won the 1,500 (4:29.42) and her team finished sixth in the 4×400 (4:05.48). Next up is the state championship meet this Friday and Saturday at Hayward Field.
“It’s definitely exciting,” she said. “My focus is on the state meet for sure and trying to place as well as I can there…It’s exciting to have done and it gives me some confidence going into that race, I suppose.”
“My goal is to have some really strong performances and running with everything I have at the state meet. I’d love to come out with the win, but I know there are a lot of good girls in the race and anything can happen on that day.”
As the Macklemore concert brought University of Oregon students together in Matthew Knight Arena, girls in long dresses and young men dressed in suits entered the Jaqua Academic Center for the Mackenzie High School prom.
With about 60 students attending, Mackenzie High School rented out the Atrium in the Jaqua center to celebrate prom night.
“It was on of those happy accidents” said Cathy Kelso, music teacher and one of the prom coordinators at Mackenzie High School. “I took a few kids to look at the location and they absolutely loved it. We are so thankful we were able to hold our prom there.”
Costing around $100 per hour for non-university related organizations and $50 for university programs, the Jaqua Center’s auditorium and atrium are available to be rented for a variety of events.
In addition to events, academic programs can rent out the Jaqua classrooms free of charge.
However, the Jaqua Center is not the only place on the UO campus that can be rented by the outside community. The UO Recreational Center has a variety of room that can be rented for about $35 per hour, while non-university students can rent them for about $55 an hour.
The Recreational Center can also be rented as a whole for about $1,800, including additional fees for the Rock Climbing wall, swimming pool and a variety of additional costs. South Eugene High School has often rented the Rec Center for their overnight graduation party.
“They chose the Rec Center because of how many activities people can engage in” Joe Holvey said, former South Eugene High School graduate and current undergraduate at the UO. “I think it was a good idea. Sort of boring, but better than most anything else I can think of.”