'Ghost Mine' features local duo

'Ghost Mine' features local duo

COTTAGE GROVE, Ore. - Legend tells that the streets of Cottage Grove are paved with gold under all that asphalt.

The town was built on gold mining, a history that the Secords took to TV for a SyFy reality series called "Ghost Mine."

The Cottage Grove miners took to an old eastern Oregon gold mine outside of Sumpter, searching the abandoned dig for new signs of gold.

"Everybody wants to know how much gold did you get?" Duck Secord said. "We don't know!"

"You never answer that question," Dick Secord said. "Any miner that'll tell you how much gold he's got, he's fully of bologna. You just don't talk about it."

Duck and Dick, father-son gold miners from Cottage Grove, filmed "Ghost Mine" outside Sumpter, a living ghost town southwest of Baker City in northeastern Oregon.

The duo got the nod based on their experience mining for gold since the 1970s using technology around since at least the 1870s.

They give the show the "mine" part. A pair of paranormal investigators picked up the "ghost" end of things, which didn't always sit well with the miners.

"We were there to blow up rock, and they were in the way," said Dick, known on screen as Grey Beard. "They introduced two people as paranormals. Well, in my book, if someone says, 'Hi, I'm a paranormal,' that just opens the door for jokes."

The Secords said they didn't need an expert to tell them ghosts dwell in those old mines.

"They're good. They're good ghosts," Duck said. "Some people think they're bad, you'll see pebbles coming down out of a crack."

Duck said that isn't a spectral threat - it's a friendly tommyknocker warning a miner to get out before it's too late.

"You know, I'm a pretty good believer in superstitions," he said. "Superstitions like that, if they've been handed down for years, there's got to be something to it, and so far it's paid off for us."

But not all the miners are so convinced the ghosts are on their side.

A pair of greenhorn miners joined the Secords for the show. Jay Verburg and Jamol Eli were skeptical about the existence of tommyknockers at first, but say "Ghost Mine" changed all that.

"There's a supernatural realm there that's going on that it kind of freaks you out," Jay said.

Freaked out or not, the greenhorns said everyone should take notes from the two old-school gold miners from Cottage Grove.

"Dick and I, we took chances we shouldn't have had to, but we got to find out so we just take then, and we just lucked out I guess," Duck said. "He was always there to save me."