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31 October 2020

Hate group's FB page vanishes after leader arrested


 By Brad Smith

GRANTS PASS, Ore. – A southern Oregon’s hate group Facebook page disappeared from the social media platform shortly after their leader was arrested by Grants Pass police earlier this week.

Jon Clement, 61, and Ryan Clark, 43, both of Grants Pass, were arrested on Oct. 26 by Grants Pass police after the pair were allegedly shooting at birds from a pontoon boat drifting down the Rogue River. According to press releases, the two men fired shotguns as their boat drifted near both Tussing and Reinhart Volunteer Parks. Some witnesses reported they heard pellets pass overhead.

Clement and Clark were taken into custody sometime after 5 p.m. and were booked into the Josephine County Jail. Both were charged with unlawful use of a weapon and reckless endangerment.

Clement is the leader of RV Salt Shakers, a hate group that’s operated throughout southern Oregon for the last few years. Clark is allegedly a member as well. The Salt Shakers have been known to picket area Planned Parenthood clinics and harass patients and others using PP services. The Shakers have also been a nuisance at many local events, ranging from Pear Blossom to Ashland’s holiday parade. A number of groups have taken measures to bar the Salt Shakers from their events. They have also targeted the LGBTQ and immigrant communities.

Clement’s group has been accused of using fear tactics and even intimidation.

“(Fear tactics) are sometimes necessary to further our message,” he said in 2019. “If it helps our cause, we’ll do it.”

Word of Clement and Clark’s arrests spread like wildfire through social media and it wasn’t long before the group’s page was hit by trolling.

The Salt Shakers have been scaling back their weekly harassment of Planned Parenthood clinics since counter protestors – some calling themselves the RV Pepper Shakers – have appeared.

Clement was contacted by the Rogue Free Press. He did not respond.


18 October 2020

SOEquity feeding Hawthorne homeless

 By Brad Smith

MEDFORD, Ore. – Despite last month’s police crackdown on Hawthorne Park’s tent city and its homeless population, some are still doing what they can to help.

Prior to that, Clarence Carr was spearheading daily free meals and helped pull together mutual aid program helping the homeless and those displaced by the Almeda Fire. Since the Medford police’s sweep, Carr has been working with others to establish a nonprofit group focused on helping the homeless. As he’s been getting the paperwork together, Carr said he’s working with the Mother Teresa Genesis Home nonprofit.

 “It’s going to take some time but everything starts small in the beginning,” he said.

In the meantime, someone is stepping up. Earlier this month, the Southern Oregon Coalition for Racial Equity announced that it would be helping with volunteer efforts feeding and aiding the homeless. Emily Mann, SOEquity’s social media director, said their role is a “logistical one.”

“We are organizing/scheduling volunteers/ordering meals/accepting donations,” she said. “Everyone agreed that having an entity with some of the supportive tools we have – scheduling software, fiscal sponsorship – would ensure sustainability in the project. We are in this for the long run. We are doing lunch daily and dinner three times a week. We are able to give out about 60-75 individual meals each time we serve.”

 Mann said SOEquity volunteers go through about $100 of snacks and drinks a day. Their meals are delivered through Rogue Food Unite. “They’ve been awesome to work with and provide such an incredible service to the community,” she said.

Little Caesar’s Pizza, bagels, fruit and snacks are the typical fare, along with bottled water. Mann and other volunteers network via Facebook on a regular basis and, so far, it’s been working.

 People – people who would probably starve – are getting fed.

 Last month, Melissa Mayne, executive director of the Compassionate Highway Project, took to social media and made a number of outrageous, unsubstantiated claims that Antifa agitators were being bussed in from Portland and even outstate. She also claimed that Black Lives Matter supporters were involved in criminal activities and, along with Antifa, had something to do with last month’s fires. She made similar claims at a Medford city council meeting too.

Despite Mayne’s group claiming to help the homeless, both Mann and some volunteers said that that they haven’t seen CHP volunteers in the park.

 “It’s odd, since we both help the same group of people,” Mann said. “We haven’t seen much from them.”

 A number of homeless after the Medford Police Dept. sweep relocated to a section of the Bear Creek Greenway many call “Paradise.” Mann said SOEquity volunteers distribute food to them once in a while when they have a few mobile volunteers.

 Some volunteers help in many ways. Melissa Jones said she helps deliver and serve food and drinks to the homeless. “When I can, I bring harm reduction supplies – needle exchange, safe sex, Narcan/opiate overdose prevention, things like that. I do what I can,” she said.

 Mann said SOEquity is committed to helping.

“We aren’t positive when Clarence will be taking over. We definitely want work with his 501 c3 when it’s up and running,” she said. “Overall, things are going well. We haven’t had much issue with rumors. Honestly, we haven’t really had any negative run ins with unsupportive community members or the police so far. It’s going smoothly, very smoothly.”



Mallory's Agenda


So, Ryan Mallory is pushing his agenda again regarding the Talent city council election.

I voted.

And I didn't vote for Mallory's candidates.

No, instead, I voted for people who are the best ones to guide our community and keep making it a better place. For everyone.

While Mallory only wants it for a select few.

Harrison refused to do the right thing a number of years when he didn't support actions safeguarding our fellow residents. Mallory is fine with that because he's stated a number of times that "racism is not a problem" in the Rogue Valley.

Timen? He's no better with his views and he's sanitized his Facebook page to make himself look nice and friendly.

This election year is very important, on all levels. After four years, no, we're still not great as a country but, dammit, our town is looking good and is on the right track. Harrison, Timen . . . these guys will take us deeper into the cesspool.

No. That's not for Talent.

But, that's what Mallory wants.

Mallory doesn't give a damn about social justice, the environment, affordable housing, protecting those who embrace other faiths or progress. Like Trump, he wants to see us careen down a dangerous path of hate, bigotry, rabid nationalism and other societal ills. Hell, Mallory has shown reckless disregard with others' safety during the Covid-19 pandemic. 

In a time of healing and rebuilding, we need thoughtful, compassionate and intelligent leadership. The last thing Talent needs is Mallory's agenda or people like him.


12 October 2020

Ghosts on the SOU campus and not everything is paranormal


 Photo by Jr Korpa

Ghosts haunt Ashland and the surrounding area – it’s a place rich in paranormal lore.

Sometimes.

Southern Oregon University has a few stories. From the Ghosts and Critters website, here’s a rundown of its most notable stories:

Southern Oregon University’s Plunkett Center has been put to many uses since the University acquired the old building in 1966. It has been alumni and development offices on its second floor and the first floor is used as museum displays by the local historical society. This building is also known as the Swedenburg House, taken from its former tenant, Dr. F. Swedenburg. Swedenburg was a prominent local physician who lived in the house from 1919 until he died in 1937. 

Since the University purchased the property there have been ghost stories surrounding it. Some skeptics believe the stories get more elaborate year after year. Believers who counter this opinion included a University professor and the head of campus security. 

Joey Ngan began his experiences with the Swedenburg house when he was a junior campus security guard. Ngan had the graveyard shift when he started out working for security. He always felt as if he was being watched when he went onto the second floor. He would announce himself and explain that he was just there to check out the building. If he did not do this he always felt as if something did not want him there. 

The house was restored in the early 1980s and a new security system was installed. Ngan and another officer had just finished checking the building and ensuring that the alarm system was operational. Later they drove by the house and saw a woman illumined by the porch light. She was sitting beside a window in a first-floor office. They saw her for a second and then she was gone. They entered the building and searched it for her. The door was locked and the building was empty. 

Political Science Professor Bill Muelemans came to the University in the early 1970s and collected several of the stories over the years. In 1973 the building was closed down and the electricity was turned off. Muelemans, a security guard and three students decided to hold a vigil in the house. They went to one of the second story rooms with candles, flashlights and a Ouija board. The board spelled out messages, including a statement that one of the students had tried to commit suicide in the past. This was true, though no one besides the student knew this. The board began moving and seemed to jump in the air about 18 inches. 

At that point they ran out of the building. The security guard was the last one out. As he was locking the door he felt as if his hand was frozen to the doorknob for about 30 seconds before he could break free. Many visitors have seen another specter. A young girl dressed in an old-fashioned pinafore dress with her hair in pigtails has been seen by many unrelated visitors. She is usually seen out of the corner of the visitor's eyes and only for a few seconds. There are rumors of burglar alarms going off and glowing apparitions seen by students late at night. It is hard to pin them down to a definite location.

There are a few other stories, buildings haunted by long dead janitors, teachers and students. Universities and colleges have those kinds of stories, ranging from botched hazings to distraught students dying by suicide. And, some of them are urban legends: The same basic story transferred from one school to another, with some details changed to fit local history or what have you.

Think about it: How many hotels or other places have stories of the jilted bride who killed herself? Yes, at some point, it happened . . . . And then a slightly altered version of the story found its way attached to another hotel or well-known resort. Then, it spreads from there.

Then, you have some local folklore altered into a ghost story.

Tunnel 13 is a good example.

It was called the last great train robbery of the American West. On Oct. 11, 1923, the DeAutremont brothers – twins Roy and Ray along with their younger brother Hugh – robbed the Oregon–California Express as it was on its way to San Francisco. During the robbery, four men were killed and the brothers fled empty handed. Thanks to the efforts of a Berkeley chemistry professor name  Edward Oscar Heinrich and his forensic skills, the DeAutremont brothers were eventually captured and sentenced to prison.

Since then, many have claimed Tunnel 13 is haunted. People claim to have felt cold spots as they walk through the tunnel – well, it’s a tunnel. It’s a tunnel with a violent past and it’s like the funhouse effect, as some of us paranormal investigators call it. It’s like when people look at a spooky old building and think it’s haunted.

Why?

Because it looks spooky.

It’s the same with Tunnel 13. It has the right perquisites for a haunted location. Remote, foreboding, violent history and – most importantly – it has the number 13.

It has to be haunted.

I love history, crime stories and forensics; so the Tunnel 13 story has plenty of hooks for me as it is. And, yes, as a paranormal investigator, I’d love to check it out but I feel that there isn’t enough documentation to say there’s any paranormal activity at the location. There’s a lot to assume and the YouTube videos I’ve seen . . . well, I’m not impressed. Anecdotal evidence might be an interesting hook but it’s not real evidence.

Now, if someone has a different view or even evidence – please, let me know. As Mulder’s poster so famously says, I want to believe.



09 October 2020

Talent: Say "No" to Timen.

Talent doesn't need Ron Timen.

After being devastated by the Almeda Fire, Talent is on the long road to recovery and rebuilding -- and it needs strong leadership.

Good leadership from good people.

No. You won't find that from Ron Timen.

Timen on his campaign Facebook page touts himself as being just the good, decent guy Talent needs on its city council. Like so:


Nice and perfectly smarmy, yes?

From Ryan Pederson Yes. That Ryan Pederson:


A little civility from our politicians is a welcome thing but I doubt people will get it from Timen. We don't need gaslighting. See. This is civility from Pastor Ron's wholesome and personal Facebook page:

No. No, Talent doesn't need Ron Timen. Just perusing his page, his likes, Timen is a right wing crank of a wolf in sheep's clothing. One of his favorite ministers is a guy who rants about the evils of George Soros and the like. It's bad enough that John Harrison refuses to crawl back to the gutter and wants another term as councilor. Talent doesn't need someone else like him on the council. No, Timen is not the person for the job.

As stated before, Talent is in the process of recovery and rebuilding. The Almeda Fire devastated the entire community and people's lives. Strong yet compassionate leadership on the council is what Talent needs. Not someone like Timen. 

Just say "No" to Timen.



08 October 2020

#boycottrogueweather

Greg Roberts posted this a few weeks ago. Despite numerous press releases from the FBI and local law enforcement agencies debunking these conspiracy theories, Roberts continued to push them.

Contact his RogueWeather.com paid sponsors and ask if they support these conspiracy theories.

#boycottrogueweather
























07 October 2020

The Ghosts of Ashland


 Image by Stefano Pollio.

Ashland is home to a number of ghosts and here are few of their stories.

Spanning more than 90 acres, Ashland’s Lithia Park is the city’s largest park, with famed landscape architect John McLaren overseeing a number of improvements. One of the park’s most well-known ghosts is the Blue Lady or Blue Girl. According to the accounts, back in the 1880s, a young woman was sexually assaulted and murdered. Since then, many witnesses have reported a mysterious blue light – or a glowing mist – floating throughout the park, particularly the duck ponds.

Always at night, of course.

The Blue Lady, in her mist form, has been known to move out in front of moving vehicles or seemingly appear out of thin air. In these accounts, as the vehicles pass through the blue mists, the occupants are hit with a cold chill.

Then, the cold goes away along with the mist.

Another story has it that a logger was killed during an accident. According to some accounts, the ill-fated logger used a drinking jug as a musical instrument . . . witnesses claim to hear strange musical sounds as they walk through the park at night.

Where the Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s Black Swan Theatre now stands, nearly a hundred years ago, there was a large parking lot (an automobile dealership would later take its place). During the day, a young man – called Dog Boy or Dog-Faced Boy due to an accident that scarred his face – would sell pencils out of a tin cup; at night, he would break into parked cars or burglarized nearby businesses. However, local vigilantes, according to one story, caught Dog Boy in the act and beat him to death.

Ever since, Dog Boy has been seen the in the area, looking for another vehicle to rob or maybe even seeking shelter from vigilantes.

Famed stage and film actor Charles Laughton went to the OSF in the early 1960s and enjoyed the shows he saw. It’s been said Laughton had always wanted to play King Lear at the OSF and, supposedly, the deal was made. However, Laughton died . . . stories have it that whenever Lear is produced at the OSF, Laughton or some shadowy figure can be seen in the audience during rehearsals or his footsteps can be heard backstage.

In the town’s old railroad district, what’s now the Peerless Hotel was once a boarding house for railway workers and is rumored to be haunted by a ghost prostitute who visited the men.

It should be noted that these stories are based on various accounts and urban legends. Each story probably has several different versions – that’s the nature of folklore.

Happy Hallowe’en . . . .


04 October 2020

A specter is haunting Rock Point Cemetery


 Yes. This is one of the headstones at Rock Point Cemetery. They certainly had a sense of humor.

A few miles west of Gold Hill, Ore., right off of Rogue River Highway, is Rock Point Cemetery.

According to locals and a number of paranormal investigators, it’s haunted.

There was once a small community call Rock Point and it had a post office along with a train station. Some buildings reportedly still stand but the cemetery remains. Rock Point Cemetery is more that 26 acres in size and has an Independent Order of Odd Fellows section and the rest, in the past, has been called the Pioneer Cemetery. IOOF members maintained their section while the rest of it fell into a state of disarray. Eventually, Gold Hill citizens banded together and started cleaning the cemetery.

Over the years, a number of stories about paranormal activity have swirled around the cemetery, even to the point that paranormal investigators and curiosity seekers from all over the state have come to visit.

One of the most well-known accounts is about a hooded figure, carrying a lantern and sometimes bathed in green light, that roams the cemetery. When people approach the hooded figure, it vanishes into the night. There are a pair of crypts located in the cemetery and there are stories of both surrounded by green mists or even green fire. Strange lights, eerie sounds and – again – that green mists were experienced by nighttime visitors . . . typically, local young people who went to the cemetery as a dare or even for teenaged romantic escapades.

As I was working on my first Rock Point article, I discovered that a common dare was for someone to lie across one of the crypts and wait for the green fog or flames to happen. Some stories have it that as young people drove through the cemetery, their car windows would crack or shatter due to an unseen force.

Both sextons and members of the Gold Hill Historical Society claim that people wearing Victorian era clothing have been seen wandering the cemetery – then disappearing. One such spectral figure, a woman, is usually accompanied by the strong fragrance of lilacs.

It is a beautiful place during the fall and spring, thanks to the local cleanup efforts. A number of the gravesites are fenced off and have been decorated with ornaments and toys.

As I researched Rock Point’s history, I discovered who the hooded figure was.

At some point in the late 19th Century, a Civil War veteran moved to the Gold Hill area. On some nights, he would put on his military longcoat, grab a lantern and go to the cemetery. He would visit the gravesites of other veterans, checking on them and even talking, as if having a conversation with the dead.

Many years after his death, it appears that the old veteran still patrols the cemetery grounds.

 

01 October 2020

Sometimes, we're warriors . . . and sometimes we don't know what the hell we're talking about . . . .

 

It’s October.

It’s Hallowe’en season.

It’s my favorite month, my favorite time of year and Hallowe’en is my favorite holiday. And it’s a time when I think about one of my hobbies.

Paranormal investigations.

Yes. It’s a hobby of mine. Alongside astronomy, history, collecting old science fiction/fantasy books and comics, photography and a few other things. For the month of October, The Rogue Free Press will be delving into Southern Oregon’s paranormal and occult lore, urban legends and other high strangeness. The following installment is from The Midnight Eye, my own blog that will be resurrected this month.

If you have any stories you wish to share, contact me and let’s talk.

So.

Here we go . . . .

==========

A few years ago, I remembered how livid I was watching “Darkness Falls,” the eighth episode of Paranormal State's fourth season, where Ryan Buell and his Paranormal Research Society investigators go to West Virginia State Penitentiary -- allegedly, Buell had been there six months earlier and encountered “something dark and evil” – and it scared him, apparently.

The episode was all about Buell returning to the old penitentiary to confront the Big Bad and overcome his fears, I guess. He drags along the usual PRS crew yet he tells them nothing about his earlier experiences or what they could possibly face.

In fact, the team talks amongst themselves and speculate upon why Buell brought them to WVSP. Buell does his best Robert Pattinson angsty pout -- minus the sparkling -- and says nothing whenever he's asked by the team why they're at the site or what had happened before.

Buell has a hissy-fit when the PRS share a laugh and he decides not to tell them anything until they take the situation "more seriously."
And, earlier on, Buell takes issue with the "Shadow Man" picture that investigators Jason Hawes and Grant Wilson debunked when TAPS went to the prison. Allegedly, Buell had others debunk the debunking, alluding that the photograph was real. I don't buy it. I've seen shapes and shadows, mixed in with poor lighting, produce "Shadow People" phenomena. I would have loved to have seen the "debunking" but it was never shown.

After a while, Buell takes the crew to the “Warden’s Tower,” where Buell had the Big Bad Encounter . . . the crew find an inverted pentagram *gasp*.

In typical Buell fashion, he postures and rants about Satanism and hints that there must have been a satanic conspiracy among those who worked at the prison. Michelle Belanger supports his statements.

In disgust, I switched off the TV.

A few things. Paranormal State is entertainment and it’s not how an investigation should be conducted. Case in point how Buell melodramatically led his team into the prison. I’m sorry, but if I had encountered some “Big Bad” and was taking my team to where it had happened – it’s my duty and responsibility as a lead investigator to keep my team informed, for their safety’s sake.


Then again this is Ryan Buell, who supposedly was stalked by a demon . . . and during that time, he allegedly went on investigations, dragging that bloody baggage into people's homes -- as if the clients had enough to worry about.

I don't really know how much was real and how much was “for the show” . . . . But if Buell is like that during actual investigations, then I'm not impressed; if anything, I'm more concerned for the other investigators and the clients.

Especially the clients.

Now for the “inverted pentagram.”

Sigh.

http://www.munroe-falls-paranormal-society.com/blog/?p=269

The above the link is a great resource of information about pentagrams and the like and I highly recommend it to paranormal investigators.

In fact, I highly recommend it to Ryan Buell and Michelle Belanger.

But I digress.

What of the prison and the “pentagram?” It’s nothing. There's nothing satanic or occult about it, there wasn’t a coven of Satanists at the prison and so on.

In fact, these symbols can be found on many older buildings -- even churches -- scattered throughout the world. Again, nothing dark and sinister.

I'm disgusted by this episode. Shoddy investigation and shoddier research, enabled by Buell's narrow-minded views. I was never impressed by Paranormal State and I would never recommend it to people.

Unless I wanted to illustrate to people on how not to conduct a paranormal investigation.

Now . . . some Q&A . . . .

How much do you charge?

Nothing. Our services are free. We do this because we want to help our clients and also to learn more about the paranormal. Our goal is to help people understand what is and isn't paranormal and to put their minds at ease.

How accurate are those paranormal reality TV shows?

In my opinion, not very accurate. Some of those shows exaggerate claims of paranormal activity. About 90 to 95 percent of cases are actually normal activity misidentified as something paranormal. Environmental issues or even structural issues surround the house can cause people to feel that they're experiencing paranormal activity. Even things such as medication use can contribute to the situation.

A good paranormal investigator looks for any and all answers. Not all things are paranormal.

Also, if there is paranormal activity, it's rarely negative. Unlike what you see on many paranormal reality TV shows, "demonic" or "negative" activity is rare. No one has ever been killed by a ghost -- only in those movies does something like that happen.

What you see on those shows is done solely for entertainment.

Yes. Some of the things presented on those shows are staged.

What about psychics?

First off, no "psychic" has ever solved a crime. The FBI and Scotland Yard have no records of anything like that. Only in books and movies does something like that happen.

Some groups use "sensitives." A sensitive might get impressions on things in the area. Impressions or feelings. Those impressions might corroborate the client's claims . . . or not.

There can be a case when you have two sensitives in the same area and get two separate interpretations.

I've worked with the best sensitives in the field. People like them are of a rare caliber.

Sensitives are helpful. However, not always necessary to an investigation.

How do you prepare for an investigation?

After being contacted by a prospective client, a preliminary interview and investigation is conducted. It gives us the chance to meet the client and gives the client a chance to get to know. It also gives the investigators a chance to check out the property and assess things for a possible investigation. After that meeting, a formal investigation is set up, with a date set that is agreeable to both the investigators and the client.

Before the investigation, investigators will do some historical research, check for seismic activity, even checked space weather websites for increased electromagnetic activity in the area. Those things can factor into an investigation.

During the actual investigation, the investigators will come in and set up their equipment and start the process. We do not ask the clients to leave their home during the investigation. It is the client's home and we feel that the clients need to be a part of the investigation.

We set up video recording equipment. Digital voice recorders. We do sweets with the electromagnetic field detectors. We go over the notes about the client's claims of paranormal activity and attempt to replicate them. We look for possible natural answers for claims of the paranormal. Again, many things occur naturally that can be easily mistaken for paranormal activity.

After the investigation, the data is analyzed and we take it from there.

If you do find something paranormal, how do you resolve it?

There are things we can research and do what can help. It's a case by case situation and it depends on what is going on.

Do you respect the client’s privacy?

Yes. We have confidentiality agreements and other release forms for clients to sign.

If the clients do not wish us to post photographs of the investigation, then we will not.

I hope this helps out. This is just a sample of questions I have heard over the years. I'm always open to talking to people about what I do.

As I said before, I’ve spent a number of years working with members of American Paranormal Investigations and now Medford Paranormal Investigations. We’ve helped a number of people over the years and I'm looking forward to helping many more in the future.

Talent city staffers dropped ball after Almeda Fire

City manager  Spelliscy, city planner Moody failed to contact FEMA By Brad Smith TALENT, Ore. -- Emails from FEMA indicate that in the weeks...