Kelly Ghost Town, Analysis of Paranormal Claims

I, along with SGHA, conducted several investigation in the ghost town of Kelly. The major excursions were in 2001, 2003, 2006 and 2011. 2001/2003.
The purpose of the investigations in 2001 and 2003 was to investigate the reports of “shadow figures” that were seen around the remnants of the mine. Observation teams were stationed around the mine where the reports of the phenomenon had been reported. Several attempts were made to replicate the position and movement of the witnesses in an attempt to see what they had reported. Eventually, when we replicated what the majority of the witnesses were doing, (moving around the site using multiple flashlights) it became obvious that the shadows are created as the light sources are passed through trees and the ruins of the mine head works.


More reported had surfaced from the area, this time coming from the town’s cemetery. The phenomenon was the same (moving shadows) and once again we replicated the phenomenon as we did in 2003.


New reports surfaced saying that we did not address the “ghost lights” that are seen in the area at night. The purpose of the investigations in 2011 was to observe and attempt to identify the spectral phenomena that has been reported by people who were in the area after dark.
Observation teams were posted on the night of July 29, 2011, Greg Elbring, team leader. Thunderstorms with significant lightening had just passed through and were still at the tail end with light sprinkles when we arrived at about 8:30 pm. Storms continued to move further west during the night, with skies over Kelly gradually clearing.
The first light that I noticed was when we were investigating the cemetery on the southwest side of town. It was a single bright white light high up on the ridge to the east (Figure 1). It looked somewhat like a headlight, though it wasn’t moving. It remained in place for 10 to 15 seconds and I was about to draw it to other people’s attention when it faded out over a period of about 2 seconds. Time would have been about 9:15 pm or so. I have no explanation for what this light might have been other than the remote possibility of a flashlight from someone hiking around an isolated ridge at night during a thunderstorm and deciding to make the rest of the trip down without a light on.


The second series of lights were seen from the tailings pile behind the main shaft structure of the remaining mine works on the ridge southeast of town. Carl was seeing a light to the southwest of town that was behaving oddly (Figure 2), but when I arrived at the ridge, Greg thought that was not the light he was talking about, but rather a dimmer, reddish-orange glow much closer to town. This first appeared as what looked like projected light from a source blocked by the bushes in that it was very dim and spread out, somewhat like you would see from a dim headlight lighting up the area in front of it. This diffuse light was somewhat brighter to the left (south) and dimmed to the right (north). Cody and Kristen also saw this light, thinking it was the one Carl was talking about. As Greg watched, a round, somewhat larger reddish-orange light appeared at the left-hand side of the swath of light, blinked rapidly two or three times, then disappeared. It looked similar
to a car taillight in color, though more orange than usual and more round in shape. The blinking was much more rapid than a turn signal or brake lights would have been.


No sounds, such as car engines, crunching gravel, or car doors closing, accompanied the sighting of the light. We thought that the location of the light could have been near the cars parked at the church and that maybe someone was down by the cars, so Greg and several others went back to the cars to turn the lights on and off while Cody, Carl, and Kristen remained on the hill. Cars were located to the left (south) of where the red light was seen as far as they could tell.

The most rational explanation of the reddish-orange light would be something to do with the cars. The plot of the location falls reasonably close to the cars and, even though the blinking was faster than a turn signal, it could have been similar to the flashing many cars do when the doors are locked or unlocked. It’s possible that someone’s remote activated the lock from their pocket as they climbed around near the mine, but it’s doubtful given the distance from the cars (about ¼ mile) and the range of a typical car remote. It’s also possible that someone was tampering with the cars, though all participants in the ghost hunt were together at the mine and there was no evidence of other people in the town at any time.

The locations of the lights as best as we can place them are shown in side view in Figures 1 and 2. Plan view of the town and its surroundings are shown in Figure 3. Figures 4 through 6 show enlarged map views of apparent locations of the observed lights if they were on the ground. The first white light and Carl’s light plot in areas with no road access and the reddish-orange light falls in the town site near the church.


I do not believe that this location is haunted. First of all, there are no historical accounts of any tragedies (murders, accidents resulting in death, etc.) that would provide a basis for a haunting. Secondly, we were able to replicate the phenomenon that was reported by the witnesses. The red/orange lights near the church were discovered to be coming from cars travelling up the road and turning around at the church. the other lights were identified as coming from a campsite and from ATVs that were moving in the observed areas.

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