If Karen Frazier’s name sounds familiar, maybe it’s because you know her from Paranormal Underground Magazine or Paranormal Underground Radio. Or maybe you’ve read one of her articles or books. (As a freelancer, she edits and writes for a variety of places.)
It was her book Avalanche of Spirits: The Ghosts of Wellington that caught my eye and sparked my interest, though.
Here is the book’s description:
On March 1, 1910, an avalanche rocketed down the mountains and descended on two trains filled with passengers and railroad employees. Those trains were sitting on a passing track in the tiny, mountain town of Wellington, Washington. At least 96 people died. Nearly 100 years later, in 2009, paranormal journalist Karen Frazier visited the avalanche disaster site. What she discovered there changed her life forever. Karen, and many others who have spent time at Wellington, believe it is haunted. Avalanche of Spirits: The Ghosts of Wellington is part historical account, part ghost story, and part personal memoir.
I have been meaning to get interview questions to Karen for a while now. I finally did last week, and she shot answers right back to me. The Q&A follows below:
Why the paranormal? What is it that draws you to it?
Like many, I had early experiences I couldn’t quite explain. I lived in an apartment in my early 20s in Bremerton, Washington. It was old WWII Naval housing they’d converted to an apartment complex. Many nights as I laid in bed, I heard footsteps walking across the room. I would feel the bed depress as if someone sat down next to me. I felt breath fluttering across my cheek, and someone would whisper “I love you” in my ear. Many other things happened, as well, including a six-foot inflatable Godzilla that normally sat in the corner of my living room winding up one day in the middle of my bed. I moved, and quickly convinced myself I was crazy. About 20 years later, I decided I really wanted to look into that phenomena rather than denying it existed.
What was your “ah ha!” moment that made you realize, “You know what? I’m going to write a book about the Wellington avalanche.”?
I knew from the moment I stepped on the site I would somehow tell the Wellington story. Originally, I thought maybe I would do it in documentary film form. As things evolved, I wound up writing a book. You can still see snippets of the original film I planned to create on the website, WellingtonProject.org.
What’s your favorite ghost story?
Wow that is really a great question, and one I’ve never thought about before. I’m not a fan of “ghost stories” because they seem too contrived compared to the real thing. Ghost stories are so in your face. Actual hauntings are so much more subtle, and yet so much more miraculous at the same time. I think my favorite ghost stories might be my own personal experiences, because they have forever changed the way I view life, death, and the human soul.
Which haunted place would you like to travel to that you’ve not yet had the opportunity to venture to?
It’s funny – when I interview people, I always ask about their paranormal bucket list. I found my paranormal Mecca pretty early on (Wellington), and it told me everything I wanted to know about the paranormal and ghosts. Everything else is just gravy. I would like to visit the USS Hornet, which parapsychologist Loyd Auerbach talks about in some of his books. It sounds pretty incredible. I would also love to go back to my first apartment and experience it from a place of trying to connect rather than the fear I felt at the time. Currently, I’m more about going places and connecting with ghosts, rather than just going and experiencing them. I believe ghosts are people without bodies, and I want to interact with them and know them in the same ways I want to know live human beings.
What’s something you absolutely DO NOT travel without?
My four pound Brussels Griffon named Monkey, my iPad, my laptop, my cell phone, and my family.
What other projects do you have in the works? Anything new coming up you care to share?
I’ve just completed an update to Avalanche of Spirits called The Ghosts of Area 61: The Wellington Project. It talks about last summer at Wellington as well as some other experiences I’ve had related to Wellington. Unfortunately, I had a stubborn kidney stone that lasted all last summer and was resultantly on some pretty heavy duty pain medication. Because of that, I don’t have as many experiences to relate that are super clear in my mind. So I decided to do the new book this way. In the first part, it is Avalanche of Spirits in its entirety. The second half of the book talks about what happened after the end of my first summer at Wellington. It also includes many of the gorgeous photos my good friend Jayme Coates, who is an amazing photographer, took up at Wellington.
This is what really excites me though. I’ve decided to skip the traditional publishing route this time, because my entire focus is telling the Wellington story to as many people as I can. Therefore, I’m going to publish the whole thing as a PDF file, and anyone can download it for free. Then, if people feel they’d like to contribute because they liked the book and appreciate what we’re trying to do at Wellington, they can make a donation. We’ll put that money back into continuing to tell the Wellington story and memorializing what happened there.
Karen, thanks so much again for being patient with me and bearing with me until I could get my rear in gear and get you questions. Your answers were amazing, and I really love what you are doing at Wellington. You are setting a marvelous example. (And here’s to hoping you don’t encounter any more stubborn kidney stones. Sounds painful! Glad to hear you are doing better now.)