Ghosts for Trump in Seaside

SEASIDE, OR -- To the guy who slapped the Trump bumper sticker on the back of my 2004 Audi A4: Ha, ha, ha.

Who is outside of Sunset Family Fitness in Seaside at 7 a.m. with an inclination to do such a thing?

I came out of my half-hour workout to find "Trump: Make America Great Again" affixed to my rear bumper.

Maybe he got confused and thought it was his car.

If you want to talk to me more about Trump, please contact me at the Seaside Signal office, as we've been looking for the Trump supporter in Clatsop County. Or you may want to consider Clatsop Community Health Care.

By the way, knowing Donald as I do, he could well have a team of campaign workers placing guerrilla bumper stickers on people's cars.

Lucky coins

That was a lousy way to start the day Thursday, but things got better fast. First of all it was beautiful in Seaside, the kind of day like those spring days when I arrived here a little less than a year ago, all sun and blue sky and clean air and temps near 70.

Then I won the pot -- that's the raffle winnings -- at the Seaside Downtown Development Association breakfast -- and heard some fun stuff about the big dig that is Holladay Drive. Everybody's getting pretty sick of the delays and inconvenience, sure, but City Manager Mark Winstanley assured us that the project is still on schedule to be completed prior to Memorial Day weekend.

This week they're working on the curbs, the last step prior to asphalt going on.

The big dig has exposed roadway hidden beneath the surface, "like it must have been in the early days," Winstanley said.

The original road was put down 90 years ago and exposed a vast infrastructure beneath the surface. "We think we know where everything is," Winstanley said. "We don't."

My friend Ryan Wolslagel was the big winner: He found a pre-Civil War gold coin underneath the surface.

Hood to 'ghost'

Also looking for treasures of a different kind recently were attendees of the Oregon Ghost Conference.

Rocky Smith brought the Conference here from Oregon City for its first year at the Seaside Civic and Convention Center. He and other occultists were poking around Seaside's mystical past, present and future in a fair that presented astrologers, spirit communication, haunted history and a panel of paranormal investigations. At times it felt more like Sedona than Seaside.

Smith embraced Seaside history prior to his arrival and quickly learned of the city's ghostly lore -- enough so that he was able to lead tours through town showing visitors spots of interest.

The group trawled around the city, including two late-night tours, one from the convention center to the Ebb Tide and a second along the Promenade.

"The Grimes Hotel was one of the original hotels," he said. "There's a whole section north of Broadway, an area referred to as 'Grimes Grove,' Seventh, Eighth Street near Downing," Smith said.

Seaside ghosts?

The area remains haunted, so much so that author Dave Oester and his wife, Sharon Gill, were inspired to write a best-seller about their experiences after moving into a haunted house on 12th Avenue in Seaside.

"The spirits that haunted the Seaside cottage on 12th Avenue were friendly spirits," Oester said in a 1999 interview. "The most common prank they pulled was to take an object, be it a book or something else, and not return it for several days."

The first night in their Seaside home, they discovered their short-wave radio unplugged and playing "Waltzing Matilda" over and over.

Oester, who died in November, told the interviewer the experiences of living in a haunted house motivated him to begin collecting ghost stories from people, which he turned into his book Twilight Visitors: Ghost Tales Vol. 1.

More on Dave's story -- and tragic end -- can be found on ghostweb.com.

Other ghosts may roam our community, Smith suggested.

He told late-night ghost tour attendees the aquarium "has mixed stories."

"Though the owners don't think it's haunted, there are myths associated with the history of the building," Smith said.

Ghosts and spirits may linger in the region from some of the shipwrecks associated with the lighthouse, Terrible Tilly, Smith said. A shipwreck took 16 lives only a week before Tilly was completed in January 1881.

Is there more or less ghostly activity in Seaside than other places, we asked?

Smith isn't sure yet, but he thinks it is ripe for psychic exploration.

"I'm kind of new to Seaside," Smith said. "Part of Oregon City that makes it so active is its connection with its history, both Native American and pioneer history.

"Seaside definitely shares that," he added. "You have this theory that places that are connected with water -- Oregon City has the falls, creeks and falls; here you have the river, the ocean -- there's some geological things that can cause a place to be more active."

Wait a minute. It's becoming clear now. The Donald Trump bumper sticker.

Who would be up at 7 a.m. and do such a thing -- slap a bumper a sticker on an innocent bystander's car? That is right out of the "Waltzing Matilda" playbook.

Just the type of mischief you'd expect from a disembodied spirit released from beneath the pavement during the construction on North Holladay Drive. I wish I'd found the gold coin instead!