Spooky: Paranormal walking tour digs into Camas’ creepy past

Human Interest

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The Pacific Northwest is home to communities with centuries of history which can make for some interesting stories — if you believe that not everyone from the past is really gone.

Underneath the full moon on Friday, Sept. 13, dozens of people pushed bad luck aside to learn more about the other side on a haunted walking tour of downtown Camas. While it may not be the first haunted place to come to mind in the Pacific Northwest, the tours have taken off.

The tours are the work of Jyl Straub and Seth Michael, a practicing medium and psychic.

Jyl Straub and Seth Michael, a practicing medium and psychic in Camas, WA. (KOIN)

“Our main thing is to honor the history and the people that passed away here so they kind of live on, too,” said Michael.

The partners are co-founders of White Light Paranormal Insight, which was formed after a harrowing experience in Straub’s own home. Straub came up with the idea of putting a team together in order to help others through similar ordeals.

Now, White Light has gathered more than a dozen researchers, paranormal investigators and mediums who are helping homeowners and businesses deal with otherworldly issues — and assisting any spirit who may be stuck there.

Their work is the subject of a new documentary, following along on investigations of several local businesses.

Some of those same businesses are now featured on their haunted walking tour called Ghosts and Spirits.

The tour winds through the streets of downtown Camas, stopping at buildings are businesses that have documented paranormal activity.

“There’s layers of time, history and paranormal stories,” said Michael. “You would think that local businesses wouldn’t want their name anywhere near scary stories but, in fact, the opposite might be true — ghost stories can be good for business.”

The team said some were hesitant at first, but now more businesses are getting in on the fun.

“It was pretty quiet the first year and after people saw what we were doing they started coming forward with stories and telling us what happened,” said Straub.

“It’s always good to have new people in your town learning about your town,” said Downtown Camas Associated Executive Director Carrie Schulstad.

The paranormal team donates their time for these tours and ticket sales benefit the Downtown Camas Association, a nonprofit focused on local business.

The Ghosts and Spirits Walking Tour in Camas on Friday, Sept. 13, 2019. (KOIN)

“Inevitably, we’ll have people go ‘What! I didn’t even know about Camas, this is such a great, cute town, I’m coming back,'” said Schulstad.

It’s a tribute to a town many spent their lives in — and maybe some that never left.

“I think that draws people in sometimes, a lot of people look for a haunted place to go,” said Straub. Hauntings from the past are helping to build a new future for this Washington town.

The next Ghosts and Spirits Walking Tour is happening on Oct. 12. Find tickets here.

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