The first ever Ghosts & Spirits Downtown Camas Haunted Walking Tour, which took place on Saturday, Oct. 21, covered some of Camas’ “darker” history.
Jyl Straub, owner of The Wild Hair and co-founder of White Light Paranormal Insight, the group that sponsored the haunted walking tours in conjunction with the Downtown Camas Association, said about 70 people braved the downpour on Saturday night to tour downtown Camas businesses and hear scary stories about Camas ghosts and paranormal activity.
“I had a vision to do this tour about seven years ago and we made it happen in five weeks,” Straub said. “It was a lot of research and time, but I learned so much about Camas during this project.”
With help from her friend, Carolyn Masuoka, Straub researched some of Camas’ darker history, including, she says, “a couple of 1950s murders” as well as histories from recognizable Camas businesses such as the Georgia-Pacific paper mill, Camas Antiques and the Camas Hotel.
“I pitched my idea to the DCA and they were really excited and worked with us to put this on,” Straub said. “We plan on doing more tours in the future and have lots of ideas.”
Right after the Oct. 21 event, which took two groups of tour-goers through downtown Camas, starting at Camas Art Gallery and ending at Salud! for treats and “spirits,” Straub heard from three other business owners who want her White Light Paranormal Insight group to come investigate their buildings for paranormal activity.
“We do not charge for the investigations. It is all volunteer. We investigate private homes and businesses when people feel they have paranormal activity,” Straub, whose Camas roots stretch back to the 1950s when her grandparents, Jacob and Margaret Straub took over the Swanks Memorial Chapel and renamed it Straubs Funeral Home, explained. “Our team motto is ‘guiding spirits and empowering people.’ Our team was established six years ago, after I had a haunting in my Prune Hill house. After going through that, I just wanted to help others so that they do not feel alone.”
Of the first Downtown Camas Haunted Walking Tour, Straub said it was a success she hopes to resurrect.
“I would love to just build on this tour and our stories,” she said. “Local author Jeff Davis let us use a few of his Camas ghost stories, as well. We are thinking of offering the tours on Friday the 13th next year, in addition to the October (tours). Our team and lead investigator, Kristen, also run the haunted history basement tours in Kenton Station in Portland every month.”