Washougal psychic to be featured in ‘Halloweentown’ documentary

Kathy Dering leads paranormal tours of St. Helens hotel

Kathy Dering has worked as a psychic, medium and life coach during the past 30 years. During that time, she has hosted a show on a Portland radio station, made a variety of public appearances, taught classes and been featured in numerous publications.

Now, the Washougal resident is set to step into the spotlight once again, appearing in a documentary that could debut on a streaming service as soon as next year. Award-winning filmmakers Bradford Thomason and Brett Whitcomb are producing the yet-to-be-titled documentary, which will focus on the haunted history of St. Helens, Oregon, and its annual “Spirit of Halloweentown” celebration.

“(It might come out) next year. My understanding is that the filmmakers plan on coming out and spending a lot more time, I bet a couple months, next year,” said Dering, who grew up in St. Helens. “This year is for feeling things out, reviewing — meeting people (is) for next year. I think they could combine what they do this year and next year together. But they’re definitely committed. That I do know.”

Thomason and Whitcomb filmed a fortune-telling session at Dering’s house on Tuesday, Oct. 25.

Dering said the documentary-makers called her in September to see if she was interested in being filmed.

“I think the fact that I’m from St. Helens really intrigued them,” Dering said, adding that she was surprised the filmmakers came to Washougal to speak to her. “I thought I would just be one of the side stories … I’m excited about it.”

St. Helens leaders launched the “Halloween Town” festival in 2015 as “an homage” to two movies that were filmed in the town — Disney’s 1998 adventure-comedy “Halloweentown” and the 2008 blockbuster “Twilight,” according to a news release.

This year’s festival, which began Sept. 17, and runs through Oct. 31, features a variety of activities, including a costume contest, live performances, train rides, cannon demonstrations, a parade, a car show, and appearances by actors Harvey Guillen (“What We Do in the Shadows”), Olivia Taylor Dudley (“The Magicians”), Greg Ellis (“Pirates of the Caribbean”), and Ashley Green and Peter Facinellli (“Twilight”).

As part of the festivities, Dering is leading “paranormal investigative tours” through the Klondike Hotel, a rumored host of various supernatural activities.

“Multiple paranormal research teams have paid a visit to the Klondike,” according to an article on onlyinyourstate.com. “Nearly every team that inspects the empty upper floors of this Victorian-era building has reported sensing that an altercation took place somewhere on the second floor. Investigators have also caught a self-starting coffee machine on video and otherworldly voices on digital recordings.

“One of the most eerie stories involves a female spirit that is said to haunt the upstairs portion of the building. According to legend, she had a miscarriage and is now continuously searching for her baby.”

St. Helens, located 30 minutes northwest of Portland, “is rumored to be one of the most haunted places in all of Oregon,” according to the article.

“Do supernatural things happen only in this town? Or do things tend to be drawn to this town? That’s kind of how (Thomason and Whitcomb) are viewing it,” Dering said. “The Klondike was built in 1910, and back then it was probably the most popular place … and it drew in different types of people. A portal could be there for some reason.”

Houston natives Thomason and Whitcomb have a “a catalog that oscillates between archive-rich nostalgic portraits of pop culture, compelling stories of female empowerment, and observational snapshots of under-explored cultures,” according to an online biography.

Their previous documentaries, including “GLOW: The Story of the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling,” which helped to inspire the hit Netflix series; “A Life in Waves,” about the life and career of electronic music pioneer Suzanne Ciani; “Jasper Mall,” which focuses on a financially struggling shopping plaza in Alabama; and “Butterfly in the Sky,” which explores the long-running PBS series “Reading Rainbow” and its host LeVar Burton, have received worldwide distribution on major streaming platforms and earned critical acclaim.

“After I talked to them, I thought, ‘Wow. I could get really busy with clients (as a result of this documentary),’ because I work with clients on the phone all the time,” Dering said.

Dering, the co-owner of The Paint Roller, a mobile paint party business, and a member of the city of Washougal’s parks board, takes appointments for reading sessions (in-person or phone), as well as house parties.

She has worked on missing-person cases on behalf of families and provided consulting services to residences and businesses with unexplained paranormal activities.

“I have been intuitive since I can remember,” she wrote on her website. “I was born with a psychic veil (caul), which is a thin layer of skin over the eyes. I believe I have always had the gift of sight. I remember when I was 3 years old that I ‘pre-dreamt’ things that would later come to pass. It wasn’t until I was 12 that I learned the name for my gift — ‘psychic.’

“The terminology may have changed over the years, but what I do has stayed the same — the purpose of my gift is to provide insight into the journey ahead for you and those who share your path. My philosophy is that we never make a true ‘mistake’ — every choice has a purpose. My gift is to help you understand.”