When the Whistle Blows – Notes from Jeff Richards – Season 3 – Episode 12

For me the Bellvue Mine was one of the only truly terrifying locations we were set to investigate this season. Other locations had their individual levels of discomfort and angst – sure. But NOTHING compares to being several hundred meters below the earth’s surface in complete darkness. Nothing. It is a truly unnerving experience (never mind that it’s haunted!).


I can’t begin to describe to you how dark this space was. The blackness we were surrounded by was very nearly paralyzing. Unlike anything I had ever experienced before. The singular light of a headlamp was not nearly enough to provide comfort.


I can tell you that the heaviness I felt while within the mine shaft was also beyond anything I had felt before. Most locations have an “air” about them. Usually described as a heavy feeling. This was beyond that. You could feel the darkness and despair of the mine from entrance to exit. It was nearly unbearable. I had to leave the mine quickly after first entering. It felt like a weight was placed upon my chest. I couldn’t breathe. I could barely stand.


What was so interesting and unique about this location was the very real danger that we faced. The shaft was perilous, cold, damp, and dark. Every moment of fear you see on our faces is 100% real.


One thing I noticed right away upon entering the mine was my compulsion to put crosses on everything. I wanted to draw them in my notebook. I wanted to scrawl them in charcoal across the pages and on the equipment in the mine. This was a definite message.


I also distinctly remember seeing vividly a tin of cookies – like one might see at Christmas time. This brought forward an air of familiarity and comfort.


In the end I decided to leave a small token of my appreciation to the miners we had been in contact with. Enclosed in a small tin (not unlike the one I had seen in my mind’s eye while in the mine), cookies and a note thanking our friend for the contact. This was left in one of the uncovered mine shafts. I certainly hope the men of the deep who spoke to us across three days in the Bellvue Mine were comforted by this…


–Jeff Richards


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