Mr. Bill and Miz Mona

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Fireweed is blooming

Miss Mona sez:

For Alaskans, fireweed is the indicator of the beginning of the end of summer. Traditionally you have 6 wks after the fireweed blossoms are open all the way to the top before first snow. It is not an exact science, it is folklore, so it is just an indicator. A warning to prepare for what is coming soon.
We begin the process, if we are wise. Check the snow tires to see if they have another winter in them. Do the kids' boots still fit. Do we need a new snowshovel. Is this the year we buy a snowblower. Who will plow the driveway this year. Clean up the yard, mulch and mow and get the garden ready for winter. Plant fall bulbs, Put the boat away and dig out the snow skis. Clean the garage. Is there enough for a yard sale or do we donate?
Every winter, year after year, it always comes. Can't ignore it, it won't go away.

In my spirit, it feels like the fireweed is blooming. There is a stirring, a something that says we have to get ready. Change is coming to this country, this world. The sun is setting a little earlier each day and I feel the coming darkness down deep in my bones. It feels like a spiritual winter is almost upon us and I find myself praying for wisdom, for revelation, for the strategy of preparation. Alaskan winter I understand, but this thing is different. I am unsure of the process. I feel like a cheechako, new to the territory. Torn between ridiculous overpreparation and denial.

I am not afraid, not really. Well, maybe a little. It is the unknown and I am trying to be wise.
I spend too much time alone these days. A solitary Christian is vulnerable in ways that are not an issue when you are in fellowship. It is easy to get out of balance.

It has been most of a year since I have "gone to church." Caring for Mom who is unable to leave the house has kept me here alone. Bill goes, he is on the worship team, and I stay home. Don't get me wrong, he has offered to trade and I have said no. I have a weekly group of friends that I meet with, we share, we pray. That has been my church. I built it out of need. That is what I do. He does not have that drive to build his own church and so must go where one already exists.
When he is home, we are generally on opposite ends of the house, one with Mom, one doing other things. The room is too small for us all and the chairs not really made for his size and his injuries, so I do most of the care. I do it willingly, I do it from love of Mom and my husband. I have the skills and I use them.

My point in this is that I am limited in what I can do in response to that inner urging to be ready. I am an ant, not a grasshopper- I believe in working for what you need. I like the storing up for the winter philosophy, a full pantry makes me feel safe and ready. I like extra socks and blankets, a little something put by for a rainy day.

And yet the Spirit says to me, "Be still."


I have no real idea who I write this all to. I know there are a few people who read it now and again and I appreciate that. But I really don't know where this is supposed to go. Lives are so busy and full, so many demands on each of us.

Caring for someone who is dying is an interesting place to be. Watching as her life has dissolved to the current level and the tenacity with which she fights to hold onto the shreds of it that are left. It makes me wonder what I will be like when my time comes. Will I "not go gently into that good night but rage, rage against the dying of the light"? Or will I be "Gladly I lived and gladly I die and I lay me down with a will!"

And the fireweed is blooming, halfway up the stalk.

Loving you!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Moose Pass Journal/Whittier/7-27-2011e

Bill Says: "Whittier-Unique Even In Alaska" was the city's motto and it was even displayed on the Department of Public Safety shoulder patch. But as with most new police chiefs, I designed my own patch and removed the motto from it. But in truth, Whittier was quite unique. The housing situation was odd enough and the association with the Alaska Railroad often unfriendly; the lack of stores; two extremely long tunnels to gain entry into the town, ( the 3.2 mile long one considered one of the longest in North America); the bizarre closed up community life inside Begich Towers and of course the town's infamous city council.

Made up of mostly senior citizens, the Whittier City Council could spend long meaningless hours arguing over the most trivial matters. Outside of department heads who were required to attend, no else did. The council even spent one whole evening debating, often in heated tones, on how the city's supply of toilet paper for the city's offices and shops should be purchased and delivered. There was also the memorable meeting when the council considered options in handling the black bear problem and the largest sow decided to attend. The bear entered the fire hall and stuck her nose into the council chambers, which were located in one of the classrooms of the fire hall, and had to be chased off. I figured she just wanted to have her say, but the mayor wouldn't go for it.

I caught on pretty quick as to why the normal citizen avoided these meetings. They were often just plain crazy and little work was accomplished. The City Manager, who became a friend of mine, would be shaking his head through the whole meeting and usually hoping he'd still have a job by the meeting's end. Whittier went through a lot of city managers and I was hoping the council members behaved better toward their police chiefs. The former director had lasted 2-years. Now,  I did get into several arguments with the council members and one of them hated me from the beginning- but he simply hated all cops. But I held my temper in the meetings, respecting their age as I was taught and we seemed to get along for all of 18-months.

But Whittier did have a bear problem and thankfully it was only black bears. I counted 8 separate bears, with old momma bear being about 300 pounds and easily identifiable with her face and right rear flank covered in scars. They loved to walk around town, entering the store once in a while and becoming a big nuisance for us.

One of the bears became somewhat unruly, chasing a customer through the grocery store, ( the owner went into hiding), came into my fire hall to check out the fire trucks and then wandered into the campground. It became interested with a camping trailer, began chewing on it and then started to tip it. These bears are pretty strong and in this instance, the trailer was occupied by a terrified woman. This time I was forced to deal with the bear harshly and put it down before it could hurt someone. The council members were upset with me- again and thought I could've just chased it off. But this bear had lost its fear of man and I knew only worse could come if I had not taken the action I did.

Trying to work with the council, who thought the bears were all pets, we used firecrackers on the bears to chase them off, even special non-lethal shotgun shells and later, we used bear spray. But sometimes, nothing seemed to work and we had to destroy the animal.

In one case I was called by the Alaska Railroad, who reported one of their train locomotives had struck a bear in the long tunnel. The bear was injured, but not dead. So, I sent Officer Mark into the tunnel to put the bear down and bring it out. He called me by radio before entering the tunnel to voice his wariness into carrying out this chore, "You want me to enter this long black tunnel to locate a wounded black bear and put it down. I should get hazardous duty pay for this, Chief!" As usual, Mark carried the job off and he wasn't mauled in the process.

We often responded to bear calls, but in my 18-months of working there we never had anyone mauled. But a month after I left a woman was mauled and thankfully survived. I had told them they couldn't treat these wild animals as pets, but the city council must've informed the new chief to do just that and this was the result.

One of my first investigations I worked in Whittier was unfortunately against the former Public Safety Director/Police Chief. A complaint was filed against him by who I would later term as a "town character".  The man had gone on the bad side of the police chief and it went down hill from there. After conducting my own investigation and showing the police chief at fault, I contacted the Alaska State Troopers and requested their involvement in this case so no bias could be shown. We had no troopers in Whittier and I was granted an Alaska State Trooper commission to handle duties outside my normal jurisdiction. This would come in handy when I had to handle problem calls inside the Prince William Sound and my responding to the various islands.

My predecessor had grown weary of the town character and arrested him for a charge of Disorderly Conduct. but once he got him into the jail cell, he had denied him of his rights as a prisoner. He refused him a blanket, denied him a phone call for 24-hours and didn't feed him during that time. To make matters worse, he tape recorded all his dealings with the prisoner and I had the tape. Oddly enough, my city manager suggested I lose the tape and I told him I couldn't do that. The trooper investigation resulted in the former chief being arrested in Valdez for two misdemeanor charges. He did plead guilty and was placed on one year probation. The injured party then brought civil suit against the city and won a cash award of $10,000. Again, the city council members were not overjoyed with me for bring the troopers in, but they hadn't realized how I had probably saved them $100,000 in a larger civil trial award if the man's lawyer had been able to show I had attempted to cover the matter up.

Except for a few domestics, a burglary and a dozen or so ambulance calls, the fall and early winter of 1988-89 was relatively quiet. I arrested the suspect for the apartment burglary and a second suspect for burglary of a small store inside the Begich Towers.

My City Manager had a heart attack, he was 70-years old and sent off to Anchorage. He had to have open heart surgery and on the day of his operation, Captain Hazelwood drove the Exxon Valdez onto a large rock inside Prince William Sound. Almost overnight, Whittier was transformed. The city became a staging area for the oil response crews. I lost more than half of my volunteers and needed to hire two additional police officers. I also created a five-man reserve police officer program to assist us with the increased work load.

As I said earlier, when I took the job the town averaged 300 calls a year. During the summer season of 1989,  the City of Whittier handled more than 3,000 calls.

Exxon and Vecco employees moved into Whittier and I leased them the council chambers to have as their office. Here they screened perspective employees for beach clean-up. The office workers would then bring me there employee applications and I would run them for warrants. As a result, we arrested over 2 dozen men wanted on misdemeanor and felony warrants. We also picked up two men wanted in lower 48 for major felony offenses.

The city council wanted me to arrange leases for the city's helipad  and even my rescue boat, but I had to deny them since the helipad belonged to the federal government and the boat was purchased on grant money. They were upset with me again, but I was now the Emergency Operations Manager. With the City Manager out for at least a couple of months, I was left handling part of his job and boy, I was way over my head. I was handling multi-thousand dollar leases and had to call in some favors for help in these matters. During this time I was also required to put together the city's first Disaster Preparedness Plan. I was working or staying at the station nearly 18-20 hours out of the day and Mona needed to bring the kids down to see what daddy still looked like.

Mona and I were required to become EMT-1, which I really didn't enjoy. But she did. I was also required to become certified as a high rail driver so I could drive the ambulance on the railroad tracks. This had to be the most boring class I would ever attend.

Along with the all the people coming in to town in hopes of finding a job on the clean-up crews, the trains brought in numerous unsavory people. I began to meet the trains and send people right back. These were the prostitutes and suspected drug pushers. Oh, they said I was violating their rights and I told them to file their complaints with the troopers in Anchorage, but no one ever did. I felt much like a town marshal kicking bad characters out of town, but I didn't need the problems. I told the train conductors to bill the city for the return fare, but they never did and it was one of the few times I got along with the railroad. ( More on that later).

One prostitute did get into town and I arrested her for a felony warrant. A judge in Anchorage reported she had AIDS and wanted her off the streets ASAP. She had already been with three men and I had the sad duty of notifying them. One attempted suicide, but I was able to get the gun away from him. Weirdly enough, the train tunnel was closed during this time and I had to transport this woman out through a top secret government tunnel that the US Army's tank farm used in Whittier. The woman kept trying to scratch or bite me, so I placed her in Carhart coveralls, her hands handcuffed behind her and in mittens and I duct taped her mouth. Now the secret tunnel was pretty small and an 8-foot long electric flat car was used to check the fuel line that ran through the tunnel. I placed her, lying down on the flat car, while I sat beside her to hold her in place. It was an extremely low ceiling and took us nearly half-an hour to traverse inside of the mountain and I was glad to be outside again. I then escorted her across Bear Valley, where the train crews were working and placed her on a railroad high rail car for the ride through the second tunnel and out to the highway, where the troopers were waiting.

While escorting her through the work crews, the men looked oddly at us and I heard one ask, "What did she do?" I could understand his curiosity from the way I had her all taped up. But I didn't answer him and I continued on with my prisoner. I was quite happy to get her out of town. The tunnel was closed for 7-days and everyone was stuck in Whittier because the trains were not running during this time. But we survived the hardship and the summer continued on.

More to follow.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Moose Pass Journal/Whittier Cases/ 7/25/2011

Bill Says: After leaving Seward, we moved to Eagle River and I had surgery on my stomach. I was getting set to enter Alaska Pacific University in Anchorage in the Fall. I was retired and had not applied for any jobs, but then the Lord stepped in and I got a call from the City of Whittier. Someone had given them my name and they located me. They invited me down for an interview for the Public Safety Director position. I talked it over with Mona and we drove down to the train depot south of Anchorage and rode the Alaska Railroad shuttle service into Whittier. It was a 12 mile train ride and through two long tunnels; one of which was 3.2 miles long and the other one 1.2 miles in length. These tunnels are carved out of the rock and had no interior support. The City of Whittier was located on the western shore of the Prince William Sound. Built by the US military in World War II and was supposed to be a secret staging area for the war against the Japanese in the Battle for the Aleutians. Housing was mainly two apartment complexes; Begich Towers was 14 floors high and held 198 apartments/condos and the other complex was two floors high and had about 50 apartments. There were no houses because all of the land had been turned over to the Alaska Railroad and they had leased the land to the city for these properties and several warehouses. City Hall was located in Begich Towers. The warehouses were converted into city shops and a cannery. We had a single small store, two restaurants/bars, a harbor, (primarily used by Anchorage boat owners), and a lot of Alaska Railroad buildings. The Department of Public Safety building was an old ranger station and was leased from the National Park Service. A large facility,  this held the volunteer fire department/ambulance bays for two fire trucks and two ambulances. One of these ambulances was high rail and could be placed upon the railroad tracks for the 12-mile run to the highway. The highway gears and wheels could be dropped down and then pulled back up for normal highway travel.  We also had two patrol vehicles and a 32-foot boat for search and rescue. So the department consisted of a small police force (2 officers and the director/chief, volunteer fire department, EMT ambulance crew and Search & Rescue. When interviewed for the position I was told the department averaged 300 total calls a year and most of these were EMT/Search & Rescue. Whittier was responsible to respond to nearly one third of the Prince William Sound.

I was hired upon completion of the interview and soon met my three temporary officers. All three had been Anchorage PD reserve officers and I was to select two of these to stay on. I would choose Officer's Mark and Jim. Mona and I returned home and moved ourselves, with my brother-in-law Troy's help, to Whittier. At this time we had 4 children; Elizabeth, James, Joshua and Micah Sue. We rented a three bedroom condo on the 12th floor of Begich Towers and it was comfortable. We would later take a wall out and add another three bedroom condo on to ours.

I soon found out that Begich Towers was a most unusual place to live. Sort of a Peyton Place. The walls were made of 12-inch thick poured concrete and the hallways carried sounds all too well. Everyone knew what everyone else was shouting about on any floor. There was also the dreaded roaches! Once used for NCO and Officer Housing, their hold baggage had brought roaches to Whittier and they had grown to millions of these two inch long nasty bug with even longer antennae. It was like living through a 1950's sci-fi. I cannot say how many of the buggy things we killed in the 18-months we lived there, but it was a lot.

We brought our 130-40 pound Newfoundland with us and had to take "Radar" onto the elevator and down to floor level and outside so he could relieve himself. He was big, black and walked with his head down. Many a person believed he was a bear from the way he moved about. Whittier did have a serious bear problem, but I'll get more into that later.

Funny thing about moving into the Towers, which was U shaped and seeing how many sets of binoculars were in the big picture windows facing one another in the open end of the U. Once they found out the new police chief was on the 12th floor, all the curtains began to close for fear I might spy upon them and their activities. The people were a bit strange here, but to live a long time in Whittier a person had to be a bit weird. Snow fall was heavy, some 30 feet and the only way in was boat, train or charter flight for the small  dirt runway.

When I started work I had 22 volunteers and two full time patrolmen. One officer lived in Begich Towers and I allowed the other officer to live in the bedroom inside the public safety building to keep an eye on things.

That's it for now. God Bless.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Moose Pass Journal/ Seward Cases/ 7/24/2011

Bill Says: Even off season there were times when a routine 8-hour shift could quickly become 12-14 hours, especially when a particular set of brothers were out committing some serious felonies.

I was working the 12 a.m. to 8 a.m. shift and Officer Doug was working an overlap from 8 p.m. to 4 a.m. As of about 1 a.m., it had been a pretty normal night; the occasional bar call, a domestic disturbance and driving up and down the alleys to ensure no had parked in one and blocked off a fire engine from responding if needed. Yes, we had the knucklehead who thought blocking an alley was cool and we would often tow them away if we couldn't find the driver and that cool clown got to pay a hefty towing and impound charge.

Anyway, that night we got a report of a sexual assault and the victim was at the hospital. Doug and I responded to find out the adult female had been kidnapped, taken to Camelot's mountainside subdivision outside of Seward and raped. I can really applaud this woman, for she was one fantastic witness and of a firm resolve. We needed to call in a trooper since it was out of town and Corporal Mike came into handle the victim, while Doug and I went to the scene to gather evidence with the trooper. We found the spot she identified and sure enough, we found the evidence; a couple wrenches and cigarette butts, along with tire tracks and some other trash. We had the suspect identified within two hours and arrested him at his home. Big surprise- this was his third offense and he'd been convicted on the first two.

Later that night, just before Doug was going to call it and go home, we drove down the alley behind the business district and I spotted the back door to the Seward Coffee Shop ajar. Now my wife will say I could spot an open window or door from a 100 yards away and speeding by at 50 mph, but when I got home I couldn't see anything that needed picked up or a dirty dish needing to be washed. All I can say is that I turned the old radar off when I got home.

Doug and I approached the door and found that it had been forced. We notified the dispatcher and asked her to call the owners to come down. Doug and I entered, weapons drawn, to check out the facility. It had been closed since 9 p.m. and wasn't due to open until 5 a.m.  We checked the first floor and didn't find anyone, but we did find an empty cash box lying on the kitchen floor. We then went downstairs to the basement level, used for supplies mostly. While Doug checked the walk-in freezers out, I walked into the restroom. I'm still not sure what I heard exactly, but maybe it was the guy's fear and a gulp in his throat. But I kicked the stall door open and found our suspect standing on the toilet with a butcher knife in his hand and a look of fright on his face. Staring at my revolver might have done that, but he soon dropped the knife and I placed him under arrest without further incident. Our arrival had really messed up with his burglary. I also recognized the guy, he was the younger brother to the man we had just arrested for sexual assault only hours earlier.

Being his third conviction for sexual assault and first conviction for kidnapping, the judge sentenced the man to 99 years for the rape and one day for the kidnapping. But he did it in such a way that the man must serve the 99 yrs before he could serve the one day. So, he has no chance of parole. We owe this to the testimony of a courageous victim and she is alive today because of her bravery. She was able to talk the man out of killing her. The man later said he'd never let another victim live, but I don't think we have to worry about it.

The younger brother got five years for his burglary and 5 years additional probation. He had an extensive juvenile record. There was also another younger brother, but I believe he was going to be all right. Their mom was of course pretty shook up and that was understandable. But had this first man been serving out his original sentence for his second rape, he would've still been in jail and our victim would not have to live with that terrible memory.

After I got hurt on duty, (I'm not going into that),I was off for awhile and allowed to come back as a part-time investigator to handle bad check cases. Within a couple of weeks I was working 8-10 hour shifts and handling all the felony investigations. I had to wear this fiberglass chest and back brace, which was strapped together at the sides like a giant clam shell. I had my revolver attached to one side, which thrilled the doctor and he took photos of it. Me, I hated the thing. But I was working again and that's what I wanted. Pretty soon I was solving 82% of the felony investigations and my sarcastic lieutenant asked me how I was doing so well. I told him I was taking my cases back into my room and praying over them. Then he asked why I couldn't solve the other 18% and I told him I must have not been giving my full attention to the Lord. He was later convicted of DWI by one of his own officers and fired from his job.


We had this major case going on in the harbor, where a suspect or suspects had broken into 44 boats and stole everything from electronics to weapons off these boats and no one had seen a thing. The boat owners were getting upset. I had two men running observation from the masts of boats, freezing their hind ends off and still nothing. I knew this man lived on one of the boats, but so many people were spending the winters on their vessels. I picked up some evidence here and there and spent many an hour walking the docks late at night. Well, to keep this short, we finally caught the 21-year old and yes, he lived on one of the boats. I recovered about 2% of the stolen property and found out that he had tossed some of the stuff into the harbor.

The boat owners wanted him badly and someone, not sure who, even sunk the boat he was living on. Though it wasn't his boat and it cost the harbor some money to get the old wooden sail boat moved to the shore- it was toast. Too old and too brittle. We had to protect our prisoner and he eventually got 8-years for his actions.

I was then asked to handle an investigation involving a double burglary. The responding officer had left me with a one page report and I wasn't happy. Because the two homes were occupied at the time of the burglaries and the victims were city councilmen, I was told by the Chief that if I solved these and got the property back, he'd keep me on board as the department investigator- even with my new physical disability. I thought, "WOW!" but he lied and I should've known it at the time. During my investigations I was contacted by Anchorage Police and as a result I was assisting in an investigation of my boss. I believe he found out.

But with the Lord's help I solved the double burglary, recovered the property and got a full confession from the 24 year old. He had a record for such actions and got 10-years, mainly because he had entered homes that were occupied and the judge knew this could've been a very dangerous situation. Anyway, the Chief called me in and said he couldn't use me anymore and I was gone. I got a job at the boat harbor, working for a great harbormaster. The Chief never got the Anchorage police Chief's position.

They brought me back, with my permission to work 2-weeks of investigation concerning the termination of an employee in the city electrical department. The lieutenant, who had a strong dislike for the man, did less than an 8 hour investigation and told the city they had grounds to fire him- so they did and he was getting ready to bring wrongful termination suit against the city. The man had claimed a lot of overtime during the 1986 flood of Seward and the allegations were he didn't work them. Since I was still working for the city, at the harbor, I agreed to come back. I worked for two weeks and showed that true, the man had not worked the overtime he declared. BUT, when fired, the lieutenant did not have these facts and they had fired the man before having all the facts. The city had to hire the man back and he won a suit for $300,000. All because the lieutenant disliked the man so much and jumped too fast. The city was not too happy with me for uncovering this and I was sent back to the harbor.

I really liked the harbormaster and by handling his overdue accounts and bad checks, I was able to collect over $500,000 in long over due fees from shipping companies and boat owners. The paperwork was there, it just needed organized and someone to hound the people and bring them to small claims.  I next found work as the City of Whittier Public Safety Director... a sleepy little community...until the Exxon Valdez hit a rock.

As the saying goes, police work is 90% boredom and paperwork and then you have 10% of sheer adrenalin rush. All for now.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Moose Pass Journal/ Seward Cases/ 7-21-2011

Bill Says:  While working in Seward, there were times the court and I didn't quite agree on the law, and I always lost the argument. But you make the call after you've read this one:

I was on patrol, just after midnight and pulled over a taxi for erratic driving. Don't remember exactly what he was doing now, but I always had proper grounds for making a traffic stop in the event I would have to testify in court and make sure the jury agreed with me. I immediately recognized the driver, having had arrested him twice for DWI and once for Assault. His eyes were glassy and when I brought him out for a field sobriety test, he stumbled. So, he ended up flunking the test and while conducting a pat down search before putting him into handcuffs, I found him in possession of 1 gram of cocaine and some pot. When I got him to the station and after we did a second field sobriety test on camera to show the jury. He kept telling me he wanted to make a deal, so I brought him upstairs and after some talking, he agreed to wear a wire/recording device and make a buy from his dealer. (There is no loyalty in the drug world). We got a wire warrant from the magistrate. He made the buy from a guy in the Yukon Bar and I busted the dealer for Possession of Cocaine with Intent to Sell. I think he had about 9 or 10 grams of coke on him when I arrested him. Then he wanted a deal and I brought Corporal Mike in, who was the department investigator. I appeared before the Magistrate and got a second warrant for the main dealer's house, outside of town, which involved bringing in a trooper. We had the small dealer go to the house, enter and make a buy of 10-grams of coke and we recorded the whole thing. We then went back and got a search warrant, based on all the information we had obtained from the wires and evidence obtained. Three of us served the search warrant in the early morning hours, surprising the number two dealer on this side of peninsula. We seized a very large safe, 22-firearms, assorted drugs and paraphernalia and arrested the man and his wife for Sale of Cocaine, Marijuana and misc pills. He refused to open the safe, so we brought in our safe cracker, ( a big guy with a sledge hammer) and after an hour of pounding finally destroyed the safe and revealed a whole lot more drugs and over $6,000 in cash. We had 80 some one gram packages of coke, a pound of cocaine, 20 pounds of pot and over 10,000 pills of various kinds. We sent the cash right up to the DEA, after photographing it, but held on to the drugs for evidence. I worked nearly 6-hours of overtime just filling out evidence forms for everything we seized.

But then the court went to work and within two weeks the whole case was thrown out the window. I had failed to list my original informant's criminal record in obtaining my wire warrant. Even though the magistrate I appeared before had sentenced this man all three times and knew him quite well and his record showed no convictions for drugs. Only good side was that the dealer lost everything, accept for the firearms, which were eventually returned.

I also worked an extensive theft and fraud investigation, which involved a suspect stripping an expensive sailboat of everything- accept the hull. The suspect had taken every single thing and no one in the harbor bothered to ask him what he was doing. The owners showed up for a day of sailing and found only the deck and hull. Even the mast and sails were gone. Every cabinet, the steering wheel, name it, it was gone. They reported the case and at this time I was the department investigator and it was given over to me. It took some doing and after 6-months I had recovered 90% of the stolen property- including a 60-foot mast and several hundred pounds of sail. Some of the property was 90-miles away, hidden in the suspect's friend's garage, but the mast was dropped off beside the cannery and made to look like cast off plumbing pipe.  Most of the property was taken by boat out to Day Harbor, some 70-miles outside of Seward. I had to take Trooper Gary with me and we used the US Coast Guard to take us out there. Unfortunately, I became very sea sick and had kept my head in the captain's trash can and was unable to go ashore. ( I was green for three days). Trooper Gary went ashore with some coast guardsmen. They found the place and recovered the stolen property, but sadly found 5 dead horses on the man's property. They had starved to death. So I also charged him with Cruelty to Animals. Then during the investigation I learned how he had defrauded some 20-people over a land deal- this guy was a real piece of work. So, I charged him with Scheme to Defraud and was ready to go to trial on numerous felonies and misdemeanors. My case file was nearly 5-inches thick and I had put in some 200 hours or better into this case.

Once the DA reviewed the case they ended up rejecting it. They made the decision that the victims could all proceed against this guy in civil court. To say I was angry put it lightly. The suspect became a corrections officer for the state of Alaska. Enough said.  (Really)

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Moose Pass Journal/Seward Cases/ 7-20-2011

Bill Says: During the 4th of July celebrations in Seward, things used to get down right rowdy. Public drinking was allowed in 1985 and an estimated 15,000 people had come down from Anchorage for the celebrated Mount Marathon Race. Along with the normal type citizens were Alaska's three chapters of Hell's Angels. They would be accompanied by their "prospects", who were hoping to join the Angels and then there were the independent bikers who road with them. But an independent would not wear the Angels' "colors", which was the leather vest, with the winged skull on the back. And of course, there would be a dozen or so wanna-be Angels, but would actually never be allowed to join because they were thought to be mostly worthless. But the Angels would use them, almost like servants or runners to go buy more booze.

Now the Angels were mostly businessmen; some owned bars or massage parlors/escort services. While others were used as enforcers by strip club and bar owners. So, to keep their businesses and liquor licenses, the angels tried very hard not to have problems with law enforcement. But the wanna-be bikers were just the opposite and they caused a lot of problems. And just about every cop in Alaska knew the Angels were producing Meth on one of the island in Prince William Sound and in Matsu-Valley.

During the 4th, the Angels set-up their camp outside of town so they could party hard and avoid trouble. The troopers would drive by, but they were pretty much left alone. But on one night, 30 bikers roared into the downtown area of Seward and hit Tony's Bar. We had a lot of bikes parked out on the street and one of the wanna-be dudes was left outside to watch over them. This was the night before the race and I was on foot patrol in the downtown area. I spent 12-hours walking up three blocks on one side of the street and down three blocks on the opposite side of the street. I was accompanied by my best friend Officer Doug Packa. We had become friends right off, learning we were the only two Christians on the department sort of threw us together and our families became friends and we attended the same church.

The street was nearly elbow to elbow as people milled about. If we made an arrest on the street, which we did often, a patrol car would come by and pick-up the prisoner and haul them off to jail. We'd do the paperwork at end of shift, getting some overtime to do the reports and fill out the complaints for arraignment.

It was upon entering Tony's Bar that I knew that Doug and I had walked right in to a major problem. Bikers were squaring off against locals and gun play was imminent. I knew most of the bikers were probably caring firearms and so were the locals and the odds were about 80 of them against Doug and I.

I was about to call for back-up when the head bartender, a man I'd problems with in the past as a troublemaker, had entered into a shoving match with the Angel's Anchorage Chapter President over some lady. The President didn't want to go to jail and was trying to calm things down when he saw me, but the bartender, who was intoxicated, didn't want to back-off and this forced the President to take action to show his boys he was still worthy of the title. That's when I moved in and left Doug with the job of calling for help. I got right between the two men and we had words. I explained how I didn't want Dodge City on Saturday night breaking out and how I'd hold both of them responsible if anyone got hurt. I also explained how I suspected how many concealed weapons were being carried and if I and my responding back-up officer decided to do some searches, how a lot of them would be going to jail. I knew Doug was standing behind me, covering my back and I continued to talk these two men down. Now some of these Angels looked as if they could've played offensive line for the Rams and everyone of them was in black leather. Two of them were wearing police patches, which meant they had beaten up a cop and taken the patch off him. I didn't recognize the departments and figured they were from the Lower 48, but I was going to keep a good eye on them. One was also wearing a particular patch which said he'd killed someone, not a nice guy.

I finally got things calmed down and the bikers left the bar without killing anyone. That's when I noticed that Doug was standing at the door to the bar. He hadn't come inside and it turned out he had never called for assistance. I knew Doug was no coward, so I was stumped. He explained, "Bill, I just don't know how to deal with these people and you were doing great!" I wanted to throttle him, but he was serious and having gotten into several fights with him  I knew he didn't have any fear of getting into it. He just thought I could handle it and was keeping anyone else from entering the bar. All I can say was that the Lord's angels were really working overtime that evening. Later, the obnoxious bartender came up to me and thanked me for saving his life. I never had another problem with him. The angels left and that was about the last time they came to Seward enforce. I met up with a few of them later while in Whittier and invited them to a city barbecue. One of them was the son of a local businessmen. I would also deal with the Fairbanks chapter when I became a state investigator and they were being used as enforcers to keep the strippers in line for two of the local strip clubs.

Early the next morning, after the bars were closed and the town was quiet, I was driving a patrol car with Doug as my rider when we found this guy standing up against a fence in the alley behind one of the bars. He was my size, but I noticed he was behaving really strangely and wanted to check him out. We were only a few minutes from getting off shift and Doug was not too overjoyed by my decision, but he finally agreed with me and I stopped near this man. I immediatly saw his eyes were glassed over and asked him for his ID. He said, "Sure got it right here," and pulled out a bag of magic mushrooms. Not the smartest of things to do to a cop. I knew I would have to test them, but by his eyes I was pretty sure they were the illegal ones. We had a lot of them show up that summer of 1985. Most of them were coming in from Canada. When I got him to the station, the mushrooms tested out positive for the illegal ones. He also had a forged Arizona ID. Sadly, he was an Arizona State football player and this felony bust was really going to hurt him. His father was a lawyer too.
People do stupid things.

All for now, but more to follow. Seward was an interesting place to work.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Moose Pass Journal/Seward Cases/ 7-19-2011

Bill Says: Well, first of all is the announced birth of our newest and 13th grandchild. Claire Rowyn Casselman was born to James and Becca last night in Arizona. She is the second grandchild to be named Claire, the first being Micheal and Halley's oldest daughter. Reminding me of how my 1st cousin William and I share the same first names, but I was first. This is also our second grandchild to be born this summer, with Bella Sue Williams having been born to Micah Sue and Brady. It will probably be a while before the next one pops out. Anyway, congratulations to father, mother and especially to Claire for a job well done.

Back to the Seward Cases: While working here in South Central Alaska I found myself quite busy with traffic stops. The Seward Highway, which ran south from Anchorage was quite busy and especially in the summertime. I was averaging at least 15 traffic stops per shift and if running radar, that number increased to nearly 30 stops. I had my own established set of rules while running radar. I didn't bother to pull anyone over unless they were doing 15 mph over the posted limit, unless their driving was erratic. This gave them 5 mph, myself 5 mph and 5 mph for leeway. Most often, if the driver admitted to his or her error, or had a real good excuse, they got off with a warning. Unless it was their second time with me. If they were contrary, argumentative or even hostile, they got a ticket. I was out there to enforce the laws, not be a tackling dummy for their taunts and insults.

One time, while operating radar at 5:30 in the early morning on the main highway I picked up this speeding older model Lincoln Continental doing 80 mph in a 35 zone. I pulled them over after a one mile chase, called in the plate number to the dispatcher and my location. I found 5 men in the vehicle and they were acting pretty nervous. I then heard over my belt radio that the vehicle was stolen out of Anchorage. One of the men in the back seat shoved his left hand inside his jacket, but before he could pull it back out he was staring right at my revolver. Idiot was trying to pull out a screw driver and nearly got shot for it. The dispatcher had called the lieutenant, who was due to go on shift soon and he responded as back-up. I arrested the driver and passengers for joyriding in a stolen vehicle, a misdemeanor , ( Class A for the driver and Class B for the passengers). But as we removed them from the car to be patted down and handcuffed for the ride to jail. I noticed two large bags of quarters in the floor of the back seat; over $300 worth. In the trunk I also found a pry bar. First to break was the youngest man, who told me of how they had broken into three laundromats in Anchorage and then broke into the machines for the quarters. I ended up turning them over to Anchorage PD detectives for the felony counts.

During another traffic stop for a suspected DWI, the driver kept gesturing for me to come closer to his driver's window, saying he was hard of hearing. But I had arrested this man once before for a weapons offense and knew better than to trust him. So I opened his door and pulled him out, he had to do the field sobriety test anyway and low and behold here was this .22 caliber rifle positioned at his feet and against his seat and the barrel pointed toward where I would be standing if I had come any closer. The weapon was loaded with .22 magnum rounds and would've done serious harm to my chances in having Micah Sue born.

I ended up with quite a few fights on traffic stops; no one enjoyed being arrested for DWI or drug offenses. I had women swing at me, a couple offering sexual favors, one or two drivers who offered money and all often threats of having me fired. But some just came out swinging. I had one such fight at the end of my time in Seward involving two highly doped up me, ( on speed mostly) and we fought for a recorded 10-minutes before my back-up officer arrived on scene. They had a loaded 12 gauge shotgun in their truck and I was attempting to keep them from it. It was 7:30 in the morning and I had chased them for 5 miles out of town at speeds approaching 120 mph. Work traffic was coming into town and thankfully there was not an accident. These were some rough and tumble brothers from the community of Hope and they did not want to go to jail. So, the fight was on. I'd get one into the car and then rush over to keep the other one from reaching the shotgun. Then when I got him under semi-control and tried to get him into the patrol car, the other brother would kick out with both feet and I'd be dealing with both of them again. I did over $500 in damage to my patrol car, using one brother's head to dent a front quarter panel. They had tried to toss me into the flow of oncoming traffic, but I finally got my arm around one and put him into a chokehold, while I had my legs wrapped around the waist of the other in a scissor hold. I felt like a pro wrestler in a tag team match. Oddly enough, not one soul stopped to give me a hand and I believed something like 30-40 cars had passed by. I was nearing the point I might have to shoot one of them, stupid enough to have left my nightstick in the patrol car and my mace had no effect on them- only got my eyes filled with tears in the process. Trooper Jerry arrived about then. Good thing, I was tired out.

Grandma is needing me so that's it for now. God Bless!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Moose Pass Journal/ City of Seward/ 7-18/2011

Bill Says: I arrived in Seward in September of 1984, having flown in at the department's request and housed in the Seward Fire Department's guest room. Mona was to soon follow by driving over 1,000 miles, with two very young children, (Joshua was only a month old and James 2 yrs), escorted by one over-sized Newfoundland dog named Radar, and assisted by a very  kind oldest brother who was lending us a big hand to help in our move. Chuck ended up having Radar ride with him and they got along pretty well. Chuck would end up staying with us to work on the new Seward Coal facility. Soon to follow would be Mona's other brother Troy, his wife Leslie and their children. Years later, Mona's older sister Sally and her husband Leo would move to Seward. Sally and Leo's four children would also come to Seward at various times to work. Even my brother Larry would come to Seward and he was often in need a good bath, having lived on the road for some time. We joked about his socks being able to stand up by themselves and boy, they stunk!

Seward was a coastal community of some 3,500 people, located on the southeastern shores of the Kenai Peninsula and about 120-miles south of Anchorage. Seward was also set on the north shore of the Resurrection Bay. This was an ice free deep water port, home to a large fishing industry, the Alaska Railroad's southern end of the line and a booming shipping line for cargo and bulk freight. Three of the largest barges in the world; triple-decks and were towed into Seward by ocean going tug boats.

Seward had been severely hit by the 1964 Good Friday earthquake and the follow-up tsunami waves. It was also home to the July 4th Mt.Marathon Race and the August Silver Salmon Derby. It could be a busy place for the police, especially back when open liquor containers and fireworks were allowed on city streets, and the bars didn't close until 5 a.m. During the 4th of July celebration, Seward was visited by the three state chapters of the Hell's Angels and their wanna-be's, trying to impress the angels, created a lot of problems for the police.

Seward was also home to the Alaska Vocational Tech School, (AVTEC), and people from all over the state came here for various trade schools. Sadly, some of these people came from dry villages and with the liquor flowing through the town, it was often too much for these young adults. Many of them ended up in our jail cells and then sent home.

When I was hired over the phone by Seward Police, which was highly unusual, the department was smack in the middle of hostile events with the local labor union. The long shore men were on strike and causing problems on the dock. Prior to my arrival a major disturbance occurred between police and laborers, resulting in several arrests and some injuries on both sides. One of my first pieces of equipment to be issued was a riot helmet with protective visor. But soon after my arrival things settled down and the strike ended.

I was assigned to Corporal Mike, who would show me the town. The department consisted of a police chief, lieutenant, sergeant, corporal and 4 officers. We had really great dispatchers working with us and in the lower level of the department was the city jail. There was always a jail guard working, maintaining three short term cells, a larger long term cell and a cell for females or juveniles. On some nights, if there were no prisoners, the jail guards would often ride along with the patrolman.

Corporal Mike was also a dog handler and his canine was narcotic trained. When Mike found out I was K-9 trained, he was overjoyed. Now he had someone able to do aggressive drills with his huge German Shepard. I trained with him, catching his dog and letting him have a good bite of my protective arm sleeve. I'd worked with a lot of dogs in the military, having worked sentry, patrol and narcotic dogs and enjoyed the work out. I had hoped the dog would be assigned to me later on, but the city didn't want the insurance costs of having the dog and sold it to Mike for $1. This was a dog valued at $10,000 and he got it for a $1. I was envious. Mike would eventually become police chief, but long after I had left Seward, and I was glad for him. A former Marine he had gone through the Battle of Khe Sanh, Viet Nam in 1968, and it had left a mark on him. He also liked to work out with weights a lot and enjoyed having me as a work out partner. Though getting all sweaty in the middle of a shift was not all that enjoyable for me- no shower.

After two weeks of riding with Mike, the lieutenant, who really liked my size, assigned me to the midnight to 8 a.m. shift. From about 1 a.m. through 8 a.m., I worked alone and found myself making a whole lot of arrests for Disorderly Conduct, DWI and drugs. I had kept some stats for my own use and during 1985 I had made 340 arrests and 85 of these were for DWI.

During Halloween of 1985, we dressed up one jail guard and one officer in full costume, ( one as a bunny and one as a clown), to make drug buys through out the town. They were wired so we could record the buys and then we moved in quickly to make the arrests. We made I believe 14- arrests that night for the sale of cocaine and it led to the arrest of one low level supplier. I was hauling one suspect out of the Yukon Bar, when some of the locals tried to stop me. But they backed down and I was able to move through the crowd without any trouble.

One of the other officers and I had a lobster dinner bet going in 1985 for who made the most DWI arrests. He lost. He had the record for 1984 of 60 something arrests. For every DWI arrest I made though, I let two others off by sending them home with another driver or a cab. I often based my arrests on the person's attitude. If he wanted to cuss at me, swing at me or simply refuse to do anything by standing there and ignoring me, they went to jail. I had a lot of good-natured drunks who ended up going home instead of jail. I knew what a DWI arrest could do to some one's insurance, his job and his home life. But some of them had to go to jail, especially those with prior records for the same offense. I had one guy who was out driving on a revoked license and this was his 7th DWI conviction. He went to jail for 8-months. I also went around the bars just before closing so the customers would know I was out and about and hopefully they'd get a ride home.

In 1985 we got the open container law enforced and no more fireworks on the peninsula. The fireworks law was imposed after a little girl was killed. Her father was intoxicated and accidentally tossed a lit bottle rocket into his car, which was loaded with fireworks. Things began to settle down some then in the downtown area, but the 4th of July celebrations were still a busy time for us. More later.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Thirty-one years

Miss Mona sez-

Marriage is an interesting situation. Brings out the best and the worst in people, in my opinion. Starts out all kissy kissy and too often ends up in mutual misery.

The thing I find interesting is that there is no real difference between the success/failure rate of the marriages Christians and non-Christians. I mean, Christianity is all about "Love one another as I have loved you." Anyway, that is the impression I have received. 

What is up with that?

On July 11th, Bill and I arrived at 31 years of marriage. Not bad considering that he is my second and I am his fourth. We will not address the non-marital relationships we have both had which were both many and varied- that is another topic. Let it suffice to say that we both took a pretty comprehensive survey of the available choices prior to saying our vows to each other. We both had a damn' good idea of how to ruin a relationship when we got together and we made a commitment not to let it happen again.

Still, we probably wouldn't have had a snowball's chance in hell of success if it had not been for our Secret Weapon, God. Yup, God. See,marriage is something He created as a blessing to us. And He is a part of every marriage but only if you invite His involvement.  We did. Not at first, mind you. He was married to another woman when we became, to put it politely, involved. I was an alcoholic and a drug addict. He was an adulterer and had serious rage issues. So did I. He was a Mormon and I was a confused recommitted Christian. We both had kids. We were in the Air Force and worked together (he outranked me).
We did not have a clue how to live in a healthy relationship and really didn't know anyone who did. He came from a single-parent home in LA, I came from a codependent family with 9 kids in rural Oregon. I could go on listing the circumstances that were against us, but you get the general idea, right?

So, blithely ignorant that the cards were stacked against us, we got married in the Fairbanks courthouse the day his divorce was final. Borrowed $200 from a friend at work because, of course, we had no money, and had a reception in the breakroom at work. Took a weekend off and had our honeymoon at home in the cabin we rented in North Pole (of course we were already living together, we didn't know any better).

And the fun began....

He was a chauvinist and I was a feminist. He was controlling and I was independent. I was a drunk and a dope smoker and he was a recovered user. I was a cat person, he loathed cats. So many, many things that could have become destructive and horrible. But we persevered. We learned to give as well as take. We learned to forgive. He helped me kick the booze and drugs, I helped him face his rage and pain from Viet Nam. He got me a kitten and I learned to let him be the head of our household. And so on.

We got out of the Air Force and he went to work as a civilian cop. He gave his life to the Lord. We had three more kids together and went thru some pretty hairy trials and tribulations. We continued to learn and grow and get healed of all the hurts we had received.

Here we are, thirty-one years later.

He is my best friend and I am his. We chose to lean together when the problems tried to separate us and we are more in love now than we were back at the beginning. Back then it was a passion based on emotions that had no real foundation. thru the years we have built a foundation of commitment and trust to hold up that passion. Storms have tried to destroy us but God has taught us how to stand against those storms.

God is faithful and just to forgive us and teach us how to forgive. He has changed our hearts thru healing and helped us to choose each other over all other relationships. He has taught us and we have chosen to learn and be transformed. It has not been easy, but it has been worth the trouble.

Loving you-

A living sacrifice

Miss Mona sez---

Have you ever had someone do something nice for you? You know, buy you a latte, send you a card, babysit your kids?
How about scrub your kitchen floor, clean your pantry, wash a huge pile of laundry?

Fourth of July weekend our friends Jim and Vicki came down from Fairbanks for a visit. While here Jim and Bill put up two beautiful new clotheslines for me (the old ones came down last year due to another project and a new location had to be found). This is not unusual, they have a tendency to find a project or two around here when they come and we are always blessed. Jim headed home on Monday to go back to work and Vicki stayed for two weeks to clean my house....

I mean it! She took time off from her job to come down here and slay the dust monsters that were scheming to take over and kick Bill and I out of the house. Defeated a ridiculous pile of laundry, cleaned my kitchen, washed all the dishes (for two weeks!!), planted some veggies in my sorely neglected raised beds, helped me clean the greenhouse (that was a monster job all by itself), raked, watered, babysat Grandma so Bill and I could go out for our anniversary....prayed for us, encouraged us, blessed us over and over.
She even managed to get me downstairs and facilitated the organizing of my basement without inducing a panic attack. That particular task was no simple feat as anyone who has cast eyes on my basement this past year could tell you.

It could have been humiliating, but it wasn't. Do you know why? Because it was done with love. There was no other motive. And that, dear ones, is a living sacrifice.

Our church here in Moose Pass has been on the receiving end of such love for the past two summers. Team after team of wonderful people have come here to help us build a vision. Raising their own money for travel, food and bringing funds with them to pay for building materials, ordinary men and women have come and laid down their lives. And it has been amazing!

May you, too, find yourself as the giver or receiver of such a loving, living sacrifice!

Loving you-

Moose Pass Journal /Skagway/ 7-16-2011

Bill Says: We're having a beautiful summer day here in Moose Pass, with a cloudless sky, a nice breeze and temps in the high 70's. Today, we've learned we have a family of coyotes living up on the bluff above us. They start yapping when the state trooper's race by with sirens blaring. Mona chased off one coyote last night that was coming down the driveway. Thankfully, the brown bear hasn't returned, but we keep an eye out for him or her anyway.

Between working in Dillingham and Skagway I learned a lot about police work and how in small departments, the patrolman was also the investigator, CSI tech and once in a while, even the district attorney. I worked homicides, sexual assaults and drug cases, whatever happened on my shift I was responsible for. In Skagway, I got to try two misdemeanor cases because the DA couldn't  fly in from Juneau due to weather conditions. One was a DWI case and the other was an assault, and I won them both. But admittedly, the judge gave me a lot of leeway and the suspects couldn't keep their mouths shut..

But coming into Skagway a brand new Christian really didn't prepare me for the spiritual warfare Mona and I would enter into. Now I look back and believe it was in fact my brand new faith that carried me through those strange days. I wasn't an old Christian, struggling with pester some doubts over life's situations, "Why doesn't God do this for me!?",  and was much like a young soldier ready to charge in with my new shiny armor on and not afraid to use it. I see so many older Christians, myself included at times, that get set in our ways and have little room for growth, or bother to listen to new ideas. Cracks begin to form in our armor, a little tarnish here and there. But new Christians, they're ready to swing that sword and take on the enemy with the zest of a high school football player going against the team rival. Yes, sometimes we do enter a little too quickly, but we sure are excited! And hey, we've got God behind us. Sadly, some are not ready for this kind of battle and the injured sometimes do not recover or they begin to look at the Lord in an off kilter way, giving birth to new age beliefs. The strong, with the help of other believers, make it through and in our case it was a lot of prayers from family and friends.

Our church had requested and been given the town's old library building to transform into a Christian coffee house to work with all the summer tourists and boat crew members. It took a lot of effort by some gifted carpenters to transform that building into a real comfortable place. I was too busy working 12-hour shifts to help much. It was nice. But then, things turned sour. The church decided to transform the coffee house into a haunted house for Halloween. Mona and I were upset and we objected, but we were the only ones. Even the pastor was behind it. Here we were in a town under the thumb of the enemy, where everyone knew of the haunts and yet, the church was going to join in with the Halloween craziness. Mona and I didn't attend the festivities and the church ended up losing the coffee house soon afterward.

The following Fall, after a very busy summer of  rowdy Canadians and tourists, I was called by Chief Ranger Ray, National Park Service, and he needed my assistance. He needed to file a police report on a vandalism of a National Park cemetery and wanted me to go out there to investigate it. I said sure and didn't know it at the time I was about to open a real huge can of worms that nearly cost me my job- again. I often right on the edge with all my zest and vigor to do the right thing and heck with the politics.

Tourists season was over, all the fall leaves were on the ground and it was beginning to turn chilly at night. This cemetery was located out in the Dyea area, about 8-miles from downtown Skagway. Our radio phone still worked out that far, so I drove out and parked in the dirt parking area. This cemetery was used to place 88-miners killed in a 1898 avalanche on the Chilkoot Trail. It was supposed to be a temporary cemetery, but for some unexplained reason the miners were never moved. During my investigation, I learned this was an unsanctified cemetery; never having been blessed by any church because it was supposed to be temporary.This would end up being a key piece of info to my investigation. A much larger cemetery was located about a quarter-mile away; lots of men and women died along the trail to the gold fields.  

Ranger Ray didn't tell me exactly what was vandalized and I expected some headstones were damaged by teens. So, having my briefcase and camera in hand I walked toward the pathway leading to the cemetery and almost immediately, I ran smack into a barrier/wall of ice. I find it hard to explain exactly what I felt, for I could clearly see everything around me. But I had this icy, almost burning to the touch resistance, preventing me from my going any further. Freaked out, I stepped back and then tried once more and found the same invisible barrier. No one was around, I was all alone out there. So, I hustled back to my car and locked the doors. I was honestly afraid. Now, I'd encountered some strange things in Viet Nam, but this was different and I really didn't like feeling this scared. Then I felt a gentle nudge to pray and I began to pray, quietly at first in almost a whisper and as I prayed my courage returned and my voice grew louder. Then I was outside my car calling out the Name of the Lord to send the enemy fleeing. After a few moments of this, I walked back down the path and the barrier was gone.

When I reached the cemetery I discovered that three of the graves were dug up and the bones removed. Someone had belt an alter with the human bones. I also observed a rope hanging down from a tree right over the alter, burning and blood evidence. I found small animal bones, suspected of being a dog or cat and possibly more than one. We'd had a lot of reports this last summer of missing pet animals. The alter also showed melted wax of different colors. Someone had been practicing their witchcraft out here and had desecrated three graves. Apparently, using an unsanctified cemetery was quite an opening for a witch's coven.

While out there, my old combat antenna was up and working as I felt like a thousand eyes were on me and not one was friendly, but at the same time I felt the Lord's covering and continued on with my on scene investigation until I was completely satisfied I was done.

I took lots of photos and filed my report, giving a copy to Ranger Ray. He filed it with his main office. Then the explosion came. My Chief, who was a high ranking mason, became quite upset with me for doing this report and wanted me to pull it and get the copy back from Ray. He later tried, but Ray had already faxed his on. Well, I refused to pull the case and the words from his mouth were not sweet to my ears. He thought about firing me but knew it would come back on him unfavorably once it was learned why he was firing me.I made a lot of friends and quite a few of the business owners liked me because of my walking patrol and inspecting their places. He ordered me to cease any further investigation of this matter and again, I refused. I felt inside that I just couldn't stop. The cemetery was within our city limits and this desecration needed to be further investigated. He ended up getting sick later and had to quit working, eventually quitting and moving on to North Pole.

Mona helped me greatly with my investigation. Her occult background and knowledge assisted me and over the winter I had learned the identities of about half of the coven- mostly lead city people and this included my city manager and editor of the local paper. I learned how the coven had been formed during the gold rush, some of the people moving up from Seattle with a demonic purpose in mind. This made the coven of 13-members 83 years old. Articles were put out in the paper to make fun of my investigation and even some of the church people were laughing at me for even bothering with this. I had really stirred something up.

Dennis was made the new chief and our friendship pretty much ended, as I had supported Ed for the job. Dennis knew how I knew he had lied in his application for the job, but I decided not to inform on him. But he would prefer me gone. I had angered something in town as the haunts seemed to have increased. Our pastor had resigned and left town. We were asking God what to do and within weeks we got the answer.

I got a call from Seward Police Department and they actually hired me over the phone, something Seward had never done before. They normally had a lengthy hiring process; oral boards and polygraph. So, both Mona and I felt it was a God appointment. It was an advance in pay for us and a larger department. Mona had just given birth to Joshua, our second son together. We had Elizabeth, our eldest child from her previous marriage and I had John & Micheal from my previous marriage, but only our two new sons were living with us for the moment. Dennis, he was really relieved to see me leaving. By now he had hired a new officer named Jerry, a good man. He later resigned to move to Washington and open a knife business. I have the first Bowie knife he ever made... gave it to Joshua, but currently on my wall for now. So, I flew out as the Seward PD needed me ASAP. They were having union problems with local labor and Mona would follow in our car, with older brother- Chuck's help.

Much later, I wrote a Christian fiction manuscript about Skagway. I used fictional characters, but all my actual police cases and the activities of the enemy are detailed. It is named "Stronghold". About a young police officer who through his investigations uncovers the existence of a coven and is now targeted for assassination. On Halloween night he is stabbed and severely wounded by a misdirected older teen and airlifted out of Skagway. Years later, he returns to Skagway as the new pastor and ready to go to war for his community.
I have always found it so strange how so many Christians loved to here stories of angelic happenings, but when you begin to speak about the enemy existence... they shrug you off as a fool. Weird!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Moose Pass Journal/Skagway/ 7-13-2011

Bill Says: During the years of 1982 through 1983, Skagway saw a lot of misfortune; the closure of the White Pass Railroad and massive unemployment, the death of one mother through a vehicle accident, suicide of a well-liked older man and the murder of a 17 year old. There was also the death of a young girl in a snow machine accident. The depression from these events was nearly overwhelming, bringing a rise in alcohol and dope usage.

The murder occurred on Christmas night of 1982. I'd been seeing a rise in the problems the male teenagers were having with one another, having broke up several fights in the approaching weeks. But the murder of course shocked the whole community, especially when the victim was a 17 year old, who was killed by a boyhood friend and all over a girl.

I was called from home to back-up Dennis on the call and Ed was also en route. By happen chance or demonic assignment, the trouble began in the lobby of the 3-story hotel, ( the one famous for its 3rd floor ghostly haunts), and moved out into the street. One 17 yr old was defending his older brother's claim on a local girl, while the other boy was defending his right to date the girl. The older brother was out of town at the time. It began with a shoving match, but with so many costly antiques in the lobby of the hotel, the crowd of about 10-local teenagers got the two combatants to leave the lobby and take it outside. It was snowy and temperatures were in the low 20's.

The two of them scuffled for some time and at one point the one kid got the other in a wrestler's headlock, he'd been on the team for three years. In the court trial the other boy said he feared for his life, thinking he was being strangled. Well, he reached into his back pocket and pulled out a sheath knife, but in this case a double edged knife normally used strictly for assault. He commenced to stab the other boy 26-times, which caused the boy to bleed out right on the spot and die.

The other kids were interviewed and I went to the suspect's home to arrest him and transport him to jail. We truly had to guard him for the victim's relatives wanted blood in return. Ed had to go to one home and disarm an uncle. We had the suspect transported to Juneau by ferry, where he was held pending trial. Dennis, Ed and I, along with all the kids went to Juneau for the trial. It was the strangest trial I ever testified in and the verdict amazed me- h was found not guilty by self-defense. To this day I never understood that verdict, I at least expected a Manslaughter charge if not Murder in the 2nd Degree. The defense lawyer was one of the best and it cost the family dearly, plus the defendant could never return to Skagway for fear of retribution.

The vehicle accident with the mother concerned two ladies, both who had been drinking steadily in the 3 stroy hotel, (yeah, the one with the 3rd floor haunt). Both had worked in this location for several months and I knew both of them pretty well. They were separated by almost 20-years in age, but were known to drink together often. Tourist season was over and the streets were mostly empty at night.  Well, they had left the hotel after midnight and drove down State Street, which was the only paved road in town. At one point, the driver, who was the older woman and mother, accelerated and lost control. She plowed right into a power pole at a high rate of speed. The passenger was injured and the driver was killed instantly. My duty was to go to the home of the husband and deliver the death notification and transport him to the clinic to identify the body. Though everyone on the scene knew who it was. This of course had a ripple effect, causing one young man, who was in love with the older woman, to attempt suicide.

I also had another attempted suicide during this time. A 17-year old, upset with his father, tried dearly and seriously to end his life and all over a botched homework assignment. First, he tried hanging himself in their bathroom with his father's tie and when that didn't work, he sliced his wrists and laid down in the tub. But that was going to slow, so he drank a bottle of bleach. When I arrived I had to break through the locked door, pull him out of the tub and put compression bandages on his wrists. EMT's arrived and we got him to the clinic. Polly, the PA, who had brought him into this world, was not happy. Her treatment was a bit rough, but the kid survived. I went to the Elks Club to get the dad and bring him to the clinic. They eventually worked it out.

It seemed for such a small town, Skagway had more than its share of sadness. The older man, who was single and well-liked by all the teens and young adults, was suddenly rumored to be a pedophile and upon hearing this, he was so hurt by this apparent lie that he went into his bedroom and shot himself. We investigated the rumor and found no substance, only that it was spread by a teen wanting to get back at the older man over a slight issue. All the townspeople were effected by this, Skagway was just too small and he was a lifelong resident.

I got called to the Klondike highway for a snow machine accident. It occurred up above the customs station and I had to use a snow machine to get up there. Now realize this was my first and only time I'd driven such a machine. The highway was closed and there was about 6-8 feet of snow on the roadway. A friend of mine and father of 7 kids, had taken several of his kids for a trip up the highway. On the way home, his teenage daughter lost control and flew off the edge of the roadway, to land on a set of boulders some 40 feet below. She died instantly. I had to use a rope to get down to the scene and wearing Wellington boots, this was not fun. I met the father at the scene and after taking photos, we prepared the body for transport. A squad of Alaska Army National Guardsmen were out and they arrived at the scene to help. They brought the body up and then had to lift me up, my boots couldn't get any grip on the ice for the climb up. Another sad day for the town.

Yes, during my time in Skagway I saw a lot of sadness in the community and some pretty darn strange and eerie events take place. I got into numerous bar brawls and watched a couple of my prisoners freak out as the bear upstairs did its thing. I was no longer concerned with it, but my prisoners were shook up.

Toward the end of summer of 1982, I was requested for back-up at the Red Onion. Dennis had responded to a report of a prowler/ghost in the upstairs and the new bartender was shook up. She was getting ready to close up when the prowler ghost started to tap dance over her head. When I arrived, Dennis and I went upstairs through the only entrance/exit. The Red Onion was famous and visited by the thousands for its colorful history. There were mannequins of prostitutes hanging out the windows, inviting the menfolk in and lots of photos were taken of them. Well, I nearly shot one that evening. We heard the walking about and began to suspect we really might have a prowler. Lots of antiques up there to steal. There were several bedrooms up there, where the women took the menfolk for a little party back in the old days. Mostly now it was all used for storage. Dennis walked up ahead and as I turned to walk into one of the rooms, one of those silly mannequins came flying at me and having my gun drawn, I nearly shot it. Now understand, we never found anyone up there, no one escape through the windows and I never found who tossed the dummy at me. But we left the floor and drove the bartender home. Me, I prayed a bit to calm my nerves. But the best was yet to come.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Moose Pass Journal/ Skagway/July 12, 201

Bill Says:  In my 20 year career as a police officer I've had a lot of car chases, some of them involved 4-wheelers, snow machines, motorcycles, a motor boat- which ended up crashing into a pier piling, a landing aircraft- where the pilot had no license to fly and was quite intoxicated, and even a tourist bus- where the driver was attempting to out race me to the border. I even had one pursuit where I chased the driver at 120 mph for nearly 25-miles before he collided into a California Highway Patrol roadblock. He'd been stealing copper wire off the base's old sled track. But my most frightening chase involved a piece of construction equipment through the streets of Skagway.

It was 1 a.m., on an early spring night and I was about to go off shift and start my 4-hours of stand-by time. It had been a quiet night and didn't have any reports to file, but needed to fill out my blotter with assigned security checks. While typing I heard the deep roaring sound of a large diesel engine being accelerated outside the police station. I looked out the window and observed one of the largest front-end loaders I'd ever seen going by. This was a yellow beastie, where the cab was nearly 12-feet in the air and the bucket was large enough to swallow my AMC Eagle patrol car. It was owned by a local road construction crew, who did contract work for the State of Alaska. But at 1 a.m., I knew there was no work going on and left the station in a rush, jumped into my pint-sized Eagle and went into pursuit.

I was under orders not to use my siren after 10 p.m., unless an emergency called for it and traffic stops were not considered emergencies in the chief's eyes. So, with red and blue lights flashing I got behind the loader in hopes the driver would pull over and explain himself. By his erratic driving I suspected he was either stoned or drunk, and then I got close enough to see who the driver was and knew he was drunk. I'd had several problems with this guys stealing cars when he was intoxicated and now he advanced his targets to a 10,000 pounds or more piece of construction equipment.

We went down one street and then another, with him knocking trash cans over and scraping one vehicle with the loader's massive front tires. He ran across one yard and then Joe, who was the driver, caught me by surprise when he whipped that loader around in one intersection, so his bucket was now coming right at me. I skidded to a halt, slammed the transmission into reverse and began backing up at a high rate of speed. Now driving backwards is no fun at 40-50 mph, especially with the jaws of death coming at me. I looked back up at Joe and he was grinning at me, waving even.... he was having a great time. When we reached the next intersection, he whipped the loader around again and I was back in pursuit of him. I think we drove up and down every street in town, sometimes with him being the chaser.

At one point he suddenly brought the loader to a stop, left it running, while he climbed down from the cab and promptly collapsed on the ground. I drove up, found him unconscious and handcuffed him. After carrying him back to the car and tossing him carefully into the back seat... you'll notice I said carefully, right? Then I climbed up to the cab and after some observation, finally found the key and turned it off. Such small keys for such a large piece of equipment.

Joe had climbed over the fence of the construction yard, ( quite a feat considering how drunk he was), where he used to work and broke into the office. After securing the keys, he used the vehicle to plow through the gates. I charged him with Burglary, Criminal Mischief, DWI and felony assault for chasing me with the loader. I knew that felony charge would be tossed if Joe plead to the other charges, and he did. He served 20-days and was on probation for 2-years. The good side of this was that we got him into a program and he sobered up.

Almost a year later I went into pursuit of a souped up Malibu, hitting the Eagle's max speed down the Klondike Highway. The driver, who was a local named Dave, skidded to a stop and whipped a U-turn, which threw him into a ditch on the right side of the road. I parked my vehicle to hopefully block him and began walking up to the car. My revolver was drawn and pointed right at David's face. but he was not going to go quietly. He revved up his engine, ignored my commands to cease his actions and spun his tires, as he shot out of the ditch and came right at me. Oh, I could have shot at him, but later I realized had I fired, I would've eaten the grill of the Malibu. So, I jumped to the right and rolled across the road. He went zooming off back towards town, with me back in pursuit. I knew where he was probably going; his home and sure enough I found his car parked outside- the hood quite warm from his racing. He ran one of the two service stations in town and lived up above his with his wife and two kids. I'd had trouble with him before, always drunk and having marriage difficulties because of it. Well, I found him hiding behind a stack of tires, we wrestled a bit and I got him cuffed. I was not too happy with Dave at the moment, knowing in his alcoholic fog he had tried to kill me. But I tossed him in the cell and called the magistrate to get a bail amount IF his wife decided to try to get him out.She didn't.

I filed felony and misdemeanor charges against him and 6-months later, the DA asked me to drop the felony charges because Dave had also gone into a AA program and he'd been sober for 5 months. He was sincerely apologetic and his marriage problems had improved. So, I did and he plead guilty to DWI and served 10-days because this was his second offense for DWI. I never had another problem with Dave. In fact we joined the Alaska Army National Guard together and after the swearing in ceremony, his wife, who was about 4 feet tall, came up, stood on her tip toes and kissed me on the cheek. When I left Skagway they were still doing great. So maybe Skagway was a God appointment in so many ways.

but there were some people who never learned and that will be for later. God Bless!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Moose Pass Journal/ Skagway/ July 10, 2011

Bill Says: One of our friends in Skagway was a commercial fisherman/crabber. He was my size and had been a Skagway cop years earlier. He'd bring us king crabs, the whole thing, during crabbing season. He'd also fish for halibut, working the boat by himself and boy did this guy have muscles on top of muscles. He'd have to pull up his pots by hand, working with a series of pulleys and hoped to soon have a motor for it. His halibut lines or what is called skates were sometimes down over a 1,000 feet or more. I learned the only thing in his living room was a set of weights and a weight bench, and he was into carrot juice. He was also dating one of the bartenders, who disliked the smell of fish. It was not a match made in heaven, but it did survive.

Mona and I would spread out some old newspaper on our miniature kitchen table, (remember this was a 10' x 40' trailer in the pumpkin patch and the table was about coffee table size at best), and a big stew pot boiling on the stove. Then we'd eat king crab until full, struggling to ignore the crab's beady little eyes. For only $13 a crab, we ate good. I could never order king crab from a restaurant again though- they never gave you enough and cost  $30-40 for a half dozen legs. He was bringing in a lot of 300 lb halibuts or better and once brought in a halibut that weighed close to 400 lbs. The thing that made it different was how it had a bite taken out of it that measured more than 36 inches wide. Apparently we had some big predators down at those depths and I saw the halibut to confirm the story. We suspected it was most likely an Orca chowing down or some fairy tale sea creature of sorts. Drunks were always reporting sea serpents in the bay. Years later they caught a 22-foot white shark about 60-miles south of Juneau, this was when the warm water currents shifted and they began seeing tuna off of Juneau. But me, I was catching bicycles, coils of rope, the bottom and the occasional codfish. Everyone in town enjoyed hearing about my various catches, but I did close out several cases of missing bicycles.

I should also mention here how one of the old timers had photographs of him out in the bay late at night with a Russian sub beside his small boat- red star and everything. So I can imagine what a drunk would think when a periscope went sailing by.

Legend of Bullwinkle: One late evening while on patrol I noticed some activity down by the boat loading ramp and found one of the ferry workers busily driving around in a forklift, trying to load something from the water's edge and having some difficulty. Scotty, who was known as the town's jester of sorts,  was rapidly becoming a town legend with his wild antics. When I walked down there I found a very large bull moose, very dead, floating there in the shallow waters off the ramp. Now this not being moose season, I became quite curious and Scotty was very nervous to find me standing there. I learned he was out fishing and had found the moose floating in the canal and an idea formed for one of his jokes. He tied a rope to it and towed it back home. He planned to load it on the forklift and transport it across town to leave in the driveway of a female friend, who was having her 21st birthday.

I soon examined the moose and couldn't see any sign of gunshot or arrow wound and began to believe his story. I determined in my limited CSI techniques that the moose, whose legs were broken, had probably fallen off one of the steep bluffs, maybe chased by a bear and landed in the water, and drowned. Sad for such a proud animal. The meat was no longer any good and soon, I became part of the conspiracy and it nearly cost me my job. I called over to the state fish cops in Haines and told them what I had and they simply advised me how I needed to confirm it wasn't illegally taken by nefarious hunters and then have it destroyed. So, not thinking too straight from working too many long hours, I let Scotty have the moose for 24-hours and actually escorted him through the town. Thankfully it was a week night and nearly 2 a.m., so there were not too many people out and about. We also took the back roads.

The lady lived in a duplex on the north side of town and had her car parked in a carport. Scotty lowered the big bull, probably 1800-2,000 pounds of moose, on the ground and against the back of the car. We rested the legs up against the trunk and the rack was very visable from the driver's mirror. We were quiet and no one was awakened. He hoped she would come out, get into her vehicle and then see the moose in her mirror and freak out. Now remember, this also blocked her from pulling out. We shook hands and I went on my way, while he returned the forklift to the harbor.

Sure enough, she was freaked out, but immediately realized Scotty was at work here and she walked to work. But before noon, I was awakened by a very upset Chief Hester. He was home recuperating from his surgery, but was still taking calls and he was receiving a lot of them over this moose event. Knowing Scotty, Chief Hester called him up and quickly learned what had happened and of my involvement. The Chief was NOT happy. I had to get a hold of Scotty, get the forklift and destroy the animal in some fashion, as it was reportedly now quite ripe and neighbors were complaining about the stench and the squadrons of flies buzzing about. I found Scott, got the forklift and by the time we made it to the girl's apartment.... here was tour bus, filled completely with gray haired old ladies and a bored looking driver. They were all standing around the moose, posing for photos and especially one series of group shots.... that I took for them. Now this thing stunk, but it didn't seem to bother them, though the bus driver wouldn't come near the thing. I've always wondered what happened to the photos and though promises were made I never got one in the mail. In fact, of all the photos taken of me by the tourists, mostly while making my walking patrols downtown, I only received a single copy in the mail from my over 2 yrs in Skagway. The most photographs thing in town was an old 90 lb or better white husky dog that slept across the boardwalk and out in front of Deadmen's Photo Shop. The dog usually looked dead and did eventually die in that same spot, but the tourists loved him and I never did see him wake up to their busily sidestepping him.

Scott and I talked and we decided to transport the moose back to the bay. I escorted it and it became sort of like a parade as dozens of people came out to watch us move the foul smelling beast through town. We took it down tot he ferry float, tied cement blocks to the legs and after cutting it open so it would sink, ( this was a job in itself as the skin had become rock hard and I nearly shot it just to make a hole). Anyway after some effort, a lot of people laughing at Scotty and me, we lowered the beast into the cold waters of the Lynn Canal. We new the fish and crabs would consume it.

The story didn't end there though. I received quite a counseling from my boss and a year later, a diver came to town to work on the city's water system. A pipe emptied out into the bay. Poor guy suddenly came upon this huge skeleton with its legs tied to cement blocks and he nearly cleared the surface of the water in his excitement...or fright. He wanted to know what the poor critter did to become victim to a mob hit. He also commented on how it seemed no one in Skagway properly digested their corn...uck!

Christened Bullwinkle of course, the skull and rack was eventually removed from the ocean bottom and hung off the wall of the Red Onion Saloon, for which Scotty soon became part owner through marriage. When I returned to Skagway in 1993 to conduct a state investigation, I found Bullwinkle hanging there still and Scotty working the bar- he was happy and still pulling pranks. But he admitted Bullwinkle was his best joke.

 More later!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Moose Pass Journal /Skagway/ 7/9/ 2011

Bill Says: With the coming of our first summer in Skagway, I'd completed the Alaska Municipal Police Academy in Sitka and was back in town in time for the onslaught of tourists. Our third police officer had resigned and Chief Hester was looking around for a replacement. Eventually, there would be four police officers due to the heavy summer workload and Chief Hester having to take a lengthy leave of absence for a blown colon, (something I would suffer from years later).

The Canadians were mostly a pretty good lot, but as with every nationality, there's some jerks. I learned how the liquor stores in Canada were owned by the federal government and they didn't sell the higher potent liquors; 180% rum and such. So, they came to Skagway and bought what they could put away in a single weekend and then go home with nasty hangovers. Skagway hosted several summer softball tournaments and as many as 56 teams would arrive in town from Fairbanks, Canada and Juneau for a weekend of softball. Campgrounds were packed, partying was hard and we had a lot of trouble.

Unique to Alaska was how Skagway's  city limits went right up against the US/Canada border. The US customs station was 8-miles inside the border and the Canadian customs station was about 5 miles inside their border. This gave us a 13 mile length of road we often termed as no-man's land. The border was also located at the top of White Pass and nearly 4,000 feet above sea level. The Klondike Highway was steep at several spots and the switchbacks could be quite hazardous. I worked a lot of accidents up there, usually brought about by reckless drivers. I had one lady roll her brand new import to miss a squirrel. Now the border officially closed at midnight and the customs station locked up for the night. There was no gate and one of our responsibilities was conducting late night security checks on the station, which was also outside our comm system. Motorists who made it through Canadian customs but didn't make the midnight closure could park at the US station, but several times that summer I stopped border runners who tried to sneak through and this usually resulted in a $500 fine per passenger, imposed by US Immigrations. I once stopped a tour bus with 45 passengers and thought I should've got a commission from the feds.

Sometimes, when we had difficulties with Canadians we would give them a choice of being escorted up to no-man's land to spend the rest of the night, or jail. They always picked the road. We worked hand and hand with US Fish & Wildlife, Customs & Immigrations , State Troopers & State Wildlife Officers, US Park Rangers & Forest Service. We had a lot of National Park property within the city limits, including the mouth of the famous Chilkoot Trail and three large cemeteries.

If in the event we had serious problems with a Canadian or other non-US citizen, we could contact the mounties and work with US Customs & Immigrations to have this person blackballed from entering any us entry point- especially if this involved narcotics, major felonies or if the person had serious narcotic or major felony convictions in their home country. Canada apparently now prevents non-Canadian people with DWI records from entering if discovered at the border station.

With the arrival of the first cruise ships, ( Princess and Cunard lines), we were given a tour of the vessels. I soon learned how in many of these boats how different the conditions were below decks, ( not part of the tour). This is where the employees or crew lived, nearly all of them from third world countries and at well below US minimum wage. Below deck, these quarters resembled third world countries and I was shocked, but they operated under non-US flag and didn't come under our labor laws- accept for liquor sales and gambling while within the 3-mile limit. All the slot machine rooms were chained off, but minors could gamble out on the open ocean.

I once chased a crew member down about 5 decks for stealing a bicycle, which I watched him toss into the bay and finally caught him. This was my first look at the conditions down there. Sad.

That first summer, after Chief Hester got sick, Dennis and I began working 12-hour shifts and 7-days a week. I went that entire summer without a day off...well, in August I got a day off for when James was born in Juneau. Dennis, being the senior man, got days and I got nights, but we were often called out to back each other up. Most of our cases either involved bar fights, domestics in the campgrounds or disturbances in employee housing for the hotels, shoplifting, vehicle accidents, DWI's and some drug busts. By the end of summer I was wiped out and had lost all patience with jerks, creeps, perps, slimeballs and idiots. I would often park my patrol car on the main downtown roadway and walk the original boardwalk of 1898 to check the businesses, visit with tourists, conduct bar checks and make sure everyone knew I was out and about.

I learned just before leaving Skagway of how the bartenders had a bet going on about me. $50 to the first one who could get me to drink anything in their establishment. I never wanted it to appear that the bartender was slipping me some booze in a coffee cup or any drink container. I actually gained their respect in this and they helped me on some of my cases. I also rescued one bartender from a bothersome spook, which was terrorizing her one late bit strange, but she began reading her Bible after that and kept it behind her bar. She weighed about 300 pounds or more, was from New York and tough as nails, except when spooks were concerned. Her brother was a cop, killed on duty. I watched her wrestle a big drunk to the floor one night and knew her brother had taught her will.

Toward the end of summer, Officer Ed came aboard. He was a former Idaho Deputy Sheriff- don't recall what county. He'd been a cop for 7 years and had actually worked cattle rustling cases. He brought his wife and two teenage daughters with him.  Ed was assigned to me for a week and then he was on his own.  More later.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Moose Pass Journal / Skagway's Life & Times 7/8/11

Bill Says: My first morning in Skagway and I awakened trembling from a hellish nightmare, bathed in night sweats and my single blanket wrapped around my knees. Yes, I did have a single reoccurring nightmare from an experience in Viet Nam, but this was so very different. I looked about the ancient jail cell, the concrete walls and   tried to get my breathing and heart rate back within normal range. My jail, in which I was forced to use until better lodging came available, had a very high ceiling of about 12-feet and took up approximately 100 square feet. Two metal bunks, each with a very thin mattress, single blanket and sheets, and a single pillow. The walls were an ugly gray in color and probably hadn't seen a coat of fresh paint in years. There was a toilet without a seat, ( these could be used as weapons against a fellow prisoner or a guard), and a simple shower stall. No sink. The overhead light couldn't be reached without a ladder. The cell door was the original; heavy iron bars and secured through an outside mechanism the prisoners couldn't reach. Outside the cell was a single office, which held the chief's antique roll-top desk, file cabinets and inset shelves, plus a metal desk for the officers to use.

Over head on the 2nd floor was the Skagway Museum, closed now for the season. It was from here I was to first experience a haunting; which involved a restless stuffed standing grizzly bear mount- now chained to the wall by heavy links in an attempt to keep it from moving about the room. That evening, while writing a letter to my wife I began to hear the heavy foot prints from the floor above. Now no one bothered to mention to me the story of the restless bear, but I sure heard something moving about and rushed upstairs to find the museum locked up tight. I even ran out into the heavy snow to inspect the back door, which was frozen shut and with two feet of fresh snow blocking the doorway. The museum was even alarmed, sending out phone calls to us over our comm system when the alarm sounded. Sometimes as many as 20 times a month the alarm went off and I learned to really hate it. Officers had to respond to reset the alarm each time.

A new Christian, who had witnessed many unexplained occurrences in the war, was quite frankly, a bit upset over this marching about overhead. I knew it was someone very heavy for me to hear it from the room below, especially in a building constructed of granite rock. But after the nightmare from only last night, I was asking myself a lot of questions about this place I'd come too and began pulling some books off the shelves in hopes of finding some answers. One of these was the original Alaska Territorial Marshal Booking Records for the early 1900's. The Chief had already pointed out to me of how Eric Stroud, the Birdman of Alcatraz, was held here for a murder he committed in Nome. There were also pages and pages of men and women held for Insanity. It became so bad the township had to construct its own asylum to hold them. Now only the rubble remained of the building.  There were dozens of prisoners being held for murder. I also read how at least 12-men had committed suicide in the cell I was sleeping in.

In my nightmare, a presence blacker than the dark it emerged from, came up from the floor of the cell and began to smother me. At one point I was looking down upon my body from the ceiling and watching as my body was being ripped apart by this dark demonic thing. I attempted to scream out, but could not make a sound and there was the maniacal laughter emanating from the cell walls. Next, my out of body presence was being sucked into the darkness and this was when I awakened. It is such a nightmare that mere description can in no way explain the fear it caused in me. Then came the stupid bear thing.

In the next couple of days to follow, I learned all I could about Skagway's history. For here was a town founded on man's greed; built from the ground up for the 1898 Gold Rush. Here, where murder, debauchery and mayhem stood as the town's cornerstone. Where thousands of men and women had come to strike it rich and only less than 1% ever discovered the gold, and so many would fall into despair, or insanity.

Most of the men and women made their money off the miners, some honestly as laborers and providers of needed supplies, and others.... thieves, cutthroats and gang members, gamblers and con-men, prostitutes and opium peddlers. Many of the miners would fall victim, assaulted and robbed or even killed. At one point, Soapy Smith, the legendary con man of Skagway, had a gang of over 100 men and women. But he to met his fate on the Skagway dock when he was killed in a gunfight. He was buried in Skagway, but years later someone stole his bones for what ever reason and only an empty grave and stone marker remained.

Skagway was a town made famous by its hauntings; ghosts of murdered bar girls and prostitutes and a few dead miners. A particular hotel room on the 3rd floor of a famous hotel, where a prostitute was strangled to death and visited annually by those investigating the paranormal. Here, the specter would routinely throw furniture about, tossing things through the glass window and frightening many a visitor. The room was always freezing, even though the rest of the floor was kept quite warm. I even experienced the ghost's wrath on a winter night when a chair was tossed through the window to bounce off the hood of my patrol car. At the time the 3rd floor was sealed off by a locked door, for when not needed the hotel owner kept it locked up as she herself was afraid to go up there. She finally found a buyer and left town.

During the Gold Rush a witches coven had formed, their activities and identities kept secret... that is until I came to work there. I'll get into this part later, but I will say that I was used to expose this coven and they were not happy. 13 witches and warlocks, some of them the key people in town. No, they were not happy and brought a lot of pressure against Mona and I.

After experiencing three nights of this same nightmare, I called my wife. With her occult background and now her renewed faith in the Lord, I felt she could help me. Sure I carried a revolver, nightstick and shotgun, I needed something a whole lot more spiritual to fight what ever was attacking me. Sure enough, she told me how to pray and cleanse the room/cell. So I prayed and laid hands on every wall surface, stick of furniture and shouted out the Lord's name to rebuke the enemy's presence. Now remember, this was all new stuff to me, but when I finished I felt a strange feeling of relief. The darkness was gone and I never had that nightmare return. Oddly enough, when the chief came in the next morning he thought I had cleaned the office. He said it felt almost cheery and thanked me.

I was to learn about the legend of the restless bear, how it had frightened one jail guard so bad he abandoned his prisoner and left town on the departing ferry. The prisoner was found cowering in his cell and needed sedation by the town nurse.

Oh there was a house where violin music came out of the walls, a famous bar where ghosts taunted the bartenders late at night with that same maniacal laughter and moving things about. Ghostly apparitions seen later at night walking about and vanishing. I even chased a ghost down the middle of the road, only to see it simply disappear in front of me. There were other such things, but enough of that now. The town was simply haunted and locked in the demonic grasp of the enemy. Even the Catholic church existed only now as an abandoned building and the few small churches were very lukewarm in spiritual strength. I found a town in depression, like no other I had ever lived in before. Some really great people in a worldly sense and little help for them.

Shortly after my arrival, the White Pass Railroad, which ran ore and passengers between Whitehorse, Canada and Skagway,  went bankrupt and over night we saw 33% unemployment. It was devastating for the community. The town accounted for at least one suicide a year and another death by accident.

Yes, Mona and I really walked into it and we really had our hands full. Both of us were fighters, but this was a new ground for each of us and we relied heavily on one another. It forever changed my beliefs in the existence of the enemy and only added to my faith in the power the Lord had over the enemy. More to follow.