The Battery Russel is a part of Fort Stevens near Warrenton, Oregon (very close to the town of Astoria).
Part of the Fort Steven's Military Reservation, it served post to the Oregon Coast during the Civil War, until World War II. Situated very gracefully on one of the hills, it faces the flow and the ebb of the beautiful Pacific Ocean, and upon a glance, one can see it's rich history. But what you don't see or sometimes never expect to see... can frighten the hell out of you.
I must admit, I have a strange attraction to the Battery. The whole area is gorgeous, and seems unlikely that it was ever touched by war.
Though I'm not very familiar with the history of the Battery, or very many other parts of Ft. Stevens, I can feel some of it's past. And I'm not the only one.
In early October of '97, I took a friend of mine to visit the coast. I live in Portland, which is not far from the coast, so jaunts out there are easy. Most of my family (including my parents) live in the area, so I thought it would be fun to take my friend with me to visit my family and then play on the beach. I wanted to show her the Battery, and we ended up there about 3:30 in the afternoon.
The Battery is vast, with many areas that light never sees, unless it's created by lantern or flash light, and in these areas... you can sense the past. Even in the light of day, in a group of people, the intrigue can turn to fear.
When we arrived, there was only one other car in the parking lot, and we began the small trek up the service road, that lead up the hill that the Battery is nestled into. We passed the previous visitors on the way down the hill, and the smiled cordially as they walked to their car.
I'd never had any experience with the "spiritual" side of things until that day, though I have always been open minded regarding it.
We began to explore, sticking close to one another. No other visitors came. At points, I would stop in my tracks, as suddenly... I was sensing the echoes of pain and fear. At times I felt I was being staring into, and would look in the direction. I never said anything to my friend, even as he was standing beside me. I could tell he was sensing something as well, but neither one of us would say.
We continued up the hill, to a small group of bunkers above the Battery. Daylight was begining to fade, and our light windbreakers were begining to fail at keeping the cold, damp air from chilling us. I could never tell if it was the weather, or the Battery generating the chill.
We both branched out a bit, exploring the bunker areas... some open and others fully enclosed, with only a sole door entering into their darkness. I approached one of the enclosed bunkers, but stopped. I couldn't physically move any further... but I wanted to know what was in there. Instantly I heard my friend plea, "Don't go in there." As soon as he spoke, an image flashed in my head of someone standing in there with a knife, waiting for someone to enter. And upon the flash of this image, I was knocked backwards to the ground. The image was so vivid and real... the past seemed to be speaking to us.
Collen was only a few feet away, and came to me instantly. I couldn't really speak, but I couldn't catch my breathe. He quickly helped me to my feet, and said in his own fear, "We need to go!" I wasn't about to argue. We broke into a run down the hill to get back to my van, and as we did... I heard Collen take a sharp breathe, and nearly run into me. Focusing on our retreat, I didn't pay any attention to it, other than making sure he was still with me. I quickly unlocked the van, and we were out of there as fast as I could drive.
Collen was shaking, and I suppose I was too, but I was so focused on driving. I swear I was working the 5-speed so hard, I could have ripped the gear shift out of the floor. 15 minutes later... I pulled over to try to collect myself. I turned to see if Collen was ok. He was actually crying and I felt really bad for putting us in that situation. Before I could even ask, he asked me, "Did you see the image I did... the guy in fatigues in the bunker?" "Holding a knife?", I further inquired. He nodded. We had the same vision at the same exact time. "Can we get some coffee? and then will you drive us home?", he asked quietly. "Yeah... but what else did you see?" I knew there was more. "On the way down the hill," he took a breathe, "out of the corner of my eye... I swore I saw another guy hiding in the bushes. It creeped me out." We talked more about it on the drive home, but really don't talk about it any more.
I still go back, and have had a few other encounters. There is a lot of energy and activity there.
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