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Feather River Bulletin
Quincy, California
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October 29, 2014     Feather River Bulletin
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October 29, 2014
 

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Bulletin, Record, Progressive, Reporter Wednesday, Oct. 29, 2014 1B INSIDE SECTION B: EDITORIAL " OPINIONS " UPCOMING EVENTS is roaming James Wilson Staff Writer jwilson@plumasnews.com omething has been putting the caretakers of the Paxton Lodge on edge lately. On Monday, Oct. 20, Alanna Payne was organizing the cleaning supplies in the basement of the lodge. Payne was by herself, while the rain poured down outside. "I was moving stuff off the supply shelf, and I crouched down to pick something up," Payne said. "The door to the supply room was closed. All of a sudden, I heard a creeeeeek. I looked over, and the door opened itself halfway." Before Payne got a moment to comprehend the door opening, a piece of plumbing on the shelf behind her seemingly moved itself off the shelf, clanging to the floor. Payne said she felt uneasy, but wrote off what she saw as her imagination playing tricks and continued cleaning. Payne got on her knees as she was cleaning up some water that had spilled on the ground. "I was bending over, cleaning the water, and backing up. All of a sudden I felt something touch my jacket. It felt like a hand, and I got an immediate sense that there was a tall man in the room with me." Payne never saw anyone. Two weeks earlier, caretaker Ronnie Cavenaugh also had a run-in with the eerie. "I was by myself down in the basement, when I heard a noise," said Cavenaugh. "All of a sudden I got that whole hair-rising feeling -- I got goose bumps." The two accounts mentioned may be the latest reported encounters with the unknown from Paxton Lodge, but they are certainly not the first. Residents of the historical lodge have reported unexplained incidents for years. Stories involving a ghost at the lodge date nearly as far back as the construction of the lodge itself. Elmer E. Paxton spent $15,000 to build the 32-room lodge in 1917. The lodge sat right at the junction of the Western Pacific Railroad and the Indian Valley Railroad Throughout the years, the lodge served many functions. During the early years of the lodge, the upstairs was rumored to house illegal gambling and a bordello. In 1955, the lodge was used as a rehabilitation center for alcoholics. Elektra Records leased the building in 1968 and produced two albums. Currently, an investors group out of San Rafael owns the lodge. Encounters Many of the documented encounters with the ghost that haunts Paxton Lodge came from longtime caretaker Mike Lazzarino, who died in 2010. Mike's wife, Corky Lazzarino, told Feather Publishing about one such encounter. "One night at 1 a.m. sharp, (Mike) woke up and couldn't move or scream. His dog was going nuts at his side, but Mike couldn't move. In the morning he told the story to neighbors, thinking he just 'ate a bad pork chop,' but they experienced the exact same thing at the exact time. Their dogs also went crazy, but the people were unable to move. This went on for several nights. Two of the residents couldn't stand it any more, as well as other hauntings that were going on, and they had to move to Keddie to get away from it," Corky reported. Mike detailed more stories of caretaking at the lodge in the book "The History of Paxton Lodge and the Indian Valley Railroad," written by Kaley Bentz. One of these accounts was of the ghost making itself known to a group of people at the lodge. "We were outside partying when we saw a person in the rocking chair. Someone asked, 'Who is that?' No one knew, so we went to investigate. The closer we got to it, the harder it was to see the person until by the time we got there, no one was in the chair, but it was rocking all by itself," Mike was quoted as saying. When she was a Child, Sandy Hesse's parents, Ron and Jane Schwartz, bought the lodge. Hesse recalled as a teenager crossing the dining room, and seeing the reflection of an older man in the large mirror following her reflection. Years later, she brought her children with her to the lodge for a visit. "When I visited Paxton with my two small boys I let them run around knowing the place was virtually empty with the exception of other friends visiting my parents," Hesse remembered. "I heard the two of them upstairs running around and laughing. Then I heard them talking, and as I listened from the living room I couldn't make sense of what the conversation was about." When Hesse's two children finally came downstairs, she asked what they had been doing all that time. Hesse's children told her they were playing with their grandpa. "Knowing full well my dad wasn't up there, I asked what grandpa looked like," Hesse said. "They described the very same man whose image I had seen following me in the reflection as I crossed the dining room when I was a teenager." The ghost's identity Numerous people claim to have seen or felt the ghost throughout the lodge's existence. Who the ghost once was, however, seems to be a mystery. The ghost has often been referred to as the Boiler Man. A story proliferated of a savage murder that took place at the lodge. The body was then sliced up and tossed into the boiler. The legend maintains that the ghost of the murdered man regularly haunts the basement and Room No. 7 of the old lodge. In an article published by Feather Publishing on Oct. 26, 1978, Mike Lazzarino fessed up to creating that story. "I made up that story myself to scare the man who owned the lodge when I was a caretaker," Lazzarino said. The name stuck, however, and generations of children and adults living at the lodge were all spooked by the notorious Boiler Man. Todd Kirschenheuter, one of the lodge's current owners, heard a different theory on the ghost's identity. According to Kirschenheuter, the ghost was that of a See Paxton, page 14B [