Zak Bagans and the Ghost Adventure crew are relentless in their quest to communicate with the “other side,” and sometimes that tenacity brings them to uncomfortable and potentially dangerous situations. On tonight’s episode of Ghost Adventures, Bagans, Aaron Goodwin, Billy Tolley, and Jay Wasley are heading underground to explore the depths of the Kennedy and Argonaut mines in Jackson, CA. While both mines have had their fair share of ghostly claims, in the eyes of paranormal investigators, Argonaut’s tragic history makes it a potential breeding ground for the supernatural.
During the California Gold Rush of the mid-19th-century, Amador County became a hotspot for the precious yellow mineral. Part of that craze fell on Kennedy and Argonaut mines, which yielded approximately $105 million (more than $2 billion in 2018). Though the mines saw much success, in August 1922, Argonaut suffered a deadly fire 3,500’ below the surface. More than 40 immigrant workers that were working in the mine became trapped, and though the inferno lasted 2.5 days, it took two weeks for rescue workers to find the miners, who had suffocated to death.
The incredible tragedy of 1922 has been a black mark on the mine, spurring interest from believers of the paranormal. Investigators commonly claim that a traumatizing death can lead to a haunting, which explains the attraction that not only the Ghost Adventures crew has to the mine, but also investigators like George and Cara Schopplien. Tonight’s episode is also not the first time the mine’s haunted history has been discussed on television. In 2014, the Discovery Channel’s Unexplained Files explored the depths of the mine to verify claims of the paranormal.
Considering the period and dangerous conditions, death was fairly commonplace during the California Gold Rush. Kennedy Mine may not have had a known tragedy the size of the 1922 Argonaut fire, but there have been deaths within the expansive shaft. The earliest recorded incident was that of David De Ricci, who, on March 15, 1902, fell 2,600’ down a shaft. Two months later, Francisco Giovanoni also took a misstep and fell more than 2,000’ to his death.
Both mines were eventually closed in 1942 when miners traded pickaxes for rifles to fight in World War II. According to the description for tonight’s episode of Ghost Adventures, both Argonaut and Kennedy “seem to be ground zero for hauntings,” and if local lore is accurate, Bagans and company will be looking to make contact with the 47 miners killed during the 1922 fire.