Updated: Dec 29, 2021

The Snoqualmie Valley, the ancestral home of the Snoqualmie Tribe, is a place of mystical beauty. A little under forty miles east of Seattle, surrounded by snow-capped rugged peaks, the forks of the Snoqualmie River join above the Snoqualmie Falls. The roar of the water as it crashes 268 feet below is audible almost anywhere a visitor stands and can soak you in seconds.

Lush ferns and blackberry canes grow beneath the shade of giant cedars, douglas fir, larches, and golden maples. Herds of elk and families of deer feast on verdant meadows and sometimes right in people’s backyards. In the thick darkness of Snoqualmie’s nights, owls call and, on occasion, the snarl of hunting cougars and bobcats pierce the quiet. The smell of pine scents the clean mountain air. Ample rainfall makes the ground soft, spongy, and alive. This gem of the Cascades, however, also has a dark history. Here are the top five strange things that make it haunted:

  1. Twin Peaks, David Lynch’s dark tale of murder and the supernatural, was filmed in the Snoqualmie Valley, finding a natural canvass in the dark green hollows and winding waters of the Valley. To this day, many of the landmarks popularized in Lynch’s Twin Peaks provide shrine-like stops to fans of the suspense and the occult.

2. Even though the Snoqualmie Valley is in Washington state, Japanese

spirits called Yureis roam the land and woods. Legend says they are the

ghosts of the Japanese workers from the Weyerhaeuser logging mill who

died after their internment in Idaho during World War II. They cause floods

and earthquakes in the Valley.

3. There’s a ghost town. When the Weyerhaeuser Company shut down a lumber mill, the residents abandoned the village, the houses were hauled away or flattened, the timber exhausted. But now the abandoned lumber mill draws ghost hunters and psychics.

4. Snoqualmie is reputed to have a vortex and portal to other dimensions. So, it is no surprise that it is home to the self-proclaimed warden and protector of the Snoqualmie Territory, Jim Saint James. The warden’s mission includes ensuring that magical creatures do not harm the residents of the Snoqualmie Territory. He also wrote a hiking guide to the magical places in the Valley.

5. It’s a dumping ground for bodies. According to the King County Sheriff’s office, the Snoqualmie Valley gets “its fair share of bodies” due to recreational accidents, suicides, and victims of violence. At least one infamous serial murderer, The Green River Killer, concealed five of his victims in the area.

I don’t know if Snoqualmie is haunted, but it is a mystical place where beauty and horror meet. It’s been clearcut, flooded, built over; I wonder how much Mother Earth can take before she teaches us a lesson we’ll never forget.

This October I'm reading a serious but spooky book by Kathy Berry you can purchase it here.

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Updated: Dec 29, 2021

My book, Women of Fire and Snow, is a collection of stories about women straddling the Mexican-American border, confronting violence and challenges from forced migration and femicide. While researching, I discovered the atrocious reality of gender violence.

When I first started writing these stories in 2017, the UN reported that nine women and girls were murdered every day in Mexico. Now, it is ten. Although worse for lower-income women, femicide spans all socio-economic classes and is exceptionally brutal; most victims are stabbed, strangled or drowned.

Femicide is not only vicious but intimate. Forty percent of women murdered in Mexico knew their killer. Exacerbating the problem is the systemic impunity in Mexico where 93% of crimes are never punished. Members of law enforcement at all levels engage in femicide; in March 2020, they attacked female protesters in various cities, arresting and assaulting some, using tear gas, and shooting four journalists in another.

Mexico has a problem, but it is not alone. The UN estimates that worldwide almost one in three girls and women will experience violence or sexual assault in their lifetime. Although boys and men also experience violence, there is a difference. Men and boys are victimized by violence on the streets and often during the commission of a crime. In disturbing contrast, a large majority of girls and women are victimized in the home, the place where one is supposed to feel safe and protected.

Because of economic, educational, and cultural reasons, a quarter of women worldwide will experience violence by an intimate partner or husband. Gender violence is worse in underdeveloped countries and in places where girls and women face genital mutilation and forced marriage.

In the US, one in three women are victims of assault or sexual violence, the same number worldwide. Although gender violence affects all women, regardless of race, class, or age, it is more frequent among transgender women and women of color. In addition, American Indian and Alaskan Native women experience violence at a higher rate, four out of every five.

In my stories, I never use graphic nor detailed descriptions of violent acts, but I do write about difficult issues, such as rape, sexual assault, and domestic violence. We cannot solve what we don’t acknowledge; we can’t help those who must hide or remain silent because of stigma, shame, threats, or lack of resources. My stories are factual and real but tempered with magical realism and mysticism as a way of sustaining hope.

I don’t know how to stop violence against women; the causes are complex and legion. But I do know that the tools of the patriarchy will not work. Instead, we need the feminine principles of equality, love, and acceptance that value all people.

The Center for Women’s Human Rights (CEDEHM) in Chihuahua, Mexico is a non-profit feminist organization providing resources, support, legal aid, and advocacy since 2005. All the presales’ profits of my book Woman of Fire and Snow will be donated to the CEDEHM.

To learn more about this and attend a virtual book launch/fundraiser sign up for emailing list.

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