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Ghost Adventures – Apache Junction – S10E08

For this investigation, Zak and team head out to Goldfield, Arizona to investigate a town that lies in the shadow of the Superstition Mountains. Bob Schoose rebuilt Goldfield and discovered a body while doing the initial excavation. Turns out he stumbled onto a cemetery where the markers had simply rotted away over time. Many believe it is this spirit and possibly some others which haunt the area and show themselves to some of the locals.

But there is supposedly a more recent spirit that may still be lingering in the area. A woman named Karin, recently passed and she worked at the "brothel" in the town. It is said her voice can still be heard. It is believed she and the unknown prospector still roam the halls and sit in the chairs.

There are other deaths in the local vicinity too. The Superstition Mountains are rumored to contain the Lost Dutchman Gold Mine which and many have died trying to find it. Men will set out to find fortune and glory, never to be heard from again. Zak weaves a tale that the reason the mine can’t be found is that is exist on the other side of a portal. Won’t Zak be surprised when he later learns that Bob Schoose knows exactly where the mine is located and that it’s all been mined out. Hmmm, which one of them is telling the tall tale here?

As they get started with the investigation in the mind, things are very quiet, except for Zak farting on camera and the rest of the team acting like a bunch of 10 years. It’s all pretty stupid so let’s just move on.

While Jay is watching the cameras, he believes he sees a cowboy wandering the streets. The team assembles a thermal imager to cover the area and believe they capture someone in a trenchcoat walking into the brothel. They believe this is confirmed because there are noises coming out of the brothel at the same time. Zak heads in there and believes he picks up the words, "I’m Vic" when he asks who is in there with them. The mysterious voice claims to be the spirit of the unknown prospector.

While in there, Zak picks up another voice that says, "Make it go" and "I was hurt". He feels this might be the voice of Karin who used to work at the brothel.

The investigation then moves over to the museum where they heard a whole series of footsteps. These always seem to occur in the exact place they’re not standing.

For the finale, Zak places rem pods by the marker for the unknown prospector that Bob dug up. Zak asks questions and gets responses on the pods. They blink and beep and make all sort of noise as Zak points for different ones to light up. It’s an interesting light show to be sure.

It’s a rather quiet investigation to be honest. You can take the sound of the voices for what you will. And the footsteps are dubious at best. You can hear footsteps from dozens of different things. Perhaps there was some ethereal force walking around, perhaps creaking boards. And the rem pods? Well, that could be something unique or devices simply reacting to elements in the air. Considering some people claim to have 30 minute conversations with full bodies apparitions, Zak and team came away a little light.

I’ve been to Arizona multiple times and the legends surrounding the place are immense. There are more ghost towns and haunted prospector stories than you can shake a stick at. It’s all great fun to listen to and perhaps or two might have some basis in reality. No doubt men lost their lives in search of gold, copper and other minerals. Men were shot and hanged for the most trivial of matters. Lots of exciting story about the Wild West, just look at Boot Hill. So is Goldfield haunted? I don’t know Zak confirmed that, but it’s a fun story nonetheless.

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Expedition Unknown – Jesse James – S01E04

imageFor our latest outing in adventure travel, we head out to Oklahoma to take a look at the legend of Jesse James and the gold he left behind. We’ve certainly all heard the name Jesse James and we may even be familiar with some of his deeds. He is famous for his gold robberies and of course the men he shot down. But there is one stash in particular that has Josh’s interest. Supposedly, there is millions of dollars worth of gold coins still buried out there.

Jesse James stole millions of dollars worth of Mexican gold, loaded it up onto 18 mules and made his way into Oklahoma. He was stopped by a blizzard and decided to bury the gold and mark it so he could return later to claim it. Before he could do that, he was killed by a member of his own gang, Robert Ford.

The gold is supposedly marked by some bullet holes he put in a tree and some other cryptic signs. With the help of some historians and treasure hunters, Josh will see what he can find. But first, it’s time to take in the local color with a spot of ribs and some fancy duds at the cowboy store. No Josh, put the chaps back where you found them.

The first stop is to visit the house where Jesse James was born and to get a bit of insight into why he became an outlaw. His father died when he was 3 and he saw plenty of violence and death and the outbreak of the civil war. Seems he had a taste for revenge and violence from the early days.

With that in mind, Josh tries to confirm if it was even possible for Jesse to make the journey with mules loaded down with gold. While it would be slow going, it is possible he made it to Oklahoma in the time allotted.

He then meets up with a treasure hunter who has been researching Jesse James for 40 years. He believes there is treasure still left behind in Robber’s Cave. He is able to show Josh markers that have been carved into the rocks that point the way to treasure. Bud Hardcastle uses dowsing rods to help locate items, but alas, all they have for their efforts on this outing is the lid to a tin can. Oh well, better luck next time. At least the scenery was nice.

Not discouraged, Josh heads to Cement, Oklahoma where another treasure hunter uses some more sophisticated equipment to find items. He meets with Jamie Dodson who says he has put together clues to the location of the treasure and he has a map outlining the area they need to search. While the legend speaks of finding "Jack", Jamie believes Jack isn’t really a person or grave marker, but a word spelled out on the ground. His photo does indeed show Jack spelled out with rocks in an area that matches a description in a note left behind by Jesse. While not giving away too much, Jamie appears to have a specific area he wants to investigate and uses a much more sophisticated metal detector to get the job done.

Josh helps with the search and they get an interesting set of beeps. Indeed, something is buried beneath the rocks. And it’s a metal bar. But Josh’s hopes of striking it rich are dashed as we learn it’s a lead bar and those are worth pretty much nothing.

So, no gold this time around, but let’s keep in mind there are indeed items still buried out there. Josh may have found lead this time, but what else is hiding out there? A California couple recently found a large stash of gold buried on their property worth a few million. So while searching for gold may seem fanciful, the loot Jesse James robbed has been found in a couple different places and it been worth a small fortune. If you happen to be down in Mexico and some guy is selling maps, don’t dismiss too quickly, there might be something to it.

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Ghost Adventures – Nopeming Sanatorium – S10E07

image For our next outing, we’re off to Duluth, Minnesota to investigate the Nopeming Sanatorium which served as a tuberculosis ward during the heavy epidemics. As the story always goes, a trip to the sanatorium was a last ditch effort for the patients who rarely got better. Most would end up taking a final ride through the body chute on a sad trip to the crematorium. And as with just about every sanatorium, there are plenty of stories about patient deaths and their suffering, including a murder- suicide that took place on Mother’s Day and bars that had to cover the windows because patients chose to commit suicide rather than live with a wasting disease.

While the building looked quite impressive in it’s early days, the place is a rotting mess just waiting for the right time to crumble in on itself. The tunnel walls for the crematorium are showing some severe signs of distress with huge cracks and bowing concrete. Sadly, vandals have smashed in most of the windows and absolutely littered the place with trash. Pretty unfortunate state of affairs really.

We are also told that this area was home to the Native Americans and they used the land to heal their own sick and wounded. One of the members of the local tribe says the spirits have learned to travel on the wind and he can feel that cold air around him as he looks around the building.

As we get a history of the building, the death toll, and some of the horrible treatments – like removing lungs, we end up down in the tunnels that lead to the crematorium. This has been blocked off due to vandalism, but Billy, Jay and Aaron clear away the barricades and have a look inside. It’s creepy for the fact the whole thing is going to collapse. The concrete walls have split and look like they might break any minute now. Billy heads down the tunnel alone and wouldn’t you know it, his camera goes dead and he’s plunged into total darkness. While trying to light up the area with his flash, he captures what looks to be the outline of a figure on the wall. Was this just his shadow or perhaps something else?

After this quick look around they get the full investigation underway. Aaron is sent down to the crematorium where he feels a lot of heavy energy. Considering how ruined and destroyed the room looks, it’s not hard to feel a sense of dread down there. However, there are no voices, shadows or anything else to be captured.

Zak and Billy look around the upper floors where they get some sort of stick figure to show up for just a second on the Kinect camera. Zak also says there are light anomalies and orbs flying around so spirit energy must be present. As they continue to look around the rooms, Zak says he sees a woman reach out to him and ask for help. Quick on his feet, Zak breaks out the spirit box and gets gibberish that he feels is the word" help" while Billy says someone is tapping on his arm. So is there a patient still trapped asking for help to get out of this terrible place?

As the investigation continues, there are multiple bangs like the sound of door closing or people banging on the walls. They are heavy metallic bangs. Interesting noises, but again, it’s a broken down building that is clearly sinking into the earth itself. How do we know these sounds aren’t normal for a decaying building? Old buildings make strange noises, we can’t just jump to the conclusion they are paranormal.

Toward the end of the investigation Zak has a bad moment as he feels he’s being grabbed and pulled by something unseen. It is something unseen all right, wires hanging from the ceiling. He gets himself tangled and as we watch the slow motion replay, the wires wrap around his leg. While this was certainly funny and shows Zak can lose his cool quite easily, you have to admit, you’d soil yourself too if you were in the dark and got wrapped up like that. Zak isn’t quite the fearless warrior he pretends to be, but at least he had a real reason to panic this time.

So in the end, what sort of evidence do we have here? We have bangs, which are odd, but can just easily be the building sinking. There is nothing to suggest these are paranormal bangs. Put you cameras in there overnight, turn a bunch of lights on and see if you get the same noises. Besides the bangs we have the shadow figure captured by Billy. Certainly interesting, but are we absolutely, beyond any doubt, sure that’s not a reflection or shadow cast by Billy himself? And as far as the orbs go, let’s be real. I am always convinced those are just bugs flying around, it is an open building ya know. Besides, when you slow the footage down it looks like those orbs have wings. And despite what Zak says, bugs can change directions on a dime and fly at 90 degree angles.

While this place is creepy as hell and looks like the scene from the worst horror movie you can imagine, I don’t feel the captured any real evidence to support the paranormal claims. The shadow is the only interesting piece, but considering how easy it is to take a bad picture and say there is a mist or a figure or a shadow, it’s hardly enough.

While the patient stories may be real and building is wonderfully creepy, it’s a wide stretch to say it’s haunted.

If you want to learn more and see more photos, check out Substreet.org. There is some pretty sweet stuff over there.

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Ghost Adventures – Sallie House – S10E06

image For this outing, we’re off to Atchison, Kansas to investigate the Sallie House, a house that is believed to be haunted, yet no one seems to know why. The previous owners (they used to live there 20 years ago) claim they dealt with an angry spirit for two years and were finally forced to leave. During that time they saw apparitions and Tony was scratched multiple times. When they left the house another owner took over and it’s "rumored" that she dabbled in the occult and was said to perform rituals down in the basement. This same rumor continues to be perpetuated by the Sallie House Tour Guide and she even goes so far as to say the dark, black smudge on the floor is where the pentagram used to be.

All right, let’s just hold up for a second. First, these are nothing but rumors. This sounds like the type of story kids would tell each other after the broke in to improve their machismo and scare other kids. Second, there is no evidence to support any of the "satanic" details that are being thrown around. Nor is there any evidence to support that the stain on the floor is anything more than a stain on the floor. As we later find out, the basement has mold problems. Clearly it’s damp and that may well just be a water stain. Third, there is a tour guide? Tour guide means money. Money means you’re running a business. In order to keep the business running you need to make sure you have visitors. Clearly you won’t have visitors unless you can come up with a really good haunted story about the place.

Does anyone else feel this whole investigation is a bit suspicious right out of the gate? Yeah, this whole thing feels like a scam before we open the front door. But we’ll put that aside for the moment and see what sort of evidence is collected.

Zak talks to several people in town and they all agree the Sallie house is haunted, yet none of them can really explain why. If there were Satanic rituals, those would have happened after Tony Pickman left the place. A police officer tells the story of coming to the house and meeting Peter James who claimed the house wanted the officer to leave. Again, there is no reasoning behind the haunting, but then we go with the old standby of Indian burial ground.

Tony, the previous owner, claims he was scratched multiple times in the two years he lived in the house. He says pictures would be turned upside down and his mind was filled with thoughts of violence and murder. He even admits to having thoughts of slitting his wife’s throat. Ok, so clearly this isn’t a bought of depression or some sort of reaction to a mix of drugs or perhaps some sort of reaction to the toxic mold growing in the basement. This must be the work of the demonic.

Before the actual investigation begins, Zak convinces Tony to come back to the house, even though both he and his wife have sword never to return. That didn’t take much coaxing did it? But that’s not all, they’ve brought in a psychic to give her impressions of the house. As soon as they all enter the house, the psychic says she feels the presence of a little girl, the same girl that Tony felt was trying to communicate with him.

True to form, a moment or two later, Jay is complaining of being scratched and a burning sensation on his arm. After a mad dash to remove his jacket we see the most minute of red spots of his arm. Oh no, a demon ate through the sleeve of his coat! Quick, the psychic needs to grab her head and appear to faint as to prove the distressing nature of the entity. Which she does.

But moments later, she’s fine as they all stand in the basement and a comment is made she’s standing on the "pentagram". This is most certainly another cue and they all begin to claim they feel ill and overwhelmed and something isn’t right. To build up the tension, the psychic then "faints" and in the commotion touches Tony, who then grabs the back of his head as thought something has grabbed him. Then we have the claim of a welt showing up at the base of his neck. Honestly, this entire sequence seems orchestrated – and quite poorly at that.

But with the actors out of the way, it’s time for the investigation. Things start off with Zak using his tricked out Kinect device that mysteriously crashes. Oh no, a device running Windows 8 has crashed? That’s totally unpossible!! This is followed by 3 knocks which is surely a sign of demonic forces mocking the holy trinity.

As they keep investigating, or rather as they keep soiling themselves at every noise the house makes, a camera captures a stuffed toy lean at an angle and tip to the side. But listen to how Jay describes the event. According to him, the doll is rocking wildly and spinning all around. Um, no sir. It tipped to the side and then started to fall back. Now, I admit, it’s pretty weird, but look at the doll. It’s completely floppy and far from rigid. Are you telling me there is no possible way it could have just tipped over on it’s own because gravity finally got the better of it?

But again, just listen to the exaggerated description of what happened. Despite what Jay says, the doll didn’t go flying around the room, it wasn’t spinning, it didn’t rock back and forth and defy the laws of physics. It slowly tipped over. And it should also come as no surprise that Zak finds and orb and labels it spirit energy. He’s sees those all the time now. So we have a faulty Windows device, a saggy doll and dust particles. It da work of da debil!

The investigation continues with Aaron and Jay down in the basement with a Tesla radio. This is supposed to pick up vibrations in the house. They even defy all common sense and sit right of the black mold, also know as a pentagram. And guess what? Nothing happens. But when Jay goes into the crawlspace, the radio starts to make noise. It’s not really indicative of anything, but if something makes noise in the dark, it must signal the paranormal.

Zak and Billy hang out in the living room and play with the Paranormal Puck. As they type questions, they get answers that make them cringe. The device again says "Satan". It said this back at the hotel when Billy was getting set up. It only has a dictionary of 5,000 words, so how could it possibly choose Satan?

Also, when asked who moved the bear, they get the answers Monica and Paula. We have no idea who these two are, but clearly this answer is important! We also get clued in to the fact that the house conveys a lot of noises. Aaron hits a pipe and it sounds like piano keys playing. This just proves sounds can come in and make it seem like the events are happening in the house that aren’t true.

But let’s get to the big finale, when Zak goes into the basement and then into the crawlspace. He claims to hear a female voice, panics and in typical fashion damn near pushes Aaron out of the way to make his escape. Based on this, Zak is utterly convinced there is a dark portal in the basement.

So in the end we have some seriously dodgy evidence and far too many things that make me feel like this whole event was set up to generate business for their house tours. A bear tipping over is not paranormal. Neither is a black smudge on the floor. Neither is faux fainting and clinging to some idea about Indian burial grounds. The house creaks and has some terrible plumbing. It has all sorts of rumors about the demonic that have no basis in truth. And all is this has something to do with a little girl? Even if not, there is supposed to be some big, dark, scary portal to hell in the basement? Interesting how Zak is now talking about portals while Nick’s show is all about searching for portals to the other side.

Of course none of that makes this story true. This entire episode looks and feels phony.

Hmm, just did a quick search on Sallie House and what do we find? Books, tours and audio CDs for sale. Clearly it’s in their best interest to keep the haunted stories going otherwise the revenue stream dries up. These guys are making money on a house they lived in 20 years ago? How very interesting. Judge for yourself, type in Sallie House in Google and go the first link. Tell me what you see. If you’re making a living off claiming your house is haunted, I find that a bit dubious, but that’s just me.

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