Ghost Adventures – The Haunted Museum (Old Wengert Mansion) – S12E13

imageFor this investigation, Zak goes no further than his own recently purchased museum, the one we saw featured in his series, Deadly Possessions. The original 33 room mansion was built in 1938 by the Wengert family. At the time, it would have been the largest home in the area and a prominent landmark. It’s now on the historical register, but went through a couple of hands before coming to Zak.

During the renovation, several workers decided they’d had enough of the paranormal shenanigans and walked off the job. Feeling their might be some strange energy associated with the house, he performs an overnight lockdown investigation to see what he and the team can discover.

To get some background, he brings in Rachel Vosko, who used to sneak into the house through the basement in the 70s. She claims there was a pentagram drawn on the floor, enclosed in a circle with streaks of blood around it. Zak invites her to go into the basement where she feels something is clinging to her legs. While recording this segment, Billy claims he gets the words, "I need help" in the voice of a little boy. It is supposed this could be James Wengert who died when he was 8 years old.

Another visitor to the house is Erika Monasco, who says she felt negative energy. She also says her husband indicated her personality changed during her time at the house. As she began to feel somewhat uncomfortable with the house, she poured salt around the room she used as an office.

And then as if on cue, Erika has a bit of a breakdown. She says an icy force swept over her, then has an attack of shortness of breath and a crying spell. Moments later, the feeling passes and she is fine again. However, she later sends Zak a text message that contains the picture of her hand with a large scratch across it.

Finally, they have Shirley Shupe, one of the Wengert children, over for a visit. Her family moved into the house when she was 5. She has no reports of anything odd or unusual, but does convey that her mother died in the house. There is nothing dubious or sinister surrounding her death, she simply died at home. And in a wee bit of scrying, Zak has Shirley sit in front of a mirror and talk about her mother. She gives a rather nice talk to the point she thanks Zak for taking over the house.

Zak then gives Shirley a short tour of the place showcasing what he plans to do with the place. Oddly, Shirley’s old room now houses the Kevorkian VW Bus. I’m sure she wasn’t expecting to see that in there.

As they start the investigation, a cuckoo clock that has been silent this entire time, begins to tick. As Zak shows the movement and how it takes force to get it to start and stop, they claim to hear a child’s laughter. As they look around using the SLS camera, a figure appears and leads them to the room of the VW Bus, wherein the SLS crashes and shuts off. But not before they see the making of a head peering out of from the corner of the frame.

Since they are next to the stairs leading to the basement, they claim to hear the sound of hissing. With the recorder running, they feel the words, "Zak Bagans" comes through.

They then use the SB7 Spirit Box in other parts of the house, but don’t pick up anything until they move into the doll room. They get the word, "play" when asking what the doll wants to do, as well as the word "England" when Zak asks where the doll wants to go. Things get a little strange when Zak asks the doll what’s possessing it and gets the response, "Drop it." They also pick up a growl and a doll from the Villisca Axe Murder House, says the word "Villisca".

There is more strange doll behavior as Zak takes one of the dolls to the basement and surrounds it with rem pods. When Billy goes to check on the doll, it says, "hello there" and the pods start going off. Things get a little unruly as Aaron says he’s having some negative feelings to the point where he wants to punch or stab Billy in the throat. Whether it was Aaron’s statement or the basement itself, but Billy needs to take a break and head outside.

We’re then given a couple additional details such as Aaron got the word "witches" when he was down in the basement and when Zak asks what do the spirits see in the basement, they get the word "secret". Aaron ties these two things together about witches and their secrets.

Finally, they set up cots and sleep in different parts of the house. Zak feels something touch him during the night while the camera watching over Jay seems to move three different times before finally getting unplugged and shutting down. Further, his bed has seemingly moved a couple inches in the night and bunched up the carpet around the feet of the cot.

Not all that long ago, the Ghost Hunters did something similar to this with their Spalding Inn. The claimed it was haunted too. But you have to admit, a haunted hotel will bring in more tourist money than a regular hotel and a haunted museum of curious oddities will bring in more visitors than being in a regular house.

While the blood soaked pentagram in the basement makes for a great story, let’s not get carried away. During that time period people were putting pentagrams on just about everything including album covers. And not everything that has 5 points is a demonic symbol despite the conclusion people like Zak jump to. And I’m sure any bit of red paint or red wax will look like blood to a teenager breaking into the basement of a massive house. To me, that is using an old cliche to say the place is haunted. Just think what Zak would have done if he’d been told they’d found a Ouija board in the basement?

And the bit at the end with the camera moving? Pretty nifty to be sure, but I don’t think paranormal machinations are the only explanation for that.

The house is certainly interesting, but really, do we expect Zak and his crew to say the place isn’t haunted? I mean, how would that look?

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Expedition Unknown – Yamashita’s Gold

imageIt’s been awhile since I’ve written anything about Josh Gates and his exciting adventures, but he’s back, and this time heading to Manila in the Philippines. He’s on the hunt for what is known as Yamashita’s Gold, a wartime bounty of gold and diamonds that was smuggled out of the country and like all good treasures, has since disappeared.

Josh begins the investigation in Manila and heads deep underground where the original base of operations for Yamashita would have been. It’s a series of tunnels, but there is very little evidence in regards to the treasure. But it shows Yamashita was no stranger to working underground and stashing things in hard to reach places.

Next, we head to Alaminos where there is talk of some sinister types working in seclusion and whisking away trunks of gold bars. According to local lore, the treasure is hidden in some man made caves and because of the haphazard way in which the treasure was both hidden and retrieved, plenty is still available to be discovered.

They head out in a small boat against a pretty rough current. And there is indeed a hole cut into the side of the craggy rocks. With no small effort, Josh and Evan make their way over and down into the cave. Josh finds what looks like some sort of rail system and several metal items. While there is no treasure in that portion, but it shows plenty of signs that someone was there.

The tunnels look like to be accessible from the other side of the island and they discover another set of openings and climb through. There is another network of tunnels and drill holes, not mention a couple of bullets that could be consistent with the time period the treasure would have gone missing.

The next destination is Baguio City, to meet with Henry Roxas. Henry’s father is said to have found the actual treasure, but due to government interference and possible cover up, he lost possession and was sent to prison under the rule of then dictator, Ferdinand Marcos. Henry has taken up the mantle and has some new information at his disposal.

He takes Josh to a secret location and into a massive cave system. We get an exciting journey by bus and buffalo to reach it. It should also be noted that Henry has memorized the location and clues and destroyed the map so they can’t fall into the wrong hands.

The cave entrance starts off pretty substantially, but quickly narrows into small tunnels. They discover one of the rumored booby traps, complete with bamboo spears at the bottom. And as Josh asks, if there are booby traps, there should be something to hide.

As they press on past the poisonous frogs and bats, they find tunnels that go in different directions. Using the metal detectors, Josh discovers what looks to be nails and comes across two coins. According to Henry, these would have been in circulation in 1944 and 1945, the time the treasure was making it’s rounds.

While Josh doesn’t unearth any treasure, he does make some interesting finds. There are several man made caves that have been used to house something. Perhaps it was this treasure, perhaps not. But with coins, bullets and possibly a rail system, there are some hidden goodies out there waiting to be discovered. You never know, one of those mysterious caves might be hiding a trunk full of gold bars.

But then again, if you dig a little deeper into Yamashita’s treasure, there are indications it might be nothing more than an a legend and no such treasure actually exists.

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Ghost Adventures – Stardust Ranch – S12E12

imageFor this investigation, Zak heads to Arizona, a location he says is a cauldron of paranormal activity. The destination is the Stardust Ranch in Rainbow Valley. And the reason for the visit? Well, the owner, John Edmunds and his wife claim they have occurrences of alien abductions. John has a slew of tales and experiences including seeing his wife levitating high above their bed, to alien crafts above his house to even taking a samurai sword to them. John claims to have killed 18 of the alien creatures and unloaded clips from his AK-47 at their craft. John’s wife claims to have been sexually molested by the aliens. Further, as John was giving an interview, strange figures can be seen in the background, which John believes were the entities making their presence known.

As mentioned, John says he has killed 18 of the aliens, although their bodies apparently disappear after being killed. Despite that, he was able to gain a tissue sample from his alien killing samurai sword and sent it off for analysis. It was claimed to contain plant matter and chlorophyll. Unfortunately, the doctor studying the sample died under mysterious circumstances and the samples have disappeared.

After purchasing the property, John had a strange man show up saying he was the one who kept the monsters away. Additionally, they talk with Brandy Howe who has tired to cleanse the house and she believes there to be a portal within the home. Further, she spoke to the spirit of a boy who killed himself in the house after a shotgun blast to the head.

Adding to the list of people they talk to is Travis Walton, a man who was abducted by aliens. He says aliens have visited several times and the proof is abnormal tree growth in those areas.

As they start the investigation, Dave Schrader joins the team and notes there is extremely high EMF readings coming from the ranch. That night, along with Aaron, he sees strange lights in the sky. Meanwhile on the X Camera, there is a shadow figure moving across the room.

To start things off in the house, Zak has Ashely, the still photographer of the team, go into the house alone and lay in the bed where the wife has supposedly been attacked multiple times. While nothing appears to happen, when Zak retrieves her, she says her arm is numb and later there is bruising.

While Ashley is in the house, Zak and team set up motion cameras around the property since several horses have been attacked and decimated. It’s at this time that Dave says he would like to stay out on the property on his own to see if he can make contact with the aliens.

During his time alone, Dave again sees lights in the sky and says he can hear something moving around.

Back at the house, they team uses Infrasound to try and generate frequency that might get the spirits to respond. It seems to have an effect on Zak, who seems to slip off into a trance. Additionally, Zak says he sees an orb of light. He believes this could be an alien presence trying to make contact. It’s at this time Aaron hears what he thinks is a hiss and the Ovilus 5 giving out the words, Brown Mist.

In the end, they get Dave back without any harm coming to him and while there might have been a ball of light, Zak doesn’t appear to make contact with any alien life forms.

To me, this is the most ridiculous episode Ghost Adventures has ever been involved with and that’s saying something. I’m not disputing the existence of aliens, quite the opposite, but this episode has every cliche and stereotype you can image. The only thing missing were Mulder and Scully.

Here’s a couple things that come to mind.

The shadow they see moving is a cat. That same cat makes the hissing sound Aaron hears.

A Doctor of Divinity is not a recognized doctorate degree.

Look up the Project Camelot group who John was giving the interview for when the aliens showed up. They make the Lone Gunman seem tethered to the earth.

Moving lights in the night sky? How odd. Have you been out into the desert of Arizona and seen the night sky? It’s amazing what you can see when the contamination of the city lights is gone.

Ashley’s arm going numb? As we see, she’s laying on it, that’s why it went numb. The bruises? It couldn’t possibly be from moving camera equipment and gear. Or, from bumping into something in the RV they’re using as HQ. Or from a jacket she was wearing. Perhaps she hit her arm the day before and by coincidence, the bruises just showed up.

The noises Dave hears? How about wild animals on the plains of Arizona.

Finally, Zak’s trance? We’ve seen that shtick so many times it’s lost all meaning.

The high EMF readings are the most likely cause of the problems the couple is experiencing and before they continue down the alien visitation track, maybe they need to get that checked out.

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Ghost Adventures – Winchester Mystery House – S12E11

imageFor their next outing, Zak and team return to visit the Winchester Mystery House, a location they visited in 2011. The Winchester House is certainly an odd mansion with more legends than you can shake a stick it. It’s a massive 160 rooms, covering 24,000 square feet, with ceilings that are too low, floors that tilt at odd angles, doors that open to nowhere and stairs that dead end into walls. To be sure, it’s a carnival fun house that some claim to be haunted. However, it doesn’t take much research to find that so many of claims against the house are shrouded in hearsay and urban legend. Even the famed story of the house being under continuous construction isn’t true.

But this sort of thing won’t stop Zak, and like before, he is not only firmly convinced the house is haunted but contains demonic energy and a portal to another plane. To further his point, he says "we’re not welcome here".

While talking with the tour guides they get "stories" about the Wheelbarrow Man and other things he "thinks" he might have seen. John claims to have seen a figure, but when shown footage of something in front of the lights while Zak was looking around, he swears it’s absolutely the same figure he saw. Certainly changed his tune of thinking he saw something. The other stories that come in also start with, "I believe I saw" and "there is a story about".

From there we start the investigation in the seance room. Or at least that’s what Zak is going to call it. There is nothing to suggest seances were held in this room. But Sarah Winchester was fairly taken with the spirit world, so we’ll go ahead and agree that it’s likely.

Right as they start, a stick figure appears on the SLS. Zak has Billy sit on it, which he declares to be cold. They get the name Russell and it responds, "of course" when asked if seances took place in that room.

Not to be outdone, Zak takes one of the Winchester rifles and heads to the same room. Right after he cocks and aims the rifle, the SLS and thermal cameras lock up. They of course believe this to be the work of spirits.

As the night goes on, they hear doorknobs turning and claim to get a hand waving to them. This hand appears next to one of the mirrors that deceives you about which way the stairs actually turn.

Down in the basement, Aaron and Billy claim to hear groans and Aaron has something fly past his ear. They determine this to be another light orb. On another level, Zak begins to feel dizzy, which isn’t surprising considering the disorienting nature of all the angles. But also claims to see a child walking the corridors.

They admittedly get all turned around in the house and find themselves at Sarah Winchester’s room. They try to make contact, but receive no reply. As they continue working their way through the house, Zak feels he is pushed down the uneven and twisting stairs. Zak swears he didn’t trip and that the house contains a crossroads of energy. He again claims to see a child roaming around.

While Zak may claim the house contains a portal, let’s just take a moment and check a couple of things. The information about the house starts with, "the story goes", which is the same as, "legend has it". The historical details about the house itself have been woefully distorted. It’s a tourist attraction, so do you really think anyone is going to say, "yeah, it’s a dud", although that is exactly what happened when the Ghost Hunters looked the place over. Not that those guys should be trusted, but it’s interesting to note the completely different opinion. But they bring up a good point, all the odd angles and disorienting feeling bring on the "funhouse effect". That explanation makes more sense than anything Zak is throwing out.

You have an old house. You have legends tied to a gun manufacturer. You have a legend about a medium and the ghosts of the rifle victims. You then add the fact that the house is a labyrinth with a design that makes no sense and of course your going to get all sorts of stories about it. However, nothing they’ve come up with really shows the house to be haunted. It’s certainly bizarre, but that seems to be the outcropping of an owner who might have been suffering from her own mental disorders.

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