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Ghost Asylum – Missouri State Penitentiary – S03E04

image It’s time for another Ghost Asylum episode and another trip to prison. This time we’re off to Missouri State Penitentiary, a massive building that was in operation for 168 years and housed some extremely volatile and dangerous criminals. This prison was no joke as they had their own gas chamber on site and they weren’t afraid to use it. Forty people were put to death in there including a notorious couple named Bonnie and Carl, not to be confused with Bonnie and Clyde. However, this couple was pretty bad in their own right as they kidnapped and murdered a child in order to collect a ransom, half of which has never been found.

Claims of the paranormal include shadow figures, voices, being touched, pulled hair and being growled and shouted at. It’s said a lot of activity is related to Bonnie and Carl as well as another prisoner who had his eyes gouged out during a fight.

As they investigate the area they believe they see a shadow figure and get the word "malevolent" on their phonetic generator. Not to call prisoners stupid, but that’s not the vocabulary normally associated with those who commit violent crimes. They also feel they get a heat anomaly on some railing, which looks more like the result of a different kind of paint or metal being used.

The big event for the first night is the utterly nonsensical reenactment of sending prisoners to the gas chamber. But their meters go all a twitter with lights flashing in a pattern they’ve never seen before and the word "love" coming through. When asked if Bonnie committed the murder, they get, "No, he did it".

For Day 2, it’s time to set up their trap which is fake money set up around a metal briefcase with some whiskey at the ready. Nothing says enticement to a criminal like money and liquor. Spirits can be intelligent, just not smart enough to know real from fake money or that this is set up as a "trap".

As the team wanders around the prison with stun sticks they feel the energy building and begin to see heat anomalies on the wall. They also claim the meters are spiking with activity. Make note that the "spike" of activity is going from 0.0 to 0.3 which is an utterly negligible change. Jumping to 50 is a change in the environment. A .3 change is the air disturbance of a butterfly flapping it’s wings.

With the meters going off and the belief they have a heat signature near their trap, the lid of the case slams shut. However, it should come as no surprise that there’s nothing in the case.

Like almost all prisons of this age, the location is really neat, but in terrible condition. The gas chamber on site is about as creepy as it gets. The ruined paint, the creaking doors, the narrow walkways and stories of the unsavory people housed there make for a thrilling experience, but just because something is creepy, doesn’t mean it’s haunted.

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Deadly Possessions – Ed Geins Cauldron and The Crying Boy Paintings – S01E05

image For the next Deadly Possessions Roadshow, we have a couple of interesting items. I heard about the Ed Gein bowl last year when it was sold at auction and while I can’t place it, the Crying Boy Painting seems familiar.

The "cauldron" as they keep calling it, was previously owned by Ed Gein, the serial killer and is said to have been found when they cleaned up the mess he left behind. It is said to have contained multiple body parts and may have been used to cook human remains which Ed may have eaten. Again, there is a lot of "may" in there. We know Ed did terrible things, but it’s very easy to exaggerate his crimes and add to them.

But we do know that he tanned and made items from human skin. He also had a terrible knack for making furniture out of bones. And this was indeed his pot, it’s a pretty safe bet those remains ended up in it.

When the locals came out to help clean up the scene, the pot ended up with Dan McIntyre’s mother who planted flowers in it. Dan then sold the cauldron and a shovel to Zak. It is said that the men who came into contact with the pot died shortly thereafter.

We also have Courtney who comes on because she was supposed to deliver the skis owned by Gein. Her sister had a medical issue and is at the hospital with her mother. She is fond of going to the Gein property and trying to make contact with Ed.

Now that Zak feels the cauldron has energy, he brings out the meters and the needle starts jumping. On the spirit box they keep getting a female voice. The voice claims to say evil and death are associated with the cauldron. There are also a couple of bangs and bumps going on.

The next item is called the Crying Boy Painting as it depicts and orphan boy crying. Nothing exceptionally dramatic about it, except that Tina Booth says the painting has caused a fire in her home as well as a fire in her computer. The claim is that if you display the painting, the building and the contents will catch fire. Everything will be ruined except for the Crying Boy Painting.

And if having one wasn’t bad enough, she goes out and buys another. Now she wants Zak to take them. To play up the mystique and rumor, he acts like his whole museum will burn to the ground and maybe he shouldn’t take the painting.

Now clearly this is a mass-produced print and not an original by the artist himself. So how is it that something produced in bulk like this can carry some sort of curse? But before you answer, let’s have a look at this little nugget:

following testing at the Building Research Establishment, is that the prints were treated with some varnish containing fire repellent, and that the string holding the painting to the wall would be the first to perish, resulting in the painting landing face down on the floor and thus being protected

A perfectly rational explanation? Say it ain’t so!

And what about the fire? Well, she admits she had to let her cat out of the room. It’s a hell of a lot more plausible that the cat knocked over a candle or caused some other reaction that caused the fire. That makes a hell of a lot more sense than a "print" setting her house on fire? And the computer? Wow, an electronic device has never worn out, overloaded and had smoke come out of the box. The words electrical fire come to mind.

As for Ed Gein? Clearly, he was horribly disturbed and I think it’s almost insulting to say he was in some way capable (meaning intelligent) enough to instill evil into a pot. Um, no. It’s pure metal and had who knows what done to it. Do you think those readings could be from the chemical makeup of the pot or residue from chemicals placed in it? An old metal pot giving off a reading? Shocking! And who knows what those poor guys were exposed to when they went into the Gein’s place.

All of these "mysterious" events certainly have causes rooted here in the real world if you ask me. They are certainly interesting, perhaps a bit creepy, but they don’t contain any mystical powers.

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The Demon House of Seattle – Revisit

Here is another interview with Keith in regards to his house which has been dubbed the Demon House of Seattle. It’s presented by ParanormalZoneTV, and comes well after the investigation by Zak and Ghost Adventures. Keith is joined by Karissa, but it’s best to gloss over her portion of the program as she’s not helping to give credence and credibility to the claims.

Keith does bring up valid points about the Ghost Adventures investigation. First, the slant of the show was to make it seem like Tina was responsible for the events in the house. Second, anyone who dismisses or agrees with paranormal activity simply because of Zak needs to check themselves. Let’s just take a step back for a moment. Zak is in no way a scientist or even using scientific methods. He is a former DJ who paired up with a photographer to create his show. He claims to have the powers of a sensitive, powers he developed over his career.

His job is to entertain, to dramatize, to generate interest, to gain an audience and to get renewed for another season. His truth is relative and if a haunting sells, that’s what you’re going to see. And if no haunting sells, that’s what you’re going to see.

From that angle, anyone who says Zak did a great job by discrediting this house or that it only improves his credibility as an investigator is buying into the marketing machine.

To that end, let’s have a look at the evidence that Keith has on file. First of all, everything we see is after the fact. There are pictures of his office in disarray, symbols and numbers painted on the wall, kitchen drawers open, scissors and cross shoved into the wall, a burned bible and chairs put on top of tables. However, there is nothing showing these events in progress. There is no physical evidence of phones being thrown, of plants levitating, or numbers being drawn through inhuman means.

The rebuttal is that the spirit energy is capable of draining the cameras, cutting off the power, blanking out the video so it’s action can’t be seen and all sorts of other trickery to hide it’s methods.

Even though the 666 that we saw in the final cut of Ghost Adventures was one of several messages that were left on the same door, it was never able to be captured. Keith would get a message, paint the door, then another would appear in the same place. This happened several times, in the same place, but couldn’t be captured.

Karissa claims that when she first entered the house, her phone was thrown. The same thing happened to the UK investigators. It happened a third time when someone else came to investigate the house. The expected behavior when you came over to the house was to have your phone thrown, but yet it can’t be captured.

Fair enough, maybe the cameras don’t always work, but the investigators are able to record everyone walking around their sensors after they’ve gone off. Keith is able to detect motion in his house and get an email, but nothing is capable of capturing a single image of these events taking place.

It’s stated hundreds of EVPs have been captured. Ok, fair enough, that could be worth something, however, simply because you capture a voice doesn’t mean it’s from beyond the grave. A captured voice alone is not proof of the paranormal. A voice on a recorder can be duplicated in hundreds of different ways. Who’s to say that voice isn’t coming from outside? Who’s to say it’s not from a radio or television? Who’s to say it’s not being picked as interference from another device? Who’s to say it’s not a fragment from a baby monitor or phone call?

If you knew nothing of the paranormal claims and were shown the evidence, you would immediately think Keith is the victim of some terrible and senseless acts of vandalism. You would believe you were being shown photos for an insurance claim. However, showing pictures of open kitchen cabinets is not proof of the paranormal. Showing pictures of a broken chair on a desk is not evidence of the paranormal. Even a picture of a burnt bible is nothing more than evidence of a ruined bible.

One thing that I did find off about the interview, is Keith had a small fire break out in the house. I believe a poster or something similar caught on fire while he was getting ready for work. He’s unable to get out of the house because he couldn’t open the door. Later, Keith says the entities in the house aren’t malicious and he has nothing to worry about. I find that to be an odd contradiction if I heard it correctly.

I have no idea what’s going on in Keith’s house because clearly I’m not there and haven’t experienced it. However, the over the top claims and the evidence presented don’t match up. With the constant level of activity going on and with the technology available, you would expect quite a bit more in the way of tangible or visible evidence.

Bob Cranmer has the same situation on his hands. He has a house plagued with activity, like CDs being thrown with such force they shatter. It happens over and over again, yet there is nothing that proves these events actually took place, only the aftermath. Sure, he wrote stuff down in his journal, he took notes, he has pictures, but since this has gone on for years, it all seems pretty inconclusive. He did get a book out of the deal with plenty of people decrying the eternal battle between good and evil.

Comments have been made that the paranormal is like lightning and you can’t capture lighting. Um, yes you can.

image

The point being, anyone can run around their house, open drawers, throw plants on the floor, put chairs on the desk, do as they like with the crucifix, take pictures and declare the paranormal. People can run around in the dark, scratch themselves and declare they were touch by a demon. That doesn’t make it so.

Have a look and decide for yourself.

Demons in Seattle – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PfH6mIKg63E

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Ghost Asylum – Peoria State Hospital – S03E03

imageFor their next investigation, the Ghost Asylum team is in Illinois to investigate the Peoria State Hospital. It opened it’s doors in 1902, and as it was the business of the time, took in far more patients than it could handle and those with nowhere else to go. It took in alcoholics, the mentally ill, the homeless, epileptics and even orphaned children. As you might expect, the treatment was poor, including the normal practice of lobotomy and electroshock therapy. The death toll is estimated at over 10,000, a vast majority were most likely affected by tuberculosis. It seems every hospital lost thousand of patients to that disease. But this will be the last investigation, as the hospital is being torn down.

Some of the claims from locals include voices, shadows, footsteps and doors closing. And as they start to investigate, Chris and his team get hits on their K2 meters as well as their "periscopes", plus the usual bangs and scraping sounds. They also get the word, "blind" which they believe could be Rhoda, a patient who was treated in a shocking manner.

It seems Rhoda was locked in a cage for almost her entire life. Her limbs were gnarled and destroyed. Her mind even more shattered than when she went in. Her madness, if there was any to begin with, increased to the point where she gouged out her own eyes and smashed out her own teeth. Any treatment she may have received certainly didn’t help.

On their first night, they play an old film which was taken at the hospital during a Halloween party in 1944. A Halloween party at an asylum seems like such a strange thing to do. But while it plays, they feel they get the words "mama", and "one place". The team attributes this to someone seeing their "mama" in the film and this is the "one place" they have lived all their lives. There is also a reference to "60" and "ghosts" as though there are 60 spirits still roaming the halls of the hospital.

For the second night, it’s time to build their ghost capturing apparatus which they call, The Phantom Cage, which will hold a music box, crystals and a meter to indicate if they capture anything. Basically it’s the same cage that Rhoda was kept in, which makes it seem like something they would be angered over not enticed by.

But as they continue for day 2, they bring in Emily and Gina to help comfort the child patients. The goal of the night is to try and lead the spirits that want to leave down to their cage. As they move their lasers around, the K2 meters goes off and they feel tugging at their legs. They also feel they get the words, "It’ll be okay". On their thermal imager, there is an outline of a head with eyes.

At the end of the night, they feel they’ve done all they can, but there is nothing to confirm they’ve captured anything or helped any of the spirits leave the building.

This is one of the rare times, if not the only time, I’ve heard of one of these hospitals being torn down. That just doesn’t seem to happen for whatever reason. Most of the time someone is trying to restore it and turn it into apartments or a motel. Nothing is mentioned about what they plan to do with the cemetery that’s out back.

But when it comes to evidence, what do we have? It should come as no surprise that an old building from 1902 is loaded with creaks, bangs and knocking sounds. It closed in the 70s, which gives animals plenty of time to take up residence and plenty of time for the elements to chip away at the foundation. Does that discount every sound and bump? Not specifically, but it means a vast majority of those sounds can be explained and should be expected.

As to the voices, well, that is for each person to decide. I don’t put much stock in those as there are too many ways to replicate and interfere with such things.

The Peoria State Hospital is a textbook example of good intentions, but another monument to the failed treatment of mental illness. Is it a haunted location? Are the spirits of Casey and Rhoda still wandering the halls? Who knows, but let’s hope not. What a terrible place to end up in both life and death.

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