Deadly Possessions – Bela Lugosi’s Mirror and Charles Manson’s Television – S01E03

imageThe next items in Zak’s collection of Deadly Possessions, is a mirror reportedly owned by Bela Lugosi and a television supposedly owned by Charles Manson.

Cindy Lee brings in the mirror and tells a tragic tale of how her uncle was brutally murdered. The significance of that story is that he was in one of Lugosi’s homes when it occurred and that the mirror was close at hand and would have witnessed the crime. Cindy believes that a close friend killed her uncle since there was no sign of forced entry and the motive doesn’t seem to be robbery.

Zak them makes a comment that Lugosi was "into the occult" and would have used this mirror within his rituals. Within seconds, Zak is making the leap that the mirror witnesses the murder and quite possibly captured the energy or even the soul of the murderer. Zak then discusses the practice of "Scrying" where you look into a mirror and use it as a portal to see the other side.

Cindy says she feels the mirror has something bad attached to it because her daughter’s experiences. Said daughter is unwilling to discuss the events, but her sister, Irene, relays what she has been told. When looking into the mirror, the sister felt she saw a hand reaching out to get her. She felt teeth marks against her neck as a shadowy figure appeared in the mirror.

Irene explains that when she slept in the same room as the mirror, she had a nightmare and woke with scratches on her body.

Cindy doesn’t want the mirror and claims she can’t sell it or even give it away, which I find shockingly hard to believe. Nobody wants a mirror owned by the famed Bela Lugosi?

Zak puts the mirror in his famed isolation chamber and has three volunteers ponder their images in it and report if they see anything. Aaron and Ashley claim they feel and see something. They both report there is a light in the corner. Aaron even goes so far as to say he sees himself as an extremely old man.

And then in what Zak believes is no coincidence, the basement of his museum is flooded. When he goes down there to record the damage, he captures all sorts of noises such as banging and rattling. That banging clearly can be the broken pipes that caused the damage in the first place.

The next item is a television reportedly owned by Charles Manson with a strange little tale associated with it. Nick Kloster, used to buy and sell cars. One vehicle he bought ended up having a television and a slew of prison letters from Charles Manson. That is certainly a creepy set of mementos to keep around. But things take a dark turn when Jason brings the television into his bedroom many years later. Shortly thereafter, his mother passes away, he loses his job and there is an accident where a motorcyclist is killed in his driveway.

Zak then talks with Jason Freeman, the grandson of Charles Manson. He doesn’t seem to have any ill will towards his grandfather and has been in contact with him by phone and through letters for the past couple of years. Jason confirms the handwriting on the TV manual is his grandfathers, which apparently authenticates ownership.

Jason has had some troubles in his life and wants to shake off the curse of his family name, which I’m sure most people didn’t know about until he told them on national television. But in order to make a new start, he wants to be baptized which Zak arranges. Dunk your head in a pond and all your troubles go away.

As we get back to the television, Zak believes that Manson was able to imprint his mental powers onto objects like someone out of the X-Men. Zak believes Manson cursed the television and was somehow able to arrange for these diabolical items to end up in the hands of unsuspecting victims.

Interestingly, Jason packed up the television and sent it to a friend. Ashley was in possession of it, read over the letters and did some research on her own. She makes states the man who sold the car and by extension the TV, is now in prison because of trying to hire people to kill his family, in a similar manner as Manson did. That sends Zak into a tizzy.

Putting the grim nature of the crimes aside, these are pretty unique items. However, the "curses" or dark energy surrounding them seems a little outrageous. I don’t believe Charles Manson has power over people, at least not over someone that isn’t mentally sick or feeble. And while there is a superstition that has people covering mirrors in their home when someone dies, it seems very hard to believe that a mirror has somehow captured the energy of a killer because it was in the room at the time.

Additionally, I’m not sure where Zak is getting his information about Lugosi practicing the occult. Lugosi didn’t have any qualms about playing dark or sinister styled characters, but I haven’t heard of nor can I find anything that indicates he practiced the occult. And if Zak is referring to staring into a mirror, I hardly say that counts as occult behavior. And if he means the use of a Ouija during the hype of Spiritualism, I don’t really think that counts either.

While tragic, it is hard to connect these accidents to Manson. If he were that capable, which he isn’t, I’m pretty sure his vengeance would be directed at those around him in prison not complete strangers.

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Ghost Asylum – Old South Pittsburg Hospital – S03E02

image Our next outing for Ghost Asylum takes us to the Old South Pittsburg Hospital with it’s odd tales, scary doctors and perhaps, even scarier residents. The hospital was opened in 1959 with claims of doctors performing questionable experiments on patients, cruel treatment, large shadow figures and perhaps the spirit of the drug addict that took up residence and died in the hospital itself.

As they talk to local residents, they all believe the location is haunted and some think it should just be torn down. One even has a story about an investigator who had internal bleeding after investigating the hospital. I wonder if the she looked at Peggy the Doll before setting out on the investigation?

With the investigation underway, there is a long drawn out "scared" on the recorder, but oddly, it doesn’t seem to line up with the conversation. The team then turns to the flashlight trick again and get blips on the K2 meter.

For the hospital nursery, they bring in "Boo Bear" which is a toy that talks and records environmental readings. Although the nursery doesn’t appear to be a hotbed of activity.

Like their previous episode, they decide to a little reenactment. Brannon feigns a drug overdose and asks for the doctor’s help in saving him. They run around in the dark, yelling and carrying on as though this is supposed to stir up activity. It makes them look pretty damn silly if you ask me. However, they feel they capture a shadow figure and get someone saying, "Quiet" to all their noise.

On night 2, they bring out the Shadow Seeker, a metal tube filled with holes hooked to a propane tank. This is supposed to be some dazzling light and pyrotechnics display to bring out John, the addict from the first floor. How it works the mojo is unclear, but its fire in an enclosed space, so let’s run with it.

They hear lots of banging and feel there is a large shadow lurking around the corners. They hear growls and try to track them down to maintenance closets. On the recorders they feel, "You found me" is captured as they open the door. "I don’t listen to these songs" is also captured while playing the music.

For the most part, what they capture is a lot of bangs and knocks. All right, fair enough, creepy business. But let’s have a quick look around the place. That, "residence," is loaded with junk that vermin would just love and they make the horrible mistake of opening the refrigerator. Although it’s rancid, it proves things were left behind and these would be an enticement to all sorts of animals. Knocks, bangs and scratches would easily be attributed to them. And no, you wouldn’t see them in a maintenance closet or in the dark.

So, are we completely sure there are no animals living in there? Are we just as sure that someone hasn’t taken up to living in the hospital again? It’s easy to say no one would live there, but if it’s the choice between the cold streets and a roof over the head, I’m pretty sure even a creepy place with plenty of places to remain unseen is better than the gutter.

I don’t know if the Shadow Seeker did anything except look neat at the end of the hall. They did capture some voices and there is the pulling on the Chris’ necklace. Hard to say what we have there. Clearly the necklace could be tugging on something else, and the audio has to be enhanced quite a bit. Are those really other worldly voices or voices from another source such as someone talking outside, their own voices being misunderstood, other people messing around in the hospital at the same time, radio station residue, picking up a walkie talkie, etc. The locals visit the place, there is nothing to say they weren’t close enough to be heard, especially when they know an investigation is going on.

As a side note, if you look up the hospital, many people make a Native American connection and make comment about the water source that runs under the property. Like so many other stories, the Native Americans had trouble after being generous with their land and the running water is supposed to increase the energy.

Both are interesting ideas, and we’ve certainly heard them before, but nothing experienced or captured over these two nights was definitive.

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Ghost Asylum – USS Edson – S03E01

image Imagine my surprise to find out there was a new episode of Ghost Asylum, let alone an entire season had gone by and I missed it. We’ll have circle back around and check those out, but let’s press on with the season opener.

When we last saw the Ghost Asylum gang, they were hard at work building devices to contain spirit energy so it could be measured and studied. They still continue that quest and this time we’re on the USS Edson, a battleship deployed on 6 missions during the Vietnam war.

Some of the activity includes shadows, disembodied voices, tools moving and plenty of knocking sounds. Besides the usual casualties and chaos that would be associated with a real battleship during a time of war, there are two strange deaths. Paul, a caretaker for the ship, died of a heart attack while a sailor locked himself in a hold and suffocated to death.

As the team does a baseline sweep, they note high EMF reading from all the electricity still pumping through the ship. That alone would explain plenty of feelings people have about this place. Instead of acknowledging it as a primary cause, they simply ignore it and say they need to rely on their other senses. It’s always best to toss out a logical explanation or at least one that is tangible and stick with the paranormal angle.

Things start off in the infirmary where it’s claimed the surgical tools move. In the war room, they feel something walk between them. There are lots of knocks and tapping sounds as well as the spider web feeling across the face.

Another location Chris checks out, is the hold where the man committed suicide. While he says there is a presence, there is no evidence of any activity. That is, until the last second where he asks if the entity wants him to leave and the proximity meter goes off.

In the mess hall, we see the old flashlight trick. As they ask if the sailors don’t want to interact with regular civilians, the light mysteriously flickers. But in order to get in their good graces, they stage a fire drill. This leads to knocks and taps which they take as positive responses. They also believe they capture the answer, "not that long", when asked how long it took to die in the hold and there is a shadow figure in the video.

For Day 2, they bring out of the Cryogenic Cloak, which is a sweet name for mixing dry ice and water on a rack to produce fog. It’s their goal to use this fog, along with both digital and analog photography and recordings to capture a spirit.

They work with more trigger objects including firing the ships gun. From there, its time drive the entities down to the ice machine. What they feel they capture is a picture of Paul. The other evidence includes a voice captured on the analog tape.

Putting the high EMF readings aside, we have bangs and pops from a gigantic metal ship sitting in the water at night. That really doesn’t sound like paranormal activity. The flashlight gag just need to be discounted immediately. And capturing images in swirling fog seems a little ridiculous as well.

The USS Edson has seen plenty of action, that’s for sure, and perhaps there is more to the story, but pops and clanks from a giant metal container and odd feelings are not evidence of the paranormal.

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Deadly Possessions – Peggy the Doll and John Murrell’s thumb

image Our next outing on the Paranormal Antiques Roadshow, also knows as Deadly Possessions, brings Peggy the Doll and the mummified thumb of John Murrell.

Jayne Harris is the owner of Peggy the Doll, a doll so sinister that merely looking at her can cause pain, suffering and even a heart attack. Or so claims Katrin Reddick, who believes that looking at an image of Peggy caused her to have severe heart trauma.

Peggy is brought to the museum with a bag over her head, because she is so dangerous, so completely out of control, that a warning has to be display before the camera looks fully upon her. But strangely, before we get to the unmasking, flies begin to swarm Zak, the ballroom camera fails and after just moments of looking at her, Zak is filled with rage and wants to kill everyone. Normally when people say that sort of thing, you get them counseling and medication.

But as the power of Peggy fills the museum, its time for Katrin to face her fears. Zak brings in psychic Patti Negri, who we saw on the Black Dahlia episode. She has been enlisted to perform a seance to make contact with the spirit of the doll and perhaps calm the devil within.

As the seance gets underway, a set of candles flickers every so slightly and there is a chime that might be associated with a typewriter. However, there is no change in the doll and no one in the room seemed to suffer ill effects. Of course, Katrin is unsettled after being left in the room with the doll.

The next strange trinket is the mummified thumb of John Murrell, housed at a Tennessee museum. Mary Skinner brings the bizarre item and gives a bit of detail about John. Apparently he was a horse thief and bandit and caught the attention of Mark Twain, who writes about him in the book, Life on the Mississippi.

One of John’s tricks was to dress up as a minister, and while giving fake sermons, his band of outlaws would steal horses. Despite his notorious ways, John was not killed in some wild shootout, or hunted down for a handsome reward. He died from tuberculosis, common for the day, but his body was then mummified and put on display. But there are claims that he was "dismantled" and his body parts sent to different places. It’s claimed he was decapitated and the head is currently missing.

It is claimed that the thumb, like Peggy, can cause illness and distress in people. It is believed to still retain some energy and power. To confirm this, Zak has Jamie Pistel, a descendant of John Murrell, come to the museum and they put the paranormal puck near the thumb. Jamie then asks questions and they receive the words, Cut, Cave, Swim and Drowned.

Out of context, these don’t mean much. But Bud Steed has a tale that might add some detail. He explains that he and a buddy were coming home when they saw some men fishing a body out of the river. However, the bodies disappeared into the fog and at no time did they pay attention to Bud’s intrusion.

So now we have yet another doll that is so powerful, so malicious, so intrinsically dangerous that instead of burying the doll, or destroying it, or hiding it where no one can find it, it’s paraded about on television where the only thing keeping the spirits from penetrating and ripping out your soul, is a cloth sack over the head. It’s a good thing the evil spirits are so easily thwarted and contained.

I find it shocking that someone would believe that a doll is responsible for causing heart problems. And not even looking at the real doll, but a picture of it. Funny how the owner is still kicking and she’s been looking at it for years.

What about Zak getting all that aggression? Well, the word psychosomatic comes to mind. Or perhaps, in all seriousness, Zak may be suffering from real mood swings and might need to have that checked out.

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