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.

Other Articles of Interest:

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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Murder Maps–Life and Crime in London

imageI just stumbled across an interesting series from the History Channel – Murder Maps, which chronicles some nefarious crimes that took place in London right after it’s dark period of the Jack the Ripper murders. As you may recall, conditions in certain parts of London were pretty atrocious, with poverty and crime running rampant. Also keep in mind that the police force was almost a volunteer service with little training, no budget and no real tools for solving and cataloging crimes.

What we see from these grim tales is more of an effort put into the police force and their methods. We begin to see pathology and science playing a larger part in solving murders. We have the beginnings of using and recording fingerprints as well as the beginnings of forensics. In many ways we see Scotland Yard go from bungling the crime scenes of Jack the Ripper to a highly trained organization that would bring together its resources to capture criminals. The order and method of Sherlock Holmes is becoming a reality.

Listed below are the four episodes from this series and even by today’s standards, they are devious crimes. These stories also showcase how hampered the police force was in capturing criminals. Unlike today, you can’t simply post a picture and it’s seen by millions. There was no way to easily alert neighboring towns to be on the lookout. You couldn’t consult security cameras or have people standing around with their cellphones recording every minute of an event. Social media and newscasts didn’t exist. The best you could do was have someone render a sketch, transfer it to the newspaper and hopefully it looks close enough fora citizen to send a letter or come down to the station to make a comment about it. The public really had to go out of their way to help. Bit of a different mindset back then wasn’t it?

The Bermondsey Horror
In 1849, a man suddenly disappeared in Bermondsey. The discovery that he had been brutally murdered enraptured the press and the public. Even Charles Dickens was totally engrossed in the story of the sinister Marie Manning.

A couple has a gentleman over for dinner, then he disappears. They begin by saying they have no idea where he is, but soon it all goes wrong and his body is found under their kitchen floor. The couple ends up going their separate ways to stay ahead of the law, but ultimately turn against each other when facing the gallows. And it is indeed the gallows. As noted, Charles Dickens witnesses the hanging and makes note of the vulgar mob mentality it inspires.

In the Shadow of Jack
At the time of Jack The Ripper, London was home to some of the most terrible individuals the city has ever seen. One of the very worst was the elusive Borough Poisoner, George Chapman.

George Chapman comes across as the respectable owner of a public house. But there is something else going on as his wife gets sick for reasons the doctor can’t explain. When admitted to the hospital, she gets better, but when back in George’s care, she’s back to being sick. In a departure from the norm, we have a man doing the poisoning and for reasons that are shockingly mundane.

Finding Dr Crippen
Having killed his wife and buried her in the basement, Dr Crippen believed he had escaped on a ship to Canada. But the police managed to hunt him down and bring him to account for his terrible crime.

Dr. Crippen is at odds with his wife. He’s looking to change careers and perhaps make a new man of himself. His wife plods along as no-talent opera singer. But then fortunes change as Mrs. Crippen disappears. At first she has gone on holiday, then she’s taken sick, then she’s believed to be dead in America, then finally Cripped admits he made up the whole story because he was embarrassed over his wife leaving him.

Enter the young woman who moves into his recently vacated house under the guise of a new housekeeper. But everyone is getting suspicious and soon Crippen and his companion are on the run. It’s time to hit the high seas for boat chase to Canada and some clever use of the on-board telegraph.

The Brides in the Bath Killer
George Smith had many aliases. He needed them for his many wives who he would soon murder in order to claim the inheritance. Catching this chameleon would be a gargantuan challenge.

George Joseph Smith seems like a very good catch to ladies that are falling outside the prime of their marriage years. But instead of marital bliss, they are treated to a hot bath that ends in their death. One wife dies on her honeymoon, another a few weeks into the marriage. And there is a third drowning victim with the same MO as the first two. Same man? Terrible coincidence?

The police force has become much more savvy and has more resources at their disposal. They’re able to investigate and deduce with greater accuracy and are soon on the trail. When they have their man, they come to trial with a slew of evidence that mystify and astound the court and the public.

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