Ghost Asylum

Ghost Asylum – Pauly Jail – S03E06

imageOur next outing with Ghost Asylum takes us to Union Springs, Alabama and the Pauly Jail. Built in 1897, it’s a small jail meant to handle the local trouble and hold about 100 prisoners, but it’s seen some ugly times. There is the story of Aberdeen Johnson, who was forcibly pulled from his cell and hanged at a nearby tree. But that’s not all, he was then shot 150 times to make sure the job was done right. There is also JW Man, a guest of the local constabulary who ended up setting his cell on fire while sleeping off his inebriation. It’s said he was smoking in bed and things turned into a total blaze. Of course it didn’t destroy the jail, it only affected him.

As they begin their baseline sweep they get the words, "drunk" and "ashes" and blips on the K2 meter. As they continue their tour, they get the words, "unjust" and "malicious". When they start the investigation for the first night, there is quite a bit of tapping within the cells and a video feed for one of the cells begins to flicker.

They try to stir up the mood by showing images of civil unrest. After doing so, they hear noises, perhaps a whimpering sound and beeps on the K2. It’s also at this time they feel they hear a female voice down the corridor and motion sensors start to go off.

For Day 2 they build a Devil’s Toybox which is a series of mirrors that all look at each other and create an infinity image. Their intent is to capture some form of energy within the box. They try once again to communicate with Aberdeen and JW Man and while doing so, the FLIR imager flickers wildly. They also hear the sound of keys rattling. The phonetic generator tosses out the words, "bracelet" and "thick".

The night wouldn’t be complete without a reenactment, so they stage a hanging using the trap door within the jail. The toss down a hefty bag of rice which causes lights to turn on and meters to wail.

The regular evidence isn’t all that exciting, but the analyzed evidence does have some interesting bits. On two separate occasions, it appears there is a figure walking past a light source. They also have a thermal image capture of something round in the window that moves off and disappears.

Now, these could easily be duplicated as someone just walking around and they didn’t realize they went in front of the camera. These guys are wandering all over the place, they may have gotten in the shot inadvertently. And the FLIR image may be a reflection of one of them moving down the hall and it creates the ghostly apparition image. So, they can be explained, but is that what they are? Strangely, this location actually seems to have some things going on. Sure, there are the usual noises and bangs you would expect from a place this old, so I don’t think those count as anything other than expansion and contraction as day turns to night.

And there is something else to keep in mind. All of these stories have, "the story goes" element to them. The story goes he was smoking in his cell. The story goes he was shot 150 times. The story goes the trap door had no use. That’s not to say the events didn’t happen. That’s not to say Aberdeen wasn’t pulled from jail and killed in a ridiculous act of cowardice and prejudice, but the details feel so wildly exaggerated. Shot 150 times?

I’ve also noticed a pattern with Brannon. He keeps going down the demon road. He continually asks if something is a demon or evil. He’s played that card one too many times in my opinion. This is the same thing Zak has been doing where he plants the seeds of the demonic in order to raise the hype. Some would say this is "leading".

From what they have, this jail isn’t any worse off than others they been too, but those figures moving around are worth another look. At the moment, it’s just as likely one of the guys or cameramen walked in the wrong place, but that’s probably the most interesting piece of evidence they’ve captured so far.

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Ghost Asylum – Castillo de San Marcos – S03E05

image The boys from Tennessee head down to St. Augustine, Florida to investigate the 17th century fort of Castillo de San Marcos. It’s got a long history including being used as a military prison. There is even an execution wall where prisoners would be lined up and then shot. The claim of the paranormal include apparitions, voices and the disembodied head of a Native American chief.

As they begin they get the word, "afraid" on the phonetic generator and Porter is informed of a supposed love triangle where a captain fell for a woman named Deloris, but she was already married. The story goes their affair was discovered and they were entombed in the lower part of the fort, Cask of Amontillado style.

On this first day, they also capture orbs floating around, the words "troop" and "government" and what they believe to be a shadow figure on the ramparts. They try to stir things up with another reenactment, this time of a prisoner being lead out to be shot at the wall. During this event the phonetic generator comes through with the word, "murder" while the K2 meters go off. Additionally, they play the flashlight trick where it flickers on and off.

For the second night, they devise the Peripheral Para-vision Camera Mount, which is another way of saying cameras that look at mirrors placed at an angle to represent looking at something out of the corner of your eye. They also put together some goggles that force you to look at things from that same perspective.

As they sit in the courtyard and talk about the ill-fated Deloris and her lover, who may have watched each other starve to death, there are flickers on the K2 meter and the word, "chain" on the word generator. They also hear what they believe is a deep breath and the sense of being choked.

When they look at the evidence, they show an orb moving on the left portion of their peripheral camera. There is also what looks to be a walking shadow figure and what might be a heat signature on the ramparts of the fort.

But before we get too excited, let’s jump all the way to the beginning and take note of a couple key things. Each piece of history they’re told comes with the words, "the legend says" or "the story goes" which basically means, they don’t have any evidence to support what they’re saying. I’m sure it makes for a great story and adds to the legend of the Native American people, but why would a "doctor" cut off the head of an Indian chief? There is no evidence to support this story as real. To spice up the story, the head is missing and even these guys are saying the lights they see are the head. The point is, they’re claiming to find evidence for stories that most likely never happened. Isn’t that like finding clues at the scene of a crime that never took place?

On the surface, their evidence is interesting with words that fit perfectly within the environment. However, there is nothing to show how those devices work or even if they do work. The shadow figure is interesting as it does appear something is moving. That would be worth looking at some more, but as for the rest of the stories and evidence, I think the "evidence" is being twisted to match the legends.

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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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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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