Haunted Highway – El Dorado Hell Hounds and Georgia Skinstealer – S01E04

El Dorado Hell Hounds

This sounds like the plot the Sherlock Holmes mystery, Hound of the Baskervilles; a group of marauding dogs that mutilate animals and chase down people. Jack and Dana head off to Nevada to see if there is any truth to these rumors.

They meet with several people who tell tale of dogs that were abused by mine owners and left to die when the mines dried up. The animals were abused and perhaps even slaughtered.

Out onto the plains they go to discover any evidence. One the first night there is a large mass running across the field heading right toward Dana. It looks to be on a collision course with her and running on all fours. Strangely, they don’t make any contact and don’t find any physical evidence of what it was. Bear? Coyote? Feral Dog?

On the second night they head into a large cave system thought to be the home of the Hell Hounds. They leave a lantern on at the mouth of the cave, but while rattling some chains to insight the dogs the lantern mysteriously falls. Coincidence? A lamp sitting on a rock in the middle of the night isn’t the most stable of things. Did gravity simply grab hold of it?

Like so many of these investigations done at night on the open plains, I think there are simply too many indigenous animals in the area to conclude there is something otherworldly going on.

Georgia Skinstealer

This particular legend is just plain weird. It tells of spirit or energy that holds down it’s victim and steals out their lifeforce or essence. It sounds like some sort of soul sucker and Jael and Devin head down to Savannah GA to see what they can find.

They head out into the swamps, make camp and then try to induce the entity to visit Jael while she’s sleeping. They have cameras and imagers set up to record temperature changes and record her sleep. Everything is pretty uneventful until the very end. There is some sort of green blob, or cold spot, on part of the tent. This is supposed to indicate the presence of the Skinstealer. And Jael wakes up gasping for breath and is disoriented. Nothing is really captured during the night so did she just have some odd dreams while sleeping in an unfamiliar location? Is that green spot indicative of something sinister? Do we need to add this to the list of things Savannah is haunted by?

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Destination Truth – Vampire Monster and Island of the Damned – S05E06

Vampire Monster

For this episode of Destination Truth, Josh and the team head to Romania to look into reports of a real vampire monster. It’s not Dracula, but a blood sucking creature that roams the back woods sucking the blood out of animals and causing villagers to abandon their homes.

They first start off by heading to the hometown of Vlad the Imapler, the real life inspiration for the fictional Dracula. Seems the town takes quite a bit of pride in their heritage. They have a well maintained historical museum, as well as some amusement rides and haunted houses.

But amusements aside, the villagers believe they’ve seen a human like figure with horse like legs. There is an abandoned village which seems to be a shelter for the creature. After a pretty treacherous hike they make it to a small settlement out in the middle of nowhere.

They come across several buildings, some of which are adorned with some spectacular artwork. The walls and ceilings are adorned with religious painting, but yet some of the figures seem to have their eyes scratched out. Interesting. There is also the large stake in the corner that causes everyone in the group to jump when it falls over. Hmm, long wooden stake in a church where a Dracula like creature is supposed to hide. That’s something isn’t it? :)

There is also a massive cave, with hundreds of bones scattered around. These are the remains of animals that have either fallen through the large hole at the top and taken a terrible plunge, or they’ve been drug into the cave by something looking to eat it’s dinner in peace. Which do we think is more probable?

Ok, back to the abandoned church. Why in the hell is this group so damn skiddish? Everytime there’s a noise or a bang they come to pieces, start screaming and make like Scooby-Doo and haul ass in the opposite direction. I mean damn, you would think they could hold it together a little bit better.

The team does manage to capture some animals of the thermal imager and Josh bags up a massive tooth he finds in the death cave. So what do they turn out to be? More than likely the animals in the woods are wolves. That would make sense since they’re in the woods and away from other people. The animal remains turn out to be a dog, goat and a goat. The interesting thing though, Josh comes away with the tooth of a cave bear – an animal that’s been extinct for 27,000 years. That’s a pretty sweet find.

Do we think there’s anything out in those woods other than wolves?

Island of the Damned

The team heads out to Sweden to investigate a haunted island. There are reports of witches and supernatural events. According to reports, around 300 witches were burned in this area. Rumors claim there were ceremonies to conjure the devil himself.

Also on the island is a stone labyrinth. It is believed that if you walk through the maze at night, you will see the spirit of the witches. However, if you remove one of the stones, you will be cursed. Apparently, hundreds of people take the stones as a joke only to send them back with an apology letter asking if the stones can returned. Since taking one, people are surrounded by bad luck. Lars, the city official who handles all these letters, has a mighty stack of them. He even asks Josh to take one of the stones back with him. Cursed rock in the pocket, cool!!

So the team heads out to the island to check it out. Part of the island has a forest, the other side is rather bare. There is also a cabin where scientists, photographers and other guests can stay, if they have the stones for it.

The team begins to hear noises like a female cry and chanting. They do what they can to find the source, but it doesn’t reveal anything. Considering it’s windy out there are we sure it isn’t just the wind blowing off the rocks and the trees? I think we’ve seen plenty of cases where the wind makes some very strange noises. And does anyone else think the screams sound a lot like birds?

But anyway, Josh finds and begins to walk through the stone maze. Ironically, they capture something bobbing along the bath. At first it looks like a bug, but the movement is just downright odd. It’s not a light because of the way it bounces. That’s pretty strange. I don’t think it’s something paranormal, but unusual.

For the big scare of the night we have Ryder and Richie in the cabin. Ryder and Richie begin to hear some noises. Considering the storm and the wind outside, it doesn’t seem that out of character. But like before, Ryder and Richie all but soil their pants as something happens and start screaming like they’re in a B-Movie. I mean Egad!! What the hell were they freaking out at? We didn’t see anything! But… Later Josh discovers a low voice in that audio segment. Was it actually saying "Get out"?

All in all, I think the team got worked up and started jumping at everything that went bump in the night. I don’t think the bouncing light in the maze is noteworthy. I don’t think there was anything in the cabin and the screams and voices are the wind whistling in the trees and swirling on the rocks. Add to that some screeching birds and I think you have everything you need. The island has a stone maze, it’s secluded, it’s dangerous and somewhat scary. What more do you need to start instilling fear about witchcraft, demons, goblins and the devil?

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Haunted Highway – Utah Skinwalker and Ozark Howler – S01E03

Utah Skinwalker

The Skinwalker is a shapeshifter than can take on the appearance of both man and animal. Based on that description, anything and everything could be a Skinwalker, so how do you know what you’re dealing with? Well, Jack and Dana are headed to the Devil’s Soup Bowl to find out. The thinking is that you make a circle around your camp and point arrow symbols inward to invite the spirit into you.

Jack and Dana set up camp and begin walking around the area. They do come across some footprints that lead into a creek. On the other side are dog tracks. Evidence of the Skinwalker you ask? Or just evidence of a drunk teen wandering around in the desert being foolish?

After the first investigation they meet with a Native American who claims to have seen Skinwalkers when she was a girl. She tells Dana and Jack to go to Skinwalker Ridge. If the Skinwalker wants to be found, it will.

While out at Skinwalker Ridge, they come across what looks to be a mass graveyard for animals. There are complete animals carcasses and bones littering the ground. Unto itself that really isn’t evidence of anything. If there were a drought or disease, the animals would drop and decay where they stood.

To keep things moving, Jack sends up a drone with a camera attach to track something. Dana heads out on foot to see if she can track it. While she’s out, the night is alive with the sounds of cries. It sounds like Coyotes howling in the night. They get multiple thermal hits, but they get them from so far away there is no way to tell what they are.

In the end, the evidence doesn’t point one way or the other. They have animals on the thermal imager and tons of noises. But with so many legends floating around, they have to based on something right? Are these stories told to children to keep them in line and out of trouble or are they based on some fact that is waiting to be discovered. Animals can certainly change color and appearance, but can something actually change it’s physical shape and being?

Ozark Howler

Jael and Devin head to Jasper AR to find the Ozark Howler, a creature like a massive cat with horns. Yeah, that sounds like a little strange. Perhaps this is some sort of mutant mountain lion.

Here is something interesting, they go to speak with the Mayor of Jasper, who readily admits lots of myths and legends get started in his area. When you’re out in the woods, you’ll hear noises, get turned around, get disoriented and get yourself scared half to death. To me, that sounds like people are working themselves into a frenzy.

As they start the investigation, the goal of the night is to place a tracker in some meat, hang the meat from a tree and see if anything comes along and takes the bait. That sounds reasonable, expect, any and everyone animal out there is going to be attracted to their porkchops. But they do have cameras set up to see what comes to dinner.

While filming there are lots of wild screams in the night. It does sound like a woman screaming, but if you take a moment, it’s sounds like a bird. A large bird. Perhaps even a bird of prey, but a bird none the less. Hell, that could be the screech of a hawk, an owl or something similar. Apart from the sounds of the birds, Devin grabs some footage of a figure moving on the Flir. At first glance, it looks like a pig or maybe a badger. It’s slow moving and relatively small. However, it’s something in the woods moving under the cover of darkness. Without actually seeing it, I bet it would scare the hell out of people.

Something does take the porkchop bait during the investigation. Devin tracks it down and finds his GPS tracker is broken with teeth marks in it. Unfortunately, they don’t get any footage of the food being stolen. The animal knocks over the camera on the approach. They do find quite a few animals tracks while out there.

When all is said and done, it appears they captured evidence of a mountain lion or something similar. I don’t believe they captured anything that resembles some massive cat weighing 400 pounds with horns on it’s head and death in it’s heart. I agree with the Mayor on this one, there are perfectly normal things in the woods that give off strange noises and seem larger than life. Is there an Ozark Howler? I’m going to have to say no, too much points to the screech being a bird of prey and people mistaking a mountain lion, puma or feral cat as something much more sinister.

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Haunted Highway – Darkman of Standing Rock and Blackstar Shadow Man – S01E02

The show may be low budget, but it’s sort of growing on me.

Darkman of Standing Rock

First up, we have Jael and Devin heading out to investigate the Darkman, which is a apparition that appears and usually foretells of bad of dangerous events. Devin even goes so far as to call it the Grim Reaper. Does it’s appearance mean someone is going to die? According to Native American lore, the answer is yes.

Jael and Devin manage to speak with many Native Americans and not only do they believe in the power of the Darkman and fear seeing it, but many claim that it has made an appearance and shortly thereafter, a family member has died.

With this information and their equipment, they head out onto the plains to see if they can capture a glimpse of it. They borrow a couple of horses and head out into the night. As they get set up, the horses get spooked and take off. They don’t just run, but completely leave Jael and Devin for dead. There’s a lot of tension between the two after this since they’re stuck out there. But they once things calm down and they get a fire set up, Jael says she saw the fire flare up and then go out. When they review the evidence the fire does appear to "burst" and there is an outline of some sort of figure. Are we just seeing things on the camera or is something walking through the fire? They also feel they captured a pair of glowing red eyes. As we know, animal eyes, and human eyes are well, appear red when you capture them on camera. Is this a trick of light or something more? Did the Darkman make an appearance out there or was it just the wind and the animals of the plains?

Blackstar Shadow Man

The Shadow Man has been blamed for the disappearance of hikers in the Silverado, CA area. There are claims of a link between a massacred village and the appearance of the Shadow Man. Personally, the claims aren’t as tangible as I was expecting. We don’t have the usual story of someone being grabbed, or scratched or even drug along the ground. You supposedly can only see these figures out of the corner of your eye, which makes it a little suspect in my book. But anyway…

Jack and Dana head out into the wood for their investigation. Dana is freaked out by just about everything out there. She’s even startled by Jack setting up equipment. When it comes to being blindfolded and sitting at the base of a tree, it only takes a couple of minutes before she’s coming unglued.

At the end of the investigation, Jack even admits they barely got any sleep because of all the animals and walking around they heard. Part of the evidence is the 360 rig capturing what looks like a shadow running from one side to the other, even across Dana herself, causing her previous moments of hysterics. Is that a trick of light or really something moving out there? When it comes time to truly ask if there is really something out there, Jack has to go with the evidence and his gut and say that people are mistaking animals, the wind and light reflections as something more than they area. He is hard pressed to say there is any evidence to support the Shadow Man. He did capture a couple of interesting things, but what exactly are they? Is that the Shadow Man running through Dana and her having a genuine reaction, or is that the shadow from the trees, the wind or limbs moving in the moonlight? When you’re out in the wood on your own is your imagination just getting the better of you?

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