Expedition Unknown – Yamashita’s Gold

image It’s been awhile since I’ve written anything about Josh Gates and his exciting adventures, but he’s back, and this time heading to Manila in the Philippines. He’s on the hunt for what is known as Yamashita’s Gold, a wartime bounty of gold and diamonds that was smuggled out of the country and like all good treasures, has since disappeared.

Josh begins the investigation in Manila and heads deep underground where the original base of operations for Yamashita would have been. It’s a series of tunnels, but there is very little evidence in regards to the treasure. But it shows Yamashita was no stranger to working underground and stashing things in hard to reach places.

Next, we head to Alaminos where there is talk of some sinister types working in seclusion and whisking away trunks of gold bars. According to local lore, the treasure is hidden in some man made caves and because of the haphazard way in which the treasure was both hidden and retrieved, plenty is still available to be discovered.

They head out in a small boat against a pretty rough current. And there is indeed a hole cut into the side of the craggy rocks. With no small effort, Josh and Evan make their way over and down into the cave. Josh finds what looks like some sort of rail system and several metal items. While there is no treasure in that portion, but it shows plenty of signs that someone was there.

The tunnels look like to be accessible from the other side of the island and they discover another set of openings and climb through. There is another network of tunnels and drill holes, not mention a couple of bullets that could be consistent with the time period the treasure would have gone missing.

The next destination is Baguio City, to meet with Henry Roxas. Henry’s father is said to have found the actual treasure, but due to government interference and possible cover up, he lost possession and was sent to prison under the rule of then dictator, Ferdinand Marcos. Henry has taken up the mantle and has some new information at his disposal.

He takes Josh to a secret location and into a massive cave system. We get an exciting journey by bus and buffalo to reach it. It should also be noted that Henry has memorized the location and clues and destroyed the map so they can’t fall into the wrong hands.

The cave entrance starts off pretty substantially, but quickly narrows into small tunnels. They discover one of the rumored booby traps, complete with bamboo spears at the bottom. And as Josh asks, if there are booby traps, there should be something to hide.

As they press on past the poisonous frogs and bats, they find tunnels that go in different directions. Using the metal detectors, Josh discovers what looks to be nails and comes across two coins. According to Henry, these would have been in circulation in 1944 and 1945, the time the treasure was making it’s rounds.

While Josh doesn’t unearth any treasure, he does make some interesting finds. There are several man made caves that have been used to house something. Perhaps it was this treasure, perhaps not. But with coins, bullets and possibly a rail system, there are some hidden goodies out there waiting to be discovered. You never know, one of those mysterious caves might be hiding a trunk full of gold bars.

But then again, if you dig a little deeper into Yamashita’s treasure, there are indications it might be nothing more than an a legend and no such treasure actually exists.

Other Articles of Interest:

Ghost Adventures – Stardust Ranch – S12E12

image For this investigation, Zak heads to Arizona, a location he says is a cauldron of paranormal activity. The destination is the Stardust Ranch in Rainbow Valley. And the reason for the visit? Well, the owner, John Edmunds and his wife claim they have occurrences of alien abductions. John has a slew of tales and experiences including seeing his wife levitating high above their bed, to alien crafts above his house to even taking a samurai sword to them. John claims to have killed 18 of the alien creatures and unloaded clips from his AK-47 at their craft. John’s wife claims to have been sexually molested by the aliens. Further, as John was giving an interview, strange figures can be seen in the background, which John believes were the entities making their presence known.

As mentioned, John says he has killed 18 of the aliens, although their bodies apparently disappear after being killed. Despite that, he was able to gain a tissue sample from his alien killing samurai sword and sent it off for analysis. It was claimed to contain plant matter and chlorophyll. Unfortunately, the doctor studying the sample died under mysterious circumstances and the samples have disappeared.

After purchasing the property, John had a strange man show up saying he was the one who kept the monsters away. Additionally, they talk with Brandy Howe who has tired to cleanse the house and she believes there to be a portal within the home. Further, she spoke to the spirit of a boy who killed himself in the house after a shotgun blast to the head.

Adding to the list of people they talk to is Travis Walton, a man who was abducted by aliens. He says aliens have visited several times and the proof is abnormal tree growth in those areas.

As they start the investigation, Dave Schrader joins the team and notes there is extremely high EMF readings coming from the ranch. That night, along with Aaron, he sees strange lights in the sky. Meanwhile on the X Camera, there is a shadow figure moving across the room.

To start things off in the house, Zak has Ashely, the still photographer of the team, go into the house alone and lay in the bed where the wife has supposedly been attacked multiple times. While nothing appears to happen, when Zak retrieves her, she says her arm is numb and later there is bruising.

While Ashley is in the house, Zak and team set up motion cameras around the property since several horses have been attacked and decimated. It’s at this time that Dave says he would like to stay out on the property on his own to see if he can make contact with the aliens.

During his time alone, Dave again sees lights in the sky and says he can hear something moving around.

Back at the house, they team uses Infrasound to try and generate frequency that might get the spirits to respond. It seems to have an effect on Zak, who seems to slip off into a trance. Additionally, Zak says he sees an orb of light. He believes this could be an alien presence trying to make contact. It’s at this time Aaron hears what he thinks is a hiss and the Ovilus 5 giving out the words, Brown Mist.

In the end, they get Dave back without any harm coming to him and while there might have been a ball of light, Zak doesn’t appear to make contact with any alien life forms.

To me, this is the most ridiculous episode Ghost Adventures has ever been involved with and that’s saying something. I’m not disputing the existence of aliens, quite the opposite, but this episode has every cliche and stereotype you can image. The only thing missing were Mulder and Scully.

Here’s a couple things that come to mind.

The shadow they see moving is a cat. That same cat makes the hissing sound Aaron hears.

A Doctor of Divinity is not a recognized doctorate degree.

Look up the Project Camelot group who John was giving the interview for when the aliens showed up. They make the Lone Gunman seem tethered to the earth.

Moving lights in the night sky? How odd. Have you been out into the desert of Arizona and seen the night sky? It’s amazing what you can see when the contamination of the city lights is gone.

Ashley’s arm going numb? As we see, she’s laying on it, that’s why it went numb. The bruises? It couldn’t possibly be from moving camera equipment and gear. Or, from bumping into something in the RV they’re using as HQ. Or from a jacket she was wearing. Perhaps she hit her arm the day before and by coincidence, the bruises just showed up.

The noises Dave hears? How about wild animals on the plains of Arizona.

Finally, Zak’s trance? We’ve seen that shtick so many times it’s lost all meaning.

The high EMF readings are the most likely cause of the problems the couple is experiencing and before they continue down the alien visitation track, maybe they need to get that checked out.

Other Articles of Interest:

Ghost Adventures – Winchester Mystery House – S12E11

image For their next outing, Zak and team return to visit the Winchester Mystery House, a location they visited in 2011. The Winchester House is certainly an odd mansion with more legends than you can shake a stick it. It’s a massive 160 rooms, covering 24,000 square feet, with ceilings that are too low, floors that tilt at odd angles, doors that open to nowhere and stairs that dead end into walls. To be sure, it’s a carnival fun house that some claim to be haunted. However, it doesn’t take much research to find that so many of claims against the house are shrouded in hearsay and urban legend. Even the famed story of the house being under continuous construction isn’t true.

But this sort of thing won’t stop Zak, and like before, he is not only firmly convinced the house is haunted but contains demonic energy and a portal to another plane. To further his point, he says "we’re not welcome here".

While talking with the tour guides they get "stories" about the Wheelbarrow Man and other things he "thinks" he might have seen. John claims to have seen a figure, but when shown footage of something in front of the lights while Zak was looking around, he swears it’s absolutely the same figure he saw. Certainly changed his tune of thinking he saw something. The other stories that come in also start with, "I believe I saw" and "there is a story about".

From there we start the investigation in the seance room. Or at least that’s what Zak is going to call it. There is nothing to suggest seances were held in this room. But Sarah Winchester was fairly taken with the spirit world, so we’ll go ahead and agree that it’s likely.

Right as they start, a stick figure appears on the SLS. Zak has Billy sit on it, which he declares to be cold. They get the name Russell and it responds, "of course" when asked if seances took place in that room.

Not to be outdone, Zak takes one of the Winchester rifles and heads to the same room. Right after he cocks and aims the rifle, the SLS and thermal cameras lock up. They of course believe this to be the work of spirits.

As the night goes on, they hear doorknobs turning and claim to get a hand waving to them. This hand appears next to one of the mirrors that deceives you about which way the stairs actually turn.

Down in the basement, Aaron and Billy claim to hear groans and Aaron has something fly past his ear. They determine this to be another light orb. On another level, Zak begins to feel dizzy, which isn’t surprising considering the disorienting nature of all the angles. But also claims to see a child walking the corridors.

They admittedly get all turned around in the house and find themselves at Sarah Winchester’s room. They try to make contact, but receive no reply. As they continue working their way through the house, Zak feels he is pushed down the uneven and twisting stairs. Zak swears he didn’t trip and that the house contains a crossroads of energy. He again claims to see a child roaming around.

While Zak may claim the house contains a portal, let’s just take a moment and check a couple of things. The information about the house starts with, "the story goes", which is the same as, "legend has it". The historical details about the house itself have been woefully distorted. It’s a tourist attraction, so do you really think anyone is going to say, "yeah, it’s a dud", although that is exactly what happened when the Ghost Hunters looked the place over. Not that those guys should be trusted, but it’s interesting to note the completely different opinion. But they bring up a good point, all the odd angles and disorienting feeling bring on the "funhouse effect". That explanation makes more sense than anything Zak is throwing out.

You have an old house. You have legends tied to a gun manufacturer. You have a legend about a medium and the ghosts of the rifle victims. You then add the fact that the house is a labyrinth with a design that makes no sense and of course your going to get all sorts of stories about it. However, nothing they’ve come up with really shows the house to be haunted. It’s certainly bizarre, but that seems to be the outcropping of an owner who might have been suffering from her own mental disorders.

Other Articles of Interest:

Ghost Adventures – Nevada State Prison – S12E10

image With the antics of Deadly Possessions out of the way, it’s time to pick up where we left off with Ghost Adventures. This time Zak sticks close to home to investigate the Nevada State Prison. As is usually the case, the prison has a history of violence and death. The prison opened in 1862 and brings with it, 54 executions, as well as the usual claims of hangings and suicide.

Zak checks with some former inmates and guards who relay tales of the crimes they’ve been witness to. One man was found hanged in the shower, one prisoner was supposedly burned to death and another was stuffed in "the hole" for years on end. We also see a picture of a shadow figure that looks like someone standing in a hallway.

Right off the bat, not only does Zak declare the prison haunted, but goes a step further and says demonic entities are calling it home. To that end, he meets with a prison guard that says a demonic entity called, "Dante" is calling him up on the phone. I hope I’m not the only one who finds that story more than dubious.

But he’s not the only guard experiencing odd behavior at home. Another guard claims unholy forces have followed him home. Zak and team kick off a mini-investigation in the house and get no EVP responses. Undaunted, they begin to "feel" a presence and act as though something is walking up behind them. And although they got nothing before, they now get the words, "bend over", and the word, "the devil". I am in no way surprised "the devil" showed up. Given the build up, it would be more surprising if it didn’t show up on the machinery.

As they get on with the prison investigation, they get the words, "attack" and "slain" on the Ovilus. Zak calls this a barrage of threats and claims to hear the words, "let me out". Zak also points out multiple light orbs which he is quite sure are paranormal evidence.

Another staple for Zak, is he feels anger and rage, which causes him to start yelling out that the spirits don’t have permission to use his body. It’s also at this point the SLS camera picks up an entity in front of him and the word "demon" pops up on the recorder. As they get ready to leave they get a final message of "hang yourself glance." An odd farewell to be sure.

Back at nerve center, they pick up noises of bangs and pops in the prison shower. When Billy goes to investigate he says it feels different and it’s hard to breathe. He tries to convince whatever is down there they’re free to leave. He’s going to open the door for them and they don’t have to stay in the shower anymore. On the Talking EVP, he gets the response, "Helpful", "Close" and "Brother". Billy takes this to mean that he is being helpful like a brother by opening the closed door.

For the final part, they head to the Mess Hall and bring out a new device, the Pilfer Device. It’s function is to create a field of ions that entities can use for energy. It looks to be a small variation of the Jacob’s Ladder. And as the device charges the air, not only does Jay feel the energy rising, which is pretty obvious, Zak tracks an orb moving around the room. Billy and Jay then let the prisoners know they’re in charge, to which they get the response of a door slamming.

I found this episode to be disappointing in it’s predictability. We once again have the floating orbs. We once again have the "the devil" coming through because Zak knows demonic forces are contained within. And we once again have Billy and Aaron saying it feels different and Zak getting emotions from another plane.

It’s quite something that a demonic entity is calling a guard on the phone. And Dante was a poet, it’s not the name of something demonic. He wrote about the Devil, or at least his interpretation of the Devil and Hell, but an entity calling itself Dante is as far fetched as you can get.

This episode had multiple example of Zakisms we should now come to expect from his investigations.

Other Articles of Interest:

Recent Comments