Ghost Mine – Phantom Intruder – S02E03

So we last left the Ghost Mine team with a pretty big dilemma on their hands, the fuses for hundred pounds of dynamite they packed into the mine didn’t go off. Now they’re sitting on a powder keg and someone needs to see what happened. Oddly, it’s the job of RIPA to go in there and check out the scene. It’s a good call and there is no reason to risk life and limb over something so dangerous.

Everything looks pretty good, until the fuse re-ignites and goes off. It blows RIPA to hell and causes yet another cave in. The area they were trying to blast through comes down and reveals tons of boards and previous work. This area is looking pretty damn unstable. But, Kristen and Patrick head in to check it out from a paranormal perspective. Everything seems normal, but they keep hearing rocks fall. That’s not usual considering what just happened. But the frequency of the rocks keeps increasing until it sounds like they’re in the middle of a cave-in. They sprint out of the mine and are met by Stan and Eddie. Fearing the worst, Stan and Eddie go check it out. Strangely, nothing is out of place. No rocks are falling, there is no new debris and nothing new appears to have fallen. It appears Patrick and Kristen were in the middle of a residual cave in. It could have been the sound of rocks falling further down the tunnel, but clearly you can hear rocks yet nothing was disturbed.

With the cave-in experience behind them, they investigate a possible problem with one of the cameras they places in the trees. The memory card is full, but yet there isn’t anything substantial in the photos to have made it go off. There is an odd vertical line that shifts position from frame to frame. It has no bend and is always the same width. Doesn’t seem to be a hair or stem or pine needle. Nor does it seem to be a problem with the lens or the camera itself. It’s the exact same line over and over again, yet it’s not always in the same place. As they investigate the area they stumble across what looks like the remains of an old shack. On one of the rocks there appears to be oriental writing. This shack would have been in the line of the sight of the malfunctioning camera. Stan tells them that Chinese miners were all over these hills, a fact confirmed by the local historian. There may have been as many as 3000 Chinese miners in the area, who worked and labored with everyone else, yet they weren’t treated too kindly.

Patrick takes a rubbing of the rock and is told the translation of the words means, "place of cremation". I suppose we can take that to mean burial ground. There doesn’t appear to be any headstones so whether this is a literal translation or a reference to something else remains to be seen.

Additionally, the current batch of miners keeps running into setbacks. Their equipment has been drug out of the mine and vandalized. Several of the hoses have been cut and it looks like their trespasser is getting bold and vengeful. However, even with all the cameras and all the people wandering around they have yet to actually see this trespasser. If there is such a person, he’s elusive.

Patrick and Kristen also discovered another video glitch that comes right before an unusual event. When RIPA goes into the mine to check the blasting caps, the video footage is fine, except for right when the explosion happens. The picture pixelates the same way it did when Jay felt there was someone walking past him in the mine. So is something showing up on the camera right before something odd happens?

For the final piece of evidence, we have Patrick playing the previous EVP which Patrick sent off to have translated since he believes it’s now tied to the oriental writing. Turns out it mean, "I’m lost" in Cantonese and right as he’s talking about this another huge bang crashes into the side of the shack they’re all sitting in. These are those same incredibly loud and mysterious bangs we heard from last season that had no explanation. Stan, Jay, Eddie and everyone else flies out of the room ready to kick some serious ass only to find there is nothing there. No dust, no rocks, no evidence of anyone running away. Just the calm and serene mountain scenery. Just like last time there is no evidence of rocks smashing into the cabin or someone running away. So where in the hell is this insanely loud banging coming from? And I find this incredibly odd since so many people hear it, it’s during the day time and there is absolutely no trace.

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Ghost Adventures – Haunted Victorian Mansion – S08E06

The location for this episode is located in Nick’s hometown of Boston. Sadly, this episode was recorded right after the tragic events of the Boston Marathon.

The guys are here to investigate the Pierce Victorian Mansion that was built in 1875. It has been in the same family for multiple generations, many of which died in the house. Recently, it received new owners, but things have been less than comfy and cozy. Lillian and Edwin say they have seen shadow figures, a figure with black eyes and that Lillian was held down on the bed by some unseen force. Because of the activity, they have moved out of the house and haven’t come back.

As mentioned, the history of the house includes multiple deaths, which would be typical for the time. Members of the family passed away from cancer and natural causes. There was a child who died at the age of two, Rachel, and her mother died in the house as well, Bessy. Some of the claims include seeing a crying woman and a child at the window.

While there are several deaths of natural causes there is one strange death, the previous owner. It’s claimed the owner burned to death although there was no fire in the house. It’s reported he had burn marks on his face and died of smoke inhalation. It’s believed he was smoking in bed and may have been the victim of some sort of spontaneous combustion. They don’t have too many facts relating to his death. In fact, they don’t have too many facts about any of the events that took place in the house, yet somehow they come to the conclusion that there is a battle of Good vs. Evil going on in the house. There is no evidence whatsoever to support this Evil claim they’re making. With so little factual and recorded evidence to support that, it’s an absurd conclusion to make. Talk about jumping to conclusions.

I’ve said it before and I’m going to say it again, I’m so sick and damn tired of their overly dramatic and completely senseless dramas they keep slipping into these episodes. The demonic voices, the shaky images, the split images and distorted camera work needs to come to an end. It’s so damn juvenile and just scream amateur hour. This is supposed to be an investigation not some cheesy ass high school film project.

But as the move on with the investigation there are some interesting aspects to it. There are multiple bangs and knocks throughout the house as well as several EVPs in response to their questions. For example, they if someone is there and get some loud bangs right after. Zak and Aaron also claim to see a ball of light coming toward them and capture something moving with the X-Camera. Orbs have never excited me, by Zak believes this is evidence of a presence.

When it comes to EVPs, they do indeed capture quite a few. When they ask, "What is your name?" They get the response, "David". When they ask if the spirits know Edwin, they get a little girls’ voice saying, "hi". Edwin asks if they should leave the house and there is a response of "no’. When asking if he should sell the house, he gets "not sure". When Edwin asks what is the name of the woman who lives there, he gets "Lillian". So they get multiple responses, but none of those seem evil or malevolent or hateful as this whole Good vs. Evil war Nick was talking about would imply. Quite frankly, if you take these responses at face value, everything seems fine. If anything, you have a little girl saying Hi and another woman who isn’t sure how she feels about the house being in someone else’s hands. Certainly none of this "Get out!" or "I’ll kill you" that would be expected from the supposed dark and demonic spirits Zak says hides in the house.

Suffice it to say I have many issues with this episode. Zak and Nick are jumping to conclusions to try and sell the idea of the house being evil. They want there to be a demonic force so if nothing else, they’ll make one up. The EVPs they capture don’t suggest evil in any way. Sure, they get some banging, but that doesn’t come across as evil either. It seems the spirits might know who the owners are, but in the end, Zak and the team haven’t unraveled or uncovered anything. They haven’t brought the owners any peace or answers. In fact, they leave with as little information as they arrived. There might be some activity going on there but it doesn’t come across as the owners in danger. Perhaps they’re letting their fears get the better of them. Maybe they need to approach the house with cooler heads and do more investigation into the events. It sounds like there are still hundreds of questions that still need to be answered.

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The Possession

image The story of this movie intrigued me and then I discovered this was based on a true story. A true story with plenty of embellishment I’m sure. But within a couple of minutes I knew where I heard this story before.

A young girl buys an antique box at a yard sale, unaware that inside the collectible lives a malicious ancient spirit. The girl’s father teams with his ex-wife to find a way to end the curse upon their child.

This very tale was documented as one of the episodes of the Haunted History series. A man buys a wine box at an estate sale only to befall a wicked series of bad luck. He then tries to get rid of the box only to have everyone else fall under the same bad luck. Ultimately, one man goes to great length to seal the box and contain a powerful energy within.

So is the story of the "Dibbuk Box" which supposedly contains the trapped energy of an ancient evil. In the supposed true story, the spirit is brought forth using basically a Ouija board and what follows is the Holocaust. Polish sisters are able to contain the energy in a wine crate.

Such is the story of The Possession. After the death of his elderly mother, the son puts his things out for a yard sale. Among them is an unassuming box, almost like a jewelry box. A father, who’s recently been divorced and trying to make a comfortable home for his kids, buys the box and other items to furnish the house. They soon discover the box contains many mysteries and "Clyde" must turn to the Jewish community for help.

I found the original story to be so fascinating as to be unbelievable and wondered why no one had made a movie about the story. Turns out they did. And for the most part it’s not to bad. Things build slowly and over time Emily becomes obsessed with the box and the woman who lives inside. The woman talks to Emily, but soon the spirit wants to do more than just talk. Emily becomes distant and violent. Soon, Emily is just a pawn to the spirit as it tries to make it’s way into the world to who knows what end.

With several scenes that closely mimic the Exorcist, things get a little silly, such as Emily gnawing on raw steak out of the refrigerator. But other such as the hands roaming under the skin, moths wedged in the mouth and creepy scenes of eyes rolling around in the head it does make for some creepy fun. While it holds together well, there is nothing that gives the movie an overall tense feel. Unlike the spirit in the original story that may have brought on the Holocaust, there is no real sense of power of impending trouble with this story. It has some good elements and nothing goes too over the top, but it just becomes the usual, "oh, it’s a demonic spirit." To be cliche, what is the motivation? This is something we have seen and heard about dozens of times before.

That being said, there is nothing really wrong with this movie, it’s just the original story so wild and compelling that the movie retelling seems to fall a little short. It just lacks the drama of a box that is being passed from person to person that contains who knows what sort of evil.

Haunted History – A Deadly Possession – S01E05

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Sleepy Hollow – S01E01

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow is one of my favorite stories and although it may come as a bit of a surprise, I think the Disney 1949 cartoon rendition is quite a wonderful telling of the story. Sadly, the Johnny Depp version quite the steamy pile and other renditions try to go to far with the horror and gore and lose the core of the story. Let’s not forget, it’s a mystery – what happened to Ichabod?

But here comes Fox with a new telling of this tale, and by the first episode, I think they may be on the right track. It appears Sleepy Hollow is bringing a lot of elements into the story, both from the story and from the surrounding time period. Ichabod isn’t a gangly school teacher scared of his own shadow. Far from it. He worked with George Washington on convert missions for the revolutionary war. Like some other stories (Once Upon a Time, Lost) this one is told both from the past and in the present.

We first find Ichabod on the battlefield and he may in fact be responsible for the Headless Horseman. Washington sent Ichabod to hunt him down. When engaged in battle, Ichabod delivers the fatal blow that takes off his head. But then, the world changes and Ichabod wakes up in present day Sleepy Hollow. The Headless Horseman is riding again and we learn there may be more to his story than a simple specter. He may in fact be Death himself.

We learn that Ichabod actually married Katrina, but that she was tried and killed for witchcraft. And speaking of witchcraft, we have Sheriff Corbin who sounds oh so similar to the Sheriff Corwin of Salem Witch Trial fame.

But that was all in the past, Ichabod is now in the present. Somehow, through the magical weavings of his wife Katrina, he has been slumbering and recovering from his wounds and has been awakened to once again fight the Hessian. According to the legend, Ichabod needs to keep the severed head away from the body or the Horseman will become even more powerful. We also hear tale of two witch covens, one good, one evil, working to suppress and control the Horseman.

A lot of pieces comes at us, but overall I think it blended together pretty nicely. We have modern Sleepy Hollow with Old School Ichabod looking for the Headless Horseman will dark forces try to stop their efforts. These dark forces are more than likely tied to witchcraft and I have no doubt the events of the Salem Witch Trials will come to light. There is a TON of material to work with here and it looks like the writers will delve into that subject at will to make the story more intriguing without going over the top on useless grisly details.

I like what I see and look forward to the next episode. There is a lot of pieces to this puzzle and while they might take some liberties, I think a lot of historical information is going to come to light and some interesting twists on the old theories will come along for the ride. This is another attempt at making Ichabod a "detective", but I think this time around they might have gotten it right.

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