Ghost Adventures

Ghost Adventures Halloween Special – Transylvania

image Right off the bat there was very little about this episode I liked. It played into every cliché that exists about Dracula and vampires. It’s fantastic they got to visit such a legendary and quite frankly superstitious country, but come on does it really have to be like this? Vlad was a real man, not a vampire. He wasn’t evil, he was a mad protecting his home and country. He was outmanned and decided to show absolute determination to make invaders think twice about destroying his village. He’s seen by most in his home country as a hero. His overwhelming show of force lead to Bram Stoker using some of those elements for his story. And despite what Zak would like to think or interpret, Dracul means DRAGON, so Vlad Dracul is Son of the Dragon, not Son of the Devil. Stop making shit up to try and be sinister.

Aside from amateur mistakes like that, this episode was like watching 8 years run around an amusement park. It’s like Zak was channeling Shatner as he tried to make everything overly dramatic and dangerous. It’s a couple hours of overcompensating for things aren’t happening on the investigation.

They start of their Romanian trip by visiting the supposed birthplace of Vlad. Hey wouldn’t you know it, it’s a tourist trap. It’s now a café with a ridiculously cheesy display upstairs. To hell with the idea of putting out historical information, lets drape the room in blood red fabric and have a guy sit in a coffin.

With that bit of nonsense behind the real investigation begins. The trio decides to split up with Zak and Billy going to the Hoia Baciu Forest where people claim to see UFOs, Elementals, Balls of light and all sorts of spirits. The locals are so afraid they won’t enter the forest at night. Makes me think of Sherwood Forest from Robin Hood. But the locals take it quite seriously and refuse to enter the forest at night.

A lot is made of the "circle" in the middle of the forest where trees refuse to grow. Clearly this can’t be the work of toxic soil, rocks or minerals in the ground, it has to spirit work. And we soon find out when Zak and Billy enter the forest that there are forces they can’t deal with. Zak is struck silent as he stands stupefied – apparently in the grasp of some otherworldly force. As Billy comes to his aid, Zak nearly soils himself and has a bit of a breakdown. He’s nearly on the verge of tears as he tells Billy something is wrong. This bit of melodrama is only usurped by the glowing ball of red light coming from the center of the forest. Too bad they couldn’t focus on the ball long enough for us to tell it was the tail light of the ATV they drove up in.

Meanwhile Aaron and Nick scare the Dickens out of each other at Targoviste Castle where many of the death surrounding the Dracul legend took place. This is where many invaders were stuck on spikes as a warning to others. While in there Aaron believes he hears his name as well as the word "hello, Vlad and Flowers".

Next, they meet up at the Hunedoara Castle where they hear more stories including one where the security guard let in a band of Satan worshipers who performed their dark rituals. Well, clearly he didn’t think it was all that sinister since he let them in. But of course Zak and Nick make it out to be the opening of the gates of hell and it definitely means it’s demonic.

Next we have little imp and tour guide Anca who gives all sorts of tidbits to the American tourists about how haunted the place is and how much torture took place there. But then again, she is trying to sell tickets and bump up that tourism, so what else is she gonna say?

The guys investigate the place with Zak going into the cell/pit where Vlad was supposedly kept for a year. They capture what they believe is some women laughing (witches I’m sure) and then Aaron begins to have massive pains in his chest. After he gets mad at everyone over his "Charlie horse" Zak thinks he might be having a heart attack. Clearly that’s not it, it’s the work of evil spirits.

They next to go to the Chapel where the Satan Worshipers did their "messed up" rituals in the Chapel. So Nick lights a bunch of candles in a circle and lays down on the floor asking someone to blow them out. Then scary things happen and they hear a door creak. It’s Vlad!!

To add to their mysterious stay in the Castle and to emulate the feeling from the Dracula novel they claim something is making it to where they don’t want to leave.

But they overcome and visit an actual descendant of Vlad Tepes, Princess Brianna Caradja, who tells a story of making contact with Vlad. While using a Ouija, she makes contact and the spirit spells out Vlad. Odd, the Ouija is claimed by so many to be a surefire way to open a portal to hell and bringing forth demons you can’t possibly control. Yet, Zak doesn’t seem to chastise her. He was all manner of distraught in the Exorcist House, but doesn’t say anything here. Hmm. Don’t want to tempt the wrath of a descendant of Vlad eh?

Oh, nearly forgot, Zak decides to make a wild connection and say the word "flower" they heard in Targoviste has to mean the flowers in the garden where they talk to Princess Brianna. Obviously, that’s what it means. It couldn’t mean anything else, right?

It should come as no surprise that when the investigation is over the decree the entire area of Romania haunted. Every square inch. The spirit of Vlad permeates every nook and cranny of the place. Well, not quite that bad, but they do say it’s extremely haunted and charged with energy. We all knew they would say that even before the episode aired.

I don’t think Romania is any more haunted than any other place that has seen it’s share of death and war. The people of Romania are superstitious and believe in legends as part of their daily lives. Plus, they are steeped in the mystery that surrounds Bram Stoker and Dracula. And clearly they take advantage of that tourism dollar. It’s no surprise that everything is shrouded in the legend and over time people just come to believe that those stories are true. You can say the same thing about Savannah and New Orleans. It happens all over the place.

All that being said, I thought this was a great place to visit and show off, but this investigation was pretty damn cheesy.

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Ghost Adventures – Thornhaven Manor – S08E10

image For this episode the guys head out to Indiana to investigate Thornhaven Manor, a scrawling house that is being consumed by the surround weeds and bushes. As Zak says, nature is wrapping her hands around this place and is pulling it back into the ground. It once looked quite stunning, but now it’s simply overgrown.

Simon Powell was the original owner and his daughter Lizzie apparently died in the house when she was just 2 years old. But Lizzie isn’t the only death. There is also the reported murder of Rueben Bailey who was poisoned with rat poison. The details of the event remain rather vague.

The main reports involve the sound of a loud scream and footsteps. At first, things seem a little dubious as the scream is attributed to nothing more than the squealing brakes of a passing car. And considering the growth and water damage, it seems like the footsteps and other sounds would come from the settling house and animals. Zak seems a little discouraged if you ask me. There is even a large glowing cold spot that turns out to be water damage on the floor.

But Zak forges ahead to try and make lemonade. They too hear footsteps in the house and in one of the rooms the camera seems to have a hard time focusing on things as though someone is walking in front of the camera. They believe they make contact with Lizzie and also someone named Emily.

In trying to make contact with Lizzie, they bring in their device laden teddy bear that immediately starts to go off as though someone is really playing with that bear. Not too long after this they hear the sound of rocks being thrown. Is Lizzie trying to pelt them with stones?

Another usual spot in the house is right at the top of the stairs. As Zak reaches this spot his walkie talkie turns on and stays on. At the same time, there is a shadow figure in the room next to them. This is also the location where they capture a mist like image with the IR still camera. I have to say the mist is a hard one to define. I’ve done plenty of photography and tons of things can show up mist. Shooting photos at night can be tricky business and even the most mundane things can come across as supernatural or otherworldly. In conjunction with the mist they capture what Zak believes is the ball of energy associated with Lizzie. Again, the ball of energy or orb is tricky business. It’s really hard to confirm or debunk that one.

While this is an interesting house, I get the feeling it’s nothing more than an old house that’s rotting away. It’s obviously damaged as hell, so they footsteps are most likely animals or rotting wood. The scream was debunked as a car. The mysterious cold spot was water on the boards. We also have orbs and mists that you can take as you see fit.

From my viewpoint, the main evidence is the EVP work for Lizze and Emily and even that isn’t all that substantial. There is also the bear which is pretty cool. But when you take all this stuff together and remove the dubious evidence I really don’t think there is too much that makes this house haunted. It certainly has the right look and there are plenty of sounds out there, but even with it’s past I’m not sure it has the goods.

What do you think?

Thornhaven Manor

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Ghost Adventures – S08E09 – Mustang Ranch

image Right off the bat this comes across as a rather dubious investigation as the team heads out to the Mustang Ranch, just outside Reno, Nevada. And the overly dramatic and incredibly cheesy reenactments don’t do anything to deter that thought.

But the guys have been asked to check out the Ranch because of multiple claims by the working girls who have been grabbed, touched and held down by an unseen force. Even the Madam claims to have felt a hand reach in and squeeze her heart. Oddly, on the day the guys show up, one of the housekeepers quit her job not being able to take the spirits any more. A coworker confirms that she has seen spirits and then identifies the spirit as the boxer when shown a picture. Several of the girls have also said they’ve gotten bruises on their chest from something grabbing them

It shouldn’t come as any surprise that the Ranch has a sketchy past, the most notable being the affair between boxer Oscar Bonavena and the madam of the Ranch. Regrettably, the madam was married and the husbands body guards shot Oscar dead just outside the gates.

As the investigation begins the guys get plenty of EVP responses talking of a cleansing, burning, an affair and references to the gun shots. There are even responses that "Oscar" feels everyone is going to hurt him. Strange, since he’s a boxer.

There is also a comment made that "Paul" is the one touching the girls’ shirts and also claims there are 7 spirits at the Ranch.

The big EVP is the response to the question, "were you killed?" The answer is "demons … Go to sleep". It’s a very garbled answer and doesn’t really make sense. Zak is certainly looking for a demon explanation so perhaps this is his validation.

Besides the EVPs there are two physical pieces of evidence. One is a mist Zak believes he sees in the hall and the second is the fluttering Do Not Disturb sing that hangs on the door. This is the same room, same door, same sign that actually flew off the knob and then slid back under the door.

Some of this evidence is interesting, while most of it seems irrelevant. I will agree that most of the EVPs sound like intelligent answers to questions, which is actually quite interesting, but many of the "demonic" phrases are so garbled as to be questionable. I really don’t think there is some sort of demonic presence at the Ranch and all this talk of Oscar haunting the place is total speculation. They’re trying to make a story out of nothing. They do the same thing with the Ovilus. They capture some words and then try make it fit into a story that makes sense for the environment. They’re filling in huge gaps with ideas that are "plausible" but completely fabricated.

I don’t want to be rude, but considering the type of work these ladies do, bruises would be part of the job and the idea of being held down could easily be a night terror, sleep paralysis or just vivid recollection of something that happened earlier. There’s really nothing to suggest there a spirit wandering around trying to hurt these girls.

What about the housekeeper? Maybe she did see something. Maybe she couldn’t take the job. Perhaps the nature of the job got the better of her. Maybe it was a real person and unwanted attention that she needed to get away from.

There was some interesting evidence, but I don’t think we have demons running around that’s for sure.

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Ghost Adventures – Alcatraz – S08E08

In their latest outing, Zak, Nick and Aaron head out to the infamous and notorious Alcatraz island to investigate what many feel is a presence that stalks the grounds. It’s been reported that a pair of red eyes can be seen in multiple places and that there is a presence in some of the cells.

As they make their way around to different locations, they hone in on Cell 14 where they feel their equilibrium has been thrown off. They feel a presence and that something is odd. When they come back to this spot during the night, pretty much everyone on the team, including Billy and Jay see and feel something odd in there. Zak feels he sees two red eyes and later, Jay says the same thing.

They also use the Ovilus and get several different words such as Fire, Threshold, Doctor, Opening, Touch and Mist. Interestingly, when the words Touch and Mist come across, Aaron feels something touch him and they capture what they thing is a mist on camera.

While the EVPs are incredibly poor in quality, they feel they get, Come Back, Get Naked, He’s Here and Dear God. It’s really, really hard to agree with those. They are so garbled and so scratchy.

Since Zak felt so uneasy in Cell 14, he had Jay and Billy go check it out for themselves. While in there Billy becomes absolutely lethargic and can barely move. He claims to see something swirling in the corner of the cell. Jay takes dozens of pictures with a real 35mm film camera. When they’re developed there two pictures that show light streaks. Those pictures were taken in Cell 14. But the question is, why just Cell 14. It’s only inches away from Cell 13. It’s not like the spirit would be stuck in one location and couldn’t shift over just a touch. The fact it’s so localized leads me to believe it’s something else.

And why is Zak so focused on these orbs all of a sudden? Ok, maybe they are balls of energy, but they look more like random balls of dust or reflected light that are just swirling around a place like that. Saying it’s energy inhabiting their bodies seems a bit more of want than a reality. They’re so eager to make them spirits to enhance the haunted nature of the place. They just seem so fixated on them these days, I’ve just never given much credence to them.

So many people claim that Alcatraz is haunted. It’s true that several people have died there, both prisoners and guards. And not to mention that thousands of people have committed suicide from the Golden Gate Bridge which is right up from the prison. Violent members of society were housed there and I’m sure there was plenty of misery and suffering. But is it really haunted?

Are the red eyes simply a misinterpretation of the lights from the harbor? Is that vertigo feeling from the tightness and confined space of the cell? Is it simply off angle with an uneven floor or walls? Can we really trust what those EVPs are saying the quality is so awful?

It’s really hard to say that spirit energy still lingers in Alcatraz. Maybe, as Zak says, the water and the material of the prison act as a battery. But to be honest, the evidence they captured is quite mild. It’s not very abundant and most of it could be easily explained by earthly means. To me, Alcatraz is still an old, rickety prison with lots of man made ghosts based on legends and myths. It seems the creaking of building makes a lot of the noises they hear. The lights from the harbor may look quite unusual from those cells. The crash of the ocean can make for sound interesting sounds. Poor building construction can make people feel uneasy in an enclosed space.

So what do you think, is Alcatraz haunted?

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