Ghost Adventures – Samaritan Cult House – S14E03

image From his previous adventure at the Stone Lion Inn, in Guthrie, Oklahoma, Zak visits the Samaritan Cult House, a prison established in 1892, then used by Linda Greene and her cult following. There are claims of links between Linda and David Koresh as well as terrorist acts like the Oklahoma City bombing. There are even claims that Linda murdered her husband and mutilated his body.

Carol Hirzel is the current property manager, and while she doesn’t really visit it, she believes Linda was there around 1993 and used crystals to ward of negativity in people. As we hear more about Linda, it becomes pretty clear she was mentally unwell. She had a fear of barcodes (which will become important later) and felt you could push negativity on celebrities or soy milk, whichever was handy.

As they enter the building, it’s clear the place is a wreck. It has black mold, the ceiling is falling down, there is a massive hole in the floor and the structure is unsound. This is also something to keep in mind regarding the noises they keep hearing.

Right from the start, Zak believes the building is haunted by a demonic entity. He thinks he sees something demonic lurking under the hole in the floor and when he talks to Chris Biggs and hears about a little girl, it’s his belief that was a demonic entity pretending to be a child. So before he captures even one piece of evidence he’s convinced himself of the demonic and this is coming to him through his "third eye".

His theory of the demonic is proven further when investigator Chris pulls out two cards used by the cult. It has symbols they would use and are clearly ritualistic – according to Zak. It’s ironic these cards were so easy to find and just happened to be sitting there for this investigation.

Just as Zak gets ready to start the real investigation, he has another surprise for us, Darren Evans of ZoZo Demon House hokum fame. He’s back with another Ouija board and is ready to conjure a demonic spirit for Zak. And it should come as no surprise to anyone that using the cards they just happened to discover and placing them with the Ouija, that ZoZo should appear. All this amidst Zak and his twitching.

But there are more high jinks as ZoZo antagonizes Jay over a family secret that no one is supposed to know about. Just like in the movies, the board spells out "kill" and "get out" then goes on to spell "Jay" and part of "family" before writing the word "kidney". We’re then let in on the secret that a member of the family has kidney failure. There is also the remarkable coincidence that the symbols on the card are a J and a W and on the back is written "bladder" and "circulation". Even more astounding to believers will be the number "1119" which is written on his bar code tattoo, which is supposed to outrage Linda, and it’s his birthday. Clearly, each  of these is signs of the demonic! Or so thinks Zak.

Before we leave this formidable house of evil, a board in the massive pile of debris on the side of the room, falls down. Or in Zak’s mind, levitates and is thrown!

I think I’ll stick with the more earthly explanations.

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Ghost Adventures – Freak Show Murder House – S14E02

image Our next outing with Zak and crew takes us to the San Fernando Valley of California and a house decorated like a side show carnival. Unfortunately, the pink neon and unique statues mute that this was the scene of a home invasion that turned double homicide in 1996.

Scott Thompson and his wife Becky have lived in the house for 6 years and have a trove of morbid antiquities, similar to Zak and his museum in Las Vegas. There is even one called Agatha which Scott says is active, but he keeps it under glass.

As Zak goes to the scene of the murder, he says there is a heavy feeling of sadness and is hit with a blast of cold air. Going with the same idea from the previous episode with Elmer, Zak doesn’t believe the couple have accepted their death because it happened too quickly.

Zak talks with two of the kids who live in the house and both describe nightmares that involve acts similar to the real events. Gracie has dreams of demonic voices calling to her from the kitchen, while Griffen has seen both his parents murdered. Considering the events and the curios of the house, it’s not surprising.

Unfortunately Zak brings in Patty Negri, the Psychic Medium we have seen before. She is quick to grab at her throat, toss herself to the floor and fidget wildly. And with her at the helm, it’s time to do a seance.

While she rambles and claims a flickering candle is evidence of spirits, we find out that Scott is wearing a military dog tag style necklace with 666 on it. Zak uses this as pathway to further his idea of demonic energy. Zak gains the support he needs when they ask, "what is the dark energy here" and get the word "killed".

With the seance over, they begin to investigate the house. In the kitchen they get a stick figure on the SLS camera. The word. "Help", comes through the spirit box and they make the connection these are the voices Gracie heard.

Things take an odd turn as the car alarm of their rented truck goes off and they rush outside. This leaves Jay alone in the attic and they conclude this is the work of the entity trying to separate them, although no harm is done to anyone.

As a final act, Zak takes the doll Agatha out of the case and asks questions. The doll doesn’t feel like answering questions, but when they ask for a name, they get "I killed". We are now moving toward the doll being the instigator of evil within the house and Zak feels the house needs a cleansing in order to protect the family.

There was certainly a tragic event here, but in reality, there is nothing out of the ordinary other than the odd decor. The dreams are caused by the real events that happened and are  brought to the fore by the abundance of creepy fixtures. It’s no different than dreams after watching a scary or intense movie. Scott’s necklace with 666 on it is no more sinister than the temperature reaching, 66.6 degrees. It’s simply a number, and depending on how you want to take it has nothing to do with the demonic and isn’t even the number suggested.

When it comes down to it, what Scott has created is no different than the museum Zak has put together. They’re both interesting, but hardly haunted. Personally, I think Scott’s house is pretty cool. I think I need a Palm Reader sign in my window.

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Ghost Adventures – Stone Lion Inn – S14E01

image To start off the new season, Zak and team head to Guthrie, Oklahoma to investigate the Stone Lion Inn. It was built in 1907 by F.E. Houghton, a prominent businessman of the time. However, he hit on hard times and had to vacate the house. It became a funeral parlor and Becky Luker, the current owner, displays one of the old embalming tables in the hallway.

Becky now leads Murder Mystery tours and uses the story of Elmer McCurdy as her main character. According to the newspapers, "She has been accused of practicing witchcraft, satanism, devil worship, being disrespectful and promoting a site that is not historic." This makes Zak both nervous around her and suspicious of her.

Elmer’s story is pretty unusual. He was a bungling outlaw, shot during a heist. Since no one came to claim the body, the coroner turned his body in a mummy and charged 5 cents to see it. Eventually, the body was sold to a sideshow and then a carnival. In 1976 while in the Laff in the Dark fun house, the arm was ripped off and was discovered to be human. After identifying the remains, Elmer was brought back to Guthrie and buried. Since Becky has used him as a focal point of her tours, she plans to be buried in a plot adjacent to him.

Michelle Smith, housekeeper at the Inn since 1986, claims an entity crept into bed with her one night and gave her a vision of an overflowing bucket in the basement. Zak associates this with scrying and a message from Elmer.

They ask Michelle to do an EVP session where they discover outbursts of "F-him" and "F-her" which Michelle had no knowledge of hearing or saying. Zak believes this to be the spirit voice coming through.

All of this is the precursor to the investigation which starts at Elmer’s gravesite. It’s Zak’s goal to make a portal where Elmer can travel to the house using infrasound. They get a man’s voice and several uses of the word, "hang", which is a contradiction since Elmer was shot. Aaron and Zak weave a story that Elmer is referring to how he was found. Since his death was so quick and violent he didn’t know he died.

Back at nerve center a camera captures a door opening. They didn’t see this first hand and continue on to the main bedroom, where they hear noises behind the bed. As Zak lays down, the camera in the hallway falls over after he hears footsteps. This coincides with a light anomaly.

In the attic where Michelle had her vision, Aaron feels someone touch him and a child’s voice saying, "ghost hunting." He also feels something is thrown.

Back in nerve center as they get ready to the EVP work that Aaron just caught, the door in the hallway opens. It’s then slammed shut.

There are some interesting points to this investigation, but Zak is making way too much of the Murder Mystery tours. That newspaper clipping was most likely from the late 80s when the media saw devil worship in every activity imaginable. Further, Murder Mystery tours are all over, as in Savannah. Also, his fear and apprehension of Becky is juvenile. Like a slew of others, (and Zak himself) Becky is just making money off the paranormal.

The scrying angle is quite a leap. He takes a dream about a bucket and turns it into communication from Elmer?

The doors opening. But, the first one could have simply been a draft. It is a big house and would have been designed for air flow. Open one door and it causes a shift in another.

The slamming door is pretty interesting. However, since this is part of the mystery story, are we sure that isn’t a spring loaded prop? Yes, that is a dash far fetched, but you never know. You have to think though, if the entity had that much energy, why not follow up with something more dramatic? And let’s also keep in mind that Elmer’s connection to the house is pretty slight. If anything, without Becky making him the focal point of her mystery, his story would most likely be forgotten.

Besides the door, there is very little to support that the Stone Lion Inn is teaming with entities as Zak suggests.

* If I’m not mistaken, the events surrounding Elmer where used in a Miss Fisher mystery. I believe a body is discovered in the same manner, a mummy at an amusement park ride

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Paranormal Lockdown – Old Chatham County Jail – S02E12

image Nick and Katrina are in Savannah to visit the Old Chatham County Jail, built in 1972, and it’s claims of the paranormal. Visitors say they hear footsteps and disembodied voices. Others claim to see an apparition on the 3rd floor. While not a paranormal event, Carl Isaacs Jr was held at the jail for the murder of 6 people. Some believe it could be his evil energy lurking in the halls. And this story adds to the sinister mystique to help sell the lore.

They meet with Rusty Smith, a corrections officer at the jail for two years. He’s heard footsteps and felt like someone was watching him. Those are hardly claims of the paranormal, but rather your imagination running away with you. Almost to prove this, Katrina completely misses the mark when she says she feels sick in the small cell. When asked if anyone else has that experience, it’s a flat no. Katrina floats the idea again with investigator Ryan Dunn and shot down again.

In essence we have people hearing footsteps in an old, echoing building in a busy section of the city.

For Day 1 they head to the 4th floor and hear what they think are footsteps. This is followed by a couple of taps. But instead of looking for the source on the 4th floor, they go several hundred feet away and end up on the 3rd floor. This proves sounds are echoing and can come from anywhere, including outside.

Next, they get a voice saying, "You wanna go that way" and then "fifteen." This means to go down the hall to cell. However, they’re sitting in cell 6, not 15, so what’s the story there?

To end the day, Nick will sleep in the hallway on the third floor and Katrina on the first floor. Nick hears several bangs before going to sleep and a bump in the middle of the night. It’s hard to imagine this is something other than the building settling during the cooler temps of the night.

On Day 2, nothing actually happens. They are ready with all sorts of equipment, but all they gather are the thuds of an old building.

For the final day, they head upstairs again and stumble on the records room. Katrina is excited to get some background so she can make the evidence point to a particular person. They want the noises to be paranormal, so they look for someone who died and go with a suicide.

On the 3rd floor, the Geobox comes out with. "Get me out of this. I don’t want to stay here." Rob then hears a whisper and when he looks back over the footage, they make the wild claim a figure is peeking out of the doorway. How they see a figure is anyone’s guess. A clear case of seeing what you want to see.

When all is said and done, this investigation is trying to make something out of nothing. Prisons make a great paranormal trap because of the creepy vibe and sinister occupants. But, the claims are of perfectly normal behavior. Groans, creaks and thuds are not examples of paranormal activity.

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