Ghost Adventures – Winchester Mystery House – S12E11

imageFor 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.

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Ghost Adventures – Nevada State Prison – S12E10

imageWith 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.

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Ghost Asylum – Old Crow Distillery

imageIn sticking close to home, the Ghost Asylum team heads to Kentucky to investigate the remnants of the Old Crow Distillery, that dates back to the 1830s. Dr. Crow put together a special mash, but as of late, his recipe has been changed and the old doctor might not be too thrilled about it. However, it might not be the doctor lurking in the shadows as there are tales of multiple accidents from the distillery days. They know of at least one where a man was injured in the freight elevator. While they keep referencing that he was crushed, it doesn’t sound like that’s the case. His foot may have been crushed, but he actually died a couple of days later in the hospital from his injuries. The end result is the same, but the circumstances are entirely different.

But to be sure, working in a giant still back in those was dangerous business indeed. The working conditions were pretty poor, safety certainly wasn’t a concern and just about everything in the entire complex was flammable and a ticking timebomb of disaster should something ignite.

It’s said the doctor is still wandering around, even though the place has been abandoned for years. However, construction has begun to renovate and bring the still back to working order, and this may be stirring up the spirits.

Chris meets with the new owner and he’s quick to point out he thinks there might be some other worldly things going on. The details include the sound of someone coming up the steps and the lights flashing on some sort of meter. Not exactly precise evidence of the paranormal.

For the first day of the investigation they hear noises as though someone is moving around. That’s not too surprising since they’re in the woods and the place is overgrown with trees. Brannon immediately jumps to the demonic as the word "Satan" pops up on their phonetic generator. Sure, it can be a scary word, but what about this place makes you think of the demonic or demonic forces? Other words that pop up are, "heavy", "preacher" and "pawn". As they walk around, Doogie keeps feeling something is touching him and walking up right next to him. We also have a couple of renegade orbs and again a feeling from Doogie that he describes as vertigo while in the granary.

For Day 2, they construct the Wraith Casket trap, which is supposed to heighten the senses of fear and anger so as to fuel the spirits. With that in mind, the goal is to put Porter in the box and have his fear of being buried alive fuel the spirits.

As they sweep through the buildings, the lights and meters surrounding the coffin begin to go off. Porter himself says that he feels cold air blowing over him even though a breeze wouldn’t be able to reach him. He keeps feeling chills and hearing noises. But the cold breeze changes to hot and Porter feels something around his feet. As the K2 meter blips rapidly, they pull him out and contain whatever was with him inside the coffin.

I feel there are several misleading pieces about this place. I am sure there were deaths at the distillery, but the one they’re focusing on doesn’t really fit. He was injured and he died, he didn’t suffer some heinous death on the property like they keep saying. Dr. Crow died on the property, but again, he lived there. Dying at home was common during that time. It’s not like he suffered some terrible accident or was murdered or some other violent incident. They are over-hyping these stories to ridiculous proportions.

The noises they hear are just as likely from the animals roaming about in the woods. And as far as Porter goes, he says his fear is buried alive, and so we should expect him to have anxiety and all sorts of experiences when locked in a box. I’m sure we’d all feel something similar.

Now, there were lots of flashing lights and plenty of excitement, but it’s hard say that is evidence of the paranormal. Who’s to say those aren’t reacting to the energy of the room  such as that coming from the guys themselves?

It’s an interesting story and an interesting place, but it’s a bit of stretch to say it’s haunted with all sorts of paranormal events. And that trap of theirs was just silly. On the one hand, who doesn’t want a coffin like that, it’s pretty snazzy and would make a great prop for all sorts of things, but let’s be serious, that is in no way a scientific device. It really is just a prop. Kind of a high tech one, but still a prop.

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Ghost Asylum – Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary

imageThe team stays close to home to investigate this notorious prison that only recently closed its doors. Like so many other penitentiaries, this location was the scene of plenty of violence with almost all of it inflicted by inmates onto other inmates.

We get stories of prisoners stabbing each other, committing suicide and by the sound of it, picking fights just to prove who was top dog. Before the fencing was installed, prisoners would be thrown over the railing from the third floor to their death. Some of the paranormal incidents include voices, the sounds of doors opening and closing and the feeling of being touched.

They talk with a former inmate of the prison and a former guard. The former inmate describes some of the violence and it was nearly a daily event for someone to get beat up or taken out. The former guard pretty much confirms the same with a story about an inmate who was butchered in the cafeteria.

It’s a massive complex including the main facilities, chapel and multiple cell blocks. As they start the baseline sweep of the chapel, some negative words like "wrong" and "beast" come through on the generator. The word
"wrong" is in reference to the chapel being a sanctuary.

As the check out the cell blocks, Doogie gets a mysterious burn hole in his shirt. This is attributed to Jack who was a small guy with a big mouth who smoked cigars. He met with an extremely violent end of being stabbed in the throat and then stabbed another 19 times for good measure.

To start off the night, they get together around a table for a game of dominoes. Oddly, they get a lot of activity on their monitors and hear the sound of a door closing. When they move on to another location, Porter gets wild readings on a temperature probe. The readings start at 100 degrees, then drop down below -2 degrees. Meanwhile, down in the isolation ward, Doogie feels like something is touching him on the ear.

During the course of the night, they get a lot of K2 hits and plenty of blips on their meters. There is even a growl that comes through.

For Day 2, they put together the Wraith Fog Trap which is a wall of fog from a fog machine charged with electricity from a Jacob’s Ladder. This is supposed to give the entities energy and a place to show themselves. If they capture energy, it will be contained in rechargeable batteries.

Things start of normally, but then something appears to attach itself to Doogie. He feels something is tugging at him, then grabbing him, then wrapping itself around him. By happenstance, there is a large thunderstorm that night and this only serves to feed energy into the air. As things reach their pitch, Doogie is beside himself with feeling nauseous and feels something is crawling all over him. The team feels something is forming in the center of the fog and believe they may have captured some energy in the batteries.

However, when they get back to home base, none of the batteries seem to be holding a charge. They may not have caught anything or perhaps the energy dissipated before they could detect it.

Overall, this was a pretty interesting investigation, as most prisons are. They get a lot of activity and they don’t resort to the tiresome "turn on the flashlight" trick. I don’t really think their experiment or trap really did anything, but it’s always fun to see a Jacob’s Ladder in action. I don’t really put any stock in the use of those phonetic generators regardless of how neat it is for one to say "beast" as you approach a chapel. And by the sound of it, no one within the prison regarded it as a chapel either.

While some stories usually feel exaggerated or more violent than what they possibly were, it’s really hard to dispute the events going on inside this prison. Although you have to wonder why it remained open for so long while all of this violence going on. And the inmate they interviewed seemed like a perfectly normal guy, so what the devil did he do to end up in such a place? As stated in the beginning, this was for the worst of the worst.

I’m sure a lot of their experiences are simply because of the mood associated with the place, but if they get enough activity, something credible might come out of it.

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