Ghost Asylum – Peoria State Hospital – S03E03

image For their next investigation, the Ghost Asylum team is in Illinois to investigate the Peoria State Hospital. It opened it’s doors in 1902, and as it was the business of the time, took in far more patients than it could handle and those with nowhere else to go. It took in alcoholics, the mentally ill, the homeless, epileptics and even orphaned children. As you might expect, the treatment was poor, including the normal practice of lobotomy and electroshock therapy. The death toll is estimated at over 10,000, a vast majority were most likely affected by tuberculosis. It seems every hospital lost thousand of patients to that disease. But this will be the last investigation, as the hospital is being torn down.

Some of the claims from locals include voices, shadows, footsteps and doors closing. And as they start to investigate, Chris and his team get hits on their K2 meters as well as their "periscopes", plus the usual bangs and scraping sounds. They also get the word, "blind" which they believe could be Rhoda, a patient who was treated in a shocking manner.

It seems Rhoda was locked in a cage for almost her entire life. Her limbs were gnarled and destroyed. Her mind even more shattered than when she went in. Her madness, if there was any to begin with, increased to the point where she gouged out her own eyes and smashed out her own teeth. Any treatment she may have received certainly didn’t help.

On their first night, they play an old film which was taken at the hospital during a Halloween party in 1944. A Halloween party at an asylum seems like such a strange thing to do. But while it plays, they feel they get the words "mama", and "one place". The team attributes this to someone seeing their "mama" in the film and this is the "one place" they have lived all their lives. There is also a reference to "60" and "ghosts" as though there are 60 spirits still roaming the halls of the hospital.

For the second night, it’s time to build their ghost capturing apparatus which they call, The Phantom Cage, which will hold a music box, crystals and a meter to indicate if they capture anything. Basically it’s the same cage that Rhoda was kept in, which makes it seem like something they would be angered over not enticed by.

But as they continue for day 2, they bring in Emily and Gina to help comfort the child patients. The goal of the night is to try and lead the spirits that want to leave down to their cage. As they move their lasers around, the K2 meters goes off and they feel tugging at their legs. They also feel they get the words, "It’ll be okay". On their thermal imager, there is an outline of a head with eyes.

At the end of the night, they feel they’ve done all they can, but there is nothing to confirm they’ve captured anything or helped any of the spirits leave the building.

This is one of the rare times, if not the only time, I’ve heard of one of these hospitals being torn down. That just doesn’t seem to happen for whatever reason. Most of the time someone is trying to restore it and turn it into apartments or a motel. Nothing is mentioned about what they plan to do with the cemetery that’s out back.

But when it comes to evidence, what do we have? It should come as no surprise that an old building from 1902 is loaded with creaks, bangs and knocking sounds. It closed in the 70s, which gives animals plenty of time to take up residence and plenty of time for the elements to chip away at the foundation. Does that discount every sound and bump? Not specifically, but it means a vast majority of those sounds can be explained and should be expected.

As to the voices, well, that is for each person to decide. I don’t put much stock in those as there are too many ways to replicate and interfere with such things.

The Peoria State Hospital is a textbook example of good intentions, but another monument to the failed treatment of mental illness. Is it a haunted location? Are the spirits of Casey and Rhoda still wandering the halls? Who knows, but let’s hope not. What a terrible place to end up in both life and death.

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Deadly Possessions – Bela Lugosi’s Mirror and Charles Manson’s Television – S01E03

image The next items in Zak’s collection of Deadly Possessions, is a mirror reportedly owned by Bela Lugosi and a television supposedly owned by Charles Manson.

Cindy Lee brings in the mirror and tells a tragic tale of how her uncle was brutally murdered. The significance of that story is that he was in one of Lugosi’s homes when it occurred and that the mirror was close at hand and would have witnessed the crime. Cindy believes that a close friend killed her uncle since there was no sign of forced entry and the motive doesn’t seem to be robbery.

Zak them makes a comment that Lugosi was "into the occult" and would have used this mirror within his rituals. Within seconds, Zak is making the leap that the mirror witnesses the murder and quite possibly captured the energy or even the soul of the murderer. Zak then discusses the practice of "Scrying" where you look into a mirror and use it as a portal to see the other side.

Cindy says she feels the mirror has something bad attached to it because her daughter’s experiences. Said daughter is unwilling to discuss the events, but her sister, Irene, relays what she has been told. When looking into the mirror, the sister felt she saw a hand reaching out to get her. She felt teeth marks against her neck as a shadowy figure appeared in the mirror.

Irene explains that when she slept in the same room as the mirror, she had a nightmare and woke with scratches on her body.

Cindy doesn’t want the mirror and claims she can’t sell it or even give it away, which I find shockingly hard to believe. Nobody wants a mirror owned by the famed Bela Lugosi?

Zak puts the mirror in his famed isolation chamber and has three volunteers ponder their images in it and report if they see anything. Aaron and Ashley claim they feel and see something. They both report there is a light in the corner. Aaron even goes so far as to say he sees himself as an extremely old man.

And then in what Zak believes is no coincidence, the basement of his museum is flooded. When he goes down there to record the damage, he captures all sorts of noises such as banging and rattling. That banging clearly can be the broken pipes that caused the damage in the first place.

The next item is a television reportedly owned by Charles Manson with a strange little tale associated with it. Nick Kloster, used to buy and sell cars. One vehicle he bought ended up having a television and a slew of prison letters from Charles Manson. That is certainly a creepy set of mementos to keep around. But things take a dark turn when Jason brings the television into his bedroom many years later. Shortly thereafter, his mother passes away, he loses his job and there is an accident where a motorcyclist is killed in his driveway.

Zak then talks with Jason Freeman, the grandson of Charles Manson. He doesn’t seem to have any ill will towards his grandfather and has been in contact with him by phone and through letters for the past couple of years. Jason confirms the handwriting on the TV manual is his grandfathers, which apparently authenticates ownership.

Jason has had some troubles in his life and wants to shake off the curse of his family name, which I’m sure most people didn’t know about until he told them on national television. But in order to make a new start, he wants to be baptized which Zak arranges. Dunk your head in a pond and all your troubles go away.

As we get back to the television, Zak believes that Manson was able to imprint his mental powers onto objects like someone out of the X-Men. Zak believes Manson cursed the television and was somehow able to arrange for these diabolical items to end up in the hands of unsuspecting victims.

Interestingly, Jason packed up the television and sent it to a friend. Ashley was in possession of it, read over the letters and did some research on her own. She makes states the man who sold the car and by extension the TV, is now in prison because of trying to hire people to kill his family, in a similar manner as Manson did. That sends Zak into a tizzy.

Putting the grim nature of the crimes aside, these are pretty unique items. However, the "curses" or dark energy surrounding them seems a little outrageous. I don’t believe Charles Manson has power over people, at least not over someone that isn’t mentally sick or feeble. And while there is a superstition that has people covering mirrors in their home when someone dies, it seems very hard to believe that a mirror has somehow captured the energy of a killer because it was in the room at the time.

Additionally, I’m not sure where Zak is getting his information about Lugosi practicing the occult. Lugosi didn’t have any qualms about playing dark or sinister styled characters, but I haven’t heard of nor can I find anything that indicates he practiced the occult. And if Zak is referring to staring into a mirror, I hardly say that counts as occult behavior. And if he means the use of a Ouija during the hype of Spiritualism, I don’t really think that counts either.

While tragic, it is hard to connect these accidents to Manson. If he were that capable, which he isn’t, I’m pretty sure his vengeance would be directed at those around him in prison not complete strangers.

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Ghost Asylum – Old South Pittsburg Hospital – S03E02

image Our next outing for Ghost Asylum takes us to the Old South Pittsburg Hospital with it’s odd tales, scary doctors and perhaps, even scarier residents. The hospital was opened in 1959 with claims of doctors performing questionable experiments on patients, cruel treatment, large shadow figures and perhaps the spirit of the drug addict that took up residence and died in the hospital itself.

As they talk to local residents, they all believe the location is haunted and some think it should just be torn down. One even has a story about an investigator who had internal bleeding after investigating the hospital. I wonder if the she looked at Peggy the Doll before setting out on the investigation?

With the investigation underway, there is a long drawn out "scared" on the recorder, but oddly, it doesn’t seem to line up with the conversation. The team then turns to the flashlight trick again and get blips on the K2 meter.

For the hospital nursery, they bring in "Boo Bear" which is a toy that talks and records environmental readings. Although the nursery doesn’t appear to be a hotbed of activity.

Like their previous episode, they decide to a little reenactment. Brannon feigns a drug overdose and asks for the doctor’s help in saving him. They run around in the dark, yelling and carrying on as though this is supposed to stir up activity. It makes them look pretty damn silly if you ask me. However, they feel they capture a shadow figure and get someone saying, "Quiet" to all their noise.

On night 2, they bring out the Shadow Seeker, a metal tube filled with holes hooked to a propane tank. This is supposed to be some dazzling light and pyrotechnics display to bring out John, the addict from the first floor. How it works the mojo is unclear, but its fire in an enclosed space, so let’s run with it.

They hear lots of banging and feel there is a large shadow lurking around the corners. They hear growls and try to track them down to maintenance closets. On the recorders they feel, "You found me" is captured as they open the door. "I don’t listen to these songs" is also captured while playing the music.

For the most part, what they capture is a lot of bangs and knocks. All right, fair enough, creepy business. But let’s have a quick look around the place. That, "residence," is loaded with junk that vermin would just love and they make the horrible mistake of opening the refrigerator. Although it’s rancid, it proves things were left behind and these would be an enticement to all sorts of animals. Knocks, bangs and scratches would easily be attributed to them. And no, you wouldn’t see them in a maintenance closet or in the dark.

So, are we completely sure there are no animals living in there? Are we just as sure that someone hasn’t taken up to living in the hospital again? It’s easy to say no one would live there, but if it’s the choice between the cold streets and a roof over the head, I’m pretty sure even a creepy place with plenty of places to remain unseen is better than the gutter.

I don’t know if the Shadow Seeker did anything except look neat at the end of the hall. They did capture some voices and there is the pulling on the Chris’ necklace. Hard to say what we have there. Clearly the necklace could be tugging on something else, and the audio has to be enhanced quite a bit. Are those really other worldly voices or voices from another source such as someone talking outside, their own voices being misunderstood, other people messing around in the hospital at the same time, radio station residue, picking up a walkie talkie, etc. The locals visit the place, there is nothing to say they weren’t close enough to be heard, especially when they know an investigation is going on.

As a side note, if you look up the hospital, many people make a Native American connection and make comment about the water source that runs under the property. Like so many other stories, the Native Americans had trouble after being generous with their land and the running water is supposed to increase the energy.

Both are interesting ideas, and we’ve certainly heard them before, but nothing experienced or captured over these two nights was definitive.

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Ghost Asylum – USS Edson – S03E01

image Imagine my surprise to find out there was a new episode of Ghost Asylum, let alone an entire season had gone by and I missed it. We’ll have circle back around and check those out, but let’s press on with the season opener.

When we last saw the Ghost Asylum gang, they were hard at work building devices to contain spirit energy so it could be measured and studied. They still continue that quest and this time we’re on the USS Edson, a battleship deployed on 6 missions during the Vietnam war.

Some of the activity includes shadows, disembodied voices, tools moving and plenty of knocking sounds. Besides the usual casualties and chaos that would be associated with a real battleship during a time of war, there are two strange deaths. Paul, a caretaker for the ship, died of a heart attack while a sailor locked himself in a hold and suffocated to death.

As the team does a baseline sweep, they note high EMF reading from all the electricity still pumping through the ship. That alone would explain plenty of feelings people have about this place. Instead of acknowledging it as a primary cause, they simply ignore it and say they need to rely on their other senses. It’s always best to toss out a logical explanation or at least one that is tangible and stick with the paranormal angle.

Things start off in the infirmary where it’s claimed the surgical tools move. In the war room, they feel something walk between them. There are lots of knocks and tapping sounds as well as the spider web feeling across the face.

Another location Chris checks out, is the hold where the man committed suicide. While he says there is a presence, there is no evidence of any activity. That is, until the last second where he asks if the entity wants him to leave and the proximity meter goes off.

In the mess hall, we see the old flashlight trick. As they ask if the sailors don’t want to interact with regular civilians, the light mysteriously flickers. But in order to get in their good graces, they stage a fire drill. This leads to knocks and taps which they take as positive responses. They also believe they capture the answer, "not that long", when asked how long it took to die in the hold and there is a shadow figure in the video.

For Day 2, they bring out of the Cryogenic Cloak, which is a sweet name for mixing dry ice and water on a rack to produce fog. It’s their goal to use this fog, along with both digital and analog photography and recordings to capture a spirit.

They work with more trigger objects including firing the ships gun. From there, its time drive the entities down to the ice machine. What they feel they capture is a picture of Paul. The other evidence includes a voice captured on the analog tape.

Putting the high EMF readings aside, we have bangs and pops from a gigantic metal ship sitting in the water at night. That really doesn’t sound like paranormal activity. The flashlight gag just need to be discounted immediately. And capturing images in swirling fog seems a little ridiculous as well.

The USS Edson has seen plenty of action, that’s for sure, and perhaps there is more to the story, but pops and clanks from a giant metal container and odd feelings are not evidence of the paranormal.

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