Josh Gates offers up a couple of interesting points about Burn Brae Mansion

 A Letter From Josh Gates

If you recall from this episode, Shannon has a few bad moments and becomes increasingly distressed and frightened as the investigation progresses. We find her in tears more than once and she soon gets to the point where she can’t continue.

Josh put out a letter explaining his views about the episode and in essence says we shouldn’t just someone in that situation since we are sitting comfortably at home and don’t have the benefit of using all our senses, we can’t feel what it’s like to be there and we don’t have the investigative equipment.

That is a fair assessment and a good point. We don’t know what it’s like to be in that situation at that time and to experience what they feel.


My frustration over Shannon and people like her is their reaction to something they asked for. They auditioned to be on a show about investigating the paranormal. They knew they would be isolated in a location for several days. They claim they want to experience the paranormal and to find something. Yet, when they get what they ask for they fall to pieces. If you go looking for the paranormal and find it you should be excited. Sure, you may be scared, but screaming that you want to leave just doesn’t fit. These aren’t seasoned investigators, but they know what they’re getting into. If you’re going to run screaming from the paranormal why are you out there looking for it?

The frustration comes from being handed such a wonderful opportunity and it’s treated so poorly.

As the saying goes, be careful what you ask for, you just might get it.

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Haunted Collector – Island of Fear and Tropical Terror – S01E04

Casa Blanca Museum

For this episode John heads out to Puerto Rico to investigate the home of fame explorer and conqueror, Ponce de Leon. They arrive at the Casa Blanca Museum where there are reports of doors closing on their own, figures roaming the grounds outside and a spinning wheel that moves on it’s own.

Right off the bat they debunk the spinning wheel, which is good to see. It’s actually not as hard to move as people believe and while walking around the room and stomping they get it to rotate.

They also discover what appears to be some sort of underground cellar. It could be for wine or personal items or as John points out, it could have been some sort of dungeon used by Ponce de Leon. Chris and Jason go to investigate perhaps with a little more haste than Chris would like since he actually falls off the ladder and crashes to the floor. He a little shaken, but otherwise unharmed. It looks like things are off to a bad start, but they don’t actually find anything of interest in this little cellar.

Things are a bit more exciting for Jess and Brian as they investigate the upstairs of the house. They’re caught off guard with the sound of multiple loud bangs that sound like the doors are shutting them in. It’s not one or two either, but a series that keeps them spinning trying to find out where then noise is coming from. As Brian says, they’re on a peninsula with island breezes, so is there merely the wind causing the doors to close?

John, Aimee and Chris investigate the grounds where the guards keep seeing shadow figures. What they discover is a large rock with carvings on it. Interesting they got an EVP of the word, “La Piedra” or “the stone” earlier. They come to find out this stone is from the native people of Puerto Rico and would have been created during a ritual where the native people would drink a special concoction to communicate with their ancestors and then carve what they see. Problem is, these are the same Puerto Rico natives that Ponce de Leon II was trying to remove from the area. He and his son set out to conquer the Carib people. It didn’t go as planned, Ponce de Leon’s son was captured, killed and quite possibly eaten in a ritual sacrifice. So now we have a native stone from the very people Ponce de Leon tried to eradicate sitting right next to his house. This does not bode well.

John obviously can’t remove the stone he decides to make an offering of fruit, tobacco and liquor to try and appease the spirits of both sides. It might have worked since the activity in the house has stopped, but the guards still claim to see shadow figures.

Mendez Residence

For the second investigation John investigate the Mendez home where there are reports of shadow figures, the apparition of a little boy, voices and scratching at the window.

This investigation takes on a bit of a darker tone as Grissell reveals that her grandmother was part of the Santeria faith and didn’t believe Grissell was her father’s daughter so she had no qualms in putting a hex on her and Grissell’s mother. The hex involved putting dead chickens around the house as well as seashells. Both of these are associated with the darker side of Santeria. Santeria is akin to Voodoo, or at least the perception of Voodoo.

As they investigate the house they get an EVP of the name “Miguel” which is Grissell’s father. He passed away three years ago. They also gets spikes on the meter when they get near the seashells Chayenne has in her bedroom, the same shells Grissell associates with Santeria.

They also learn about the coconuts on the property. Coconuts are used in Santeria to represent the human skull. Mark, Grissell’s husband has had dreams of the coconuts where a figure tells him to remove them. As they investigate the property they discover a small cave with coconuts, seashells and what appear to be teeth. Is this the site of Santeria rituals? It’s certainly a common practice in the area, both for good and bad.

John brings in a Santero who breaks open one of the coconuts to find hair and a chicken tongue. It’s his believe Santeria is being used here for evil purposes. He collects the coconuts and removes them. He also deals with the cave by removing those objects and cleansing it.

So what’s going on here? Are these people caught in the middle of some ancient feud where Santeria was used against families? Was this done by Grissell’s grandmother because she believed Grissell’s mother sinned against her son? It certainly seems like someone used, or is trying to use Santeria against this family.

While I don’t know either of these cases truly have a paranormal element to them they were interesting. Ponce de Leon is an iconic figure in history and maybe there is some bad blood between him and the people he tried to oppress. But is it really manifesting itself? As Brian said, a lot of this could simply be the wind. For the Mendez family it seems they’re caught in the crossfire of Santeria. Perhaps it’s directed at them, perhaps not. We don’t hear anymore about the voices or the apparition of the little boy. John didn’t really seem to capture any evidence of the supernatural so is this guilty feelings over the loss of the grandfather and the unusual behavior of the grandmother?

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Stranded – 3 Valley Lake Chateau – S01E05

image First of all, this episode was awesome! It was the most exciting and nerve racking one so far. There were plenty of chills, scares and tense moments the entire way through. The trio was great to see in action and they immersed themselves in the experience! Let’s not dismiss the awesome driver who shows up in what looks like a dumptruck or work truck, whisks them through the night to the hotel, drops them off, then turns and leaves. Could this look any more like the start of the Shining? And right as they walk in the door, the resident cat scares the crap out of them!

For this episode, Princess (the skeptic), Yarc and Steven (the believers) head to British Columbia to investigate the 3 Valley Lake Chateau, a beautiful hotel nestled up against the mountains and fronted by a beautiful lake. It started as a small 20 acre hotel, but has grown to sprawling, albeit confusing hotel with well over 200 rooms. The picturesque scenery is deceiving because this is supposed to be a hotbed of paranormal activity. There are claims of footsteps, conversations, doors open, dark figures roam the hall and in Room 328 there is a dark haired woman appears at the foot of the bed and screams at visitors. The reasoning behind this activity is a little unclear, but as we soon find out, there are indeed things that go bump in the night.

Quite literally on their first night there is a loud bang that startles them all out of bed. Unfortunately they are too tired to investigate. But it looks like they are in for an eventful stay.

And indeed it is. On the second day, Princess asks for a sign in a rather taunting tone. Next thing she knows the battery in her camera is dead and Steven says he hears footsteps above them. They go upstairs and find all the chairs turned over and the room is a complete mess. Was it left this way or did something just happen? This is Room 328 where the "shrieking woman" makes her appearance. As Steven lays in the bed and asks for a sign, Princess jumps off the small desk after hearing something. This is followed by even more footsteps and the sound of something else being knocked over. The team is overwhelmed and takes off for safer ground.

The next night the head to the Bellevue Wing where a guest reportedly hung himself. While there they cat makes another appearance which paralyzes them with fear! That cat is evil! Now, they begin to hear footsteps, but is that just more of the cat walking around?

For the next part the head to the pool area which has been made up to look like the deck of the Titanic. An ill fated choice to be sure. There are reports that a figure can be seen at the bottom of the pool and it actually grabs people. The trio decides to get into the pool to see what happens. Steven and Princess go first, but they didn’t last long as Steven bails out within seconds saying he felt something. Yarc and Steven head back in, but they cut and scrape themselves to pieces as they rush out of the pool after hearing some growling or grinding noise. After they gain their composure and bearings it turns out the noise is coming from a fan. A fan that goes off twice just to mock them. Is that fan having a short or did some unseen force turn it on? There could be a perfectly normal explanation for that one, but it clearly scares the shit out of them. Steven is bleeding because of his hasty retreat.

For the final night they go to the theater where there are reports of music and phantom performance that still goes on. As Princess asks for a sign and Steven goes on the stage, the lights come on right in front of him. In a mad dash he is out of there! We come to find out when they stomp and tap the lights go off. This might be part of the show, or it might be a short, but not paranormal.

As they do a final check of the pictures they took, Princess notices a shadow on the wall. There is a clear figure of something, but is this a shadow from one of them or is it the shadow of the "shrieking woman?" Either way they head back up there and demand to have a sign or they aren’t leaving. The room is very cold and then suddenly the elevator decides to show up. Why did it go back down when they are the only ones there? Either way, that is enough for Steven to feel something is telling them to go, only the elevator loses power and they get stuck inside. The elevator simply loses power or refuses to move for about 10 minutes, but then without anyone doing anything it powers back up and then go back downstairs.

Their driver, George said some places had power while others didn’t. Was this simply an inconvenient power glitch or was there something else at work? Either way, being stuck in the elevator in the dark with all that going on would be nerve racking to say the least! That alone could bring someone to their knees!

Just about everything they experienced in the hotel turned out to be a perfectly natural occurrence from the lights on the stage, to the fans going off, to the cat jumping out at them. But the elevator getting stuck was a little unusual, if not extremely coincidental. The timing of the fans was pretty interesting if nothing else. The footsteps might have been the cat, perhaps another animal. And the bumps may simply be the building settling. Room 328 being a complete mess was a little strange though.

I had a great time watching this episode. They debunked a lot of things, but there are still some events that seem a little odd. They have some evidence that is worthy of more investigation.

Paranormal or not, at night that place will scare the hell out of you and keep you on your toes. If nothing else, they need to address the wiring in that place!

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Haunted Collector – Ghost Behind Bars and Haunted Brothel – S03E03

Old Montana State Prison

For the first part of the episode John heads out to the Old Montana State Prison to investigate reports of people being choked, pushed and scratched. Julia, the director, has had her own less than pleasant experiences. She believes the incidents are taking a violent turn.

As with any old prison there are stories of violence. Of the well known tales is about a Deputy Warden that was beaten by two inmates. The Warden came onto the scene, shot the two men, but had to pistol whip the two men, when the bullets didn’t seem to phase them. The inmates were finally subdued and lead to the gallows. The Warden didn’t waste any time in seeing them hanged.

The prison also consists of a Cell House where they hear footsteps and the sound of men talking. There is also the Maximum Security area where Julia felt she was being choked. Her daughter also had an experience out there where she was pushed by a cell door opening.

For the investigation, Brian takes pictures with an old Polaroid camera and captures what appears to be a woman. This is the Maximum Security ward which used to be the women’s prison. The women faced a tough prison life without basic plumbing. A life with two buckets basically. Jesslyn sees a shadow figure move around as she and Jason investigate the gallows. Those gallows were well used, so who knows what kind of activity could be there.

John investigates the photo and why a female would be in a men’s prison. That’s when it’s revealed to have been the women’s prison and he hears the tale of Lucy Cornforth. She got into an altercation and would be sent to prison. Unfortunately she wasn’t well educated and thought she would go to prison for the rest of her life. She attempted to commit suicide by drinking arsenic, but at the last moment changed her mind. Her daughter was aware of mom’s plan, grabbed the glass and drank it herself. Lucy was charged with murder and did indeed spend the rest of her life behind bars.

John believes this is the woman in the picture and the person who is trying to make contact with them.

As the nighttime investigation starts, Amy and Jess see lights down in the shower area. It’s basically underground so it shouldn’t be car headlights. When they investigate, Jess gets locked into the shower area and hears clanking on the walls. Jess can’t open the door, neither can Amy so they call for John. He has no problem getting the door open and finds a panic stricken Jess inside. It’s obvious Jess was in a massive state of panic so was she just unable to get the door open? Did she cause her own problems or was there something holding the door? Was it Lucy? A male spirit? A rusty hinge?

Although John can’t pin the activity on a single item, he does believe Lucy is the source. He brings a commemorative photo of Lucy and asks Julia to put it where all the visitors can see and know of her unfortunate predicament. According to Julia, once Lucy’s story is understood, the problems seem to go away.

Dumas Brothel

Where there’s a mining town, there’s a brothel. The Dumas Brothel opened in 1890 and went continuously for a hundred years. Travis is the new owner and he wants to restore the place. He says he’s felt a presence, has been touched and that a mirror flew off the wall and shattered on the floor. Perhaps his renovations have stirred up the past, but not in a good way.

Legend goes that a woman died in the Madam’s Suite in 1953. There are reports of woman dressed in 1930’s clothes wandering the halls. Brian and John see their own figure up on the balcony right as they start their investigation. When Jason and Amy search the different rooms they find a love letter from "J" to Sarah where he promises to quit the line and take her away from the life she leads. Right as they read the letters and say the names the bed begins to violently shake. For a moment it conjures images of the Exorcist. Was the shaking done out of violence of was a tryst interrupted? But the bigger question, was it really the bed shaking and how did that happen?

It’s presumed Sarah is a girl from the Red Light District and "J" was a miner. If this is true then the date of the letter, June 7, 1917 was the day before a massive mining accident took the lives of 168 miners. Could it be that "J" died in the mines and Sarah’s love and chance of getting out of her current life were gone?

Brian and Jesslyn bring out the Ovilus in the Madam’s Suite and get the words, "Cry", "Pain" and then the word "James" repeated several times. Is this referring to "J" in the letter and the pain and crying Sarah felt for him?

John and Chris investigate Sarah’s room where they hear the word, "wait" and a bottle of Laudanum falls over. Laudanum is some powerful stuff, basically liquid opium. Watch any movie or read a tale from that time period and Laudanum is prevalent. It was a cure-all that got people addicted, if it didn’t kill them from an overdose. If we put these pieces together do we have a story of Sarah killing herself after she finds out her lover James was killed in a mining accident? Were her dreams smashed and she couldn’t find a reason to go on, especially in a life where she had to give herself over to other men? This letter could be unrelated to Sarah or it may have gone another way. What if "J" was her brother and he was going to get them both out of that town because of the horrible life they were both leading?

Either way, I suppose it’s the same depressing story of loss.

John feels the best course of action is to take the Laudanum bottle away. This was Sarah’s release and relief from despair. With all the renovations her spirit may be reliving those days. And according to Travis, the renovations have continued uninterrupted.

These are some interesting stories, but is there paranormal activity here and have they found the source of it? Singling out Lucy is a bit of a stretch in my opinion. They’re trying to connect a lot of dots and quite possibly going with the first sympathetic story they hear. Did Jess really get locked in the shower? Did she really see shadow figures? Did a woman appear in that Polaroid? That picture is really the only solid evidence they have and they seem to be running with that idea. Nothing else they come across really presents itself as the paranormal. Some interesting things happen, but I wouldn’t say any of it is truly unexplainable.

The Dumas Brother is a sad tale, but does it have more evidence to support the story? The love letter is real, but is that the right spirit? Was there really a Sarah or is that letter completely unrelated? Is all this really related to the Madam that died in 1953? Is that story even true? What evidence do they really have? A mirror that fell off the wall during renovations? Obviously no banging or hammering would cause that. Did they feel or capture a presence? John and Brian might have captured something, but none of us saw it. The bed shaking and the words from the Ovilus are very interesting. But I really don’t like or trust that Ovilus, so there really is just the shaking bed. Not sure what that was all about. When you put the letter and Ovilus together, it makes for a great story.

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