Paranormal Incident

image In order to get a decent grade in their glass, a group of friends head out to film paranormal events at the abandoned Odenbrook Sanitarium. With both skeptics and believers in the group, they encounter more than they can handle in this "lost footage" tale. But what could have been an interesting tale of the lone survivor of the incident trying to clear his name for the murder of his friends as he goes through the recovered footage, goes a bit South and gives us an ending that doesn’t even make sense.

It’s a plausible scenario; friends go out to investigate an asylum and to give them some thrills and chills, one of them breaks away from the group. He locks them in with the intent of returning later to scare the crap out of them. But as the group does their investigation things go sideways and they realize something is out there and it’s in no way friendly.

In the style of Grave Encounters, Blair Witch and Paranormal Activity, we follow along with the jerky camera movements and things moving in the shadows. As the night moves on, the group realizes they can’t leave and panic ensues. They fight, argue, spew vulgarities and lost trust in each other. Soon, it’s every man for himself. Unfortunately, amidst all the screaming and hysterics there’s no plot. There’s nothing to hold this together. There is the lose idea of patients being abused and a mass suicide from 60 years earlier. The footage is intermixed with "visions" of the past, but how it all ties together is the big mystery. It’s an interesting premise and there is a lot to work with, but they can’t pull it together. What we end up with is haphazard investigation that leads us nowhere.

The acting within the "lost footage" is tolerable, barely, but the hospital scenes are just tragic. You begin to groan as soon as they cut back to hideous green and white walls of the hospital room.

While there was nothing compelling about this movie, I kept watching so I see the big reveal and find out what’s behind the events. But the big reveal doesn’t come and I don’t know what the hell kind of ending we’re given. We’re dropped in the middle of some craptacular X-Files ripoff and I don’t know what the hell just happened. What is this mess? How this ending fits with the rest of the movie I don’t know, but I’m terribly confused.

The ending completely ruins what could have been a decent, and I use that word loosely, low budget scare. There are some moments of fun in this movie, but by the time you get to the end, you’ll want to throw something.

Paranormal Incident

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Ghost Adventures – Black Moon Manor – S07E05

The guys head out to Buck Creek Township, Indiana to the Black Moon Manor, the oldest house in the town, where the owner has called them to get to the bottom of mysterious events. The house has been witness to the smallpox epidemic, a disease that may have brought to the area by the same doctor who came to treat it. Did the death toll really rise to over 200 people? There are also reports of a girl jumping to her death as she threw herself into the 70 foot well that’s under the very floor boards of the house. There is even the report of a young girl dying on the property and her spirit still plays with the rocking horse.

Matt and his girlfriend have stories of being pushed and grabbed when they first got to the home. An investigator says it’s the only place she’s been scared to investigate. She saw shadows going in and out of the bathroom. She could feel the floor vibrate with the sound of footsteps. All this occurred as they tried to provoke Doctor Harvey, the man who treated the smallpox and may be the one who introduced it. They also interview one of the previous residence and he claims he heard voices and footsteps all the time.

But as is so common with an old house like this, what is fact, and what is simply legend? It’s a real treat to hear Zak saying they need to separate the fact from the fiction. Matt has been given the names of hundreds of people who died there. But it’s simply a list of names, and doesn’t necessarily connect itself to the house. Considering the age of the place, that many deaths would almost be normal. Or is this simply a list of the family history? There is very little evidence to support these claims, but Zak wants to dig deeper.It sounds like he’s almost to the point of doubting Matt and his claims.

After checking the records and talking with some historians they conclude a lot of the stories as simply that, stories. They aren’t based in fact and don’t have evidence to support them. They do find evidence of Doctor Harvey, but he was simply a doctor treating smallpox. He lost around 5 patients, not the 200 that are claimed. And there is nothing to suggest his presence in the town was sinister in nature.

With some of the history sorted out, they begin the investigation to try and answer some of the questions about why people are being touched and shoved. Is there really something to this home or are imaginations running wild based on all the stories?

They first send in Aaron who hears footsteps and a voice saying, "Come up here", which may have turned out to be, "no one’s up there". There is also the possible sound of someone crying.

Zak joins in with the Spirit Box and they get the word, "evil" come through. Zak then notices the temperature on the Mel Meter is at 66.6 degrees. There is also the word "demon". When asked what color the lights on the meter are, they get the word, "green". Does this indicate there is an evil presence in the house that is keenly aware that Zak and Aaron are there? Are they really interacting with a dark force? When asked if the entity is making the probe read 66.6 degrees, the answer is, "yes". It seems they have something interesting on the hook.

In conjunction with the voices, both Zak and Nick feel drained and tired as they walk through the house. Surprisingly, Aaron doesn’t have the same reaction. He feels the place is creepy as $%#@, but it doesn’t seem to affect him physically. Is Aaron simply less vulnerable or are Zak and Nick working themselves into a frenzy?

The final piece of evidence for the night is a supposed rock or object that gets thrown. Zak definitely reacts to something, but what was it? Was something really thrown at him? Was the spirit he spoke to earlier taking a shot at him? Was it simply a loose piece of ceiling in an old building falling down?

There are many things to consider about a place like this. There is far more legend than fact surrounding this house. This can certainly get expectations up and cause people to think something is happening. None of the team experienced the forceful touch the owner’s girlfriend claimed. Did she bump into something or have a skin reaction? If an entity that forceful was in there, wouldn’t it have gone after the guys? Is there really an evil spirit inside because it says it’s evil? 666 is nothing more than a number in my opinion. It’s a common temperature for a house with no electricity. Does that mean that all houses with a temp of 66 degrees are on the verge of being evil? And let’s think about the footsteps. It’s an old house, wouldn’t it make more sense for the source of the noise to be animals or creaking boards? We know it was a warm day from the sunshine. And we know it was a cool night from the 66.6 reading. Wouldn’t it make more sense for footsteps to be the sound of boards popping and settling from the temperature changes? I’m sure that house flexes like crazy on a daily basis.

To me, when you boil it all down, there are the words, "evil" and "demon" that the whole investigation rests on, from a device I don’t much care for. For a moment, let’s say they are real. Where does that leave us? This dark force doesn’t seem to be doing much. Perhaps it did attack the girlfriend, but there was no sign of force when it had three other victims at the ready. There was no abuse or threats. Did they really get the words right? Was the spirit trying to say something else?

I have no doubt there is a lot more to the story of that house, but on the surface it appears to be nothing more than an old house that needs to be restored before it falls over. So what do we think, is this house supernaturally charged with a demonic entity?

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666 Park Avenue

It’s the premiere episode of the new supernatural drama,666 Park Avenue and right from the start I think they have a lot of things clicking into place. We have the nice and innocent couple, Jane and Henry, coming to take over the maintenance for a large hotel (tribute to the Shining, no?). We have the aloof and powerful Captain of Industry, Gavin Doran who owns the Drake and makes the deals. His wife Olivia is a seductress in her own right. And there are the tenants, a quirky wanna-be writer looks out the window at his neighbor too much, the high strung photographer trying to pull it all together, the unknown girl who has a penchant for stealing trinkets and the snappy, yet mouthy desk manager. Considering the locale is a hotel, the cast of characters can be anything and everything.

Jane and Henry get their big break in New York to earn a decent living and work as mangers of the hotel. Things are going really well, but there is something more to this hotel. The owner, seems a bit too mysterious, and knows perhaps knows just a bit too much about everyone. There’s more to everyone than meets the eye and clearly when deals need to be made, Gavin Doran is the man to see. However, his asking price is a little unusual. He pulls the strings and everyone knows it. Is he the devil? Is he an agent of the devil? Is he some other powerful entity? Who knows, but don’t go into debt that’s for sure.

Like the Shining, which I can only assume had some influence on this story, the show has atmosphere. Terry O’Quinn is an excellent choice with his smooth voice, calm demeanor and strong presence. Let’s not forget, he was quite a mysterious and unusual character when he played "Peter Watts" from Millennium. And he was no stranger to the supernatural as the character Locke on Lost. He’s going to bring a lot to this series.

The show builds slowly, but surely. Lots of information is revealed and Jane uncovers the history of the building as she works to help renovate it. Like American Horror Story, we’re presented with a barrage of characters who will reveal their stories as the episodes go on. We’ve already learned Gavin is powerful enough to bring people back from the dead, as well as send them to the other side.He has a great deal of power, but what is he after? Who is the target, Jane or Henry? Within this first episodes several characters are defined and plenty of questions come up. There is plenty of reason to anticipate the next episode.

I’m definitely looking forward to the next episode, but unlike American Horror Story, this is your standard broadcast television, so it will be very interesting to see how ABC builds the suspense while staying the confines of the network rules. Anyone else check out the first episode? Where do you stand? It may be able to be as suspenseful as other shows, but I think there is a ton of potential.

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Ghost Adventures – Palmer House Hotel – S07E04

The guys head out to Minnesota at the request of a hotel owner who wants to try and get some answers about the activity she keeps experiencing. This is a little different since Zak and the crew normally aren’t asked to come out to investigate. But after an explanation of the events it seems Kelly is somewhat desperate for some help.

Kelly explains there have been sightings of shadow figures, apparitions and feelings of a dark force in the place. Right as they begin the interview the experiences start with the Mel Meter going off and unsavory feelings such as tightness in the chest. Kelly explains that a woman said she got a vision of a man who said his story needed to be told. Kelly was then instructed to dig in the basement under the stairs to find the body. Low and behold she finds bones, what she thinks were rib bones. However, before they could be analyzed further, the disappeared. That’s right, they vanished.

Further evidence is shown as a woman named Chris seems to be possessed while down in the basement. She says she needs to take care of the dogs. She might be referring to the same red-eyed demonic sounding dog that Kelly was referring to earlier. When Zak interviews Chris, he notices that the Mel Meter goes off frantically when it’s brought near her. When she actually holds it, it like it’s about to explode. Is she a lightning rod of energy?

Before the lights go out things are getting odd. Zak comes back to reveal that he got some EVPs saying, "they’re going to get her" and "I’m following her". But there’s more. Dave Schrader shows up on the scene and he’s been to this place before. When in Lucy’s room asking if anyone is in danger in the house, a voice comes through saying, "Zak". Zak happens to be downstairs digging in the hole where the bones were found. Dave says he’s seen an apparition of a face down by that hole. Dave is firmly convinced there is something in this location.

To add to the mystery and sinister nature of the hotel, the original site burned down in the 1900’s. They weren’t able to determine the cause of the original fire. It’s believed several people died in what is now the basement. Not only that, there was supposedly a hanging in the 50’s which Mr. Palmer reported himself. Additionally, footsteps are said to be heard in room 13. In a statement he gave, Mr. Palmer wrote, I know there is something up there but I can’t explain it." It appears there are plenty of odd events surrounding this hotel.

As the investigation gets started, Zak starts to draw a lot of parallels to Bobby Mackey’s Music World. There is the activity in the basement, the hole or "portal" that was dug, the sinister nature, demonic spirits running around mimicking voices.

Unfortunately, neither Dave Schrader nor Chris stick around for the full on investigation. It seems Chris has had enough experiences down in the basement.

The investigation starts in Lucy’s room where very little happens until Zak starts trashing the place. Then they start to get the word, "Aaron", "spirit", a growl, and perhaps even the word, "Goodwin". Zak also feels something on the back of his neck. The Rem Pod is going crazy with activity when all of a sudden Aaron rushes out of the room thinking he hears footsteps. Right then, all the activity stops. Were those the footsteps from room 13?

When the head to the basement they feel lethargic and unable to focus. As Zak says, they act like they’re victims of a gas leak. He also states these are the same feelings he had when they were at Bobby Mackey’s. The press on and hear the sound of something scraping on the concrete, the sound of glasses clinking, a cord hanging from the ceiling begins to swing and the Rem Pod is acting up again. Zak gets pinched, they pick up an EVP of "make sure they go" and while Aaron is continuing the investigation on his own a broom falls right in his path. This is right in the same place where Kelly had her feelings earlier in the day.

Even Billy Tolley who we don’t normally see, has some things going on. He hears footsteps and movement right outside the door where he’s supervising the video footage. There are also a couple of video glitches where the camera flakes out right before something happens in the same spot.

Pretty much from start to finish there are some odd things going on in this place. The house doesn’t necessarily have a dark past, but there are some things that need to be answered. What were the source of the bones? Where they animal or human? Were they actually stolen or did someone just throw them away because they thought they were disgusting? What about Chris and her ability to make the Mel Meter go off? It was making a ton of noise, but it looked like it had a reading of 0.0 while it was around her. What information does that give us? I know there were several EVPs, but as usual, they sound more garbled and staticky than anything else. If they did indeed capture all of that, it does sound like something pretty ugly is there. So what do they plan to do? What does Kelly feel about all this? Is she going to come to terms with the strange events or pack her bags and head for the hills? Did Zak actually get touched two times? Was there a pinch from an unseen force? Was it done with malicious intent?

It looks like they have quite a place on their hands. Is this really indeed another place of dark energy like the suspect Bobby Mackey’s to be? Are there really sinister spirits roaming the halls? They weren’t attacked and I wouldn’t go so far as to say they were harmed by anything. Was something trying to get their attention? They did seem to capture some threatening words, but were they really directed at Kelly? Was the "warning" from Lucy’s room in regard to Zak and him getting pinched?

They have a real gem on their hands and hopefully they’ll be heading back to see what else they can find. I’m not sure how I feel about this place. It doesn’t really come across as demonic, but something is amiss…

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