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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Stranded – Burn Brae Mansion – S01E04

image For this investigation the normal trio of skeptic, on the fence believer and true believer head out to Glen Spey NY to investigate the Burn Brae Mansion. It was built in 1908 as a wedding present for Margaret Elkin. Tragedy would strike as Margaret lost her baby and then took her own life through hanging. She hung herself in a tree right outside her own bedroom window. It is said that the sound of children playing and phantom footsteps can be heard throughout the house.

The team arrives at the house to find a suitcase full of camera gear and investigation equipment. It’s certainly an eerie way to leave a gift and after unpacking the gear they call it a night and spend the evening in the very room of Margaret Ellis. As usual they are opting to stick together. It’s interesting to note that at 3:56AM it appears a door to the Second Floor Hall closes on it’s own. Was that merely a draft or is there something more to it?

Since there are no guests there is no hot water. The team sets out to stoke the fires and finds themselves in the basement. They come across quite a curiosity in the form of an electric chair. At least it looks like an electric chair complete with metal head plate and some jumper cables. We can only guess this is a Halloween prop, but it certainly sets the group on edge. Shannon almost immediately starts to come unglued and is desperately trying to get out of the basement. This won’t be the last time we see Shannon fall to pieces.

During dinner the camera mysteriously fades out and loses picture. The team begins to hear footsteps coming from the attic. They decide it’s a good time to head up there for an EVP session. As they sit down and ask questions, they get some interesting responses. There is a large bang after asking if they should leave. When nothing specifically follows that, they decide to leave only to have what sounds like a pool ball thrown at them. When they re-enter the room they discover one of the pool balls is outside of the triangle rack. Did someone really throw something at them? Was it done to try and get them to play or as a malicious act?

When they return back downstairs, Shannon claims she sees a shadow figure sitting in the chair. It wasn’t seen by the others, but it takes its toll on her. She is obviously having a bad reaction to this place.

The next day Jeff discovers that the MacKenzie family is buried behind the house in their own cemetery. They go to investigate and find the headstone of Margaret, her baby Levi and other small children. No matter who you are that’s a sad thing to see. Shannon is overcome with grief again and wants to get out of there. Tommy says he hears scratching and when asking if the spirit will be back at the house with them later, the needle pegs itself for several seconds. That certainly doesn’t bode well for building good relations with the entities of the mansion.

When they’re back in the house the living room light keeps turning on and off. It stays on for several seconds then goes back off. When they tested other light switches in the house, none of them worked. As Shannon put it, they have the sun during the day, then nothing at night. Is the light flickering a sign or is this just some bad wiring and good timing? Do they have evidence of the paranormal and confirmation that the spirit came back to the house? There are no sounds, bangs or other events to coincide with the lights turning on and off.

They split up to investigate the house, but Shannon is coming unglued. She can’t be left alone and when there are loud bangs from underneath the house they regroup and all head down to the basement together. Jeff says he sees flashes, like someone walking in front of him and Tommy says he hears growling. Shannon is in tears and has to leave, she simply can’t take it anymore. When they return to the house they discover the basketball they left out for the kids to play with has been moved. Were the banging and growls from an animal? Squirrel, muskrat, raccoon? They are in the basement and judging the from the junk, dust and cobwebs, no one has been down there in awhile. Did the basketball get moved by one of the kids who supposedly roams the house or did it finally moved due to a tilted floor, heat expansion or the wind?

When all is said and done these three can’t wait to get out of there. Jeff is a firm believer now and says the place is truly haunted. Shannon is still unnerved by everything she’s experienced. Tommy is convinced the place is haunted and dares anyone to spend the night and say otherwise.

Is Burn Brae Mansion haunted? Did they capture enough evidence to support the paranormal claims? There were indeed a lot of bangs and noises, but is that definitely a sign of something other than animals and creaking boards? Was a pool balls really thrown at them? Did it leap out of the rack? What about the camera going black during dinner? Did something interfere with the recording? Do they have more than personal experiences? Judging by their reactions, they’ve seen and heard enough to make them all believers.

Burn Brae Mansion

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Stranded – West Virginia State Penitentiary – S01E03

The formula is quite simple, take a skeptic, an on the fence believer and true believer, drive them out to an isolated and rumored to be haunted location, let them investigate any way they see fit, watch them panic and lose their minds, then check back in to see if their opinions and attitudes have changed.

For this adventure we have Tyler, the skeptic who’s former military and police. Amber, his sister, is the true believer of the group. And on the fence, but falling mostly into the believer category is Chris, her husband. Their destination is West Virginia State Penitentiary, a place just about all the paranormal shows have investigated. Ghost Hunters, Paranormal State, Ghost Adventures and Paranormal Challenge have all been there. They all claim it’s a place that will make you soil your pants. So how does this group fare?

West Virginia State Penitentiary was founded in 1866 for 250 inmates. By 1960 it had 2000 men in less than 750 cells, that’s 3 men to a cell. It should come as no surprise that conditions were pretty poor. 998 men died while the prison was open with some of that coming from inmate violence, some from medical experiments and some from the electric chair. The prison is known for the Sugar Shack where inmates got away with anything and everything. There is the death of RD Wahl down in The Hole. There is also the Psych Ward. It’s enough to mess with your head under the best of conditions, let alone being stuck there for 5 days.

So let’s jump right in and go over what they found.

Over the course of their investigation they hear plenty of bangs, clangs and bumps. Some of it even sounds like someone rattling the bars of the cells. Down in the Hole, in conjunction with all the noises, Tyler feels something hit his foot. He’s excited and ready to investigate, but Amber, the true believer of the group is ready to tuck tail and run like hell. In fact, that’s exactly what she does. Why does this always happen? People want to have a paranormal experience then run away screaming from every noise. When they review their evidence it’s possible they captured the words, "Behind you."

They may have caught a figure on the thermal imager, but they don’t follow it up so who knows. It’s also possible they simply caught some lights. It’s not like the prison is in the middle of nowhere.

As Tyler and Chris play basketball where the electric chair used to be, Tyler’s watch stops at 2pm, the same time the lights would dim from the executions. Did his watch just break or is there something more to this?

They also perform the old, make the flashlight turn on trick and just like Jason and Grant they are astounded when it goes off.

When the trio heads down to the Sugar Shack things get interesting. Amber says she feels something touch her face. Tyler says his flashlight gets hot. Strangely, the air is hot down there. We get the impression something is messing with them with anger filling the room when all of a sudden Chris and Tyler are ready to throw down with each other. Every word coming out of Chris’ mouth is bleeped out. Tyler is taunting him like he wants to have a fight. It looks like they’re mere seconds from tearing each other apart.

For the final night there is a rainstorm sweeping in and while Tyler reads about the murder of Red Snyder by another inmate, he feels something flick him on the back of the neck. Twice. And yes, he practically jumps out of his skin.

How does the evidence stack up? There was a lot going, but did they capture enough to truly say this place was haunted?

There are plenty of bangs and thuds. But is that indicative of the paranormal? The building is old and riddled with metal. That can make all sorts of noises and the temperature changes. The thermal image really isn’t conclusive of anything on it’s own. They don’t really capture any substantial EVPs. They say they hear a lot of voices, but where’s the audio? Like the others before them, they will swear to the personal experiences they had. The eerie feelings, being touched, and freaking out at all the noises. But is that really enough? If the name of the game is tangible evidence then I don’t think they have much.

I have to say, Tyler seemed to be the only one who wanted to pursue this investigation. Whenever there was a noise or bang, Chris and Amber wanted to run away. The constant, "Oh my God" and "I’m not going back in there" were tiresome. Why the hell are you on a paranormal investigation if you don’t want to investigate the paranormal? They start off acting like nothing can rattle them, but on the first night they are already coming unglued. I think Chris and Amber would do well to just stay home from now on. Perhaps they should just go back to hiding under the covers. It seems like a lot of what their reacting to is built up in their minds.A creepy place, plenty of violent stories and lots of being on edge for days on end. It can make you believe anything, no? It’s really disappointing to see people given such a great opportunity to investigate a location, but run screaming in the dark.

But the experiences are enough to make Tyler change his views on the paranormal. He felt something against his foot, heard voices and was touched twice on the back of the neck. He may have even channeled some dark energy when he tried to pick a fight with Chris.

I find the premise of this show very fun and exciting. I think it’s great they investigate for more than one night. I like the raw footage and the unpredictable nature. What I don’t like is people running from the very thing they’re going after. Stop running at every bump and sound. Stand your group. Ask questions. Debunk something. Stick around to grab some evidence. That is why you came all this way, right?

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Stranded – Seaview Terrance – S01E02

For this episode, three friends from Brooklyn (Zack, Katy and James) head to Rhode Island to spend the week a Seaview Terrance, the former home of Edson Bradley, the driving force behind Old Crow whiskey. He made his fortune in the business and it’s said you can still hear the bottles down in the basement. His wife Julia was the stern matriarch of the house and her presence can still be felt through the sound of organ music. She passed away just a year after the house was completed. The house is currently under renovation.

So what did this intrepid team find as they explored the grounds? And will they still be believers and skeptics after all is said and done?

As they start things off they realize there are some power problems in the kitchen. The search the house for one of the old style fuses. It leads them down to the basement where they hear the sound of clinking bottles. This is reportedly associated with Edson Bradley. Additionally in the room across from their’s, in a supposedly abandoned house, there are lights on. No figures are seen and just as mysteriously as the light turns on, it goes back out.

On the second day, the group says that Zack has been talking about hats. Oddly as they look around the place the find a hat in the middle of the floor. Were they actually sleeping below this floor?

Their exploration brings them to the piano room where they play a ridiculously out of tune piano and sing to Mrs. Bradley. As soon as they’re done there is plenty of banging coming from upstairs. They go to investigate and find a door opening and closing. Is this the work of a unseen force? A loose hinge? The wind? By coincidence they also report cold spots.

As they continue on they end up in the basement and again hear the sound of bottles clinking. Still, there are no bottles on the floor or out of place. They discover the blueprints of the house and realize they are staying in Mrs. Bradley’s room. And there is another hat. No outfits, just a hat.

Moving forward, they find themselves in the piano room and get the aroma of perfume. The same perfume the found in Mrs. Bradley’s room, but couldn’t get the mister to work correctly.

The next day finds them chopping wood so they can have a fire that night. Perhaps they can get Mrs. Bradley to sit down with them. This does seem to work as there are spikes on the EMF. When asking for a sign of her presence, the response comes in the form of bangs. This leads them into the ballroom where they tune the old style radio. In the static there is perhaps the phrase, “I’m Mrs. Bradley”.

For the final night there is a fitting storm. Plenty of wind and lightning. The group splits up to cover as much ground before they have to go. Nothing much seems to be happening so after regrouping the head to the piano room. The heavy double doors to the pool room swing open. As you might expect there is a huge amount of screaming and bleeping.

Katy is clearly un-nerved, but Zack is showing some serious investigative chops and wants to press on and find out more. He’s not shying away from what the house has to offer.

For the final act they head up to the master bedroom to see if they can make contact with Mrs. Bradley. Oddly enough there is the sound of organ music throughout the house. Katy is seriously coming unglued and looks like she’s going to make a break for it.

While at the organ they find access to the mechanics of it and head down. Is the wind causing the pipes to play? The organ is gone but all the piping is still very much in the house. Is this being played from beyond the grave or is there a very worldly explanation?

When all is said and done this team has heard a lot of banging, felt cold spots, seen doors swinging open, hear both the organ playing and bottles clinking and may have even gotten an EVP. While it’s nothing specific, when you lay it all out, they had a pretty eventful time out there.

But is this evidence of the paranormal? Did they make contact? Is the knocking a response or is it an animal seeking shelter? Is the phantom organ really being played or is the wind being funneled through the pipework? Are the door coming open by unseen forces or is the wind at play again? Do the get the aroma of phantom smells or simply fragrances trapped in the wood and fabric?

There was a lot happening and it makes you ask a lot of questions. I like this group, Zack and James kept cool and wanted to learn more. Katy put in a good effort and as the experiences kept piling up, she got a little rattled. But in a dark house without electricity during a thunderstorm, who could blame her?

Regardless of the outcome, this was some pretty exciting stuff.

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