Haunted Highway – Manchac Swamp and Moonville Tunnel – S02E02

image For this investigation Dana and Jack tackle the Manchac Swamp which has the bizarre tale of multiple people dying at the funeral of Julia Brown, while Devin and Jael investigate the Moonville Tunnel located in an abandoned mining town and is said to be the location of 26 deaths.

Manchac Swamp

Supposedly there was a local woman named Julia Brown that said when she died she was going to take everyone with her. True to her word, those attending her funeral were killed. The town had another problem that when a hurricane came along, the town was wiped out. As bodies were found they were gathered up and put in a mass grave at the high point of the swamp. That’s were Jack and Dana head.

It’s a dilapidated shack where people claim to see the lady in white, hear singing and see lights. As Jack and Dana look around something quite mysterious seems to be lurking in the water. At first glance it looks like a bizarre mist. It might even be something swimming just under the surface of the water. It does seem to gurgle and bubble and when Jack mentions it could be methane gas, it really begins to make sense. There is another piece of the footage where the water is bubbling at certainly looks like gas escaping from under water.

Another interesting piece of evidence is from the GoPro that is scanning the area. It looks to capture some sort of ghost or figure in the trees. It’s there one second then gone the next. At first glance it looks quite bizarre, but if you step back for a moment it more lends itself to camera glare. It feels more like a trick of light than anything else.

And thing that happens is Jack and Dana try to contact Julia Brown. Dana lights a series of extremely large candles. While asking questions, every one of them gets blown out. This could be a gust of wind or some gas heavier than air drifting through the swamp, but it’s pretty odd and interesting on it’s own.

Moonville Tunnel

Devin and Jael investigate and old train tunnel associated with coal mining. The tunnel is quite literally all that remains. The entire town has disappeared. As Jael and Devin discover, the only thing left are a couple of moss covered cement slabs.

The tunnel was used as part of the railway during the coal mining days. 26 deaths are attributed to the train including two trains that collided. People claim to see apparitions, strange sounds, rocks being thrown, the feeling of being watched and the smell of something sweet. These are each connected to one of the deaths that took place.

As Jael and Devin investigate the do hear rocks falling as well as smell something sweet. Devin also feels some presence get very close to him and brush in front of his face. They also feel they see some figure walking around. There is a story of Baldy Keaton, a bully apparently, and when the team tries to speak with him they get the sound of rocks falling. When reviewing their evidence they also feel they get a voice saying "murder".

Both of these locations make for some interesting stories, but do they contain paranormal activity? The swamp has a pretty bleak past and certainly some odds things happen out there, but are people mistaking natural occurrences for the paranormal? And when it comes to the Tunnel are people letting their imaginations get the better of them? Falling rocks and phantom smells certainly have more earthly explanations.

Are these locations haunted or do they just have some interesting tall tales associated with them?

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Haunted Highway – Island of Lost Souls – S02E01

image It’s been a long time since we caught up with Jack, Dana, Jael and Devin. In fact, I wondered if Haunted Highway was going to come back. But they are indeed back for another season and their first stop is Fort Jefferson in Florida.

Fort Jefferson was used as a prison in the late 1840s. It was home to many inmates such as Samuel Mudd, and it should come as no surprise the fort had a lot of deaths. Some would say that you if you got sent to Fort Jefferson, you were sent there to die.

They speak to a couple of witnesses who claim to hear voices, see figures, hear scream and have been touched by something. Some say they’ve been pushed. There is also talk of some mysterious lights that people see coming from the island.

One of the odd stories related to that is the underwater cemetery. Fort Jefferson buried prisoners on their own land, but since this is right at sea level the tide would quite literally wash the bodies away. As they come to discover, the graves have drifted out to sea.

The team decides to investigate together and Jael scouts out the underwater grave. She comes back with an impressive old, rusted chain that looks like it would have been attached to a ball and would have the classic "ball and chain" prisoners would have shackled to their feet.

Jack and Devin launch their helicopter to get an aerial view of the place. Not sure what that’s really going to tell us. I think Jack likes messing with RC toys.

As night falls Jack and Jael head out to the water cemetery for some EVP work while Devin and Dana head into the Fort. Jack begins to see lights off in the distant. First there are two lights, then one disappears, then the other. Dana and Devin seem to capture some sort of mist rolling across the tunnel.

In conjunction with the lights on the water they capture footage of what appears to be someone shutting the shudders on the lighthouse door. The light is there and then suddenly gone. Problem is, they don’t go check it out. I would have been all over that, but they accept it and move on. How do they know someone wasn’t in there?

Another piece of evidence is Jack hears someone whispering in his face and gets pretty shaken up about it. Not long after, Dana and Jael check out the lighthouse where Dana gets stuck inside. The door she goes through gets jammed and neither she nor Jael can push it open. Jack however has no problem pushing it open. Of course the first reaction is that the door was simply stuck. It’s warped in some way and just doesn’t fit right. Was there some sort of spirit trying to trap her there?

And finally, as they wander the grounds they come across part of the cemetery that’s still in tact and see what looks like a figure on the thermal imager. Is this the image of one of the prisoners? Does this belong to the voice that whispered to Jack and perhaps stuck Dana in the lighthouse?

So what do you think of Fort Jefferson and the return of Haunted Highway? Jack and the team had a few interesting things happen to them such as the whisper, the mist, the door getting stuck, the odd lights (perhaps even someone snuffing it out) and the image on the thermal. Does all this culminate in the place being haunted? Do they have evidence of strange and unusual paranormal activity going on? Some of does indeed seem quite odd, yet some of it seems very ordinary.

And by the way, was it just me or were there some interesting cleavage shots going on? Not that I’m against paranormal investigations being done in swimsuits.

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Ghost Mine – Season Finale – Final Thoughts

image First of all, I have to say I’ve really enjoyed this series and have no doubt it’ll be back for a third season in Arizona to investigate the mine Stan and Kristen checked out. It was a nice segue on their part.

As for this season, I think we’ve seen the end of the Crescent. I don’t think there’s any way to realistically come back from that cave in. But that also makes you wonder and question all the evidence we’ve seen up to this point.

When it comes to the noise and all the bulkheads it makes you wonder if the Mason’s didn’t use them as a warning because they knew the mine was unstable. While I think Patrick and Kristen found some interesting evidence, I really don’t buy into the idea that the Masons were trying to keep something demonic trapped in the mine. Based on the obvious instability of the place it comes across as a safety precaution more than anything else. Instead of sinister gestures, they were trying to bar the doors so people didn’t get trapped when the inevitable cave in happened, like we saw for the finale. Maybe this isn’t the first time this has happened and they were trying to prevent another series of accidents.

Another theory is perhaps those bulkheads were indeed a way to people out of the gold, but, why put Masonic symbols all over them? Isn’t that just going to create curiosity and have them think it’s a good idea to bust down the walls just like it did for these miners?

In retrospect, the sound of working miners is truly fascinating, but taking a step back it may be nothing more than all the wind and shifting rock of the area. We know it’s unstable, we know there is air movement since they busted through, and we know rocks and timbers have been falling.

I don’t know that we have phantom miners who drove the last crew out versus an unstable working environment. Maybe the crew knew this mine was unstable and got out of there before it collapsed. Maybe the mine owner wouldn’t spring for safety equipment because he had no cash and they walked out. Knowing what we know now, it may have been bad working conditions.

But there are some remaining questions. What happened to Eddie? Was he indeed touched by something unearthly? It left him a little speechless, so who knows what we have there. We also have the video camera glitches, which may or may not been bad wiring, the shadows that Jay and Jamol feel they saw. Perhaps all the ghost talk was getting the better of them? And overall, did the Masons simply own the Crescent mine and sealed it off after an accident or did they use it for ceremonies? Were the simple mine owners or as Patrick continually implies was there something sinister afoot?

We can speculate all we want, but to be honest, when all is said and done, I don’t think the Crescent mine is haunted. I think it’s unstable, I think good men died there at the hands of hate and prejudice, I think the mine owner may be a little on the cheap side and I think the town is shrouded in legend and myth. I think there were some very bad deeds done there and some downright evil and callous men. And while the Masons will always have a bad reputation, I don’t think they had any evil intentions. They may be guilty of mistreating their workers and not providing equal pay for equal work, but I don’t think they’re hiding a demon deep under the earth.

What I can say is that it was extremely fun and rewarding to watch Patrick and Kristen investigate the same place over and over again. We don’t get to see that. It’s always a one night stand and then on to the next. I didn’t always agree with their findings or interpretation, but I like their work and for the most part their approach. It was also great to watch the mining process, to see the problems, the dangers and the solutions. We got to see these guys bond together and considering they’ve spent two years together, they really have come to rely on and respect each other. Even if Jamol isn’t the greatest cook in the world I think they appreciate him all the same.

I will say that Stan was perhaps the most interesting and entertaining member of the cast. His calm and casual demeanor was so much fun to watch. Nothing seemed to rattle him, he kept his cool, and always took a moment to think about the situation before making a decision. The only time you see him rattle is when the world is coming down around him. As soon as it’s over though, he’s back to his calm self. I think it would be great to sit around a campfire and listen to Stan tell stories of his mining days. I bet he has some amazing tales. He’s been doing this a long time and I’m sure he’s seen a lot.

So it’s the end of the season and now we have to wait to see what’s next. Like I said, I have no doubt we’ll see this same time next year is Arizona. That mine had potential and this team is garnering some star status. We’ll have to wait and see where we went up.

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Ghost Mine – The Final Barrier – S02E12 Season Finale

image So here we are at the final episode of the season and there is still plenty of action before we say goodbye.

When we last left the team, Patrick and Kristen were sifting through the debris of the original bulkhead for the mine to determine if there were any Masonic symbols. Sure enough, they find a board fragment with some pretty clear signs. So it appears the Masons closed off all the entrances to the mine. Whether this was done to keep people out or something in remain to be seen. But it’s pretty clear this mine had a Masonic influence.

Meanwhile back in the mine, Jay swears he sees a shadow figure walking around and by the way Dingus is talking, he may have seen something as well. But the big surprise is not just another bulkhead blocking their path, but one made of stone that completely seals off the tunnel. Very Cask of Amontillado.

Eddie wastes no time in trying to get a peek at what’s on the other side and chips away at the seal. He makes a small breach and is met with a rush of rancid air. As he describes it, it smelled like something died. He’s then met with a burning sensation all down his side. So much so, he rips off jacket and gloves to check it out. Low and behold there is a large rash running down his side. If you look at the still shot, it’s possible it’s the imprint of a hand and thumb. Eddie, normally the one to dismiss everything, has no explanation for this one.

Kristen and Patrick come back later to investigate the same spot with K2 meter flashing wildly and record what sounds like some sort of caged beast on the other side of the wall. It was certainly made to be dramatic, but I highly doubt there is some sort of demon on the other side and the only thing saving us from it are a few rocks cemented in place.

Nevertheless, the odd happenings are starting to make the miners wonder. In an moment with their defenses down, each one of them all but admits to hearing phantom miners in the tunnels. Jay and Jamol show clear signs of concern about what might be in there and Graybeard is a little concerned too. And their fears are tested as Patrick and Kristen bring more evidence to them including the odd growls they heard. The flatly state they don’t think the mine is safe and not to proceed any further.

Stan puts it to a vote with Jamol, Jay and Duck all wanting to leave well enough alone, but Eddie and the rest want to push forward and see if the payday is right behind that wall.

A distressed Patrick and Kristen follow Eddie, Stan and Bucket into the mine to check out the wall to form an approach of breaching it. But as they do, things go horribly wrong. Stan is the first to call for a retreat as the mine rumbles with the sound of something sinister. Then it’s an all out sprint to abandon the mine as it all begins to cave in. It’s an honest to God cave in and the 5 of them are literally scrambling for their lives.

With the other miners standing around, they barrel out into the open air as the dirt and trees fall in on themselves smothering all the equipment still left inside. They made it out within an inch of their lives.

And that is the end of that. The mine is collapsed, machinery is destroyed and there is no way they can get back into the mine to search for any more gold. The season is over whether they like it or not.

It looks like this mine is going to be abandoned. It’s clearly not stable and would take far too much work to find a vein worthy of a payoff. But as the team packs up and gets ready to go home, they make one final gesture, something that perhaps they should have done at the start of the season. Since they nearly lost their lives they erect a stone monument as a tribute to all miners that have been lost.

"This monument is dedicated to all fallen miners, everywhere. With great respect, we honor your work and your bravery."

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