Ghost Adventures Halloween Special – Transylvania

image Right off the bat there was very little about this episode I liked. It played into every cliché that exists about Dracula and vampires. It’s fantastic they got to visit such a legendary and quite frankly superstitious country, but come on does it really have to be like this? Vlad was a real man, not a vampire. He wasn’t evil, he was a mad protecting his home and country. He was outmanned and decided to show absolute determination to make invaders think twice about destroying his village. He’s seen by most in his home country as a hero. His overwhelming show of force lead to Bram Stoker using some of those elements for his story. And despite what Zak would like to think or interpret, Dracul means DRAGON, so Vlad Dracul is Son of the Dragon, not Son of the Devil. Stop making shit up to try and be sinister.

Aside from amateur mistakes like that, this episode was like watching 8 years run around an amusement park. It’s like Zak was channeling Shatner as he tried to make everything overly dramatic and dangerous. It’s a couple hours of overcompensating for things aren’t happening on the investigation.

They start of their Romanian trip by visiting the supposed birthplace of Vlad. Hey wouldn’t you know it, it’s a tourist trap. It’s now a café with a ridiculously cheesy display upstairs. To hell with the idea of putting out historical information, lets drape the room in blood red fabric and have a guy sit in a coffin.

With that bit of nonsense behind the real investigation begins. The trio decides to split up with Zak and Billy going to the Hoia Baciu Forest where people claim to see UFOs, Elementals, Balls of light and all sorts of spirits. The locals are so afraid they won’t enter the forest at night. Makes me think of Sherwood Forest from Robin Hood. But the locals take it quite seriously and refuse to enter the forest at night.

A lot is made of the "circle" in the middle of the forest where trees refuse to grow. Clearly this can’t be the work of toxic soil, rocks or minerals in the ground, it has to spirit work. And we soon find out when Zak and Billy enter the forest that there are forces they can’t deal with. Zak is struck silent as he stands stupefied – apparently in the grasp of some otherworldly force. As Billy comes to his aid, Zak nearly soils himself and has a bit of a breakdown. He’s nearly on the verge of tears as he tells Billy something is wrong. This bit of melodrama is only usurped by the glowing ball of red light coming from the center of the forest. Too bad they couldn’t focus on the ball long enough for us to tell it was the tail light of the ATV they drove up in.

Meanwhile Aaron and Nick scare the Dickens out of each other at Targoviste Castle where many of the death surrounding the Dracul legend took place. This is where many invaders were stuck on spikes as a warning to others. While in there Aaron believes he hears his name as well as the word "hello, Vlad and Flowers".

Next, they meet up at the Hunedoara Castle where they hear more stories including one where the security guard let in a band of Satan worshipers who performed their dark rituals. Well, clearly he didn’t think it was all that sinister since he let them in. But of course Zak and Nick make it out to be the opening of the gates of hell and it definitely means it’s demonic.

Next we have little imp and tour guide Anca who gives all sorts of tidbits to the American tourists about how haunted the place is and how much torture took place there. But then again, she is trying to sell tickets and bump up that tourism, so what else is she gonna say?

The guys investigate the place with Zak going into the cell/pit where Vlad was supposedly kept for a year. They capture what they believe is some women laughing (witches I’m sure) and then Aaron begins to have massive pains in his chest. After he gets mad at everyone over his "Charlie horse" Zak thinks he might be having a heart attack. Clearly that’s not it, it’s the work of evil spirits.

They next to go to the Chapel where the Satan Worshipers did their "messed up" rituals in the Chapel. So Nick lights a bunch of candles in a circle and lays down on the floor asking someone to blow them out. Then scary things happen and they hear a door creak. It’s Vlad!!

To add to their mysterious stay in the Castle and to emulate the feeling from the Dracula novel they claim something is making it to where they don’t want to leave.

But they overcome and visit an actual descendant of Vlad Tepes, Princess Brianna Caradja, who tells a story of making contact with Vlad. While using a Ouija, she makes contact and the spirit spells out Vlad. Odd, the Ouija is claimed by so many to be a surefire way to open a portal to hell and bringing forth demons you can’t possibly control. Yet, Zak doesn’t seem to chastise her. He was all manner of distraught in the Exorcist House, but doesn’t say anything here. Hmm. Don’t want to tempt the wrath of a descendant of Vlad eh?

Oh, nearly forgot, Zak decides to make a wild connection and say the word "flower" they heard in Targoviste has to mean the flowers in the garden where they talk to Princess Brianna. Obviously, that’s what it means. It couldn’t mean anything else, right?

It should come as no surprise that when the investigation is over the decree the entire area of Romania haunted. Every square inch. The spirit of Vlad permeates every nook and cranny of the place. Well, not quite that bad, but they do say it’s extremely haunted and charged with energy. We all knew they would say that even before the episode aired.

I don’t think Romania is any more haunted than any other place that has seen it’s share of death and war. The people of Romania are superstitious and believe in legends as part of their daily lives. Plus, they are steeped in the mystery that surrounds Bram Stoker and Dracula. And clearly they take advantage of that tourism dollar. It’s no surprise that everything is shrouded in the legend and over time people just come to believe that those stories are true. You can say the same thing about Savannah and New Orleans. It happens all over the place.

All that being said, I thought this was a great place to visit and show off, but this investigation was pretty damn cheesy.

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Ghost Mine – Town Wide Terror – S02E09

image In this episode we have quite a few things going on and multiple investigations across different locations. When we last left things, RIPA was having a seizure and almost kicked Jay off the platform. For the moment they ditch that idea until they can get RIPA back under control.

Work continues and as Jamol and Greybeard gather some ore samples, they hear that all too familiar phantom tinging of workers.

As Kristen plots out all the locations of the paranormal sightings she discovers they all form straight lines. Basically, the lines go from town up to the mine. With that in mind Patrick and Kirsten enlist the help of Ashton to help with a town wide investigation. What they discover is a strange glitch that starts in town and moves across every camera they have. It doesn’t stay in town either, that same "static" moves across every camera as it makes it’s way down the mine shaft.

Their investigation also yields some sort of shadow figure on the dredge and multiple loud bangs as Ashton is watching the monitors.

If working a single location isn’t enough, Stan takes Kristen to Arizona to investigate the Octave mine. It apparently has a paranormal past and many speak of the Blue Devil of Octave. Stan and Kristen head into the mine which looks like it’s ready to collapse and make friends with a snake. But while inside they hear the sound of rocks falling and the sound of miners working. The mine has been abandoned for years. They also find depictions of what we should assume is the Blue Devil. It’s a face with horns sketched into the mine tunnel walls. Perhaps those miners attributed the noises they heard to the Blue Devil.

Back at the Crescent, Patrick consults with a geologist about the surrounding area. Dennis lets them know there is a lot of quartz in the area and quartz very easily holds energy. It’s very easy to set in motion and to get a frequency out of it.

With all of this new evidence coming at them, they finally get RIPA fixed so they can check out the new mine shaft they’ve cleared. To their surprise there’s a bulkhead. Someone has sealed off yet another part of the mine.

Some very interesting things going on here. Is there really some entity moving through the length of town that causes the odd glitch on the camera? Is there something to all the quartz in the area and it’s ability to store energy that causes the paranormal events? Is this new mine someone related to the Crescent up in Oregon or did we just see the first couple scenes of the spin-off series?

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Whitechapel Season 4

image I just finished watching the latest season of Whitechapel from the BBC and it was every bit as dark and ominous as the other seasons and then some. The whole crew is back again to face some very nasty foes such as a killer that is mimicking the deaths from the Salem Witch Trials complete with adding more weight until he gets a confession and burning at the stake.

We also have several stories about the teams personal side, such as Kent’s twin sister, Buchan’s new book and the unusual woman he meets at the book signing and multiple instances of DI Chandler in some putrid settings that make his OCD become nearly debilitating. Then again, if I was covered in raw sewage I can’t say my reaction would be much different.

This was a pretty dark series that had some very unusual storylines and some very interesting references to history. We even get the idea that Whitechapel may be sitting on a gate to hell, that’s why so many bad things happen out there. There is a pretty big supernatural element to this season and most of the team finds themselves dealing with their own personal demons in some way.

It was a pretty compelling season. I certainly hope there’s another one coming.

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Ghost Adventures – Thornhaven Manor – S08E10

image For this episode the guys head out to Indiana to investigate Thornhaven Manor, a scrawling house that is being consumed by the surround weeds and bushes. As Zak says, nature is wrapping her hands around this place and is pulling it back into the ground. It once looked quite stunning, but now it’s simply overgrown.

Simon Powell was the original owner and his daughter Lizzie apparently died in the house when she was just 2 years old. But Lizzie isn’t the only death. There is also the reported murder of Rueben Bailey who was poisoned with rat poison. The details of the event remain rather vague.

The main reports involve the sound of a loud scream and footsteps. At first, things seem a little dubious as the scream is attributed to nothing more than the squealing brakes of a passing car. And considering the growth and water damage, it seems like the footsteps and other sounds would come from the settling house and animals. Zak seems a little discouraged if you ask me. There is even a large glowing cold spot that turns out to be water damage on the floor.

But Zak forges ahead to try and make lemonade. They too hear footsteps in the house and in one of the rooms the camera seems to have a hard time focusing on things as though someone is walking in front of the camera. They believe they make contact with Lizzie and also someone named Emily.

In trying to make contact with Lizzie, they bring in their device laden teddy bear that immediately starts to go off as though someone is really playing with that bear. Not too long after this they hear the sound of rocks being thrown. Is Lizzie trying to pelt them with stones?

Another usual spot in the house is right at the top of the stairs. As Zak reaches this spot his walkie talkie turns on and stays on. At the same time, there is a shadow figure in the room next to them. This is also the location where they capture a mist like image with the IR still camera. I have to say the mist is a hard one to define. I’ve done plenty of photography and tons of things can show up mist. Shooting photos at night can be tricky business and even the most mundane things can come across as supernatural or otherworldly. In conjunction with the mist they capture what Zak believes is the ball of energy associated with Lizzie. Again, the ball of energy or orb is tricky business. It’s really hard to confirm or debunk that one.

While this is an interesting house, I get the feeling it’s nothing more than an old house that’s rotting away. It’s obviously damaged as hell, so they footsteps are most likely animals or rotting wood. The scream was debunked as a car. The mysterious cold spot was water on the boards. We also have orbs and mists that you can take as you see fit.

From my viewpoint, the main evidence is the EVP work for Lizze and Emily and even that isn’t all that substantial. There is also the bear which is pretty cool. But when you take all this stuff together and remove the dubious evidence I really don’t think there is too much that makes this house haunted. It certainly has the right look and there are plenty of sounds out there, but even with it’s past I’m not sure it has the goods.

What do you think?

Thornhaven Manor

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