Ghost Adventures – The Copper Queen Hotel and The Oliver House – S06E03

I was very excited for this episode since I’m a big fan of Arizona and have been to the very places Zak, Nick and Aaron are investigating. I didn’t stay at either of these locations, but Bisbee is a pretty eclectic town and the legends run pretty deep.

Interestingly, we have two stories we’ve heard many times before. We have a story of lost love, where the woman declares her love, only to be scorned by the married man. She takes her own live by hanging herself in the hallway. I’m not sure why she would come out of her room to hang herself though. Why so public a display? You would think the pain would be more personal.

There is also the story of the Sheriff that finds his wife with another and shoots up the joint in revenge before ultimately taking his own life. Like so many other stories there isn’t an evidence to support this one. It sounds like a hell of a thing, but there’s nothing to say it really happened. Considering the time and place, it wouldn’t surprise me that such a thing would happen, but this particular yarn doesn’t have any supporting facts.

As far as the claims go, I can’t say that any of them really stand out. Cold spots, people being touched or tugged or seeing a woman in a mirror sounds like claims we’ve heard hundreds of times before. Furniture stacking is interesting, I’m sure Ray and Igon would be impressed, but where is the manager to corroborate the story? There was another guy who saw the whole thing, but strangely, he’s absent.

We all know the greed, lust, envy and general lawlessness that took place in those early miner days, it wouldn’t surprise me to find the city is charged with energy. I didn’t personally experience any, but what do Zak, Nick and Aaron come up with?

As they start their investigation in the Oliver House they come across what the believe is a woman screaming and someone saying, "I’m angry." They also hear the sound of chains being rattled around. One thing we need to keep in mind is that this is a working house complete with plumbing and the sound of rattling pipes could come across as screams, footsteps and even chains. Is the house just settling or is Jakob Marley wandering the halls of the Oliver House?

The second part of the lockdown takes place in the Copper Queen where the prostitute took her life. There is also the spirit of, "Billy", a young boy that seems attached to the hotel. The get some interesting phrases like, "Put down the rope." As Zak comments, is this someone trying to talk the prostitute out of taking her own life? There are also plenty of footsteps all over the place. Again, are these real or the sound of the pipes rattling?

But the big evidence is the shower curtain moving as they try to make talk to Billy. Apparently he gets distressed when the water is running. I discount that he screams when you turn on the water. That happens far too often and definitely sounds like some leaking plumbing.

So what about that curtain? Was it moved by the water? Was it warm air rising out of the tub? Did a spirit get in or out of that tub? I’m not calling fakery of any kind, but if you wanted to make things move it certainly wouldn’t be hard since we don’t see the bottom of the curtain. Just sayin’.

In the end what do we have here? Well, I think these are two pretty cool locations that I would like to go back to and see for myself. I think mining towns like Bisbee are full of wild stories, ill deeds, ruthless characters and misdeeds. Some are based on true events while others have taken on a life of their own. Since these stories are so old and the records so bad, it’s hard to separate fact from fiction. Are these two locations haunted? I think it’s worth looking into some more.

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Ghost Adventures – Peabody Whitehead Mansion – S06E02

For this episode, Zak, Nick and Aaron head out to Colorado to investigate the Peabody – Whitehead Mansion, a location that is supposedly haunted by the spirit of a doctor who lost too many patients during the war and Governor Peabody who ruled over this town with an iron fist, breaking up unions and showing no signs of gratitude for workers of any kind.

Like the previous episode, this one sort of goes all over the place looking for a direction to follow. They start of at the mansion with Phil Goodstein who comes across as a little nuts, a little eccentric, a little overzealous and in desperate search for his 15 minutes of fame. His self-promotion and quoting his own book is annoying to say the least. I’m sure he has a ton of knowledge and information to offer and share, but wow, you just want to run the other direction.

After that meandering diatribe they meet up with Nicole who tells them about a tour she took where the guide talks of a rape and murder. To be honest, this is the stuff of urban legend. I’ve heard dozens of stories where someone is murdered and their body is walled up inside the building or cemented into the foundation. Since this event took place in the 70’s, there should be some sort of record of the crime either with the police, the newspapers or something. This is the part that always seems off to me. Stories like this take on a life of their own and everyone seems to talk about them, but when you go looking for evidence you come up empty. Like with so many other ghost stories, maybe you need to get a nugget of truth before sharing this kind of story with everyone you come across. As I’ve said before, these kinds of story are 99% rumor and have grown in breadth and scope with every retelling.

Did I miss something or did we really not get into the history of this place? It was built by Doctor Whitehead who apparently had a less than spectacular career. It wasn’t something they spent too much time on, but it sounds like he lost far more patients than the saved. And was he haunted by the spirits of the patients he lost or by his own incompetence?

Additionally, there is Governor Peabody who was apparently a badass when it came to dealing with unions. He no tolerance for them and went out of his way to crush them. Ok, so the guy was an asshole and a rich one at that, what were his specific crimes? Did he pay to have people taken out? Did he abuse and beat employees? What did he physically do to them? Sounds like a real prize, but I don’t see where he is responsible for anything. Maybe I missed that.

As we get more of the history of the house we hear another cliche story about the place. How many times have we heard this one? A young woman falls madly in love only to lose her love and pine away. In her ultimate desperation she takes he own life because she simply can’t go on.

To try and find some validity to the stories they’re hearing, the guys go off to the University of Colorado at Denver to talk with Doctor Noel who’s a History Professor at the University. He’s never heard of the stories and doesn’t sound too convinced about them being real. However, he does offer up some information that the local student center might have a checkered past. It used to the Tivoli Brewery and there were some accidents which may have taken some lives. Not too many specifics I’m afraid, but Zak and the gang do a quick investigation there. They pick up what sounds like some voices and some footsteps. Is it really, "get back there"?

The non-nonsensical part of this story involves the wait staff at the local restaurant. The closing of several businesses is blamed on the ghost of Governor Peabody. I’m not sure I understand the rationale here. He didn’t like people so he made these businesses fail by ensuring they ended up with clumsy waitstaff? Uh, what the hell? I’m just not on board with that one.

And then the experiment they try has me baffled as well. They’re going to eat five meals and see if the staff has some sort of experience? Where did this idea come from and what is it going to prove? Let’s see, these people know who you are and what you do, you keep saying "is this weird?", "have you ever done anything like this before", "this might seem odd" and don’t anticipate this will have an impact on a person? Wouldn’t you naturally assume they would then start to think it’s odd, weird and unusual and because of that their mind would start looking for, expecting and experiencing things that aren’t really there? How suggestive can you be?

Nothing against the two waiters, but is it really that unusual to have red hands when working in the kitchen? After all those suggestions are planted into your head you wonder why you feel creepy? Serving five meals to three guys in the dark for no good reason would make me feel weird too. I can’t buy into this experiment at all. I don’t see that it proves a thing.

I also don’t see why they brought UFC Fight Brendan Schaub into the investigation. We’ve seen this kind of silliness from the Ghost Hunters. There’s nothing wrong with the guy and in fact he seems an alright kind of guy, but I don’t get the angle here.

Once the investigation finally gets underway the main focus is to try and find out about the rape and murder. In fact, I would say they’re fixated on it. They try to find out who did the crime and feel they get a voice saying "she was raped". He follows that up with "it is violent here." The voice makes reference to a body being buried by the street and says "found it" when Zak goes to a certain spot of the basement. Interesting to be sure, but have the wound themselves up so tightly that no matter what came across the end result would be the same? Did they expect to hear something like this so that’s exactly what they interpret it as?

The voice follows up with "he’s scared" and when asked "who’s scared" the voice replies with Brendan, the UFC fighter. It’s funny and a little odd. Are they really having a conversation? Are they really getting voices that know about the murderous events and can see that Brendan is a little freaked out? Some parts of this investigation have some validity, others seem absurd.

When all is said and done it’s hard to know what to believe with this one. The events listed here and the same old stories we’ve heard a dozen times before. The details are completely lacking and the investigation is so single-minded that you could have predicted the outcome before it even started. When you build things up like this you’ll hear what you want to hear and you’ll see what you want to see. I think there is a lot of bias here and even crazy Phil has his own agenda going on here.

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Ghost Adventures – Portland Oregon – Shanghai Tunnels – S06E01

So here we are again with a new season of Ghost Adventures and Zak, Nick and Aaron head off to Portland Oregon to investigate the Shanghai Tunnels. Interestingly, these are the same kinds of tunnels that are rumored to be under the streets of Savannah. Unfortunately, the city of Savannah hasn’t turned their tunnels into a tourist attraction. That’s a darn shame too, because if they exist it’s part of their past and they should embrace it rather than trying to gloss over it.

But anyway, in the 1850’s there was a practice of grabbing sailors from saloons and enslaving them on sailing ships. Sailors would drink to much or be drugged and in their inebriated state would be bound, thrown into the tunnels and then whisked out to a waiting vessel. From there, they would be taken far out to sea before they woke up and made their escape. The practice is rumored to have happened in just about every seafaring city out there. Considering the time, the morals and scruples it’s hard to imagine it not being true. A rough fate for a rough trade. So do the spirits of those who didn’t actually make it out onto the boat still haunt the locale?

It takes a hell of a long time before we get to try and answer that question. This episode turns into a longer than normal documentary. There are certainly several stories of ill deeds, but we jump away from the taverns and saloons and turn our attentions to ladies of the night. Zak and the team go for a police ride-along to investigate what they call modern Shanghaiing. I suppose the argument could be made that prostitution is somewhat equivalent, but this whole sideline seems a bit confusing to me. I’m amused that everyone seem to recognize Zak and the show, even the girl being arrested. I’m all for the documentary aspect, but this episode seems to be going in three directions at once.

So what about the evidence? Using the spirit box they claim to get "he fell" and "where are you?" Is someone looking for a victim? Do we agree with the voices in the recorder? Zak also claims to see a female figure in the shadows. However, as they continue to ask questions the voice changes to that of a male. Is Zak being propositioned or did they just pick up a radio station? Could it even be one of the victims? I have to say, Zak seems almost obsessed with the bed in the tunnels and the idea of prostitution. It’s kind of funny, but it does border on an 8 year old doing the investigation.In this area they feel they get a lot of voices talking about getting drunk and being beaten.

As they keep investigation they hear the sound of door opening, unexplained footsteps and then their shadow detector device starts to go off. There is a wispy fog that appear on the camera. Is someone walking through the field? Are the footsteps coming from upstairs? That does make sense, except Hobo’s is closed at the moment. Is it footsteps from another building or perhaps the street? It’s an interesting bit of activity and as Zak states it could be from traffic or something else causing vibrations through the area.

The big evidence capture of the night is on the thermal imager. Zak feels he captures a mass moving across the screen. Is this the outline of a spirit still trapped in the Shanghai tunnels? Is it just an odd shadow on the screen?

It’s hard to deny that the practice of kidnapping people and Shanghaiing them was practiced in this area. It’s also hard to argue that lives were lost as people either tried to fight for their freedom and lost or simply died from neglect. If you’re willing to steal people to make a living, you’re probably not all that concerned with their well being.

Anyway, an interesting piece of history and a very unique side of Portland that I certainly wasn’t aware of. So what do you think? Does the evidence show spirits still trapped down there after being drugged and beaten?

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American Horror Story

If you haven’t been watching American Horror Story you’ve been missing out. Although it started slowly, it’s turned into a show that has the right amount of crazy that keeps you watching and guessing about what’s going to happen next. Jessica Lange is one crazy bitch let me tell you! Beneath that Southern Charm lies a shiv waiting to puncture your kidney!

The show has been slowly developing and each new episode reveals a bit more about the power of the house and the people who lived (and died, the dying part is key) there. Some really bizarre and downright creepy stuff has taken place within those walls. If you’ve been playing along, even the infamous Black Dahlia has ties to the house.

I still find the main characters, Ben and Vivian to be two of the most boring characters I’ve seen in a long time. Ben is a downright idiot. He keeps making the same mistakes over and over again and acts like an arrogant ass. Vivian is a hard to deal with, emotionally distraught wife who’s sticking with Ben for reasons I don’t quite understand. But they aren’t the focal point of the show and I think lifelessness is all part of the grand plan. It’s all the other characters that give the story depth and life, which is ironic considering their current circumstance. Their lives and past are far more interesting than watching Ben have yet another "episode". If nothing else, they’re simply pawns in this game, perhaps at the mercy of the past residents or perhaps even the house itself.

I thought it was a bold move to make a serialized horror story, but these guys have nailed it. It’s a dynamic story that intertwines the past and the present, not unlike Lost. Everyday events have their roots in the past and the people we see today may not be who we think they are. I don’t want to give away all the details of the show because there will be a lot of "Holy shit!" moments as you follow along.

This is some seriously good fun in its own morbid little way.

So who’s been watching? What do you think?

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