Paranormal Challenge – Old South Pittsburgh Hospital – S01E08

Here we have another exciting episode in a hospital shrouded in dark history and medical blunders. We have a doctor with a wife that’s murdered, he doesn’t account for his whereabouts and the police drop the investigation against him. We have a child who dies at a young age after being bitten multiple times by copperhead snakes. (This is an urban legend isn’t it?) We also have a maintenance worker who commits suicide on the property, but says he’ll be back.

I’m extremely excited over the judges since we have Ron Fabiani of Paranormal Cops. I liked that show and I liked his method. I like the way he used measurable criteria and his logical approach. I still think his show had a lot of potential. I’m also excited about having Dr. Andrew Nichols, a parapsychologist. His analysis and insight about EVPs and other evidence is so refreshing to hear.

As for the teams, we have Tennessee Wraith Chasers and the Office of Paranormal Studies who are ready to scour this hospital and see if they come up with evidence. So how does it go for them and what do they come away with?

The teams start off quite well, but we have the blunder of Brandon from OPS who goes off the basement for a solo mission and forgets the digital recorder. He was off on his own for around an hour and a half and doesn’t actually stop to do any real investigating. Not only did he forget the recorder, he spends all his time antagonizing. He doesn’t stop to listen. The other gaff comes from Debbie when she starts to get frustrated at the lack of activity and starts throwing her hands up in the air and saying, "this sucks". She shows a definite lack of leadership and patience. I think she soured her team and drained their energy.

The Tennessee Wraith Chasers come across as a bunch of good ol’ boys and while they seem to know what they’re doing, they lack a certain level of organization. Their investigation is haphazard and doesn’t have a logical flow to it. They also don’t seem all that interested in stopping to capture EVPs. They run into a spot, say a couple things, then act like a bull at the gate to move on. Perhaps they were excited, perhaps overzealous, but in the end, their investigation seemed frantic.

What do we have in evidence? In actually it’s somewhat limited. They both present EVPs that are pretty low quality. I do like how Dr. Nichols is reminding everyone of how saying what you think and EVP says biases everyone else who listens to it. They are all expecting to hear that same phrase and will adjust their interpretation to match. The other evidence is a light source near the tricycle. It’s somewhat interesting, but I’m inclined to agree with Ron and say that is an IR reflection. At any rate, it’s not the sort of evidence that leaps out at you.

It was a good investigation, but to me the best part was listening to Dr. Nichols. He very clearly states that people hear what they want to hear and that when interpreting evidence you can’t jump to conclusions. He stresses there is a lot bias at play and people need to guard against it. I’d love to see him show up in more episodes and I’d be keenly interesting in learning more from him.

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Paranormal Challenge – Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum – S01E07

This is another location I absolutely love. The Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum is so vast and is in such a state that just looking at it instills you with fear. But, the fear of this location is real. Some of the worst medical procedures you can think of took place here. As you watch the opening footage of the lobotomies, you can’t help but feel queasy at the horrid treatment people must have suffered here. So many lives lost and ruined. Plus, this is one of the few places that actually seems to live up to its reputation by continually presenting evidence that makes you think.

For this episode, we have the gents from Appalachee Paranormal against the ladies of GALS Paranormal. The only part that really bothers me about all this is Chris Flemming. I have so many issues with that guy and the snake oil he’s selling. But that aside, how did these teams do and what did they add to the history and legend of this place?

I’m very excited that once again we see two teams that have their act together. They know how to investigate, they know how to use the equipment, they don’t spend all their time bickering and acting like juveniles. Both teams have an understanding of the place and put forth their best effort.

As far as evidence goes, they unfortunately present some of the same material we’ve seen before. I really think it’s time to move past the orbs. In a place so run down and abused as this, the chances of capturing something other than dust is pretty remote. As far as the audio evidence, we once again see a team commit one of the classic blunders. They unfortunately recorded themselves and presented it as evidence. One of the women from GALS is captured saying, "Oh, Ow, Ow, my knees" and this is offered up as a paranormal EVP. It was a simple mistake, but I think it shows that you have to be extremely careful with EVP evidence. Any noise, any movement, any shuffling or walking can be picked up and give you a false positive. I think this is a good lesson that not everything out there is paranormal.

Is the photo of a figure standing against the wall a solid piece of evidence? Is this a trick of light? Is it wishful thinking? Do we have a case of matrixing? Or, is this the energy of one of the patients leaning against the wall?

I thought this was a great episode. The teams did well and we got to see more of one of my favorite places. I only wish the evidence could have been stronger.

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Paranormal Challenge – Waverly Hills Sanatorium – S01E06

I will admit right off the bat that I think Waverly Hills is one of the creepiest places out there. If the stories are true, it has got to have one of the most overwhelming histories of sadness and death. Thousands of people died from disease. Other died of hopelessness. And still others took their lives out of desperation. To open as a state of the art hospital and then decline into a storage site for those waiting to die is tragic. So if something is out there, if spirits linger in a place of sorrow and misery, this very well could be the place.

For this episode we have the all female team of EPIC Paranormal investigating against the all male team of Dark Alley Paranormal. I was less than impressed with last week’s episode and the teams presented. But these teams actually seem to know what they’re doing. Dark Alley makes some mistakes by standing around and leaning against the walls too much, but each team comes across as well organized, understands how to use the equipment, understands the history and nobody loses any equipment.

As far as evidence goes we have the usual suspects of orbs and some garbled EVPs. Orbs are of little value and the EVPs are pretty useless. The loud bangs that Dark Alley Paranormal hears in the body chute are very interesting. However, are they legitimate bangs being made by spirits or is that just the sound of the building creaking and settling as it cools in the night? Further, could that be some animal digging around and making a burrow? Unfortunately we can’t tell and Dark Alley didn’t run toward the noise to do more investigation.

They also missed an opportunity when they hear loud moans in the building. I agree it was so pronounced it could have been coming from people outside, but they didn’t follow up on it. They didn’t investigate that noise and instead just kept walking. I think that was a terrible mistake. They should have gotten to the bottom of that and at least shown some debunking skills.

As for the ladies of EPIC Paranormal they did some great work with showing empathy to nurse who killed herself, they talked about the procedures and what it might have been like to be a patient there, and they go headlong into the body chute. That was seriously some fearless investigating.

Unlike the other teams there wasn’t any petty arguing and bickering. The teams didn’t seem confused and overwhelmed. In fact they came across as really solid investigators. I hope we see more like them in the future.

Again, the evidence was light, but I think Waverly Hills is the epitome of spooky and I really enjoyed watching these teams investigate this site.

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Paranormal Challenge – Western Virginia Penitentiary – S01E05

Zak heads out to West Virginia Penitentiary where Northeastern Spirit Society will compete against West Virginia Paranormal. West Virginia Penitentiary is an incredibly violent place with murder, suicide and riots. Even the Department of Corrections knew the place had issues. So how will these teams fair in finding evidence? Or as we’ve come to see, will they even find evidence?

First we have Northeastern Spirit Society who already sound like a bunch of goofs that argue more than they work together. And that’s just during their team intro. Once again the attitude is completely unnecessary and just doesn’t need to be there.

When it comes to the investigation these teams start making the usual amateur mistakes. West Virginia Paranormal gets lost and can’t find the psych ward and Jordan needs to ditch the damn gum. Who the hell chews gum when you’re on television? And watching these teams in action is boring. Do something more than just call out names.

Also, both teams make way too much damn noise while they work. They constantly talk and yell, "did you hear that" whenever something happens. They never just sit quietly to ask questions or get a sense of the noises that regularly occur. There was talk of some baseline measurements, but they don’t really seem to adhere to that.

Not to put a damper on the event, but to me, the only evidence they captured was the Mel Meter going off. Sure, there is a lot of activity when Jordan walks in and out of the cell, but what is that telling us? There are no EVPs to go with that, there is no other physical evidence. Basically you have a beeping box. I find that kind of weak.

As with the other episodes when it comes to the evidence reveal I feel both teams came up short. Northeastern Spirit Society presents two EVPs of "Come in" and "But they’re not" neither of which sounds like anything more than someone walking. I hear no voices there.

Next they offer up and orb and figure in the window. Sorry to offend, but orbs are stupid. As for the figure, how is that anything more than a reflection?

West Virginia Paranormal offers up "Get out prick" and "Because everybody in here is so angry". That second EVP is crap. To say there is a word in there is really reaching.

Their video evidence is just as bad with a mist and footage of the Mel Meter. How can you say footage of the Mel Meter going off is evidence?

Last weeks show gave me hope things were getting better. These two teams are just as clumsy as all the others. And does it seem like this is the first investigation any of these teams have been on? Why do they seem so confused? Why do they make so many mistakes? Why is it that every bump and bang has them freaking out and yelling "did you hear that?"

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