The Unexplained – Hauntings

This absorbing A&E program profiles three families who are certain that specters and other strange phenomena inhabit their homes. From a Midwest clan that enlists a ghostbuster to a Pennsylvania family followed by spirits to 11 different houses, these stories could turn doubting Thomases into believers. On the other hand, skeptics may prefer to accept the logical explanations of historians, psychologists and a prize-winning physicist.

The tales of the paranormal really aren’t all that intriguing and for the most part it’s nothing more than odd sounds and bumps in the night. I suppose a ghostly stalker that follows you to each house you move to is kind of interesting. However, some of the evidence and claims border on the absurd. I forget his name but the debunker now turned investigator, who is apparently now a sensitive had me laughing. His talking about ectoplasm seems ridiculous and made the whole idea of paranormal investigation seem cheesy and foolish. As soon as he made his comment about it all I could think of was “He slimed me!” from the Ghostbusters movie.

I’ve seen the footage before but the last story with the fellow who has a cabin in the woods and all the unusual things that show up when he takes pictures of his kids had me shaking my head. I do a lot of photography and everything present in his pictures looks like dust, bugs, a dirty lens and just plain streaks of light that do odd things on a long exposure. Even his video footage looks like nothing more than lightning bugs flying around.

Apart from the stories is the amusing commentary from the believers and the skeptics. I have to say, both sides throw out some real whoppers as to explanations. I can believe they say some of these things with a straight face, it’s so far fetched.

But anyway, don’t expect much here. You won’t be on the edge of your seat with anticipation and excitement. More likely you will be laughing and shaking your head like I was.

The Unexplained – Hauntings

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A Haunting in Connecticut

In this unnerving docudrama, the Parker family is elated to move into their dream house — only to discover artifacts suggesting the home was once a funeral parlor. After finding coffin keys, toe tags and a big freezer in the cellar — and the children see an apparition — the desperate Parkers seek the expert help of the Warrens, a couple who investigated the famed Amityville case. The cast includes Vanessa Lock, Rod Pearson and Brett Fleisher.

NOTE: This text refers to the docudrama of A Haunting in Connecticut, not the Hollywood production that was released in 2009. When that movie becomes available I’m sure I’ll be posting more.

Just like the Amityville case, here we have a family who gets a deal on a house they can’t refuse. Their 14 year old son is being treated for cancer and the Parker’s need to be closer to the hospital. After searching they come across a house with rent that is too cheap to be believed. It has plenty of space and is convenient to the hospital. The Parker’s learn the house was a former funeral home and the basement still has much of the equipment left behind. They need the space and they need the location so they agree to not tell anyone about the house’s past. So they move in and try to cope with their son’s illness.

Paul and his brother move into the basement. It doesn’t take them long to figure out their room is the former morgue. What begins to happen is the children claim to see apparitions, hear noises and voices and feel the presence of someone in the house. As time goes by the kids can’t sleep, they leave all the lights on in the basement, and don’t want to be left in the house alone.

The parents see a change in Paul as he becomes aggressive, withdrawn and moody. Eventually his outbursts and unpredictable behavior force the parents to commit him to a hospital for his own sake and for everyone else in the house. He claims that now he is out of the house the spirit will start to go after them.

At this point, the floodgates open and all sorts of bizarre events happen. The rest of the family begins to feel the presence. The father claims his truck drove itself into the construction office he was working at. Mom claims an entity attacked her in the shower. A niece who is staying with them feels attacked in her bed. She claims her rosary is taken off as she sleeps. They feel cold spots, get pulled, hear voices and the feel the house is trying to hurt one of them.

After a priest doesn’t offer much help to calm their fears, Ed and Lorraine Warren are called out to see what they can do. They feel the house needs to be exorcised. The Warren’s bring out a team to help document the events taking place in the house. Ultimately a priest comes to exorcise the house, but the Parker’s decide they need to get away from it and promptly move out.

I don’t mean to be insensitive to anyone who is trying to cope with a child who has cancer but it’s hard to believe anything about this story. You basically have a family who is dealing with a boy who is facing his own death. Who knows what kind of mental state he is in and there is no doubt that knowing about the morgue would play tricks on the mind. Seriously, a 14 year old boy sleeping in a morgue? His bizarre behavior could be nothing more than the cancer and the medication taking it’s toll on him. Maybe the cancer is affecting his brain in other ways.

But moving past that, there is no evidence at all to support any claim the family is making. Even when the Warren’s and their crew come in, they capture nothing. There is one person who claims he saw such a sinister figure that he left the house and never came back. I find it a little odd that someone who wants to find the paranormal soils himself the first time he sees it and abandons a family who may be in need. Way to go!

While the Warren’s were interviewed for the documentary they say about 30 words and really don’t offer any insight into the events that supposedly took place at the house. Lorraine says she feels something but not much else.

As for the house itself, there is no discovery of a gruesome past, no tales of bad deeds that took place on the property, no crimes committed, no untimely deaths or other injuries to explain these restless spirits. And to my mind simply because a location was a funeral home where the dead passed through doesn’t make it haunted or give it any more cause to be so than anywhere else. The mind certainly associates it with death, but that doesn’t give rise to activity.

This is an interesting tale, but there is very little to support it as being real. The events and activities of Paul can be explained based on his condition, mental state, stress, medication and multiple other factors. As far as the truck crashing into the father’s work office? Where is the police report? Where is the police offer who investigated? Where is the CSI who determined the cause of the crash?

And speaking of where people are, where are Paul and his father during this story? Neither of them are represented in the interview. Mom, the younger brother and the niece tell their accounts, albeit shrouded in darkness so no one can see their faces, but the two people at the center of the events are strangely absent.

Just like the Amityville Horror, there is plenty story making to be had and lots of pieces you can create on your own, but as for being grounded in fact all I can say is, a distressed mind can conjure up all sorts of things.

An interesting story, but one I take with a large grain of salt.

A Haunting in Connecticut

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Ghost Encounters: The Queen Mary

Paranormal investigator Peter James and "Mad Mad House" star Fiona Horne host this exploration into the eerie world of the famed Queen Mary ocean liner, regarded by many as a certified ghost ship. Accompanied by "Mad TV" star Debra Wilson and radio host Frank Sontag, the supernatural sleuths examine the assertions of paranormal activity aboard the ship and search for answers to the spiritual mysteries surrounding it.

After watching such epic failures as America’s Most Haunted Inns and America’s Most Haunted Town starring the half-baked Cathe Curtis, I thought things couldn’t get any worse. I guess that goes to show you, things can always get worse. And this time it presents itself in the form of Ghost Encounters: The Queen Mary.

I was only able to sit through half of this wretched program before I had to turn it off. I really have no idea what the hell they were trying to do, but whatever it was, the stupidity of it all pushed me away.

Peter James strolls through the Queen Mary giving a small amount of insight into the ship’s history with supposed hauntings and paranormal activity. Despite the fact that there is no evidence to support his claims, Peter then breaks off with yelling "Hello" to different parts of the ship and claiming to hear responses. Shrouded in almost total darkness he claims to be channeling the ships captain who says he will talk more if they meet again by the pool.  Should we break for sandwiches as well?

And that’s when I turned it off. This show is completely absurd and I don’t know whether Peter is trying to be overly dramatic in the way he talks or if he’s having some sort of respiratory issue, but his commentary is grating to say the least. Since there is nothing to see or hear they try to build tension by tilting the camera at odd angles, blurring the images and shaking the footage. It’s all stupid theatrics and after 20 minutes I was wondering just what the heck they were supposed to be up to.

But I couldn’t take it anymore. It’s was far too juvenile to watch. This entire production comes across as a complete joke. I couldn’t tell if they were trying to be serious or not. We won’t go into the out of place co-host or sidekick radio personality who try miserably to offer their insight and two cents worth into the conversation.

A bad DVD and a huge waste of time.

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America’s Most Haunted Town

New Hope, Pennsylvania, just may be the most haunted city in America. Residents report unexplainable goings-on left and right, from strange incidents to frightful sightings that have left a searing impression on their psyche. Is the place truly a hotbed of paranormal activity? Join this documentary’s spiritual investigators and see for yourself the ghosts and spirits who’ve made New Hope their home.

Had I known who was behind this DVD I never would have rented it. Its Cathe Curtis stumbling around in a complete rehash of the footage shot for “America’s Most Haunted Inns.” I think there’s maybe one segment different between the two.

Once again we hear stories that are perhaps some of the weakest examples of paranormal around, and see Cathe pointing out dust bunnies and claiming they are part of the spirit world.

It’s all just rubbish. This is a ridiculous DVD and a complete waste of time. Based on the extremely flimsy stories, I don’t see how they claim New Hope as the most haunted city. Maybe it is, but nothing in this DVD supports that claim.

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