Ghost Adventures – The Star of India – S12E06

image It’s time for a nautical investigation aboard the Star of India, a ship that has been in service or at least on the water since 1863. The ship is named after it’s first port of call, India, and has sailed around the world more than a dozen times. (Actually, the ship was named, Euterpe and later renamed to Star of India). During those adventures there have been some causalities most notably military McBarnett who slit his own throat while on board, John Campbell, a boy who stowed away, but while working to pay for his passage, plummeted to his death and a crew member who got caught up in the anchor chains.

Those who work on the ship claim to see shadow figures, feel the presence of someone watching over them, footsteps and the sound of voices. They also feel the cold hand of John Campbell. A different John claims he saw a man in a top hat and was pushed by someone unseen. Others say they feel someone touch them on the back as though playing a game of tag. They believe this to be the young boy John Campbell. There are also rumors involving previous members of the crew who may have been indecent with some of the passengers, although we don’t get a lot of detail about that.

In a somewhat hush-hush aside interview, Zak is encouraged to use low tech styles of investigation. The speaker, who doesn’t want to identify himself, says others have had better luck that way. Why is this guy so covert about giving Zak details? Nevertheless, Zak takes him up on the advice. This may have just been a way to segue to haggle over a compass.

The investigation starts with Zak in McBarnett’s cabin, or rather the first mates cabin where he committed suicide. In short order Zak feels disoriented as though the ship is rocking on the high seas. In conjunction with this we have the sound of what Zak feels is a doorknob turning and possibly the sound of girl calling out. He believes he picks up a voice saying, "no… I just gave up."

Taking the advice to keep their investigation tools simple, they piece together an electroscope. As Zak, Billy and Aaron gather round, they feel a cold chill and once again have the sensation that the boat is rocking. They have been getting responses from what they feel is John Campbell. However, when they take out the Ovilus, they don’t get childlike responses. Instead, they pick up the words Akasha and Devil. This isn’t what Billy expected. It’s also during this part that the strips of aluminum in the electroscope drift apart even though only for a split second.

When they travel back to the first mates cabin they bring out the SLS camera and pick up a small stick figure in front of Zak. But again, the Ovilus offers up words that wouldn’t come from a child. They get, slave, contrition, grace and funeral. They believe the military captain is asking for help and while doing a quick spot of research over contrition, Jay finds a prayer called the Act of Contrition. He decides to offer up this prayer and upon their departure from the ship, the camera captures what they feel is a light orb moving at the height suggestive of the captain. The team takes this as a positive sign that perhaps they have given the captain some closure or release.

It’s interesting that Zak mentions McBarnett as that name is not associated with the Star of India. You can find repeated story after repeated story about a man getting injured in the anchor chain (although he is never given a name) as well as mentions of John Campbell. The articles I saw mention the actual ships captain, John Storry who died on board and was buried at sea. It surprises me this other suicide isn’t mentioned with all the other legends.

Funny thing, as you look up information about this ship, it’s the same three stories with exceptionally vague details. You would think that a boy crushing himself to death from a massive fall, a crewman getting mangled to death in the anchor chains and a military captain slitting his throat, getting saved by the ships doctor, then tearing out the stitches because he really wanted to die would be a little better documented. You would think the captain would write some pretty exacting details considering those in charge might want some answers.

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Paranormal Lockdown – Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum – S01E01

image It’s been quite awhile since we last saw Nick Groff and even longer since we saw Katrina Weidman. At first, I couldn’t place the name, but as soon as the show started, she is easily recognizable from her time on Paranormal State with Ryan Buell. Now the two have partnered up with a slightly new take on the Ghost Adventures lockdown. They will spend 3 consecutive days within the location, documenting and recording their experiences. For their first outing the head back to the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum, perhaps the most recognizable and perhaps largest paranormal location.

Even though she’s done her share of investigations, this is Katrina’s first experience with Trans-Allegheny and things get off to an usual start. Before they’re even set up, Nick says he sees a dark figure in the corner and within the Women’s Auxiliary building, they feel something is watching them and believe they pick up a voice.

Lots of groups have been to this location to investigate and there is no shortage or terrible tales to tell. Considering the state of mental health facilities, it’s hard not to believe them. One such account comes from a former employee who talks about the violent patients of Ward F. She relays the story of two men who were hung and then beaten in an unprovoked attack. The two victims had the mental capacity of children which makes you wonder why they were mingling with such dangerous men. Perhaps overcrowding forced them together.

As they start in Ward F, Nick brings out a new device called the Geobox. It’s an all in wonder box that contains EMF, Ovulis and vibration detection. When they give it a test it comes back with the words, Nick and Come with us. Who knows if this thing works or not, but it looks pretty neat.

On the 4th floor, Nick picks up some words that confirm they are scared of the dark. The investigation is just getting started, but it’s the end of the first night. Since they are locked in, they’ll spend the night within the asylum. Nick will make camp on the 4th floor where he saw the shadow on his last visit and Katrina will stay in Ward F where the murder took place. Sleeping in the middle of all that would be unsettling.

The next day is a visit to the Women’s Auxiliary and the morgue. Katrina feels pain and pressure in her chest. They hear footsteps as though someone is walking. As they use the Geobox, they pick up the phrases, hello, don’t say a word, no and I’m telling you. At first listen it sounds like the voices are in conflict with each other. In order to see if the voices have an intelligence, Katrina says that if they can repeat her name, they’ll leave the room. And so the box gives out the word Katrina.

On the previous visit, Nick put himself into the morgue storage, so Katrina does the same to see what she will experience. She is treated to quite a few bangs and knocks.

Some other familiar faces show up to help with the investigation, namely Amy Bruni and Adam Berry. Amy was a regular on Ghost Hunters, so this is turning into a paranormal reunion. As Adam and Amy take a tour around the place, they do some EVP work and pick up the phrase "Hello Adam". And as Nick and Katrina are investigating, the cameraman let’s known his concern that there is some dark mass moving right behind them. Neither Katrina nor Nick, see, hear or feel anything, but the cameraman is sure he saw something and points to something moving on his screen.

It’s pretty interesting to see Nick at the reins of a new show and going a little bit further with the lockdown approach. It’s a bit disappointing they didn’t investigate, or at least we didn’t see them tour the grounds during the day. Considering Nick got some activity as soon as he walked in the door he should have followed up on that.

It would have also been interesting for them to document just what kind of noises and what sort of atmosphere the place has during the daylight hours. Do they hear the same knocks and bangs? Would they still get EVPs in Ward F and other locations if they asked question during the regular operation hours of the facility? Very few have gone that route and Nick had a real opportunity to give it a try. Maybe nothing happens during that time but it would have been interesting to see that they tried.

There is no doubt this asylum is eerie and strange. With all the stories being told and with the building in it’s pretty derelict condition, it’s no wonder you can have all sorts of experiences within it’s walls. But let’s not forget, visiting this site is part of a business and it wouldn’t pay if people said your haunted attraction wasn’t haunted.

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Ghost Adventures – Chinese Town of Locke – S12E05

image For this episode, Zak and team head to Locke, California, established in 1915 as a town built by the Chinese for the Chinese. Like other towns of the period, it developed a rough reputation of gambling, prostitution, opium dens and even the Tong mafia. But to be honest, most of these stories are legands. If you listen, the words, "the story goes" or "I believe" preface each one. The only story with supporting evidence is the cheat shot by George Shin. There is a newspaper article documenting the event. While the other stories could be true, there is nothing that says they are.

To get some background they talk with Clarence who doesn’t want to talk about the Tongs or the supposed violence of years gone by. He isn’t too forthcoming about the paranormal.

Next is Ellen, who claims she channeled a girl killed upstairs in the opium den. Ellen claims she was shoved while talking to the girls and has received information about the working girls getting overdosed and their bodies dumped in the river. Right on cue, Ellen claims she feels dizzy. At the same time Jay has two sets of red marks appear on his neck that Zak claims is someone trying to choke him. Following suit, Aaron begins to freak out, feel ill and wants to run away.

In the Tong building, they interview Evan who claims he was pushed as well. As they talk, right after Evan says the word Tong, they hear footsteps.

At the Star Theatre, Yovita, a volunteer for the town, claims she saw a woman resonating light and heard singing in the theater. That night they meet with Dustin, an owner of the worst Chinese restaurant around and longest resident of the area. In a very lighthearted and almost dismissive way, he says he believes in the stories about the town and that there are ghosts. Again, the only story to be confirmed is the shooting of a man trying to steal from the casino.

The final interview comes with Martha who is a bit frustrated with the town because they only focus on the Chinese history of the area. She says there is more to the history and it should be recognized. OK, fair point, but we then have someone who doesn’t want to be identified saying that Martha is certifiable and he has seen dark energy swirling around town. He’s seen evil manifest itself within people. We almost have the accusation that Martha is causing the negative energy and events in the town because she’s a non-believer.

As we start the investigation we have Dylan Dryer from the Today Show come on board. To begin, they bring out the Ovilus and SLS camera to take readings. They get, "killed, female, bet, be careful and I’m dead" as responses to different questions and actions. On the SLS camera, Dylan captures a stick figure in the window. When Zak asks for a name, he claims to hear, "It’s the Devil".

Zak then asks Dylan to investigate the top of the casino, the supposed lair of the opium den. To put it mildly, she is freaked out. Of course there are sounds of footsteps and flickering balls of light.

The guys continue the investigation on their own. Aaron and Billy head to the theater to try and hear Mei Ling sing. They gets some lights on the Rem Pods, but no actual singing. There is a squeak or two on the box, but no conversations. Zak goes over to the school where nothing really happens. He takes a recorder over to the Tong building, which asks questions in Cantonese, but no responses.

If there is any activity it seems to be within the casino. However, they certainly don’t get pushed, there is no singing, no cries of help from from the working girl in an opium den or anything else that would be solid evidence. And although Dylan gets freaked out, that’s not evidence. That is simply a reaction to walking around a strange building at night after you’ve been told there is dark energy around.

We are seeing a lot more orbs these days, but you have to judge what those are. The building is old and falling in on itself, as we hear Billy say, which explains the footsteps. The captured voices are interesting, but I don’t have the greatest level of confidence in how they’re captured. Further, didn’t see this mysterious dark energy the off-camera voice talked about. If the place is so haunted, where is that?

I also don’t feel these witnesses are all that reliable. Martha seems like a scapegoat and the townspeople seem at odds with each other. Is that jealousy? Anger?

When all is said and done, the evidence is sort of interesting, but it doesn’t really seem to support Locke as a wildly haunted town. Odd, yes, haunted, no.

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Ghost Adventures – Return to the Riviera – S12E04

image It took me a few minutes to understand why this was a "return" to the Riviera until I noted they visited in Season 6. For that episode they were trying to make contact with Frank Sinatra. If you recall, they were with Vince Neil and Frank Sinatra’s personal pianist. But times have changed and the hotel is quite literally ready to collapse, whether it wants to or not.

It’s scheduled for demolition and has been gutted of everything of value. It’s nothing but a rubbish filled skeleton and from what Zak says, this is the last investigation inside the hotel.

On their previous visit, they were focused on mob connections to the hotel. For this episode they’re all but obsessed with the dark energy surrounding people who come to Vegas to commit suicide. There is the story of a woman who just months ago leapt to her death from one of the rooms. She met with a very gruesome end which they have no hesitation in showing. On the cement is the sand put out to soak up and cover the incident. Then we have these over dramatized scenes that all but make this suicide attempt look sensual.

Moving past that, Zak has the idea of asking strangers of the street to come and join in the investigation. They are put on different floors and given the chance to walk around and experience the energy. There are some bumps, the sound of what might be a door closing, Victoria feels something walk past her and perhaps a man’s voice. All the guest investigators feel something is lingering in the hotel.

Then Zak and team move in, but they have their own little guest which is Sophie. This is Billy’s dog who roams around the hotel with a camera attached. An interesting idea to be sure, and she end up getting anxious and growling at the same time Billy says he feels some sort of static energy. Aaron and Billy bring out the Ovilus and get the words, "observe", "saw" and Veronica".

In a different part of the hotel, Zak enters the room where the woman jumped. He feels a strong energy coming from it. But before they can get inside, the door mysteriously locks them out. It also mysteriously unlocks itself a few minutes later. They take note that the window is still wide open.

Inside, they pick up the words, "I jumped" and "you feel me". On the exterior camera there appears to be something dark in the vicinity of where this woman took her life.

Down on the casino floor, Zak feels cold spots and believes he captures a figure walking.

Like the previous investigation it really doesn’t feel like they capture much. Clearly the windows are open so a door closing wouldn’t be all that shocking. Not to mention the utter disarray of the place. Noises from the ceiling falling or animals running around would be common. A door getting stuck from expanding wouldn’t be that surprising. Zak and Billy can feel all the strong energy and static sensations they want, that doesn’t seal the deal of paranormal activity. And after getting their guests all hyped up and repeatedly using the word "isolation", I have no doubt they were all worked up and after bumbling around in the dark crashing into walls, who knows what they were feeling.

There is no doubt that Vegas has seen some dark times, from a mob perspective as well as people hitting rock bottom as they gamble more than they can cover. You can’t deny people have taken their lives in those rooms, but is it seething with energy as Zak tries to make it out? Doesn’t feel like it. It’s a hotel that seen both good and bad times. Their evidence is really open to interpretation. It’s interesting just like it was the first time around, but like that time, it’s a tepid investigation.

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