Ghost Stalkers – Holmesburg Prison – S01E04

image John and Chad head to Philadelphia to visit the Holmesburg Prison to try their hand at locating yet another portal to the gates of hell. This prison is notorious for it’s riots, overcrowding, fights and for the murder of a warden and deputy warden. The prisoners staged a massive riot and used homemade weapons against their guards. Both men were killed in grizzly fashion. There is also an incident involving at least 4 prisoners who were cooked alive in the basement near the boilers. Story has it the men were locked down there on a hot day as the boilers were set to high. Both sides of the law were a little bit unstable.

As they hear talk of the murder and mayhem, their attention is brought to the Terror Dome which is a circular guard house that offered a view down each prison tunnel. The prison spiders out from this central hub, but John thinks it might be the other way around – the evil and negative energy is focused into the dome.

Like before, Chad starts off with the first solo investigation. And like before, it isn’t long before he’s screaming in terror saying something is out to get him. He’s on the verge of tears and every sound is confirmation they’re in the presence of an evil portal to the other side.

There are the usual bangs and clangs throughout the eerie and echo laden building and Chad’s experience reaches a fever pitch as he screams and jumps at the sound of a cell door and is so stricken with fear, he’s not sure which way to run. Before his solo investigation is over, he’s once again on the verge of hysterics. He may have even crossed over it.

For Jeff’s investigation he’s more calm and sedate like we normally see him. But that doesn’t last for long as he feels something reach out and touch him. He says it feels like the prison is still filled with people. The energy consumes him and soon he’s clutching his chest and stumbling while saying he feels like he’s having a heart attack.

Chad comes to his aid and helps him negotiate his way back out of the dark corridors. Once back at the RV things seem to settle down. But like before, the evidence is shockingly slight. As mentioned, there are the usual bangs one would associate with such an old and large building. They hear footsteps, but that could be anything. The big evidence, is of a cell door closing. Or at least what they feel is the cell door closing. It’s far too heavy to close on it’s own, so it must be the work of evil forces.

There is of course the on cue bang when Chad asks if this is a portal to hell. Take that for what you will. And finally, we have the chest crushing experience Jeff sustained. Did he experience something? Did dark forces reach into his chest? Did lunch come back with a vengeance? Did he really have an issue and he needs to see a doctor? I guess we’ll never know.

Once again we are to ask if this prison has a portal to darkness locked within it’s walls and does the Terror Dome contribute to and perhaps even focus this negative energy? Has the years of suffering and even death culminated in a gateway where evil can easily manifest itself? Was Jeff the victim of one of the prisoners or perhaps even a guard? Did Chad get confirmation to his questions as he was sitting in the vertex of a portal?

Or is this just a creepy and old prison that echoes and creaks in the night? Do the sordid stories of days gone by play tricks on the mind and body? Are these experiences what happen when you let your imagination get the better of you?

Without more evidence it’s hard to say anything sinister is going on here. Sometimes a dome is just a dome.

See more images of Holmesburg Prison

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Ghost Adventures Halloween Special – Ireland’s Celtic Demons

image Despite the debacle of their Halloween episode from a few years back, Zak, Nick and Aaron are out to do another Halloween special, this time in Ireland and not as a live presentation. They have several locations on the agenda including Leap Castle, the Hell-Fire Club, Loftus Hall and the Steward’s House with the Killakee Cat.

Ireland has a lot of lore and superstition. It also has a lot of additional religious beliefs. To start their tour of the countryside they head to a cave believed to be the birthplace of Halloween itself. This is where the spirits would make their way to earth to walk amongst the living. While they have a tour guide and priestess, neither seems to do a whole lot, except give them a blessing. The guys don’t go very far into the muddy cavern, perhaps because it’s too narrow, but we get tales of the mysterious energy in there and Zak drifts off into one of the trances we’ve seen so many times before. It’s a quick trip and they’re off again.

The next stop is Leap Castle which has it’s tales and legends. It was built in 1250 by the O’Carroll clan and was the site of many family despites that ended in bloodshed. One of the most notable gave name to the Bloody Chapel. One of the family members was a priest giving mass in the chapel. His power hungry brother broke in and ran him through with a sword. It’s been told there is a pit where bodies were thrown and left to rot.

This is also a location of the Hell-Fire Club, a group rumored to engage in Satanic rituals and human sacrifice. Their tour guide tells them he has evidence of these rituals still going on including a white circle on the ground and some charred pieces of a book. This where Zak and Aaron will investigate while Billy and Nick will investigate Leap Castle.

The location for the Hell-Fire Club all seems pretty normal, until Aaron feels a negative energy in the place. He begins to warn Zak that danger is upon them and even tries to stop him from going into one of the rooms. In typical fashion, Zak bullies him and shoves his way in. A few minutes later, Aaron is running out of the building like a scalded cat! He believes the hand of Satan grabbed him by the ear. He’s pretty traumatized by the whole incident, quite literally to the point of tears. Despite what Zak says, he once again acts like an asshole and treats Aaron like shit. This from the same guy that has damn near soiled himself a couple of times in recent past.

While Zak and Aaron are cleaning out their drawers, Nick and Billy are doing their own investigation. Even though Sean the owner seem confused as to why they’re visiting, they wander around his castle and begin to talk about their feelings of dread. Billy speaks of pains in his stomach as though someone has punched him and then reached in to twist his intestines around. Certainly couldn’t be any of the food their not used to.

While Billy deals with his pains, Nick gets bold and brave and jumps into the bit where bodies have supposedly been dumped. As expected, he begins to feel overcome and has to focus to keep his wits about him. He further adds that he hears voices and feels a strange energy. There are also more examples of "orbs" flying around the room causing a ruckus.

After Zak and Aaron had their encounter with the ear-pulling devil, they head back down the mountain, but Aaron says they need to stop the 4×4 cart. It’s time for him to have another emotional moment over what just happened. Instead of getting as far away from the place as possible, it’s better to pull over and share some deep feelings. Ah, but wait, there was a reason they chose this exact spot to stop. As Aaron says this is what they do, this is their way of life, a ghostly voice in the night cries out "Nooo".

With that part of the investigation done, they head down to the Steward’s House. Jay has been monitoring the house and hears all sorts of noises and bangs going on. This is the house of the Killakee Cat. It is said not to look into the eyes of the cat painting nor turn the painting upside down as this unleashes a demonic fury. Well, Jay turned the picture upside down. Did he call down the thunder?

Zak heads into the house alone, because it’s more dramatic that way, and begins to use the Spirit Box. As he stands in front of the cat painting he gets a meow out of the box. And when he asks who or what touched Aaron, he gets Satan. Nobody saw that coming did they?

They next head off to Loftus Hall, perhaps the most haunted house in Ireland. It is believed the devil spent the night in the house wherein he seduced a young girl, who then gave birth to the devil’s son. A son that was later killed and buried in the walls of the Tapestry Room. Amazing how many stories end with a body stuffed in the walls.

Despite this story, it was a convent for nearly 70 years. During that time 4 nuns lost their lives. Zak links this all to suspicious circumstances. Not to be rude in any way, but 4 lives in 70 years is incredibly small from a statistical standpoint. Show me a house with people living in it continually for 70 years that hasn’t had accidents? But the house also has religions statues without their heads, so clearly the work of the devil. Certainly not the work of vandals or miscreant youths.

But this is the house with all the excitement. To get the ball rolling they switch over to night vision mode, but there is a small glitch. The lights go out, yet the audio keeps working. This allows us to hear Zak start yelling for no reason. He then mumbles, "get him off the property." It’s then time for Zak to drift off into one of his trances. Nick and Aaron are so concerned about his safety they leave him alone in the room and head back to watch him on the monitors.

They report there is strange banging coming from the tapestry room and Zak arrives in time to record bangs and film balls of light or as I like to call them, bugs. They confirm more orbs on the stairs where a nun fell and passed away. Zak heads to the upper floors where the owner doesn’t let many people go because he feels it’s the most haunted and dangerous. This is where the orbs have lead him, so this is where he has to go.

Zak immediately feels there is someone up there and as he records himself discussing the topic, a door in the background closes slightly. The next minute of conversation is bleeped out because Zak is swearing his head off. He barely raises an eyebrow at Aaron being touched by the devil, but a door moves and he loses his damn mind. Again.

They reconvene downstairs where it’s said the devil came over to play cards. With Kinect camera in hand, they ask if the devil would like to play a hand. To tempt the devil, Aaron has 3 playing cards of the number 6 in his hand even though one of them appears to be missing or blanked out. When Nick smacks the table and says for the devil to join them, a stick figure appears on the camera. It doesn’t take a seat at the table, but rather stands on Aaron’s head. Zak then asks for it to wave it’s arms around and spread it’s legs. Why is he asking the figure to spread it’s legs? What’s he got in mind?

The stick figure then drains all the energy out of Aaron and soon he’s outside throwing up. It appears he’s been touched by the devil twice on this trip. But he survived and lived to tell the tale. Not many can say they danced with the devil on Halloween night. That’s a story to tell the ladies isn’t it?

Quite a trip around Ireland and some strange events. We’ll just skip over most of it and jump to the Kinect camera. Now that was a little unusual. Who knows what it was picking up or if it was just glitching out. Who knows what hackery has been done to that device. I seriously doubt Aaron was actually touched by the devil though. As with all of these episodes so much can be said and so much can be refuted. But they got to hang out in Ireland and play around in castles on Halloween. Got to give them credit for that.


Now raise your hand if you wanted this door to slam shut and bust Zak right in the head?? Now that would have made me believe the devil was in the house.

Other Articles of Interest:

Zozo, Darren Evans, Robert Murch and Darkness Radio – A Zozo Hoax?

image I’m still curious and extremely skeptical of this Zozo phenomenon so I keep reading about. The whole thing seems absurd to me. The Ghost Adventures episode was a total farce, but this Zozo idea seems to be everywhere. In my searches I find that Dave Schrader of Darkness radio invited both Darren Evans and Robert Murch to his show to talk about the Ouija, it’s dangers and the upcoming movie. Both Darren and Robert were featured in that same Ghost Adventures, Zozo episode. And if you recall, Robert didn’t actually say the board would contact the spirit world. He made the statement you would get out what you put into it.

I listened to this show and was quite taken with the comment Robert made. He is a Ouija historian and will soon be the curator of the official Ouija museum. In fact, his knowledge is so vast, that Hasbro goes to him when they have questions about the board and it’s origins. He brought up a slew of interesting facts and he even owns thousands of the boards.

One thing to keep in mind is that the Ouija is hundreds of years old. It’s not something that just popped up as a board game in the 80s. It was a huge part of the Spiritualist movement in the very late 1800s. Bear in mind that figures like Houdini and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle were part of the Spiritualists. It was their belief they could contact the afterlife and the board was a simple way to spell out messages. It never took on a demonic or satanic overtone. That would come from Hollywood and the movies.

It was the Exorcist that pushed the Ouija into a dark place. That was the way little Reagan unleashed the spirit that haunted her. Ironically, that spirit name was Pazuzu. Even though the board was barely mentioned and barely seen, it was typecast in the demonic role. Now, when you touch a Ouija, out pops a demon. Something that was used by scholars and learned writers is now a toy used to contact the devil while you hide in your closet in your pajamas.

This also seems to be where the mythical name Zozo comes from. Pazuzu becomes Zozo because no one call spell Pazuzu. There is actually no reference to Zozo.

But during the discussion, Robert Murch doesn’t really give any indication that Ouija boards are bad or that they even work. He even goes so far as to say if you have a haunted board he’ll take it off your hands. So, if Robert has all these boards, why isn’t he haunted and tormented?

All the while Darren sticks to his story of how dangerous the Ouija is. Don’t touch it, don’t see the movie, don’t even look at the damn thing or a spirit will attach itself to you. He is utterly fanatical as to how dangerous the board is. He even says sales will go up and more unsuspecting people will be exposed to evil because of the movie.

Dave makes several comments as to why Scrabble isn’t haunted or any other "game". I mean seriously, what if you asked a question then pulled out tiles from the Scrabble bag. Would that make it demonic? Would a spirit be unleashed?

It all sounds utterly absurd and the same fool rhetoric we’ve heard in regards to D&D and games like Ultima and Diablo. Playing D&D unleashes the devil. Those kids did evil because they played D&D. No, those kids were messed up in the head and had mental problems.

One thing I did find interesting is that Darren says Zozo is a female spirit. This threw me for a loop considering the big piece of faked evidence in the Ghost Adventures episode was his girlfriend being molested and her pants undone. So she was molested by a female spirit who wanted to see her tits? The more you listen to this sort of thing, the more you roll your eyes.

So what about the board moving? People make it move because they desperately want to believe it will move. And the way the board is set up, words like Zozo are easy to spell. So is Mama and several other words that people claim are other names for Zozo. Even random guesses makes a pattern in this case.

When all is said and done, Zozo sounds like a massive hoax. The people who believe in Zozo are the same people who believe that Jesus comes to them in a waffle or pancake. Nothing about this Zozo story makes sense. Nothing about people contacting the devil through a Ouija makes sense. It’s all in their minds and wishful thinking. And again, if it’s so damn dangerous, why is Hasbro selling it? It’s cardboard and plastic. There are Ozzy Osbourne Ouija boards. There will be a Supernatural Ouija when the show finishes it’s run. Houdini and Doyle used the Ouija and they didn’t get a spirit attached to them. What the hell are people thinking?

Could the Ouija be used to contact the afterlife? Sure, but so could Scrabble, Upwords, playing cards, the phone book and a dictionary.

Like I said, this whole Zozo phenomenon comes across as hoax. Everyone is jumping on a bandwagon and acting like their experience is the most haunting. Combine that with the shenanigans of guys like Zak from Ghost Adventures and you pretty much seal the deal this is all a fake.

Other Articles of Interest:

I Am Zozo – A Review

image With all this fervor about the Ouija and this supposed Zozo entity, I decided to check out the movie, I Am Zozo, which features Darren Evans, they guy we see playing the Ouija board in the Ghost Adventures episode. This is supposed to be a cautionary tale of what happens when you play around with forces you don’t comprehend.

The story involves friends who spend Halloween on a private island and discover there is no electricity. They spend the evening speaking to the Ouija and make contact with some benign spirits. Then things turn dark and evil as Zozo appears to cause them harm.

As a horror movie it’s pretty bad and as some sort of cautionary tale, it’s even worse. The movie portion is bad from the tragic, wooden acting. It’s starts off with an interesting idea, but goes nowhere. Plus, it looks like it was shot on film from the 70s. The colors are washed out, the film is grainy and everything looks like crap. Conjuring an evil force on Halloween sounds scary, but this makes it seem ridiculous and laughable. The movie went nowhere and took a like time to make the journey.

By the time we reach the climax of the story that Tess had lost her mind over the death of her friends, there’s no reason to give a damn.

And then we have Darren Evans who comes in with his words of warning over how bad the Ouija is, how deceptive Zozo is and that even touching the board can bring in evil. This overly dramatic message is simply lost considering how lame this movie is.

This wasn’t even a ripoff of the lame, but amusing Witchboard, of years gone by. This movie makes the whole idea of Zozo an even bigger joke than it seems already.

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