Ghost Stalkers – Springfield State Hospital – S01E02

image For this episode Chad and John head to Sykesville, Maryland to visit Springfield State Hospital. It is yet another tragic tale of a facility set up to treat mental illness that ends up with overcrowding and stories of patients locked up for hours and perhaps days on end. The conditions reached a breaking point and the hospital was ultimately shut down. Now there are tales of spirit energy and patients that still roam the halls. Work crews hears hear moaning, while other feel a presence. The building has been abandoned for years so there are plenty of stories circulating around.

As they speak to Ivy, who knows an awful lot about a building she’s never been inside of, they hear stories of abuse and isolation and that some patients were left down in the steam tunnels below the building. As Chad and John look over the place, Chad is once again inflicted with pain from some unseen force. This happened in the first episode as well and they feel the encounter has left a scratch. They also take a quick peek down in the steam and tunnels and I’ll be damned if it doesn’t look like they built rooms down there. What the hell went on in this place? Did they seriously stick patients with mental disorders in tiny little rooms with dirt floor where they probably couldn’t even stand up?

There property also has it’s own cemetery, but sadly, the patients were simply buried. There are no markers to list their names. The best they got were numbers. That’s no way to be remembered.

John goes first on his solo investigation and hears knocks and what he thinks are moans. As I’ve said so many times, this is an old, rotting building, there are going to be bangs as the place settles over night. There could easily be moans as pipes expand and contract or doors creak on their hinges or birds settle for the night. It’s best to look for the simplest answer, not try to bend sounds to be the paranormal.

Chad is up next and right from the start he is out of his mind with fright. Every sound makes him jump out of his skin. Like before he near the point of hysterics as the walks around the building. This goes far beyond just being nervous, this almost the point of panic. In this state, every noise is going to sound like the devil reaching out to get you. You’re clearly going to see and hear things in the worst possible way. This really isn’t a good way to approach investigating the paranormal. And compared to John’s rather cool demeanor as he walks around the complex, it makes Chad seem ever more hysterical.

When it comes to evidence there are some odd sounds, but who knows if those are voices. The camera goes out in Ward W for both Chad and John. They interpret this as spirits building up energy to manifest. And that manifestation comes in the form of some black mass moving in front of one of the laser lights they have set up. People are doing some wacky things with Kinect devices. Who knows what we have here. I suppose you could say there is a figure moving between the dots, but to me it’s not really all that compelling. To be honest, there has been so much trickery and Tom foolery associated with these shows, that could just as easily be one of their crew wandering around. I’m gonna a bit more than a blocked out dot.

So the question remains, does asylum with it’s checkered past and abused constitute a location holding a portal where spirit energy can pass from one world to the next? I didn’t think this place was all that active. Oh, yes, it’s creepy as can be, but just because it looks the part doesn’t mean it’s haunted. I wonder how much Ivy and the start of Maryland are selling this place for? They’re brick buildings so it seems like you could do something with them. Fix it up and it would be a sweet haunted attraction. Oh wait, can’t do that. All that negative energy would make it haunted. Just ask Zak.

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Dr. H. H. Holmes and The Whitechapel Ripper – A Review

image You would think by the title , Dr. H. H. Holmes and The Whitechapel Ripper, that such a book would contain all sorts of links, theories and hypothesis between the history we know of Holmes and the crimes we know of Jack the Ripper. It’s a fascinating and intriguing theory that’s bubbled to the surface in a couple of places, not the least of which was presented by the great-great-grandson of Holmes himself, Jeff Mudgett. Bloodstains gave an interesting perspective on Holmes being in London, committing the murders in order to sell skeletons and harvest organs. But that was hypothesis and speculation with a smattering of what-if. So does this new account from Dane Ladwig fill in the gaps and present us with compelling evidence to support the conjecture that H.H. Holmes committed the Whitechapel murders and that’s why Jack the Ripper was never caught?

To put it bluntly, no. For anyone familiar with the crimes of Holmes this book is repetitious and extremely jumpy. Pieces of crimes Holmes committed, the money he was paid for his "confession" and details about the Murder Castle are repeated several times. For anyone who’s seen "H.H. Holmes: America’s First Serial Killer" there is nothing new to be learned here. In fact, the chaotic writing style may even confuse and downplay the devious nature of Holmes.

The crimes of Holmes make up the first 70% of the book and then we jump into the a recap of the Ripper murders. The book goes over each of the murders in case we didn’t know what happened. It then goes on to dismiss or refute why different suspects should be discounted as the true identity of the Ripper. There’s even reasons why we should discount the "Jill the Ripper" idea.

Somewhere in all this are a couple dozen words that try to link Holmes to the Ripper murders. However, if you blink you’ll miss it. Despite the bait and hook of the title, there is no real evidence or argument to create a case that Holmes is Jack the Ripper. Yes, it’s a great idea and to me, it sounds just as plausible as any of the other theories, maybe even more so, but this book does not offer anything tangible or meaningful to add to the discussion. To be honest, this book is nothing more than a Primer on some of the crimes committed. And even at that, it’s far too long to be a summary, yet lacks detail to make it compelling.

With each chapter you keep waiting to see the link between these men. Yet it never comes. When you finally get to the portion of the Ripper murders it feels like you’re going to run out of time and pages to make the connections. And then you hit the credits and bibliography. Sadly, I was left wondering what the point of the book was. Bloodstains presented a fictionalized connection that makes you wonder if Mudgett’s evidence is real or imagined. The Whitechapel Ripper simply sums up the crimes of these two killers and let’s you decide if there is a link.

I was disappointed, confused and frustrated when I reached the end. There was nothing to be learned and I don’t believe this offers any real research to link these two sets of crimes. This is not a good book about Holmes, nor is a good book about Jack the Ripper. If you’ve never heard of these two criminals, this might be worth some of your time. In my opinion though, there are far better books on the subject. You’re better off with the above mentioned "H.H. Holmes: America’s First Serial Killer" or "Depraved".

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Ghost Adventures – Island of the Dolls – S10E04

image We’re off to Mexico for another episode of lies, deceit and misinformation. Zak and Aaron are visiting the Island of the Dolls which we first saw in an episode of Destination Truth with Josh Gates. Yes, this is a wickedly creepy place riddled old, dirty, rotting dolls that are strung up in trees, across lines and on the walls on the small hut. It doesn’t matter what you’re afraid of, seeing all those severed heads and broken bodies would give anyone the creeps and make you jump. That being said, I’m going to ridicule the hell out of Zak for being a complete pansy on this investigation, so much so, that he nearly knocks Aaron down when one of the dolls make a noise behind him. Way to be a man, Zak.

The history of the island goes back to Don Julian who was grief stricken over a girl who drown while he was unable to save her. He then brought dolls to this island in memoriam of her and for decades he has placed dolls all throughout the island. Don Julian even died on this island and it said a water spirit (mermaid) took away his spirit. Unfortunately, Don Julian never cleaned any of these dolls and they are covered in cobwebs and are home to nasty looking spiders.

As the investigation begins, Zak is utterly befuddled as to how a fire could start on the island in a fire pit, at a campground, loaded with supplies and with a metal grate over the rocks. Dear me, are you really that stupid? You’re not alone out there! Someone is camping there! It’s pretty damn obvious considering all the supplies they brought. Not a single thing paranormal about that.

Next we have Zak bringing out the most cursed doll in the world and some cats running scared. This coincides with some dolls laughing. Of course this must be the paranormal rather than a couple of cats running from humans and someone leaving a motion sensing doll to scare people who come out there. Just because Zak is touching and waving his hand in front of a couple of dolls on one walls, doesn’t mean the doll making the noise isn’t on the opposite wall. This is also the part where Zak nearly bulldozes Aaron to the ground as he runs for his life. I’m pretty sure Zak ruined those pants he was wearing.

As they continue on into the night, they bring in Drunk Pedro to confirm he hears the voice of Don Julian on the different devices Zak has brought. They even bring another doll that can measure readings and what do you know, it doesn’t go off. Shocking.

However, Zak is firmly convinced that spirit energy comes darting out of the shrine to Don Julian. This is obviously a mouse, but oh no, this is spirit energy according to Zak. Funny how this black mass looks like a rodent.

Zak finally gets up the stones to take the haunted doll out of the bag and place it next to the one that can take readings. Again, nothing happens, yet Zak swears the ground underneath the doll gets hotter even though the readings from the camera don’t detect this massive temperature spike.

While Zak claims they’re in the middle of nowhere, it’s pretty damn obvious they aren’t. Clearly cats are on this supposed island, there are dogs in the distance and if there are dogs there are owners and that’s who’s making the noises they keep hearing. To play on the legend of this island, someone has placed sound activated dolls out there, but of course Zak isn’t going to show those. And clearly someone is out there camping, but this too must be the work of the spirit world. I mean how would it look if there were other people on their haunted and isolated dessert isle. Boy, wouldn’t they feel silly.

Yet again an absolute farce of an episode with fake evidence at every turn. No matter how dramatic Zak makes it out to be, there is nothing haunted about this island, it’s just creepy. Yes, bodies were thrown into the river, but none of them are making an appearance despite Zak’s antics. This is just more confirmation that Zak and his team are making stuff up and are either staging evidence or bending what they see to fit their horror story. You can’t help but laugh at these guys.


Are you really going to tell me that’s not a mouse?

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Ouija – The Movie – Keep Telling Yourself It’s Just a Game

image There have been many movies featuring the Ouija as a portal to darkness and demons, but this new movie Ouija was actually put together but the people who make the board and own the copyright. Yes indeed, Hasbro actually commissioned a movie and put their stamp of approval on it. This has been in the works for a couple of years and will come out tonight in full release.

Now, it may seem odd, but the movie is indeed about a group of friends who gather around the Ouija and unleash some sort of dark force. They seem to fully embrace that idea so it will be interesting to see what their take on events will be. The rating is PG-13 so we can’t expect too much in the way of gore and the budget seems to be a little light, but it’s certainly possible to make a suspenseful and without painting the screen red and if you’re willing to put in a little effort.

Anyway, this looks interesting and I’m curious as to how this is going to turn out. I’m also curious in the backlash that will for sure follow this movie since people are of the opinion that merely having a Ouija around will cause demons to latch onto you. There are already comments cautioning people not to emulate what they see in the movie and what precautions did the actors take to protect themselves.

Let’s not forget, the Ouija has been around for over 150 years. This isn’t a new thing and the Spiritualist movement of the late 1800’s used the Ouija extensively. Associating it with demons or the devil is by and large the product of the Exorcist and isn’t really grounded in reality.

I have a free Friday evening so I might just give this a go. Anyone else interested in this one?

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