Haunted Collector – Farm Stalker and Echo Club Spirits – S03E01

Farm Stalker – Montgomery New York

For the first part of the episode we have Mary Lu who feels threatened by the spirit of the former owner of her farm. She claims to see shadow figures and many of her animals have died in mysterious ways. She feels threatened and scared.

John checks out the house and while his team is there they come across two dead animals. While working an EVP session there is a lot of tapping and they discover a dead bird outside. While investigating the house they find a dead mouse on the pool table. The horses may not be affected, but there is a rising body count.

While working with Brian, the Ovilus repeatedly says the word Attic. During their search they find a Leyden Jar which is an early form of a battery. It conducts electricity and would have been used on animals to prove it could hold a charge. We also discover that the wiring on the farm is most likely crap and may actually be electrocuting the animals. It’s very likely Mary Lu doesn’t have any paranormal activity, but rather has some woefully inadequate wiring that’s shocking things to death.

The Echo Club

For the second part of the episode John investigate the Echo Club where the owner has experienced problems such as guests being choked and pushed as well as feeling a hand touch hers while turning off a light, the sound of doorbells ringing when there are no doorbells and strange noises all throughout the place.

Seems things started to happen after Deborah found a picture under the stairs. Turns out the picture is of Andrew Zaleski an immigrant who opened the town bank and loaded money. They also uncover that Zaleski may not have been the nicest or most patient of men when it came to debts. There is rumor he had a jail put into the Echo Club and those who didn’t pay where his guests until they made arrangements. It’s also told that Zaleski died in the Echo Club of a heart attack.

As they investigate the house the find doors that refuse to open then suddenly let go as well as a bottle mysteriously rolling out from underneath the safe of Andrew Zaleski. The picture of him and his men also keeps appearing. It mysteriously falls into the center of the floor and reveals a ledger of names and balances. Unfortunately several men have not paid off their debts. One of these men is Debbie’s Great Uncle Dominic. It appears that Zaleski is still tracking down his money.

John suggests that Debbie place the portrait of Zaleski and the ledger and put them in the safe. Since she’s done that, no more paranormal events have occurred. Odd that she didn’t put cash into the safe to pay off the debt. Seems like an offer of money would have been a better answer.

Both of these were interesting stories, but I don’t think there is anything more to the first story than bad wiring. It sounds like the original owner didn’t know what they were doing and once all the wiring was replaced the animals stopped dying. And it’s not like the team captured any evidence of the paranormal out there.

The second story is a little more unusual. They don’t capture any apparitions or have experiences of being choked or pushed, but they do get that odd bottle rolling out from under the safe, the door that can’t be opened and the picture of Zaleski showing up all over the place. Was he really trying to get his money from beyond the grave? Can’t he rest while there is a debt to be paid? And why not pay it? Why just put the ledger in the safe? Debbie acknowledged the debt, so was that good enough? Was that really the extent of the paranormal activity? Seems like Zaleski was an odd guy, perhaps even a little ruthless when it came to money, but was Debbie really the victim of paranormal events? If you look at the hard evidence it doesn’t really seem like anything happened.

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Stranded – West Virginia State Penitentiary – S01E03

The formula is quite simple, take a skeptic, an on the fence believer and true believer, drive them out to an isolated and rumored to be haunted location, let them investigate any way they see fit, watch them panic and lose their minds, then check back in to see if their opinions and attitudes have changed.

For this adventure we have Tyler, the skeptic who’s former military and police. Amber, his sister, is the true believer of the group. And on the fence, but falling mostly into the believer category is Chris, her husband. Their destination is West Virginia State Penitentiary, a place just about all the paranormal shows have investigated. Ghost Hunters, Paranormal State, Ghost Adventures and Paranormal Challenge have all been there. They all claim it’s a place that will make you soil your pants. So how does this group fare?

West Virginia State Penitentiary was founded in 1866 for 250 inmates. By 1960 it had 2000 men in less than 750 cells, that’s 3 men to a cell. It should come as no surprise that conditions were pretty poor. 998 men died while the prison was open with some of that coming from inmate violence, some from medical experiments and some from the electric chair. The prison is known for the Sugar Shack where inmates got away with anything and everything. There is the death of RD Wahl down in The Hole. There is also the Psych Ward. It’s enough to mess with your head under the best of conditions, let alone being stuck there for 5 days.

So let’s jump right in and go over what they found.

Over the course of their investigation they hear plenty of bangs, clangs and bumps. Some of it even sounds like someone rattling the bars of the cells. Down in the Hole, in conjunction with all the noises, Tyler feels something hit his foot. He’s excited and ready to investigate, but Amber, the true believer of the group is ready to tuck tail and run like hell. In fact, that’s exactly what she does. Why does this always happen? People want to have a paranormal experience then run away screaming from every noise. When they review their evidence it’s possible they captured the words, "Behind you."

They may have caught a figure on the thermal imager, but they don’t follow it up so who knows. It’s also possible they simply caught some lights. It’s not like the prison is in the middle of nowhere.

As Tyler and Chris play basketball where the electric chair used to be, Tyler’s watch stops at 2pm, the same time the lights would dim from the executions. Did his watch just break or is there something more to this?

They also perform the old, make the flashlight turn on trick and just like Jason and Grant they are astounded when it goes off.

When the trio heads down to the Sugar Shack things get interesting. Amber says she feels something touch her face. Tyler says his flashlight gets hot. Strangely, the air is hot down there. We get the impression something is messing with them with anger filling the room when all of a sudden Chris and Tyler are ready to throw down with each other. Every word coming out of Chris’ mouth is bleeped out. Tyler is taunting him like he wants to have a fight. It looks like they’re mere seconds from tearing each other apart.

For the final night there is a rainstorm sweeping in and while Tyler reads about the murder of Red Snyder by another inmate, he feels something flick him on the back of the neck. Twice. And yes, he practically jumps out of his skin.

How does the evidence stack up? There was a lot going, but did they capture enough to truly say this place was haunted?

There are plenty of bangs and thuds. But is that indicative of the paranormal? The building is old and riddled with metal. That can make all sorts of noises and the temperature changes. The thermal image really isn’t conclusive of anything on it’s own. They don’t really capture any substantial EVPs. They say they hear a lot of voices, but where’s the audio? Like the others before them, they will swear to the personal experiences they had. The eerie feelings, being touched, and freaking out at all the noises. But is that really enough? If the name of the game is tangible evidence then I don’t think they have much.

I have to say, Tyler seemed to be the only one who wanted to pursue this investigation. Whenever there was a noise or bang, Chris and Amber wanted to run away. The constant, "Oh my God" and "I’m not going back in there" were tiresome. Why the hell are you on a paranormal investigation if you don’t want to investigate the paranormal? They start off acting like nothing can rattle them, but on the first night they are already coming unglued. I think Chris and Amber would do well to just stay home from now on. Perhaps they should just go back to hiding under the covers. It seems like a lot of what their reacting to is built up in their minds.A creepy place, plenty of violent stories and lots of being on edge for days on end. It can make you believe anything, no? It’s really disappointing to see people given such a great opportunity to investigate a location, but run screaming in the dark.

But the experiences are enough to make Tyler change his views on the paranormal. He felt something against his foot, heard voices and was touched twice on the back of the neck. He may have even channeled some dark energy when he tried to pick a fight with Chris.

I find the premise of this show very fun and exciting. I think it’s great they investigate for more than one night. I like the raw footage and the unpredictable nature. What I don’t like is people running from the very thing they’re going after. Stop running at every bump and sound. Stand your group. Ask questions. Debunk something. Stick around to grab some evidence. That is why you came all this way, right?

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Stranded – Seaview Terrance – S01E02

For this episode, three friends from Brooklyn (Zack, Katy and James) head to Rhode Island to spend the week a Seaview Terrance, the former home of Edson Bradley, the driving force behind Old Crow whiskey. He made his fortune in the business and it’s said you can still hear the bottles down in the basement. His wife Julia was the stern matriarch of the house and her presence can still be felt through the sound of organ music. She passed away just a year after the house was completed. The house is currently under renovation.

So what did this intrepid team find as they explored the grounds? And will they still be believers and skeptics after all is said and done?

As they start things off they realize there are some power problems in the kitchen. The search the house for one of the old style fuses. It leads them down to the basement where they hear the sound of clinking bottles. This is reportedly associated with Edson Bradley. Additionally in the room across from their’s, in a supposedly abandoned house, there are lights on. No figures are seen and just as mysteriously as the light turns on, it goes back out.

On the second day, the group says that Zack has been talking about hats. Oddly as they look around the place the find a hat in the middle of the floor. Were they actually sleeping below this floor?

Their exploration brings them to the piano room where they play a ridiculously out of tune piano and sing to Mrs. Bradley. As soon as they’re done there is plenty of banging coming from upstairs. They go to investigate and find a door opening and closing. Is this the work of a unseen force? A loose hinge? The wind? By coincidence they also report cold spots.

As they continue on they end up in the basement and again hear the sound of bottles clinking. Still, there are no bottles on the floor or out of place. They discover the blueprints of the house and realize they are staying in Mrs. Bradley’s room. And there is another hat. No outfits, just a hat.

Moving forward, they find themselves in the piano room and get the aroma of perfume. The same perfume the found in Mrs. Bradley’s room, but couldn’t get the mister to work correctly.

The next day finds them chopping wood so they can have a fire that night. Perhaps they can get Mrs. Bradley to sit down with them. This does seem to work as there are spikes on the EMF. When asking for a sign of her presence, the response comes in the form of bangs. This leads them into the ballroom where they tune the old style radio. In the static there is perhaps the phrase, “I’m Mrs. Bradley”.

For the final night there is a fitting storm. Plenty of wind and lightning. The group splits up to cover as much ground before they have to go. Nothing much seems to be happening so after regrouping the head to the piano room. The heavy double doors to the pool room swing open. As you might expect there is a huge amount of screaming and bleeping.

Katy is clearly un-nerved, but Zack is showing some serious investigative chops and wants to press on and find out more. He’s not shying away from what the house has to offer.

For the final act they head up to the master bedroom to see if they can make contact with Mrs. Bradley. Oddly enough there is the sound of organ music throughout the house. Katy is seriously coming unglued and looks like she’s going to make a break for it.

While at the organ they find access to the mechanics of it and head down. Is the wind causing the pipes to play? The organ is gone but all the piping is still very much in the house. Is this being played from beyond the grave or is there a very worldly explanation?

When all is said and done this team has heard a lot of banging, felt cold spots, seen doors swinging open, hear both the organ playing and bottles clinking and may have even gotten an EVP. While it’s nothing specific, when you lay it all out, they had a pretty eventful time out there.

But is this evidence of the paranormal? Did they make contact? Is the knocking a response or is it an animal seeking shelter? Is the phantom organ really being played or is the wind being funneled through the pipework? Are the door coming open by unseen forces or is the wind at play again? Do the get the aroma of phantom smells or simply fragrances trapped in the wood and fabric?

There was a lot happening and it makes you ask a lot of questions. I like this group, Zack and James kept cool and wanted to learn more. Katy put in a good effort and as the experiences kept piling up, she got a little rattled. But in a dark house without electricity during a thunderstorm, who could blame her?

Regardless of the outcome, this was some pretty exciting stuff.

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Stranded – Star Island – S01E01

We all know we’re tuning into this show because Josh Gates of Destination Truth fame is behind it. While that may garner a decent viewing rate for the first episode, does this show have what it takes to go the distance? And more importantly, just what the heck is this show about?

The premise is this – take a small group of investigators, in this case 3, to a supposedly paranormally charged location, in this case Star Island and leave them there for several days, in this case 5, to investigate and document as they see fit. There won’t be a camera or production crew. There won’t be a host or "leader" to offer them advice. What will they do and what will they uncover as they live and investigate in the same location for multiple days. It takes the Ghost Adventures lockdown idea and extends it with hundreds of locations located around the area to see what be uncovered.

For this episode we have Sara, Xend and Mike on Star Island to investigate what many claim is one of the most haunted places in the US. There are reports of a little girl roaming the halls and the spirit of a dozen people who mysteriously drowned.

Sara is a believer in the paranormal and wants to discover something that confirms what she’s always believed. Xend is the skeptic and believes the whole concept is quite laughable. Mike is on the fence and with the recent passing of his grandfather he wants to know more.

So how do things work out for this trio? They are confronted by a multitude of bangs. The see what appears to be an open window that mysteriously shuts itself. They hear what could be the laugh of a little girl. They experience multiple cold spots. And the whole time they feel something is there.

The bangs happen repeatedly and go on for their entire stay. The group checks out the cemetery to see if they can learn about the little girl and other people who passed away. During their EVP sessions they try to communicate and perhaps get the phrase, "Are they seeing me?" As the week progresses and the isolation sets in, Xend, the skeptic, begins to lose her grip. The becomes more and more frightened of the place and the noises. The admits she doesn’t like the dark, doesn’t like certain rooms and on their final night when she suggests they separate to cover as much ground as possible before they leave, she’s in tears with fright at the noises.

The three of them do conduct a couple of experiments by tying dolls to the doors to see if anything moves. They do see a window that appears to be open one moment, then closed the next. They try a couple of EVP sessions and check out the place under night vision. None of the EMF detectors come out, but I don’t know if that’s a plus or minus.

By the end Mike is a ball of fury who things he’s being messed and he’s tired of it. He’s about ready to grab an axe and start running around the place bashing in bathroom doors. Sara keeps her cool and just tries to soak it all in. As mentioned, Xend crumbles, but in the end claims she’s still a skeptic. I’m a little bothered by that. If she doesn’t believe in any of this, why the hell was she so scared? Why did everyone have to come to her aid? It’s not like she actually saw anything or encountered someone. She even says she wants to be proven wrong.

It’s a wild ride and being in a shut down hotel on their own will certainly leave an impression. But what evidence did they capture to support these paranormal claims?

There are dozens of bangs, no doubt about it. But let’s think about this, it’s an old weathered building, by the sea in changing temperatures and conditions. I’m pretty sure the place is going to pop and bang.

They don’t capture any video or physical evidence. They claim doors are banging shut, but which doors? They were never able to prove that. They did capture one EVP, but it’s incredibly faint and that’s not quite enough to build a case of the paranormal on. Their experiment with the dolls tied to the door doesn’t yield any results. There are no footsteps, nothing moves, doors don’t slam, nobody appears. I’m sure they will claim their personal experiences are through the roof, but when you think about it, the seed has been planted the place is haunted, is desolate and isolated, it’s dark, rainy and cold, I have little doubt the mind will wander and all sorts of things will start to happen. As Xend stated, it’s sort of like being in The Shining.

Overall, this was an interesting show. The investigators aren’t pro, but they get full marks for getting out there and staying a week in an obviously creepy location. I don’t think that too much happened in the way of evidence, but they had one hell of an experience that’s for sure. I like the idea they stay multiple days. I like the idea that they’re alone. I like the idea of it being amateurs in a place that may or may not have a paranormal past.

I just hope this doesn’t go the way of Paranormal Challenge where each episode brings a group that gets exponentially more cocky and arrogant and thus more annoying and stupid. I was quite amused by this first episode and look forward to seeing where we go next.

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