Deadly Possessions

Deadly Possessions – Conjure Chest and St. Valentine’s Day Massacre – S01E02

image As the Demonic Antiques Roadshow continues, Zak, sitting as though he is the Mafia Don this time, gets two new relics to look over. The first is known as the Conjure Chest and those who store their clothes inside will most assuredly die. It might take 50 years for the curse to take full effect, but in the end, it’ll get ya. The other involves some mob on mob violence – St. Valentine’s Day Massacre.

The Conjure Chest is reported to have taken the lives of 17 people in its long history. The story goes a little something like this. It was built by a slave, Hosea. Unfortunately, his owner, Jacob Cooley, didn’t appreciate the effort and beat the poor man to death. However, instead of destroying the chest like you would expect, he kept it and put it in their child’s room after all.

But to seek revenge this act of violence, the slaves put a curse on the chest. They didn’t put a curse on him or his family, but instead chose furniture. From there, multiple deaths are attributed to the chest. Not to the diseases and piss poor medical treatment of the time, but to a chest of drawers that will supposedly taint your clothes to the point they can kill.

However, many believed in the curse and at one time a Conjure Woman took it upon herself to take the curse away. Shortly after she did so, she died. Now, it appears the curse may be lifted, but Zak isn’t taking chances. He refrains from even opening the drawers. He’ll get the museum curator to do it, but he’s too damn scared. He will, however, take full spectrum photos around it.

Low and behold, a blob appears which they feel is an owl – a part of the curse lifting ceremony that was performed.

For the next segment we have a B-grade movie actor show up in mobster garb to offer Zak a deal he can’t refuse. After insulting Zak a couple of times and doing his best to sound like a thug, the stranger shows a picture of the actual St. Valentine’s Day Massacre, believed to have been orchestrated by Al Capone. The mobster clown then disappears and Zak is off to the Mob Museum to check out their display.

It is all shockingly, shockingly, cheesy. Why not just ask Zak to come and look at the exhibit? Who doesn’t want to check out mob history?

They Mob Museum has pieces of the very wall the gangsters where shot against and one of the guns believed to have been used. Zak is able to very lightly touch the gun and then gets down to capturing EVPs.

Billy and Zak believe they capture some voices that are residual energy from the wall.

To be honest, I found this episode to be rather silly. None of it really makes any sense. A curse on a clothes chest? If they were really able to conjure up some serious mojo, why curse a chest? Why not kill the landowner? Why not give him a series of crippling and debilitating heart attacks? Why not make him bleed out his eyes and other orifices? That would have certainly made him suffer. Certainly more along the lines of what he deserved, not some curse on a piece of wood that will affect random people. Nothing about that story makes sense. It doesn’t seem tangible. It doesn’t sound logical. Obviously, I wasn’t there and have no idea what happened. But then again, neither was anyone else telling this story.

The piece about the mob is just laughable. The guy bringing in the picture looks like a reject from a pizza commercial. Anyone remember a Godfather’s Pizza? It’s just silly. And what are we supposed to gain from this little exercise? There was some sort of injustice? There is some hidden message? We get to see a Tommy gun and pieces of a brick wall. They are kind of neat and a tricky bit of business from the mobsters of the day, but are we saying this wall and gun are cursed items? Is the gun going to go off if we don’t ask permission before taking it’s picture? Is the wall going to collapse if we say the blood stains make it ugly? Where exactly are we going with this?

Again, these are not pieces meant to stay in Zak’s collection, but are offerings from others who have come into odd curios and want to share their stories. These are interesting stories, but it’s really hard to put any stock into the legends surrounding them.

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Deadly Possessions – Dibbuk Box and Robert the Doll – S01E01

image Since we’re in a slight lull from Ghost Adventures, let’s have a look at the other project Zak has been working on. As you may have seen from newspaper articles, Zak has been collecting odd trinkets from the world of the paranormal, much like Ed and Lorraine Warren and their nephew John Zaffis. He’s been able to procure a cauldron supposedly used by Ed Gein and the VW Bus used by Dr. Kevorkian. After amassing a collection of oddities, he’s opened his museum of the bizarre to the public.

Along with the items he’s personally collected, he’s open to others bringing in their treasures, much like a demonic Antiques Roadshow. To that end, the first item up for inspection is the Dibbuk Box. This box was actually featured on Haunted History back in 2013, or at least that’s when I saw it. This is the same Dibbuk box that was purchased by Kevin and subsequently sold on eBay. Jason now owns the box, but he’s had problems with it. Problems he solved by locking it in another vessel and burying it in the ground.

Until now. Jason and Kevin have unearthed the relic and brought it to Zak. He decides to put the box in his "isolation chamber" and has Kevin hang out with it. What does Kevin do? Why open it of course. He then starts mumbling what sounds like a Poe poem (although I have no idea what it is). Zak thinks he’s speaking in tongues, or is possessed, or something equally bad. We can’t really see too much because there is an old style lamp right in the way of Kevin’s face the entire time. However, he does say there is something lurking down there with him.

They take it to a Rabbi, who surprisingly doesn’t seem all that concerned about it, but, Kevin breaks into a coughing fit and sweats like he’s been doing some serious manual labor. Remember, he opened the Dibbuk Box, so clearly he must exhibit some sort of side effect.

What happened to the Dibbuk Box? What did they ultimately do with it?

The other part of the show involves Robert the Doll, perhaps the inspiration for Chucky. It’s a very old toy, owned by a boy named Robert who identified with the doll to the point of calling it Robert and he went by his middle name, Eugene.

Eugene had the doll for decades and continued to both play with and speak to the doll his entire life. Or so the legend goes. It’s now in the possession of East Martello Museum and his caretaker, Cori Convertito.

There is an odd past for Robert, to the point that he is so dangerous and so mischievous and so prone to causing terror that the only recourse is put him on display. You just have to be respectful. Ask permission before you take his picture and don’t make any disparaging comments or lest the curse take hold.

Such is the plight of Bonnie Randolph who comes to beg Robert for forgiveness because she took his picture without permission. Also, while looking at the exhibit, someone else made a derogatory comment about Robert, but she somehow took the brunt of his anger. I’m not sure why she takes responsibility or why evil got dumped in her lap, but there it is.

But wait, before we get to that. As the doll is displayed for Zak, his man-troll Theodore comes in and exclaims in surprise at the visage of Robert. Clearly there is nothing staged about this scene and Zak springs into action. He tells Theodore he needs to apologize to Robert or else they’ll probably find him dead on the steps. (I added that last bit, it’s not in the show)

Bonnie Randolph who believes in the power of the evil eye from Robert, offers her apologies like begging for forgiveness from a Mafia Don. She is brought to tears while explaining Robert is responsible for her terrible driving that involved her in 3 accidents and that she’s not clumsy, it was Robert that pushed her down the stairs causing all sorts of medical problems. All because she took his photograph without asking, even though he was out on display for all to see, and someone else made smartass comments about him.

Let’s be realistic here. If this doll is so capable of evil, and quite frankly, Cori believes it to be true by the way she talks and handles Robert, why isn’t Robert locked in a vault, hidden deep within the earth where he can’t see anyone and no one can make the terrible mistake of taking his picture without his permission. If he’s so bloody dangerous, why is he just sitting there like a spectacle? I’m sorry, but the whole thing is just shockingly foolish.

But if a doll really could control traffic, could I have a go with it please? I could use it to move the other cars out of the way and cut my work commute time in half.

Also, does anyone else note the contradiction in Zak asking to take a picture with the doll after they’ve already been filming it?

I don’t believe either of these items are meant to be part of Zak’s collection, I believe they just wanted to brave unleashing pure evil and truck it across the country for a spot on his show. Nothing harmful in that right?

Quick update. The “chanting”, “mumbling” or “speaking in tongues” you hear from Kevin in this episode is him reciting lines from a poem called “Shadowman” he wrote back in 2012. It has nothing to do with him somehow being possessed by the contents of the box. Taken at face value, it’s a little bit of theater, a flair for the dramatic and perhaps just a hint of being staged. If you listen to the link, you’ll notice Kevin’s voice sounds the same in the recording as it does in the show, so clearly he’s “not out of it”, or “not himself”. It’s a pretty decent reading actually, but it’s obviously bogus evidence.

Kevin Mannis – The Shadowman

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