Paranormal Lockdown – Shrewsbury Prison – S02E02

imageFor the next outing of Paranormal Lockdown, it’s off to Shropshire, England to visit the Shrewsbury Prison. Established in 1793, it doubled it’s original capacity and was the site of numerous public hangings with bodies buried in unmarked graves. Some of the hardened criminals were those who failed to pay their taxes and stole bread. The prison closed in 2013 and is now a tourist attraction. Some of those tourists feel they hear cries and feel the hangman’s noose around their necks.

Katrina and Nick meet with Steve, a former prison guard turned tour guide. As we start  the tour, Katrina admits that prisons freak her out and make her uncomfortable. Steve begins to tell stories about his time there, when there is a loud bang from one of the cells doors. This is quickly followed by another. Steve doesn’t pay much attention and says it happens all the time.

They enter cell 441, where Katrina says she feels a heaviness in her chest. Steve confirms there was a suicide in the cell. He further explains that C Wing is for the women and several people claim to see a woman walking to the hanging room. When they enter that room, there is a noose hanging down and Steve states a little boy commented about the bad man in the corner which no one else could see. As Steve talks, Katrina says she has a pain in her neck and shoulder, alluding to being hanged.

For night one, Katrina says she sees a shadow figure down by their equipment. There is another loud bang as Nick tries to get the spirits to follow him into the hanging room. This doesn’t produce results, but a few minutes later, Katrina takes a tumble down the stairs. Nick tries to put forth the idea that Katrina was pushed, but she shrugs this off.

As the night comes to an end, Nick puts out his recorder and in the morning claims there is a voice saying, "Nick! Get up!"

For night two, Katrina starts off with another tumble as she enters the cell. Katrina may think the prison is trying to kill her, but wandering around in the dark has it’s dangers.

Nick heads down to the tunnels while Katrina is on the first floor in A Block. There is another loud bang and a crash. As Nick is setting up to record the area, they hear footsteps.

For day three, Nick brings out the Geobox and heads for a cell. He hears pops and cracks come through and takes these to mean words. As he stands outside the cell, there is the sound of another door closing. Nick feels this is leading him to the hanging room. Once there, he feels pain in his neck and shoulders, the same as Katrina did. But this time we are treated to a swinging noose.

For the final night, it’s back to the hanging room to unravel the mysteries of the swinging rope. Almost immediately, Katrina feels something tug at her back. In the video replay it looks like a bunched up section of her jacket comes free.

Nick brings out a 3D mapping program and discovers there is a figure close to Katrina. In response, Katrina says that area feels cold. Soon, it appears the little stick figure is reaching out for Katrina’s hand. This setup looks quite similar, although more detailed, than the hacked up Kinect camera that Zak uses.

Of course, it would have been better if Nick hadn’t said anything and then judged if Katrina felt anything. As it stands, he’s clearly leading her.

What sort of evidence does this give us? We have a lot of bangs in a 200 year old prison. Not really a shocker. Further, every sound, bang, and door slam happens way out of camera shot so it’s hard to get excited over that. Sound clearly carries in a place like that so who knows if it was even a door.

There is nothing paranormal about Katrina falling, even if Nick is trying to float she was pushed.

The voices Nick claims to hear sound like pops, clicks and buzzes that don’t even remotely sound like words.

For the big evidence, we have a swinging rope. While super cool and exciting, the camera is positioned so the top beam is just out of frame. The rope doesn’t swing in a natural way. It jumps from the spot we can’t see, not from the noose as if to simulate a hanging.

There is no doubt the prison is extremely impressive and no doubt lives were lost under some dreadful conditions. But do Nick and Katrina have solid evidence of a haunting? Evidence that is tangible and not "I think I saw something"? And not the sound of bangs in an extremely old building?

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Paranormal Lockdown – Monroe House – S02E01

imageIt’s time for a new season of Paranormal Lockdown with Nick and Katrina who visit the Monroe house in Hartford City, Indiana. The current owner, Eddie Norris, bought the house in 2006 to fix up and sell. But that idea hasn’t come to fruition as workmen have walked out and the house is rumored to have occult activity. Neighbors claim to see figures moving around and dark figures at the windows. However, the house itself does not have a history of tragedy.

As Katrina walks in, she feels complete oppression. As Eddie gives them a tour, Nick feels like he’s chocking and can’t get his breath. Eddie confirms the rumors of rituals in the house. Based on that, he had some people cleanse the house, but says it backfired. Eddie then shows one of the items they found under the house, a piece of jewelry wrapped in hair wrapped in a cloth. These are accompanied by some bones.

Nick asks Michelle Belanger for an assessment. She feels they might be part of a hex. When she puts the necklace on, she feels that it was used to bind someone, to stop them from talking.

For the first night, Nick and Katrina head to the basement where Katrina hears a gasp that unsettles her. There are also several knocks and bangs. Katrina says the house or space is angry, while Nick says the house is draining their energy.

For the second night, they bring out the Geobox. It runs into interference which Katrina believes is someone trying to stop the communication. At this same time, Nick feels he hears the words, "Satan was here" come through. This is followed by puddles of water on the floor that lead to the kitchen and more loud bangs. To Nick, this is classic poltergeist activity and brings more events such as the cabinets in the kitchen standing open and Nick sees a shadow figure standing behind Katrina.

Nick then brings out a new device called the portal, which looks like a speaker covered in Christmas lights. They very quickly get a whole series of phrases such as, the basement, need help, dig, shut up and finally, get out. With all of this going on, the floor begins to shake. As they dash outside, a security guard for the neighborhood confirms he felt the ground shaking as well.

For the final night, Nick heads down to the basement and Katrina tries her luck with wearing the necklace they found. She sort of wears the necklace as she feels it might bring something negative to her.

Nick has a heck of a time in the basement as he feels something clawing at his back and grabbing at his feet. He also sees something moving in the darkness before he gets grabbed.

They meet back up with Eddie and confess they don’t know what the haunting is or what’s causing it. Nick is clearly rattled and Katrina feels there is something negative, perhaps sinister about the place.

Four days later, they get a call from Eddie, and they both return to the house. They head down to the basement where Eddie says he was digging when the lights went out and he heard walking upstairs. But the big discovery are some bones buried in the dirt. Further, they appear to be human and they may have unearthed part of a skull.

We are left with a note that the bones are part of a police investigation.

This episode is interesting in that if you take a step back, the plot is very similar to an episode of the Simpson’s Treehouse of Terror.

As stated, there is nothing to suggest tragic events. The rituals are just rumor and always seem to come out when there is an old house around. About the only thing Nick and Katrina find is some water on the kitchen floor. Nothing they encountered in their sleep deprived state jumps to the end of the paranormal scale.

We have some cabinets swinging open, but there is clearly some sort of tremor or vibration, whether that be car, train or seismic, so that seems a pretty plausible explanation.

The puddles? Have a look at the ceiling and you’ll notice multiple tiles stained with brown. The ceiling leaks, ergo, water on the floor.

The necklace in the hair is unusual, but don’t go too far out on a limb. It’s not usual for people to give lock of hair as a keepsake. Further, it could have been kept with the necklace from a loved one. Going with the "that bitch won’t tell" comment from Michelle seems hasty.

Now, we have some bones in the basement, bones that might be human. We’ve seen tons of shows where human bones very quickly turn out to be animal. But if they are human, burying them mere inches under the soil, in perhaps the most inconvenient place, was a pretty terrible idea. Those could have “easily” been buried severl feet down considering the size of that dirt pile.

It’s not a surprise that Nick and Katrina feel drained after staying up all night and sleeping in crap conditions.

If we take the actual evidence they capture, it’s radio voices from a box that lights up, bangs, and puddles of water. I’m not entirely sure that makes this a cauldron of evil.

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Ghost Adventures – Dakotas Sanatorium of Death – S13E12

imageThe next destination for Ghost Adventures is the San Haven Sanatorium in North Dakota. It was opened in 1912 for tuberculosis patients. Like other facilities, it was a losing battle and became the last stop for hundreds of patients. Plenty of men, women and children all lost their lives. However, does that loss make it haunted? According to Zak, the location is "infested with ghosts."

Claims of the paranormal include a woman being scratched, the usual, unproven claims of Satanic rituals, the sighting of the devil in car headlights, and that evil creeps up from the basement. Sadly, there was a more recent death, that of an investigator who fell down the elevator shaft. Instead of taking it as an accident, Zak puts out the idea he was pushed by unseen forces.

As Zak interviews and asks leading questions to Julie about the scratches she got, she and her husband claim something possessed her after the event as she wasn’t the same person In fact, she hasn’t stepped foot on the ground until Zak shows up and then she has no problem going in.

While looking around one of the buildings, Zak makes the usual comment of feeling anxiety and heaviness. Once outside the building, Zak is handed a small hatchet, which he immediately claims was used in Satanic rituals. He says it’s a demonic battery and throws it into the abandoned building. Of course, there is nothing to suggest that axe was used for anything nefarious.

To get the investigation started, Zak sends Jay down into the tunnels under the buildings. This looks to be the body chute where patients were carted away. Aaron goes to the basement, which is riddled with debris. Everyone admits the place is crumbling and falling apart and might just collapse at any minute.

When it’s time for the main investigation, Zak boldly states they have one goal for this investigation – to find the evil in the building and pick a fight with it. Bold words that will come back to bite him right in the ass.

The building is filled with the usual bangs, pops, cracks and sounds of falling debris. Despite saying the building is crumbling, they keep claiming something is being thrown at them.

On the upper floors, Zak and Aaron hear footsteps coming up the stairs. It sounds like evil is coming right toward them. So what does Zak do? He runs the other way and calls to Aaron for help. This happens again when Zak sets up a static camera. While doing so, he sees something, drops the camera and runs. For someone who called for a showdown with evil, Zak certainly isn’t standing his ground.

While roaming through the building, Zak demonstrates how the teen met with his accident. The elevator isn’t sealed off in any way and there are no barriers on the upper floors. Zak almost walks off the building. Clearly this isn’t the work of evil, it’s not seeing where you’re going.

As the investigation continues, both Aaron and Billy say they feel heaviness on their chests. Aaron nearly has a panic attack as they end up back by the tunnels. And once again, even though the building is crumbling and littered with debris, Aaron says a piece of wood is thrown at him. This is the last straw and Aaron runs around in a fit.

That brings the investigation to close, but there is one more event. As Aaron and Zak start to walk away, there is a loud bang and crash. This is most likely a piece of the building falling, or perhaps someone throwing something at it. However, what do we get from Zak who wanted to taunt evil? He runs way. Again.

Now let’s look at the statement Zak made at the beginning. The building is "infested" with ghost, so they should have dozens of pieces of evidence, right? There were no scratches or attacks. Nothing shoved them down the stairs. A Satanic figure didn’t present itself. They hear pieces of the building creaking and crumbling. And they heard what sounded like a bottle shifting, most likely from an animals nosing through the trash.

Further, what is supposed to account for all this evil? What event or person sparked this? Did the hundreds of cases of tuberculosis make it evil? Is it the Indian connection Zak is desperately trying to draw? The Satanic rituals there is no evidence of? The children’s cemetery that seems to be a couple miles down the road?

For a seeming den of evil, this building didn’t produce much.

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Ghost Adventures – Zalud House – S13E11

imageWe’re off to Porterville, California to visit the Zalud House Museum which houses a haunted chair. It is said that William Brooks was shot and killed by Julia Howe. The chair was not originally in the home, but has since been brought there. Heather Huerta, the curator of the museum, believes there is a negative and dark energy associated with the chair and that the museum is haunted. It’s not just Heather who feels negative energy from the chair, her husband Benny says he’s channeling the negative energy.

While looking over the house before the investigation, Zak sits in the famed chair and feels pains in his chest and back. Benny says the spirits talk to him when he touches the chair. However, Jeff Edwards, who is the actual owner of the chair, doesn’t believe the chair is of any danger and if the museum doesn’t want it, he’ll take it back.

As Zak and Jay look up old records, they come across a newspaper article where Julia says a subconscious mind was at work and guided her hand. Zak feels the chair is dangerous and has the intent to cause harm. He also believes that Benny is on the verge of being oppressed by dueling negative forces.

For the investigation we waste a heck of a lot of time with Zak ordering Aaron to sit in the chair and Aaron saying he won’t. This is utterly juvenile because Aaron does sit in the stupid chair. And guess what? He doesn’t feel a thing. Nothing happens. However, the Ovilus spits out the words, Trap and Female.

Zak brings out the SLS and gets a figure on the screen. He sits in the chair again and says he has quick chest pains. He gets worked up and declares he’s going to take the chair outside. He asks for a sign from the Zalud family so he can remove the chair. In response, he hears a female voice.

But, now it’s time to turn the table. Instead of focusing on the negative energy, he wants to focus on the family. He and Billy bring out he Paranormal Puck and get sidetracked by what they call negative responses. For example, when asked, "what will you do if we remove the chair?" Zak gets "table" and "homicide."

Then it’s time for Billy to sit in the chair. It should come as no surprise that he feels sick and dizzy, the same symptoms he’s had for the last dozen episodes. During this time, Zak takes full spectrum photos and gets a blur over Billy. Upon seeing this, Billy loses his mind and runs to another room. When they find him, Billy says something is wrong and he’s going to black out. As you would expect, Zak sees an orb move around and enter Billy, who is now having a panic attack.

Instead of Zak or anyone else removing the chair, Zak does a cleansing ritual to try and restore balance in the house.

As you watch this episode, listen to a few key phrases from Zak. He talks about the darkness that’s infested this house. He says the chair contains the violence of the murder. That Benny is oppressed by dueling forces. That Benny enables and channels the negative energy. He repeatedly suggest the idea of violence and darkness and thus the museum is a haven for evil.

Zak has adopted the mentality of a zealot from the 1700s. The demonic hides behind every corner. Places and objects are "infested" with evil and he’s the only one that can save these people. He now sees light orbs everywhere. When you repeatedly try to convince people something is demonic, when you emphatically embrace something as dark-even before you step foot inside, that’s exactly what you’re going to find even when it’s not there.

Zak has basically become a hypochondriac of the paranormal. He doesn’t look at anything objectively or with a questioning mind. The places he visits are "infested" with dark energy. Notice how many times he’s used "infested" and "oppressed" in the last few seasons.

That aside, what evidence do we have? Nothing more than feelings from Zak, who always feels the demonic and Billy and Aaron who seem to get sick in just about every episode these days.

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