Ghost Asylum – Preston Castle – S03E07

Our next trip with the Ghost Asylum crew takes us to California and the former reform school of Preston Castle. The reform school was in operation for over 100 years and like so many facilities of the time lost many of it’s residents to tuberculosis and smallpox. However, since this was a reform school, we can certainly understand there were plenty of other problems such as the boys would be punished for not following the rules. And that punishment seemed pretty cruel since several of the boys tried to escape and one is said to have died in the attempt. You have to wonder though, who shoots a 12 year old boy in the back?

There is also the story of Jim, a teacher who was beaten over the head with a lead pipe by his students. We also have Anna, who was murdered by two teenage boys. The paranormal claims are the sound of boys laughing, a figure walking up the stairs and presence of Anna.

Now before we go too far, let’s deal with the history of this location. As before, these are “stories” as they each start with, “it is believed,” “the legend goes,” “it’s said”. Even Porter comes back with, “the legends says where Anna’s body was found.” I’m not saying these events or something similar didn’t take place, but yet again, there is nothing to prove these stories are real. We are so far removed from the actual events and nothing has been written down as fact, that we are going on assumptions. Further, a simple statement of, “it could have been that the boys were caught in a compromising position,” is almost immediately woven into a fact when Porter and the others are trying to communicate.

Maybe it’s being picky, but I have an issue with how these stories are being taken as facts and simple changes of wording completely change what’s going on. This is how rumors and legends get started and keep getting bigger and bigger with each telling. Considering it was an all male staff, it’s just as likely that “Anna” got pregnant by one of the teachers, was dealt with by throwing her down the stairs and the blame placed on some of the boys. It doesn’t necessarily change the outcome, but, it certainly changes who is guilty. It’s also this lack of detail that makes me suspicious of their methods and their other findings. Maybe there was no Anna. That, like so many of these others stories, could just be a rumor being spread around to make the place even more sinister. But then again, if there was no Anna, that makes all the “evidence” they captured a steaming pile of BS.

But anyway, as they start the investigation it should come as no surprise they hear words on the phonetic generator (which no one is sure how it works) such as “dragged,” and “race”. They set up shop next to what they call a delousing pit, which looks more like a pool, but giving it a sinister bend is much better for ratings. They hear things moving and even say a rock is thrown. Of course it’s much easier to throw things around in the dark.

In the upper part, we have the flashlight trick which comes on at a command. It then goes off as Chris counts down from three. In the dining room, we get the word, “head” and the claim of a shadow figure.

The reenactment for the night is someone getting flogged where they claim to capture the sound of laughter.

For Day 2, it’s time to break out the experiment, “Energy Feast”, which actually has some merit to it. If an entity does need energy to manifest and communicate, what type of energy would it be? They bring out Light, Heat, Kinetic and Electromagnetic. However, their method for calculating which is used seems dodgy.

The heat lamp temperature starts to go down as voices come through the device. Doogie feels he gets touched which is followed by words like, “Jim,” “help,” “Preston,” “Sam,” and even “devil”. To add to the excitement there is the sound of a scream. But there’s more, Brannon asks the entity to repeat his name, and it does.

As they tell the entities they’re packing up for the night the activity stops and the temperature of the heat lamp begins to go up again.

The team does capture a slew of voices that all relate to the names of people they were told about in the stories. Does this mean the stories are real and they have true evidence? Well, that’s for each person to decide – if you believe the stories in the first place.

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Ghost Asylum – Pauly Jail – S03E06

imageOur next outing with Ghost Asylum takes us to Union Springs, Alabama and the Pauly Jail. Built in 1897, it’s a small jail meant to handle the local trouble and hold about 100 prisoners, but it’s seen some ugly times. There is the story of Aberdeen Johnson, who was forcibly pulled from his cell and hanged at a nearby tree. But that’s not all, he was then shot 150 times to make sure the job was done right. There is also JW Man, a guest of the local constabulary who ended up setting his cell on fire while sleeping off his inebriation. It’s said he was smoking in bed and things turned into a total blaze. Of course it didn’t destroy the jail, it only affected him.

As they begin their baseline sweep they get the words, "drunk" and "ashes" and blips on the K2 meter. As they continue their tour, they get the words, "unjust" and "malicious". When they start the investigation for the first night, there is quite a bit of tapping within the cells and a video feed for one of the cells begins to flicker.

They try to stir up the mood by showing images of civil unrest. After doing so, they hear noises, perhaps a whimpering sound and beeps on the K2. It’s also at this time they feel they hear a female voice down the corridor and motion sensors start to go off.

For Day 2 they build a Devil’s Toybox which is a series of mirrors that all look at each other and create an infinity image. Their intent is to capture some form of energy within the box. They try once again to communicate with Aberdeen and JW Man and while doing so, the FLIR imager flickers wildly. They also hear the sound of keys rattling. The phonetic generator tosses out the words, "bracelet" and "thick".

The night wouldn’t be complete without a reenactment, so they stage a hanging using the trap door within the jail. The toss down a hefty bag of rice which causes lights to turn on and meters to wail.

The regular evidence isn’t all that exciting, but the analyzed evidence does have some interesting bits. On two separate occasions, it appears there is a figure walking past a light source. They also have a thermal image capture of something round in the window that moves off and disappears.

Now, these could easily be duplicated as someone just walking around and they didn’t realize they went in front of the camera. These guys are wandering all over the place, they may have gotten in the shot inadvertently. And the FLIR image may be a reflection of one of them moving down the hall and it creates the ghostly apparition image. So, they can be explained, but is that what they are? Strangely, this location actually seems to have some things going on. Sure, there are the usual noises and bangs you would expect from a place this old, so I don’t think those count as anything other than expansion and contraction as day turns to night.

And there is something else to keep in mind. All of these stories have, "the story goes" element to them. The story goes he was smoking in his cell. The story goes he was shot 150 times. The story goes the trap door had no use. That’s not to say the events didn’t happen. That’s not to say Aberdeen wasn’t pulled from jail and killed in a ridiculous act of cowardice and prejudice, but the details feel so wildly exaggerated. Shot 150 times?

I’ve also noticed a pattern with Brannon. He keeps going down the demon road. He continually asks if something is a demon or evil. He’s played that card one too many times in my opinion. This is the same thing Zak has been doing where he plants the seeds of the demonic in order to raise the hype. Some would say this is "leading".

From what they have, this jail isn’t any worse off than others they been too, but those figures moving around are worth another look. At the moment, it’s just as likely one of the guys or cameramen walked in the wrong place, but that’s probably the most interesting piece of evidence they’ve captured so far.

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Ghost Asylum – Castillo de San Marcos – S03E05

image The boys from Tennessee head down to St. Augustine, Florida to investigate the 17th century fort of Castillo de San Marcos. It’s got a long history including being used as a military prison. There is even an execution wall where prisoners would be lined up and then shot. The claim of the paranormal include apparitions, voices and the disembodied head of a Native American chief.

As they begin they get the word, "afraid" on the phonetic generator and Porter is informed of a supposed love triangle where a captain fell for a woman named Deloris, but she was already married. The story goes their affair was discovered and they were entombed in the lower part of the fort, Cask of Amontillado style.

On this first day, they also capture orbs floating around, the words "troop" and "government" and what they believe to be a shadow figure on the ramparts. They try to stir things up with another reenactment, this time of a prisoner being lead out to be shot at the wall. During this event the phonetic generator comes through with the word, "murder" while the K2 meters go off. Additionally, they play the flashlight trick where it flickers on and off.

For the second night, they devise the Peripheral Para-vision Camera Mount, which is another way of saying cameras that look at mirrors placed at an angle to represent looking at something out of the corner of your eye. They also put together some goggles that force you to look at things from that same perspective.

As they sit in the courtyard and talk about the ill-fated Deloris and her lover, who may have watched each other starve to death, there are flickers on the K2 meter and the word, "chain" on the word generator. They also hear what they believe is a deep breath and the sense of being choked.

When they look at the evidence, they show an orb moving on the left portion of their peripheral camera. There is also what looks to be a walking shadow figure and what might be a heat signature on the ramparts of the fort.

But before we get too excited, let’s jump all the way to the beginning and take note of a couple key things. Each piece of history they’re told comes with the words, "the legend says" or "the story goes" which basically means, they don’t have any evidence to support what they’re saying. I’m sure it makes for a great story and adds to the legend of the Native American people, but why would a "doctor" cut off the head of an Indian chief? There is no evidence to support this story as real. To spice up the story, the head is missing and even these guys are saying the lights they see are the head. The point is, they’re claiming to find evidence for stories that most likely never happened. Isn’t that like finding clues at the scene of a crime that never took place?

On the surface, their evidence is interesting with words that fit perfectly within the environment. However, there is nothing to show how those devices work or even if they do work. The shadow figure is interesting as it does appear something is moving. That would be worth looking at some more, but as for the rest of the stories and evidence, I think the "evidence" is being twisted to match the legends.

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Deadly Possessions – Dr. Kevorkians Death Van and Natalie Woods Yacht – S01E06

image For our next trip into the strange world of Zak Bagans and his Deadly Possessions, we have the van used by Dr. Kevorkian and some artifacts from the boat of Natalie Woods. Now, Zak doesn’t own pieces from the boat, they have been brought down so Zak can have a look and learn more about the unusual story. As for the van, he did indeed purchase it, but there is some question as to its authenticity.

The story of Natalie Wood has some controversy around it, but according to Dennis Dravern, the captain of the boat for that trip, there was alcohol and enflamed tempers. According to Dennis, there was a pretty big argument, where Dennis heard a lot of things being thrown around, then some time later, Natalie’s body was discovered in the water.

Anyway, the current owner claims that while working on the boat, he heard the phone ring in Natalie’s room and when he went to go investigate, he fell through the floor cutting his leg quite badly. It needed stitches and the wound was in the shape of a V. This would be a V in reference to the dinghy aboard the boat. Or the fact his cut his leg on two boards, you decide.

We then have Lana Wood, sister to Natalie, who claims she saw a mist and Natalie’s death was predicted in the sense that there would be fame and loss for one of the sister’s.

The next item is a VW bus in terrible condition. But this isn’t just any bus, it was previously owned by Dr. Jack Kevorkian and was used in at least one of his assisted suicides. According to Geoffrey Fieger, attorney for Kevorkian, that is the death the public knows about.

When Jack passed away, the van was sent to a junk yard to be crushed and scrapped. However, it appears that process didn’t take place and when Zak hands over the title, Geoffrey confirms the signature on the back is Jack’s and the rust, dents and other pieces all prove this to be Kevorkian’s van.

We then have Annie St. John who comes on to discuss how she lives in Jack’s old place and how the person above her committed suicide. Zak brings her to the van and has her climb around and get a feel for the energy.

They have an EMF meter set up that bounces around and Zak feels they keep getting a female voice on the spirit box.

Both of these stories seem pretty fanciful in their grasp at the paranormal, with Annie’s story making no damn sense at all. It seems like Zak brought on objects about the Splendour just to make accusations and stir up some press. It’s all based on hearsay and wild theories.

The van by Kevorkian is indeed interesting, but calling it the Death Mobile or Death Van is just trying to incite "dark energy". If you listen to Zak through both of these interviews, he is leading people where he wants them to go. Notice how he finishes their sentences and instills the idea of paranormal events. He’s leading them to believe things are haunted and takes great joy in trying to turn a skeptic into a believer. He’s hyping up how mysterious these objects are and how powerful they can be. There’s nothing to support this, but all Zak needs is their mystique.

There is no evidence to suggest paranormal or other worldly energy connected to these things. The boards of a boat give way? That has to be paranormal doesn’t it? Someone sits in a rusted out VW Bus after being told it’s Kevorkian’s and they feel something? No power of suggestion going on there.

There are lots of question surrounding the death of Natalie Wood, but you’re not going to get answers by staring at some candles.

You can agree or disagree with Kevorkian, but sitting in that rusted out van with torn up seats and who knows what smells is going to get a response. But it’s not a feeling from beyond.

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