Deadly Possessions – Ed Geins Cauldron and The Crying Boy Paintings – S01E05

image For the next Deadly Possessions Roadshow, we have a couple of interesting items. I heard about the Ed Gein bowl last year when it was sold at auction and while I can’t place it, the Crying Boy Painting seems familiar.

The "cauldron" as they keep calling it, was previously owned by Ed Gein, the serial killer and is said to have been found when they cleaned up the mess he left behind. It is said to have contained multiple body parts and may have been used to cook human remains which Ed may have eaten. Again, there is a lot of "may" in there. We know Ed did terrible things, but it’s very easy to exaggerate his crimes and add to them.

But we do know that he tanned and made items from human skin. He also had a terrible knack for making furniture out of bones. And this was indeed his pot, it’s a pretty safe bet those remains ended up in it.

When the locals came out to help clean up the scene, the pot ended up with Dan McIntyre’s mother who planted flowers in it. Dan then sold the cauldron and a shovel to Zak. It is said that the men who came into contact with the pot died shortly thereafter.

We also have Courtney who comes on because she was supposed to deliver the skis owned by Gein. Her sister had a medical issue and is at the hospital with her mother. She is fond of going to the Gein property and trying to make contact with Ed.

Now that Zak feels the cauldron has energy, he brings out the meters and the needle starts jumping. On the spirit box they keep getting a female voice. The voice claims to say evil and death are associated with the cauldron. There are also a couple of bangs and bumps going on.

The next item is called the Crying Boy Painting as it depicts and orphan boy crying. Nothing exceptionally dramatic about it, except that Tina Booth says the painting has caused a fire in her home as well as a fire in her computer. The claim is that if you display the painting, the building and the contents will catch fire. Everything will be ruined except for the Crying Boy Painting.

And if having one wasn’t bad enough, she goes out and buys another. Now she wants Zak to take them. To play up the mystique and rumor, he acts like his whole museum will burn to the ground and maybe he shouldn’t take the painting.

Now clearly this is a mass-produced print and not an original by the artist himself. So how is it that something produced in bulk like this can carry some sort of curse? But before you answer, let’s have a look at this little nugget:

following testing at the Building Research Establishment, is that the prints were treated with some varnish containing fire repellent, and that the string holding the painting to the wall would be the first to perish, resulting in the painting landing face down on the floor and thus being protected

A perfectly rational explanation? Say it ain’t so!

And what about the fire? Well, she admits she had to let her cat out of the room. It’s a hell of a lot more plausible that the cat knocked over a candle or caused some other reaction that caused the fire. That makes a hell of a lot more sense than a "print" setting her house on fire? And the computer? Wow, an electronic device has never worn out, overloaded and had smoke come out of the box. The words electrical fire come to mind.

As for Ed Gein? Clearly, he was horribly disturbed and I think it’s almost insulting to say he was in some way capable (meaning intelligent) enough to instill evil into a pot. Um, no. It’s pure metal and had who knows what done to it. Do you think those readings could be from the chemical makeup of the pot or residue from chemicals placed in it? An old metal pot giving off a reading? Shocking! And who knows what those poor guys were exposed to when they went into the Gein’s place.

All of these "mysterious" events certainly have causes rooted here in the real world if you ask me. They are certainly interesting, perhaps a bit creepy, but they don’t contain any mystical powers.

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The Demon House of Seattle – Revisit

Here is another interview with Keith in regards to his house which has been dubbed the Demon House of Seattle. It’s presented by ParanormalZoneTV, and comes well after the investigation by Zak and Ghost Adventures. Keith is joined by Karissa, but it’s best to gloss over her portion of the program as she’s not helping to give credence and credibility to the claims.

Keith does bring up valid points about the Ghost Adventures investigation. First, the slant of the show was to make it seem like Tina was responsible for the events in the house. Second, anyone who dismisses or agrees with paranormal activity simply because of Zak needs to check themselves. Let’s just take a step back for a moment. Zak is in no way a scientist or even using scientific methods. He is a former DJ who paired up with a photographer to create his show. He claims to have the powers of a sensitive, powers he developed over his career.

His job is to entertain, to dramatize, to generate interest, to gain an audience and to get renewed for another season. His truth is relative and if a haunting sells, that’s what you’re going to see. And if no haunting sells, that’s what you’re going to see.

From that angle, anyone who says Zak did a great job by discrediting this house or that it only improves his credibility as an investigator is buying into the marketing machine.

To that end, let’s have a look at the evidence that Keith has on file. First of all, everything we see is after the fact. There are pictures of his office in disarray, symbols and numbers painted on the wall, kitchen drawers open, scissors and cross shoved into the wall, a burned bible and chairs put on top of tables. However, there is nothing showing these events in progress. There is no physical evidence of phones being thrown, of plants levitating, or numbers being drawn through inhuman means.

The rebuttal is that the spirit energy is capable of draining the cameras, cutting off the power, blanking out the video so it’s action can’t be seen and all sorts of other trickery to hide it’s methods.

Even though the 666 that we saw in the final cut of Ghost Adventures was one of several messages that were left on the same door, it was never able to be captured. Keith would get a message, paint the door, then another would appear in the same place. This happened several times, in the same place, but couldn’t be captured.

Karissa claims that when she first entered the house, her phone was thrown. The same thing happened to the UK investigators. It happened a third time when someone else came to investigate the house. The expected behavior when you came over to the house was to have your phone thrown, but yet it can’t be captured.

Fair enough, maybe the cameras don’t always work, but the investigators are able to record everyone walking around their sensors after they’ve gone off. Keith is able to detect motion in his house and get an email, but nothing is capable of capturing a single image of these events taking place.

It’s stated hundreds of EVPs have been captured. Ok, fair enough, that could be worth something, however, simply because you capture a voice doesn’t mean it’s from beyond the grave. A captured voice alone is not proof of the paranormal. A voice on a recorder can be duplicated in hundreds of different ways. Who’s to say that voice isn’t coming from outside? Who’s to say it’s not from a radio or television? Who’s to say it’s not being picked as interference from another device? Who’s to say it’s not a fragment from a baby monitor or phone call?

If you knew nothing of the paranormal claims and were shown the evidence, you would immediately think Keith is the victim of some terrible and senseless acts of vandalism. You would believe you were being shown photos for an insurance claim. However, showing pictures of open kitchen cabinets is not proof of the paranormal. Showing pictures of a broken chair on a desk is not evidence of the paranormal. Even a picture of a burnt bible is nothing more than evidence of a ruined bible.

One thing that I did find off about the interview, is Keith had a small fire break out in the house. I believe a poster or something similar caught on fire while he was getting ready for work. He’s unable to get out of the house because he couldn’t open the door. Later, Keith says the entities in the house aren’t malicious and he has nothing to worry about. I find that to be an odd contradiction if I heard it correctly.

I have no idea what’s going on in Keith’s house because clearly I’m not there and haven’t experienced it. However, the over the top claims and the evidence presented don’t match up. With the constant level of activity going on and with the technology available, you would expect quite a bit more in the way of tangible or visible evidence.

Bob Cranmer has the same situation on his hands. He has a house plagued with activity, like CDs being thrown with such force they shatter. It happens over and over again, yet there is nothing that proves these events actually took place, only the aftermath. Sure, he wrote stuff down in his journal, he took notes, he has pictures, but since this has gone on for years, it all seems pretty inconclusive. He did get a book out of the deal with plenty of people decrying the eternal battle between good and evil.

Comments have been made that the paranormal is like lightning and you can’t capture lighting. Um, yes you can.

image

The point being, anyone can run around their house, open drawers, throw plants on the floor, put chairs on the desk, do as they like with the crucifix, take pictures and declare the paranormal. People can run around in the dark, scratch themselves and declare they were touch by a demon. That doesn’t make it so.

Have a look and decide for yourself.

Demons in Seattle – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PfH6mIKg63E

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Ghost Asylum – Peoria State Hospital – S03E03

imageFor their next investigation, the Ghost Asylum team is in Illinois to investigate the Peoria State Hospital. It opened it’s doors in 1902, and as it was the business of the time, took in far more patients than it could handle and those with nowhere else to go. It took in alcoholics, the mentally ill, the homeless, epileptics and even orphaned children. As you might expect, the treatment was poor, including the normal practice of lobotomy and electroshock therapy. The death toll is estimated at over 10,000, a vast majority were most likely affected by tuberculosis. It seems every hospital lost thousand of patients to that disease. But this will be the last investigation, as the hospital is being torn down.

Some of the claims from locals include voices, shadows, footsteps and doors closing. And as they start to investigate, Chris and his team get hits on their K2 meters as well as their "periscopes", plus the usual bangs and scraping sounds. They also get the word, "blind" which they believe could be Rhoda, a patient who was treated in a shocking manner.

It seems Rhoda was locked in a cage for almost her entire life. Her limbs were gnarled and destroyed. Her mind even more shattered than when she went in. Her madness, if there was any to begin with, increased to the point where she gouged out her own eyes and smashed out her own teeth. Any treatment she may have received certainly didn’t help.

On their first night, they play an old film which was taken at the hospital during a Halloween party in 1944. A Halloween party at an asylum seems like such a strange thing to do. But while it plays, they feel they get the words "mama", and "one place". The team attributes this to someone seeing their "mama" in the film and this is the "one place" they have lived all their lives. There is also a reference to "60" and "ghosts" as though there are 60 spirits still roaming the halls of the hospital.

For the second night, it’s time to build their ghost capturing apparatus which they call, The Phantom Cage, which will hold a music box, crystals and a meter to indicate if they capture anything. Basically it’s the same cage that Rhoda was kept in, which makes it seem like something they would be angered over not enticed by.

But as they continue for day 2, they bring in Emily and Gina to help comfort the child patients. The goal of the night is to try and lead the spirits that want to leave down to their cage. As they move their lasers around, the K2 meters goes off and they feel tugging at their legs. They also feel they get the words, "It’ll be okay". On their thermal imager, there is an outline of a head with eyes.

At the end of the night, they feel they’ve done all they can, but there is nothing to confirm they’ve captured anything or helped any of the spirits leave the building.

This is one of the rare times, if not the only time, I’ve heard of one of these hospitals being torn down. That just doesn’t seem to happen for whatever reason. Most of the time someone is trying to restore it and turn it into apartments or a motel. Nothing is mentioned about what they plan to do with the cemetery that’s out back.

But when it comes to evidence, what do we have? It should come as no surprise that an old building from 1902 is loaded with creaks, bangs and knocking sounds. It closed in the 70s, which gives animals plenty of time to take up residence and plenty of time for the elements to chip away at the foundation. Does that discount every sound and bump? Not specifically, but it means a vast majority of those sounds can be explained and should be expected.

As to the voices, well, that is for each person to decide. I don’t put much stock in those as there are too many ways to replicate and interfere with such things.

The Peoria State Hospital is a textbook example of good intentions, but another monument to the failed treatment of mental illness. Is it a haunted location? Are the spirits of Casey and Rhoda still wandering the halls? Who knows, but let’s hope not. What a terrible place to end up in both life and death.

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Deadly Possessions – Bela Lugosi’s Mirror and Charles Manson’s Television – S01E03

imageThe next items in Zak’s collection of Deadly Possessions, is a mirror reportedly owned by Bela Lugosi and a television supposedly owned by Charles Manson.

Cindy Lee brings in the mirror and tells a tragic tale of how her uncle was brutally murdered. The significance of that story is that he was in one of Lugosi’s homes when it occurred and that the mirror was close at hand and would have witnessed the crime. Cindy believes that a close friend killed her uncle since there was no sign of forced entry and the motive doesn’t seem to be robbery.

Zak them makes a comment that Lugosi was "into the occult" and would have used this mirror within his rituals. Within seconds, Zak is making the leap that the mirror witnesses the murder and quite possibly captured the energy or even the soul of the murderer. Zak then discusses the practice of "Scrying" where you look into a mirror and use it as a portal to see the other side.

Cindy says she feels the mirror has something bad attached to it because her daughter’s experiences. Said daughter is unwilling to discuss the events, but her sister, Irene, relays what she has been told. When looking into the mirror, the sister felt she saw a hand reaching out to get her. She felt teeth marks against her neck as a shadowy figure appeared in the mirror.

Irene explains that when she slept in the same room as the mirror, she had a nightmare and woke with scratches on her body.

Cindy doesn’t want the mirror and claims she can’t sell it or even give it away, which I find shockingly hard to believe. Nobody wants a mirror owned by the famed Bela Lugosi?

Zak puts the mirror in his famed isolation chamber and has three volunteers ponder their images in it and report if they see anything. Aaron and Ashley claim they feel and see something. They both report there is a light in the corner. Aaron even goes so far as to say he sees himself as an extremely old man.

And then in what Zak believes is no coincidence, the basement of his museum is flooded. When he goes down there to record the damage, he captures all sorts of noises such as banging and rattling. That banging clearly can be the broken pipes that caused the damage in the first place.

The next item is a television reportedly owned by Charles Manson with a strange little tale associated with it. Nick Kloster, used to buy and sell cars. One vehicle he bought ended up having a television and a slew of prison letters from Charles Manson. That is certainly a creepy set of mementos to keep around. But things take a dark turn when Jason brings the television into his bedroom many years later. Shortly thereafter, his mother passes away, he loses his job and there is an accident where a motorcyclist is killed in his driveway.

Zak then talks with Jason Freeman, the grandson of Charles Manson. He doesn’t seem to have any ill will towards his grandfather and has been in contact with him by phone and through letters for the past couple of years. Jason confirms the handwriting on the TV manual is his grandfathers, which apparently authenticates ownership.

Jason has had some troubles in his life and wants to shake off the curse of his family name, which I’m sure most people didn’t know about until he told them on national television. But in order to make a new start, he wants to be baptized which Zak arranges. Dunk your head in a pond and all your troubles go away.

As we get back to the television, Zak believes that Manson was able to imprint his mental powers onto objects like someone out of the X-Men. Zak believes Manson cursed the television and was somehow able to arrange for these diabolical items to end up in the hands of unsuspecting victims.

Interestingly, Jason packed up the television and sent it to a friend. Ashley was in possession of it, read over the letters and did some research on her own. She makes states the man who sold the car and by extension the TV, is now in prison because of trying to hire people to kill his family, in a similar manner as Manson did. That sends Zak into a tizzy.

Putting the grim nature of the crimes aside, these are pretty unique items. However, the "curses" or dark energy surrounding them seems a little outrageous. I don’t believe Charles Manson has power over people, at least not over someone that isn’t mentally sick or feeble. And while there is a superstition that has people covering mirrors in their home when someone dies, it seems very hard to believe that a mirror has somehow captured the energy of a killer because it was in the room at the time.

Additionally, I’m not sure where Zak is getting his information about Lugosi practicing the occult. Lugosi didn’t have any qualms about playing dark or sinister styled characters, but I haven’t heard of nor can I find anything that indicates he practiced the occult. And if Zak is referring to staring into a mirror, I hardly say that counts as occult behavior. And if he means the use of a Ouija during the hype of Spiritualism, I don’t really think that counts either.

While tragic, it is hard to connect these accidents to Manson. If he were that capable, which he isn’t, I’m pretty sure his vengeance would be directed at those around him in prison not complete strangers.

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