Ghost Asylum – Old Crow Distillery

imageIn sticking close to home, the Ghost Asylum team heads to Kentucky to investigate the remnants of the Old Crow Distillery, that dates back to the 1830s. Dr. Crow put together a special mash, but as of late, his recipe has been changed and the old doctor might not be too thrilled about it. However, it might not be the doctor lurking in the shadows as there are tales of multiple accidents from the distillery days. They know of at least one where a man was injured in the freight elevator. While they keep referencing that he was crushed, it doesn’t sound like that’s the case. His foot may have been crushed, but he actually died a couple of days later in the hospital from his injuries. The end result is the same, but the circumstances are entirely different.

But to be sure, working in a giant still back in those was dangerous business indeed. The working conditions were pretty poor, safety certainly wasn’t a concern and just about everything in the entire complex was flammable and a ticking timebomb of disaster should something ignite.

It’s said the doctor is still wandering around, even though the place has been abandoned for years. However, construction has begun to renovate and bring the still back to working order, and this may be stirring up the spirits.

Chris meets with the new owner and he’s quick to point out he thinks there might be some other worldly things going on. The details include the sound of someone coming up the steps and the lights flashing on some sort of meter. Not exactly precise evidence of the paranormal.

For the first day of the investigation they hear noises as though someone is moving around. That’s not too surprising since they’re in the woods and the place is overgrown with trees. Brannon immediately jumps to the demonic as the word "Satan" pops up on their phonetic generator. Sure, it can be a scary word, but what about this place makes you think of the demonic or demonic forces? Other words that pop up are, "heavy", "preacher" and "pawn". As they walk around, Doogie keeps feeling something is touching him and walking up right next to him. We also have a couple of renegade orbs and again a feeling from Doogie that he describes as vertigo while in the granary.

For Day 2, they construct the Wraith Casket trap, which is supposed to heighten the senses of fear and anger so as to fuel the spirits. With that in mind, the goal is to put Porter in the box and have his fear of being buried alive fuel the spirits.

As they sweep through the buildings, the lights and meters surrounding the coffin begin to go off. Porter himself says that he feels cold air blowing over him even though a breeze wouldn’t be able to reach him. He keeps feeling chills and hearing noises. But the cold breeze changes to hot and Porter feels something around his feet. As the K2 meter blips rapidly, they pull him out and contain whatever was with him inside the coffin.

I feel there are several misleading pieces about this place. I am sure there were deaths at the distillery, but the one they’re focusing on doesn’t really fit. He was injured and he died, he didn’t suffer some heinous death on the property like they keep saying. Dr. Crow died on the property, but again, he lived there. Dying at home was common during that time. It’s not like he suffered some terrible accident or was murdered or some other violent incident. They are over-hyping these stories to ridiculous proportions.

The noises they hear are just as likely from the animals roaming about in the woods. And as far as Porter goes, he says his fear is buried alive, and so we should expect him to have anxiety and all sorts of experiences when locked in a box. I’m sure we’d all feel something similar.

Now, there were lots of flashing lights and plenty of excitement, but it’s hard say that is evidence of the paranormal. Who’s to say those aren’t reacting to the energy of the room  such as that coming from the guys themselves?

It’s an interesting story and an interesting place, but it’s a bit of stretch to say it’s haunted with all sorts of paranormal events. And that trap of theirs was just silly. On the one hand, who doesn’t want a coffin like that, it’s pretty snazzy and would make a great prop for all sorts of things, but let’s be serious, that is in no way a scientific device. It really is just a prop. Kind of a high tech one, but still a prop.

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Ghost Asylum – Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary

imageThe team stays close to home to investigate this notorious prison that only recently closed its doors. Like so many other penitentiaries, this location was the scene of plenty of violence with almost all of it inflicted by inmates onto other inmates.

We get stories of prisoners stabbing each other, committing suicide and by the sound of it, picking fights just to prove who was top dog. Before the fencing was installed, prisoners would be thrown over the railing from the third floor to their death. Some of the paranormal incidents include voices, the sounds of doors opening and closing and the feeling of being touched.

They talk with a former inmate of the prison and a former guard. The former inmate describes some of the violence and it was nearly a daily event for someone to get beat up or taken out. The former guard pretty much confirms the same with a story about an inmate who was butchered in the cafeteria.

It’s a massive complex including the main facilities, chapel and multiple cell blocks. As they start the baseline sweep of the chapel, some negative words like "wrong" and "beast" come through on the generator. The word
"wrong" is in reference to the chapel being a sanctuary.

As the check out the cell blocks, Doogie gets a mysterious burn hole in his shirt. This is attributed to Jack who was a small guy with a big mouth who smoked cigars. He met with an extremely violent end of being stabbed in the throat and then stabbed another 19 times for good measure.

To start off the night, they get together around a table for a game of dominoes. Oddly, they get a lot of activity on their monitors and hear the sound of a door closing. When they move on to another location, Porter gets wild readings on a temperature probe. The readings start at 100 degrees, then drop down below -2 degrees. Meanwhile, down in the isolation ward, Doogie feels like something is touching him on the ear.

During the course of the night, they get a lot of K2 hits and plenty of blips on their meters. There is even a growl that comes through.

For Day 2, they put together the Wraith Fog Trap which is a wall of fog from a fog machine charged with electricity from a Jacob’s Ladder. This is supposed to give the entities energy and a place to show themselves. If they capture energy, it will be contained in rechargeable batteries.

Things start of normally, but then something appears to attach itself to Doogie. He feels something is tugging at him, then grabbing him, then wrapping itself around him. By happenstance, there is a large thunderstorm that night and this only serves to feed energy into the air. As things reach their pitch, Doogie is beside himself with feeling nauseous and feels something is crawling all over him. The team feels something is forming in the center of the fog and believe they may have captured some energy in the batteries.

However, when they get back to home base, none of the batteries seem to be holding a charge. They may not have caught anything or perhaps the energy dissipated before they could detect it.

Overall, this was a pretty interesting investigation, as most prisons are. They get a lot of activity and they don’t resort to the tiresome "turn on the flashlight" trick. I don’t really think their experiment or trap really did anything, but it’s always fun to see a Jacob’s Ladder in action. I don’t really put any stock in the use of those phonetic generators regardless of how neat it is for one to say "beast" as you approach a chapel. And by the sound of it, no one within the prison regarded it as a chapel either.

While some stories usually feel exaggerated or more violent than what they possibly were, it’s really hard to dispute the events going on inside this prison. Although you have to wonder why it remained open for so long while all of this violence going on. And the inmate they interviewed seemed like a perfectly normal guy, so what the devil did he do to end up in such a place? As stated in the beginning, this was for the worst of the worst.

I’m sure a lot of their experiences are simply because of the mood associated with the place, but if they get enough activity, something credible might come out of it.

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Ghost Asylum – Coco Palms Resort – S03E08

imageFor this investigation, the team heads to Hawaii to investigate the Coco Palms Resort, a dilapidated hotel that is literally being consumed by the jungle. It used to a hot spot resort, but became plagued with problems. It is said to be built on sacred land where tribal battles took place. A mysterious set of protectors known as the Night Marchers are said to rise from the ground and kill anyone who looks at them. Other claims include shadow figures and the feeling of being choked.

While the hotel is a shambles now, it is said this skeleton will be swept away and a new building will take its place. The verdict is still out on whether that is a welcome change or not and if those stories are stirring up the activity.

As they start their baseline sweep they get the words, "stab" and "murder". It’s claimed human sacrifices took place where the resort now stands. One thing to note – the story changed from there were human/blood sacrifices, to there are rumors of it happening. I’ve noticed that’s happened a lot with this show. As they start, these events are presented as facts, but once we get moving a little bit, it switches over to being a rumor.

While investigating what is being called the chapel, it’s actually a wedding chapel, Porter sees something moving around out in the night. Now, let’s be clear. They are in the jungle, with trees growing right through the building they’re standing in. They are in thick growth and its night. Are we really to be shocked that something is moving around? I’m sure it can come across as unsettling, but how can you possibly say its anything other than animals looking for food? Or even birds swooping to the ground?

For Day 2, it’s time to bring out the experiment of the week. This time we have the 360 Para-Cam, a helmet with cameras that can see in 360 degrees so they can capture the Night Marchers without actually looking at them and losing their lives. In order to stir up the activity, they get some locals to perform a warrior ceremony. This seems to create all sorts of noises in the jungle.

As they head back to the chapel, Doogie starts choking as though the Choking Ghost has gotten a hold of him. It wouldn’t be a bug, this is the work of the ghost. At this same time, there are a slew of dogs barking. They take this to mean someone is out there and dogs are sensitive to the energy. This may be true, but it also proves there are animals close by. There is nothing to say what they saw or heard before wasn’t just a dog running through the jungle. They’re clearly stating other things are out there in the night, but discounting them at the same time.

Also during their investigation, they feel they hear drums, a sign of the Night Marchers and capture what they think are torches. They also talk with a couple of locals who blend in more rumor and superstition. About the only thing tangible are the stones with carvings on them. They claim it’s part of the sacred burial ground, but if it’s so sacred, why is it in such a shambles? Why isn’t anyone taking care of it? Why is everything just tossed to the side. You can see carvings in the rocks, but their exact nature doesn’t feel too defined.

What we have at the end of this is a run down hotel and a whole lot of superstition. Blaming fires and hurricanes on angry spirits? Choking spirits? Who the devil knows what kind of spores or bugs you could inhale out there? Night Marchers? What part of that doesn’t sound like a complete legend?

The place is a wreck. Maybe it is on a burial site, but if so, no one seems to be putting in an effort to make the place a memorial. Right now, it’s a broken down series of buildings, with a thick dense jungle around and lots of wild stories. All the stories of this place are urban legend and superstition.

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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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