Ghost Adventures – Colorado Gold Mine – S13E01

imageTo kick off the new season, Zak and crew head to Colorado to investigate a haunted gold mine. They’re specifically in Idaho Springs to visit the Phoenix Mine and the Comstock mine. There are tales of Uncle Ray, who supposedly practiced Black Magic and the sound of Tommyknockers. For those who remember Ghost Mine, that crew was fearful of Tommyknockers as well.

There are couple of odd stories about this mine. First, Uncle Ray, a former tour guide, not miner, who supposedly practiced dark magic and "left a trail of depraved evil" according to Zak, had his ashes scattered in the mine. The other story is about two men who were killed by a named Gillespie. He shot them in the head while they were out walking and looking at the mine.

If Ray brought this depraved evil as Zak calls it, why were his remains scattered in the mine? And clearly with the owners understanding since that section is closed off. It’s not like they snuck his remains in there and the location is mystery. And how do they know he practiced dark magic? What exactly did he do? Considering they believe in Bigfoot, Tommyknockers and who knows what else, they’re awfully quick to condemn this guy, but still put his remains in the mine.

To add to the quirks of this investigation, as Zak is hearing the story about the men being killed from Al, the owner, Jo and Victoria come up to tell him they just heard voices in the Comstock mine. Zak decides to investigate, but almost goes into a panic as he enters. He states he’s risking his life and oversells how dangerous the mine is. The ladies, in their sassy pink hardhats, show no signs of anxiety and forge ahead.

Zak breaks out the recorder and gets the words, "get out" and he does exactly what the voice asks and runs out of there. The ladies would prefer he stay and keep trying to communicate, but Zak wants no part of that action. Keep in mind, he’s only gone in a couple hundred feet.

While they say the mine is in bad shape, there is no way in hell the show or the owner would let Zak go in if it was really going to collapse. Even if he did sign a waiver, which I’m sure Zak would bring to our attention, they wouldn’t risk people’s lives. And those ladies had no fear of going in there even if Zak does call them crazy. Pretty sure this is yet another one of Zak’s phobias getting the better of him.

Before the investigation starts, Zak gets a call from Jo, who explains that she has a picture of some miners she caught in the tunnel and that there were blasting caps on the ground near where they heard "get out". So, the voice that Zak originally described as demonic, is now considered a warning because he was kept away from the blasting caps. Of course, the blasting caps need a charge to do anything, but that’s not the point.

Now, with the investigation really getting ready to start, they are thwarted once again by what Zak is describing as a bear and Hank says is Bigfoot. As everyone but Zak goes to investigate, because he is scared witless, they soon discover the cause of the disturbance is a raccoon. So, Hank is ready believe in Bigfoot rather than a raccoon nosing around in the trash. This is how myths and legends get started.

Ultimately, they make it into the mine and Zak asks if anyone can hear him. He asks if it’s the spirit of Ray and gets three knocks. When Zak asks for someone to appear, he gets a little stick figure on the screen, which nearly makes Zak soil himself. To Zak, this is confirmation of a Tommyknocker.

The next part of the investigation comes when they visit the ashes of Ray. As they try the spirit box, there is an orb and a flash of light above Aaron’s head. At the same time, Jay says something grabs his pants. Meanwhile, Billy, in another part of the mine gets a blob on his thermal imager.

For the big finale, they bring out the laser microphone. If the beam is broken, it makes a sound. And so, it makes noises as soon as they hook it up. Jay says it sounds like there was a cave in because of the continuous noise. Next, as they move closer to the remains of Ray, there is a lot of static as though someone is standing in the beam of the laser. This further convinces Zak that the mine is completely charged with spirit energy.

However, this episode has a lot of things wrong and plenty of misleading information. Noises in a tunnel, like creaking boards, that carry on for hundreds of feet is not the result of Tommyknockers. We already know animals are lurking around, what is to say they aren’t in the tunnels themselves? Jo has a photo of miners that looks it was created with a ghost app on a phone. Uncle Ray is such a terrible guy and purveyor of evil, that they buried his ashes in the mine itself. And again, Zak is ready to believe he is evil without a single shred of evidence. That’s not hysteria in any way.

When all is said and done, about the only thing they capture for sure, is the sound of creaking in an old tunnel and a raccoon. I don’t think these count as definitive evidence of the paranormal. Further, Zak already made claims about demons and has problems with the close confines of the mine. He is totally frightened, so he’s going to see whatever the heck he wants to see and his common sense has been thrown out the window.

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American Horror Story-Hotel – Season 5

I know American Horror Story season 5 completed several months ago, but I didn’t get a chance to watch it and with season 6 underway, I wanted to see what I missed. So it was time for a tv watching bender and while each season has been very good, I thought season 5 had some real interesting aspects to it.

There are true life elements woven into the different AHS stories, but season 5 really went after that. The hotel was based on the Hotel Cecil, which has a damn sketchy past. Serial killers did indeed call the place home, including Richard Ramirez – The Nightstalker. There was also a pretty grim discovery of a body in the water tank that was found because guests said the water was iscolored and tasted foul. That is all manner of wrong.

While the actual Hotel Cecil didn’t have the rooms, vaults and corridors as depicted, there was a certain hotel that did. It was based in Chicago and was run by H. H. Holmes. The Hotel Cortez even has the infamous vault, body chutes and furnace in the basement. The time period is different, but James Patrick March is Holmes, even down to "getting rid" of workman so no one would know the overall layout of the building.

We also have several real life serials killers that linger and show up for Devil’s Night. It’s a pretty nasty brood at the dinner table as they try to bring John into the fold. Bringing all those elements together made for intriguing and incredibly creepy stories.

It’s a variety of stories of themes, such as ghosts, vampires, killing sprees and the paranormal. But interestingly, a few threads come through about the meaning of relationships. Amidst the throat slashing, you have people trying to discover how to be in relationships and in love. And odd setting to be sure, but that just adds to the overall bizarre nature of it all.

There are also connections back to the first American Horror Story with psychic Billy Dean and Queenie. Queenie only makes a short appearance, but long enough for her voodoo skills to be consumed in an attempt to unseat the Countess. And we have Billy Dean, who comes to the hotel for Devil’s Night in a chance to talk with John about his crimes and why he did them. She is then treated to a host of holy horrors and takes a seat with serial killers from the past. This may put her off communicating with the spirit world for good.

Or does it?

As we jump into season 6, it feels as though we are watching a paranormal investigation re-enactment. Is Billy Dean just off camera getting the story of the events that took place? Will this lead to an investigation of the house? From there, will we be treated to an investigation of the Murder House from season 1?

That remains to be seen, but Season 5 was riveting. While more violent than other seasons, I was  more compelled to get to the next episode to find out what was going on. I would then say Season 3 was my next favorite with it’s witches and fascinating characters.

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Ryan Buell arrested and facing criminal charges

imageOh, how the mighty have fallen. A paranormal investigator accused of lies and deceit? Say it ain’t so.

With Ryan’s show off the air and his team garnering work without him, Ryan has been left looking for his next cash cow. That came in the form of his Conversations with the Dead tour, which he apparently started multiple times in multiple cities, but never actually held. Both Chip Coffey and Michelle Belanger ultimately broke ties with Ryan after he failed to give refunds for the never starting show.

It now appears the high jinks off screen have finally caught up with him and he’s been arrested facing felony charges of theft. Looks like Ryan has really stepped in it this time, but who knows what he’s really in trouble for. And who knows if fans who sighed up for his tour will actually get their money back. If they put him behind bars, I guess the tour really is canceled and he’ll have no choice but to give the money back.

Celebrity ghost hunter Ryan Buell arrested

You know, I don’t want to kick the guy when he’s down, but seriously, people should have known better. Ryan has been a fraud for years with his ridiculous antics and holier than thou attitude. He’s been treating people like crap ever since he got a show and his arrogance finally caught up with him.

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Time to have a look at the Conjuring 2

Unlike the first Conjuring movie, I waited for this one to come to video before giving it a look. After seeing both The Conjuring and Annabelle, I didn’t feel this would be worth the cost of admission.

We catch up with Ed and Lorraine Warren as they investigate the supposedly true events surrounding the Enfield haunting. We start off with references to the Amityville haunting, but quickly leave that storyline behind which was disappointing to be sure. But then again, maybe it wasn’t as we start to get fed the line that Lorraine has some divine powers.

We then have the Warrens being asked to visit the Hodgson’s in England to see if their claims of the paranormal are real. The children are being tormented by some sort of spirit. Toys are able to start and move on their own. Beds shake and growls come out of the darkness. Things escalate to the point of possible possession as Janet is able to speak in a voice not her own and tell of events she shouldn’t know. And mildly overshadowing all the events is the vision and dread Lorraine fears that her husband is about to meet with his death. She has several visions showing his demise which puts her in a place where she can’t act upon the haunting.

Overall, this Conjuring has a dark and foreboding feel, which is good. I think the best part involves the mysterious figure of the nun. This is loosely linked to the events at Amityville and may be a demonic figure. There are several scenes with this shadowy creature skulking around and an especially good one where the shadow links up with the nightmarish figure Ed has painted and pursues Lorraine.

The movie builds slowly, with a series of unexplained events that ultimately catch the attention of the Warrens. At first, they are brought in as observes, with other investigators and reporters bringing attention to the haunting. As we move forward, the question keeps getting asked, is this a hoax or is there something demonic going on? We get a lot of questionable evidence that leans more toward a hoax. But then it shifts and we move back toward a real haunting and possession once Ed and Lorraine give the case more of their attention. I found that to be an interesting stance.

The other aspect to the movie is the real case that inspired it. There was indeed an investigation in London involving this family. And the children claim all sorts of events took place and they sought help to control them. Interestingly, when you being to research the "haunting" it begins to closely mirror the events of Amityville, up to and including being declared a hoax by a large contingent.

You will also find that Ed and Lorraine weren’t that involved in the events and may have in fact been asked to keep their distance based on their reputation from Amityville. By many accounts, Ed and Lorraine injected themselves into the investigation with some declarations that Enfield could make money just like Amityville did.

When looking further into the actual story, it’s easy to believe it was a hoax. The photo evidence of children being thrown around looks like kids jumping on the bed, things only appeared when people’s backs were turned and the girls were found to be faking some of the time. They claim this was merely to test those investigating them, but it doesn’t comes across like that and feels pretty dubious.

The Conjuring 2 was rather fun to watch, with Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga doing a fine job of playing the Warrens. There were plenty of good scenes as the story unfolds. And you don’t have to worry about foul language or nudity like many other movies of this style.

However, as you follow along, it’s hard to tell if the movie is trying to show the Enfield haunting was real or if they agree it was a hoax. There is an interesting line early on in the movie where Ed is on a talk show where it’s claimed the evidence was faked. He says those claims were never "proven". Interesting choice of words.

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