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Ghost Adventures – Upper Fruitland Curse – S14E08

imageZak and the team head to Upper Fruitland, New Mexico, onto Navajo land to investigate claims of a strange, faceless entity that keeps showing itself to the Harris family. Brenda, Ryan and their daughter, Holly, tell the same story of a figure in a plaid shirt with no face holding Ryan down one night. This entity may also be responsible for sending Robert, the father, to the hospital.

As they drive up, Zak talks with the neighbor who says their house is haunted and they’ve been told by the medicine man to tear it down. The son says he has seen trolls without a face.

On the Harris property, the main area of activity seems to be the trailer in the back that the family stayed in while the house was being built. While inside they hear footsteps and a series of cats gather around. Zak says he can feel a presence and even that he lost time. Billy captures some EVPs and when he plays them for Brenda, she darts out of the room and begins to pray. Supposedly, she has been told about some dark entity.

To check the grounds, they bring out a Geomagnetometer and get a baseline reading of 49. At one point it jumps by 7 to 56, which Zak feels is due to a portal to another dimension. He’s says that a lot lately.

As the investigation starts, they hear a loud noise from the trailer, like something falling over. That’s not a stretch as there are items stacked all over the place. While the wind is blowing, they hear what they think is a snarl. Also, not that big of a stretch since there is at least one large dog in the back yard. When Aaron goes into the trailer, he hears a scream and then a child’s voice. While interesting, that could easily be one of the half dozen cats wandering around or one of the kids next door playing. It may be dark and late, but that doesn’t mean kids aren’t outside.

In usual fashion, Aaron has his episode of feeling terrible, says he’s going to be sick and that he wants to lay down and sleep. He’s been terrorized by the sound of something bumping the trailer, which again isn’t that odd considering junk is stacked against the trailer and the wind is blowing. We also have bangs against the van, but you can clearly see a dog on the porch or one of those cats could have made a leap for it.

In the house, they see orbs and hear more footsteps. On the SLS camera, they see a stick figure without a head. On a camera covering the field, there is a mass moving back and forth in the distance. It’s can’t be human because it’s cold, so says Zak.

As Zak winds through the house, which is completely cluttered, he opens the crawlspace. At the same time, he feels the chair in the kitchen is dragged across the floor. But since the crawlspace is open, Zak tells Jay to go down there. Zak is really good at getting other people to go into scary areas while he hangs back.

In the crawlspace, Jay hears footsteps, what could be growl and the lid to the opening falls over. Zak concludes all of these are demonic and the lid fell over to try and trap Jay down there. It would be more realistic to say the footsteps and groan are from the boards settling or from the dog outside.

While Zak doesn’t uncover anything, he concludes the house has an evil entity and should be cleansed. It needs to be cleaned for sure. It’s a mess and is still under construction with things hanging from the ceiling, bare walls, bare floors, boxes, cans, ladders and shelves stuffed into every corner. Even the outside fascia is missing with plastic hanging all over the front and debris everywhere. It’s hardly a surprise you would hear odd noises.

About the only interesting thing is the footage Ryan captures of a shadowy figure rising up from the ground. It’s a phenomenon worthy of more investigation, but all the other encounters have more to do with junk piled against the house on a windy night than supernatural forces.

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Ghost Adventures – Skinwalker Canyon – S14E07

imageAfter taking a break from their dubious exorcism in Erie, Zak and the team are off to the four corners area, into Skinwalker Canyon. The four corners is the intersection of Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah. Zak calls this the Bermuda Triangle of paranormal events, something I’ve never heard anyone else say. Although the Skinwalker has been the subject of X-Files and Supernatural episodes.

The focus of their investigation is the Skinwalker, a creature said to shape shift from coyote to demonic humanlike form. It’s the result of conjuring within the witchcraft caves on the Reservation.

The Native Americans believe strongly in the creature and a man suspected of being a Skinwalker was recently killed by having his head cut off. He was suspected by his wife so she took matters into her own hands. Take that for what it’s worth.

Talking about the creature is frowned on because those that relay the story of the Skinwalker can be the victim of a curse.

At the entrance, Randy says he has seen the Skinwalker in the canyon and Vincent, their guide and tracker, has brought along a rifle for protection. In the witchcraft caves they find new tracks on the inside of the cave that don’t have corresponding tracks on the outside.

Inside, they find an archway, which Zak says is a portal to another dimension. This is confirmed in his mind when Vincent and Aaron don’t hear him calling for them. When they do appear an hour later, they’re dazed and confused. Or so Zak says.

After their little recon mission, they run into a medicine woman, Walking Thunder, who says they need protection. This involves a small little ceremony wherein they eat a bit of the Devil’s Weed, a hallucinogenic and the whole team is trippin’ balls. At this point, everything they do, say, and see is more suspect than normal.

And so they return to the witchcraft cave and what do they find? Evidence of the demonic in the form of a small, burnt out fire with an animal skull in the ashes. This is no way should be taken as someone camping and having dinner.

Inside, Zak sees three burn marks on the cave wall which he says are definitely demonic. I wasn’t aware torch marks could be labeled as demonic. And since the little community knew they were out there, far be it for anyone to mess with them.

Even more shocking is a feather against the wall and a bullet casing. From Zak’s point of view, these are all signs something terrible has happened.

And what better way to deal with that than to split up. As usual, Aaron sets off on his own to visit the portal. In his doped up state of hysteria, he hears the sound of a woman.

Billy and Zak head out across the plains to look for Skinwalkers. They have no idea where they’re going and just start driving around. When they stop, Zak makes a note that it smells like dead flesh and that he sees eyes in the distance with his binoculars. But just because it looks like a coyote doesn’t mean it’s not a Skinwalker.

Meanwhile, Aaron is pretty much losing his mind with all the sounds of the coyotes in the area. After they’ve amped things up with Indian Drum Chants, Aaron says he’s about to black out. Jay decides he should use scrying near the portal. During this they see a flash, the broken temperature gauge goes from 50 degrees to 90 and Aaron says something touched him.

Back on the plains, Zak is jumping at shadows, literally. He says some dark figure envelopes Billy. This coincides with a screech, so the coyote has changed from animal to human form. While they continue to wander around in the dark, Zak and Billy feel a vibration and capture a light anomaly falling down the rock face.

To Zak, all of this is proof of the Skinwalkers and has nothing to do with them taking a hallucinogenic weed and wandering around in a canyon where noise vibrates off every surface and they can hear things from hundreds of feet away.

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Holmes Own Story

I’ve seen references to this document, but not an actual copy. Here is a digital version of H.H. Holmes biography where he refutes the myriad of crimes he’s accused of. It also includes portions of his Moyamensing prison diary.

I have just started getting into this one, but oddly, Holmes comes across as a rather talented writer.

Holmes’ own story, in which the alleged multi-murderer and arch conspirator tells of the twenty-two tragic deaths and disappearances in which he is said to be implicated, with Moyamensing prison diary appendix.
Portraits on covers. Autograph letter from the author to Samuel W. Pennypacker bound before title.

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Ouija – Cardboard and Plastic Toy or Mystical Portal?

With so much talk of Zozo demons, portals and evil entities, it’s time to have a look as the most recognized "occult" device out there, the Ouija.

Why has the Ouija become so feared? How did it come to be associated with negative energy? When first created, it was meant as a tool that could speak to loved ones in the afterlife. You could contact Uncle Rupert, Aunt Francis, a lost husband in the war and even the spirit of a departed pet. It had no negative associations at all, quite the opposite. It was seen as a positive influence that could even bring peace and happiness.

When did things change so that it could only contact evil? Who turned this board of Spiritualism into a tool of demonic conjuring? Part of that looks to be a product of Hollywood and movies like Exorcist and Witchboard. In both cases you have an innocent, young, female becoming prey to dark forces through use of the board. It makes for good storytelling, like Dracula seducing the women he wished to turn. However, it’s only a story.

Does it have something to do with Aleister Crowley? To be fair, there is a ton of misrepresentation about Crowley. Despite how it’s portrayed, Crowley wasn’t trying to conjure Satan. Further, he was considered wicked because of his sexual habits and indulgences. He referred to himself as "The Beast" in order to magnify his infamy.

Even if he was "evil", Crowley experimented with a great many things. He certainly read the bible, so should that be considered tainted? Crowley worked with Tarot cards and those aren’t being called a portal to hell. There is even a deck he designed.

Clearly not everyone thinks it’s evil, Amazon certainly treats it as a toy. You can get talking board coffee mugs, tumblers, pendants, keychains, mint boxes, hoodies, rings and sweatpants. In every sense of the word it’s a gimmick item. If there was any scientific evidence to the board’s power, or any of these Zozo claims were proven to be real, would it be allowed to be sold by a toy company?

Further proving it’s lack of power, National Geographic showed that when participants are blindfolded, the Ouija spells gibberish. The BBC and others have explained how the Ouija works and how it doesn’t. Even Penn and Teller, who are masters of the con, show how the Ouija doesn’t work.

Another master of illusion, Houdini proved every claim of mysticism to be a hoax, from seances to ectoplasm. The Ouija was used heavily in seances and not one of them proved to be valid. And this was during the time when talking boards had no demonic connection associated with them. Houdini wanted to commune with the dead, but it just wasn’t so.

But there are those that say the spirits need the participants eyes in order to spell words. Yet, paranormal investigators claim spirits can see them. Which group is lying?

People also claim the Ouija can predict the future and explain how it told them something 20 years ago and it just came true. If you can link events together that occur that far apart, you’re trying to find a cause and effect. This would be same as reading a fortune cooking that says you will come into great wealth and two weeks later you find $20 in the street. No one would say the fortune cookie had divine insight. But when it happens with the Ouija, people say it has power.

Looking at it, the Ouija uses a board and letters to spell out phrases from the other side That in mind, why aren’t people having the same experience Scrabble or Upwords? Why isn’t this mysterious humbug called Zozo showing up on Scrabble boards spelling out demonic words?

In our society, why is conjuring evil so damn easy and contacting good spirits so hard? People say they were only in the room with a Ouija and something bad followed them home. However, the same isn’t true about someone passing a church who then says a friendly angel followed them home to make breakfast and tidy up the house. If evil forces can throw books and upturn chairs, a good force should make something to eat and be useful.

If the Ouija was capable of working on conjuring those who have passed, why aren’t we talking to Einstein, Twain, Socrates, Houdini and other great minds so they can continue their work?

This may sound like heresy, but it’s not meant to be. But if the board allowed us to contact the dead, perhaps angels, perhaps higher spiritual beings, why isn’t it used in religious teachings? People don’t have a problem with prayer, so what’s wrong with something more direct?

A common claim toward the Ouija is that it works because of intent and belief. If you don’t believe, nothing will happen because the spirits know. If your intent is to contact a spirit, you will. How is that different than, "it works because I said so."

The Ouija has been debunked multiple times and is as mystical as a rabbit’s foot, lucky socks, game winning jersey, rain dance, blowing on dice or a double rainbow. When they work, people claim the power of the talisman. When they don’t, people claim other forces were acting against them, like the other team had more people with jerseys, or the magic ran out giving them their last wish.

As a final thought, since Darren and his ilk claim it’s so easy to conjure Zozo, why not take up the million dollar challenge laid down by James Randi and get Zozo to appear while he looks on?

The Strange and Mysterious History of the Ouija Board

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