Infamous Places

Haunted Towns – Vicksburg – S01E04

mcraven-houseFor this episode of Haunted Towns, we pay another visit to Vicksburg and the McRaven house. Again, it’s noted to be the most haunted town in America with people hearing phantom gunshots, period music out of nowhere, disembodied footsteps and full bodied apparitions.

At the MacRaven house they meet with Kendra who gives a little more detail about John Bobb, one of the previous owners. He supposedly found soldiers digging up his flowers. This prompted him to throw a brick at them, which lead to multiple threats. John Bobb sought protection from General Slocum, who said he would take care of the matter. This went nowhere and John Bobb was trapped by soldiers who shot him in the abdomen and face. Or so the story goes.

We also have another interview with Jai, who says she saw Mr. Bobb in his changing room and saw his apparition clear enough to make eye contact. She also says there is the strong odor of perfume and cigar smoke in the rooms, clearly the presence of Mr and Mrs Cobb. Or it could be the odor trapped in a porous material like wood that comes out from time to time. Take your pick.

The investigation begins with Chris and Brandon on the first floor while Doogie and Porter taking the  second floor bedroom. Nothing happens on the first floor, but Porter believes he captures the outline of a figure on his thermal camera. This blob could easily be a reflection and they spend quite a bit of time making sure you see the outline of it, so you can get adjusted to the matrixing. Next is a blip on the meter up to 4.8, which is still negligible, but it’s better than a “high” reading of 1 that we’ve seen before.

They also have the half unscrewed flashlight trick, which goes off as they talk about different subjects. But since it won’t commit to an answer and obey their commands, the entity isn’t willing to share it’s identity. When they capture “evidence” it’s the entity. When they don’t, it’s the entity being difficult. It’s an entity either way.

On the second day, they head to the Cobb House, where the stories very much start with, “According to local legend.” And that’s something to keep in mind as the team starts to piece together their evidence to fit this alleged story.

It’s said John Cobb was a gambler, got himself into debt, committed suicide and that he “likely” died in the house.

After Cobb was gone, nuns took over the house, but were afflicted with yellow fever. Morgan Gates says he’s sure five nuns died from the outbreak. Again, as they get on with their investigation, they say, “a nun may have died in this room.” Then again, maybe nothing of the kind took place.

On the first floor, Doogie and Porter believe they capture a gunshot when talking about John Cobb. They believe they get two gunshots when talking about John Bobb. When Doogie and Porter sit down in the side room, they hear what they think is music. They believe they trace it to the piano. There is some sort of noise like wind through a small opening, but nothing that sounds like music.

Up on the second floor, Chris and Brandon get the words, Liberty, Porch, Demand and Soldier. All of these get conveniently woven into the story of John Bobb smoking a cigar on his porch, demanding the soldiers stop their activities and him ultimately losing his liberty.

For the last part they head to Stout’s Bayou where John Bobb was shot. Doogie claims his meter jumps to over 100 and shows multiple spikes over 70. And while we never actually see any of these readings, it leads them to a tree where they believe John Bobb died. From there, the spikes lead them back to the main house. This creates the story that John Bobb is stuck in a loop, repeating his last day by having a cigar on the porch, heading to the Cobb house, then being shot at the tree and making it back to the house.

There are a lot of events that, “allegedly”, took place in and around the area. And the evidence they capture is molded to fit these “local legend” stories.

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Ghost Adventures – Hauntings of Vicksburg – Demons and Dolls – Part 2

ghost-adventures-vicksburg-dollsThe next stop of the Vicksburg tour brings together more dubious tales and stories. Zak talks with Karen, owner of a salon that’s been around long enough for the building to have been hit with cannon fire and with Mike, owner of antique doll toy store, where a doll sent from a concentration camp calls home.

We start things off with Karen and her husband Derrick, who live above their salon. It used to be a furniture store frequented by plantation owners. Karen then decides to weave in her own unfounded tales by saying, she has no idea what went on there. There could have been torture or even murder. Then again, there could have been nothing of the sort.

Derrick describes a nightmare where he couldn’t move and felt like he was being taken over by an entity, possibly trying to kill him. His son, while aloof and distant, says he is scared and some times feels something might be behind him. Karen is quick to latch onto the idea that these dark entities have given her son and attitude that stinks.

They meet up with another set of investigators who take them down to the basement where they heard a little girl’s voice. This is supposed to be an area where slaves were kept. It would be nice if they provided some proof.

Breaking away, they head over to meet Mike, owner the antique doll shop, where Zak clearly shows his phobia of dolls. But there is one in particular, a doll sent from a family during the Nazi occupation, that holds his interest.

The investigation is broken into two parts. Zak decides to head into the doll shop alone, with Billy and Aaron in the salon.

During the night, Zak claims he records the doll letting out a hiss. He also falls down in a total panic as a doll falls off the shelf. To Zak, this is clear evidence of the paranormal even though other dolls are precariously balancing on the shelves.

Zak further states he has scientific evidence of it being touched by an entity as he gets a “high” EMF reading of 1.0 around the doll. I don’t believe a 1.0 reading of anything should be considered significant. When he picks up the doll, the area is cold as ice, although there is no temperature reading. Then again if there was, it most likely would have read 66.6.

Billy and Aaron are in the basement of the salon where they get the words, Trap, Hi, Africa, Beat, and Climb, which they associate with slavery. Again, no evidence to suggest any of that to be true, but they will run with that idea.

At the end of the investigation, Zak decides to show Karen some footage that says could be disturbing. Zak says something stabbed him in the back and he felt complete and total terror. This causes him to stumble around, knocking things over, crashing into Billy, then cowering in the corner behind him. However, Zak states there was nothing demonic about it and Karen shouldn’t be afraid.

Karen gives him a look like he’s an idiot, and rightfully so.

So, another episode where the tales really aren’t worth a mention. Having a paralyzing nightmare is not evidence of the paranormal. Neither is a board falling over in a basement or a doll falling off a shelf.

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Ghost Adventures – Hauntings of Vicksburg – McRaven Mansion – Part 1

ghost-adventures-vicksburgThis may or may not be the next episode in the series, but it’s a trip to Vicksburg to investigate one of America’s most haunted cities, which is a claim being made far too frequently these days. Zak and team were invited by the Mayor to see what sort of answers they could find in regards to the hauntings of the city.

They start off with the McRaven Mansion which has been standing since 1797. Dr Steven Reed owns the home after purchasing it from Leyland French, who was supposedly driven out by attacking forces. It’s claimed that Leyland performed “rituals” and opened doors to the unknown he couldn’t close. However, none of this can be confirmed, so it firmly goes into the “we were told” category.

Steven says he doesn’t live in the house because it’s haunted. That is the extent of his comment without any real explanation. Yet he’s concerned about the tour guides who claim to have experiences. Lisa claims something pushed her, while Kari says something touched her on the inner thigh and she was attacked in a nightmare. Jai says something happens every day such as someone whispering to her or the feeling of uneasiness.

Not to be rude, but those are some seriously weak claims. Having a nightmare is not a sign of paranormal activity.

The investigation gets underway with Kari and Jai participating to face down their fears. Zak brings out the PILFER device which emits positive ions to create a charged environment. Sounds like they creating an environment to have experiences where none exist.

And sure enough, the get a stick figure on the SLS while Kari says her left side is cold. Not to be outdone, Zak claims the entity they captured went straight through him and up the stairs. This contact left him feeling agitated with everyone. And because the energy is so high, the batteries to their equipment keep dying. Or they bought crap batteries, take your pick.

In the upper rooms where Andrew Glass died, Jai feels something grab her waist and claim to hear Jai Jai on the spirit box. This is combined with a lady screaming on the box and it leaves Jai feeling sick and disoriented. Walking around on uneven floors in the dark would cause the same effect. It all feels like a bunch of cosplay nonsense.

These ill feelings are followed by a light anomaly, or bug, and the sound of furniture moving around. They head to the room of John Bob to discover things aren’t the way they’re supposed to be. A lamp is on the floor, a table is in the wrong place and there are some cast off rocks on the floor. Of course, none of this was captured and only Jai is familiar with the layout of the room.

They bring out the Paranormal Pick 2 and get the word, “French”, which they naturally assume is the spirit of Leyland French. I bet they felt silly when they found out Leyland is still alive. This is marked up to trickery by the evil spirits.

To be honest, this was a pretty silly episode, with yet another story of “rituals”. For activity that happens every day, their evidence is weak-their batteries died and they spoke to someone who isn’t dead through a spirit box.

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Haunted Towns – Savannah – S01E03

haunted-towns-s01e03-savannahThe next investigation takes place in Savannah, which reputes itself as one of the most haunted towns in America. Everyone has a paranormal tale to tell, but these are the same as in every other town that claims itself to be haunted. When you listen, all the stories start with, “the story goes”, “people believe”, “what we’re told”. This means they’re unsupported myths.

In Wright Square, Chris and the team are investigating the stories of Alice Riley and Richard White who were hanged in connection with the murder of William Wise. However, no one agrees on what that story is. At first, Alice and Richard killed William by drowning him in a barrel, but then it changes to Alice slit his throat. James, the local historian confirms the dubious nature of these stories when even he uses, “people believe” when referring to Wright Square. And that’s the preface when discussing how the bodies were removed to make way for new buildings. “People believe some of the bodies were left behind.”

They start off the investigation in Wright Square and the aptly named, Wright Square Cafe, where the manager revealed his own experiences, one involving a knife moving entity.

Doogie and Brandon take on the square, where they feel they get responses when discussing Alice. To them, this is confirmed by the word, “lust” on the Ovilus.

As Chris and Porter investigate the cafe, Chris says he sees a shadow, which is followed by a whisper and then a pop. Thinking back to what the manager said, they lay a knife on the table. As we expect, the knife has moved. It just didn’t move on camera.

For day 2, they investigate the Liquid Sands shop, where bags of packing peanuts fly off the shelves, rather than just falling, and a glass sculpture supposedly moved on it’s own, also called falling and rolling.

Chris and Porter get permission to investigate the Oglethorpe House, which stands on the site of the old gallows. As they interview Mike, the battery on the camera dies, which is surely a sign of the paranormal and not incompetence or cheap equipment.

Like the other “stories”, there is one for Doctor Cox, who committed suicide by starving himself to death after giving his family Yellow Fever. A dubious story at best, but Chris feels it’s the real deal as his temperature reading goes to the paranormal cliche of 66.6.

Notice though, the reading was 66.8 as they started going down the stairs. It dropped to 66.6 then went right back up. But, when Chris asks for the entity to do it again, he shows a 66.6 again; after we come back from some blurry camera work.

As they investigate the Liquid Sands, they get a voice saying, “Get out” which is utterly indistinguishable. This is followed by, “Get a knife” which refers to the cafe a few doors down and Alice. Again, I don’t hear those words, but I do see Doogie pointing out the spot where the voice comes, marking when they need to give a reaction.

But to obscure the story of Alice even more, they get the word, “barrel” and “angry”. On the one hand they get voices from beyond talking about a knife. Next it’s the barrel. Even the sprits don’t know which story they’re supposed to play into. But it’s funny that Porter says, “the pieces of the puzzle are coming together.” Considering they can’t agree on a story, that’s an interesting comment.

Finally, as they work their way through the Oglethorpe House, Chris claims to hear his name mentioned by a child. And we have another dead battery. They don’t get anything from Doctor Cox, who is supposed to be just as active from all the “stories” but they will weave these items together as the story of Alice.

While Savannah revels in it’s haunted history, these accounts start with “the story goes”. And just like the story of Alice, people can’t even agree on the story. It makes you think they might be fabricated.

Moving past that, what evidence do they capture? The usual garbled blips of audio. Shadows not captured on camera. A knife placed in a different orientation, which again, wasn’t captured. And a dead battery.

So which of these is actions that can’t possibly be explained through normal means?

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