Katrina Weidman

Paranormal Lockdown – Old Chatham County Jail – S02E12

imageNick and Katrina are in Savannah to visit the Old Chatham County Jail, built in 1972, and it’s claims of the paranormal. Visitors say they hear footsteps and disembodied voices. Others claim to see an apparition on the 3rd floor. While not a paranormal event, Carl Isaacs Jr was held at the jail for the murder of 6 people. Some believe it could be his evil energy lurking in the halls. And this story adds to the sinister mystique to help sell the lore.

They meet with Rusty Smith, a corrections officer at the jail for two years. He’s heard footsteps and felt like someone was watching him. Those are hardly claims of the paranormal, but rather your imagination running away with you. Almost to prove this, Katrina completely misses the mark when she says she feels sick in the small cell. When asked if anyone else has that experience, it’s a flat no. Katrina floats the idea again with investigator Ryan Dunn and shot down again.

In essence we have people hearing footsteps in an old, echoing building in a busy section of the city.

For Day 1 they head to the 4th floor and hear what they think are footsteps. This is followed by a couple of taps. But instead of looking for the source on the 4th floor, they go several hundred feet away and end up on the 3rd floor. This proves sounds are echoing and can come from anywhere, including outside.

Next, they get a voice saying, "You wanna go that way" and then "fifteen." This means to go down the hall to cell. However, they’re sitting in cell 6, not 15, so what’s the story there?

To end the day, Nick will sleep in the hallway on the third floor and Katrina on the first floor. Nick hears several bangs before going to sleep and a bump in the middle of the night. It’s hard to imagine this is something other than the building settling during the cooler temps of the night.

On Day 2, nothing actually happens. They are ready with all sorts of equipment, but all they gather are the thuds of an old building.

For the final day, they head upstairs again and stumble on the records room. Katrina is excited to get some background so she can make the evidence point to a particular person. They want the noises to be paranormal, so they look for someone who died and go with a suicide.

On the 3rd floor, the Geobox comes out with. "Get me out of this. I don’t want to stay here." Rob then hears a whisper and when he looks back over the footage, they make the wild claim a figure is peeking out of the doorway. How they see a figure is anyone’s guess. A clear case of seeing what you want to see.

When all is said and done, this investigation is trying to make something out of nothing. Prisons make a great paranormal trap because of the creepy vibe and sinister occupants. But, the claims are of perfectly normal behavior. Groans, creaks and thuds are not examples of paranormal activity.

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Paranormal Lockdown – S02E11 – Scutt Mansion

imageNick and Katrina visit the Scutt Mansion in Joliet, Illinois. The home was built in 1882 by Hiram Scutt, but he died in the home at the age of 47 after being thrown from a horse. Shortly thereafter his wife died. The home has since had multiple owners with each falling into ruin. For example, Seth Magosky bought the home in 2003 with the intent of making it a museum. He died in the home in 2007 at the age of 39. His father took up the mantle to open the museum, but fell down the stairs and broke his back in 2012.

Other activity includes a lady in black, supposedly Mrs. Scutt, the sound of children playing in the house and a dark presence in the basement.

The investigation starts by talking to Andrea Magosky, who immediately says the house is both haunted and cursed. She blames Hiram for the curse, but there is no cause.

Day 1 starts by placing 16 cameras around the house. They will record the entire investigation from each room. While setting up, Katrina says she hears a groan and footsteps. There is very little activity for the first day, so Katrina will sleep in Mrs. Scutt’s room, while Nick will be in Mr. Scutt’s.

For Day 2, they have Greg and Dana Newkirk bring in a series of haunted objects to stir up the energy. Among the items is a Dybbuk box, which they place in the basement. Billy the Idol,  a possessed voodoo idol, which goes in the hallway where Seth died. There is the Crone which is placed in the tower, where Seth’s dad fell and broke his back. Finally, a dark mirror is placed in the doll room. All these items are said to be haunted and dangerous because Greg and Dana don’t know exactly how they work.

As they try to channel the energy they get the phrase, "Hiram tried to kill me" on the device. Even with all these cursed items, the activity remains light.

For Day 3, Katrina sets up the 3D mapping software and captures an extremely tall figure. Also, there are voices that begin to talk about the curse, but it becomes inaudible and doesn’t offer any sort of answer.

Before they leave, Andrea returns to the house with her daughter. Before anything is said, Andrea makes a comment about capturing the tall man. Did she jump the gun with her scripted response? Turns out, her son Seth, was 6’6 so they believe the figure they captured was him. Andrea then changes her stance and is now happy her son is at peace looking after the home he loved.

This is an odd episode to be sure. The house has a curse that originates from nowhere. Blame is focused at Hiram, but how did he cause this curse? An accident is simply an accident?

After 100 years, there is a sad accident, but how is this part of the curse? Then five years later, there is another unrelated accident. This is the work of a curse?

That aside, there is no evidence captured. A stick figure and some inaudible burps from a speaker don’t add up to much.

Additionally, I find it quite interesting that these haunted items, which are so dangerous no one can go near them, are perfectly safe to be handled in the house.

Again, it’s a terrible thing that Seth died in the house while trying to preserve it’s history. But there is absolutely nothing to suggest this house is cursed, haunted or anything else. It’s merely an old home that needs some upkeep. Oh yeah, and it was just recently sold.

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Paranormal Lockdown – Rampart St. Murder House – S02E10

imageNick and Katrina head to New Orleans to investigate the murder/suicide surrounding the small house on Rampart Street. When you read stories related to hurricane Katrina, this one will inevitably come up. It involves the relationship between Zack and Addie who came together during hurricane Katrina. After they survive the storm and chaos, things go terribly wrong with Zack killing Addie and then taking his own life. Rumors abound over what drove Zack to kill and the natural suspects are voodoo and demonic possession.

The apartment used to be on the top floor with the voodoo shop on the lower floor. Now, it’s basically a shell of a building. However, to Katrina’s mind, the old appliances and fixtures from the apartment still remain. It’s very unlikely those are the same appliances from a decade ago, nobody would be that morbid.

On the first night, Nick feels pebbles are being thrown at them. It seems Nick is partially right. Things are falling from the ceiling since it’s nothing but framing and we can clearly see the stones, but they aren’t being thrown, they’re just falling.

For day two, they bring out the Wonderbox and get the words, "you’re not alone" and "strangled to death". Katrina feels very out of sorts, but she is very much caught up in the events that took place there.

For the final day, they set up motion sensors which go off a couple of times. Also notice that the Geobox is running, calling out words in the background. And those words all have a ghostly echo and reverb added to them. It seems like that has been added for dramatic effect.

Editing through the words, they get "Please don’t hurt her" and "I hate myself", which they of course attribute to Zack and Addie.

For final portion, they bring in Bloody Mary, the voodoo priestess (classy stage name) and Leo the landlord. Leo doesn’t seem too concerned about the space and the events that took place. Mary sets up a cleansing ritual to help with the healing.

There is an air of mystery about New Orleans and the same can be said for this small apartment. Unfortunately, this investigation doesn’t shed any light on matters. It has an interesting connection to voodoo, but then again, so does everything in New Orleans. In the end, the evidence brings very little to light. They get a couple of hits on the audio devices, but there is really no other evidence to go on.

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Paranormal Lockdown – Malvern Manor – S02E09

imageThe next lockdown takes places in Malvern, Iowa at the boarded up and abandoned Malvern Manor, built by a Captain Cullers in the 1870s. He set it up as a hotel for his sailing crowd. After his use it was turned into a mental facility and continued that way until it’s closure in 2005. Josh Heard has now taken over ownership and gives Nick and Kristina a tour and explains what has been taking place.

People claim to see apparitions and hear screams. There is the story of Inez, a little girl that was found dead in her closet, strangled by her own jump rope. They see the remnants of fire damage that claimed at least one life. And finally, there is the story of Gracie, a mental patient that tugs at people. Of course it would be nice if they could prove any of these stories were tree and not the standard urban legends that surround a place like this.

To start Day 1, Nick brings in Johnny Houser who claims a dark shadow figure rushed at during an investigation. However, they don’t get that same sort of reaction on his return visit. The first day proves to be rather quiet, so Katrina will sleep in the hall where the shadow was seen and Nick will sleep in Gracie’s room.

Day 2 starts with an analysis of the recorder that Nick had running and it appears to have loud bursts, sounds and disturbances going off all through the night. In the noise, Nick hears, "Nick get up" and some violent screams.

As an experiment, Nick set up Infrasound devices to see if they can pick up the voices again, but things seem quiet during the day.

They next try to find Inez with the 3D mapping software. Rob says he can hear scraping on the wall and reproduces the sound on the paneling. Nick becomes extremely excited as he walks through a static field. He feels this is making direct contact with someone.

For the end of the day, Katrina will sleep in the parlor under the picture of the captain and Nick will take the hallway. As another experiment, the Geobox is left running upstairs.

During the night, the Geobox recorded words referencing Johnny and his return. It also mentions Inez and that there was a witness. Nick decides to bring Johnny back to the house to confront the shadow figure, but it doesn’t make an appearance. However, he gets a lot of goosebumps and his microphone falls out of his shirt. These are both taken as signs of the paranormal.

As they get ready with the 3D mapping software, a large figure appears and then disappears next to Nick. They also get the words, "Johnny is here" and "nice to meet you" on the device. Johnny explores the hall and says that room 7 is filled with sadness.

Katrina and Nick feel Inez was trying to be heard, but was kept quiet by the captain. That really doesn’t make any sense, but that’s their interpretation.

If we are to go by the audio devices, then there are plenty of voices calling out in the night. If we look to other evidence and hold off judgment on these somewhat dubious stories, then all seems pretty uneventful.

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