Paranormal State

Paranormal State, seeing the demonic in a box of Cracker Jacks

I think the West Virginia State Penitentiary investigation revealed a lot about Ryan. In fact, this season has shown me that Ryan is not the seasoned investigator that he thinks he is. In reality, he’s not even an investigator.

Ryan likes to scare people with his lack of understanding about symbolism. If you’ve been watching for any length of time you know how Ryan reacts whenever someone mentions Ouija boards, or there’s even a slight hint of the occult such as pentagrams. But what he fails to realize and explain is that these symbols and objects on their own are completely meaningless. And in fact, up until recently, the inverted pentagram was completely harmless.

The Ouija is simply a board with letters. Simply owning one doesn’t open any more portals into the demonic realm than owning Monopoly makes you a millionaire. It’s a toy, nothing more. Stop assigning all sorts of negative connotations to it. Further, if the Ouija is supposed to allow you to contact spirits why don’t you use it? Aren’t you and all the other investigators doing the exact same thing – trying to contact the spirits – when you stand there yelling at them demanding they make their presence known? A Ouija by another name?

Ryan has also gone completely over the edge when it comes to the demonic and especially the pentagram. Not only is he trying to inject ideas of the demonic into every episode, but as we saw in "Darkness Falls" all he has to do is see a pentagram and he starts to operate under his dark, emo, goth cloud.

First and foremost the pentagram, even upside down, has been used for decades without ever having any connotations to the demonic. Perhaps Ryan is familiar with the Masons/Freemasons? Perhaps you’ve seen their symbol of the pentagram? Been to an old cemetery? You’ll certainly see the symbol on grave markers. You calling these guys Satanists?

Organizations who have based their structure on the Masons also use the same set of symbols. Unless you are a naïve conspiracy theorist, I think you need to drop this juvenile association that just because you see a pentagram, evil is afoot. Keep in mind, before Hitler perverted the use of the swastika it was used as a sacred symbol by the Hindu’s. Same thing with the pentagram.

Considering the West Virginia State Penitentiary was more than likely built by the masons it really shouldn’t come as a shocker that a pentagram would make it’s way into the architecture. And even if it wasn’t built by the Masons I’m sure they had an influence somewhere along the way. But this pentagram is in a guard tower, as a window decoration, in plain sight. Hardly demonic. Once again, on it’s own, it’s meaningless and could just as easily be taken as the Masons leaving a symbol of their work behind. The fact that he jumped to so many unfounded conclusions proves to me that he is trying to create fear and hysteria with his investigations and has no actual intentions of debunking anything. But as we’ve seen, debunking doesn’t bring in the big ratings.

Ryan is on a witch hunt, both literally and figuratively. He’s seeing the demonic everywhere now. He has no want to explain these events or to even document them. He just wants to find one glimmer of the demonic and run with it regardless of what the evidence, or that thereof, supports. And from what I’m seeing, his actual understanding of what is and isn’t demonic is rather inaccurate. It doesn’t matter if you’re right, you just need to be scary!

I guess we should just start calling Ryan, Abigail.

Paranormal State – Darkness Falls
History of the pentagram

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Paranormal State – The Jersey Devil – Season Finale

For the Season Finale, Ryan and team head out on another journey in search of a mythical creature. This time they’ve turned their attention to the Jersey Devil.

"It was said that Mother Leeds had 12 children and, after giving birth to her 12th child, stated that if she had another, it would be the Devil. In 1735, Mother Leeds was in labor on a stormy night. Gathered around her were her friends. Mother Leeds was supposedly a witch and the child’s father was the Devil himself. The child was born normal, but then changed form. It changed from a normal baby to a creature with hooves, a horse’s head, bat wings and a forked tail. It growled and screamed, then killed the midwife before flying up the chimney. It circled the villages and headed toward the pines. In 1740 a clergy exorcised the demon for 100 years and it wasn’t seen again until 1890."

It was the end of Season 1 when Ryan went in search of the Mothman. He’s also done some UFO hunting, so these truly paranormal excursion aren’t unprecedented for the team.

Ryan gets some of the local history from residents and many of them believe that something strange is out in the woods. No one seems to have any evidence of what it looks like, but they all seem to be able to describe it; a bizarre creature with the face of a horse, the head of a dog, a long neck and wings. If this thing does exist it’s probably a nasty sight to behold! Or some creature out of World of Warcraft.

PRS has a new toy for this outing, the FLIR imager which is pretty much standard fair for other ghost hunting shows, especially Ghost Hunters and Destination Truth. Ironically enough Ryan and team actually get an image of something while out in the woods. At first glance it looks like a character from the Mario games, but it does have features of a long neck and possibly even wings. What is it? Who knows, but it looks like something is out there!

They never get close enough to find out what it is, and that is the only evidence they capture for the trip. They regroup later to discuss the significance of what they have.

So what do we come away with? That’s hard to say. Something was on the imager, but what it is will only add to the legend. Maybe Ryan and Sergey captured one of the only images of it. Then again, maybe they captured the image of a deer standing under a tree with low hanging branches. Either way, that’s it for another season of Paranormal State. A pretty short season actually with only 12 episodes. I’m sure the PRS team will be back in a few months will all new emotionally distressed, devil worshipping, opening the door to the demon realm, shadow figure seeing clients. Quite frankly, this show is getting more and more bizarre with each season, and the people Ryan is supposed to be helping seem to have more emotional problems and mental instability than ever before. Is Ryan really hunting down the paranormal or is he taking on the role of grief counselor and therapist?

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Paranormal State – Night Terrors – S04E10

This seems like another one of those episodes where they’re making some huge leaps in logic and faith and coming up with some faulty conclusions based on their own prejudice. We have a family who are all claiming to have paranormal activity in the form of some little girl dressed in what could be described as an Easter dress who seems to be without eyes. There is also another more demonic figure with a terrible grin and skin that may fall off at any second. Each member of the family tells almost exactly the same story. (That alone makes me suspicious)

While researching the history we are sidetracked by a terrible story of a mother who tied her children to the bed while she was at work and then, as you might expect, the house catches on fire and the children perish. A grim story to be sure, but it’s discounted as having nothing to do with the current paranormal activity. (I have to wonder why they brought it up then)

In pops Lorraine Warren, who in typical fashion, feels doom and gloom in every room she walks into. She is saying there are problems with all aspects of the house, but says the problems center on the daughter Sarah. Let’s go interrogate her some more since everyone holds back on the first couple of interviews.

Funny thing is, the whole family, including Sarah herself admit that Sarah has been heavily involved in drugs, is a reckless and troubled teen who is lashing out because of her younger sister and stepdad. She’s feeling neglected. As you might also expect we have to work in the Satanic angle. But this time, Sarah didn’t actually practice any rituals or involve herself in anything, she was trying to be cool for a boy she liked who lived across the street and bought a Satanic Bible – online. Her involvement with the practices are no more than simply flipping through the pages. But of course in Ryan’s world that’s a Pandora’s Box and he believes it has opened a portal to the demonic. It amazes me that you can open some book related to the devil and he instantly appears, but if you open the bible, Jesus doesn’t stop by for tea.

Anyway, the team finds no evidence of the paranormal, but they do find out Sarah hasn’t been baptized. (Boy is this turning out to be the plot of a cheesy horror movie or what?) So Bob Bailey does a baptism and that is the end of that. There’s no sizzling as the Holy water touches her head, no vulgarities or spitting of pea soup. However, they do take one last shot at Sarah by ganging up on her and saying she needs to change her life. Ryan says she is being defeatist and because of that the demonic will win. That’s for being positive guys! That wasn’t condescending at all!

In the final credits we see that Sarah is going to church and to therapy. Funny how it takes some paranormal investigator to come in before this girl goes to counseling, which is pretty obviously needed. Seems to me this whole thing could have been avoided if she went to counseling at the same time she was taking drugs and trying to hook up with the Goth kid across the street. Where was the intervention at that stage?

Once again it seems like the "paranormal" is a cover for some severe emotional issues. Clearly this girl is distraught and has some abandonment and self-esteem issues. Not being able to cope with her actual problems the paranormal is brought into it. Now, the whole family shares these stories since they don’t want to deal with the real issue. Seriously, how long has this been going on for and they decide to do something about it now? Is getting rid of demonic forces easier to cope with than saying your daughter has problems?

Paranormal State is turning into Jerry Springer with each episode.

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Paranormal State – Shadow Caster – S04E09

To put it bluntly this was an episode that went no where. Things start off interestingly enough when Ryan gets bitten or pinched by something as he’s talking to the client. Perhaps the spirits are as tired of his talking as the rest of us are. There is the photographic evidence of a shadow in the doorway. We top it off with John Oliver the overly dramatic Psychic and Medium who feels the house is just seething with dark energy. Talk about just over exaggerating everything.

But as the team investigates they don’t find a single shred of evidence to support any of the claims the homeowner is making. No shadows, no bumps, no entities, no voices. The only thing they do find is when Kristina hears a voice while in the basement. Turns out it’s just the camera crew talking too close to an air vent. Personally I think most of the voices people hear on these shows could be attributed to noises coming in from the outside.

As with the formula of the show, the client, her family and the PRS team gather together in the living room to speak loudly and tell the spirit to shuffle on down the road.

Not all the episodes have to be teaming with paranormal activity, and for once it was actually refreshing to see Ryan and crew debunk something. However, this was a pretty uneventful episode since nothing happened, plus there was really no cause for any activity since there weren’t the usual stories of deaths, burial grounds, use of ouija boards, Satanic symbols or mental illness that Ryan seems to uncover.

And as for that photo? I have to shrug. When you get some dark outline in a photo and you can clearly see the flash going off, I feel underwhelmed. Plus, faking of photos is so common place these days, it’s hard to get excited over something like that.

I kind of feel like Dr. Malcolm from Jurassic Park where he asks, "Now eventually you might have dinosaurs on your, on your dinosaur tour, right?"

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