Tag Archives: abandoned

The Woman in Black 2 and O Willow Waly

 

While participating in the traditional Christmas day “rob your neighbor” gift exchange, from the corner of my eye I happened to see the trailer for The Woman in Black 2: Angel of Death on the television, only it was muted. I got really excited to look for it online later. I was also shocked, and for two reasons: It has been almost three years since the original film was released, and I hadn’t heard about this sequel until now!

In one of my very first blog posts from 2012, I wrote a brief review of The Woman In Black. I really loved it. I loved the house (known in the story as the Eel Marsh House) as a character. I loved the time period. I loved that the film’s lack of CGI (computer generated imagery) made it so much spookier!

Though there’s no Daniel Radcliffe this time around, fortunately it appears that the same awesome house plays a main role in the sequel, which is enough to make me excited to see it. According to IMDb, this particular story, which takes place 40 years after the first haunting, involves the Eel Marsh House being converted into a safe shelter for schoolchildren evacuated from World War II London. Many paranormal junkies and investigators should connect to this one, as many real life estates of a similar age end up having the same kinds of multiple lives and purposes, like hospitals, orphanages, etc. This, of course, adds to the creepiness!

But do you want to know what makes me even more excited? In a completely unrelated review, I talked about the very creepy “O Willow Waly” recording from one of my favorite spooky black and white films, The Innocents (1961). I’m not sure if this recording is actually featured in the film, but it is featured in the trailer, which I’ve embedded below. I took this delicious synchronicity as another sign that I’m supposed to get really excited for this movie!

The only thing that I’m bummed about is the fact that they’ve clearly made a creative decision to use more CGI for scares, based on the trailer anyway. A January 2 release date probably doesn’t indicate that it’s a blockbuster either, but I have loved quite a few movies that were never blockbusters.

I’ll be there… and crossing my fingers! Here’s the trailer! Watch it! Now!

 

 


Belvoir Winery: Audio Highlights of Spirit Box and Flashlight Communication

Wow! It has been so long since I’ve uploaded audio to this site, that I nearly forgot how to do it. It definitely took longer than it used to! In this post, and what will probably be the last of the Belvoir Winery T.A.P.S. Event series of posts, I wanted to share some highlights from two of the spirit box sessions, and one of the flashlight communication sessions. Obviously, video highlights would have been more entertaining, but if you’ve been following this series, you know about the frustrating, yet very paranormal disappearance of my video. I’ve not decided if I’m blaming aliens, the spirits of Belvoir, or a great conspiracy by Amy and Adam (so that their cute pose on my NightShot camera wouldn’t go public). Oh I’m only kidding, you two… kind of…  

 

My Disclaimer

As an investigator and researcher, I tend to be very careful when declaring or classifying something as “paranormal”, and in these highlights, you won’t see any of that. So here’s my disclaimer. The highlights below are simply a collection of interesting clips from my evening at Belvoir Winery. I’ve not combed through the audio completely, and since the environment was not controlled, and since the group was large and meant to be just for fun, I probably won’t. When it comes to the Spirit Box (sometimes referred to as a “ghost box” or “Frank’s Box”), which uses a somewhat controversial technique called “radio sweep”, I remain fascinated, but openly skeptic about certain responses, specifically those that are short or one-syllable. Along with standard EVP, radio sweep falls under the category of ITC or Instrumental TransCommunication. For more on radio sweep or the spirit box, simply type “spirit box” into the search field above and to the right.

When it comes to flashlight communication, I’ve tried in my own investigating several times and got no results. I felt like many of the flashlight responses seemed more than coincidence, and could very well have been paranormal. With that being said, I don’t have a lot of experience in this area. 

 

Spirit Box Highlights

These highlights are taken from two different spirit box sessions in two different locations on the Belvoir Winery property. Together they lasted about 40 minutes. The P-SB7 spirit box we’re using is one that I got secondhand from Stephen Hill. In the first short clip in the highlights, you’ll hear Britt Griffith demonstrating it. Other voices you hear are of myself, Adam Berry, and other guests in our group for the evening. Toward the end of these highlights, you’ll hear the group laugh as the box froze on a few radio stations as I was adjusting. I thought they were funny. The “thank you” that just about everyone in the group heard at the very end was kind of a powerful moment. There are a few cuts in the audio, either to save time or because of unnecessary noise, otherwise these clips are unenhanced.

 

Flashlight Communication Highlights

Though it’s hard to imagine exactly what’s happening, you’ll hear that the group is clearly impressed or moved by several of the responses. You’ll hear myself, our group’s wonderful guide, as well as other guests from our group. You’ll also hear some of the super creepy wind that we were hearing at this location. There were actually two flashlight communication sessions, but only one of them was captured in my audio recorder. The session that wasn’t captured was probably more impressive. I really wish the video of these moments could have been saved. Again, there are a few cuts in the audio, either to save time or because of unnecessary noise, otherwise these clips are unenhanced. 

 

 

 

Previous posts from the Belvoir Winery/Odd Fellows Home series:

The Brilliant Britt Griffith! 
Ghosts can do that? The Evidence… Sort of…
 

Amy, Adam, Britt, and Chip!

New Friends!
The Photos
I’m Baaaaaaaaaack!
TAPS and Chip Coffey at Belvoir Winery in March! 

 

 


Belvoir Winery/Odd Fellows Home, Liberty, Missouri: The Photos

Introducing the artsy-fartsy photos from my weekend at Belvoir Winery, formerly the Odd Fellows Home, in Liberty, Missouri. These photos can also be found on my Flickr page

Belvoir Winery, a former orphanage, hospital, nursing home, and school, was featured on Season 9, Episode 10 of SYFY’s Ghost Hunters, and titled “Vintage Spirits”. For more information about Belvoir Winery and its history, visit their site at BelvoirWinery.com.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I’m Baaaaaaaaaack! (Big Séance)

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I’m Baaaaaaaaaack!

 

I’m back from the greatest and most eventful spring break I’ve had in years… and maybe ever! But I’ve been itching to get back to this computer, since I’ve never had such a long absence from this blog! I have so much to share with you, including TONS of photos and stories from my T.A.P.S. and Chip Coffey weekend at Belvoir Winery  in Liberty, Missouri… but I feel I should share chronologically. Plus, I just now got back home and must now return to a busy real life tomorrow, and I have much to go through in order to work up some Belvoir posts. I’m so excited though, because I have plenty to share, including meeting more para-celebs and some great new friends! Also, perhaps some video clips from our large group investigation from Saturday night! So stay tuned…

 

 

THE PARANORMAL PORTION OF THIS POST

So here’s a little update. I wrote the first part of this post yesterday and intended to publish it last night. I’ve been recovering from a cold and some kind of a bug since returning from Cancun. Suddenly in the middle of this post, I began getting chills that within an hour became more intense than I’ve ever experienced. It was horrible. I stood in a hot shower for a ridiculous amount of time, and when I forced myself to get out, I curled up in blankets on the bed. I couldn’t get warm enough. As I began to shiver myself to sleep, I either straight up hallucinated or dreamed that I had physically jumped inside my iPhone (not easy for a fat man) and was cruising through my Facebook feed. So… very… bizarre. I ultimately ended up sleeping for a few hours and woke up at bedtime, of course. Was I visited by the ghost of Montezuma? Did Trixie at Imos add some fairy dust to my pizza? (Oh you KNOW I’m totally going to put “fairy” and “faery” in the tags to this post now.)  I really don’t know, and I’m feeling much better today, but I stayed home from school to be sure (after several late night hours of creating substitute teacher plans, of course). One thing is certain, last night was not fun. 

 

THIS CONCLUDES THE PARANORMAL PORTION OF TODAY’S PROGRAMMING

For now, though it’s not very paranormal, I wanted to share a few photos from our spectacular trip to Cancun, Mexico! For the rest of my artsy-fartsy Cancun photos, feel free to visit my Flickr page.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Greetings from the Smoky Mountains! (Big Séance)

Two Smoky Mountain Cemeteries (Big Séance)

 

 


Danvers State Insane Asylum and Session 9

Yesterday I watched Session 9 (from my list of movies I plan on checking out this fall), a movie filmed on location at the Danvers State Hospital/Insane Asylum in Danvers, Massachusetts. I’m not sure where I was when this film was released in 2001, but I was a different kind of nerd then, and this film just wasn’t on my radar, I guess. I enjoyed it, though I have to tell you it put me in a funk for a few hours. It belongs in the psychological horror genre, but less emphasis should be placed on the horror and more on the PSYCHOLOGICAL! The plot of the film, according to the movie’s IMDb page: “Tensions rise within an asbestos cleaning crew as they work in an abandoned mental hospital with a horrific past that seems to be coming back.” But the cool thing is that the parts of the story that pertain to the hospital itself are loosely based on real history and events.

For most of the movie, like a true paranerd, I couldn’t stop obsessing about the building, wondering what they added, what they didn’t, etc. I also couldn’t get my mind off of the fact that the place doesn’t exist anymore (more on that later.) If you’re brave, continue reading the somewhat bi-polar thoughts that came out of my fingers after the movie and after researching Danvers State Hospital all day.

 

Danvers State Hospital/Insane Asylum 

800px-Danvers_State_Hospital,_Danvers,_Massachusetts,_Kirkbride_Complex,_circa_1893

Construction on the site began in 1874 and opened to patients in 1878. Like most asylums and hospitals of this type and age, it has a complicated, sad, unbelievable, and depending on the decade, even a criminal history. Most of the infamous and inhumane treatments and methods were practiced here at one time or another, including shock therapy and lobotomies.

By the 1960s, a combination of controversy and budget cuts caused Danvers to begin shutting down sections of the hospital. For the most part, by 1985 the whole campus was closed and abandoned.

In the DVD’s special features, Brad Anderson (writer/director) and Stephen Gevedon (writer) explain that they had Danvers in mind before they even started writing the script. They also mentioned that they racked their brains trying to figure out exactly how they were going to tell the story in this building, meaning why in the world would anyone be in an abandoned asylum? This is a great example of life just before, or at least in the infancy of what I’ve always referred to as the great paranormal craze. How quickly we paranerds forget what life was like before Jay and Grant and the T.A.P.S. team. It is difficult for me to comprehend this, but Ghosthunters didn’t premier on SyFy until 2004. Clearly, if this script were being written today, asbestos would still be an issue, but they would have used a paranormal investigation team, armed with plenty of night vision and oxygen masks, to tell the story.

**RANT WARNING**
Now I know, I know… I’ve mentioned this before, but every paranormal investigator in the world likes to claim that Ghosthunters on SyFy had no influence on what they do in the field. I’m here to tell you that 99% of them are lying. It is accurate to say that paranormal investigation was not invented by Jay and Grant. It is accurate to say that a few of you may have been in the field before 2004 (like 2 of you, perhaps). However, it is also correct to say that approximately eleventy-thousand new paranormal teams and paranormal television shows have popped up since Jay and Grant popped on the scene. Whether or not the craze is truly a great thing is a topic for debate. I’ve got to be honest, though. I owe them a lot for really changing my life and my interests, and I’m giving them props where props are due. **RANT OVER**

Now cut to December of 2005, four years after Session 9 was released. Despite a brave fight by local groups and community members trying to preserve the enormous acreage of the Danvers hospital campus and its unique history, demolition began. In its place is now an Avalon apartment community. Can you believe it?!

I can’t help but think that perhaps if they would have been able to hold off for just another year or two, enough interest would have grown to somehow save this strange, embarrassing, yet fascinating and physically beautiful landmark. Now days all it takes is a visit from SyFy or the Travel Channel to put a place back on the map, turning it into a paranormal tourist spot. Many similar locations have been saved, at least for now, by funds that are raised by leading tours or by paranormal groups paying to investigate. See Waverly Hills Sanatorium as an example. I have mixed feelings on all of this, however, and I know it hits some ethical nerves of some of my readers. In my opinion, the great paranormal craze has its side effects, one of them being tons of paranormal groups trampling through historical buildings, tearing things up, and riling up spirits. These groups will leave their trash, their “trigger objects”, and their energy behind. (I have to include myself in “these groups”, by the way. I told you this was somewhat bi-polar.) And then 30 years later, will we be investigating an old asylum or a historic former paranormal training facility? What about the investigators who will have died during that time period? Those paranerds LOVE these places and the memories they made there. Are they now hanging out there for eternity too? Ha! I know I’m being silly, but it all just gets weird for me. But… at least this way a historic location has a fighting chance, right?

Hollowed out facade of the central part of the main Danvers building.

Hollowed out facade of the central part of the main Danvers building.

So let’s get back to the demo and that mean old Avalon company and the apartment community, which I believe was completed in 2007. Interestingly, of the massive hospital campus, which consisted of an enormous main building (shaped like a bat) and several outer buildings (click HERE for an aerial photo), the facade of a small central portion of the main building was saved (see photo to the right). Though this portion was hollowed out, leaving only the front face of the building, I have to say, what they attached to it looks pretty cool to me. There are several other buildings and typical apartment units now on site, but apparently some of them are in the ominous “new” asylum building. Check the Avalon site HERE for cool interior photos. (On a related note, check out the former Michigan Insane Asylum, which is now residential condos, office, and retail space.)  Part of me thinks it is completely annoying and greedy for a company to come in and do this and then fake us out with a phony tiny portion of a Danvers building. But that’s silly, right? Why should a place stay abandoned, damp, and dark, with endless walls of peeling 1960s hospital green paint? Another part of me thinks it’s a really cool way to preserve at least a portion of Danvers, in a way that only a big company with big money can do. Another part of me thinks ARE THESE RESIDENTS CRAZY?! WHO WOULD MOVE IN THERE?!

………………………..and then the last remaining part of me wants to move in there. 

The new Avalon community building attached to the facade.

The new Avalon community building attached to the facade.

 

Clearly I don’t know what I’m talking about, but I’d REALLY love to hear from residents of this new Avalon community. What are the chances of this post finding someone who lives in the new faux Danvers building? Contact me!

 

My resources for this rambling post:

Session 9 DVD Special Features & Commentary

http://www.danversstateinsaneasylum.com/home.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Danvers_State_Hospital

http://www.avaloncommunities.com/massachusetts/danvers-apartments/avalon-danvers/pictures/

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0261983/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Session_9

 

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Route 66: Bourbon Hotel and John’s Modern Cabins…

Yesterday I went on a mini road trip with my buddy Matt. We left O’Fallon, Missouri and headed for St. James, Missouri to spend some time with a dear friend. Since I am not from the St. Louis area, I can always count on Matt, who is a history buff, to introduce me to fascinating historical information. In this case, I learned that I knew very little about the historic Route 66. I figured Matt (who is always the navigator and tour guide) would lead me on some great site seeing adventures. We’re definitely two different kinds of nerds, but a big chunk of our nerdiness overlaps a bit. If it weren’t for the horrible sleety/icy weather, this post would probably have been quite a bit larger. (But since I forgot my “play clothes”, that’s probably a good thing.) The trip made me want to take the entire Route 66 tour someday (well… almost).  

 

The Bourbon Hotel (Bourbon, Missouri)

If you know me, you know that I think this building is beautiful and fascinating. It has so much character, and I’m here to tell you that when you’re on the porch walking by the windows, you can just feel that someone is keeping an eye on you! It was sleeting and raining on us in these shots, with a dash of lightning and thunder. 

 

The Bourbon Hotel actually faces railroad tracks.

The Bourbon Hotel dates back to the 1890s and actually faces railroad tracks.

 

The back of the Bourbon Hotel. (This is the Route 66 view.)

The back of the Bourbon Hotel. (This is the Route 66 view.)

 

Check out that amazing Mansard Roof! (Totally just learned that term, by the way.)

Check out that amazing Mansard Roof! (Totally just learned that term, by the way.)

 

I dare you to walk past those front windows. (Matt off in the distance.)

 

For more info on the Bourbon Hotel, click HERE.

 

 

John’s Modern Cabins (Newburg, Missouri)

This place has a fascinating and strange history. Clearly, this landmark is in pretty bad shape. From what I hear, it has really gotten worse in just the last couple of years.

 

From this great shot, taken by Matt, you can really see just how close to the road this place really was.

From this great shot, taken by Matt, you can really see just how close to the road this place really was.

 

 

It’s at this point (right in front of the cabins) that old Route 66 disappears for a while…

 

Love the outhouse.

Love the outhouse.

 

 

 

For more information on John’s Modern Cabins, click HERE

 

For more information on Ghosts and Hauntings on Route 66 in Missouri, I encourage you to check out the following book:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Related:

National66.org

Historic66.com

 

 

 

 

 


Haunting Trip Through an Abandoned Farmhouse…

 

I’ve been trying out some new video editing software. Technology takes me longer than most people normally, but it took me a LONG time to work out the kinks in this video. Believe it or not, adding text or a title is the roughest part in this program, so I’ve kept it basic. Not exactly how I wanted it, but I’m declaring it done for now. 🙂

This is a haunting trip through the abandoned farmhouse that MOSS investigated earlier this year. I’ve blogged about some of our experiences there. More than anything, it has been a really cool and interesting place to visit. If you’re interested in the final investigation report you can click HERE.

Oh and by the way… one of the interesting things about this video is the short musical clips throughout. They are from 1901, the year the home was built, and we used them as triggers for an experiment during our investigation. 

 

 

 


Urban Exploration and Forgotten Theatres…

I’d never heard of urban exploration until a good friend of mine started telling me of his adventures. He has some pretty amazing pictures of several gems (some now gone) in the area. I’ve often wished I could tag along, but I’ve heard some stories that make me think again. You see, sometimes urban explorers have to be sneaky, since many locations of interest are off-limits. Underground caves, abandoned structures, and historical places of interest that most people don’t get the chance to see, are some of the types of spots these brave explorers go for. And fortunately for the rest of us, most of these folks take cameras with them, and there are several sites where many of them post what they were lucky enough to capture. A popular urban explorer networking site endorses an “unwritten rule” of “take nothing but photographs, leave nothing but footprints”. Sounds like an adventure to me! 

After the Final Curtain

My friend Dar shared a blog site with me today. She’s a fellow paranormal investigator. I’d never seen the site and it blew me away. Matt Lambros, a photographer from New York City, created a page called After the Final Curtain, where (according to the site) he posts “photographic documentation of the effects of years of neglect and decay in some of America’s greatest theaters.” Here are just a few examples. 

I think it is an amazing idea and one of the coolest sites I’ve ever seen. How could you not stare at these photos and wonder about the age and history? And though sad, the shots are so very beautiful. 

 

 


Spooky, Abandoned, and Forgotten…

A sneak peek of our abandoned location.

 

I am in the middle of preparing for an investigation of MOSS’s first abandoned property this weekend. Built in 1901, this property hasn’t seen official occupants since the early 1980s… well, other than the small animals that call it home now.

 

Walking through this home, you realize immediately that it has been forgotten. You also see obvious signs of abuse from God knows who doing God knows what. But, if you look hard enough… if you look past the smell… past the mysterious sounds of scratching, creaking, and dripping, you’ll see the beauty that once was. And maybe, just maybe, someone is still there appreciating it. 

Obviously I can’t tell you much, but I’d like to share with you a picture of what this home reminds me of. 

House from the Michael Jackson Thriller video.

 

Yes… this is the house at the end of the Michael Jackson Thriller video. How would you like to spend an evening in THIS place without electricity? 

 

Actually, the Thriller house really exists and has since been refurbished and looks pretty good. I’m not sure the location for our investigation has much of a chance for life again.  It is, however, incredibly beautiful in its own way and is very interesting and mysterious. 

I’ve been in the home already. There are definitely areas we’ll be staying away from for safety reasons. I also found out very quickly about the current occupants. Anyone who knows me knows that I’m not too afraid of anything paranormal. What I AM very afraid of are crazy living people… and LITTLE CREATURES IN ABANDONED BUILDINGS!!! I’m already not sleeping well this week. Any helpful suggestions for a scaredy cat?

 

Anyone have any stories about abandoned spooky homes? Did you have one in your neighborhood? Have you investigated one? Please share. 

 

Peace Out!

 

 


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