Saturday, October 12, 2013

'Ghost Adventures' recap: 'Alcatraz'

Courtesy The Travel Channel
BY NOWAL MASSARI

After years of fan requests, the "Ghost Adventures" crew finally faces lockdown in Alcatraz. Located a mile and a half off the shore of San Francisco, CA, the prison was originally developed as a lighthouse, military fort and prison in 1868. According to legend, the Native Americans dubbed it "Evil Island," believing it to be cursed by evil spirits. Spanish and Mexican settlers, after being warned against the land, refused to build on it.

Most notably, "The Rock," served as a federal prison from 1933 until 1963, housing some of the most infamous criminals in US history, like Al Capone, George "Machine Gun" Kelly and the "Birdman of Alcatraz," Robert Franklin Stroud. The fortress has been said to hold the tales of inmates tortured by unseen entities, as well as unsolved escapes.

The Ghost Adventures Crew pull up to the island to do their preliminary investigation at 9:30 p.m., mirroring the lights out policy for the inmates of the past. During this time, they meet with investigator Jeff Dwyer, Ph.D. in Cell Block D to discuss what goes bump in the dark. Jeff tells the crew that the last time he was in Cell 14, he felt a heavy, net-like energy pulling him towards the ground. He also claimed to have seen two red dots, or eyes, staring at him.

The crew later met up with Anne and Sharon Leong, a pair of investigators who have also investigated the prison. Anne recalled the terrifying feeling she had near Cell 14, "a dark heavy shadow," similar to Jeff's experience. They had never met.  Zak asks the women to go to the cell with him, and they oblige, only Anne refuses to set foot inside again. For the second time, Zak enters Cell 14 and feels a strange sense of vertigo.

With all the negative energy and death (three known guard deaths alone), it's easy for that energy to leave behind an imprint. The negative feelings seem to revolve around Cells 13 and 14, because when the guys do an EMF sweep in Cell 12, they get no readings and have no strange feelings. They ask a pair of California Park Rangers, who are required to be with the crew as they investigate off camera, if there's anything electrical behind Cell 13. They check, however there is nothing to create interference.

Investigator Annalisa B. takes the guys to what used to be the infirmary and also was used as a psychiatric ward. She takes them into the hydrotherapy chamber, where inmates were subjected to cruel forms of torture. Anne and Sharon received a chilling EVP in this room, where a spirit voice can be heard saying "in the dark is power." When asked about any known demonic presences or entities, Annalisa tells them an urban legend of an inmate that had been locked in solitary confinement in Cell Block D. Legend has it that the inmate began banging on the door, screaming to be let out because there was something in the cell with him. It was beating him and it had red eyes. Naturally the guards didn't believe him, but the next day when they went to release him from the cell, the prisoner was dead.

Before the lockdown officially begins, the guys do a quick phone interview with a former inmate who was imprisoned there during the most infamous and mysterious escape in Alcatraz history. In June of 1962, inmates John Anglin, Clarence Anglin and Frank Morris crawled through tunnels in their cells, dug over the course of a year, to an unused service corridor. There they climbed the ventilation shaft to the roof, scaled the fence and assembled a raft out of prison raincoats and contact cement. It's believed that around 10 p.m., they boarded the raft on the northeastern side of the island and paddled the choppy waters towards San Francisco. Whether they survived and made it to freedom, or perished in the water, no one knows. They guys take a ferry and come upon the Golden Gate Bridge, which has been responsible for over 1600 suicides. They talk about what happens to the spirits of those who've died there and think that maybe the energies from those souls might wash up to the island.

Joining the crew for lockdown are Billy Tolley and Jay Wasley, along with a couple of park rangers. Law requires that the lights stay on in the main areas of the prison, so Jay and Billy set up camera equipment to capture any evidence here. Zak, Aaron and Nick will be heading to Cell Block D, the infirmary and the industries building, where lights aren't required at all.

For the first 20 minutes in the "D block," they receive no voices when using the SB7 spirit box. While in cell 13, they hear an extremely loud banging coming from the empty cell next door. Aaron's Ovilus 3 then says the words "fire" and "threshold," which happen to be words that the crew used when discussing the weird, fire like energy of those cells with Jeff. When the Ovilus announces "threshold," an anomaly is caught going through the doorway of the cell they are standing in.

Nick feels the same strange vertigo that Zak felt and exits the cell. Then he happens to capture an EVP of someone saying "come back." Perhaps because the entity wanted to continue using his energy? After receiving no more spirit voices, they head up to the infirmary, which is seemingly a bust...until they hit the end of the hall and things get weird. Out of nowhere, a deep and intimidating male voice booms over the SB7, telling the guys to "get naked."

Not long after this statement, Zak sees two red eyes peering through a rectangular opening in a cell door. He places the SB7 in the opening and begins questioning.

Zak: "What are you? Is there anything I can do for you?"
Response: "...he's here..."

At the same time that Zak is posing questions, Aaron's Ovilus reads "doctor" and "opening," leading the guys to believe that whomever they're speaking to thinks Zak is a doctor.

"How many different spirits are communicating with us right now? How many?"
"...dear god...*loud scream*..."

They believe this interaction was with one of the deranged psychiatric patients that inhabited the ward.

Zak then asks why the entity can't leave the island. Aaron's Ovilus says "mist." Caught at the same time, a mist-like anomaly appears on a camera, pointing in their direction from another area of the infirmary. Aaron then feels a cold breeze as his Ovilus says "touch." At this point in time, Zak is experiencing an extreme drain in his energy. Before they head into the industries building via a tunnel/laundry facility, they send Billy and Jay into the D Block. Neither of the AV techs have any prior knowledge of what the rest of the crew, or other investigators in general, have experienced.

Jay and Billy walk through D Block and feel nothing out of the ordinary until they reach Cell 14. Billy feels extremely uncomfortable and out of sorts, and sits down on the floor in the cell. Jay is filming the visibly disoriented Billy and catches a strange, misty anomaly that disappears into Billy's hand.

While doing EVP burst sessions in the industries building, the rest of the crew receive no evidence.

Back on the D Block, Billy and Jay head into Cell 13, where Jay experiences dizziness and nausea, an investigation first for him. Immediately upon stepping into the cell, Jay notes the humidity, when Billy cryptically asks, "Jay, you ever see stuff in the dark?"

He says that he has, and Billy tells him that he's seeing a swirling, black mist near the ceiling. It's pitch black where they are, so Billy knows it can't be Jay's shadow. Jay tells Billy that he sees it also and notes that the area where they see the shadow is suddenly freezing. Jay then mentions to Billy that he saw two red dots, not wanting to call them eyes.

During the course of the lockdown, Jay took seven rolls worth of still photos, using 35mm long exposure black and white film. There were only two extremely questionable photos out of the bunch. Taken in the pitch black darkness, the photos show swirling shapes, caught in Cell 13.

While it's unclear as to who or what inhabits the empty expanses of Alcatraz, it's certainly a hotbed for paranormal activity. As for the two glowing red eyes seen by multiple people over the years, perhaps we will never know what they belong to.

Tune in next Friday, October 18 at 9 p.m. on Travel Channel to watch the guys investigate Reno, Nevada's modern day brothel, the Mustang Ranch.

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