Sunday, March 9, 2014

'Ghost Adventures' Recap: 'Bannack Ghost Town'

All photos courtesy of the Travel Channel
BY NOWAL MASSARI

This week, the "Ghost Adventures" Crew head to the ghost town of Bannack, Montana. In 1862, a group of prospectors discovered an enormous amount of gold (around $200 million worth), bringing in a large number of people, and with them came crime. With the gallows right next to the schoolhouse, Bannack's gruesome history includes seven executions in a matter of 14 months. One building in the small town is known as "the Crying Baby house," as it is said to have been used to quarantine sick children to stop the spread of scarlet fever. You can allegedly still hear children in there to this day.

While touring the deserted town, they meander in and out of various buildings, even encountering a strange pair of mysterious knocks. As the tour continues, the crew runs into a couple who are walking about the town. As it turns out, the man's great grandfather lived in the town of Bannack, both his grandfather and father were born there and he himself used to run the Bannack visitors center. He says that he believes spirits or ghosts in fact inhabit the area, but he wasn't fearful of them because he told the spirits he wouldn't bother them if they didn't bother him. Next up, the group speaks with local resident Stan, who happens to collect strange photos of Bannack from other people. One photo in particular he shows to the guys of Ghost Adventures, and that was all it took to pique their interests. The photo, taken from the pulpit in the church, shows a couple of people seated in pews on one side, while on the other there appears a white figure, seemingly seated with its arm resting on the back of the pew. Upon closer inspection, the guys debunk this as not being a lens flare or any other kind of human error or interference.

State park employee John, acting as their tour guide, then takes them to the Hotel Meade, which has a sad history. The most commonly seen spirit of the hotel is that of young Dorothy Dunn. One nice day, Ms. Dunn went wading in the nearby dredge pond with her sister and a friend. Unfortunately, the girls went too far out and things took a turn for the worse. A ten-year-old boy happened upon the struggling girls and managed to save two of them, but by the time he pulled Dorothy out of the water, it was too late.

They carried her to the hotel, where they tried to revive her, but Dorothy was dead. The crew speak to a man named Francisco, an eyewitness to the paranormal activity at the hotel. He recalls the incident, stating that he was touring the hotel when he heard a little girls voice say "hi daddy," and then felt something push him down the stairs. He says that had he not caught himself, he believes he would have been seriously hurt, or maybe worse. When he returned home that night, he says that he was awoken around 1a.m. by strange sounds in the kitchen. When he went to see what the noise was, he says that he saw his young child playing in the kitchen as if another child were present. He then felt a burning sensation on his back, which later revealed scratch marks. Curious about this extremely negative encounter, the Ghost Adventures Crew learn about Sheriff Henry Plummer. According to local history, the town was at first relieved when he came, for they believed that order would be restored and crime would fade. Unfortunately, the sheriff was a corrupt man, who was eventually hung by vigilantes in 1864.

Before the lock down begins, the guys decide to wander around Bannack to get a feel for it. Aaron heads up to the dredging pond and conducts a quick EVP session, with no results and then heads to the graveyard. Nick and Zak check out the church and then head into the Hotel Meade to take some photos. While snapping away, Zak sees something and tells Nick to make sure that they are completely alone. They hear a loud rattling sound and discover that an old stove drawer has opened up, and it even has fresh dust underneath it. Going back through the photos they just took, the duo notice a strange black anomaly in the corner of the only out of focus shot. When they zoom in on the image, a face can be seen. They show John before the lock down and also ask him about the drawer on the stove. He says that they always keep everything shut.

To cover a bit more ground, considering the size of the location, A/V techs Billy Tolley and Jay Wasley join the investigation by taking on the crying baby house while the rest of the group heads over to the hotel. Almost as soon as they enter, they hear footsteps coming from upstairs. After this, Zak goads the spirits that terrorized Francisco and then sends Aaron upstairs to check it out. Over at the crying baby house, Billy and Jay use an antique crank phone as a means of providing the spirits with more energy for communication. An EMF detector set directly next to the phone has a reading of 6.1 millegauss, which is quite high. While Billy is cranking the phone, he begins to see lights on him. Shortly after mentioning these lights, Jay states that he sees them too, and these lights are also caught on film.

Back in the hotel, Zak is conducting a Spirit Box session, when Nick says he hears a man's voice. It didn't come through the Spirit Box, however a man's voice is caught on camera, though they can't make out what it has said. Continuing his session, Zak asks if the spirits can please talk with him. A man's voice responds "...hate...hurt," with Zak saying that he felt paralyzed when the voice came through. When he goes downstairs, a loud bang is heard from the upper level. At the exact moment the sound is heard, a light anomaly is seen hitting/absorbing into the wall, almost as if something punched it. Taking a moment, Zak goes outside to clear himself of whatever negative energy he has just encountered and states that the hotel feels weird. Deciding to branch out, the guys head deeper into the town. Inside one of the buildings, Zak tells the spirits that if they want the crew out of the house to make a noise, which is almost immediately followed by footsteps on the porch outside. When they check, no one is there.

Having moved on from the children's quarantine, Billy and Jay have set up in a different building. This time they use an old vacuum tube radio to try an communicate with the spirits. Jay sees a strange light in the doorway, which is also caught on camera, and a little girls voice comes through the radio saying "mama." Aaron sets up a FLIR camera and pans the empty streets, but nothing is captured. After this, the guys split up to check out more buildings before ending the lock down. While on his own, Aaron pulls out the Ovilus and captures "six men" and "apart," as if to let him know that they were aware the group had spilt up. Who was the sixth man, though? Could they have meant Sheriff Plummer? It remains a mystery.

Alone in one of the 50 buildings of Bannack, Zak hears repeated knocking behind him, leading him to believe that something had followed him from the hotel. With multiple cameras and recorders set up throughout the town, a series of tapping is captured in the empty schoolhouse. Exactly 24 minutes after pressing record on the equipment, the REM pod goes off 27 times, seemingly to the same rhythm of the unexplained tapping caught earlier. The static cameras also capture old time music in the empty saloon.

After the lock down, the crew meet back up with Francisco to show him some of the evidence from the hotel. Appearing to feel validated by what he sees, Francisco shows the guys a video on his phone taken about two weeks after his experience at the Hotel Meade. He is sitting at home and playing with his child when a bright whitish-pink anomaly shoots out of his arm and disappears. With some interesting events taking place, there is no question that the town of Bannack has earned its reputation as a ghost town.

Don't forget to tune in next Saturday when the Ghost Adventures Crew head to Salt Lake City to get locked down in an old cement factory turned into a haunted house, now dubbed the "Fear Factory."

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