For their Halloween episode the guys investigate Letchworth Village, an abandoned institution for the mentally disabled in Haverstraw, New York. It is also known as “The Village of Secrets” due to the cover up of the horrible abuses that took place there. In episodes that explore institutions made infamous for their abuses (like Pennhurst State), the tragic nature of the location makes any evidence seem all the more disturbing.
Before the guys can even get to the lockdown, Hurricane Irene hits New York. Not ones to put their own safety ahead of the paranormal, the guys make the trip to upstate New York despite massive flooding and downed trees. Because Zak sees the paranormal in everything, he notes how all this water could act as a spiritual conductor.
The guys begin their investigation with former employee Sara Bogart, who describes filthy conditions and inadequate staff, and who witnessed nurses shoving food in patient’s throats and administering medication to 80 different patients with the same spoon. Her interview is interspersed with footage from the documentary “The Last Great Disgrace”, which shows some of these horrific conditions. Adding to the darkness at Letchworth, the polio vaccine was tested on 20 disabled children in the 1950s. Nearby, there is a cemetery where patients were buried in unmarked graves, with only numbers to identify them.
The guys interview teenagers Dave Skala and Jacquelyn Emm. Zak takes a moment to give Dave a lecture on the finer points of interview etiquette. Dave claims he was with a group when they witnessed a seven-foot tall dark figure with white eyes walking behind him, and a voice spoke through his car radio on the drive home. Jacquelyn claims that when she would lay in the broken refrigeration unit in the morgue, it got unnaturally cold and she was touched. She describes herself as addicted to the location. Off to the side, Zak claims that he can “sense” the way a haunted place affects people, and wonders if the spirits have latched onto people like Dave and Jacquelyn to travel beyond Letchworth.
Zak likens investigating places with torturous dark energy like Letchworth to being injected with a “spiritual syringe.” Immediately, the guys begin feeling strange, and Aaron describes it as feeling like he’s constantly falling forward. Of course, Zak takes a moment to call out the demon that followed Dave home. As they explore, the guys unintentionally drift apart, leaving them by themselves in the darkness. Zak hears a clearly audible male scream, and it finally dawns on him that he’s alone with no sign of Nick or Aaron.
Aaron ends up in the morgue, and decides to conduct an EVP session. He captures an aggressive voice stating, “shut up you prick” and feels something touch his neck. Meanwhile, Nick has found the dental x-ray room, and he’s clearly creeped out. He comments on the strange energy in the place, feeling like he is being watched and followed.
After hearing an EVP that sounds like “pray your god,” Zak decides that a dark energy has attached itself to him. Aaron runs into him, but Zak tells him to stay away, as it might interfere with this presence. Aaron wanders off, muttering, “I ain’t sticking around that”. Nick is still lost, and visibly unsettled. Finally, he and Aaron meet up and decide to hunt down the possibly possessed Zak.
Zak decides whatever he was feeling has left him, and finally reunites with Nick and Aaron, startling them when he comes up the hallway. Zak harasses the spirits, and this time they appear to be talking back, because he gets two EVPs: “they’re taunting me” and “then come get me.” He freaks out when he spots a shadow figure in a back room. Upon reviewing the footage it’s clear that something is moving behind the exposed studs in the wall, and it’s not their own shadows. Usually the visual evidence the guys capture is nearly impossible to make out, but this one is pretty clear and definitely creepy.
The episode wraps up with the guys communicating with a female entity through the spirit box, getting screams and cries for help. The usually stoic Nick gets pushed and flips out, which is a good indication of how much this investigation has unsettled the guys. Whoever or whatever they’re talking to sounds tortured, and it’s sobering to think of her trapped in a place like Letchworth.
This is the kind of episode I like – a minimum of antics and wild theories (though with Zak it will never be completely serious), and a location that is as creepy for them to investigate as it is for us to watch.
Zak – This is a grave. That’s not a building anymore. It’s a tomb.
Zak- Dave, can you spit your gum out before we start this interview? We got a couple ground rules here. Let’s get a few things straight. Number one, we don’t chew gum. Number two, we don’t pat our chest because that will f— up our audio. Number three is the most important one: in the middle of an interview you never just get up, fart, or run away. As long as we as we get them things out of the way we can continue, sir.
Dave – I’ll work on it, but I can’t promise the fartin’ one.