Tag Archives: Zak Bagans

ghost adventures recapping: winchester mystery house

This week, the guys head to the Winchester Mystery House in San Jose, California. Sarah Winchester, heir to the Winchester Rifle fortune, kept the house under construction from 1884 until her death in 1922. It seems promising, but instead of really investigating the location, the guys decide to use the house as a portal to communicate with demonic spirits that have attacked them in previous investigations. Yes, really.

Interviews

The guys begin their interviews with general manager Shozo Kagoshima, who explains legend of the house. After the deaths of Sarah Winchester’s young daughter in 1866 and her husband 15 years later, she consulted a medium who told her the spirits of those killed by Winchester rifles were to blame. The medium directed her to continuously build a house, never to complete it – either to confuse or contain these spirits. Winchester supposedly even conducted regular séances to consult with spirits, who guided her during the construction.

Ghost Adventures Winchester Mystery House

Courtesy of Travel Channel

As usual, Zak doesn’t miss the opportunity to ham it up while touring the house: he repeatedly gets lost while trying to find a working restroom, dances around in his socks in the ballroom, sings some off-key lyrics of “Like a Prayer,” and at one point licks the wallpaper.

Despite being a “mystery house,” there aren’t many claims. In the ballroom, a tour guide tells them that psychics have heard organ music – even though the organ has been broken for years. They then go to the switchback staircase with paranormal author Dr. Jeff Dwyer, who claims the convoluted space contains a spiritual portal. While shooting some b-roll, Zak captures an unexplained ball of light while taking a cell phone shot of Nick, and the tour guide tells them orbs have been seen in that room before.

Because the house is linked to guns, this proves enough of a reason for the guys to visit a gun range. Zak (in a black t-shirt with a gun print, no less) takes some vengeance on a demon-shaped target. This is where the episode takes an odd turn. Apparently obsessed with portals and the idea of Winchester communicating with the dead, Zak decides to call on paranormal scientist Joshua Warren to set up a “man-made portal,” so they can connect with the spirits from Bobby Mackey’s and the Washoe Club – two locations where the guys have experienced demonic possession, physical attacks, and been called by name in EVPs. Inviting these energies to attack them again doesn’t seem like a great idea to me, but it wouldn’t be Ghost Adventures if the guys weren’t recklessly endangering themselves.

Ghost Adventures Gun Range

Courtesy of Travel Channel

Investigation

The guys make an attempt at investigating the location, conducting a brief EVP session in the ballroom. On a live review of their tape, Nick hears his name being called and subsequently freaks out, claiming “it feels like something’s after me!” Zak reminds us of the ball of light he caught in the photo with Nick earlier, and wonders if something at the house has attached itself to him. This is apparently not scary enough, so they move onto to their experiment to see if they can entice more spirits (and demons) to mess with them.

At 10 pm, the guys begin their long-distance spirit phone call via satellite, connecting with Mark and Debbie Constantino at the Washoe Club and the Tri-State Paranormal Society of Northern Kentucky at Bobby Mackey’s. Almost immediately upon beginning their call, they lose the Constantino’s feed. They continue regardless, and start capturing some strange audio from Bobby Mackey’s – a clearly audible growl and an EVP stating “I…hate…Nick.” In the meantime, the Constantinos conduct an EVP session, asking the spirits if they’re causing the technical issues, and get a “yeah” in response.

As Zak continues to goad the spirits at Mackey’s to come through, Aaron gets visibly uncomfortable in the background, and an EVP of “Aaron…kill” is captured. The team at Mackey’s experiences movement, while at same time an audible thump is heard at the mystery house, and the motion sensor in Winchester’s séance room goes off. Aaron begins to act strangely, saying he was drawn into the next room. When another voice regarding Aaron is caught at Mackey’s, he decides to confront whatever is antagonizing him. He stops his tirade midsentence, turns around, and Zak practically falls over backwards at the look on Aaron’s face (which we can’t see), yelling, “He’s not himself!” It’s over in a second, and Aaron moans that he doesn’t feel good. While this is happening, a final EVP from Mackey’s is caught, stating “Aaron…you’re an ass.” Something clearly has it out for the poor guy this episode.

At this point, Zak decides their objective (demonic possession?) is completed. As if one apparent possession isn’t enough, an investigator from Mackey’s was so disturbed after the experiment she was forced to consult a priest. The episode wraps up on a sad note – we learn the guys continued to investigate the location but Zak felt so uncomfortable that for the first time in 6 years, they ended a lockdown early. (I’m going to assume he’s referring to their 2004 documentary where they ran screaming from the Goldfield Hotel and jumped out the window.) He later discovers that his grandmother passed away at around 1 am – the same time they were forced to end their lockdown. Rest in peace, Grandma Bagans.

This episode was better than last week, but still not as interesting as the other locations they’ve been to this season. Some interesting activity did occur, but this spiritual “phone call” felt really gimmicky to me. Can we get back to the regular investigations now, bro?

Quotes

Zak: Do you know what this is like? This is like being at Willy Wonka’s Chocolate factory!
Nick: It is.
Zak: Wait a minute! [Licks the wallpaper.] The donuts taste like donuts. The strawberries taste like strawberries. Aaron, come here and lick this.
Aaron: No!

Zak: I would rather be locked down in locations with asbestos pouring out of the walls into our lungs than being teased to use the bathroom twice.

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ghost adventures recapping: old town san diego

This week our black-clad trio head to Old Town San Diego for a multi-part lockdown, investigating the Cosmopolitan Hotel and La Casa de Estudillo. Unlike previous locations – which typically feature murders, Indian burial grounds, or demonic energies – the spirits in Old Town just really, really like to party.

Interviews

The interviews start at the Cosmopolitan Hotel, with innkeeper Miguel Pulido. We learn the building used to be known as the Casa de Bandini. The wealthy gentleman Mr. Bandini was known for his raucous, 3-day parties, making the location “the place to be in 1829.” They move inside to the saloon/bar area where the bottles are claimed to move on their own. Nick casually asks for a shot of tequila, and before you can say “spirits,” Zak and Nick are going head to head in a shot challenge. Zak gets as giggly as a teenage girl on prom night, though Nick implies he’s not drinking anything stronger than root beer.

Ghost Adventures Shot Challenge

Courtesy of Travel Channel

As they continue their tour, Miguel tells them of the claims in the building: objects moving on their own, an apparition in Bandini’s study, and all the lights turning on and off for no reason. Another quick shot to toast Bandini, and they move upstairs, where mirrors are claimed to move on their own in Room 11 and Room 4 features a headboard carved with a dead girl’s likeness. While out interviewing another witness, Zak gets all giggly again when some female fans ask for a photo op.

They continue on to their second location of Casa de Estudillo. They tour the building with 9th generation San Diegoan Elena Orozco as their guide. Some of the claims in the building include apparitions of a woman and a monk. We are treated to a “Zak is confused by words” moment here, when he becomes utterly perplexed by the term “cattle baron.”

Zak – Kettle?
Elena – Cattle. Moo.
Zak – Kittle?
Elena – Cattle!
Zak – Cattle. Cows?
Elena – Yes! Moo!
Zak – I thought kettles.

Casa Estudillo Interview

Courtesy of Travel Channel

Elena continues to educate Zak on the topic of arranged marriages before giving him a tour of the garden, where they comment on some phallic-looking vegetables. One gets the feeling the guys are hamming it up now to make up for an otherwise boring investigation later – unfortunately that proves true.

Lockdown

The lockdown starts in the Casa de Estudillo. Zak tries to up the ante by alluding to some land disputes and “mysterious deaths” that weren’t brought up in the interview. They begin their investigation with a thermal camera sweep and attempt to capture some EVP or electronic voice phenomena (spirit voices) with questions posed in bad Spanish. Nothing much happens, other than capturing some footsteps and a strange orb (though it looks like a bug to me) on video.  While gathering equipment to cover more area, Nick claims a door closed mysteriously behind him, but we don’t see it.

The team splits up. Nick and Aaron go to separate wings. Zak sets up in the front hall, with a Therma Sound device – essentially sonar that maps disturbances in the room – and the Ovilus II, a device with a phonetic database that spirits allegedly manipulate to form words. The Ovilus picks up the words “digging,” “grass,” and  “Mandy.” When Zak asks where this spirit is, it sets off the only intelligent response we get this episode. He gets the word “central,” the Therma Sound graphs movement, and his audio recorder picks up an EVP stating, “I see a man.” Is this the spirit of Mandy? Zak thinks so. He subsequently gets the words “rose” and “vase.” Apparently Zak needs to bring this lady ghost some flowers before he’s going to be invited to any otherworldly partying.

The team moves on to the Cosmopolitan Hotel for the second part of their lockdown. Zak’s brilliant idea to draw out Bandini’s ghost? Bring in some dancers and a musician to throw him a party. The dancers clamor around in the dark, with Zak occasionally screaming “alto!” so they can attempt to hear any evidence. But the dancers are just too loud – Zak claims to hear a female voice but it’s impossible to pick out over the noise. There is a flash of light on their full spectrum camera. That’s about it.

They split up once more, each taking one of the haunted rooms. Nick gets some EMF activity, Aaron hears a groan (after asking, “Does this room kinda similarly look like the room you used to be in?” – I would groan too at that abuse of the English language), and everyone generally comments on how creeped out they are. Zak tries to make a case for an EVP, which apparently sounds like “Bandi-“ as if a spirit is attempting to say Bandini. I don’t buy it.

Overall, this is a ho-hum episode, the weakest of the season so far. There are a few laughs in the beginning, but I don’t think partying spirits is enough of a back-story to produce real results.

Quotes

Zak – Did that make you a true believer that this hotel is legitimately haunted?
Witness – Yeah, but I’ve always thought that something being haunted would be scary…
Zak – Some people think that objects moving by themselves is kind of scary, Chanel.

Zak – What kind of parties were these? I have to define what parties were…
Elena – They had music and the dancing of the time.
Zak – So they were all proper parties? They weren’t like, y’know, dirty parties? Like orgies and stuff? (They laugh.) Hey, you’ve got to ask!
Elena – No, they weren’t like Zak parties!

Eleana – Here’s a zucchini. Look at that, Zak. How nice.
Zak – The plant has a penis.
Elena – Several.
Zak – That is a big zucchini.
Elena – That would be nice on a date, huh?

Zak – It’s our job now to turn those lights off, and see if we can write some more unwritten pages in the “dark section” of the history books of Old Town San Diego.

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