August 15, 2008

GHI: Predjama Castle

With 1,000 years of history behind it, this castle-in-a-cave-under-a-cliff can only be summed up properly with one word: Looming.  It looms.  Predjama Castle in Slovenia isn't the largest structure, but it's one of the most imposing I've ever seen.  During the Dark Ages people took up residence in the large cave that penetrates the cliffside, and apparently a significant portion of the structure is built within the cave. The newer portion sits out front and looks somewhat normal, if not for the cliffs above and the sheer drop-off below.

Yes, yes, Ghost Hunters International: Now with more Europe!  Well, I'm not that displeased; eastern Europe is culturally very different and I feel that offers a richer backdrop than venturing all over the glove to disparate places that all speak English.  Not that I won't get excited for GHI: McMurdo Station, but these old European castles are colorful places difficult to compete with.

For instance, apparently some prisoners in Predjama Castle were sealed in small chambers and walled up, ala Poe's tale, "The Cask of Amontillado".  Perhaps more interesting, aside from an apparently genuine torture chamber the "courtroom" of this castle also has an adjoining door which leads to a 63-meter deep vertical cave, at the bottom of which still lie human remains because — well, it's just too difficult to go down there and bring them up for burial, I guess.  No word on which door the people found "innocent" walked through.

The reports of paranormal activity in the castle seemed fairly consistent, not just throughout the various rooms but also with the staff: Primarily footsteps and occasionally voices.  Down to the investigation, then!

Robb, for whatever reason, decided that when he did the EVP session in the courtroom he was trying to contact a judge.  I would have thought victim — err, excuse me, peasant — I mean criminal, but apparently even the judges are hanging out there because Robb asked which door they would send him through if he was on trial and they (not we) heard a noise from the torture chamber, which Robb took to be a reply.

BrAndy, meanwhile, were investigating back in the cave where Andy Andrews, Amateur Geologist Extroardinaire, made a number of keen observations about the composition of the rock.  He even licked one in order to confirm the presence of salt.  They urged any spirits present to "make a noise".  When a noise presented itself, Andy did his best to track it down, but to no avail.  He did, however, discover what he believed to be a deposit of quartz.  This was the final puzzle piece that wrapped everything up in a nice little package for him:

The cave was a battery.  It had a strong electro-magnetic field, which he believed to be emanating from a natural battery comprised of salt, water, limestone, iron and using quartz crystals as the "memory bank".  This could explain a "residual" haunting, as the system might have "recorded" past events and be "playing them back" over and over"; like footsteps, for instance. Or voices.

Of course, the completely speculative nature of these conclusions was overshadowed by the fact that Robb, Barry and Dustin believed they were interacting with an intelligent spirit that was responding to them, but GHI never led little contradictions like this get in the way of their wildly unscientific conclusions.

In the torture chamber Dustin was on the lower level saying things like, "You don't have to stay here anymore" when Robb thought he heard a voice say (in English), "I know".  After asking the alleged spirit if it was comfortable here, Dustin thought he heard someone say, "Yeah".

As for the actual recordings, I must say the evidence recorded at this location sounds very clearly like voices to me; much moreso than the vast majority of EVP recordings.  I'm just not convinced the voices aren't members of the team or crew.  One EVP is recorded with Barry & Brandy in the room and there seems to be a woman's voice saying something. Interestingly, Robb & Co. had no guesses as to what the voice was saying, nor did their host, who speculated it could be an older variant language from 1,000 years ago that's no longer used.

Another EVP sounded like a male voice.  This one GHI's host seemed to understand (although he offered no translation) and he said it sounded like a soldier issuing a command.  A third EVP simply seemed to say, "Look".  I had been wondering if perhaps there was a word in the local language that coincidentally had the same pronunciation but then their host guilelessly asked the team how it's possible for an ancient Slovenian ghost to understand English.  Robb gave him some vague explanation and said they sometimes ask in English and get answers in the local language, which has indeed occasionally seemed to happen.  Regardless, I still prefer they make some small effort to go native.

The final piece of evidence was a series of still photos from Barry's full-spectrum camera that seemed to show a black mist coalescing near Dustin, and then suddenly vanishing when Dustin turned around (after Barry made him aware of it).  Interesting.  I'd suggest it might have been some trick of the lighting, but I suppose it could have been something else.

Of course, with this abundance of evidence and Andy's battery they labeled the place definitively haunted.  I hate to make fun of Andy, but then again I hate to see Andy so strongly behind a kooky theory.  The battery idea is fine in-and-of-itself as a hypothesis but then the next step would be testing.  It would seem to be easy enough to set up a fairly controlled experiment: If we're talking about some sort of natural recording that is looped then you can expect it to perform on demand and over time such an experiment should expect to see repeatable results: such as footsteps and voices recorded when no people are present.

I'll get excited when I see someone set up an experiment like that, regardless of the results. Settling on that explanation without testing, though — especially since it's pretty much one of the only "paranormal" theories that should be easily testable?  I'm going to have to be a little bit skeptical.

Filed under Ghost Hunters International, Posts by Logisti

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Comments on GHI: Predjama Castle »

August 15, 2008

StanTheMan @ 7:44 am

I have often wondered why they don't simply bring in a "native" speaker as guest investigator, if you will, to ask the questions in the native language. This would be far more effective than having Barry learn a few words or read off a cue-card.

Handsty @ 9:38 am

I agree totally with your thoughts on the Pajama Castle. Andy the Great Debunker is not so much anymore. He annoys me as do Robb most of the time and Dustin now all the time. This week's show was so boring I didn't even take notes. Not worth my energy spent. I wish some spirit would knock Dustin's backwards upsidedown sun visor off his head! What the heck is he trying to prove? Between him and Robb's backward's baseball cap, these foreigners must think Americans are a complete bunch of idiots. Is it almost over? I need my Grant, Tango and "Tat" (Steve G.)fix. Love Barry and like Brandy. Hope she stays.

Brenny @ 11:47 am

I thought the photos that Barry took showed a white mist instead of a black area, forming to the far right of the frame…then moved closer and almost appeared to be a motion blurr of some sort. Did anything show up when Dustin asked Barry to take a photo to his left because he felt a temp change…was that when these series of pics were taken? Also, next weeks show is at Dracula's castle….didn't they already go there? I am confused. I must admit, I miss Brian and his antics. At least he is entertaining!

windwhisperer @ 11:58 am

I purely got a kick out of Andy the Great and his puzzle theory. When he said "final piece of the puzzle" I'm thinking….what puzzle? I listened to him explain how he came to this theory of the cave being a huge battery over and over. Sorry, but to me it just sounded like random words strung together. I'm sure it made him feel very intelligent and he even felt like a scientist.
And he must have the vision of an eagle or perhaps some sort of nocturnal creature to have seen that piece of iron on the cave floor and spot the quartz. I really don't want to make fun of Andy either, but he keeps giving me a reason to.
I have mixed thoughts about the cave investigation. They're so serious when entering the cave. Oh so spooky. But wasn't the cameraman already in there filming them coming in?
I believe that they had already checked out the cave before we saw them go in.
Where Andy spotted the quartz; was that as far as the cave went?

I also wish they would invite a native person on an investigation. I'm just not buying what Robb said about the entities understanding every language. I think their team probably took a lot of heat about the fact that they ask questions in English and only occasionally get a response that they think sounds like the native language. Otherwise responses all sound like English to them.

As far as EVPS go, I can't believe a single one of them. And as for the ghostly images caught on camera, ditto.
True, this time the EVPS did sound like real voices. The viewers don't often get to hear anything. I guess your ears have to be there.

Handsty @ 12:45 pm

Whisperer, that's rich! "Andy the Great". Well at least his wristlight comes in handy. I totally forgot about the rock he found. Well, looky here! A rock, in a cave!

Wes @ 1:43 pm

GHI is venturing dangerously close to Paranomal State territory … I loved Robb's explanation that an EVP in English makes sense because ghosts, of course, basically understand all languages .. but previously said an EVP in Europe in a native tongue is especially impressive because that's the language the person would have spoken, so …. ??? And the photo – the photo with the "mist" is blurry (look at Dustin's face) and the photo without the "mist" is clear. Coincidence? – or the fact that a long exposure in a dark place will produce blurry mists, shapes etc. with any kind of movement of the camera? Or is it the ghost that is blurring Dustin's face?!

Patrick @ 2:30 pm

I liked when Andy proved that gay love can pierce the veil of death. Oh wait, that was a rerun of Supernatural. The investigating techniques were so similar I got mixed up.

Sully @ 2:32 pm

This episode might be the moment when GHI "jumped the shark." When Andy started nattering on about the entire cave being a "battery" I just couldn't believe it. That was embarrassing.

It was like being back in a junior-high cafeteria circa 1972 and hearing some goggle-eyed science nerd discourse on the differences between Klingons, Romulans, and Vulcans. At first you listen politely because you don't want to hurt the kid's feelings, but after a few minutes you're ready to wring his neck.

Every season — now nearly every episode — GH and GHI descend further and further into psuedoscience. What attracted me to GH in the first place was TAPS's attempts at employing practical science to disprove a haunting. They didn't have to succeed, so long as they tried to stay skeptical.

Now, I'm not sure they're trying anymore. Or maybe they've decided that they get to define the science. Whatever. GHI is becoming painful to watch.

Jef @ 4:05 pm

Maybe this was the episode where everyone was on drugs.

"this week, on a very special episode of GHI…"

I don't know what I can add except for Hahahahahahahahahahahaha! A battery?!?!?! Hahahahahahahahaha

Logisti, you do have a point that if it really was as Andy explained, it would be a fairly straightforward task to test the theory, and THAT would have been interesting.

And Wes, Paranormal State territory? Really? They didn't leave any measures for protection, and they didn't bring in Chip Coffey or Peter Vinkman. Although, when you have Andy, I don't know why you'd need to bring anyone in. IF ONLY he had been able to find a hair dryer down there in the cave… not sure what he would have done with it, but as I've run off the rails here I'll simply state "what the hell was I talking about?!"

Oh yeah.

Wes, I think it's time for a full-on crossover. Hell, it can't be much worse than the episode of GHI we just witnessed. Am I right?

Wes @ 4:14 pm

Coming next fall: Paranormal State International!! Chip Coffey senses bad energy in medieval torture chambers. "Someone suffered here," he says …

August 16, 2008

Hal @ 10:19 pm

Main thing, Brandy is still part of the team. She's so cute with those big, sexy eyes of hers and looks real good in tight jeans . . . but, I digress.

I don't know about the rest of you folks, but I'm having a hard time understanding how ghostly footsteps occur. They keep telling us how these spirits must try with all their ghostly might to simply make a sound or utter a single word (as evidenced when batteries drain or the air suddenly turns cold from all the ambient heat being gobbled up by a spook who's about to speak or manifest itself), even when only the EVP recorders detect it. And yet, they sometimes hear footsteps with their own ears and, at other times, the regular mikes pick it up so we viewers can hear it too.

It seems to me it would take a ghost a lot more energy and effort to actually make or simulate a footstep, on wooden or stone floors, than it would to speak a barely audible word or phrase. What thinkest the rest of youest?

Sully @ 10:43 pm

"Brandy, you're a fine girl, what a good investigator you would be. But you have to stop believing those lame EVPs."

Sorry, somebody had to say it. Might as well be me. :)

You've got a good point there, Hal. This whole "energy theory" is pretty shakey, based on conjecture and assumptions.

If spooks need energy, why not just truck in a bunch of car batteries to a haunted site?

Die-Hards, of course … ;)

August 18, 2008

Brad @ 11:41 am

I think that batteries can exist naturally, you know lightning is an electrical discharge from clouds. There could have been some kind of oxidation- reduction going on in the cave, but I don't see how that current would be available to power anything. The idea of quartz as a storage device is just silly, It may have been the right material but the structure is just as important. It is like taking a pile of scrap metal and calling it a car! Besides, there a quartz watches with batteries, does that mean the entire cave is a giant watch? Also, I take issue with the "mystery noises" they hear. Everyone knows old buildings are full of rats, drips, holes where the wind gets in, and pops and cracks from the temperature change at night. I think this is the best explanation for a lot of the sounds. The EVPs mostly just sound like static to me. If you turn up the volume and listen long enough, of course you will start to hear things. Most of them don't sound like voices until they tell you what they are saying. Also, the personal experiences are not that convincing, just because you get "creeped out" doesn't really mean anything. I feel like I am being watched when I am home alone all the time, but I know that is just my imagination.

ElleAmental @ 9:23 pm

Did anyone catch what DaSkeptic said on the scifi forum? VERY informative.

Andy just sounds so earnest that you want to believe him, even when you know that computer chips are made of silicon, not quartz. I have a lot of batteries in my house and NONE of them record footsteps and feelings, I mean come ON.

Someone who loves her needs to take all of Brandy's blue eyeshadow away from her. It seems to glow in the dark and is mighty distracting to the females in the audience, who aren't focused on her butt. I love her spunk and I wish she would slap Andy when he starts spouting nonsense.

What on earth compelled them to have Dustin, skater-dude do the historical research, he seems to have no talent for it and no longer even evaluates the recordings. Doesn't it seem odd that Barry and Brandy are the ones going over the information when Brandy has no experience and Barry thinks everything is a ghost?

I've got to say, in spite of the fabulous locations this show just gets worse every time I see an episode. I actually find it remarkable that they can't find realistic paranormal activity! This episode was the worst one of all, we didn't even get to check out the castle! I've heard footsteps and voices in my house, does that mean I can expect GHI to come investigate? Lame-O

August 20, 2008

Lar @ 12:46 pm

This was one of their WORST REVEALS.

Andy's scientific explanation which states, " one quartz chunk, 1/4 lb. of limestone, 2 lbs. salt, 8 ounces of iron, 4 cups parsley, & 3 tablespoons of oregano," generates energy was pure folk lore. The EVP's were some of the worst. Does anyone have a Class A EVP link that offers clear voices longer than 4 seconds?

How can 50 bajillion hours of collecting EVPs result in such consistantly bad distorted garble?

CrowTRobot @ 7:37 pm

Lar asked, "How can 50 bajillion hours of collecting EVPs result in such consistantly bad distorted garble?"

Because, Lar, it's all a giant crock of nothing. There are no such things as ghosts; therefore, there are no such things as EVPs.

I didn't believe in ghosts, but was willing to be open-minded. The first season or two of GH did cause me to consider the possibility. But lately GH and GHI has convinced me that you see or hear what you want to see or hear.

I also think it's very odd that GH found more believable 'evidence' when they investigated families' suburban homes than GHI has found in all their travels to some of the "most haunted" spots in the world…….

What a minute……Did I just type "Most Haunted"? Hmmmmmmm…..

August 21, 2008

blinddog50 @ 9:21 am

I think I have come to a realization as to what GHI's problem is.
The places they go to are just too damn old.
GH goes to places in the USA that are of more recent construction.
Civil War forts, Old West saloons, Colonial houses and hotels where they have an abundance of shadows, noises and personal experiences.
This leads me to believe that ghosts must have an expiration date.
200..250 years max.
Never have I heard GHI in their investigations in Olde Europe
mention ghosts of neanderthals, ancient Romans, Greeks, Huns, Barbarians etc.
I figure as the billions and billions of people that have inhabited this planet that if only a miniscule amount became ghosts we would be ass deep in them.
Therefore my theory is that after a couple of centuries of spookin' around their shelf life expires and they go bad, fizzle out or whatever.

Now if we can get Chris Fleming to develop a Ghost-O-Barcode reader for GHI.

Lar @ 3:22 pm

Yes, I agree. The whole concept of capturing voices is so far out it's like a bad sci fi flick AKA White Noise. It's such a gimmicky thing I'm surprised there isn't an EVP channel on Sirrus or satellite radio. All EVP's ALL the time. 24/7.
I know this is a sensitive subject so I don't want anyone to think I'm being disrespectful. I'm only stating a fact. If they REALLY want to find or hear lost souls, why don't they investigate the Nazi death camps where MILLIONS were slaughtered. Why not travel to the Beach at Normandy, or any 20th century battleground. They won't because it's not politically correct. Just as they wouldn't go to Ground Zero or Shanksville Pa. To do so only to come away with NOTHING AGAIN would be make people ask how can 1000's die in this spot but nothing is seen or heard.
They'd be cancelled faster than Barry jumps!

CrowTRobot @ 3:44 pm

Totally agree, Lar. IF ghosts/spirits do exist, they're sure to be found in the old Nazi prison camps. Of course, it will never happen; and frankly, I'm not sure I'd want some goofball group like GH/GHI 'investigating' those grounds.

blinddog50. Interesting theory regarding the shelf-life of ghosts. Now you may be joking, but your theory is much more believable than GHIs "Oh, all ghosts CAN understand English. One theory is blah, blah, blah…." or "Listen to this EVP, 'Bladklkhjd'. It clearly says, 'I love to crochet'.

blinddog50 @ 5:00 pm

It's a plausible theory, given in a humorous vein.
Makes as much sense as anything else.

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