November 19, 2008

GH: Clovis Avenue Sanitarium

So it looks like the "Plumber" thing isn't going to go away. During All Access 2008 Jay & Grant reassured us they were still on Roto-Rooter's payroll, and they've made it clear they feel that gives them license to stage scenes where they begin to install a "New GE Washer" in someone's basement just as Kris Williams calls to say she's found an amazing place to visit 3,000 miles away in California and they should all drive there right away, for a single investigation, because no one has the cojones to B. A. Baracus Steve and slip some valium into his OJ.

Also, it gives them an excuse to bring in Amy Bruni, who is part of the TAPS family on the west coast, and apparently, from the All Access 2008 announcement she will now be joining them full time? I'm not really sure, it didn't seem that way from this investigation at least. After what they did last year — with that guy who won the contest to become the "Next Ghost Hunter" and then that apparently meant he got to hold an EMF detector for ten minutes before going home for the rest of his life.  Maybe he just found out that being a cop makes him a lot more money than Jay & Grant were willing to part with.

There were, of course, an array of personal experiences related during the initial walkthrough but one in particular stood out to me. I'd heard a similar story during the walkthrough at Fort Mifflin and it strikes me as one of the most credible types of eyewitness reports: where multiple people see the same thing. In this case, a tour guide looked over and saw a man that looked rather odd. he noticed the man was wearing a white shirt and that his face seemed blurry, and then the man just faded into thin air. Before he could say anything, one of the people in the group said, "Did you see that?" Now of course such a story could be manufactured to seem credible, but assuming it's true I think it's much more intriguing than many other experiences because we can pretty much rule out hallucination, or even misidentification of something seen from the corner of the eye.

I also want to make sure I properly malign a bad habit that's been going on for some time, both with TAPS and Ghost Hunters International: The Telephone Game. As Kris Williams walks into the basement she tells Amy Bruni about the stuffed animal that "moves around". No, it doesn't move around. It moved around. Once. This seems relatively minor, but such errors are frequent and sometimes they're decidedly less benign. In one GHI investigation Robb was told that the employees made up a name for the male ghost they believe haunts the building, and shortly thereafter Robb told his team the name of the spirit they were trying to contact was "Frank" (or whatever the name that the employees had jokingly made up was), and suddenly everyone is trying to contact someone named "Frank". Then there was the time the restaurant owner told Grant about a "Musky" smell, and Grant repeated the word "Musky" but a couple of hours later he was telling everyone he found the source of the "Musty" smell and "debunked" it. TAPS needs to take their investigations a little more seriously because just a tiny bit of sloppiness can have significant consequences for an investigation.

While Kris & Amy were in the basement they heard a bang, which turned out to be a large rock (or piece of concrete?) someone had dropped near the top of the stairs. I'm sorry, but with all the mounting evidence for hoaxing I pretty much need to see video of that rock floating or materializing out of thin air before I'm going to rule out normal explanations (like Grant seeing a rock on his way into the building and thinking, "I know what I'm going to do with that later").  Without some specific evidence to point to a paranormal explanation, this going right in my paranormal trash can.

Upstairs Steve & Dave were trying to get the spirits to make some noise when they heard something: apparently some papers had fallen from a box. They weren't sure if the papers had been place in the box though, or on top of it. This is where wonder twin powers were activated. They rewound their cameras and tried to determine what the original location of the papers were, and when they couldn't detemine that conclusively they went to command central and used the large LCD so they could make that determination — and the papers had fallen off the box, not jumped out from inside the box. Their admirable investigative efforts were paid off with good karma: they placed the papers on top of the box and stomped around trying to make them fall off, but the papers stayed put, so their recreation still allows for paranormal possibilities.

Jay & Grant went down into the basement, I guess to investigate the rock, and they heard what Grant called "the loudest disembodied voice I've ever heard in my life". Forgive me for not getting excited, but as I've mentioned previously I just find it extremely unlikely that the dead just this season of Ghost Hunters figured out how to audibly talk to the living, and they've chosen to do it only when Jay & Grant are in the room, and to sound "tinny" like they're being played through a speaker. Oh, and for once it's almost crystal clear what this voice said, "I like the one in the hat" — seemingly referring to Jason. Honestly, it sounded to me like someone was doing their unflattering impression of a mentally challenged person.

But no one can accuse Jay & Grant of not keeping up on the latest hoaxing theories. Immediately after hearing the voice Jay asked Grant if that was his walkie. Grant responds that it wasn't, pulls out his handheld recorder and says it wasn't that either because it's still recording. They then proceed to search the area for hidden speakers, but regrettably find nothing.

Eager to play along though, and continue his bad habit of making false promises to ghosts, Jay offers up his hat to this alleged spirit. He also pulls the flashlight trick, where he loosens the battery cap so it will go on with the slightest touch from a spirit (or vibration from anywhere else) and then puts it on the floor. The flashlight went on, but Jay still left with the hat. Initially it looked like TAPS has neglected to cover the flashlight with a camera too, which would have been humorously angering, but it turns out Steve's DVR cam got it and it did indeed turn on when no one was touching it. When they tried for a followup though, asking the spirit to turn it back on by the count of 5, the light remained off. Maybe it's because the spirit was miffed about not getting Jason's hat after the first time.

One solid piece of last minute debunking was delivered by Amy Bruni, who was researching the owner's reports that 911 had been dialed from the building multiple times despite having no working phone and most of the lines being cut. It turned out he might not have working phones but he had a working phone system and the particular type of system he had was programmed to call 911 automatically in the event of an emergency. In fact, apparently other systems of this type are known to malfunction occasionally and call 911 for no apparent reason, so mystery solved!  Our phone lines are free from spirits for one more day. No Ghost in the Machine to worry about just yet.

So all in all, there was some impressive investigating done, nothing in the way of impressive evidence, and a couple of highly suspicious things masquerading as impressive evidence. Standard fare, eh?

Filed under Ghost Hunters, Posts by Logisti

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Comments on GH: Clovis Avenue Sanitarium »

November 20, 2008

Phoenixmagi @ 12:41 am

Good write up. question was it just my eyes playing tricks on me but did anyone else catch that brief shot of kris w's oh how do I put it..um..butt crack on national television? it was when her and amy first entered the basement and before they sat down kris has her back to the camera man her shirt is up and her pants are down and its full moon city. did that just really happened? I ask cuz kids watch this show. also they so faked that washer intstallation in the begging. I bet they wer ein jay or grants basement. how much do you think GE paid them for that product placement. what are the odds kris calls right when they install a brand new washer and explain some of its features? god this show doesn't respect its audience.

Phoenixmagi @ 12:51 am

also I disagree on one point, someone was near the flashlight when it lite up on steve's camera, the pilgrim camera man. also I noticed on the pilgrim film immediatley after it lights up jay and grant point to it and the camera man turns around to film it fast but on steve's film he did not turn around at all? is some staging going on and pilgrim showed us a diff take?

Phoenixmagi @ 1:55 am

I just noticed something that really bugged me while rewatching the episode. during the reveal just after they showed the client the video of the girls finding the rock, grant tell the client that at the same time is when the papers feel in the attic for tango and steve. the client then says and I qoute 'yeah like it (im guessing 'it' being a ghost)went through the house' and jason immediatley responds 'yes'. what the hell?!! so jason is telling the client two simultaneous non events are evidence of the paranormal! and by the hands of a ghost no doubt!! how are they proof of a ghost?!! this from the guy who said in the first season that he hates calling a place haunted. I mean bob dylan sang 'the times they are a changin" but this is ridicouls. jason is apparantly connecting dots that aren't there to bring in ratings to bring in cash. afterall jason's gotta eat and it appears he really loves food.

chrispycritters @ 2:22 am

I'm not that far from Clovis and the building is known to everyone in town. In fact, for many Halloweens, it was used as a "Haunt House" (that's why there's red paint on the kitchen cabinets). The story about "Mary's Room" is a joke and if TAPS had done their homework, they could've found that out. That room was decorated as it is not for restoration, but for one of the Haunt House programs in the 80's. I double checked this with a good friend of mine who is involved with the Fresno Historical Society. The room that's supposedly "Mary's Room" wasn't really a bedroom at any point in the mansion's history. It was a closet, a bathing room, and part of a hallway. That's why you see the two doors side by side and a bit of tile in the corner (where the cast iron tub was before indoor plumbing). The building is actually called "Wolfe Manor", not "Clovis Sanatarium". The current owners are trying to turn it into a hotel and have been doing so for years. http://www.wolfemanorhotel.com/ One has to wonder if they're trying to cash in on the TAPS filming to convince a bank to loan them money to finish the restorations and open it as a business? Especially in light of TAPS comments about their investigations spawning a resurgent of business in these places. Wolfe manner does a livestream webcast and chat which can be found on the above link.
Watch this – the video is entitled "Wolfe Manner, the Making of a Haunted Hotel"
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4pXfIX4YkWM

Stephen @ 2:38 am

Haven't seen the episode yet (I watch via iTunes), but I can tell you that Jay and Grant's Beyond Reality Radio will be sponsoring an event at Wolfe Manor next week.

Lar @ 5:47 am

Steve & Tango desperate to have ANY thing happen have resort to debunking boxes. They've left TAPS to form UPS (United Paranormal Service).
I really feel sorry for these 2.
Someone throws a rock & it hits a door. Faked like so many cheesy videos. A true youtube moment.
The DISEMBODIED voice. Walkie. Cell. Speaker. Grant. Someone said it.J's reaction was typical. He didn't believe it. He asked if was G's walkie. More importantly watch the face of the owner during the reveal.
He is NOT surprised or stunned. He looks as if he's either
A. Guilty.
B. Trying to understand what someone is saying. Like he knows it's not paranormal,until Grant makes him aware it IS an EVP to which he agrees.

Leslie @ 7:00 am

I don't think that it was totally 'standard fare'. I actually liked watching the show this time compared to others this year. The main reason being that the whole tone of the show, and investigators, seems to have improved. While Steve and Tango's box debunking may seem mundane to some, I thought it was a step in the right direction to figure out what had happened at the time that it happened, instead of blowing it off and waiting 'till the evidence review. They did a good job, and I was glad to see their enthusiasum!
I agree with Logisti about the figure seen by multiple people. I found this to be more credible than the other accounts.
One other thing that I thought was a good change was that they are setting up DVR's along with the IR cameras. Kind of as a back up in case they catch something?? They may have done this before, but I don't remember them pointing it out like they did on this show. I just remember the DVR's as being hand held unless it was put down temporarily by an investigator.
As for the voice? I wasn't even going to talk about it, but after reading Lar's comments I will say that I also felt that the expression on the clients face got my attention also. I'm not sure what is going on there, but as I was watching him, the warning bells were going off in my head.

Jef @ 8:20 am

Best part of this episode was that it led to an A-team reference from Logisti. Is it me or is it time for a Mr. T vs Ghost Hunters, or does such a beast already exist?

Wes @ 8:49 am

First impression regarding the "voice" was that this was the prep run for the voice we heard on Halloween (I think it's fair to assume this was shot before the Halloween episode). In both cases, we have a voice near Grant, with the same pre-recorded quality, while Grant is fiddling with a recorder. In this case, even Jay acknowledged the "electronic" quality of the voice by asking if it was the walkie-talkie, and then we have the spectacle of Grant waving the recorder around saying, see, see, it's NOT the recorder!!

The "voice" even sounded like the one from Halloween (I'm guessing the TAPS board is abuzz with speculation that a talkative spirit has attached itself to Grant). Perhaps hearing the same voice, with the same sight of Grant fiddling with a recorder, is what made Jay seem less than amused by the Halloween episode voice?

CrowTRobot @ 9:47 am

The Roto-Rooter bits don't really bother me – just a commercial. But ya gotta love the phone conversation: Kris: "Gotta case in California…" J&G: "OK. As soon as we finish installing this washer, we'll be on our way."

It was good to see Steve and Tango as real investigators and not just buffoons.

The voice: (sitting here, shaking my head) Puleeeese stop. Just……….stop. And correct me if I'm wrong, but did they refer to it as an EVP?

The rock: I know I'd throw a rock at Kris if I had a chance.

Actually, it did occur to me that perhaps the rock and the papers falling out of the box could be related. But I don't know that the rock could have landed with enough force to shake the floor forcing the papers to fall. Especially since, if I"m not mistake, the events happened on different floors. But it was a thought.

EDIT: The 'telephone game'. Logisti, that has been an issue for a long time. I can recall episodes where the owner would say something like, "I saw a figure in the corner…" And as the night went on, it would become, "People have reported seeing full apparitions in this room…" You would think the editing people would catch that and ….. well ….. fix it.

Patrick @ 10:02 am

Let's face it, this place is being renovated to be a haunted hotel/bed & breakfast. They had to come up with something. This investigation was no more than a 38 minute commercial for the new haunted hotel. When they didn't get anything of consequence, they did the voice. And the haunted flashlight. I wouldn't be surprised that those scenes were filmed after the actual investigation turned up nothing. But once the notice scrawled across the screen at the beginning about it being turned into a haunted hotel, I knew something "big" would be caught.

Nosfer @ 10:17 am

@Wes, I think EVP is becoming a catchall term used to describe any audio "evidence" regardless of how it is caught. More misuse, more credibility hits.

Even if they debunked the silverware (not convinced but let's say they did) I would like to see the video of the ones crossing that Grant found. Even if it _was_ magnetism, at least show the utensils "in action" It would have been an extra 8 seconds maybe which they could easily have made up for by trimming out some other fluff like tearing open an appliance box, cough cough

The light turning on and the cameraman's movement and non-movement needs to be dug into deeper. Haven't checked if there are youtubes of both scenes yet.

jack @ 10:32 am

Well, I didn't like that voice.

Liked all the featured debunking and testing.

Saw something odd, and probably nothing–when Steve was showing angle the stuffed animal was ON the chair, but when they went into the basement it was on the floor…probably someone just moved it, but it was interesting for a second.

Don't mind the Roto-Rooter segments at all, as stated, they're commercials–and occasionally they highlight good causes–like the Habitat one.

Lar @ 10:45 am

I knew I heard of this place before. Here is their live internet TV show. I've watched it before. A self proclaimed most haunted location with Amateurs running about. NOTHING happens. AWFUL.
http://www.ustream.tv/channel/haunted-wolfe-manor-live

I can't stress it enough. Watch the expression of the owner's face upon hear the voice. He's either
A. Not sure if he's gotten caught.
B. Not sure if he's just gotten away with pulling a prank.
C. Doesn't hear anything but a guy on a walkie, until Grant makes him aware of the voice.

Now that you know the guy's wired for live broadcast that narrows it down to 2 possibilities, sorry TAP HEADS (true devote followers of Taps)but it isn't paranormal. Either Mr. Sanitarium or the G man is guilty.

Similarities of it being G are greater. This episode & the Halloween special are too much alike. Voice is only heard when G is in the room, recorder in hand, back to the camera or just off camera. Each X, J believes it's an outside source.

Here's their myspace page too:
MySpace.com – Haunted Wolfe Manor LIVE – 86 – Female – Clovis, California – http://www.myspace.com/wolfeshow

CrowTRobot @ 11:33 am

Lar posted: "I knew I heard of this place before. Here is their live internet TV show. I've watched it before. A self proclaimed most haunted location with Amateurs running about. NOTHING happens. AWFUL.
http://www.ustream.tv/channel/haunted-wolfe-manor-live"

Interesting; and was that our Robb in one of those pictures? Interesting.

EDIT: Logisti, I'm not rushing you, but I've got a serious issue with the 2nd episode that I need to get off my chest.

andrea @ 11:48 am

When I heard that "EVP" it was like going back into time to the Halloween show. I was thinking to myself.. Wow, they have a lot of chutzpah to fake another voice so soon, so boldly.. but maybe that's why they did it. It was just depressing this show, because I just can't take them seriously now.

andrea @ 11:50 am

What is going on with these long hauls? Are we to believe that Steve actually drives across the country at the drop of the hat because he won't fly? I've done that trip before, and it takes 50 hours from the east coast. This bugs me for some reason. Guess I just don't trust them with anything now.

Nosfer @ 12:02 pm

It would be really interesting to make up a timeline of evidence classifications. For example, when do the real loud clear voices (notice I don't say EVPs) start being captured, what is the frequency of their captures after the first occurrence?

Stephen @ 12:27 pm

Nosfer– I think that's a good idea. I'll work on a table of their different types of evidence. The first one I remember hearing was at HoofFinFeathers. Then they seemed to be every other episode or so.

This one seemed a bit clearer than their previous. I downloaded the episode and did a little analysis. (Preliminary only, so I'm probably wrong– tear it apart.)

1. This time it's a normal voice speaking, rather than our previous distorted whispers. Doesn't seem as tinny. If it's being played from one of their little recorders, this one has a better speaker, or the recording was better quality.
2. I tried speeding it up and slowing it down to see if I could match Grant or Jay. Nope. Something about the recording does sound slowed down, though.
3. There does seem to be a clicking sound after the voice. Hard to make out, since Grant is jumping around, but there are two clicks– "pop pop"– kind of like someone playing with a pen.

And that's my fun for the morning. Off to work.

PatAttack @ 12:33 pm

I hate I missed the Full Moon Fever but I digress. The "EVP"?, is an absolute joke! I am a Sound Engineer and can tell you that sound is coming from an electronic device. It's getting to the point where I can't hardly watch anymore. Grant has the biggest bandwagon for all of the fakery but it could also be the owner. All I can say is Fake, Fake, Fake, Fake, Fake. That Is All.




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