August 6, 2009

GHI: Malaspina Castle

I have a soft spot for investigations where the team stays at the location overnight — at least so long as Grant doesn't film himself next to a dancing picture frame while his right arm is off-camera. In this case Grant isn't even on the team and that offers me more confidence in the results, whatever they may be. Also, sleeping in a castle is just plan cool — providing, of course, that the castle is modernized with fancy things like glass windows and electricity.

Down in the castle's purportedly authentic "torture chamber" (it does seem like every place they visit has one, doesn't it?) Robb marveled that he was getting responses every time he asked any spirits to make a sound, but to me it just seemed like there were a lot of random sounds, whether he asked for them or not. I'd say this is a good example of GHI being less-than objective and such bias colors their thinking and puts not only their conclusions but even their observations (as they interpret what they see and hear) in a questionable place — I'd say all that, but I don't want to sound like a broken record.

In one of the bedrooms Barry and Robb both reported seeing moving/flashing lights and then feeling a draft or breeze. Now, with this type of occurrence in particular TAPS has been fairly vigilant in trying to rule out ambient light sources such as passing cars. I didnt see GHI doing that at all. To be fair, I'm not sure how this castle is situated in relation to nearby roads or parking lots. It's possible the castle is far up on a hill, above all nearby traffic — but even then, a nearby road sloping uphill could end up sending some headlights into the building.

As for the drafts, "I got nuthin". Robb & Barry seem to think the place was sealed up tighter than a drum. I tend to suspect old castles are drafty. We have to chalk it up to a personal experience anyhow since we technically have no way to verify the draft. In fact, even the lights end up being a personal experience because apparently they weren't caught on camera.

In the basement there was a story about a girl who engaged in hanky panky with a young man well-below her station and legend had it her parents walled her in (to presumably run out of oxygen and die) somewhere down in the basement. According to their host, human remains were found in the basement which they feel corroborate the story. Just to play devil's advocate for the moment, I have to wonder if it isn't possible perhaps the bones were found first and then people began building stories around them as to whom they might belong to and why they were in the basement. That might be entirely wrong, however, and it's entirely possible the story is wholly true.

Getting back to how this affects the investigation, Ashley was alone down there trying to contact the spirit of this girl, and nearly 40 minutes in she heard a noise come from behind a curtain and when she turned to look she said she saw a female face briefly before it vanished. She walked up to the curtain, pulled it aside and looked beyond but no one was there. Interesting, but again we're left with just a personal anecdote and no evidence to review :(

She did, however, also pull out one of those EMF detectors that clicks like a geiger counter and start up a conversation, encouraging any nearby spirits to manipulate the device (by touching it, one assumes). For the first and only time since that long string of investigations Jay & Grant did (where they nearly always had impressiveĀ  success with the K-II while everyone else failed to produce any results at all) we see an EMF detector consistently going off in what seemsĀ  far too "on demand" to be a coincidence.

Yes, I will accept the possibility that maybe Ashley "made contact" but I also have to acknowledge that explanation seems less likely than Pilgrim giving their cameraman something known to set off the EMF detector (TAPS' walkies set off K-II meters, for instance) and telling him to make this investigation a little more interesting for the viewers at home. In any case, I think I have a fair threshhold for what constitutes a coincidence and unless there was some very sneaky editing going on (not to mention Ashley would have to lie) I don't believe this was just background EM, I think someone (or, granted, something) with intelligence was manipulating it.

…and as much as I don't have any direct reason to suspect Ashley herself, she was the closest person to the device and she is the newest addition to the team. Delving for a moment into the realm of completely unfounded speculation, who is to say Pilgrim didn't decide GHI needed more/better "hits" in their investigations and hired Ashley specifically to make sure a few "paranormal" things happen. From her initial self-introduction claiming to be very science-oriented (followed up by a number of blatant contradictions to that statement) I put forth the completely speculative notion that Ashley could be a trojan horse of sorts. Or she could just be exactly what she seems.

In the end, the only evidence (beyond the EMF conversation with Ashley) were a couple of EVPs. The first one occurred in Robb's room when he was getting ready to go to sleep for the night, he asked if the spirits were okay with him staying in the room. On the recording there is a sound that occurs shortly after he asks the question. The consensus seemed to be that it clearly said, "No" but while I did hear that it also seemed to me there was a slightly higher pitched sound immediately prior to the "No" that sounded to me like "Yes" but no one else seemed to mention it. Maybe my ears are bad or maybe there aren't any voices at all on the tape and it's just noise. It's certainly not clear enough to make a determination one way or another with any reasonable level of certainty.

The other recording was an EVP session Joe was doing; he asked for a sign that some spirit could hear and understand what he was saying and there is a sound on the recording that definitely does not sound like electronic noise to me. It sounded almost like, "Hoooooooo….." but a much lower pitch than an owl, and drawn out more. Of the two recordings, this one interests me more because it seems much clearer that some person/animal made that sound, but who/what/how remains unclear.

In the end Robb declared the place haunted, and I initially balked at this because in the past it has been the policy not to declare a haunting with only EVP evidence, but then I remembered Ashley's EMF session — if asked about his verdict Robb could easily point to that and say that's what put it over the top. I'm going to keep my eye out for more of that, and for any continued occurrences that happen when Ashley is around during an otherwise uneventful investigation. Come to think about it, she was there with Dustin when that rock was thrown in the attic of a previous investigation. Hmmm… well, nothing yet, but I'll be watching in case nothing becomes something.

Filed under Ghost Hunters International, Posts by Logisti

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Comments on GHI: Malaspina Castle »

August 11, 2009

Early Bird @ 11:05 am

Ashley is a hoaxing shill? Say it isn't so. Gentlemen, these events can't be explained by physics.

I don't buy it. I think Pilgrim plucked Ashley from obscurity to simply add a level of cuteness to the show (Joe Chin just ain't cuttin' it). If she's involved in shenanigans, I reckon she's oblivious to it all.

Frankly, I hope it's true. It will make GHI almost watchable.

Oubliette @ 11:48 am

As with other instances where an EMF meter goes off on this show, it seems like the amount is so negligible that it can hardly be considered to be of any import. But at least it happens to various members of the team. It doesn't always happen to the leader of the pack–which in this case would be Robb.

I agree with Logisti about the girl being walled up for her indiscretion–it sounds like after the fact (finding remains) since the story of various types of people being walled up as punishment appears to be a quite common story that probably just makes the circuits, so to speak. A castle myth, if you will. One would think there would be more evidence if this did indeed occur.

Ashley really has me puzzled. She's supposed to be a seasoned ghost hunter yet her actions are anything but. Did she see a face? Maybe, then again it would be easy for our eyes to put together a face under those conditions just to try and make sense out of the surroundings.

Another excellent point made by Logisti is the fact that this was an overnight investigation. Perhaps if there were more of those, coupled with devoting a whole episode to one location (as long as it seems to be active) would make this show more interesting and hence more watchable. At this point they really need a huge boost to bring it back from the dead. Sad because in the beginning, the potential was there. Someone has really goofed up with this production.

August 12, 2009

Learjet @ 1:42 am

When they said they sent Ashley down there alone, did a Pilgrim cameraman follow? Possibly not! We only see footage from two static cameras and Ashley's hand held cam.

I'm most intrigued by Ashley's MF session. No I didn't accidentally leave the "E" off. She had a Trifield natural EM meter, in this instance there is a shot that clearly shows the meter is set to magnetic.

This little piece of info is most interesting. At this setting the meter won't be set off by radio, cell phones, walkies, RF or 99% of man made carp. It also shouldn't register electrostatic fields made by the movement of humans or animals.

So, what set the meter off? !

I wish I knew what went on for the full unedited scene. Did she ask many questions with only a few hits? Did the meter go off without her asking questions? The editing could have made it seem more like a "conversation" than it really was. We will never know.

If this scene is shot as it was without human tampering then it could be a very important piece of data.

You know how we say we keep on watching in case they find something in spite of themselves. Could this be it?

Revenant @ 2:06 am

Learjet- Hmmm, pretty interesting. I found this website about the Trifield Natural EMF meter:

Here's something to ponder: "Since house construction materials generally do not block magnetic fields, the meter can be used indoors to detect sources outside the building or on the other side of an interior wall, etc"

Now, we're talking about a castle made of stone and not a typical house. Looks like we need more information about that room and how well that particular meter can pick something up through stone…if it even can.

Revenant @ 2:14 am

(I hit submit by accident)

That website I mentioned before, under the "More Info" section had this to say:

"Human beings and animals usually emit an electric field which is easily detectable using the Ghost Detector (their words, not mine ;) ). In fact, the instrument can be utilized as a motion-activated intruder alarm. This extreme sensitivity allows the meter to detect the presence of a person through a wall."

We'll also have to take a look at whether or not she was moving towards the meter as she was getting responses. Again, with Pilgrim editing at work, that may be a very tall order in which to figure out.

Learjet @ 6:00 am

Revenant, yes humans and animals emit an electrostatic field. This is detectable on the Trifield meter using either the electric or sum setting. But Ashley had the meter set to magnetic, which would ignore electrostatic fields, created by her or anything else.

However, she did have a video camera in hand. The camera would create electromagnetic fields, with a considerable magnetic component, as the auto focus and zoom motors were used. Here is where I have to speculate as I don't know if a Trifield natural set on magnetic has the sensitivity to pick up a video camera from that distance. My AC spectrum analyser picks up zoom and focus motors, so that is a possible explanation.

I may have to get a Trifield meter to find out. After my bank balance recovers due to letters from Bill. :) It can keep the K2 company.

October 20, 2009

Learjet @ 2:24 pm

With the Australian dollar strong against the US dollar I went ahead and bought a Trifield Natural EM meter. I really wanted to get to the bottom of this scene with Ashley (and many others) by understanding how this particular meter works and it's quirks without having to guess what was going on. To me, something really seemed to be happening here. I was hopeful this could be a real contact.

I haven't had the meter for that long, and my knowledge of natural magnetic fields isn't that great, but I have come to a conclusion about this and probably many other GHI scenes now that involve this meter when set to "magnetic" as it was with the above mentioned scene.

In the review Logisti said " I don't believe this was just background EM". Actually IMO I now believe this is exactly what set the meter off. I'll proceed to explain why.

When set to magnetic, this meter is fairly resistant to the usual things that set off AC EMF meters like the K-II, although my HT (walkie) will still set it off, but it has to be nearby. Human and animal fields or motion also have no effect on this setting. In any case it's not a peak field strength meter, it's a field change alert meter.

The Trifield natural meter needs to be set down to be still and allowed to settle and sample the Earth's magnetic field lines for the appropriate time to self calibrate, which was done so that's fine. This meter detects changes in that field or changes in field line direction. Just rotating the meter a little will set it off. Beware if you ever see someone taking readings while carrying this about. Destination Truth anyone?

Once settled the buzzer squelch (potentiometer shaft sticking out on the right)can be set to emit an audible warning when the magnetic field changes. This squelch or buzzer mute in magnetic mode is extremely fiddly! If set too high nothing will break through. If set too low, natural fluctuations in the Earth's magnetic field will break through, and this it seems is what has happened, especially when set to break at around 0.5 microtesla – exactly where Ashley set it.

The squelch breaks are not component tolerance related like on 80's Icom radios Lol as the breaks are random in nature and don't have a cyclical or repetitive sequence.

I've managed to replicate the same buzzer activations here without interference. The meter is sitting on a wooden table with nothing near it and it's going off every now and then like the place is haunted. So either my house is full of ghosts or that's just normal fluctuations in the magnetic field around the meter, of which it is extremely sensitive to.

Ashley's Q&A was probably just coincidence with perhaps a bit of editing help from Pilgrim.

I'm disappointed! Oh well, back to the search for the Holy Grail. Maybe in the electric field…

The Doctor @ 3:41 pm

Hi Learjet –

Saw the meter here for $100, but since the dollar has not appreciated against the dollar I didn't bite :-)

Anyway, when it's placed down and set right, can you give us an idea of what WILL set it off ? Something like " waving a 10 inch cast iron frying pan five feet away " ?

Learjet @ 10:54 pm

Hi Doc, the iron fry pan example is a pretty good one. And you got the distance about right, maybe a little closer to activate the meter on magnetic. A large shifting spanner (I think you call them a monkey wrench over there?) about 2 – 3 feet. Waving a small pocket radio about 3 feet. It will be the speaker magnet that sets it off I imagine. A small magnet about 3 feet, larger magnet 5 feet. Whatever it is, it has to be ferrous metal – have an iron content. Aluminium does nothing.

Think of it like a very sensitive compass. Have lots more experiments to perform. Will report back on my findings.

Remember the above description is only when set to "magnetic". Whole new ball game for the other 3 settings. This will keep me amused for weeks hehheh.

October 21, 2009

The Doctor @ 10:05 am

So if Casper has to have the properties of a ferrous metal, and he has a strength of only about 10 pounds …

… the Ghost Hunters could get a nice alnico magnet and simply go trolling through the haunted location.

November 14, 2012

JD @ 9:35 am

My question for every episode from this show is this…

The English language has changed so much over the centuries. How do these "ghosts" know how to speak English? Let's be serious, every country they go into they speak English and not the countries language! Look at the clicking sounds with Ashley in this episode. There was clicking everytime she spoke even before she asked the full question! This show would be more believable f they get a ghost hunter from the area!

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