Ghost Adventures: Serial Killer Spirits - John Gacy's Prison [Episode 2 Review]
'Ghost Adventures: Serial Killer Spirits' is the latest offering from Zak Bagans and the 'Ghost Adventures' crew. The four-part miniseries is a spinoff from the long-running ghost hunting show. In this week's episode they're on the hunt for the spirit of mass killer, John Wayne Gacy, at the facility where he was detained in Illinois, the Old Joliet Prison.
The prison opened in 1860 and over the years has witnessed more than its fair share of murders, suicide and violence within its walls. The prison is now abandoned, but Zak is drawn to the location because of its connection to the serial killer John Gacy, also known as the Killer Clown. Gacy was processed through the prison in 1980.
Between 1972 and 1978, Gacy murdered 33 young men and boys, that he lured into his home. Most were handcuffed and strangled. He then disposed of almost all of the bodies in shallow graves beneath his house. Zak now wants to go in search of the lingering traces of darkness left behind in the prison by this evil soul.
Zak raised the question, "when you bring the Devil himself to a prison full of demons, does his presence forever amplify the dark energy that's here and apparently is still affecting many people."
Zak gets very excited when he learns that the serial killer visited the medical wing the Old Joliet Prison shortly before his execution. Given that his crimes took place in the late 70s, Gacy's victims' families may still be around, which makes Zak's glee to be walking in the footsteps of the killer seem in very poor taste.
Before they even got started with their investigation, the team caught a strange light anomaly on camera and soon after Zak became overwhelmed by an oppressive negative energy.
Then Aaron Goodwin tried a spirit box session. A spirit box rapidly scans through AM and FM radio frequencies and it's believed that spirits can manipulate the static and white noise to form intelligent responses. However, on this occasion they got no meaningful responses.
Meanwhile Zak had snapped a photo in the X-ray room and caught a strange pinkish mist manifesting near an old hospital bed.
Later the team were conducting an interview with Rob Johnson, who works as a guide at the prison. The interview was interrupted by a strange sound coming from further inside the building. The team thought it sounded like someone walking, at the same moment an unexplained shadow was caught moving on camera.
The team split up to cover more ground. While Zak takes Jay Wasley to the processing building, Aaron and Billy Tolley return to the X-ray room in the hospital. Jay soon caught a figure on an SLS camera or structured light sensor camera, a device which tries to find human-like shapes in the darkness. The camera shows a twitching stick figure on its screen, suggesting there could be a spirit present with them, but the fact that the figure shows on the wall in Aaron's shadow suggests that it is probably nothing more than an infrared reflection.
Zak then meets Dr. Helen Morrison, a psychiatrist who worked closely with Gacy. Zak gets a little bit creepy when he finds out that Helen has got samples of the serial killer's brain that were retained after his execution. The paranormal investigator gets an odd amount of pleasure from holding one of these samples.
Like a kid in a candy store, Zak handled the box of samples. He said, "I am holding pieces of the brain of one of the most evil men to ever walk the face of this Earth." He then takes one of the samples out of the box and holds it, which he describes as "directly connecting a physical piece of this monster's DNA to my own body." Although, he was wearing gloves, so there was no real physical connection.
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As the light fades outside, the team start their night time investigation locked inside of the huge abandoned fortress. Zak points out, "you can't be more locked down than we are now, in a prison building." Clearly this was recorded before the COVID-19 outbreak.
Aaron and Jay return to the hospital wing, where initially they capture nothing more than a lot of orbs on camera. Moments later they walk into the surgical room and the full battery in Aaron's full spectrum camera suddenly died. They continue the investigation with their other available cameras and continue to capture more orbs.
Jay conducted an experiment in which he led on the bed in the X-ray room. After a while he panicked and ran from the building. Once outside he explains that he saw a black mass hovering over him and experienced severe chest pains.
Meanwhile, Zak and Billy were in the old warden's quarters where in 1915 the warden's wife was brutally murdered, her murder has never been solved.
They are using a device called an Ovilus V, which is said to allow spirits to communicate by selecting words from a built-in database using their energy. Zak holds the device next to some graffiti on the wall, which Zak thinks might be an active portal. A message appears on the device's screen saying "need". The relevance of this is initially unclear until a little while later when it also said "being".
Zak says, "this spirit finally completes its request by telling me that it needs a being, it needs a person." Straight after receiving the message, Zak saw a black mass passing in front of him. This was the last activity they got in the administration building, so Zak and Billy moved on to the processing building.
While Billy braved the interior of the building on his own, Zak stayed outside monitoring the prison grounds with infrared binoculars. He said he saw "a glowing ball of light with my own eyes in the prison yard". This is partially true. Of course it was pitch black, so he was using binoculars which enabled his eyes to see in the dark. Also, the binoculars have an infrared light source, so the ball that flew across the screen wasn't glowing, but was probably just illuminated by the IR light. Zak says, "this is definitely not any type of bird or bat," but doesn't elaborate on why he thinks this.
Zak and Billy then head over to 'ad seg', a segregation wing, where they examine each of the cells. At first not much happens, but as Zak enters one of the cells, he has an awareness of a presence in the cell with him. The experienced caused him to become quite angry.
In the midst of the panic a strange lens-flare-like mist is caught on camera. When the image is zoomed in and flipped, Zak thinks the mist looks like a figure raising its arm in the air. It all then gets a little dramatic, there's a lot of shouting and drama, but it's not too clear exactly what's happening. Is Zak being effected by the a negative spirit?
Zak returns to the cell where the problems began with his SLS camera and captures a glitching and dancing stick figure on the camera's screen. At the same moment the EDI Meter measured a spike in electromagnetic energy and seconds later a ghost hunting gadget was seemingly pulled from Zak's pocket and fell to the floor.
There were some interesting moments in this episode, like the shadow moving in the background of the interview with Rob Johnson and the gadget being pulled from Zak's pocket. It was a pretty good investigation of the Old Joliet Prison, covering quite a lot of the vast site within the confines of an hour-long episode.
The premise of the series is to search for the lingering spirits of serial killers. Last week the team were on the hunt for the evil energy left behind by H. H. Holmes and the home they investigated had strong ties to the killer and wasn't likely to be haunted by anyone else.
However this week, prisons are often said to be notoriously haunted places, so there's no way to know if the paranormal activity you are experiencing is the result of one specific past inmate. Even if the spirit gave a direct response and said its name was John Gacy, how do you know it's not a former prisoner lying?
This seems logical and there was no evidence at all that they were in the presence of the spirit of Gacy, but despite this Zak summed up the episode by saying "we came looking for John Gacy, and between the evidence we found and what we felt, we may have come face to face with the killer clown himself."
'Ghost Adventures: Serial Killer Spirits' continues next week on Really as part of the channel's #Freakend event, bringing viewers two nights of paranormal entertainment every Thursday and Friday.
You can watch in the United Kingdom and Ireland as part of the Discovery family of channels. You can watch Really on Freeview (17), Sky (142), Virgin Media (129) and Freesat (160), plus YouView, BT TV and TalkTalk TV. Or watch previous episodes on demand on dplay.
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