Paranormal Lockdown US: Randolph County Infirmary, Indiana Review
Nick Groff and Katrina Weidman spend 72 hours confined within the crumbling walls of a grand building in rural Winchester, Indiana which for many years was a safe haven for those unable to care for themselves, now the lives of the broken residents are said to haunt its halls.
Here in the UK, the series is being billed as 'Paranormal Lockdown US', and although the show is new to Really, it actually pre-dates the recent UK series and has previously been shown on Quest Red in the UK. This week Really brings us episode four of the first series.
The original poor house which occupied the site in Indiana was built in 1852 to shelter the mentally and physically disabled, unwed mothers, orphans and destitute families. After a fire destroyed the original wooden home, a new residence was erected, the Randolph County Infirmary.
The building housed its residents for more than a hundred years before closing, the building still stands to this day but is now abandoned and allegedly very haunted.
Upon arriving at the property, which is soon to be renovated, Nick said "in a place where so many souls lived, called home and died, it's not surprising that the infirmary would be a hotbed of residual activity."
Residual hauntings aren't the classic ghosts or spirits, but are the imprint of vision or sounds from the past that replay. This is what the duo are hoping to catch evidence of, but it could prove tricky as Nick explains, "residual hauntings is extremely hard to try to capture, you can't ask for it to happen, it happens on its own."
With freezing temperatures and snow falling outside, the investigators begin their first night locked down inside the infirmary, starting in the maintenance room in the basement, where the apparition of a male figure has reportedly been seen.
Despite the earlier information Nick told us that the infirmary is a victim of residual haunting and that "you can't ask for it to happen," Katrina calls out requesting any spirits present to communicate with her.
She called, "is there a man down here? Can you close one of these doors for me or bang on one of these doors?" Moments later they heard what sounded like someone walking around them. Footsteps are a classic example of a residual haunting, as sounds from the past are often said to bleed into our time.
Nick said he didn't feel right in this area and they moved on to the first floor and a room known as "Doris' room," named after one of the infirmary's last residents. Katrina has brought a porcelain doll with her as apparently this is something Doris loved. Again, despite being on the hunt for residual energy, Nick called out to the spirit of Doris. However moments later Nick says, "we're dealing with residual hauntings, so it's not like we can ask things to happen on cue." With that, they move on to another part of the building.
We next see the duo in Bill's room, where a former resident used to play chequers, so the investigators had put the boxed game in the room as a trigger object - although a residual haunting wouldn't normally interact with a trigger object as they're not intelligent and aware of their surroundings. Speaking like he'd forgotten what he said just moments before, Nick said "now I have a chance to talk to Bill through a Geobox, the device picks up multiple frequencies allowing us to have a realtime conversation with any entities in the room," but this is not possible in the case of a residual haunting.
A Geobox is a device that scans through multiple frequencies of the electromagnetic spectrum, the idea is that intelligent spirits can manipulate or use the ambient EM field to relay intelligent responses in the form of words or sentences - useful where there is a spirit or other supernatural entity haunting, less so in the case of a residual haunting. As they called out while sat around the chequers board, Nick thought one of the pieces might have moved. Sadly the moment wasn't caught on camera.
Unsurprisingly, after a little while Nick says, "we aren't getting any responses on the Geobox." A spirit communication device was the wrong choice of kit in this situation. Feeling cold and frustrated, Nick and Katrina leave Bill's room. In a corridor elsewhere in the infirmary, Nick heard a metallic knocking sound. A disembodied sound like this could well be an example of residual phenomenon.
The sound is the duo's second possible evidence that the infirmary is haunted by residual energy, but despite this and ignoring the fact that they had no response when Katrina called out and the Geobox fell silent, Nick said "the infirmary holds residual energy, but I'm wondering if the ghostly spirits of the residents are here to and wanting to communicate." No sooner had he finished speaking, Nick and Katrina heard a door slamming - again this could well be a residual event. So, they returned to Doris' room with the Geo box. Nick said "if we're dealing with an intelligent spirit, we should get a response."
This time they do seem to get a response through the Geobox. A muffled sound was heard which Katrina thought sounded like someone saying, "responding to you." Nick wasn't sure and questioned any spirits present, another sound was heard which Nick believed was saying "you're right." Amongst the sounds from the box, the pair are then convinced that they heard a voice say Katrina's name twice. As a result of this activity, Nick changes his mind. He excitedly says, "that's not residual, that's intelligent."
Before climbing into his sleeping bag to catch a few hours sleep, Nick did a brief experiment with a device called a Jacob's ladder. The impressive device produces high voltage arc of electricity which are visible between its two large conducting antennas. In a paranormal investigation, the device works like a massive EM pump, pushing energy out into its surroundings that hopefully spirits can use. Nick explains, "this atmospheric stimulation can provide a gateway between our world and the spirit world."
Nick tries the device for a little while, but has no response. Once again it seems there are no intelligent spirits present, and none were pulled through the gateway he had attempted to open. After giving up and getting into bed, Nick heard what he described as a woman's voice screaming. Meanwhile, Katrina was in a camp bed elsewhere in the building where she was hearing banging coming from around her - two more great examples of evidence of a residual haunting.
After a few hours sleep Katrina emerged from her sleeping bag on day two and went to find Nick. At this point it was hour 27 of their investigation, but when Katrina wakes Nick she tells him it's 8am. This doesn't make sense as it means they should have arrived at the property at 5am the previous day, but they didn't. They arrived in broad daylight. Could the lack of sleep be affecting the paranormal investigators?
They start their second day of the investigation by exploring the infirmary's grounds, where there are said to be a number of unmarked graves of those who died in the fire at the original asylum. They're then joined by Grant Wilson, who's a well known paranormal investigator from the television show, 'Ghost Hunters'.
Nick seems to be back on track and is asking Grant about his experience with residual hauntings. Grant agreed with Nick's earlier feelings. He told him, "residual stuff is tricky, you can't really stimulate it, you can't talk with it because there's no intelligence, and it's going to happened whenever the environmental conditions are correct."
Despite the advice from Grant, the team resume their investigation with Grant along for the ride and straight away begin calling out and trying to encourage activity from an intelligent spirit. After calling out "is there a man down here with us?" the three investigators heard a bang. This sound could be a direct intelligent response to Katrina's question, but it's also a perfect example of residual phenomenon. Since the sound happened on demand, the team conclude it must be an intelligent response.
The team then split up. Katrina goes to the basement, while Nick goes to an old jail cell. Grant went to the base room to monitor the pair on a video display. His job was to use his knowledge of hauntings to determine whether the activity they might experience is intelligent or residual.
Nick called out, "can you go down to the basement? There's a girl called Katrina down there, she'll help you." Meanwhile, Katrina was calling out, "if there's someone down here, give me some kind of audible sign that you're with me." All three members of the team heard a loud bang that echoed around the building. Katrina said she heard a sound like rattling keys at the same time - this is classic residual phenomenon.
Moments later Katrina heard another bang and Nick heard what he thought sounded like someone walking towards him. Again further confirmation that they are dealing with residual energy, but Nick called out, "hello?" hoping for an intelligent response. A little while later they returned to the base room to find out what Grant thought.
Grant think that the bang was the result of a cell door slamming, although this wasn't seen on camera. He says that if this is the case then that would be an example of an intelligent haunting. However, Grant has ignored the fact that if the sound of a cell door slamming was echoing from the past without a door physically moving, this would be another example of a residual haunting. Grant confirmed to Nick and Katrina that the keys were a residual sound.
Grant summed up, "I think the main thing you can figure out from a situation like this is that maybe the building is not so much haunted as it is just the right environment. Just the right amount of energy and the right climate and the right circumstance - residuals going to happen more often and at the same time it's going to be easier for an entity to manifest."
As the caption on screen told us that it was hour 38 of the investigation, Nick told us that it was 3am and Grant had to leave. This makes no sense as we learnt earlier that on hour 27 it was 8am, so it should now be 7pm. Although this timeline does make more sense if you ignore Katrina's morning time check, as it would mean they'd have arrived at the location at the more realistic time of 2pm on the previous day.
For their final night of investigation in sub-zero conditions, the pair split up. Frustratingly, Katrina doesn't seem to have taken anything on board from her time with Grant and is once again ignoring the signs of residual energy and on the hunt for ghosts. She says, "I want to go to the living quarters. I don't think we've spent enough time there. I wanna go back there, I wanna figure out what's there, I wanna see if they'll communicate with me more than they already have."
Her plan of action: "I'm going to try talking out loud, inviting the spirits to join in conversation." Despite telling us her intent in detail, we didn't actually get to see Katrina putting her plan into action. Instead she just seems to go to bed on the second floor.
Meanwhile, Nick was back in the basement and he did seem to have taken Grant's advice. After hearing a door slam he said, "I quickly go right to it because I want to pinpoint where it came from and to see if any door shut." This is exactly how you should evaluate whether activity is intelligent or residual. If no door has moved, it's residual. If a door has noticeably slammed, then it's intelligent. We never found out if a door did slam or not. Instead the next time we see Nick he's setting up his camp bed, but he didn't get to sleep for long. In the early hours of the morning he is awoken by a loud bang.
The next morning Nick and Katrina are reviewing their footage, but they still have one more nightlong investigation to go. They return to the basement where most of the paranormal activity has occurred. They find a room that seems to have been sealed up. Their final night seem to be uneventful, perhaps due to the fact that the investigators themselves were so drained as they near the end of their 72 hour lockdown.
Partway through the night the pair hear a scratchy voice coming through one of Nick's ghost hunting gadgets. The voice seems to be saying "hello" in a questioning way, but this seems to be the last of the activity they experienced on night three. Nick says, "we talked through the night. We were too cold to move or even sleep." When the sun eventually rises they collect their equipment as the investigation comes to an end.
Katrina, confusingly sums up by saying, "this place has so much residual energy and I think we were just on alert the entire time we've been in this building, there was no down time."
'Paranormal Lockdown US' 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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