Portals To Hell: The Shanghai Tunnels
This week Jack Osbourne and Katrina Weidman gain access to the Shanghai Tunnels of Portland, Oregon to investigate reports of a recent spike in paranormal activity.
The pair open the show filming themselves with a mobile phone, despite having a camera crew with them - edgy. They welcome us to Portland, one of Katrina's favourite cities, where they plan to investigate what Jack describes as a "really weird, dark part of Portland's history."
Jack tells us that down in the tunnels people were "kidnapped, drugged and against your will placed on a boat 50 miles out to sea on the way to China as labor." The duo will be investigating an area of the tunnels that has recently been opened. The network was housed in adjoining basements constructed under a part of the city and was used by the nefarious for smuggling contraband, kidnapping, as well as hiding a multitude of other criminal activities.
The tunnels are now run as a museum, their owner Michael Jones says that the network houses something sinister, "I think it's a prime area for people that are involved in Devil worshipping." Upon arrival, Katrina said, "I want to get down there and find out exactly what is happening because so many people have had these experiences." She later adds, "our mission is to figure out if the two new tunnels that are going to be open to the public are safe for people to go in to."
Katrina says that while some of the reported paranormal activity could be down to misidentification and environmental conditions playing tricks with the mind, other report are worthy of investigation. She wonders "what if something beyond our scope of understanding of science is going on."
In order to make the most of their time at the vast location, they split up. Katrina starts at the Couch Street Tunnels with Hayley Meckley, one of the tunnels' tour guides. Hayley shows Katrina around the room where an illegal boxing ring still stands. Hayley says that the spirit of mysterious Billy Smith roams here. He was a boxer famed for biting people's ears off, and eerily visitors to this part of the tunnel have felt something nibbling at their ears.
They then move on to the crib room, which was once the base of operation for the city's working ladies. Here dark shadows have been seen. Their next stop on the tour was the furnace room, where men who had died in the underground were taken and incinerated.
Meanwhile Jack was with Michael in the Sixth Avenue Tunnels, accessible via a comedy club above ground. Jack admits that when he visited the tunnels previously in a different context they didn't feel creepy. He visited as part of the television show 'Ozzy & Jack's World Detour', but on that occasion he was just visiting for historic interest. Now he's returned on a ghost hunt, he describes it as "freaky" in the tunnels, which just goes to show how much of the fear is simply in your mind.
They started with a tour of the speakeasy section of the tunnels, where they both hear an unexplained noise that sounded like a growl. Something which, according to Michael, has been heard in this part of the tunnels before. They then moved on to a subterranean opium den where an apparition has apparently been seen.
Later on the tour, Jack's REM-Pod started flashing and beeping. A REM-Pod radiates its own electromagnetic field and if anything enters that field it can detect it. Jack couldn't explain why it lit up when it did, ruling out the possibility of it being interference from electric trams running on the street overhead, but sadly he was unable to encourage an intelligent response with the device by calling out to any spirits present. Seconds later, Jack thought he saw a figure in the darkness.
The duo are then joined by Sarah Lemos who attempts some remote viewing, an unproven technique that has failed countless test by parapsychologist to validate its claims. It involves sitting somewhere other than the target location and psychically obtaining information about that location from a distance.
No matter what Sarah sees and relays to Jack and Katrina it's fairly pointless and a waste of time for viewers. Even if Sarah is 100% accurate, Jack and Katrina will then go and validate her claims. If they can, this is a big positive tick for Sarah and her abilities, but for us viewers watching it doesn't tell us any more about that location that Jack and Katrina couldn't have found out themselves. Sadly, this segment did nothing but slow the pace of the show and delayed the team getting stuck into their investigation.
With the psychic out of the way, the duo finally begin their investigation split across the tunnels. Katrina starts in the furnace room because it's said to be one of the most active places, this is based on the testimony of Hayley the tour guide who has a working knowledge of the location, rather than a tip off from a psychic medium.
Katrina tried a couple of methods of communication here, but nothing seemed to happen and she moved on to the crib room. In this room she got a couple of responses through a device she was using that seemed to be intelligent and direct responses to her questions.
Jack mostly spent his time knocking on things around him and encouraging the spirits to knock back. On one occasion he did get a loud bang in response. Towards the end of his time alone in the tunnels, Jack decides to use a spirit board in order to contact the spirits. The experiment was carried out in a part of the Sixth Avenue Tunnels, and he was joined by Hannah, a member of their production team. Moments after starting, they heard what they thought sounded like a breath.
After a couple of responses, they left when a team member, Austin, felt his back hurting. Back in the tech room, Jack looked at Austin's back and found that there were three scratches in the spot where he had felt the pain. Jack described these as "claw marks". This seemingly violent attack marked the end to what felt like a very brief investigation.
Jack and Katrina are concerned that because the spirit board wasn't shut down properly, something similar could happen to someone else, perhaps even in the comedy club above the location. Katrina said, "since we can't stay and do something about this right now, we should contact Sarah and she can do some sort of cleansing or blessing." So, despite having the original mission to check the location is safe, they've actually left it in a state that they now feel is more dangerous, with the hope that the unproven abilities of a psychic might resolve the situation.
Portals To Hell 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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