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This week, Zak, Aaron and Nick take us to a place that Time Magazine called “the bloodiest 47 acres” in 1967. Founded in 1834 just outside Jefferson City, Missouri, this state prison was also called, “the big house” and “the walls.” Prior to closing, it was the oldest operational prison west of the Mississippi River. Zak stated that it is huge, and every square inch of it is haunted. At the start of the program, a warning was displayed across the screen, due to the adult content and raw, extreme footage.
Former guards as well as inmates have seen apparitions walking on the grounds. One was just leaving the building as “count” was being called and a guard almost went after him, thinking it was an inmate. But, another inmate stopped him saying, “You won’t catch him.” When the guard looked, the “inmate” had vanished. Zak also interviewed the former Deputy Warden, Mark Shriver. He told us about a man who was killed in the prison by other inmates. They had to break down a wall with hammers to get to the guy and then, stabbed him to death. The Deputy Warden had to take pictures of the scene of the crime and said that it still disturbs him to this day. The other inmates had done this right in front of a guard, so strong was their hatred for the man they had killed.
Lupe, a tour guide, had video evidence of ghosts in the prison. She played her tape for the guys and you could see a window move. Zak went to the floor where the film had been taken to see if he could debunk the capture. He asked if the wind had been blowing that day and no, it had not. Also, no one outside could’ve pushed it as the window was too high up. Lupe and others had also heard cries of pain in the “dungeon,” the worst place to get sent in the prison. Lashings and suicides happened in the dungeon. One man, who was finally released, wrote a book about his experience, Buried Alive.
Mark Shriver read a poem that he penned, all about his feelings and thoughts of working at the prison. It was very disturbing. Right about here, there was a weird commercial, featuring Zak in the dark looking for someone calling his name. It turns out to be a lumber liquidator commercial. I didn’t know whether to be insulted or amused - still haven’t decided. But going from serious ghost hunting to someone making a joke out of it was a hard change of gears.
Mark took them to “the hole,” a place for punishment. It had very small cells and all the walls were covered in peeling blue paint. At the end of that hall, Zak started to feel very uncomfortable. The A and C halls are the “hot spots” in the institution for ghost action. The guys took us to the separate little building used for carrying out death sentences - the gas chamber. A total of 40 people had been put to death there - 39 men and 1 woman. In the sidewalk right in front of the gas chamber building was a cement cross, one of the last things the condemned person would see in this life. On the wall was a framed picture of each person who died in the building. Zak called out each name, yelling as if to reach the person. Aaron had entered the chamber itself and said he was feeling uneasy. Zak also told us that underneath the parking lot, hundreds and hundreds of bodies were buried. In a potter’s field, so to speak. These people had died of a disease outbreak and it was just 50 yards from the gas chamber. No wonder this place has such haunting!
The guys left the nerve center set up and went into “lock-down.” Zak liked all the credible witnesses this place has had and he explained all the technology of the camera set ups. Right away he heard a noise, but it was quickly debunked as someone in the nerve center moving a chair. Zak tried for 45 minutes to get a response to his taunting and questions, but received no answers. So he headed back to the hallway where he had felt uneasy before. Stomach pains, sadness and uneasy feelings were his reward. Soon his stomach began to feel outside pain against his ribs as well. He reminded us of the Black Swan investigation where spirits were shown to be capable of hurting the living. Zak returned to the nerve center and explained his pains. He had captured an answer to his question - “were you stabbed here?” The answer came, “I ain’t breathin.”
Aaron was told to go to the gas chamber alone. He waited for quite a while, but finally got some action. Someone or something knocked right outside the window behind him. Meanwhile, Nick had been left by Zak all alone. He didn’t know this, but Zak said they sometimes do that to leave the other person more vulnerable to the spirits. (Really?) As Nick left the cell he was in and traveled down the hallway looking for Zak, he heard footsteps behind him. He found Zak and as they walked up the steps, they heard a growl as well as footsteps. Being seasoned ghost hunters, they knew that a growl usually signifies demons. Nick asked a questions and sure enough, the answer came - “demon.”
Back at the nerve center the guys were communicating with what seemed like an intelligent spirit in one of the “ghost traps” they had set up. The Ovulous box was showing words like, “Reverend,” “Jesus,” “information” and “Bible.” Twenty seconds after that last word came this one: “demon.” While on the cell block, Nick had heard voices in the cell next door and when he had asked questions, captured these answers, not knowing it at the time: “stop” and “stop f@#*ing with me!” Zak wondered if these were residual or intelligent haunting. At the nerve center they also heard the voice say, “will twist him apart” and the last word, “Nick.” I’m pretty sure the last thing you want spirits like that to know is your name… right Nick? Nick?.....
Image: Wikimedia Commons, (c) 2009 Travel Channel