Tuesday, November 3, 2009


Episode 1 - Pennhurst State - Nov 6

Pennhurst State, a school for the developmentally disabled, was forced to close its doors in 1987 after numerous, heart-wrenching allegations of abuse and neglect. It's believed the angry spirits and tormented souls of the students still linger where the atrocities took place beyond watchful eyes.

Over 10,000 patients crossed through the doors into Pennhurst, residing in one of the many buildings in the school's network. Overwhelmed parents dropped off their children who were mentally retarded or autistic, hoping the school would provide for them. Sadly, many of these children were abandoned to become wards of the state. While some patients could care for themselves, many more suffered from severe disabilities. Those patients who couldn't care for themselves became the school's most vulnerable victims.

Despite the high number of patients requiring special care, the state provided the institution with meager funds. There were very few doctors, nurses and orderlies available to meet the patients' needs. Many patients spent their days and nights trapped in metal cribs in horrid conditions. Others were so desperate for human contact that they went to great lengths for attention by injuring themselves or even smearing themselves with their own feces in hopes of a bath.

Cruel punishments were common at the facility. Overworked staff responded to unruly patients by drugging them into submission or chaining them to their beds. Other residents were isolated for such long periods of time that they regressed and lost their will to speak, fight or even to live. One particularly harsh rule chastised patients for biting. When a patient bit someone the first time, he or she was reprimanded. But if it happened again, the patient was sent to a dentist who would pull all of his teeth. Thousands of teeth were removed in a rusty dentist chair that still sits in the tunnels beneath the Pennhurst complex.

The facility closed its doors in 1987, and the network of buildings was neglected and left to the tortured, sad spirits. Today caretakers of the property believe that the buildings and underground tunnels are haunted by the angry spirits of patients who suffered and died here.

Episode 2 - Poveglia Island - Nov. 13

Poveglia Island, off the coast of Venice, Italy, is one of the world's darkest epicenters. According to legend, the island was formed from the ashes of burned plaque victims, criminals and mental patients who were exiled there. Tourists are forbidden from visiting the island, and local fishermen avoid it because they believe it's cursed.

In the South Lagoon between Venice and Lido sits the small Italian island of Poveglia that for centuries has been a refuge, stronghold, place of exile and a dumping ground for the diseased, dying and deceased. In 421, Poveglia welcomed its first inhabitants -- men, women and children who fled the barbaric invaders that had ravaged the mainland. Its relatively small size made the island defendable and not worth the trouble of invading armies. For centuries this small community lived in peace and avoided the laws and taxes of the mainland; their population dwindled however and by the 14th century, the island was once again abandoned.

In 1348 the Bubonic Plague arrived in Venice and Poveglia, like many other small islands, became a quarantine colony. The Plague killed 1 out of 3 Europeans. Fearing the unbridled spread of the disease, Venice exiled many of its symptom-bearing citizens there. It was clearly a death sentence. At the island's center the dead and those too sick to protest were burned on giant pyres. This included the tens of thousands of Venice citizens dying on the mainland. These fires would burn once more in 1630 when the Black Death again swept through the city.

Long after the fires were extinguished, Napoleon's military campaign relied on the island's ghostly legends and defendable position to protect stores of gunpowder and weapons.

By the mid-20th century, the facility was converted into a geriatric center, which closed in 1975. Today, the entire island is abandoned; locals and tourists are prohibited from visiting, and fishermen steer clear of the accursed place.

Episode 3 - Ohio Reformatory - Nov 20

In its 96-year history, more than 150,000 criminals were confined to the towering cell blocks of the Ohio Reformatory. These inmates lived lives of violence and many met their deaths with equal brutality. Today, their evil spirits still prey on women, the elderly and the weak as they carry out their eternal sentences.

Ohio State Reformatory is the quintessential picture of a prison; in fact, it's been the backdrop for movies like "Tango and Cash," "Air Force One" and "The Shawshank Redemption." The cornerstone of this reform fortress was laid on November 4, 1886, on the site of the former Camp Mordecai Bartley, a training ground for Civil War soldiers. The local community and its political leaders enthusiastically campaigned for the building of the reformatory, mainly because of the boost it provided for the local employment rate and economy.

Upon its opening in 1890, the prison was an intermediate penitentiary, a facility where first-time offenders who were too violent for industrial schools could serve their time. Inmates were taught basic trades for release and reintegration into society. However, as prison populations swelled in the 20th century, the reformatory was forced to accept inmates convicted of more serious and violent crimes.

By the 1960s, the reformatory was getting crowded, and overpopulation breeds conflict and disease. At times, guards were even forced to double the occupancy in death row cells, which in at least one instance resulted in an inmate's death. During morning checks, guards noticed a prisoner missing from one of the cells; upon inspection, the prisoner's body was found broken and stuffed beneath the bunk. Instances like this one forced Ohio State Reformatory to close its doors in 1972.

While the prison's day-to-day operations were enough to cast a shadow over the site, there were certain events guaranteed to cause a spike in Ohio State's paranormal activity. In the late 1930s, a riot broke out in the East Cell Block. The guards condemned 120 rioters to share 12 solitary confinement cells for one week without food or water. This punishment drove many to the brink of madness and death.

During its 94 years as a working prison, 154,000 inmates passed through the gates of the Ohio State Reformatory. Many died of diseases like influenza and tuberculosis, some went mad, others hung themselves and at least one inmate lit himself on fire. Just outside the reformatory stand 215 numbered graves, a vivid testament to the harsh reality of prison life.

Episode 4 - Remington Arms - Nov 27

The abandoned Remington Arms factory in Bridgeport, CT, has a dark history. Once the largest supplier of munitions in the world, mysterious explosions, electrocutions and melted bodies has earned it a deadly reputation. Eyewitness accounts of fire, shadow people and even sabotage still haunt the factory today.

After the United States Civil War ended, many Americans owned guns and the global market to supply shotgun shells and bullets was expanding. In 1867 the Union Metallic Cartridge Company opened a factory in Bridgeport's East End. In 1912, the European conflict that would eventually become World War I was escalating, and in an effort to increase their production of ammunition and rifles, Union Metallic merged with the Remington Arms Company to form Remington U.M.C.

By 1914, WWI had rocked Europe. Remington kicked up its production output by building a massive factory comprised of 38 buildings over 73 acres -- all in less than a year. Remington also employed 300 former soldiers to patrol the buildings and the factory lines. After $12 million in 12 months, Remington was now 1 of the largest ammunitions plants in the world.

The factory continued to supply ammunitions throughout WWI and the Russian Civil War (1917-1923), churning out approximately 10,000 rifles per day. The New York Times called the plant "the greatest small arms and ammunition plant in the world" employing well over 17,000 people.

Of course, this powerful and lethal production line had a dark side.

In a factory that large and with an emphasis on output rather than safety, industrial accidents were commonplace and often fatal. On April 4, 1905, 3 men were killed when an explosion blew 1 of the 38 buildings to pieces. Lead dust from the bullets filled the factory and slowly poisoned those with prolonged contact. Many workers lost fingers in the presses or suffered injuries from accidents with chemicals and gunpowder.

In July 1914, in the midst of Remington's WWI expansion, at least 100 workmen went on strike. Remington's private security coupled with local Bridgeport police acted with lethal force to stop rioting and quell the discontented workers. Countless were injured and 18-year-old Frank Monte died.

March 28, 1942, was the factory's darkest day. An explosion in 1 of the munitions buildings claimed the lives of 7 people and injured 80 others. The fire from the explosion set off countless bullets that ripped through nearby buildings and neighborhoods.

After WWII ended, the world's demand for rifles and bullets fell sharply. Over the next few decades, Remington sold off various buildings and eventually closed for good in 1986. What was once 1 of the largest ammunition factories in the world is now a refuge for homeless people and criminals. The Bridgeport police who patrol its grounds have seen moving shadows, disembodied voices and screams, and other unexplained paranormal events.

Source: The Travel Channel

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1 comment:

Above the Norm said...

Sounds like a good season. I do enjoy recapping their show but it can get exhausting, lol. There is so much information to get at the beginning that I have to DVR it or I will miss something. The GA recaps will probably show up late Friday night or on Saturdays.