Saturday, October 08, 2011

"Paranormal Witness" and Slowly Improving: A Television Review ("The Haunting of Mansfield Mansion")

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Director: Mark Lewis.

SyFy's "Paranormal Witness" finally offers a tale that takes up the whole hour. “The Haunting of Mansfield Mansion” is almost chilling because of all the infrasound being used to workout a home theater's subwoofer. Instead, the episode leaves many questions in its wake. This episode is supposed to cover events from 1994 to 2011, and in that large of a time frame, it leaves a lot of details out. This approach does not make for a convincing case.

Story-wise, this alleged haunting is interesting. It shows how resilient the human spirit is against a darkness that can not be understood. While Amy Moore is sticking the night terrors out, everyone else is running away. Alyssa, her daughter, is the first to leave when the opportunity presents itself (she gets a boyfriend) and Dave McGann, a cop, departed after experiencing poltergeist activity. Neither are brave enough to support Moore, even from a distance. They want to leave it far behind.

Moore is braver than either combined by continuing to live in this abode. In an episode that's supposed to provide chills, it sends a different message out. Might can defeat fright. And fortunately, her son, Bill, moves in. He has nowhere else to go after he got laid off, but he doesn't say what his former job is. Instead, he talks about his experiences since moving in. He brings his fiancée Casey and baby, Bubba, into a haunted house. At least this family is brave enough to stick it out.

But shades of Pokémon can not be shaken. Whoever decided to edit their brush with the supernatural must have taken a sound sample from the cartoon and tried to make "Bubba" sound frightening.

Soon afterwards, the family have nightmares, and as telling as they are, nobody understands what these dreams mean. Amy avoids being at home as much as possible, and one day at the American Eagle Saloon she meets up with Ted, a friend that she does not always see, but conviently provides all the answers required. He notices the photos she is reviewing and explains that the house she lives in was once part of the Mansfield Training Center, a mental asylum.

The poor treatment of the patients and deaths that occurred there has left an imprint which the Moore family have no doubt felt. While this episode ends on a positive note, to show that Amy is going to take control of this home, the tale is hardly far from over. Curiously, the final few minutes show actual photos of the house in its decayed state. When considering that Alyssa and Amy was probing the house with a camera, why those were not used throughout really needs to be asked.

Apparently a paranormal investigation has been conducted by a paranormal investigation group called PROOF. Even on their web page, they have pointed out a flaw in this episode. The Moore home was never the actual ward: it was built near the actual facility. This home was most likely a a residence for visiting faculty than for long-term patients. The investigators have obtained some evidence and have helped cleanse the house, but none if that information is available for public consumption. That requires permission from the Moore family.

As far as what the ghosts want; perhaps they simply want their story heard. According to PROOF, Amy Moore wants the spirits gone. If this group has to catch them all, they're going to need some fantastic technology or mediums who can move them on. Sadly, there is no such thing as a proper ghost trap, pokéballs notwithstanding.

To learn more about PROOF's investigation, check their website out:

PROOF's Interpretation of Events.

The show's homepage at SyFy:

Paranormal Witness at SyFy

Comparable in theme ("Ghost Hunters"):

Ghost Hunters Seas. 6 on DVD at Amazon

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