Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Getting Personal with "Haunted Encounters:" Face to Face

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Executive producers: Brad Kuhlman, and Casey Brumels.

Produced by Ping Pong Productions.

Could the "Paranormal Syndicate" be the new "Paranormal State" or "Ghost Adventure?" Biography Channel has a new ghostly reality show by the name of "Haunted Encounters: Face to Face," which tries to break the mold of this type of genre television. But, does it? The gimmick this series has is that the paranormal investigation team does more than just recreate the scenes that create the ghosts said to be haunting the venue. They want to provoke the spirits of the killers by jumping into their shoes. Hopefully that will give those spirits just reason to explain themselves.

In the first case this series explores, one of America’s most famous haunted houses, the Lizzie Borden home, is examined. If only ghosts could talk in complete sentences rather than single words, then there might be a good premise behind this series.

While this episode explains that the court acquitted Lizzie, the rest of the show renders a different verdict. She did indeed kill her parents. Following her prison life, this woman tried to continue living in Fall River while being ostracized by the community. Lizzie became more famous in her afterlife. Her ghost is just one of the three said to be still haunting the homestead. What is the reason? No one living can truly say. Speculation suggests that she was abused in more ways than one. That was enough to motivate her to go kill her father and stepmother. If that indeed is the truth, then why is she residing in the same house as her parents? She should have left the place that has tormented her so.

Many investigative teams with mediums have gone in to investigate the house just to find evidence that she or her parents are still around. The Atlantic Paranormal Society (TAPS aka Ghost Hunters) went in and had their encounters. But none of the evidence presented is proof positive. These days, the house’s ghostly reputation is just cause for paranormal enthusiasts to come visiting in hopes of having an encounter of their own. What the Paranormal Syndicate, led by Daniel Hooven, hopes to do is to confirm why Lizzie is haunting this place. Their evidence reveals nothing other than the fact she did the deed. Nothing new is being learned here. Now, if the team learned some of the motivations, then the interest level for this series has gone up by a notch.

Even more problematical is that this team relies on handheld devices and physically being present in each room to document their findings. Had there have been locked off cameras in every room, then just maybe the physical movement of a bed sheet by unseen hands would have been recorded. The general attitude of having an individual investigator being isolated is breaking one rule of every serious investigator’s bible.

In the next shorter segment, the team goes to investigate the Silent Movie Theatre in Los Angeles. At least two spirits, a film aficionado, John Hampton, and a friend of his who later inherited it, Lawrence Austin, haunt it. The latter person was gunned down in cold blood and even a witness was shot. Since then, shadowy figures and disembodied screams can be seen and heard. Unique to this piece is that there is a dog, named Captain, who can sniff out electromagnetic fields. Or rather, simply sense spirits since some canines have innate senses that humans do not have.

The humans have to rely on technology. EVPs are recorded with a new device called ‘The Pandora’s Box.” This tech' is basically a digital recorder with an indicator light that flashes when a disembodied voice has been recorded. The technology is nothing new. Anyone with a laptop running audio recording software that can display a sound waveform can get the same result. And these days, the use of a Mel Meter is hot; it can make a sound to indicate that some invisible energetic force has walked through its force field.

In this series, the only footprint it can make involves some lengthy explanations of the technology used in paranormal investigation. But as for who these people are who make up the Paranormal Syndicate team: Jordan Murphy, Helmey Kramer, Chelsea Damali, and The Captain; nothing about their background is said or revealed. They have a Facebook page and a bare bones website that currently, at the time of this writing, has a trailer of the television show. Biography has lost some respect for hosting what appears to be an entertainment based program, compared to having a product in the same vein as "My Ghost Story" or "Celebrity Ghost Stories." These other shows feel a touch more credible than "Haunted Encounters" aka "Paranormal Syndicate," which sounds like a bad conspiracy come to life.

Overall: 4 out of 10.

The fan page for the show is here:

The Paranormal Syndicate Fan Page

The show's official website is here:

The Paranormal Syndicate Homepage

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