REVIEW: Ghost Hunters International 2.03 – “Gate to Hell”
Original Air Date: 22 July 2009
Rated: TV: PG (Parental guidance suggested)
This episode is the perfect example of Creepy Stories + Dark Basement/Attic = Your brain going off to the crazy scared place causing you to need a change of underoos. Yeah, the skids factor was pretty high on this case for the GHI team.
Houska Castle, located in Blatce, Czech Republic, is the site the team is “investigating” on this episode. I’m using the word lightly here because they did not try and debunk a single thing (unlike the previous episode). The Castle is said to have been built to “keep evil in” since it’s supposedly on top of a Gate to Hell. I know, big deal, right? Everyone’s got one of those where they live! We had one on a windy stretch of road out around where I grew up that was rumoured to be under a chicken coop. Not nearly as impressive to look at as a castle, but you get my point. Gates to Hell are seemingly everywhere.
Founded in the 13th century, the story goes that there’s evidence of a structure being there dating back to the 800s CE and even pre-millennia. The layout is really odd for a castle; as the client tells the guys, it’s three cubes stacked inside each other Russian doll-style. It also has no fortifications or defense structures which, for a castle, is very strange. The site is also said to have been used by Nazis during WWII for their experiments. The guide, whose dramatics almost put Barry’s to shame (neither of whose reach my level), tells them they actually found the bodies of three Nazi soldiers buried in the castle. He’s a very good storyteller.
Another story he tells them in the courtyard area is of a writer in the 1800s who claimed to see a “winged, black creature” flying around that very courtyard. A bat, you might ask? Nope. It was demons (Robb has to explain to us what a demon is). He tells us they’re pretty tough to get rid of, but I’ve seen the Winchester brothers taking ’em out left, right, and center with some salt, Jesus Juice, Devil’s traps, and a few lines in Latin. Maybe the GHI team didn’t come fully prepared for this type of situation, in which case the Winchesters do not approve. The guide also tells them how his dogs just go all bugnutty in the place (duh, animals can sense evil, watch more movies, guys). The dogs went crazy in this pool area with the weirdest looking head sculpture in it, then immediately went to the entrance of the dungeon area.
The Chapel is right on top of the Hellmouth. So a bunch of weird stuff is seen there. There are other hotspots, but the last place they visit is an area called “Satan’s Office.” Clearly, Satan is not one for the finer things in life, as we have all been lead to think this whole time, because this place is basically a root cellar with a gaudy looking wood chair thing in it.
Set up, lights out, pair up. Robb says they need to throw everything they’ve got at this site because you don’t get to investigate a damn door to hell every day. I thought we already established they’re everywhere? They place a majority of their equipment in the Chapel since it’s right where the action’s supposed to be. Robb and Joe hit that first and illustrate why doing an investigation in the dark confuses me. You’re supposed to be looking for Shadow People, how do you do that in the dark? They put a flashlight on the walkway to catch anything walking by it, and they think they can see the light flickering. They check it out and it’s a completely normal flashlight.
The guide lets the team borrow one of his dogs to see its reaction in the castle. I think this is just flat out a bad experiment for two reasons: they don’t know the dog and the dog doesn’t know them. Barry does admit not knowing the dog and being familiar with it makes it hard to distinguish regular behaviour from being bothered behaviour. What they don’t mention is that the poor dog is in the dark surrounded by a bunch of unfamiliar people and equipment. Any dog person will tell you that kind of situation can cause the dog to act differently.
Barry and Brandy do get some EMF (electromagnetic field) activity in the dungeon where the dog supposedly acted funny. So they decide to try and “provoke” whatever’s down there. Yeah, because pissing off a demon in the dark of a dungeon is right up there on the same level of great ideas as putting your head in a gator’s mouth. Soon after the provoking, they hear a stomach-like noise and bat’s wings flapping. Bruce Wayne obviously needs Alfred to bring a sammich down to the batcave.
In the attic, Ashley looks like she’s making button holes in her pants. Doesn’t help that Dustin has to work her nerves over by telling her how dangerous this situation can get. Okay, they don’t even know if they’re dealing with demons! They haven’t gotten any proof of that, only stories! And if they’re so convinced there’s demons before they even investigate, why aren’t they a little more prepared to deal with them?
As this goes on, each of them are certain they’re seeing shadows move in the dark. Dustin eventually decides to do a little experiment (!!!) by tossing a rock to the other end of the attic and asks for a similar response. A few beats go by, and there’s the sound of something being scrapped along the floor. They both freak out, but never go check out the other side of the attic.
These two are about to swallow their tongues with fear/excitement/whatever, so Dustin radios Barry to bring up the full spectrum camera. The camera takes a picture by clicking on a remote control. Press the button once, it takes one picture. The camera starts taking pictures on its own after Dustin snaps one. They decided to leave the camera up there, snapping pics on its own, instead of, you know, checking the camera to see if something’s wrong with it.
Down in Satan’s Mancave, Joe and Ashley try to get something to show itself. As soon as she sees Satan’s Throne (no, not his toilet, but that would have been hilarious) she “immediately … felt extremely uncomfortable.” Again, it’s cold, creepy, dark, she damn near ate it going down the stairs, and they’re in a room affectionately referred to as “Satan’s Office.” Sure, none of that is going to affect your ability to investigate in a level headed manner. Joe finally pops a squat in the chair after what seems like forever (I’m such a 5-year old, that’s the first thing I’d have done). Joe seems fairly level during the whole thing, while Ashley is just freaking out about everything. Makes me wonder what the camera crew thinks of all this. No one else goes down there on camera.
In the end, they have loads of “personal” experiences, 2 EVPs (I couldn’t hear anything on either, but the client heard the word “boj” in one), and 2 video clips. While none of that was conclusive, and Robb did admit that personal experiences aren’t considered evidence or proof, he labels Houska Castle “haunted” without hesitation.