At the top of the program we are warned: The victims you are about to see are real. These stories are their personal accounts. This program depicts the most violent of ghost attacks. It is a visual roller coaster, and you must be this tall to ride.
I confess: I’m a non-believer. I do not believe in ghosts or literal communications from the other side. If it were possible, so many murders would be solved, missing persons found, no Kennedy or Monroe mysteries, and executed convicts wreaking havoc from beyond would abound. I’m not so solid that I would stay alone in a place someone deemed haunted; my mind is programmed to trip the “what if” switch even in the least sinister of circumstances. And I’ve certainly had my own moments of feeling an otherworldly guidance or subtle touch. But a knife flying across the room that a ghost threw at me? Poltergeist chairs on tops of tables? Now we’re just being ridiculous. Yes, beautiful babies, this Destination America (yes, it’s on the Destination America Channel; sort of like how Ten Snacks That Make Me Vomit Every Time belongs on Food Network) show goes there. I was looking for a good spook; what I got was a bad spoof of every horror story ever told.
I watched back-to-back episodes, five harrowing tales in all. Our first story, set in West Virginia in 2006, concerns a love triangle between man, woman, and ghost. The woman meets the guy and moves into his house with her young son within two weeks. The man admits he knew there was a ghost in his house, but it was friendly so he didn’t tell his girlfriend. The girlfriend says when she first enters the house she feels a malevolent presence, and her first instinct is that it is a ghost. And the poor son is royally screwed with adults like these looking after his basic needs. We have our stock haunting stuff here at first: flickering lights, inexplicable cold bursts of air, feelings of someone coming up behind you but then no one’s there. THEN ONE DAY . . . She’s in bed and something tosses the blankets off her body. Then an evil voice whispers in her ear to leave the house. She thinks it’s her son playing pranks and starts calling his name. When she finds him sound asleep, she scoops him up and runs from the house. You’d think this would be the end of the story, right? An evil voice told her to leave the house. But of course she doesn’t move out, and one night about a month later she hears the voice once again telling her to leave the house. She thinks it’s her imagination, even though by now her boyfriend has confessed to her–surprise–there’s a ghost in the house. She goes out into the hallway and comes face-to-face with a female ghost who tells her to leave. She cries to her boyfriend, who soothes her. Three months later (yep, still in the house) she comes home from work and hears more evil voices. She’s perplexed. Where could they be coming from? She is attacked in the kitchen and wrestled to the floor by nothing while her boyfriend sits in the living room watching Monday Night Football. She cries, he comes in and soothes her, and they get married.
Realizing this bitch just isn’t going to get the eff out, the ghost starts targeting her son. The first encounter is innocent enough; someone draws with crayon all over her son’s bedroom carpet. His mom asks him why he did that; he says he didn’t. She doesn’t believe him. Why would he lie to her like that? She tells him–in what has to be the most laughable moment–that God doesn’t like people who lie. Well then she is definitely on God’s short list of friends. Anyway, if we are to believe this story, the ghost who rips her bedcovers off isn’t the first suspect when it comes to her son’s carpet. Duh. Personally, if I knew there was a ghost, if the entire household knew there was a ghost, it would get blamed for everything. Who ate the last piece of pie? Must have been the ghost. Who farted? Damn, that stinky ass vile ghost (even Honey Boo Boo knows enough to blame the fart ghost for flatulence). At some point the couple must realize how unbelievable they sound, because they try to explain away their lack of moving on lack of funds. I’d sooner take my chances of survival in a box on a corner at the Sligh exit off the 275 than in a house with a jealous ghost. Because that’s the whole motivation here: the ghost wants the guy. She even possesses the woman and asks the man if he really loves her; I mean, me, which produces another LOL moment. Now let me tell you what this man looks like: overweight with hardly any teeth. You’d think if a ghost was going to terrorize someone for her man it would be Angelina Jolie.
So what finally prompts our happy family to move? The ghost almost breaks the woman’s neck. So they move and, um, put the house up for rent. Do they disclose this in the description: 2 br, 1 bth, spacious yard, psycho ghost. If the ghost kills someone, can the landlords be sued? As a renter I find this most disturbing. One of the first questions I always ask before renting a property: does this place have cockroaches? Now I’ll have to ask: does this place have cockroaches or ghosts?
Our next story takes place in Maryland, 2002. A single mother of four girls, confined to a wheelchair since she was eight, needs a new house where they all can live comfortably yet economically. Now let me say two things before we even get started: (1) this ghost is especially cruel picking on a handicapped person and (2) these people are all overweight, just like in our first story. Do ghosts pick on fat people because they can’t defend themselves as well as those who are fit? They can’t run as fast? (Note to self: get on treadmill NOW). Anyway, the house they deem right for them is one that is built on a confederate soldier death site, which they are told, and near a haunted cemetery, which they are told. First signs of haunting: doors slamming, inexplicable cold bursts of air, something knocking on windows, all of which they pay no mind. The youngest daughter, about seven, is in her room one night chatting up a storm to seemingly no one. When her mom checks in on her and asks who is she talking to, the girl says, “My friends.” The mom says there’s no one here, sweet dreams. The girl, now a teen, says in her interview that at first she thought her little friends were just girls from the neighborhood. She started to get suspicious when it seemed as if no one else could see them. Huh? So little girls materializing in your room late at night didn’t raise an eyebrow? The little girls main topic of conversation is that the seven-year-old should avoid the man in black, who just happened to have killed them. She relays this information to her mother who, although terrified, doesn’t move the family out. Nor does she take her daughter to a counselor or have her committed. Right. THEN ONE DAY . . . the little girl is coloring in her room when the family hears her screaming. They rush to get her but the door is closed and won’t open. After much crying and screaming the door finally opens. The child tells her mother the Man in Black came to see her and was trying to hurt her. What does the family do? Eat dinner and mom exchanges rooms with her seven-year-old. Now the Man in Black starts terrorizing Mom. They move in Grandmom. Over the course of four months they continue to be terrorized but decide to stay so they won’t be living in fear alone. The seven-year-old is now changing into a depressed, angry girl. Why is this not child abuse by proxy? I can see the papers piled up on the desks of CPS agents everywhere claiming a ghost diddled my child. To make a ridiculous story short, the ghost strangles Grandmom, then goes after the four-year-old. The family leaves. That’s the only way this could end. The family dies, or they leave. What an inept ghost, can’t kill a grandmom, four kids and someone in a wheelchair.
Our next tale is from a military woman who speaks in shadow; good call. It’s 2010 in Frederick, MD and our single mom of two is on the front lawn gardening when a neighborhood boy comes up and asks if there was any blood in the kitchen when she moved in. Apparently a husband murdered his wife there. The woman is creeped, but of course she stays. Usual first signs of haunting: pictures falling off walls, closet doors opening themselves. The woman even closes all the upstairs doors, stares at them all, then leaves the hallway. She comes back and they’re all open again. She chalks this up to paranoia, so she obviously has no idea what paranoia entails, I feel so secure that she’s defending my country. One night while in bed she hears someone crawling down the hall. She thinks it’s her teen son playing a prank. (Yes, I’ve known so many boys in my life who have crawled down the hallway because it’s just hilarious. Right up there with tiptoeing on the couch cushions.) Then the ghost really gets nasty when he plays piano fingers on top of her blankets.
Our story plods along with scary things happening, but the family continues to stay. What’s the breaking point? Not when it gets pissed off because they called in a priest to exorcise it. No, not when it slides a butcher knife across the counter to stab one of them (darn, it missed). Even when the crawling ghost strangles the teen daughter they stay because they can’t afford to move. Did I mention they’re renting this place? Hello. Sue your landlord. Break lease. Move. He rented you a place that can kill you. Don’t ask me how this ends, I’m too disgusted to remember.
Our next story is a brief one, more fat people in Virginia, 2011, who decide to go ghost hunting. They come upon a house rumored to be haunted. There’s two girls, two guys, and when they approach the house that has supposedly been abandoned for the past sixty years they see a figure in an upstairs window. The two girls opt to stay in the car. The two guys go in, get terrorized and leave screaming after one of them is tossed like a ragdoll against a wall. End of story.
Our final installment is again in good old Virginia, 2001. Most of these stories have specific dates of the initial hauntings, I just haven’t included it here, but I will say two of these stories took place on my sister’s birthday. Just saying . . .
Anyway, male and female business partners are looking for a unique place to house their offices. The woman feels it’s kismet when they find a huge building that was once both a civil war hospital and a brothel. After about two months she has the sense and understands that there are “other people” occupying the property as well. They hear laughter and creaking boards, but it isn’t until they hear growling coming from behind a mysteriously locked door on the third floor that they flee. Oh, come on, of course they go back, what’s a little growling behind locked doors? Three months later the man is pushed down the stairs and is bleeding profusely. After he heals–because ghosts always wait for you to heal–they hire a paranormal team to rid the building of the ghosts. They’re walking around with their toys, scanning for activity, which is finally confirmed when the man is attacked by nobody. How does it end? They decide to stay and try to co-exist with the ghosts. Co-exist? How do you co-exist with something that keeps tossing you down the stairs?
So are you scared yet? No, not of the attacking ghosts, but of the actual living people who are telling us this is real. They could be living next to you. Run, run for your life.