Sunday, May 3, 2015

"Ghosts" Season 1 Episode 18

The episode "Ghosts" first aired on June 22, 1977 . It was written and produced by Hans Holzer and Robert Long.

"A sudden draft from a window that was supposed to be closed." Nimoy is going for chills right from the start. The scene is set for frights with the window at night, and the hooting sounds of the owl. I hope this episode provides some legitimate creeps based on good evidence and not just a lame attempt to scare us.

Nimoy tells us that there are plenty of ghost stories out there. However, he claims that those who study these phenomena have perceived a pattern. He tells us we need to consult a ghost hunter. Enter Hans Holzer. Holzer has been involved with the series in the past as a writer, so I'm not surprised to see him a part of this episode. Holzer tells us how he has used new technology, including cameras, as well as psychics to investigate stories of hauntings. Holzer tells us ghosts are the spirits of people who died tragically and are unable to leave the location of the tragedy. He also says ghosts are not aware that they are dead. Holzer shares with us an investigation. He talks about visitng the home of famous author Washington Irving (who ironically wrote about a ghost himself in his famous story of the Headless Horseman".

One of the caretakers of Irving's house shares a little spooky story with us of a mysterious sound and a moving object without any explanation. As part of Holzer's investigation, he talked with Jeremy Butler who is the curator of the Washington Irving Museum. He reveals that Irving had threatened to haunt his home after his death. Holzer doesn't seem to buy it.

But now we move on to Port Clyde, Maine. This small town is only about an hour from where I live and I have visited there a few times. Its described as Fishing Village. Whalers and Cod fishermen once inhabited the village. Today, its Lobstermen. Nimoy tells us the work is hard and they have little time for frivolous activity. Is this an attempt to give the story to come some legitimacy? We are introduced to Carl Schwab who is a Lobstermen in Port Clyde. Schwab lives in a house there that many say is haunted. In a stereotypical Maine accent he relays a story of bumps in the night.

Holzer tells us he has heard stories of this house before. Carol Schulter and Bob Olivieiri were a brother and sister who had spent summers with their parents in the same house in Port Clyde. The house is described as "weather worn, but comfortable." Apparently that all changed one night in 1972. Bob was first to become aware of a presence in the house.

I think the "In Search Of... " folks do a fine job of making these kind of stories/reenactments creepy. I don't know if its the 70's vibe that does it, or if its something else. The story itself is not all that scary, but there is something about how these people go back to the house and walk through it to tell their story that gives me the creeps!

Bob tells us a story of a ghost. As I said, the way it was told was creepy but the actual story itself doesn't give any sort of evidence or reason to believe it really happened. Carol participates and tells her version. Again, it is creepy  the way they do it. It is odd that both siblings had this experience the same night. It makes it more believable that their stories compliment each other.
Hans is convinced that their story has merit. So he brings in psychic Ingrid Beckman. They show us her visit to the house. She tells us in her mind she can see some things and sense them form the past. Having seen the movie "The Shining", this is beginning to give me a similar creepy feeling. Something about that 70's look and the way they shot this and I can't help but make the connection. It definitely feels creepy. Holzer and the psychic hold a seance-like meeting in the house. Beckman says she senses a woman named Margaret, a date of 1843, and she wishes to move to Kennebunk. Holzer asks why she is still here. Beckman tells us her husband was on a whaling ship and disappeared. Now she is left with all of these responsibilities to take care of. Beckman gives a lot of details. Considering there was no internet in this time, a good deal of research would have to have been done by her to come up with these details. It feels pretty impressive. Of course we have no way of knowing what information was available and what kind of access she might have had to it. The town historian, Colonel Albert Spailey, is consulted to verify her details. This guy is awesome!

(Colonel Albert Spailey)
In a thick Maine accent and with great eccentricity, Colonel Spailey verifies the details Beckman told Holzer. The problem is clear for Holzer. He needs to free her if he can. Holzer probes Beckman looking to find out what Margaret wants. He implores Beckman to tell her it is 1976 and much time has passed. He wants her to communicate that she is a spirit. He tells her to let go and join her hucband. Its all very dramatic.

"We've learned some things from Hans Holzer's investigation in Port Clyde. Learned, for example, that if we accept the possilbity that ghosts exist we can begin to study their behavior in a systemtic way. The study of ghosts is more than just a fascinating mental exercise, however. If Professor Holzer is right that ghosts are nothing more than people on trouble, we have a responsibility to help them."

So this was a solid episode. I'm not sure the ghost stories here are true, but they were believable and the way they were presented were really creepy. Beckman came across as a very good psychic. Having said that, Holzer seems a little fake to me. But I won't hold that against them too much, overall it was a pretty good episode.

You can watch this episode "Ghosts" below.

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