I’ve watched a lot of paranormal shows. From haunted houses, to haunted people, to haunted pets. I think I’ve just about seen them all. That being said, when I received Haunted History, a two disc collection from History 2 I thought I might see something new. Well, sort of.
Haunted History really isn’t a paranormal show, not in the way that most paranormal shows have been formatted. There are a few minutes of eyewitness testimony and a few, when they have them, shots of something happening off camera that were to believe is paranormal activity. The rest of the shows really are just history channel covering a certain event or a certain place.
Like I said, I’ve seen almost everything. There were a few segments of this show that I’d watched while on vacation one early morning. Salem Witch Trials? Saw it. Pennhurst? Saw it. Ghosts of Gettysburg? A Deadly Possession? Manson Murders? The Lost Souls of Pennhurst? I saw them all and was only surprised by two episodes that I had not seen, but more on that later.
Some of the episodes in the collection piggy back other shows that have covered the information before. History one ups them by including some research on the time, place, people involved, outside interferences, and events that occurred at the time and after. If you’ve never seen some of these episodes before but have seen a lot of paranormal shows anyway, you’ll likely not be that impressed with the majority of the shows. I’m a bit of an expert thanks to my wife and kids who eat this stuff up.
The episodes that were pretty interesting were the Katrina Cannibal, The Torso Murders, and Murder Castle. The Katrina Cannibal looks at hauntings that have supposedly taken place after Hurricane Katrina. At first I was a bit , “Too soon” about the episode, but it grabs you right off the bat with suspense and then just utterly weird’s you out with the events that follow afterwards. Again, they push the paranormal thing on this one, but if you just go with the flow you might enjoy it.
The Torso Murders I liked because it involved Elliott Ness, the man who brought down Capone, as well as some tie ins with the Black Dahlia murder case. It all begins when bodies start showing up during the great depression. Ness is brought in to help find the killer but bumps heads with the original detective on the case. Again, not very paranormal, but whatever. It’s a good covering of the events that took place and I’d never heard this story before of how it effected Ness’s career.
Murder Castle is my all time favorite form this collection. It involved H.H. Holmes, a name I have seen many times before in low budget films and detective novel covers, but I’ve never read up on the man considered to be the United States first serial killer.
Holmes hired men to build his hotel, fired them after a week, then hired new men. This was an elaborate set up so that no one really knew what was being built. In truth he was building a death trap. He had horrific mazes, torture chambers, a dungeon. Everything hideous and terrifying.
It turns out that Holmes was once a medical student at the top of his class and made his fortune by stealing bodies from the morgue, practicing surgical techniques on them, then stripped them down to bone and selling them to schools. In this way he was well practiced at taking people apart and did so while living in his hotel in Chicago. It’s even rumored that he may very well have been Jack the Ripper, as an absence in his timeline points to a trip to London about the same time the Ripper murders occurred.
The presentation if your standard widescreen with a 2.0 Dolby Digital Audio. No bonus features but each episode is very long and informative enough you wont feel anything was left out to discover. Again, not really paranormal, but interesting.