Monday, January 20, 2014

Haunted Highway: Lake Murray Beast/The Donner Party

Haunted Highway is a paranormal investigation show that airs on Syfy and stars Jack Osborne, Dana Workman, Jael de Pardo, and Devin Marble.  When I found out that they filmed an episode in South Carolina, my home state, of course I had to watch the December 2013 episode “Lake Murray Beast; The Donner Party.”

The episode begins with Jael and Devin traveling to South Carolina to try to catch a glimpse of the Lake Murray Monster.  Jael says that there have been reports of Lake Murray Monster sightings every year since the 1930s and that “every report has some kind of act of aggression.”  They go to Dooley’s Sport Shop and talk to owner Charles Dooley, who says that many customers have come in and said they’ve seen something strange and snake-like in the water.  He suggests that they talk to Sharon Kincaid, who has written a book about the Lake Murray Monster; she says that in the most recent sighting, the monster was reported as having “scales the size of an individual’s hand.”  Sharon points out a few areas where the creature has been spotted, so Jael and Devin get in a boat and head to Dreher Island.  They see a huge shadow in the water, but it disappears before they can find out what it is.  Night falls, and Jael and Devin build a campfire; they hear a splash in the lake, so Devin takes the boat out in search of what made the noise.  It is too dark to see anything, and while Devin is using the thermal imager something slams into the boat.  They decide to go diving to see if they can spot anything underwater; after Devin’s regulator malfunctions, he returns to the boat and sends Jael an RC submarine, which shows a snake-like creature before it stops working.  Jael sees something in the water and goes after it, but she soon runs out of oxygen and has to return to the surface.  The next day, they contact Captain Rich Harris, who is an expert on the types of things that live in the lake, and he tells them that the creature on the RC submarine is a sturgeon, which can get up to 300 pounds.  My in-laws have a house on Lake Murray, and I definitely won’t be going in the water there (but to be fair, I don’t go in the water anywhere…except the shower).

Jack and Dana go to Truckee, California to investigate claims of spirits of members of the Donner Party.  The Donner Party was made up of eighty-seven people who were traveling to California in 1846 when they got stuck in the Sierra Nevada mountains during a snowstorm and had to resort to cannibalism to survive; it is believed that the spirits of those who died there still linger, and there have been reports of shadow figures and strange lights.  Jack and Dana go to the Old Truckee Jail Museum to meet with Chelsea Walterscheid, who tells them them that The Donner Party ran into trouble because they took a shortcut.  She also says that a medium revealed that there are twelve spirits at the Murphy cabin site, and Tamsen Donner, who thought the shortcut was a bad idea, is one of them…and she’s angry.  Jack and Dana meet with Chelsea’s friend Jen (and her adorable dog Harlan), who says that one night she saw a “shadow figure kind of peek around the corner of one of the snow banks” and that sometimes on the trail Harlan lurches at things she cannot see.  Jack asks Jen if they can borrow Harlan, and she agrees (I would never let any of my pets investigate angry spirits…just sayin’.), so Jack and Dana take Harlan to Murphy’s Rock.  Jack attaches a camera and light to Harlan’s back, and Harlan starts barking at something and leads Jack into the woods.  Jack sees a shadow figure on the thermal camera, and it quickly disappears.  Dana joins Jack, and they set up an EVP, using beef jerky to draw the spirits out since most of them died of starvation.  Dana asks if there are any spirits there and if they’re angry, then feels something on her neck; Jack checks it out and finds a huge scratch.  She asks the spirits if it’s easier for them to communicate through her, then starts having terrible stomach pains and nausea.  A few of the cameras go out, and Jack has lost sight of Dana, so he sends a heat-seeking RC copter to find her; the copter catches sight of her and also shows a figure a few feet away from her.  Harlan starts barking and growling, and Jack and Dana notice two lights glowing near Murphy’s Rock.  These guys are brave…after I got a ghostly scratch on my neck, I would’ve gotten the hell out of there!

I've only watched two episodes of Haunted Highway, but I really like it; this episode was a little scarier than the first episode I watched, and the fact that part of it took place somewhere I've been before made me more interested in the episode.

My rating: 8.5/10

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