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Ghost Hunters

Season 2 Episode 12

Shawshank Prison/Lizzie Borden

Aired Wednesday 10:00 PM Oct 12, 2005 on Syfy
out of 10
User Rating
41 votes

By TV.com Users

Episode Summary

Shawshank Prison/Lizzie Borden

The TAPS gang tackle two famous locations in this hour. The Mansfield Reformatory in Ohio, the prison where Stephen King's Shawshank Redemption was filmed, and the site of the infamous axe murder of Lizzie Borden's parents.

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  • Finally, a good investigation with some intriguing experiences!

    I think I finally realized why I don’t have a problem with Jason and Grant and the rest of the TAPS gang. It’s not just that we all live in the Northeast and share a similar regional frame of mind. It’s more an appreciation of a certain personality type. As an engineer, I use a lot of the same equipment, and quite often, I’m interacting with the hard-working, hands-on personnel in the trenches. So basically, I work with people like Jason and Grant all day long. What some perceive as a bad attitude is, simply, making sure that things get done.

    I mention this only because I have read many comments over the past few months about Jason’s attitude in particular, and I simply wasn’t seeing the problem. I think I’m just used to that kind of thing. The way I see it, if Jason was really a jerk, why would people devote their time and energy to put up with that for free? It doesn’t make sense to think that he’s just some unhinged ass.

    Anyway, another episode filled with contrasts. One case with some interesting evidence and an investigation finally covered in some relative depth. And then, another case where style seems to be winning out over substance. Coming on the heels of an episode where the client might have faked something to use for promotional purposes, I think it’s clear where the downside of the business lies. It has to be hard when a client wants TAPS to show up to validate a historical haunting, when there’s a stake in the answer and comments will be spun for marketing.

    So, first case:

    I really liked this one. And it wasn’t just because I thought Paula was really cute in the pink top! It was actually the amount of footage devoted to the investigation itself and how it all played out. I know the naysayers will claim that some things were a little too convenient, but I’m not playing their game this time. Jason and Grant both noted that the layout made it very easy to see shadows where none should exist, and there is something to be said regarding the power of suggestion when the team members hear the stories beforehand, but other things happened that are very suggestive of activity. I wasn’t spooked, but I was definitely intrigued…more than I was for Eastern State, to be honest.

    Second case:

    Well, I had a feeling this would be a wash, and sure enough, it was. Like Steve said, any place with a gift shop is probably not haunted! OK, it’s not so simple as that, but I think the investigation itself said quite a bit. There wasn’t even a hint of activity. Sure, the client was right in saying that activity isn’t always going to happen on cue, but even including this felt more like a contractual obligation than a substantial investigation worth covering.

  • Are you afraid of old prisons and mass murder sites?

    Let me say that by the luck of the draw and a few friends who aren't chicken I got to spend the night in the Mansfield Reformatory on All Hallows Eve in 2004. It was a truly frightening experience for us. So I watched this show with great expectation. The prison was built in the 1880's. It is full of shadows, unexplained noises and and disembodied voices. It was with great surprise that this show was filmed in 2005 and the TAPS crew hasn't returned to deem the place haunted. Sit in the dark without all the gadgets and see what happens!

    The Lizzie Borden house was also deemed unhaunted. No real paranormal activity there. Ghosts don't always act on command. I wasn't surprised.moreless
  • The Lizzie Borden House and "Shawshank Redemption" prison are investigated.

    Last week's episode took us all the way to California, so this week, they took it easy, only going to Ohio.

    First up was the prison used in the filing of The Shawshank Redemption film, a favorite of mine. The guys get a tour of the place, and they tell them about some of the things that they have seen and heard. They claim to have seen orbs, shadows, black mists, and even had some EVPs recorded. Oddly enough, they never gave Jason and Grant those recordings, or at least they didn't put it in the show.

    During the investigation, Dave hears something in one of the halls, and when Dustin turns in the direction Dave is pointing, he claims to have seen something running down the end of the hall, so the two give chase. Dustin suggests that Dave get out the EMF detector to see if there is abnormal energy in the area, but he of course forgot to bring it with him.

    Meanwhile, Jason and Grant are on the second floor in the West Cell Block when they hear footsteps above them, on the third floor. As they move down the cell block, they continue to hear footsteps and hear banging noises, like they are playing games with Jason and Grant.

    Dave and Dustin move to another area in the prison when Dustin starts to hear noises and whispering coming from a cell. He takes a closer look, but doesn't see anything unusual. He decides to mark the cell with a marker so they can investigate it again later.

    Jason and Grant also decide to move to another area of the prison and Jason also hears some sounds. It turns out it was in the exact same cell that Justin was hearing things. After looking closely, Jason and Grant can't find anything in the cell, but it's interesting that it was the same exact cell as the one Justin and Dave looked at earlier.

    After going through all of the footage, they only come up with one piece of evidence. It was a piece of video from solitary confinement where a small light would appear, but it wasn't a flashlight from an investigator. They compared it to other footage from the same area which investigators had flashlights, and it's different.

    At the reveal, Jason and Grant showed the footage to the folks at the prison and Frank, a Reformatory Board member, said he's seen that type of thing before. Jason and Grant decided to categorize this one as an ongoing investigation. They'll definately be back there in the future.

    Up next was the Lizzie Borden House, where a girl killed her mother and father with an axe many years ago.

    During the investigation, Andy and Donna are on the third floor when they hear a loud thud, like a heave book or box fell, but they were unable to explain it; nothing was out of the ordinary.

    When Jason and Grant get the results of the investigation, Jason claims that the thud was likely the air conditioner kicking on or off. They were unable to find any other evidence from the home, although Jason and Grant were shown some of the photos of mists the folks who work there have caught on camera before.

    The episode wasn't too bad, but I was pretty disappointed in the Lizzie Borden House case. They should have added that investigation to the beginning of the episode, and put the prison as the second investigation, as that one was much better, even though they didn't get much.moreless
Andy Andrews (II)

Andy Andrews (II)


Donna LaCroix

Donna LaCroix

Case Manager

Grant Wilson (II)

Grant Wilson (II)

Co-Founder of TAPS and Lead Investigator

Jason Hawes

Jason Hawes

Founder of TAPS and Lead Investigator

Paula Donovan

Paula Donovan

Research & Development

Steve Gonsalves

Steve Gonsalves

Tech Manager

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (3)

    • The investigation at the Mansfield Reformatory took place on June 15-16, 2005, according to the date embedded in the camera footage. The investigation of the Lizzie Borden House was a few weeks later on July 2-3, 2005.

    • Goof: Donna corrects Jason when he says that the Bordens received 40 and 41 axe strokes when they were murdered, saying that it was actually 9 and 11. However, she was mistaken as well- Mr Borden did indeed receive 11 blows, but Lizzie's stepmother took 19, not 9.

    • Also Appearing:
      Investigation 1: Mansfield Reformatory - Mansfield, Ohio
      Jan Urban - Site Coordinator
      Frank Horvath - Reformatory Board Member

      Investigation 2: Lizzie Borden House - Fall River, Massachusetts
      Lee Ann Wilber - Owner
      Eleanor Thibault - Night Manager
      Ed Thibault - Tour Guide

  • QUOTES (4)

    • Grant: Ohio is pretty much corn and this prison.
      Dustin: You guys have done a prison before so you're gonna show us the ropes a little bit.
      Grant: I've eaten corn before.
      Jason: So he should know Ohio like the back of his hand.

    • Grant: (point to an unhappy face painted on the prison wall) Come on, this is not the kind of attitude you want to have in a prison.

    • Jason: (entering a room full of sinks and bathroom fixtures) G., this is our room.
      Grant: Oh, my god! (singing) Hallelujah! Hallelujah!
      Jason: Wow, this is like the sink and urinal graveyard!
      Grant: I think I'm in Roto Rooter plumber's paradise. I've come home!

    • Grant: It'll be so nice to put so many of these myths down to bed, but some of them surprise you. You think you can debunk them but then don't.

  • NOTES (4)