The program -- the brainchild of Ghost Adventures' Zak Bagans -- appears to be on a tour of the nation's most "spirited" shuttered institutions, beginning with last week's series premiere from Rolling Hills Asylum. These former "warehouses of the damned" would seem to be the locations most likely to yield paranormal evidence, as two teams of investigators compete for supremacy and bragging rights on the show.
As we learned in last week's premiere, two three-member teams investigate an iconic haunted location under the watchful electronic eye of Bagans and a rotating panel of expert judges, who determine the winner based upon the criteria of teamwork, efficiency with provided equipment, familiarity with the history of the location, and the evidence captured during the investigation.
This week's competitors are Tri-State Paranormal Research from Metuchen, NJ (Sharon Hensen, Peter Gargiulo, Tony Nistico), and Northampton County Paranormal from Bath, PA (Scott Wiley, Chris McGowan, Scott Burke). As always, the history of the location is a highlight of the show, emphasizing that real things happened to real people at these locations, rendering them paranormal hotspots - it didn't happen by chance!
Eastern State Penitentiary was built in 1822 and was notorious for the heavy-handed "rehabilitation" (ie, torture, isolation, and abuse) prisoners received. As related by historian Charles J. Adams III, among the more notable "guests" housed there was Al Capone, who reportedly "screamed like a little girl" at night in his cell as he was visited in dreams by murder victims.
Particularly troublesome prisoners were strapped into the "Mad Chair" for days until they went, um, mad. Others were sent to "The Hole" sensory deprivation cell for days, weeks, months until they lost touch with reality. Of course, the prisoners were no angels (then or, very likely, now) either. Inmates pushed prison guards over low railings on the second and third floors in cell block 12. Another inmate clubbed a guard to death with a sewing machine before calmly retreating to his cell for a nap.
The competition begins with isolation sessions as Northampton sends team member Chris into the Hole, and Team Tri-state sends Sharon to confront the Mad Chair. Both investigators hear unexplained noises - the game is afoot!
Check out Paranormal Challenge on Travel Channel tonight at 9.