Archive for the ‘Films’ Category

It was originally known as the Eastern State Institution for the feeble-minded and epileptic, it closed 9th December 1987 after a decade of controversy. From 1903- 1908 the original buildings were constructed, there were further additions to the site in 1919, 1921 and 1929. It didn’t stop there either, more were contributed in the 1960’s and again in 1971.

23rd November, 1908, they admitted patient 1 and within four years it was overcrowded and pressured. The patients would be classified, and the status of admitted children would be seen as abhorrent these days. They ranged from the mute, blind, epileptic to deformity, offensive habits and more. Yet somehow they also for the patients into making mattresses, shoes, farming, laundry and other trades.

There were other assumptions, one of them was the Chief Physician (and eugenicist) thought that all of those of feeble mind were potential criminals.

In 1968 a CBS10 correspondent Bill Baldini anchored a five part exposé about the poor conditions. In 1983 there were nine employees on charges of patient abuse and finally the Halderman Case details the wide-spread abuse and finally resulted in its closure.

Halderman was a resident who upon her release filed suit in the federal district court. It had started when she visited her parents and had unexplained bruises, it led to the courts finding that Pennhurst was unsanitary, inhumane, dangerous and violating the fourteenth amendment (an easy summary being an Equal Protection Clause), and essentially the patients rights had been abused.

It has since been through various attempts at reincarnation for use. Now the administration building has been partially renovated and opened as the Pennhurst Asylum haunted house. It attracts quite an interest but those formerly affiliated with the place seem to find this disrespectful and controversy about it remains. Former patients, I presume from some feedback, find the tourism and sensational way it is handled as somewhat akin to a slap in the face.

Pennhurst has attracted its fair share of TV coverage, with shows like Ghost Adventures, Ghost Hunters (TAPS) and Haunted History in the name.

Reports on the paranormal side involve partial and full-bodied apparitions, the noises of screaming and piano playing. Along with various reports of this, those interested in the exposure of the place will find Suffer the Little Children both interesting but at the same time it can be a quite disturbing watch.

Admin-current-pennhurst.jpg
By Smccphotog (talk) (Uploads) – Own work, Public Domain, Link

 

In Japanese folklore the faceless ghost is usually known for frightening humans, but seem to be relatively harmless. The creature appears human, but this is an illusion, the faceless ghost has no eyes, nost or mouth, just smooth skin. Often the victim will speak to them for sometimes not realising until the Noppera-bo chooses to reveal it’s true nature. This naturally scares the witness who are often caught out by them on dark rural roads, sometimes they are mistakenly identified as mujina, which are thought to be badgers or raccoon dogs. Mujina are, in folklore, demons/yokai that shapeshift into the animals to deceive humans or take the form of attractive women and cause trouble in relationships. I’ve mentioned them in a basic intertwined way here for the sake of a coffee read.

One story of the legend is that a fisherman went to go fish at the Imperial Koi Ponds, near the Heian-Kyo palace, despite the fact his wife asked the he would not. The ponds were near a graveyard and considered to be sacred. He was also warmed by another fisherman, but being lazy and possibly arrogant he carried on.

At the spot a beautiful young girl tries to tell him not to fish (come on wife, fisherman, sexy lady? Take the hint!) but again he ignores the request. The beautiful woman then wipes off her face and the man rushes home in a panic. His wife is there, who confronts him, telling him off about his wickedness before she then wipes away her features too.

Perhaps this was the original slenderman and his story is an adaptation of this. A modernisation of an already fascinating tale.

Another modernisation of the tale is that of the animated film Spirited Away, the Japanese film features a creature “no face”. It is a 2001 one film, about coming of age and has been widely accepted as a wonderful piece, I admit I have seen it and highly enjoyed it. In the anime it is capable of responding to emotions and also ingesting people to gain their personality and their physical traits. By the end of the film this strange entity accepts an apprenticeship to stay on as an apprentice, this doesn’t seem to match the above but it seems like quite a lovely end to the fantasy story in the film itself.

May 19th, 1959 a reporter called Bob Krauss for the Honolulu Advertiser reported on a sighting of a mujina at the Waialae Drive-In Theatre, Kahala. A woman was combing her hair in the women’s restroom and someone came up beside her, the witness at the time said that the mujina turned around to show the featureless face. The witness was said to be taken to the hospital for a mental breakdown but the story didn’t end there. An Hawaiian historian, folklorist, and author called Glen Grant did a radio interview in 1981 and called it out as a hoax but someone called into the show saying that they were that witness and proceeded to tell them something omitted by the article, that the woman had red hair.

Slenderman – Courtesy of Princekarr – Deviantart.

SlenderMan

I did not misspell it, it is a slang term for people who like to explore, manipulate and study telephonic communications and of late has also grown close links with some who are interested in computer hacking. I’m showing more interest in the phones for the purposes of this but I have previously put up blogs about TV hijacks and might think about some interesting computer hacking events at some point.

It seems to have started around the late 1950’s in the USA, its peak really came in the 60’s and 70’s and most likely this is down to more people then knowing how the system worked. Prior to 1984 using a phone was quite the premium service, long-distance in some places was being on another street so frauding numbers “toll fraud” had a monetary worth. It was also used in the 1990’s for cloning pagers and an illegal act.

I’m not sure if this counts as phreaking but here in the UK I can remember in the early 90’s that there was a method to get a free call and it seems painfully silly in this more modern era. My step-father was an ex-navy chap who had this trick they had to contact mates nearby to arrange a quick way to get together. You called all your friends if you were the first there and if there were quite a few those 10 pence pieces would soon add up, so you covered the 10p on one side with tin-foil and called your friend.

As long as you only used the 10p at the end the coin would drop back out through the machine and you could do it again.

Previously I have mentioned phone calls supposedly received by the dead or around the point of death, but this is another subject and I will not go into that now. I think it might also fall under the electric phenomenon side as opposed to phreaking.

With the era of personal data being of very high importance, the digital age has highlighted a need for encryption and high personal security but that doesn’t stop people trying. I am going to reference some creepy numbers now because that’s what I like when I do these things!

Cleveland, Ohio – 1263331810 -this number has been attached for an event at a Nine Inch Nails concert, the supposed event was that a USB drive in a bathroom at a concert was found and a file that revealed a phone number. Calling it produced a supposed wire-tap recorded of a girl admitting to murder. It is pretty much a promotional set up for the band and is actually quite interesting as it plays into the creepy ARG vibe rather well.

Japan = 81-090-4444-4444 Sadako legend, it is of a cursed phone number and sends you to a set of terrible noises and the legend that something terrible will happen to you. Again this number coincides with The Ring film release and likely another promotional venture, but creepy and so I put it here for that reason.

Pakistan – Another interesting one, pretty sure this is an urban legend, is that in Pakistan numbers may flash up as calling someone in red. If the number calling shows up in red then people are told not to answer it, if you are foolish enough to ignore this warning you may end up the victim if a “Death Call” and a high frequency sound down the line will result in a brain hemorrhage. Side-note, this is flagged false by many sites an I am happy to agree with that. There is nothing scientifically based on this ideas that sounds emitted just could not kill you.

Bulgaria – 0888-888-888 is a telephone number in Bulgaria that has been actively terminated so it cannot be recycled. Vladimir Grashnov was the CEO of Mobitel, he died of cancer in 2001 and the number ended up assigned to Bulgarian Mafia Boss, Konstantin Dimitrov who was gunned down in 2003. From there on the number was passed to Konstantin Dishliev who was a crooked businessman and he was assassinated in 2005. Three men died and the number then ended. It seems to me less of a cursed mobile number and more a case of three corrupt people meeting their end.

So yes I’ve gone from old fashioned phone number cloning to promotional events and cursed numbers but I hope you enjoyed this delve down a rabbit hole. Have you any stories you would like to share?

Sources: nin.wiki , snopes and its forums, blog – theghostinmymachine, amino app, youtube, DailyMail.co.uk, Telegraph.co.uk

It was 26th March, 1991 and five Korean boys went missing, they had gone out to Mount Waryong, near Daegu, to catch frog eggs, but more likely salamanders but the translation is easier for frogs, the name frog boys would stick easier. The five boys never returned and the name the Frog Boys (개구리소년 or Gaegurisonyeon) is really the term to identify the group of boys. The boys went missing on what was a national holiday in South Korea at the time, it was the 1991 local elections and the boys went out to play, no doubt the political interest being little to zero given their age. The local elections being held would also no doubt contribute towards people not paying as much attention to their behaviours that day, as all eyes would be centered on the events and so they were free to do pretty much most things without the usual adult eyes around them, perhaps this was a good time up until the end which seems a shame, when I was young being a little naughty was a big highlight! 

They were: 
Woo Cheol-won, aged 13 years.
 Cho Ho-yeon, aged 12 years.
 Kim Yeong-gyu, aged 11 years.
 Park Chan-in, aged 10 years.
 Kim Jong-sik, aged 9 years.

The boys disappearance had 321,000 police officers, volunteers and interested parties all searching for them, the searches were shown live on TV. Several of the parents left their jobs so they could continue in the search and sadly around 550 false claims about what had happened were made, no doubt making that job even harder.

The boys were not likely to have got lost as they knew their way around Mount Waryong living only a few miles away from it, there was no trace of the boys found and a reward offering 42 million won (around $35,000 for the USA audience) did not seem to tempt anyone to come forward that knew about the events either. There was one man that called the police claiming that he had kidnapped them in exchange for a ransom and that they were dying of malnutrition but it was established that it was a lie and so nothing more came of it. 

In 1992 a film was made about the events called Come Back, Frog Boys and has a running time of 1 hour and 37 minutes. I really wasn’t able to find a lot more about this and the film I could find on youtube had no translation, I don’t know Korean so it wasn’t really something I felt I could get any merit out of watching.  Around this time there were several speculations about how it might have been the authorities that did it, alien abductions, South or North Korean involvement and the inevitable accusations that it might have been the parents themselves. 

26th September 2002 and a man searching for acorns found the bodies in an area that had already been searched, the man first reported them anonymously (later being named as Mr Choi Hwan-tae) and the police recorded that finding to be death by hypothermia. The bodies had been found huddled up together and entwined, suggestion that maybe they had tried to get warm or comfort one another but again they knew the area and they were close enough to people for their cries to have been heard. 

It is worth a small mention, for the sake of trying to be a little thorough, that even if the boys knew the area there is a chance with mist or even going a little off track it can be possible to get lost even if it is temporary. As a young child I went up Pendle Hill, Lancashire, many times and I can locally pop to the Peak District, you can think you know your way around well enough but the mist can really affect it and familiar things seem very unusual until you can wait it out and look again. Now I am not saying that this is part of the cause of death (carry on reading it will be obvious why) but it just more information about the local area to keep context and to keep information collated.

In the end Mount Waryong had been searched around 500 or more times before the boys were found and nearby they had found shell casings that would not have supported the theory of hypothermia either.  The bodies had been buried in a way that forensics determined had meant they were hastily buried, moss had grown in their skulls and they had lain in a gully, eventually the water gave way and this exposed their bodies. The parents refused to accept the initial outcome and a full investigation was put into action to find out the truth. 

The boys clothes had been found tied in knots and had not naturally entwined, they were found in an area that the boys already knew and that they would have called out for help and been heard most likely.  Forensic experts also determined that three of the children had died from blows to the head, and that one of the boys had died from a shotgun wound to his head and two skills had traces of blood on them. The forensic team was led by professor Kwak Jeong-sik who said that three of the boys showed marks on the skulls and tentatively confirmed they had died by being beaten to death. 

On 25th March, 2004 a funeral was held for the boys and their skulls were donated to medical science by their parents.The sad part of this? In 2006 the statute of limitations passed for the case which meant that the killers could go free if they were found but in 2015 it appears that for this case this restriction was lifted, so they can still continue to pursue it with charges being made if anything knew should arise. It is pretty clear from the notes that the case was not managed particularly well and that the parents pressing for further results was the only way to get the correct judgement on their passing but this has all ended up with little further evidence to go by and many potential clues having been missed. 

In 2011 a film was made, Children, and was created based on what information they could find on the case. Now I highly doubt this film is accurate and the synopsis even mentions alien abduction but my feeling is that this really is just a tragic event and if anyone is to be blamed it is a natural human involvement not a supernatural one. A more sensible theory listed amongst many is that it might have been hunters who then panicked and buried them too afraid to come forwards or hunting illegally knew they could not admit to it without getting themselves into further trouble. 

There is a Wikipedia Entry for the film – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Children_(2011_film) (link will remain unless Article 13 kicks in I guess)

Sources: Wikipedia, youtube, bizarreandgrotesque.com, englishchosun.com, reddit r/UnresolvedMysteries
LINK I would highly recommend this link if you want something from a more local point of view, and someone there at the time and a few theories in there you might think make sense. 

 

So I feel this might be me and a few other random folks who enjoyed this film but I’m going to try and break it down. I’d also like to say – Spoiler Alert – but let’s be honest, if you were excited about the film you would have watched it by now I am sure. Maybe this little write up would intrigue you mildly, who knows?

Guardians came out here, UK, in 2017 and was directed by Russian-Armenian Sarik Andreasyan and it is a shame it didn’t get to make a lot of reserve and wasn’t highly rated but I enjoyed the film and I’m pretty sure the rumoured sequel will never happen.

To be fair it is an easy enough plot to follow, (also rated 12+ here) and this is the case I found with a lot of things of this ilk, to be fair that isn’t a bad thing. Let’s be honest who needs an in-depth political level plot for everything? Sometimes I just like watching a fight scene and some silly jokes.

During the Cold War era a secret organisation (Patriots) gathered together and created superheroes. The team was pretty much designed around defending all of the Soviet nations and a bunch of scientists cross various nefarious boundaries to make them.

Inevitably we get the mad scientist plot and Professor August Kuratov (Stanislov Shirin) is that very mad scientist. Side not he had boots that looks a lot like Wellingtons… He turns himself into a cyborg, learns to control machines and sets off to prove to every naysayer he is a genius! Of course he’s so insane he can’t come up with a better idea like curing cancer, resolving mobility with prosthetic limbs that work or some other sensible thing. Silly man right?

In comes Patriot – reimagined with four superheroes, Arsus (Anton Pampushny) is a shape-shifting bear with a giant gun, Khan (Sanjar Madi) is a speedster and martial artist with curved swords, Ler (Sebastian Sisak) can control earth and stone and finally Xenia (Alina Lanina) who has the power of invisibility and can negate temperatures for the most part. They go to battle and after being kicked down they finish the fight on top.

So it is not an entirely new plot idea and I can see it has faults, mainly I think it lay with the special effects. Here’s another thing though, it is not Marvel and did not have that kind of budget! Also for kids I think the less scary the better and the bad guy was still creepy enough regardless, also I grew up with the original Power Rangers… The other thing I noted is that I think the dub-over in English was awful and I really didn’t find it a good watch, swapping to the native language and using subtitles meant it flowed far better.

I can understand that not everyone would enjoy this film but I did. I mean I must have liked it a bit as I ended up scouring the net for cosplayers and getting a little Russian under my belt, feeling inspired to understand the language more.

come on it’s a bear with a gun!!!!