Haunted Histories Collection Megaset – DVD Review


The History Channel has been giving us a number of DVD sets over the past couple years entitled The Haunted History Collections that have taken a look at some of the scarier parts of life. Some of the more believable specials have gone through spirits and hauntings in certain places thanks to horrible events that happened or maybe even just some restless souls looking for closure. Other episodes in the series go a bit further and may come across as somewhat humorous to some people but A&E makes very convincing arguments to believe in legends like vampires, werewolves, and the art of voodoo. Making sure though not to get stale and steer away their audience though as the series continued on, episodes started branching out to haunted cities in the United States and checking out different locations that may make for fun ghost-hunting adventures and vacations. It has truly been an excellent series and one of the more enjoyable ones that seemed almost like it was made just for my tastes and personal preferences.

Each DVD isn’t only for believers either as it tells both sides of the story so that skeptics can see they are represented as well. Non-believers can learn what it is that those who believe in poltergeists and vampires see while also getting experts to negate all of it with facts and science. They are some really nice looks at either side of the coin so that the worlds of fact and fiction come together without ever leaving out the necessary points. Entertaining and also educational, the History Channel delivers another winner, but this time from the darker side of life.

Haunted Histories Collection: History’s Spookiest Phenomena

Disc One: The Haunted History Of Halloween

Some three thousand years ago in Ireland, the long-honored traditional holiday of Halloween began. Ancient Celts began it as a celebration and memorial to those who have passed so that their spirits may once again walk the Earth. As the Celts moved from one location to another, their traditions went with them and others picked up on these celebrations. Like anything passed on though, things would begin to change.

For centuries, the pagan rituals of celebrating the dead were held each year in order to render their spirits eternal rest. But to every idea there must always be opposition. In stepped the church with their Christian beliefs trying to oppose all the pagan rituals the Celts had began so long ago. The church even tried to make Halloween its own day by creating All Saints Day on November 1 to honor every saint that did not have their own day of recognition. Still, as hard as the church tried to phase out Halloween, the numbers of supporters for it continued to rise.

Around the turn of the twenty-first century is when the holiday went from an adult celebration to being more child-oriented. Parties with treats and bobbing for apples and dressing up in costumes were held so that good times could be held by all. After WWI, the kids took the celebration outside and thus began trick-or-treating. It also was the beginning of the mischievous Halloween traditions that stand today such as toilet papering, destruction of property, and sometimes arson.

It was after WWII that Halloween became a quaint and enjoyable holiday for all again, but that certainly didn’t last long. Come the sixties, the problems arose again as the holiday was again celebrated by adults as well as children which leads it to where it is today. Trick-or-treating, parties, vandalism, jack-o-lanterns, and costumes are a few of the ways people celebrate All Hallow’s Eve. But in some places, there are still those that gather to honor the spirits of those past and always remember the traditions started by the Celts so long ago in Ireland.

Disc Two: Hauntings

There are many different types of hauntings and this DVD focuses on a few cases and the many ways people can be affected by them. One of the most common cases is when a family moves into a home and hears noises, sees objects moving around, or simply is affected by a presence in the residence. The first couple shown are the Browns who were happily married, had two children, and finally reached their dream of owning their own home. But when they moved in, they were haunted by the spirit of the man who lived there and had killed himself in it many years ago. His spirit was in limbo and just couldn’t escape from the home so he tormented those that inhabited it.

Another type of haunting can occur just by who the people are. It doesn’t matter where they are or what they are doing, but they will continue to be haunted for their whole lives. The next example shows the Baetzels, a couple which moved into a home with their young daughter and was bothered by strange occurrences. Thanks to a séance, they learned that a man who bought that particular land in 1872 wanted them off of it. They obliged and moved, but the hauntings did not stop. Only thing is that it wasn’t the same ghost that followed them, but different spirits each time.

It isn’t always easy to get rid of those things haunting people because the world is full of skeptics and not always willing to offer their assistance. Sometimes all it takes is one experience though to make them believers. In the case of the Browns, they received the help of a skeptic turned “ghostbuster” that came in and was able to connect with the spirit and get him to cross over. The Baetzels on the other hand found it a bit more difficult since they themselves were the cursed ones. Moving eleven times in a fourteen year period never stopped the hauntings even when they built their own home from the ground up.

Hauntings will forever be disputed from both sides as the believers and skeptics continue to bicker about it. Believers don’t need much more proof then a person’s word that something happened and a spirit has appeared and a haunting has occurred. The skeptics want evidence and usually visual because a person’s word, or even the word of a number of people, just isn’t good enough. But as long as there are people believe, then there will always be unexplained situations that shock and astonish. Whether they be orbs in pictures or bright lights appearing out of nowhere, it all depends on if you believe or not.

Disc Three: Poltergeist

The idea of poltergeists exist mostly in the minds of believers and not in the minds of those who are doubters. They are sort of in the same boat as hauntings for they kind of go hand-in-hand to some extent. If someone were to see a poltergeist, then it would be their word against what someone believes unless the viewer can somehow prove it to them. Well, poltergeists can show up anywhere for they aren’t necessarily just haunting any particular place, but just want to be known. While most are known to be mischievous; it isn’t out of the ordinary for some to be friendly and helpful.

One of the things that’s so unique about poltergeists is the fact that there is a connection between them and adolescents. Younger kids are said to be able to feel the presence of poltergeists and know when they are around. The entities would usually feel more comfortable showing themselves to children because they don’t see them as a threat and know they believe in them. The big problem is whether to believe a child’s story as make believe or the blunt honesty they are known for at times.

Ghost hunters are often brought in to help deal with poltergeists, but it seems that the bigger weapon to use against them would be psychics. Psychics are known to have the ability to talk to the deceased and find out from them what they want. It isn’t always easy because sometimes the spirits don’t wish to speak or cooperate, especially if they are of the mischievous kind.

There are numerous skeptics when it comes to poltergeists as there are with any type of paranormal activity or beings. Scientists and experts always have some type of explanation as to what the sounds in a building were or how a door opened on its own. Even architects have their own theories as to why things happen. Some people would believe that lights flickering are a ghost in their presence while the architect might believe it is simply a short in the electrical wires. It all depends on your beliefs and if you feel we are not truly alone.

Disc Four: Salem Witch Trials

Witches were never given much of a chance hundreds of years ago in Salem, Massachusetts and it was all due to fear. When word first got out about witches and what they were capable of; people got so afraid of who may be a witch that they started taking no chances. If any female showed the smallest sign that they were a witch, then they were put through the tests. These tests usually resulted in death so if one was not a witch, then it was simply an innocent being killed. But the townspeople cared not because it was one less possible female that could get involved in witchcraft.

Witchcraft led to relationships with the devil and the practices of magic, dark spells, and other evil doings that were not accepted by the people. The exercises used to snuff out witches were horrible and torturous events that were cruel and inhuman no matter who you are. Hangings, burning alive, and being dunked into purifying water were just a few of the methods the townspeople and Puritans used to determine whether a woman was a witch or not. If they were, then they would save themselves. But if the woman was not a witch, then their undeserving penalty was death.

Back in the late 1600s, massive witch hunts were organized to find those witches that were in hiding or simply not living in the villages with regular townspeople. Witchcraft had turned into the greatest crime that a woman could commit and that word alone would condemn them to death. Bridget Bishop went before the courts in the Witch Trials and due to the suspicion of her involvement in the forbidden practice; she was hanged and became the first victim of the trials.

Disc Five: Vampire Secrets

Vampires have haunted humanity for centuries from one end of the Earth all the way to the other. It isn’t just in castles in Romania that the bloodsuckers run rampant and torture the people of the countryside drinking their blood and raising their numbers. Vampires lurk in the shadows of every single city around the world and will continue to torment those that walk past them for eternity.

All vampires have some of the same qualities even though many believe that Hollywood has simply changed it and glorified it all for their box office numbers to get bigger. Vampires are immortal beings that can never die and stay alive off of the blood and living spirit of those they take control of and sink their teeth into. There is also the trait of being able to appear dead when they really aren’t. This allowed them to more easily get hold of their prey instead of having to sneak up on them or overpower them.

Dracula and Elizabeth Bathory may be two of the most famously known vampires of all time. Dracula you know well as the Eastern European count that is at the top of the vampire list and will forever be remembered as the most popular vampire to ever exist. Bathory on the other hand is infamously remembered for her sick ritual of bathing in the blood of young virgin girls. It is said that her lust for blood led to the murder of over 600 virgins all for her own enjoyment.

The modern-day views of vampires has transformed a lot over the years thanks a lot to novels and films such as The Lost Boys, Interview with a Vampire, and the Blade series. Many people idolize vampires today and actually want to be like them even going as far as playing a role-playing game called Vampire: The Masquerade. It is compared to Dungeons & Dragons, and is used to get in contact with other types of people such as themselves, vampires. These kinds of games though have proved dangerous as serial killers sometimes will disguise themselves as vampires so that they can get more victims presented right to them.

Vampirism is no longer the myth that simply used to scare townspeople and have them pull drastic measures to stay safe. It has become a lifestyle that hundreds of thousands of people live everyday all over the world. Associated mostly with the gothic subculture, these people live outside the norms of everyday society and enjoy the easy-going and life-loving image that gives them feelings of power and being more special then normal people. It is real, and it does exist whether it is for power, sexual ecstasy, to live differently, or to really get involved in everything that a vampire is.

Haunted Histories Collection: Hauntings, Zombies, And Voodoo Rituals

Disc One: Haunted Houses

Haunted houses have become a staple at Halloween time for people to go and witness horrific scenes in homemade rooms with fake blood and odd characters. But there are real homes and buildings around the world that are haunted by true spirits. Something may have happened in their lives causing these ghosts to hang around their place of residence for all eternity. Or perhaps they were murdered and vow to exact revenge on the families of those who wrong them for generations to come. You can’t always figure out why ghosts haunt the places they do, but you can see them and experience their presence enough to know that you’re not alone.

A few of the places shown on this DVD are New York’s Raynam Hall which is still roamed by a betrayed Redcoat spy; a home in California where a wrongly executed prospector still lurks; and the Myrtles’ Plantation home in St. Francisville, Louisiana where a murdered slave girl still looks over the family. I’ve been to the Myrtles personally – gone on the haunted tour – and even have reservations to spend the night before Halloween in one of the upstairs bedrooms. Having had a few experiences there myself, it was easy to relate to the story told here. Experts, locals, and even witnesses give their thoughts and tell tales for each of the places presented so that both the skeptical and believers’ sides of these possibly haunted places are shown.

Disc Two: More Haunted Houses – Tortured Souls And Restless Spirits

When houses are considered haunted, it can be because of numerous things that have happened. Someone saw a plate or book fly across the room and smash into the wall. Doors open and close without anyone being near them. Faucets and electronic devices turn on when there wasn’t anyone even close to them. Could it be faulty wiring or a draft causing things like this? Perhaps, but it could also be a soul or spirit that happens to be stuck in limbo. Their lives ended too suddenly or with unfinished business so they are forced to wander aimlessly for all of eternity. Strange as it may seem, that is more often the case then not.

Five homes are visited in this DVD, and they range from being a farm way out in a rural area to the inner city of New Orleans. The Winchester House in California is said to house all the spirits of those killed by the rifle of the same name. Supposedly the house was built for that very purpose, but it may have backfired as it may also house the ghost of the woman who built the gigantic mansion. A woman who had a role in the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln was hanged for her evil deeds and now inhabits the halls of a building turned into barracks for Army Officers. Experts give their opinions as to if it actually is those spirits causing the problems, and why they can’t just rest in peace.

Disc Three: Zombies

Just because you’ve seen them in films doesn’t mean you know exactly what a zombie is. To most of you, a zombie is probably something that is a person brought back from the dead and on the prowl to eat some people also known as “the living dead.” They are presented as flesh-rotting creatures that walk rather slowly and have this blank stare in their eyes. Over the years, different variations of zombies have been portrayed in films and we’ve seen them running, thinking, and even speaking. But the thought of the undead prowling the earth seems rather farfetched, yet it could still be possible. Anything is.

Again there are experts, researchers, and even a voodoo priest talking about zombies and giving input to further prove or squash the notion that zombies exist. Max Beauvoir, a voodoo priest, and researchers from Haiti talk about their experiences with zombies trying to further prove that they really do exist and can walk about. Scientists also try to dismiss the claims of zombies by giving scientific evidence that there is no way a human can come back to do anything after already dying. Essentially it is one person’s word against that of another and believing whatever they want to believe. Perhaps one day a zombie will be captured in plain sight by a pessimist and evidence will be presented to have changed his mind.

Disc Four: Voodoo Rituals

Having grown up in New Orleans, voodoo is nothing new to me, but it’s always fun to learn new things about it. Voodoo has long been a method of placing curses on someone, possession of a person’s body by a spirit, animal sacrifices, and divination that can make one clean or healthy. Feathers, beads, bones, and even blood are just a few of the ingredients and objects used in potions, chants, and rituals that voodoo is made up of. It is often said that if you don’t believe in voodoo, its powers won’t work even if they are being performed on you. But non-believers could, and usually, are those that get the worst of what voodoo’s powers can bring.

This DVD takes a bit of a different path then the others in not really including many recreations, but focusing on a live documentary. Voodoo high priest Yuseff Abdullah heads over to South Africa where the practice is said to have been originally initiated. Here the camera crew captures some rituals and rites never before seen by eyes of outsiders. Spiritual possessions, purification, the defecation of snakes, and animal sacrifice are but a few of the awesome, yet strange, spectacles you’ll witness here. Experts and researchers give their opinions as well to the history of this sacred art, but it’s the journey back to the roots of voodoo that is really exciting.

Disc Five: In Search Of The Real Frankenstein

We’ve all seen the big guy before. Standing over seven feet tall with a squared off head and bolts sticking out of his neck. He was created in some laboratory by a doctor and his hump backed assistant out of old parts and a human brain. A touch of lightning made him come alive…ALIVE! How much of what we’ve seen in films can really be related to truth? Honestly, a lot of it when you sit down and look through the books and research that there is on the subject. Mary Shelley’s novel might not only be one of the best stories of all time, but one of the best true stories in history.

A deep journey is taken here into the minds of not only Shelley herself, but numerous researchers and experts that know a lot about the possible subject of the novel, Johann Konrad Dipple. In the seventeenth century, Dipple experimented with bringing the dead back to life, but he wasn’t the only one to ever dabble in this kind of business. Many scientists have also attempted to resurrect life, but not on an operating table. Their attempts happen after the bodies have been laid in the ground and dead for some time. This DVD gives an interesting look into their mindset and exactly what they were thinking when they tried it. Not to mention laying more concrete evidence that Dr. Frankenstein may have really existed so long ago.

Haunted Histories Collection: Dracula, Witches, Voodoo, And Exorcism

Disc One: Bloodlines – The Dracula Family Tree

Dracula is perhaps the most well known vampire in history and it’s an incredibly intriguing subject to look at who just may be related to the master of mastication. Volume one of Haunted Histories dove into the subject of vampire secrets and even touched a little bit on Dracula and his sordid history. But it did not even scratch the surface of looking at his family lineage and those he may have been closest to. Two professors from Boston take it upon themselves to search through centuries of history and learn more about the life Dracula lived and how he personally affected many people so long after his death and into even the present times of today.

Trips to Transylvania and speaking to many of those involved in the church and surrounding areas where Dracula’s castle stands are just a few of the great things that this documentary provides. Old drawings and maps give a nice visual idea as to how things looked and the lengths Dracula may have traveled to in order to extend his reigns of terror. One of the more interesting conversations is that of a priest who discusses the possibilities of where Dracula’s body may actually lie and how certain grave sites have been altered and even moved over the years in order to keep the sanctity of the church intact. It’s strange but just mesmerizing the attention such a figure gets when so many people of the world claim him to be fake.

Disc Two: Exorcism – Driving Out The Devil

Alrighty, so by now if you’re watching this then you’ve probably seen The Exorcist or some other type of film dealing with demonic possession and such things. Well be prepared to go back in time and learn all about those who get possessed by demons and the devil and how these types of situations are dealt with. A number of different classes of people are interviewed in this documentary so that every side can be heard from and see how differently the opinions on exorcism can skew. It is interesting that some religions don’t even believe in such things because they don’t think such evil can take over a human being if they truly believe.

Footage and images of exorcisms are shown along with a lot more interviews from some who have actually been involved in them before. Minister Bob Larson has been involved in close to thirty or more exorcisms and knows more about them then possibly anyone else. Seeing him work is just amazing but as scary and demented as it may sound; I would love to see him in action and experience one of the exorcisms first hand just so that it can be done right before my very eyes.

The exorcism is a true work of art and if done correctly, it should be seen as such. For those that believe, a person that can do a successful exorcism is a Godsend and can save their lives and their families. So many don’t believe in demonic possession and in my opinion, that’s a mistake. By watching the footage shown in this documentary then you’ll see that not believing or taking such things lightly could be costly for anyone involved.

Disc Three: Witch Hunt

Volume one in this series devoted an entire disc already to the “Salem Witch Trials” so I was a tad concerned when seeing this subject popping up again already. In a nutshell, this release goes into the same information that volume one did because it’s kind of hard to make the witch trials sound any different then what they exactly are. Salem is most famously known for its witch trials back in the 1600’s as villagers would go on serious hunts for those they suspected of being witches. Once caught, these women (and sometimes men) would be put through insane tests and questioning to find out the truth and to determine whether they were witches or not. It didn’t really matter what the truth was because the townspeople took the laws into their own hands and the suspects usually ended up dead thanks to torturous methods anyway.

“Witch Hunt” leaves out some of the facts and information that the “Salem Witch Trials” went into great detail of, but does a nice job of explaining why Salem was the so-called chosen spot for all this activity. While watching this documentary, a truly weird comparison came to mind and it’s that older times in Salem during all of these witch hunts reminds a lot of high school. A rumor is started and it quickly spreads around the village (halls of school). People start believing whatever they hear because they’re scared of what a witch could do to them (don’t want to become unpopular). Before you know it, the accused ends up being shunned by everyone and eventually being put on the spot and imprisoned or killed (ostracized).

It’s horrible the way these people were treated and it is showcased almost perfectly here because you can understand every single side of it. Things then weren’t like they are today and people can do research or realize automatically if something just seems insane or ludicrous. Back then people were so ignorant, by no fault of their own, to everything that they almost had no choice but to believe the rumors or face possible pain or death from witches. Then you have the accused that can’t even argue their sides because no-one is willing to believe them. Every aspect of the witch hunts/trials screams “lose-lose situations” for all of those involved.

Disc Four: Exorcising The Devil

In what seems to be the second part of disc two’s “Driving Out The Devil,” this documentary is more centered on the Catholic religion and how they deal with demonic possessions and how their exorcisms are handled. While that and other religious rites are looked at here; the main focus is on the young boy that the novel and 1973 film, The Exorcist. Being a huge fan of the film helps here because some clips are shown and it is discussed a good bit in relation to how the novel was written, but it’s not essential to have read it or seen the flick before.

Filling out the rest of this documentary (which is the shortest of all five) is more the scientific perspective of exorcisms as opposed to the spiritual and religious sides shown in the first part. Something that bothers me most here is not how anything is presented but the hypocrisy demonstrated by those who are in the scientific field and are said not to believe in religious ways. Why would someone who thinks there is a scientific and logical explanation for everything, even attempt to perform an exorcism when it deals with demons and devils that shouldn’t even exist by their accounts and beliefs? Weird, but it still makes for some really cool stuff and disturbing visuals in ways of possessions. Even though it doesn’t really matter, I would have liked both the second disc and this one put together for one long feature.

Disc Five: Voodoo Secrets

Well, here we have yet another topic we’ve seen before as “Voodoo Rituals” made an appearance in the second volume of this series. While that disc focused on some of the things that go on in voodoo rites; this DVD starts off with delivering the origins of voodoo from African theology and how it coincided and butted heads with other religions. Starting in villages and making its way into slaves’ quarters, voodoo has traveled almost the entire span of the globe and changed very little over time. The only thing that has been altered is the way the rituals are performed but that is to be expected from person to person.

As the documentary continues though, it delves back into the rituals but there is a bit of a difference here because the graphic nature is taken to new levels. Not everyone may be able to stomach some of the footage shown here because it depicts animal sacrifices among numerous other things that aren’t all pink bunnies and rainbows. During all this, a lot of information is given forth from experts, historians, and professors that reveals a lot that even I didn’t know about voodoo. Born and raised in New Orleans, I can’t help but know a lot about voodoo even if I hadn’t studied up and researched it before. You just overhear things and are bound to wander into a voodoo shop at some point or another. This documentary opened up a lot of new doors and makes me want to open up a lot more books to learn more about these new methods described and history explained.

Haunted Histories Collection: America’s Most Haunted Places

Disc One: Haunted Tombstone

Our first stop is the historic town of Tombstone, Arizona that just looks like it has a million stories to tell just by arriving in it. Made famous by the role it played in the way back days of the Old West; Tombstone is a city that has plenty of history just by the tales that could be told of cowboys and their arch-enemies Doc Holiday and Wyatt Earp. Instances from those times even inspired the fantastic western by the very appropriate name of Tombstone. Gunfights at the local saloon or maybe just out in the street were common occurrences that never appeared out of the ordinary, but are now causing odd occurrences to take place so many years later.

Certain places and buildings in Tombstone are said to be haunted by the spirits of those that lost their lives in gun fights, battles at the dance hall, or even through fits of rage by jealous lovers. Two of the more interesting places showcased in this special were the Buford Bed and Breakfast and the San Jose Boarding House. The Buford home has everything from spirits appearing before guests to mysterious lights just illuminating certain areas of rooms from time to time. The San Jose Boarding House though has seen even spookier happenings as the room often frequented by Doc Holiday sees the most action. Drive-thru tenants have witnessed the front door repeatedly opening as well as noises coming from the bathroom. And don’t dare try to take a souvenir photo with a friend in that room because chances are that one of you won’t even show up. The Old West is full of tall tales, but you can double that amount when you bring up the supernatural.

Disc Two: Haunted Washington, D.C.

When it comes to our nation’s capital, the thing that first crosses the minds of many is simply the great amount of politics and power that have populated the district for years. The Washington Monument towers in the distance as a giant statue of Abraham Lincoln sits not far away from the most famed residence in the world, the White House. Yet with all the historical facts and figures that can be read in textbooks and countless other reading materials, one must not forget that Washington, D.C. is actually a lot more crowded then suspected. Senators, representatives, and the rest of the governing bodies are joined by the lives lost throughout time in the monumental buildings that adorn the area.

The capital has long been the central point for much rejoicing as well as plenty of controversy. Our tour takes us through a handful of locations but one of the most intriguing is the uniquely shaped Octagon House that actually only has six sides. Occupied by numerous figures and families throughout time; it is said that a young woman who once lost her life by falling to her death in the stairwell can still be seen lurking around at times. The shadow of her candle can be seen ascending the stairs and then her screams heard just like when she plunged to her demise. Another great tale tells of a time during the Civil War when one of Abraham Lincoln’s close personal friends Elmer Ellsworth was doing the Union proud by removing a Confederate flag from the outside of a hotel in Arlington. Little did Ellsworth know that James Jackson, the tavern owner, was at home and soon took the life of the Union supporter. Jackson’s life was immediately ended by a Union soldier as well. It’s said that the battle between the North and the South continues to wage on as the spirits of Ellsworth and Jackson are still seen wandering around the tavern.

Disc Three: Haunted Savannah

Savannah, Georgia has a vast and deep history no matter what you may be talking about. One can go around the city and probably hear a great story about every single building they come across. Sit down and watch your copy of Gone With The Wind and see the beauty of a city that simply needed to have every inch shown so nothing was missed. But when you’re in the heart of the South such as Savannah is and have generated such a rich history, it seems as if it is inevitable that there are going to be tales of mystery and intrigue along with plenty of spirits never wanting to leave.

A number of locations are checked out during our visit to one of the most beautiful cities in the nation including the only remaining eighteenth century mansion known as the Olde Pink House still haunted by past tenants. One of the most interesting segments in this entire collection rests on this DVD though and it entails the restoring of Savannah. Over time, parts of the city have been neglected and left to sadly just deteriorate. Preservationists have come out thankfully and began restoring some of the older homes and even moving them to different locations so that they could intact and preserved. What is interesting though is that a lot of the tales and spirits went along with the homes during the moves and still rest inside them. Obviously there are some restless souls if they are willing to travel along with the home no matter where it may now reside.

Disc Four: Haunted Hawaii

When it comes time to rest and find a beautiful place to leave all your worries behind and do nothing but relax on a beautiful beach; then what better place the gorgeous islands of Hawaii? Hawaii has been labeled one of the most enchanting places in the world to go to or live in, but little know that it is also one of the most haunted. Still it is an ideal vacation spot for millions every single year even though there actual lives and sanity may be in danger thanks to the countless stories and restless spirits that inhabit not just the buildings but all parts of the islands.

The special on Hawaii is not without shrouds of mystery and even a good bit of fear. From the volcano Goddess of Fire, Pele to the Maori warriors roaming through the forests and on some of the beaches; Hawaii is full of things to scare you out of your wits as you lay in a hammock for some peace and quiet. Another one of the most interesting legends is here on this DVD and it pertains to the “choking ghosts.” These ghosts appear to the locals or traveling businessmen as shadowy figures and as the victims-to-be are right in between consciousness and sleep. Those that have experienced it have told that they find it hard to breathe and can’t even move to do anything about it. Quite a frightening experience and might make you question where you book your next vacation.

Disc Five: Haunted Chicago

The “Windy City” seems to always be in the news whether it is for a big business deal, the ever-changing weather, or one of the overly-inept sports teams (sorry Chicago-ites). Full of tall buildings and hard-working people, Chicago has been the showcase for countless moments of tragedy as well as mysterious gangsters that did anything and everything they wanted no matter what the cost. It is a city that is said to have not only millions of residents but maybe even more spirits that still wander around hoping to one day find their eternal rest.

St. James Cemetery is a place that has headstone after headstone telling of the final resting places of many that come through Chicago. But while the bodies may lay at rest, the souls continue to stalk the cemetery grounds as remorseful souls merely trying to atone for the wrongdoings done during their lifetimes. Take that into consideration if ever you should want a tour of St. James Cemetery. Chicago also has the distinct disadvantage of owning a tale of one of the memorable tragedies in human history and it is so aptly named the “St. Valentine’s Day Massacre.” Al Capone and Bugs Moran were bitter enemies and made sure to keep fighting to the bitter end. Even though the building no longer stands where it all took place, souls of the lives lost during that fateful night back in 1929 still wander the area. Not the most romantic place to take your loved one on the day for sweethearts because you might never get any alone time.

The episodes are shown in Full Frame format and look really good. The recreations (of which there are thankfully few) are shown in good light with bright colors making them some of the better-looking segments. Interview portions also look good, but not like there could be much bad about them in the first place. Old footage and photographs sometimes come about with a washed look to them, but that is to be expected with their age.

The episodes are heard in Stereo Sound and more then do an adequate job for this series. Everything can be heard clearly and nicely without any hiss or volume problems.


Ok, so there are no special features at all, but it’s not like they changed anything when putting together this set by simply throwing all four volumes together. That doesn’t make this huge twenty-disc set any less awesome, though. If you have picked up any of the volumes already then you may just want to go ahead and purchase the rest separately because there is no difference at all between the individual sets and this big monster collection. Well, you get a neat little box to store them all in, but that’s it. For those of you who haven’t gotten any volumes yet, go with this one because you will actually save close to twenty bucks as opposed to buying them individually. The Haunted Histories Megaset is a huge collection of some awesome short documentaries that can be incredibly educational or purely entertainment depending on how much you know about the darker side of life. This is the perfect way to get ready for the upcoming Halloween season.

A&E Home Video presents Haunted Histories Collection Megaset. Directed by: Various. Starring: Various. Running time: 1200 minutes on 20 discs. Rating: Not Rated. Released on DVD: September 29, 2009. Available at Amazon.com