Hotel 1
Room 209…allegedly

If you’re interested in paranormal topics, I’m sure you’ve probably seen the viral video claims to be from a Wingate Hotel somewhere in Illinois, and features a security guard checking on an empty room from which blood curdling screams are coming from. When the security guy goes in, a ghost floats out. In addition, the voice of another security guard claims that John (our security guy), says all the furniture in the room is upside down, the carpet is ripped up, and the shower is on – all from a room that no one is checked into. The video most frequently shared is 3:01 long, and seems to have convinced many that it is authentic proof of a ghost. (1) We’re going to take a closer look at the video, as well as the person behind its creation.

Let’s break down the video first – In the opening text, we are told of the video that “It has not been edited”. Honestly, that should be your first red flag. Over the years of analyzing hundreds of such videos, it’s been my experience that when they feel the need to state upfront that they haven’t edited it, it’s usually been edited. And…they’re usually faking it (No, it’s not science, that comes from experience). The ominous soundtrack that was added immediately destroys the whole “not edited” disclaimer. Another hit to the claim is the video itself. In speaking with an employee at a manufacturer of these types of systems, I was told “This video has been edited at least to insert the quad views intermixed with the single views. Security recorders do not work this way by themselves. They record the individual video streams and you pull off the video that you need to look at later. The quad views are strictly for display at the monitor point. In large systems you can have many more than four displayed on a screen at one time.”

Hotel 3
This quad-view is what is usually seen on a security monitor.

I have several issues with the audio track. In the video’s YouTube description, it states “The audio is a mix down between the security camera audio and a separate recording from inside the office”. According to this statement, we have two audio tracks that were edited together…once again destroying the claim that the video was not edited. In addition, we have no idea what audio may have been edited out of the final product. As John (the guy seen in the video) is walking down the hall, the screams are heard for the first time. When asked “What’s going on John?”, John’s response is unintelligible…both times he spoke into his microphone – strange that one can hear screams from inside the room, behind a closed door, and picked up by the security camera…but John’s voice could not. John is using a two-way radio that requires him to key the microphone (push the button) in order to talk.

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The video description

As we watch John make his way to room 209 from the elevators, there was something odd going on that, at first, I couldn’t quite pinpoint. After reviewing it again to update this piece, it finally dawned on me; there are no other guests around. According to the video’s description, “people staying at the hotel began calling in noise complaints to the front desk with reports of loud screaming coming from the 2nd floor–particularly room #209”. With the type of screaming we’re led to believe is coming from this room, and guests allegedly calling the front desk…one would expect to see concerned guests in the hallway, knocking on the door. But when looking at the cameras…we see no one but John.

A very important piece of information was brought to my attention after I originally posted this piece. Hotel security cameras do not record audio, it’s illegal for them to do so. Cameras are allowed in guest room hallways, but they only record video – no audio tracks. This alone refutes the statement that “The audio is a mix down between the security camera audio and a separate recording from inside the office.” There simply is no audio track from the security camera.

The main voice (the guy the in the security office) is having a conversation with Amy, the female voice we heard at the beginning of the video, she reports the screaming in coming from room 209. The main voice guy clarifies her as Amy within the first minute of the video. Yet, about forty seconds later when main-voice guy asks “Amy, are you there?”, we don’t hear her anymore. Even when the main voice asks “but we’re sure that no one’s checked into that room…correct?” there is no audible response from Amy. This is odd since according to the statement in the description, the audio is being recorded in the security office and should have picked up Amy’s side of the conversation (like it did in the beginning of the video).

Main voice guy then tells John “I would wait for the police…JOHN”. John fails to respond at all, and in fact, goes about opening the door and going in despite being specifically told to wait for the police. We see no reaction from John whatsoever to being told to wait for the police. Oh, and suddenly, without any additional conversation with John, the main voice guy changes his mind completely and tells Amy that “John’s gonna enter the room real quick just to check…make sure…see what’s going on…”. There is either a severe lack of communication with the hotel…or this audio track has large gaps missing. Continue reading.

Hotel 2
John heads into the room with his flashlight, never turning the room lights On instead.

It’s important to point out that at timestamp 1:16, there is a skip in the video – John’s body and most notably his left foot skip position. This could be a glitch in the video or a point where they edited the footage. I’m leaning towards an edit.

John goes in the room, shining his flashlight around the room. Once John is all the way in and out of sight, a low-budget Paranormal Activity-style ghost walks out of the room and down the hall (we’ll talk about this a little later on). While John is still out of sight of the security camera…the lamp on the wall in the hallway flickers. My first question among all this chaos is – why didn’t John turn the light on in the room? My second question is; why don’t we see the other camera views of this event? In the beginning of the video, as we follow John to room 209, we see that there are two other cameras – Camera 7 and Camera 22. Camera 7 is just at the next set of guest rooms…looking at the exact area the “ghost” walks towards. Camera 22 is down by the elevators and also faces down the same hallway. Why don’t we see the video feeds from those cameras? (Because it’s a hoax and would have taken much more work).

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A very faint “ghost” is leaving the room. It’s in front of the right-side door frame in this screencap

The “ghost” is most likely from a simple effect of overlaying two video clips taken from the same, stationary camera. Video footage of a guy in a sheet, walking out of the room and down the hallway, is overlayed onto the current video. When the two are merged like this, all the objects that appear in both look normal. However, objects that only appear in one video will look transparent. I’ve done this myself a few times, and I learned the technique from little kids (who made YouTube tutorials on it!). On a side note, I find it odd (and funny) that the “ghost” takes off down the hall to the right and out of sight, but the lamp to the left of the room flickers.

On we go… Main voice guy then asks “John, are you there?”…and three seconds later John comes out of the room (and still hasn’t turn the lights on) and is looking back into the room, shining his flashlight into it. Main voice guy suddenly says “OK Amy, John wants you to call the police right now if you don’t mind”. We do not see, nor do we hear, any communication between John and main voice guy that relays that information. What is going on with the audio? (it’s edited, that’s what’s going on). Main voice guy is then telling Amy (who still is silent) that John says “Uh, he says no one’s in there, that all the furniture’s been turned upside down…and the….hold on…He says the carpet’s been ripped up and the…that the shower is on…”. The problem is that we still don’t hear anything coming from John, not from the security camera that supposedly had audio (it didn’t) or the recording from the office. Also, at timestamp 1:53, we see John raise the microphone to his mouth and speak – yet we STILL hear nothing from either audio recordings. Do you need any more evidence that this video has been edited? Some of you do, so I’ll keep going.

We never see any images or video of the alleged chaos reported in the room. You would think that something like this would cause someone to take a picture. Since this is the security footage, I also have to wonder why the footage from when the police showed up isn’t included. Main-voice guy tells Amy to call the police, and the room is allegedly trashed, all after hearing screams coming from a room with no people in it. Are we to believe no one called the police to make a report? No one took pictures of the trashed room? Well, yes…we are supposed to believe that. It’s a hoax, after all. One more point here, there is also no verification that this hotel is a Wingate hotel…or if it’s even in Illinois.

With all of the issues I had with the video, and so many people sharing it on Facebook (with many tagging me), my OCD kicked in and I decided to spend a few hours and see what I could find out about it. Let’s take a look.

The video was originally posted to YouTube on September 4, 2012 by the username Jimmynut22. What I find interesting from the start is that the video was uploaded under three different titles; “Ghost screaming in haunted hotel – FULL LENGT”[sic], “Scary ghost caught on tape by security camera | Real ghost on tape | Scary ghost videos 2013” (Both posted Sept. 4, 2012), and “Alien caught on camera” (September 5, 2012 – 63,330 views). He also has another video up, under two different names, yet posted the same day; “Alien Caught on Video – 1988” and “2013 – Ghost walks by Camera in BASEMENT”. (2)

Take a look at the ghost/alien…notice any similarities between this “ghost” and the one in the hotel video? It sure looks like the same effect to me; overlaying two video clips from the same stationary camera. I noticed something else in this other video – the opening text states “I was recently hired to transfer a series of video tapes for archival purposes by the state”. This statement sent up another red flag for me, one that made me think this guy is probably a professional video guy. Hmmm, the plot thickens.

While updating this piece, I once again took a peek at his YouTube profile. I found that he’s uploaded three more videos, two of which from a month ago and are clips from a “documentary” entitled “The Blackwell Ghost” (which is available on Amazon Prime). This seems to be a Paranormal Activity-style video from what I could tell by the trailer. However, it’s the third additional video that interests me. It was posted three years ago, and is entitled “GHOST hiding in basement–(CAUGHT on VIDEO)–SCARY” (6). Spoiler alert, it’s not scary. It does have an audio track that takes you back to the hotel video we’re discussing here. The recorded audio is an alleged 911 call by the owner describing “someone in his house”. The 911 operator sounds a bit like the main-voice guy in the hotel video. Ironically, at the end of the video, we get advertisements for his other video, The Blackwell Ghost.

After subscribing to his YouTube profile, I checked out what he was up to. I found a post in which he reveals himself – “Hey! My name is Turner Clay and I made the movie State of Emergency.” (3). I went on to a Google search that brings me to an IMDb page with has a listing for Turner Clay. According to the site, Turner wrote and directed the movie State of Emergency. However, it doesn’t end there. Turner is credited as editor, producer, director, writer and visual effects on three movies (State of Emergency, Interception, Disaster L.A.) and editor for two shorts (Silent Night, Employee of the Month{also producer on this}). He’s also given credit for Sound Editor, Post Sound Mix, Camera Operator, Actor and Digital Effects on these and other films. (4) Turner also has a Production Reel for himself, showcasing his work. At the end of the video, he lists the services offered. These include Editing, Visual Effects, Sound Design, Location Sound Recording, and others.

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Jimmynut22 revealing himself as Turner Clay

So, we have a mysterious video, which no one can verify where it took place, released eleven years after it supposedly happened, and posted by a guy that not only writes and directs/produces movies, but has digital effects and sound editing experience/credits.
My opinion of this video is that it’s a hoax. A scripted and poorly created one, at that. It reminds me of the plethora of crappy “ghost” videos that infest YouTube. Perhaps it’s a deleted scene from one of Turner Clay’s shorts or a film school project. I originally posted this piece on October 1, 2013, and it still gets hits on social media. The video on YouTube has almost eleven million views and over eight thousand comments. I’m sure those numbers will continue to grow, despite the overwhelming evidence that it was fabricated.

Information is an important key to any investigation, and there is hardly any to go on with this video. We don’t even know where it was filmed! It’s interesting to note an “update” that was posted to the video description; “**UPDATE: Due to legal matters, I am not allowed to say any more information regarding the exact location of this hotel. Please stop asking. Thank you!” One has to wonder if Mr. Clay got in some trouble for having acquired hotel security footage that he wasn’t privy to. All in all, this appears to be nothing more than a film-makers side hobby, making cheesy videos that some people still suck up as “proof”.

Sources

1 – Jimmynut22. September 4, 2012. “Ghost screaming in haunted hotel – FULL LENGTH”.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BobA5ujHkvU)

2 – Jimmynut22. January 28, 2012. “2013 – Ghost walks by Camera in BASEMENT”
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ueZxoUzeqPM

3 – Jimmynut22. Comments section of video. Posted 3 years ago.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CqPCNppw_qc

4 – IMDb.  http://www.imdb.com/name/nm2571852/

5 – Tbird. 2009. “Tuner Clay Production Reel”

 

 

6 – Jimmynut22. December 29, 2013. “GHOST hiding in basement–(CAUGHT on VIDEO)–SCARY”

 

 

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