The Paranormal Task Force is a large Missouri-based paranormal investigative team founded by Greg Meyers and anchored by members Tom Halstead and Jeremiah Niere, the producer/director of “Legacy of Shadows.” The film deals with the disturbing paranormal activity connected to a lonely stretch of road in the Merrimac River Valley outside the city of St. Louis. The legends of ghostly activity, spirit encounters, hauntings by shadow entities and strange elemental beings have long been considered by the Task Force and other investigators to be connected to a grim legacy of death and misfortune that plagues the road and the entire valley area.
Zombie Road was first brought to the attention of the broader paranormal community by filmmakers Philip Adrian and Christopher Saint Booth – the Booth Brothers – when they explored it in their film “Children of the Grave,” a film in which PTF founder Greg Meyers featured prominently. The Booth Brothers exposed a darker side of Zombie Road – much darker, in fact than is afforded by “Legacy of Shadows” – but also attempted to make a case for attributing the strange hauntings and shadowy entities to the ghosts of children who had died there over the years. Meyers himself subsequently revised his thoughts along these lines and has stated that he now considers the Zombie Road shadows and entities to originate from something darker, perhaps more malevolent, than common ghostly activities. Unfortunately, we don’t get much of that point of view in this documentary.
“Legacy of Shadows…The Legend of Zombie Road”
“Legacy of Shadows” is, first and foremost, an anthology, and it functions well in this regard. Viewers are schooled in the history of the Zombie Road area and provided details of the numerous unfortunate events that have become common occurrences on this strange road over a generation; among urban legends, the tales of Zombie Road have to be acknowledged as frightening odd and frequent. Through a series of reenactments the inexplicable nature of Zombie Road is made palpably real and it is obvious that the area has had more than its fair share of grisly activity.
Midway through the film producer/director Niere gets to the “meat” of the story and presents the more supernatural and unexplainable encounters he and the other PTF team members have had in exploring the Zombie Road area. This is the most interesting to any paranormal enthusiast because while the road’s ghostly inhabitants are unsettling, the really creepy and unexplainable encounters involve the numerous shadow entities, dark ethereal manifestations, and elemental beings that seem to call Zombie Road home.
Greg Meyers is highlighted in one segment describing his strange encounters with shadowy entities and the weird “monkey-men” elementals on his numerous visits to the road; he suggests that the road itself may be a portal of some kind. Tom Halstead has to be one of the most fortunate paranormal photographers and has a high incidence of being in the “right place at the right time”; his photographs of the entities along Zombie’s “Shadow Ridge” and other black masses are astounding evidence. Though his photos stand alone, Halstead’s stories are equally as chilling.
In the last part of the film the evidence of a psychic investigator is presented. Unfortunately, her contribution is almost entirely obscured by the soundtrack; the viewer is left to piece together the events she describes from the various actor portrayals, and these are also lacking. This highlights one major problem with the film: the soundtrack is poorly chosen for the material, out-of-place, and annoyingly loud and intrusive music throughout the entire documentary. This writer suggests the filmmakers shift to a dark ambient or dark industrial soundscape mixed to a non-intrusive background for any future films.
Additionally, hardcore paranormal investigators and occultists with any knowledge of Zombie Road will find the documentary lacking in that it does not provide even minimal accounts of the extensive history of Satanic and other ritual magick activities that are an important part of the Zombie Road legacy, a part that many believe is essential in understanding the dark nature of so many of the hauntings encountered there.
All in all, however, paranormal enthusiasts, particularly researchers and anthologists, should find “Legacy of Shadows” an interesting addition to their DVD libraries. The slick production of a large budget film is obviously missing, but the grassroots effort of a fellow paranormal team and the subject matter should make this appealing to the paranormal community, especially if offered at a reasonable (i.e., affordable) price.
The writer looks forward to additional documentaries from The Paranormal Task force.
Jane Wichers for Haunted America Tours, 2010.
Haunted Savannah, Georgia
Savannah, Georgia is considered by many the most haunted city in America. It was named so by Fox Television's Scariest Places on Earth television series and there is enough history and legend permeating the old town to fill hundreds of books.
Its colorful and legend-filled past enthralls visitors to this day; its streets are filled with the shadows and ghosts of bygone days, perhaps still waiting to greet the inquisitive traveler.
The city's founding father, Englishman James Edward Oglethorpe, was so enthralled with the areas lush tropical shoreline and very mild climate that when he landed on the shores of the Savannah River in 1733 he chose to remain. Shortly after his arrival, Oglethorpe chartered the great city of Savannah in what was to become the final New World Crown Colony of England's King George II.
Much of the original, dreamlike beauty that Oglethorpe experienced over two centuries ago endures to this day. Spanish moss still hangs low from the spreading oak trees, the deep waters of the Savannah River still lazily pass by, and the sea breezes still waft in from the open ocean waters. The classic beauty of this old Southern bastion has inspired writers and artists alike over the centuries. Many films have used Savannah as a backdrop, most notably the movie "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil."
But many residents and visitors insist that Savannah really does have a "midnight side" and that it is a city still holding onto its past with a strong grip. In fact, many believe that some of of its citizens still feel the tug of this gentle city even from beyond the grave.
In Savannah you can hear chilling, ghost-filled tales on historical walks into the city's storied past; or you can experience first hand the "midnight side" of this Old Southern Lady in one of her haunted cemeteries or historic residents. There is a haunted train ride and a horse-drawn trolley tour through the dark streets; or visit a haunted plantation and historic locations where soldiers of the Civil War still plan battles or stand guard despite the long passage of time. You may even want to experience a ghost tour from the seat of a real hearse!
Savannah's Fort Jackson is the oldest standing fort in Georgia. The site where the fort now stands has been used since the 1740's, and has a rich history relating to the defense of Savannah from earliest days to the end of the 19th century. The site was fortified during the Revolutionary War as an earthen fort. The original brick fort was begun in 1808 and was manned during the War of 1812. During the Civil War, Fort Jackson was held for a time by Confederate forces until the Old Southern Lady made the acquaintance of one W.T. Sherman. Union soldiers took the old fort and held it until the end of the war. The fort is one of Savannah's most popular haunted tourist attractions with unmatched daytime educational and historical programs and "after hours" programs for ghost hunters of all ages.
Savannah's Historic Railroad Shops, Built on the site of the second bloodiest battle of the great Revolutionary War, the shops were begun in 1845. Thirteen of the original structures survive, including the blacksmith shop and the brick mason shop. A National Historic Landmark since 1978, the shops were used in filming the movie "Glory" in 1988. The shops are recognized by the U.S. Department of the Interior as the most significant complex of ante-bellum railroad structures to survive in the United States. They also serve as the state of Georgia's official railroad museum.
The Savannah History Museum is Savannah's only museum dedicated to the history of the whole coastal community and is located in the passenger station of the Central Railroad. Constructed before the Civil War, this building is now one of Georgia's 43 National Historic Landmarks and houses a 20,000 square foot exhibit area with a variety of exhibits reflecting Savannah's history from her founding in 1733 to the present. The museum is open from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm daily.
These are just some of the options for the avid ghost hunter and paranormal enthusiast. Be sure to explore every nook and cranny of this famous Southern city!