At DragonCon in September 2010, I met Brian J. Cano and Chris Mancuso. I had no idea who they were, but I spotted a DVD about Danvers Mental Hospital on their table, and then a lot more really interesting DVDs spread out between me and them. As a paranormal investigator myself with a strong fascination for abandoned buildings in general, and former mental hospitals in particular, it was hard for me to choose just 3! Danvers was a given: since the buildings were unfortunately torn down to build housing units, video and photos are the only way to experience that historic location anymore.
I chose the Urban Explorers Backpack, Volume 1, because it gives a quick overview of who the team is and what they do, and a look into some of their more interesting cases: Staten Island Hospital, Kings Park Psychiatric Center, Assonet Ledge (an unusual outdoor adventure) and Henryton State Hospital.
The third choice, Philadelphia State Hospital, was almost random. I had to choose one and I figured I can always get the other DVDs later.
Here’s what you need to know about SCARED:
They may be a little crazy. They are not fearless, but they are reckless. They will definitely take you places you probably would not want to go yourself, like up on to rotting roofs and down into tunnels full of rancid, nasty water.
No matter which DVD you pick up, you will watch the team face dangers. These three DVDs are much heavier on the urban exploration than on the paranormal investigation, and the dangers the guys face on these adventures are from disintegrating locations, homeless people and teenagers, including some pyromaniacs at Byberry (as Philadelphia State Hospital is better known), who set fires while the team is in the buildings.
Danvers, Byberry and all four locations on the Urban Explorers Backpack are full of challenges as the team tries to find their way through mazes of tunnels, stairways, crumbling ceilings and rotting floors to discover what, living or dead, lies hidden in these exciting, never-a-dull-moment.locations.
Warning: There is a lot of possibly offensive language on these DVDs and a lot of action young people should not emulate. These DVDs are not recommended for children and I would hesitate to allow teens to view them, either.
As for adults: My daughter shares my fascination with Danvers and other mental hospitals, so I showed the DVDs to her. She borrowed them to show her boyfriend. It took me weeks to get them back, and now the two of them have been corresponding with Brian Cano and Chris Mancuso about doing some exploration of their own.
I highly recommend the SCARED DVDs to anyone interested in urban exploration and paranormal investigation.