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America’s Most Haunted Town (2001) – DVD Review



Directed by: Robert Child

Released by: Rob Childs & Associates
Region: 1
Rating: NR
Anamorphic: No.

My Advice: Avoid It.

The town of the title is apparently New Hope, Pennsylvania. There is a veritable slew of spirits walking about the place, so much so that ghost tours are commonplace and people have just accepted them as part of life in the…ahem…small city. This documentary’s aims are simple, as stated on the back of the DVD’s case: “The spirits of New Hope want to share their true nature with the world. This is their town and this is their story.”

When I first heard about this program, I was looking forward to it. You see, I’ve long been a fan and ardent (but highly skeptical) believer in the paranormal. I eat up the documentaries that are commonplace on The Discovery Channel and whatnot. Trouble is, all those documentaries are a little too bombastic for my tastes–I wish somebody would do a straightforward, well-done documentary that doesn’t try to titillate with over-narration or any such crevice that it’s easy for such films to fall into. This film, as you may have gathered, is certainly not that answer to my quest.

[ad#longpost]The problems are manifold. First, other than people stating, “We sure do have a lot of ghosts here” I never got the idea as to why it should be “America’s most haunted town.” Why should New Hope have that title? Granted, we’re taken to a number of sites and told stories–but surely it wouldn’t have been too much trouble to throw a map up on the screen with dots to show sightings. That kind of map, if it would turn out to look like the lightning strike one they use on the local weather, would impress. But otherwise, this is just a series of strung-together interview bits with people from the town, talking about ghosts.

Not helping the credibility of the subject matter is Cathe Curtis, the spirit sensitive who is shown on camera exploring the various inns and such that the documentary visits. We’re then treated to a bunch of still shots of what look like water damage to photos (these are the ectoplasmic orbs that represent the spirits, apparently) and Curtis wandering about talking to the spirits like they’re all the mental equivalent of six-year-olds. It’s a terrifying thought that when we die we come back as balls of ectogunk that need to be treated like kindergarteners. Her interjections of “Love you!” when trying to get the spirits to come out are downright comical.

There are also video snippets of things in slow motion. Well, I say “things in slow motion,” but the two that I recall from viewing the film…ah…don’t seem to have anything in them that’s moving, slow or otherwise. They can have captioned whatever spirit we’re supposed to be seeing, but even right up on the screen I couldn’t see a damned thing. No pun intended. There are two encounters with “lights” in the cemetery, but they’re pathetic. One appears to be undulating and changing shape until, after a minute, you realize it looks like somebody’s porch light filmed through some trees. Another small ball of light hangs around outside the cemetery gate. It’s not very impressive–it stays in one spot and doesn’t do anything but turn off and on with Curtis cooing to it–and there’s no reason to think it’s not some guy dressed in black with a flashlight.


I’m saying all of these skeptical things because there’s no reason to say anything else. See, the real documentary I’m looking for would have said, “You know, these ectoballs look like soap scum, but here’s why they’re not.” Or… “You know, you might think that that’s a guy in black with a flashlight, but here’s why it’s not.” But instead, we’re presented with it with no supporting evidence whatsoever–and the thing turns into a comedy. For a film that goes to great lengths to state up front that “Absolutely no computer generated images have been used in this production,” they do absolutely nothing to back themselves up on that. Sad.

As for the disc itself, there are no features–just the film. And as for the film, there are no chapter stops even though there are breaks between locales that would have been perfect places to put some.

Frankly, I believe in the paranormal less now than when I did starting out with this thing. The filmmakers might have had the best of intentions and Ms. Curtis might be the nicest of people in real life–and for all I know she really can communicate with the dead–but none of that comes through on the disc. Avoid at all costs.

Where to Find It


  • I have had psychic tendencies my whole life. I didn’t really understand what they were, or what to do with them, so I tried to ignore them. About ten years ago, events in my life made it clear that I needed to understand myself and my abilities better. I wasn’t sure what I would learn about myself, but I knew that I had to start researching the many areas to which my abilities seemed linked. During this time, I made the acquaintance of Cathe Curtis.

    Initially, I too was somewhat dismayed by her insistance that she “loved” the spirits to which she spoke. I also wasn’t sure what to make of her regarding some of her ways of communicating to spirits. However, I decided to keep an open mind, and give myself a chance at understanding what motivated her to speak that way to the spirits she was claiming to see. What I discovered about Cathe is simply that she doesn’t speak to spirits any differently than she speaks to any of us still in our mortal shells. She is simply a very soft, kind, and loving person.

    I, myself, have been blessed with an ability to see many spirits and to communicate with them in a number of ways. There were many times that Cathe would see something that I couldn’t. That confused me until I realized there were also times that I was able to see someone and she was oblivious to him/her.

    As for her needing to prove her statements…why should she? Cathe didn’t make the video in order to prove to anyone that the spirit world exists. She knows first hand that it does, as do I and millions of others world round. This video is for those who have a curiosity, a wondering, or perhaps just an interest in all things paranormal, as well as for those of us who have experienced the very same types of events. It’s always nice to know we’re not as alone as it sometimes feels, being different than the average person who hasn’t yet developed their own skills to see and communicate. These “abilities” are not visited on a few select people who are “chosen” by some unseen force. Every human being has psychic abilities. We are born with them. It’s simply a matter of learning how to develop and use them. Just as some people have a natural tendancy to do well with music, or singing, or painting, etc..those who have been deemed “psychic” are merely humans who have natural talents in clairvoyance or mediumship or claircognizance, etc.

    We also do not need any kind of equipment to see or hear or feel or smell spirits. When equipment is used, it is more for the benefit of those who have yet to develop themselves sufficiently to experience spirits through their own senses. Believe me, what appears on photos or is heard on EVP’s, most often does not do justice to what we actually see and hear. Too often, the tangible “evidence” is a very poor quality in comparison to first hand experience.

    If you are a true investigator who likes to approach the investigation in a more scientific manner, then you also understand that you must keep an open mind. Otherwise, you close yourself off from the many possibilities which present themselves to you, each and every day.

  • Terri: I wrote that review eight years ago and a lot has changed since then. But I guess my response is just: I did have a curiosity and a wondering and an interest in the paranormal at the time, but Cathe’s video (along with a lot of other things) helped kill it. If belief in that sort of thing and in Cathe works for you, then more power to you. Thanks for the comment.

  • I have always known of a spirit world but not been a psychic. Just raised to believe in God and our earthly decisions termine our afterlife-which I still believe, however, I have heard different stories so who am I to say it is just this way. I think as children we are very open to the paranormal as we just came from the other side and as we continue our journey in life others push us away from our innocence and belief of that. At the age of 6 I awoke one night for no particular reason. As my eye’s focused as they do from a hard sleep I clearly saw a woman the size of my Mom whom was 5″10. She was sitting at the end of my bed with her knees crossed and her arm up with her hand under her chin. Just sitting as if quietly looking out for me. Frightened at never experiencing that I called out Mom. No answer or movement. I ran to my Mom whom explained it was my Guardian Angel and we all had one. I felt protected after that. Years later we moved to Southlake and my parent’s built a home on what they believe was Indian territory. We experienced paranormal activity every so often. Nothing harming. Then in 1987 my Mom passed of Leukemia at the age of 39 and I was distraught. I had a hard time dealing with it. I became attracted to anything angel and then curious of the afterlife and if I would see her again here maybe before I pass on. The documentary was SO VERY POSITIVE and I enjoyed every moment of it. Cathe was so respectful and I looked at death and the paranormal in a wonderful new light. Not that scary crazy stories people tell! Thank you for your insight!!!