“The Ghost in Apartment 14” tries to awkwardly blend a supernatural haunting story with a real-life fact-based investigation to mixed results.
This recap of Unsolved Mysteries season 3, episode 8, “The Ghost in Apartment 14”, contains spoilers.
Unsolved Mysteries Volume 3 takes a risky turn in the episode “The Ghost in Apartment 14”, combining the usual fact-based approach with a more speculative haunting story that is on-trend for Halloween but ill-suited to a documentary series. By trying to knit together the testimony of Jodi Foster, who believes her apartment is haunted by the ghost of a missing woman, and the real-life account of what happened to Marie Elizabeth “Marliz” Spannhake in 1976, it runs into some issues.
In a narrative sense, it works well enough. It begins with Jodi and her daughter, Hannah, recounting their time in the apartment and some of the spooky things that happened there – including some horror involving Ernie from Sesame Street – and then uses that to introduce the real-life case, before eventually looping back around to explain how the information supplied by Jodi turned out to be eerily accurate.
Unsolved Mysteries season 3, episode 8 recap
Who was Marie Elizabeth Spannhake?
Marliz was a young woman living – but not necessarily enjoying her time – in Chico, California. She was last seen walking home from a flea market after an argument with her boyfriend. It later becomes obvious, though difficult to prove, that Marliz was snatched off the street by a man named Cameron Hooker, who later killed her and buried her after trying and failing to slice her vocal cords to prevent her from screaming. Hooker would subsequently kidnap a woman named Colleen Stan and hold her hostage for seven years, frequently torturing and raping her until his wife, Janice, facilitated her escape. Colleen herself appears in the episode, though is underused because of the focus on Marliz.
Janice cooperated with the police in exchange for immunity. The subsequent trial was focused on the Colleen Stan case in order to ensure Cameron’s conviction, and it did, but it also left the matter of Marliz unresolved. Since her body was never found, it would have been impossible to convict Cameron of the murder.
Where are Cameron and Janice Hooker after the events of Unsolved Mysteries season 3, episode 8?
Cameron was sentenced to 104 years in prison for a variety of offenses committed against Colleen Stan. This was in 1985. He became eligible for parole in 2015 but was denied it, and while he was scheduled to return to court in September of this year, no further information has been released. He is due to go to trial to determine whether he should be labeled a sexually violent predator, or SVP, and should therefore be confined to a state mental health facility.
Janice Hooker was given a new identity.
Was Apartment 14 haunted?
This question is the one that the episode loops back around to, as it’s revealed that Jodi’s daughter, Hannah, communicated with a ghost she referred to as “My Liz” and subsequently identified that ghost from a picture as Marliz. Jodi also continued to experience bizarre dreams with specific information in them that implied, perhaps, the location of Marliz’s burial site. She supplied this information to the police but, at the time, wasn’t allowed to know much information about the case. In this episode, we see her meet with the detective years later who is able to inform her that the information she provided matched up very closely with that provided by Janice.
This is obviously strange, but to imply supernatural reasoning seems a little hasty. Is it likelier that Jodi looked into previous ownership of the apartment and dug into the case for herself? Possibly. But I suppose we’ll never know. I suppose the more important detail is still that Marliz’s body was never found and her case remains unsolved.
You can stream Unsolved Mysteries season 3, episode 8 exclusively on Netflix.
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