So, a few years ago I heard about a show that intrigued me, and since I sadly (ok, not really) do not have cable I just went out and bought it. It was called Ghost Hunters and it’s a reality style TV show. Yup, that’s right, ghost hunting reality TV that’s even located in the 133.1 section of my favorite library (non-fiction, baby). Talk about things that make me go “(b)ooooh!” (This is a good interested sound for things ghostly…just in case that’s just me…that one time…)
These two guys were plumbers by day (like Mario & Luigi!) and ghost chasers by night (like Ghostbusters!) and had started TAPS, which stood for The Atlantic Paranormal Society, which was a whole group of people who dedicated their free time to investigating all things ghostly. As the shows popularity increased, their plumbing times decreased, until this is now what they do for work. Apparently, these societies exist all over, (perhaps even more so since Syfy picked up this series) so you could find a listing for your local ghost hunters with a quick google search. However, be warned that the scientific community tends to lump it into the pseudoscience category, possibly because of jealousy that they might be cooler then the regular scientific community, or because they do not use proven scientific methods.
I had to say, I loved the concept. I’ve been interested in ghosties and spooky stuff since I knew what it was, so to find out that there was a team of people actually investigating this stuff was quite interesting. After watching the first season I was hooked. I loved the fact that they were using scientific style instruments and that they weren’t just going out trying to say everything that creaked in the night was a ghost. They were actually doing the opposite and debunking a lot of claims, and that was what really charmed me, since so many avid believers in the paranormal seem to try too hard to convince you that every floating dust spec in a picture is an orb (aka spirit caught on film). It was nice to have someone in the business saying yeah, your creaky door just needs some WD40.
So how exactly did they do their “scientific research”? Basically, they go to a house/property/building at night, since that’s when most people tend to claim that’s when the activity takes place. They then take it over and set up cameras and microphones for audio recorders (for EVP’s or Electronic voice phenomenon which are unexplained voices and sounds caught on tape, but sometimes not heard with the human ear) and then do sweeps of the house with teams who also have recorders, EMF detectors (which is an electromagnetic frequency they claim may pick up spirit energy) and heat sensing equipment (since rapid drops in temperature are also reportedly common with ghostly sightings). Then, after the night is through, they go back and go through all the stuff they recorded to see if they found anything. Finally, they go back to the house to give the owners their professional opinion on if they are haunted or not.
Although a lot of the places that they visited in the first season were not considered haunted, or at the very least active on the night they dropped by, it was a really cool look at the places that people think are haunted and the stories that go with them, particularly older buildings and some of the international destinations, which included castles. I would love to take a trip to each of these places, maybe call it my ghostly vacay just to check them out. For me, half of the fun is in the stories and lore itself, but when you add in some nice locale and a bit of creepiness? Ahhhh. Beauties.
In the end, I lost interest in Ghost Hunters when in future seasons they seemed less set on disproving and more set on calling everything that was in the ballpark a possible haunting. I need to see some more definitive proof, personally, before I can really buy in to that. To me, this change in stance seemed to make them lose some of their credibility and for someone as skeptical about everything as I am, that was a little disappointing.
However, I will always cherish the excitement I felt watching the first season, and the creepy hairs-standing-up-on-the-back-of-your-neck feeling I got with the first EVP I heard them play. I’m always up for looking at their evidence, whether it generates a “What the-?” or a “Pfft” in my professional (ok yeah…not so much) opinion. And for some of their more convincing bits of evidence, it was a thrilling journey into the tantalizing zone of what if.
But don’t take my word for it. Try out some clips from the first season below and decide for yourself: