So That Leaves …
After scraping away all the barnacles, I’m left with two paranormal shows. (At least for now).
Not only is Destination Truth my favorite paranormal show, but it’s one of my favorite TV shows period. The locations Josh goes to are simply fascinating (the main reason I liked GHI as well) and the people he encounters are quite "unique". With places like Egypt, Chernobyl, and Transylvania and the constant warnings that he’ll be eaten and never come back alive it’s all pretty exciting stuff. Not to mention the slew of unreliable vehicles he seems to get saddled with. And ill-tempered camels. The question of "did you hear that?" has been replaced with, "Is Josh’s boat going to sink?", "Is Josh going to run out of gas in the middle of that lake?", "Is the roof of that airplane going to come off… again?" and "Do you think Josh will jump on that parade float?"
Half the fun is seeing if Josh and team actually make it to the location, and by what mode of travel.
And when it comes to the paranormal, it really doesn’t matter since we already know that most of the stories are urban legends anyway. Are we really expecting "Skunk Ape" to make an appearance? Do you think "El Chupacabra" is going to come out and play? However, these myths have taken on a life of their own and are just as much a part of the culture as anything else. But why do people believe these stories? What keeps them alive in their minds?
In most cases Josh comes away with unexplained noises, plenty of wild animals and lots of treacherous terrain. It’s very exciting and he’s a fantastic host. He rarely gets rattled, keeps his sense of humor and when faced with less than ideal circumstances he simply soldiers on. Plus, his enthusiasm for people and their culture just pulls you right in. He really has no problem going up in that rickety plane or drinking until he sees leprechauns. And if you recall, he was actually told to drink that much…
This show could be about the quest for the perfect ball of yarn and I’d still be tuning in!
And finally, there’s Ghost Adventures. Admittedly, everything in their world is paranormal and dark energy. And yes, they have a tendency to curse like sailors and scare themselves senseless, until they crash into walls. But they’re so damned entertaining to watch. Zak has a contagious enthusiasm and his narrative style is very compelling. Plus, they deal with old and mysterious buildings, sort of like the Ghost Hunters did in the beginning. They normally don’t show up at someone’s home (and even when they did it was still basically a castle) so the location is steeped in history, tragedy and violence. Even the Execution Rock Lighthouse gave you the chills when you heard about what happened there. And Poveglia Island? If the stories are true, that place makes you cringe.
Ghost Adventures is still like watching and listening to someone tell you a good ghost story. The idea of being locked up in an abandoned jail or asylum is still really compelling. Most of the noises you hear are just the building creaking, cars driving down the road, animals in the distance and other perfectly normal sounds for an old building. And those shadows are probably coming from the car headlights or a streetlight. But you combine that with the somewhat sinister tales of the past and you have something pretty interesting. Something worth watching. And maybe that noise isn’t the building settling. And that shows isn’t from a car headlight. And maybe that whisper will make sense…
But if everything is haunted in the Ghost Adventures world and haunted in the Ghost Hunters world, why did I turn my back to the GH team? It does seem like a contradiction so let me explain. First off, the GA team has already declared the place haunted before they ever step foot in there, that’s why they’re there in the first place. They’re not trying to prove or disprove anything. They’re being locked down for the experience.
Second, it’s about the experience. Just like with Josh, Zak, Nick and Aaron are more fun to watch. They aren’t sitting on a couch all the time. They’re constantly talking and doing something. And we don’t see them playing stupid games in the middle of the show or daring each other to do something moronic for a couple of bucks.
To me it’s a completely different show with a vastly different style. Now, before we go too far, I don’t really think Zak and team have come up with compelling paranormal evidence either. Far too much is based on personal experiences and I don’t put any stock in those EVP recordings. But I like the places they go and the backstory that goes with it.
It’s not a perfect show but it’s infinitely better than Ghost Hunters. Ghost Adventures doesn’t seem to be as concerned with getting the right "look" for people sitting on the couch.
Other Articles of Interest:
- Destination Truth
- American Paranormal – Eastern State Penitentiary – Part II
- Ghost Hunters at Alcatraz 100th Episode
- Looks like ghost hunting is becoming big business
- What’s with all the secrecy?
- Paranormal TV – Which shows are coming back?
- When will the paranormal bubble burst?
- Oh hell, so now everyone has a book
- Ghost Hunters Halloween Special 2009 – It’s On!
- Chasing Spirits: The Building of the "Ghost Adventures" Crew