Ghost Hunters

Ghost Hunters at Alcatraz 100th Episode

I’m sure you’ve been anxiously waiting for my comments on the Ghost Hunters 100th episode at Alcatraz so here they are at last.

Before we begin I really have to make a comment about Alcatraz itself. After watching American Paranormal and their experiments with infrasound I’m completely suspect of any paranormal investigation at this site. The environment itself of wind and water would lead to plenty of false positives. Not to mention the hundreds of birds, rats and who knows what else that now make Alcatraz home. How could you not expect creaks, bangs, scratches, footsteps, the moaning of the wind, the thud of the surf and dozens of others sounds from the place? With so much "noise" how can you possibly differentiate what you’re hearing?

But anyway, the Ghost Hunters team if off to the glitz and glamour of Alcatraz for their 100th episode. As I mentioned before my interest in the Ghost Hunters has come to an end. I only tuned in because Josh was hosting the interview and he brings a sense of fun and levity into everything he does. As expected both the interview and the investigation were fairly lackluster.

And by the way Dustin, I hate to break it to you, but you’re not a rock star…

The interview portion was pretty much a let down because no one actually said anything. About four questions were asked the whole night and the team was basically able to articulate nothing more than a short one sentence answer. When asked about their paranormal experience, Jason and Grant, as you might expect, dodged the question and gave a pretty non-committal answer. Even though Robb is the head man of GHI, he had one sentence to say then was ushered off stage. Kris and Amy hung off to the side and kept the couch from rolling away. Even Steve and Tango hardly had anything to say. Honestly, this train derailed dozens of times and Josh was having a heck of a time keeping it going.

I’m biased about the investigation anyway so I’ll skip through most of it. I don’t think they captured much evidence and certainly nothing that gives credence to most of the claims people have out there. It would take a lot to convince me the wind and surf aren’t responsible for most things people see and experience.

One thing that did come to mind is that once again the team shows they aren’t always sure where the other members are. Steve and Tango hear noises and say it could easily be the other team members. This just shows TAPS can actually step over themselves and give false positives by their own actions.

No denying Alcatraz is a wild place which I would certainly like to visit. The tunnels, long corridors and plenty of places without light would be fascinating to see. But whether it’s truly haunted or not remains to be seen, at least in my eyes.

And what was the big news of the night? Ghost Hunters Academy is coming back for a second season. I’ll try to contain my excitement. We’re also informed that the GHA graduates, Susan and Karl will be joining GHI. I was woefully disappointed by GHI this season and this doesn’t help matters. Now that these two are going to join the ranks I think I might be stepping away from the entire Ghost Hunters franchise. The premise and crew from GHA just rubbed me the wrong way. It was a personality clash in every sense of the word so having them on GHI doesn’t make me want to tune in. Jason and Grant have lost me for now. I may change my mind if they go to some place that really interests me, but as we start this new season I’m not on board.

Overall the 100th episode special was somewhat interesting, but not thrilling. It’s pretty obvious they see this as a business now, which unto itself is fine, but the quirky fun of the show is pretty much missing now. But congratulations to the Ghost Hunters for 100 episodes which as Josh says, in today’s climate is an achievement no matter who you are. To be something on the fringe like this is a major accomplishment. Hopefully they’ll win me back, but for now, I think we need a bit of a break from each other.

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Eastern State Penitentiary with the Ghost Hunters

After writing so much about Eastern State Penitentiary, I went back to the first season of Ghost Hunters to watch their original investigation of the site. This is perhaps their most infamous, dare I say notorious episode. It’s been several years since I’ve seen it and I forgot that not only was it the episode where Brian comes running down the hall yelling his famous "Dude, Run!" line, but it’s also the episode where they capture a figure walking around in cell block 12.

In looking back it’s pretty clear they were trying to build drama and tension into the show since they weren’t sure the paranormal angle was going to stick. We have the petty bickering between Steve and Brian, as well as the drama of whether Sheri is going to stick around. There’s the trouble with Brian Bell and his oversleeping and abandoning his post of watching the monitors at Command Central. Plus, there’s the general trouble of just trying to get everything set up and knowing how to use their equipment.

But the big topper is how Jason is an arrogant ass to everyone he runs into. He’s pushy, rude, condescending and seems to want to pick a fight all the time. He’s even pushy with Grant, telling him what to do and how to deal with Brian Bell. Just to prove he’s got a pair, he spouts off to Brian Harnois, "Yeah, we want to talk with you, you got a problem with that?" It’s actually surprising the show made it out of the first season. What’s more surprising is that Jason could walk down those narrow halls with an ego that large.

On to more important things of Brian and a cameraman tearing down the hallway screaming, "Dude, Run!" after seeing something pass right in front of them. The odd thing is, the whole episode leading up to this event has been about keeping calm and not running when you see something. How strange for them to spend so much time talking about not running from ghosts and then all of a sudden that exact thing happens, as if on cue. They certainly wouldn’t have planned something like that would they? That’s just pure coincidence, right? When you do that sort of thing in a novel it’s called "foreshadowing" but this is "reality TV", there’s no script… Right? Right?

The next big piece of excitement is the apparition they catch while everyone is off at dinner. Supposedly when everyone has left the cell block and no one is paying attention or watching the monitors or making sure someone isn’t playing around an apparition appears on camera. Of course we’re all familiar with the footage which now looks like someone with a cape over their head, wearing jeans and tennis shoes walking toward the camera then turning to run away. Strangely, that’s exactly what Jason says it is. He says it looks like someone is playing a prank on them. But try as they might, this brain trust can’t seem to replicate what they saw. Apparently it’s too dark for Stumbling Brian to walk with a cape over his head and no one else thinks to try it for themselves. So obviously if Brian can’t do it, it must be paranormal. Since Jason thinks Brian is a incompetent boob, I’m surprised he even let him try. Considering his ego in this episode I’m surprised he let anyone do anything. Odd though, I figure he would have tested it out himself. Or had Grant do it.

What I find funny is that they’ve all but admitted how it was done. Jason comes right out and says it looks like a person with a cape over their head. He admits to seeing a pant leg. He admits no one was actually up there paying attention. He admits readily it looks like a prank. So is this one of those "wink, wink, nudge, nudge" moments, that if he completely dismisses the obvious then it has to be something else. The answer is so obvious we’d be stupid to believe it?

Looking back on this episode, the entire thing feels staged and rehearsed. The comments leading up to Brian running seem so contrived. Jason saying the whole apparition is a hoax, then slyly laughing it off seems downright bizarre. The forced drama with Brian Bell and Sheri was just stupid. And Jason picking fights with everyone is painful to watch. For not having a script they sure do seem to be putting a lot of things in place.

After watching this one again, I’m not entirely sure why I found this show appealing.

 


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Ghost Hunters 100th Episode from Alcatraz. But not live.

The Ghost Hunters will kick off their 100th episode with a live investigation of Alcatraz. Or so we thought. Not ones to get caught faking evidence twice, the Ghost Hunters won’t actually do the Alcatraz investigation live for us to play along, but will instead play it safe and show a pre-recorded investigation as usual and then appear live for an interview session with Josh Gates of Destination Truth. Josh is a great host and does a great job of asking questions and keeping the mood light and lively, but considering Jason and Grant really aren’t that forthcoming with information when doing an interview it all seems rather pointless. I’m sure we still won’t hear about what experience got them involved in ghost hunting in the first place. You have to pay to read the book where they sort of hint at what might have happened. And we all know well and good they won’t address any of the issues/controversy that has taken place over their last live investigation.

I guess the days of a truly live investigation are over.

I’m sure if you want to hear about why Jason and Grant always work together, or how the Spalding Inn is coming along, or what they think about their new spinoff Ghost Hunters Academy it will be riveting stuff.

Press Release:

New York, NY – February 23, 2010 – On Wednesday, March 3, join Jason, Grant and the rest of the TAPS team as the Ghost Hunters celebrate their triumphant 100th episode with a LIVE audience from the legendary Studio 8H in Rockefeller Center. From 9-11pm, the team will present their first-ever investigation at Alcatraz as well as take a look back at the most shocking and spine-chilling moments the hit series has caught on tape over the past five seasons.

Josh Gates (Destination Truth) will host the event, which will feature investigators from all three Ghost Hunters teams gathered together for the very first time. Jason Hawes, Grant Wilson, Steve Gonsalves, Dave Tango, Amy Bruni, Kris Williams (Ghost Hunters), Barry FitzGerald, Robb Demarest, Dustin Pari (Ghost Hunters International), Susan Slaughter and Karl Pfeiffer (Ghost Hunters Academy) will take the stage and get the chance to talk directly with the fans, answering audience questions from in the studio and Syfy.com.

Throughout the show, Josh will also reveal some surprises coming up in the Ghost Hunters franchise!

As always, Syfy.com will serve as the ultimate Ghost Hunters destination online, linking viewers to all of the action in the studio in real time. The site will host an interactive center helmed by investigator Britt Griffith, where fans can log on throughout the evening to be a part of the broadcast. Viewers will be able to ask questions of all participating TAPS members, leave comments and feedback, participate in polls, read up on Alcatraz history and more!

Then, at 11pm, the show continues online with an exclusive post-broadcast streaming event, “Ghost Hunters Alcatraz Live Extra,” also hosted by Josh Gates. This 15-minute extension of the live episode will feature a Q&A panel with Jason, Grant and the rest of the TAPS team answering viewer-submitted questions from Syfy.com.

In October 2004, Syfy introduced Jason Hawes and Grant Wilson – plumbers by day, Ghost Hunters by night! The success of its spin-off series, Ghost Hunters International and Ghost Hunters Academy, cemented the Ghost Hunters brand as the top paranormal franchise in cable. Ghost Hunters, Ghost Hunters International and Ghost Hunters Academy are produced in association with Craig Piligian’s Pilgrim Films and Television (Dirty Jobs, The Ultimate Fighter, My Fair Wedding). Piligian and Thomas Thayer, along with Rob Katz and Alan David, serve as executive producers.

Syfy is a media destination for imagination-based entertainment. With year round acclaimed original series, events, blockbuster movies, classic science fiction and fantasy programming, a dynamic Web site (www.Syfy.com), and a portfolio of adjacent business (Syfy Ventures), Syfy is a passport to limitless possibilities. Originally launched in 1992 as Sci Fi Channel, and currently in 95 million homes, Syfy is a network of NBC Universal, one of the world’s leading media and entertainment companies. (Syfy. Imagine greater.)

This is the line that has me the most intrigued:

Throughout the show, Josh will also reveal some surprises coming up in the Ghost Hunters franchise!

Does this mean there is going to be yet another spinoff show? Please say it isn’t so! Or is this perhaps the announcement of Jason and Grant retiring from the show? If they’re doing a "look back" over the last five years something tells me they might be bringing one of the shows to an end or at least changing who’s at the helm.

I wonder if Steve and Tango will take over the reigns of Ghost Hunters and turn the Ghost Hunters Academy into a shorter series or perhaps do that show while GH is on one of their multiple breaks during the year.

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When will the paranormal bubble burst?

The television networks and the interwebertubes are ablaze with everything paranormal. For the last five years, due in large part to those blue collar guys Jason and Grant of the Ghost Hunters, there has been an explosion of shows about the paranormal. We have plumbers, cops, students, film makers, wanna be scientists, and even Hollywood has jumped on board. But now that we literally have everyone and their grandmother hunting ghosts on some cable network show, when is this bubble going to burst? The airwaves are saturated so how long can it sustain the pressure?

Personally, ?I think we are on the cusp of the decline of the paranormal show. I think a lot of these stalwarts will start dropping off and the latest startups won’t be able to take root.

Ghost Hunters has had a good run, but Jason and Grant aren’t doing business like they used to. They spend most episodes sitting on the couch waiting for something to happen and with all the controversy surrounding them now days they’re not even game to do a live investigation any more. With two other spinoff shows well under way, I think Jason and Grant will be heading off to the Spalding Inn once this new season is done.

Ghost Hunters International and Ghost Hunters Academy probably have another season or two left in them for those who still cling to the Ghost Hunters name. Ghost Hunters Academy never should have been made, and while I was a huge fan of GHI for Season One, this second Season has been frustrating, not to mention boring and annoying. The flip-flop nature of labeling locations paranormal is frustrating, while investigators like Joe and Paul just annoy me. They act like such buffoons most of the time I can’t stand to watch them. The "character" of the show has become grating. They’ll be able to cash in for a little while longer, but I don’t think these shows can bring in the numbers over the long haul.

Ghost Lab is so bad I’ll be shocked it if makes it back for another season.

Paranormal Cops is interesting but it doesn’t have enough flair to stick around. Plus, they aren’t travelling the countryside or hitting the Hot Spots like Eastern State or Waverly Hills. It would be interesting to see how they would handle an investigation at a place like that. But with only six shows to their credit I don’t think they personally have the time or the audience to give us too much more.

Paranormal State is a train wreck. Ryan has gone off the rails and each investigation is more hysterical and frantic than the last. I doubt many people would even consider him a paranormal investigator anymore. His main want is to seek out the demonic and perform exorcisms. Debunking and explaining are clearly not in his repertoire. I think his antics are costing him fans not gaining him credibility. Maybe he does have ties with the church and that’s what’s driving him, but if you look at his first episode and what we have now and they are nothing alike. This show has gone downhill dramatically. Plus, you can clearly see that Ryan thinks a lot of himself these days.

Ghost Adventures still has plenty of excitement left to carry them for another season or two. But in that timeframe, after they’ve visited the big paranormal Hot Spots what are they going to do? They could follow in the footsteps of Ghost Hunters International and visit castles and forts abroad. Poveglia was a great location and there’s plenty more like that out there. We’ll have to see if Zak and team can hold the interest of the audience in the upcoming years.

Destination Truth also has plenty of excitement and destinations left. I don’t know if there’s a shortage of urban legends that Josh can track down and never find. And his show is just as much about his wild adventures in getting to his location as it is in hunting unusual creatures. His lost luggage, broken down vehicles, strange food, and death defying climbs could easily keep us entertained for some time to come. Josh manages to incorporate adventure travel into his show so his appeal isn’t just to a ghost hunting crowd.

And there’s so many more shows out there that I haven’t even looked at.

These shows are still fun, to a certain extent, and we all like a good scare, but with so many coming at us, something has to give. More paranormal related shows will crop up from time to time, run their 6 episodes and then disappear. The paranormal is big business right now, but I think it’s going to start running out of steam shortly. There’s just too many coming at us all at once. Once the fervor dies down there will be a slew of books documenting the paranormal and all the ghost stories from these former TV celebs, so we have that to look forward to.

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