Even though (according to my theory) geomagnetic activity has been almost completely flat-lined since the latter half of 2008 and therefore ghost hunting is not a profitable venture of late, the TAPS team will always be known for changing America’s view of ghost hunting.
Prior to Ghost Hunters or BGH (“before Ghost Hunters”), ghost hunting was something people giggled about as frivolous and born of the spiritualists movement involving hoaxes such as ectoplasm, Ouija boards, and (dare we say) séances. People who believed in ghosts were in with the ranks of UFO witnesses and Bigfoot peepers; all of them taken as overzealous nerd fantasies.
But, after Ghost Hunters (AGH), Americans who had believed in ghosts and would not readily admit such a predisposition, were now turning to their friends and admitting their “affliction.” I had been hunting a few years before the show came to be, but when I heard a show about ghost hunters was going to be on national TV, I thought “times are changing! I might finally come out of the closet.”
AGH, a large amount of Americans not only admitted to believing, but having experienced the paranormal, and a huge mass of them were rushing out to hunt on their own. Search of the paranormal became accessible to every Joe and Jane. You didn’t need a psychic (thank you Ghost Hunters for proving that. Even thought I’m psychic, I would never use my readings as proof). You didn’t need fancy equipment even, just a digital camera, maybe a thermometer, and if you’re lucky an audio recording device. AGH, it was quite a different world for paranormal believers.
Anyone who knows me well knows that I’m a very logic-minded and a fairly orderly person (Virgo), but I’m also very giggly, silly, and child-like.
BGH: When I told people I ghost hunt, they thought it was some kind of joke or need to be eccentric and goofy, but they never asked and never knew that I packed “heat” (EMF meters, thermometers, cameras, voice recorders, etc). I was serious about it. I had enough of experiencing the paranormal and not being able to prove it. I feared sharing my hobby because people who took me seriously would now look at me as if I’d just become a Scientologist and had a belief system set in the stars. Others who were devoutly religious would say I’m calling in the Devil.
AGH: When I told people proudly that I hunt ghosts, they were intrigued. They wanted to know all the details, try the equipment, ask questions, share paranormal experiences that they never would have told anyone about BGH. I was able to bring people in and help them learn about the business and advise them. Birthing newly inquisitive people is a great honor. Sending them out into the world to find their own paranormal puzzles is very gratifying. I’m not protective of ghost hunting like some hunters. I want more of us out there; more eyes watching things, more minds wondering how to make it better, to improve the industry.
This brings us to the final aspect of this PGH (post Ghost Hunters). That is, when the show is off and gone and all its little clones have deceased… Where will the ghost hunting world be? No doubt, at a standstill. BGH, they were still using psychics and Ouija boards, but PGH, we’ll unfortunately still be cornering the market in electrician’s devices with the hopes they can detect ghosts (which is kind of like saying I hope my rectal thermometer can measure the exhaust coming out of my car’s tail pipe).
We still have a long way to go in the paranormal research world. As much as GH was unbelievably important in teaching us debunking and being skeptical, they also carried with them old-world views of what ghosts and hauntings are. They had their “belief” system already in place. They became inbred and unable to grow in their research because they knew what ghosts were and how they present themselves and that they suck energy from your batteries and they make the EMF meter spike and yada yada yada. As open-minded as they were about a haunting possibly being explainable events and debunking a great deal of evidence, they also weren’t open-minded enough about just what a haunting is. So long as they defined what a ghost was and the different varieties, i.e. residual, intelligent, noncorporeal, etc, they never went to the next level. All their explanations were tailor fit for their belief system.
What is the next level for ghost hunting PGH? It’s going to take scientists and electrical engineers, geologists and psychologists and other professionals who hid during the BGH days to come forward and start some research with open minds. Sort of reverse engineering hauntings by looking at the evidence and backtracking for how it could have been set into motion. It will take very broad-minds in the field. There can be no more “religion of ghost hunting” allowed. So long as people think they know what is causing phenomenon and have already graded, tiered, and labeled it without any way of verifying these notions, they’ve just entered into the murky waters of a belief system(i.e. "Paranormal State").
BGH, when people asked me what a ghost was, I’d shrug and say “heck if I know.
AGH, when people asked me what a ghost was, I’d shrug and say “Heck if I know.”
I’m hoping some day PGH, I’ll be able to give a more definitive answer, but that will only come with much testing of every aspect from the psychological and psychic to the spiritual to quantum physics and forward-thinking options.
Ultimately, GH should go down in history as making ghosts not a chains and moans kind of castle-dwelling figure, but something that we all encounter at one point or another in one place or another and wonder, “what the heck was that?” and then weren’t afraid to seek answers, whether they were a squeaky door or something unexplainable.