Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Where the hell is ghost hunting headed???


There is an overwhelming sigh amongst the eager ghost hunting fans from 2005-2008. The peak of "Ghost Hunters" and the half dozen or more offshoot look-a-like shows brought with it eager reality show watchers who wanted to live vicariously through Steve and Brian, Jason and Grant.

The last few years, however, the bloom is off the rose.

As a hunter before the show even came out, I was surprised anyone would do a show about ghost hunting. It's such a tedious and often times unrewarding and boring hobby. How the hell was someone going to make it into a career and one that viewers would want to watch for a full hour once a week?

Basically, they're basing a show on a bunch of people in a dark building for hours on end, listening closely and jumping to conclusions. Imagine a show where it's just people in a tent in the woods listening to every acorn falling and leaf rustling and getting all worked up thinking it's all cougars and bears? At first, the show would be kind of thrilling, but after six or eight episodes with not so much as a skunk showing itself, you might turn the channel.

So far as GH's impact on how the average person views on the paranormal world, it has helped shed new light on the field of ghost hunting. As crude as it still is, we have gone a long way from Victorian era seances and cheesecloth ectoplasm sideshows.

But, we are still literally and figuratively shooting in the dark.

I have an enormous amount of personal experiences, but so far as hardcore evidence is concerned, it sifts through my fingers like sand. I can use an EMF meter, but other than hearsay that it's measuring ghostly activity, all I can guarantee is that it will pick up electrical activity in the room which can only tell me that this house is wired for lights! I can use my camera but it's almost surely going to pick up nothing but dust particles or things in the infrared spectrum.

We still can't prove a damn thing.

What's next for the field? Oh, I have no doubt that J&G will manage more seasons, as SyFy has not seen quite the cash cow with its other pitiful shows. So, they might just pay off that New England inn and manage to do books and speaking engagements and show up for mass hunts at famous locations for as long as they wish and never wear a plumber's gear again.

But, for those of us who remain active in the field, where do we go?

Unfortunately, corrupted by the methodology of TAPS, the teams that grew around the country in their image will continue on with the same routine, the same instruments, and the same explanations for what the paranormal is. Those of us who existed BGHS (Before Ghost Hunters Show) will continue on as before, determining by our experiences with the paranormal, just how we can capture proof of it, repeat incidences, find commonalities and factors to help us form theories and test them.

It's not glamorous. If viewers had to watch the hours of evidence review, the petty bickering, the investigators falling asleep in the middle of a hunt, they would tune out.

I truly think that GH might have had a better run if they kept them as plumbers trying to work nights at hunting, working from a trailer with cobbled together equipment and fighting with their wives about pissing away the kids' college funds. Now, that's reality.

There were moments early in the show's run when the personalities made it even more interesting to watch, when Brian was f'ing up and Jason was scared to proclaim anything haunted. They were like Duff and the gang at the cake shop in "Ace of Cakes." Somewhere along the line, however, the team began to lose its personality, became jilted and sterile, and way too cordial with each other as if they never spoke to each other outside of filming.

It will go down in history as THE ghost hunting show. But it will be the last big one.

It's just as well they don't pump out more of these. There's only so much "give us a sign of your presence's" that we can withstand.

I don't doubt that the newbie hunters will grow bored and weary and leave the industry all together. The ones left over are the ones who were always steadfastly doing it for the right reasons and not being taken in by popular pseudoscience. I'd like to see more of it enter into lab environments and experimentation with more input from inventors and scientists.

One thing I know for sure, people will not stop hunting ghosts because we will continue to run into phenomenon and ponder its origins.

It may not be hip anymore, but it will still live on
.

P.S. How do I get someone to give me a show where I make money scampering around abandoned sites? Sign me up, please. I want to get paid for something I'm already doing for my own spare time. How the hell did TAPS get that gig???

12 comments:

  1. I loved Ghost Hunters in the beginning. I understand ghost hunting is tedious and you're not always rewarded with an abundance of evidence at the end of the day. But the first season or two was entertaining as well as educational. Now, it feels like they're on permanent repeat. The things they say and do are just the same ole thing. It's like the personality was drained from it.

    I hate to say it but I'm seriously considering switching teams to Ghost Adventures. I may not agree on how they conduct investigations, but at least I won't fall asleep halfway through the show.

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  2. Andrea;
    I readily admit that I only sit through "Ghost Adventures" now and I'm certainly not looking for any powerful evidence or great evidence collection, but I am highly entertained. I would not be able to nod off on a hunt with these spaz's. The question really is; should ghost hunting be used for entertainment? TAPS refuses to grow or change or try anything different and that stagnation is a like a dead marriage; just not working for either party involved. GA at least parties down with their overzealous anticipation of ghosts and reminds me of a bunch of frat guys daring each other into the haunted house on Frat Row. It's fun and I don't take it seriously and I love to see Zak thinking everything wants to sex him up. It's freaking fun and that is entertainment. I guess if they did a reality show of scientists in a lab working with cancer cells that'd be a super snooze over time too unless the scientists were like Bill Nye and Stephen Hawking. (I want to see that!)

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  3. It seems like its time to refresh the crew.

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  4. I keep saying, if they took me onto the team, they'd be shaking it up. Hee hee

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  5. I can't watch any of them anymore. But I agree with you, Scooby Douche - er... G.A. is more entertaining. LOL! on the "everything wants to sex him up" comment. :-D They're clowns and they know they are. You can watch how that show has changed and see that they long ago embraced that. They even made fun of themselves on The Soup.

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  6. I think any paranormal show should approach the issue as either soley entertainment ( and let the viewers know it ) or as informative ( keeping it fresh with new techniques, experiments, and ideas ).

    I'd like to see a paranormal/ghost hunting show that would feature different teams with different approachs and different regions. At the close of the show, a discussion could focus on the successes and failures of each team. Different regions have different experiences ( wildlife, etc. ) that could be highlighted.

    I think that an education show can be entertaining, as some teachers make a boring subject interesting. However; it takes more effort on the part of tv producers ( and that might be asking too much ).

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  7. Cullan;
    I'm with you, dude, bro, man... (have to use their favorite terms). They're just plain old fun and my favorite ghost hunting moment of all wasn't when Brian went running "Run dude!" it was definitely Zak worried about getting sex'd up by an incubus. Wahoo!

    Barry;
    Seriously. "Most Haunted" was supposed to be purely entertainment, but invariably some yahoo's thought it was the real deal and got all excited. I'm still waiting for the show that investigates all the ways people try to talk to the other side from religious to spiritual, shaman to ghost hunters and see what seems to be effective and put it all together into a testable technique.

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  8. The audience that watches the show has more knowledge on ghost hunting now and want to move beyond the basics but GH is not giving us that. The show has become stale and needs some boosting up, we are bored. What makes GA more fun to watch is the three goofy guys that are doing the investigations. They may not know what they are doing half the time, but their antics, trying out new equipment they don't know anything about, and chemistry between them, makes the show far from being boring. I find myself getting excited about watching them, and of course, my man Josh and Team Truth.

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  9. I'm not a huge GH's fan anymore myself. I have grown to prefer Paranormal State as they are still "green" for the most part and actually "real". Not to mention they go about things very differently. I also love the show about psychic children; Chip is an AWESOME mentor for these kids and I would love to meet him.

    Autumn, if you find out how to get a gig like that, how about let your "lil-sis" in on it! LOL If nothing else we can entertain them along with Julie by getting into trouble! The Terrible Trio! I kinda like that! LOL

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  10. Tara-Dear;
    You would come to mind right away! We need to get you out here for the filming of one of our Pajama Ghost Hunts we hope to start taping. All serious-like and a real ghost hunt, but just wearing baby dolls sets and chemises... heehee

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  11. I would love to see a show based on one location. They could bring in different crews for a week or so at a time, including amateurs, skeptics and a few base cases with people not knowing anything about the location or the supposed activity. Include web cam live feeds during the week.

    How about someone doing some experimenting in the morning or at midday.

    They might avoid TV and just package something straight to DVD.

    Let them actually explore the environment - the weather, the housing materials, the flora and fauna.

    Take a real look at the equipment. How does it REALLY work. What are they actually measuring in the environment (as opposed to "this light pings when a spirit is waving to us")

    Informative can be entertaining if done correctly - at least to the core audience. However, I agree that if they want to entertain, just do that and stop pretending - bring in some more guest hunters...people that can actually entertain. I think that was what they attempted to a degree with Scariest Places.

    I would just like GH to either try something to shake it up or go the F away already.

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  12. Pangs;
    I am in total agreement. My dream would be to be the hostess of a big old scary place and each week bring in new people to stay. It'd be almost like 10 Little Indians. There'd be a little background on the skeptics and believers and experts who would stay and we'd have cameras everywhere mounted to watch them like Big Brother. They'd go about doing investigations and living in the place at the same time cause the truth is, most investigators go in for several hours and leave, but it's the folks that sleep and live there that experience the real shit because the house kind of gets used to them, comfortable....

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