Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Have Ghost Hunting Shows Helped or Hurt the Industry?


When “Ghost Hunters” first came out, I was intrigued. I’d been hunting for some time and wondered how you could base a show on such a lame and boring hobby. It didn’t dawn on me at the time that a lot of people haven’t been poking around old haunted places in search of phenomenon. To them, this was dark and scary and forbidden territory.

Considering most people at the time still thought of Ouija boards and séances as the main way to speak to the other side (Victorian era methods), I was glad that TAPS was showing folks that we are more into verification nowadays than into theatrics.

There were huge ramifications of the appearance of this team and their show. One of them is that regular folks wanted to seek out phenomenon. This is good. All we have in the end is anecdotal stories. We really don’t have ways to verify what we experience,so if these people leave with stories to tell of their encounters, they have left themselves puzzled, perplexed and seeking answers. The more of us out there seeking answers to this weird shit, the better.

As well, TAPS showed people that you need to stop, take a breath, and find reasonable explanations for occurrences. Most everything is “this world” explainable. They also showed that you can follow a planned set of methods to do this, i.e. tagging on your EVPs, pairing up members so there are fewer occupants, interviewing clients to decide where to place cameras and recorders. Keeping creditibility should top the list of priorities.

There is always good with the bad and bad with the good. That is probably one of my top 4 beliefs about life, along with the serenity prayer about knowing what you can change and what you can’t change, the golden rule about treating others as you want to be treated and the threefold rule of pagans (i.e. karma).

In the case of GH, the bad came in many unexpected forms. First, their inadaptable and unbending methods created a community of play-alikes who follow the “Church of TAPS” and emulate them without question. This being said, they just made it so the field is a dead end for new knowledge. Had they emulated openness in trying new things, adapting their thinking and enjoying bringing in others with other methods, they might have taught an open-minded ghost hunting technique that would get us somewhere. Right now, following TAPS is like circling a cul-de-sac endlessly chasing one's tail.

Another bad outcome of the popularity of ghost hunting has been the cropping up of make-shift teams everywhere. It was such a popular hobby at its heyday around 2005 that most historic sites cringed when approached by teams. Old quaint B&Bs were suddenly turning away ghost hunters because of yahoo beer-drinking teams parading their hallways with instruments while paying clients were trying to sleep.

An ideal example of good with bad: Historic buildings like abandoned prisons and asylums have a way to make income now to keep them standing and not torn down. The bad part of this: They have to invite in ghost hunters whom they charge to tromp up and down the halls. There are no plans to revise these buildings. The rustic and raw look of them works to their advantage to bring in more hunting groups.

I won’t even begin to cover shows like “Paranormal State,” “Ghost Adventures,” “Ghost Lab” and others. The fact is that they mostly showed slick editing, mood and atmosphere and horrible and ignorant techniques like burying magical coins on properties and taunting the dead (cringe).

Has it helped us having ghost hunting shows? The only improvement in my life as a hunter is that people no longer freak out when they hear I hunt. The biggest detriment is that other hunts are J&G robots and refuse to try new techniques, equipment or methods so I have to play it alone or with a small group of open-minded folks.

Whether the shows are here or not, I was hunting before and I will continue to hunt until the answers for me seem more solid and less liquid.

11 comments:

  1. Spiritualism blooms grows and fades away, it has its ebb and flow. Did Ghost Hunters hurt the industry?

    No more so than the scammers in the 1920's and 1930's.

    "Collargate" of the 2009 Halloween special was nothing new. That level of hoaxing can be found a hundred years ago in American history.

    Overall, I would say that it was a mixed blessing. However; I'll be happy to see GH, GHI, and GHA fade away.

    Of course, having said that, what will I have to complain about ??? ---lol

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  2. I was excited to see this very different show called "Ghost Hunters". I thought how cool it was to be able to use equipment to prove the existence of spirits. They opened the door for ghost hunting, but now it is time to improve on their methods. The equipment is getting better, but I am still waiting for crystal clear EVP's instead of the mush-mouth sounding ones they are getting.

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  3. Barry;
    Yeah, it's only a step ahead of vomiting ectoplasm and rigged seances. The problem is taking anything and making a business out of it. Just look at politics and religion; they breed greed and corruption and mass brainwashing. We won't make gains in the field by the people whose priority is to put out a weekly show for the masses anymore than you'll find God through a televangelist. I suspect real strides will be made by intelligent rebels who look for patterns, instigators and alleviators and then come up with ways to test and replicate and even cause activity.

    Julie;
    Yeah, the industry looks stale if you look at the shows for the real strides, but I think those are being made by a few legimate testers who have put to rest myths like EMF sensitivity and infrasound affecting folks.

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  4. When Ghost Hunters came on the scene, I thought it was refreshing to see a show use more "scientific" methods to document Ghostly activity and I appreciate what the guys have done to promote the idea of having supporting evidence (whether or not they doctored their own evidence is something I'd rather not get into though).

    However, I agree that they've become extremely formulaic on their show and they need to experiment with new ideas. Which is why I love what they do on Destination Truth. Even though they use a lot of the tools featured on Ghost Hunters, they branch out and attempt to experiment with ideas outside of the box.

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  5. HB;
    I'm with you, buddy. DT isn't going to break ground on research or find proof of a cryptid, but they are willing to shake things up and change their team around and try new methods. They adapt to each location. GH does not adapt to locations; locations adapt to GH.

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  6. You heard it here first:
    They need to do a ghost show where they hire funny people to investigate. The problem with the current ghost shows is that the "investigators" have about as much personality as a table. They are BORING and they take themselves too seriously. If they were to hire professionals and include funny people freaking out, I would watch that show.

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  7. I think the shows are helpful for helping create exactly this discussion.

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  8. Israel;
    I agree! I keep telling them they need me on these shows. My sense of humor is ridiculous and I'm spastic and my mind is quick. I make everything an adventure. I'd make the team do strobe light dancing before the hunt. It is sure to make the spirits curious.

    Pangs;
    It does seem like lately everyone wants to talk about how dry the shows are. Maybe it's time to add some spit.

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  9. I think all of the ghost hunting shows are a cheesy joke. They are more of a comedy than anything.

    You don't need walk around an old building in pitch black to find a ghost. You can see them in daytime much better.

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  10. Gabriel;
    I would love to see them do a daytime hunt, honestly. Still, the reasons for doing them at night are often practical--places are closed, less traffic, less people outside yelling and things that might interrupt an investigation. As well, some believe that when there's no people around, the ghosts come out at night when crowds are gone. Don't know wabot that. It's not like they take up any space--hee hee!

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