I admit that I was impressed with TAPS right from the beginning because they were doing ghost hunting the way I was doing it--with the left brain. I've never once doubted that what they come across is unique and interesting and sometimes downright amazing. Once it's all gone through the filter of debunking, I'm pretty happy with the results.
My only doubts about their findings began when they moved into their own office in the second season. Only a tiny threat of concern. Then, the magazine was launched, the lecture tour, the live 6-hour Halloween episodes, the t-shirts and all the trimmings.
Then at the finale of this last season, I got a "Billy Mays" moment when they showed off their new "haunted inn" they bought. A very brilliant use of their media-induced money to keep them going forever as the friendly hosts of a just-happens-to-be-haunted inn. I can see retirement around the corner and a long happy lecture tour. As they drove off on their nice new snow mobiles, I looked at Jason and Grant in a strange way, with a pit in my stomach. By Billy Mays moment, I mean, I feel like I just found out something about them that ruins my image of them.
How does one stop a media machine once it's begun?
I came across this debunker's video (above) and although I don't tend to be pleased with most skeptic's viewpoints, this made me look at the incident that I considered to be genuine in a new way. When you're watching it curled up at night, you don't take note of the context in which it's filmed, but this clip makes you do just that. Other video shows that Halloween 2008 episode at Ft. Delaware in a new light, as well. The cast is standing around waiting during commercial break to begin to walk and look as though they're hunting.
Sadly, the message in all of this is the same one I was faced with in 1972 when I recorded the footsteps on my stairs, there's simply no way to prove authenticity or hoax. So long as there is a seed of doubt, no one is going to buy any "proof" of ghosts. With that being said, I continue along the same lines I have always followed, being skeptical, debunking, and asking for a very high level of confidence in my evidence. Ultimately, I remind myself, this isn't about proving ghosts to others, it's about satisfying my own questions about the phenomenon. That, too, is what the original ghost hunters, Jason and Grant, should do to keep their heads level.
At the end of the day, no matter what the media bus-ride has caused Jason and Grant to do or not do, they will know whether evidence they gather is genuine or not and whether they should even "play" at hunting anymore or not. Their first commitment should be to the venture they began before SciFi (SyFy) ever contacted them - the desire to learn more about phenomenon. Yeah, back when Jason and his wife would argue about his money going into ghost hunting and complain about his time away from the family of five. If there is more importance on the quality of the show versus looking for proof, then they should admit they're nothing more than an entertainment show and not a research team.
For now, I'll still follow them. They get access to places most of us only dream of. I've always had a very high level of trust in Jason and Grant, but like a family member who's been bamboozled, some of the bloom has worn off and I'm a bit wary just which Jason and Grant I'm viewing. In those pleasant moments when they shoot the breeze with unseen entities, I'll let my guard down and enjoy the interactions. The show was, after all, based on a team with a lot of sound techniques and a couple of guys who obviously like each other's company and don't play up homeowners for emotions unlike "Paranormal State" that tries to frenzy them into a crying fest.
The reasons I respect J&G are still the same, but when I turn my eyes onto the film crew following them and the producer poking around, I'll definitely be extremely skeptical of SyFy's staff and let my respect for G&J stand by the merit of what I've seen them do for the industry thus far in the realm of science and debunking.
Just as I wouldn't let one piece of evidence prove a haunting, I'm not about to let one film (as above) throw the baby out with the bathwater.