“Is Ghost Hunters TV show a fake?” “Are the Ghost Hunters fake?” “Did TAPS fake their Halloween 2008 show?”
The emails have been pouring in, asking questions like these. I was going to ignore them, but the emails continue to flood my in-box.
I’ve looked at the Ghost Hunters TV show footage on YouTube and studied it frame-by-frame. I also listened closely to the audio, where a voice clearly says, “You’re not supposed to be here.”
Here’s my analysis.
“YOU’RE NOT SUPPOSED TO BE HERE”
That voice is alarmingly clear. During my own ghost hunts, I’ve never heard anything that audibly crisp or like someone was right there, saying it.
Then again, I rarely hear things audibly when I’m conducting research. I rarely capture any EVP, either. Audio is not one of my stronger areas.
However, Jason and Grant have documented increasingly clear EVPs during their research.
In my experience, this seems to be a skill — perhaps related to rapport with the spirits — and most ghost researchers improve as they investigate a variety of sites.
So, while this was a very unusual and audible voice, I think it’s possible in a profoundly haunted setting… and that’s what they chose for their Halloween 2008 show.
Also, at Jason’s MySpace blog, he points out that the voice was so clear, he asked if someone had said anything. (If anything irks me about Jason, it’s that he tends to be aggressively skeptical. This show was no exception.)
Likewise, it looked to me as if Grant was asking the producers if they were in the wrong location… if they weren’t actually supposed to be where they were at that moment.
So, I don’t think that Jason, Grant or the TAPS team faked the voice. I also trust the integrity of the SciFi channel.
There are other, natural explanations, but I don’t think that Jason, Grant or the SciFi channel set this up.
GRANT’S JACKET PULLED
The second controversial moment was the tug on Grant’s jacket… if it was that.
If you watch the video, frame by frame, you’ll see that the collar moves oddly just before Grant stumbles backwards.
However, the fishing line explanation doesn’t work. We might see the line highlighted by the cameras, or a shadow on the wall when the cameras moved in. It’s possible to do that on a recorded show.
However, on a live show, the production company couldn’t take that chance.
Here’s a bigger problem with the fishing line explanation: Grant’s jacket was open at the neck. If line had pulled on his jacket enough to throw him off balance, it would have jerked the neck opening of the jacket as it pulled him backwards, slightly choking him.
In my opinion, Grant perceived it as just his jacket, but he was actually forced backwards by something else. The only visual manifestation — besides Grant stumbling — was the movement at the collar a split second before he stepped backwards.
I can’t explain what happened. I have no idea, and can’t even guess.
Strange things occur in haunted places. That’s one reason we keep investigating them: We’re looking for explanations, but we often leave with more (and new) questions than answers.
The jacket tug baffles me.
NOT ENOUGH REACTION?
Several people have claimed that Grant’s body language, tone of voice, or other cues “give away” that he was faking the whole thing.
That’s not very good evidence of a hoax.
Anyone who has been on real ghost hunts knows that we get used to odd things happening. The “usual” anomalies stop surprising us after awhile. (This may be another reason why the manifestations become increasingly dramatic around experienced ghost hunters.)
But, if you’ve been with me on ghost hunts that turn dramatic — for example, with doors slamming repeatedly, or windows opening and closing on their own — you’ve seen me sigh and mutter, “I wish they wouldn’t do that. It’s really annoying.”
Things that scare other people don’t even surprise experienced ghost hunters, after we’ve encountered the phenomena enough times.
So, it’s a mistake to judge the authenticity of phenomena because an experienced ghost hunter doesn’t seem startled enough.
We just don’t startle as easily as someone with less ghost hunting experience.
Grant’s reaction (or lack of it) doesn’t prove anything.
A MATTER OF INTEGRITY
Jason and Grant are good friends. I see them at least once a year and we’ve chatted over breakfasts, lunches, dinners and at parties. We exchange emails when something is of mutual concern.
Grant is one of the most honest people I’ve ever met. He’s a really clean-living guy. Grant looks you straight in the eye when he talks with you. He seems to leave parties even earlier in the evening than I do… and that’s saying a lot. (I leave before things get even mildly wild. Unlike many ghost hunters, I’m a morning person… but I also live a fairly tame lifestyle and never drink liquor.)
I know both Grant and his wife, and neither of them would make make things up. They’re squeaky-clean, and I’d trust Grant (or his wife) completely in any context.
I like Jason, but sometimes he seems like an almost incorrigible skeptic. If anything, he’s likely to trivialize evidence that the rest of us point to as proof of a haunting. So, it seems absurd to think that he’d be part of a hoax. That’d be completely out of character.
Sure, Jason has a very dry wit, but he would never compromise his own integrity as a ghost hunter, the integrity of the TAPS team, or the Ghost Hunters TV show. That’s not his style. If you’ve met him in real life or listened to him talk at any conference, you know that he’s rock-solid honest.
At this point, I would hope that Jason and Grant have earned enough money that they could retire tomorrow, if they wanted to.
If the show’s production company said, “We want you to fake this,” Jay and Grant would reply, “We’d quit rather than do that.”
And, they would.
They have no reason to compromise their integrity. None whatsoever.
DID IT HAPPEN?
It’s true. Some very odd things seemed to happen during the Ghost Hunters TV show on Halloween 2008.
Could they have been faked?
Yes, the voice might have come from a very well hidden microphone. But — if that voice was part of a hoax — I’m confident that Jason, Grant and the SciFi channel weren’t aware of it.
I wasn’t there to know what direction the voice came from, and what it was like, except for what we saw on the Ghost Hunters TV show… and frankly, that’s not enough information for me to judge.
I’ve said it often: It’s a mistake to judge what is (and isn’t) a real haunting, a real ghost photo or real EVP unless you were there.
The incident with Grant’s jacket is another issue altogether. It couldn’t have been faked without Grant’s knowledge, and there’s zero chance he’d be part of a hoax.
All in all, I trust Jason and Grant. They say that they didn’t fake anything on the show, and I believe them.
But, I’m also aware that many people like a “good scare” on Halloween, and — starting the very next morning — they want to assure themselves that the whole thing wasn’t real, and scary things don’t wait for them in the darkness.
I think they’re the loudest detractors of the Halloween 2008 Ghost Hunters TV show.
Personally, I’ll keep watching the show and enjoy it tremendously.
July 2009 update:
This article may soon close for comments. Much of the rhetoric has degenerated to name-calling, petty accusations, and a few statements that could not be approved because they border on libel and defamation of character.
I try to keep this as an open forum, whether or not I agree with you. Well-considered arguments can help us find a common ground, and a direction to move towards as intelligent and enquiring members of the ghost hunting community .
If you have something constructive and helpful to contribute to the conversation, I’ll happily approve your comment so that it appears here. If you have documented accusations that would meet legal standards, I can approve those, as well.
However, I will not approve future comments that suggest stupidity or duplicity among my readers… on either side of the argument.
We may have to agree to disagree on the subject of the “Ghost Hunters” TV series.
August 2009 update
Thanks for the many comments, both positive and negative. As I announced in July, I’ve closed this thread to additional comments.
I’ve set the software accordingly, and apologize if any comments were deleted in this process. (I see that at least one of mine vanished, so be assured that it’s nothing personal.)
Short of putting everyone involved on a lie detector with witnesses with unquestionable integrity (if there is such a thing), I’m not sure that this question will ever be answered. While I respect the opinions of those who’ve disagreed, I still maintain my faith in the personal integrity of Jason and Grant.