Ghost Hunters 5.15: "A Bat Out of Hell"

Like a number of people, I always wondered if they were ever going to get around to investigating the house that won the “Great American Ghost Hunt” sweepstakes. Syfy has been rather dodgy with their promotional contests over the years, after all, and they seem to stretch the meaning of whatever prize they offer. (Remember the contest, early in the third season, where someone was supposed to get the chance to investigate with TAPS? Just disappeared!) It took a little while for them to get to that particular location, but they finally made it.

First things first: who thought it was a good idea for Meatloaf to be a guest investigator, especially for an investigation that was determined via contest? It doesn’t seem to make much sense. All things being equal, it’s assumed that relatively new investigators within the group have received some form of training (there used to be an entire training department in TAPS, as recently as 2007). They’ve had other conference-happy investigators involved in the past, to great infamy, but usually the civilian/celebrity guest appearances are associated with the Halloween specials, which are really just massive Syfy promotional events.

So what was the logic behind bringing Meatloaf onto an investigation? For one thing, it’s extremely poor investigative practice. One of the most basic tenets of any investigation is personnel control: people shouldn’t bring friends along to an investigation. They don’t know what they’re doing, and that typically leads to false assumptions and hysteria. Did they somehow think that having a complete newcomer with name recognition would somehow make the K-II Meter activity more believable?

The usual explanation would be the combination of falling ratings and a desire to use celebrity name recognition to bring viewers back into the fold. But the ratings are holding up fairly well, even following the controversies of the past year, and I can’t remember the last time Meatloaf was a huge draw in popular culture. Add to that the relative lack of publicity surrounding his appearance, and it feels awfully random.

Whatever the case, this is another case where the K-II Meter is a huge part of the “personal experiences”, and gets featured heavily in the reveal. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: they can say they’re skeptical about the device until the cows come home, but they clearly believe that this is direct spirit communication. Their reactions in this episode leave no room for doubt.

There were some obvious problems with the K-II session. For one, the interpretation of the “answers” varied with the questions; there was no consistency. So when a question was asked, the “answers” were always taken to verify the anticipated result. There was not one instance where the K-II Meter did not light up, and there were moments where it would light up without questioning.

As I’ve mentioned previously (and just to be clear), I’ve tested the device myself on several occasions, and not once has it performed as it does nearly every time they use it on “Ghost Hunters”. Even when we have other anomalous activity taking place, it doesn’t respond. Add to that the many technical issues with the device (lack of calibration, etc.), and I just don’t trust it. I’m also wary of the fact that the location was relatively remote, so outside interference would have been unlikely. Either there was actual activity taking place, or there was interference from someone on the premises (meaning, TAPS or production personnel).

I was recently on an investigation where we encountered a remarkable amount of equipment malfunction and battery drain, on several pieces of equipment, all within a five minute period. This ranged from battery failure on equipment that had been prepped and tested just before use to malfunction of equipment that would require several button presses in sequence to produce the effect. All certainly possible, but it was an odd bit of synchronicity.

I mention this because of what happened with the equipment during this case, right before the K-II Meter sessions. Could it be a perfectly natural explanation? Absolutely. Could it have been staged for the purposes of the show? That can’t be excluded. I’m simply noting that a similar experience in recent weeks gives me pause. When something on the show matches something I’ve encountered, it’s hard to dismiss it without some degree of consideration.

A lot happened in the boathouse, and for once, it wasn’t just Jason and Grant that experienced things. Amy and Kris heard and saw some interesting things, and Steve and Tango heard similar unusual noises. That convinces me that something was happening, but not necessarily that it was paranormal in nature. Many of those noises sounded like they could have been local wildlife, and Steve noted that sound carries in odd ways in the area.

The incident with the water bottle will be the focus for many, so it bears close attention. Jason mentioned that the DVR and camera footage could easily show that no one in the building went near the bathroom. It might have been a good idea to show that footage, because what was shown leaves much to the imagination. I can guarantee that Grant will be named the culprit by many skeptics.

On the other hand, it would have been hard not to notice the window right there in the bathroom, and even with the door open, I’m fairly certain that it would be hard to see the window from where they were sitting. So is it possible that someone climbed in the window, moved the bottle, and then climbed back out? It’s a stretch, but I think it’s a legitimate possibility.

I don’t think that Meatloaf had any doubts about the location being haunted, but Jason and Grant hedged their bets a bit more. As always, I agree with the notion of conducting follow-up investigations to gather more data or attempt to corroborate activity further. I’m sure the client was happy with the apparent activity that was captured, but it would take a lot more hard evidence with credible instruments for me to be convinced.


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