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Ghost Hunters 6.9: "Spirits of the Night"

This has been a great season for one-investigation episodes, as well as a return to the private residential cases that are so popular with the fans. I must admit to enjoying them as well. As I’ve said before, as good as some of the public and landmark cases might be as an investigator, it’s always great to help people try to regain some sense of control over their lives.


Setting aside the usual debate over TAPS and their motivations, I must point out that they are exactly right about how some so-called mediums and psychics prey on the fears of a willing public. I’ve seen that with too many clients since becoming an active investigator, with “mediums” and thrill-seeking investigators charging hundreds of dollars and telling everyone they have demons bursting out of the woodwork.


This brings up one potential criticism of TAPS and “Ghost Hunters” that I’ve mentioned before, and one that I think would be the most damning if the show was ever revealed, without question, to be staged.


It’s one thing if, like “Ghost Adventures”, TAPS only went to public and landmark locations. After all, if it turns out that the “Ghost Adventures” team is faking their evidence, who cares? It’s mostly presented as entertainment. At most, one could criticize how the lack of technical understanding leads to presentation of ridiculous gimmicks as legitimate data collection. And frankly, many public and landmark clients want to bring in paranormal investigators because they can use it for promotional purposes.


But what about private residential clients? They have no upside to staged activity. In fact, most of them would much rather have their experiences debunked or otherwise explained. At most, they would value validation of their experiences. Staging activity for the purposes of a television show would be a heinous breach of trust, and would hurt the field immeasurably.


To be clear, I’m not accusing TAPS of anything in this case, or indeed in any other residential case. There have been instances where previous residential clients have stated their opinion, based on reading online criticisms, that the evidence found at their location may have been staged, but there’s no actual proof to this effect. It’s simply a consideration that should be noted.


This particular episode introduces a new member to the team: K. J. McCormick. Another friend of Jason’s from back in the day, as the story goes. I’m not sure that he made much of an impression in this instance, but that may be a good thing. That makes it less about the investigator and more about the investigation.


There were a lot of good opportunities for debunking in this episode. I agreed with the notion that the computer fan noise could be misinterpreted as whispers and voices. I’ve observed that myself in some locations. Also, I thought a lot of the noises from the walls could be attributed to pipes, particularly the whistling noise.


I have to disagree with the interpretation of the “voice” that Amy heard. I know that the team (and the client) thought it might be a little girl’s laughter, but every time they replayed it, it sounded more and more like the natural sound of the squeaky door. Anyone with a squeaky door knows that the noise is different depending on the rate at which the door moves, so I think it’s an instance where a questionable piece of “evidence” could have been discarded.


As far as the sounds heard by Jason and Grant, the “footsteps” were plainly audible, as was the apparent sound of the stroller rubbing against the wall. I thought the EVP of whispers was definitely valid, as it was well above the background noise, but I would disagree with the interpretation. It sounded like two voices to me: one making a statement or perhaps asking a question, and another saying “uh huh” in agreement or answer.


Which, of course, leaves the stroller footage. This will likely be another source of controversy. I’ll get it out of the way now: of course this could have been done with fishing wire. And the fact that it was in one position, and then Jason and Grant changed it, plays right into the hands of those who believe Jason and Grant stage things and keep the rest of the team in the dark. I fully expect to see claims that this is exactly what happened sprout up in the usual haunts. (And…sure enough, took me all of two minutes to find some good ones.)


But, as in many cases, just because something could have been staged, doesn’t mean that it was. There’s nothing in the footage to support the claim that it was staged, other than the assumption that such things don’t happen in the real world. As it turns out, they do. I’ve been involved in two investigations in the past four years where objects moved. In one case, that’s an understatement, as “propelled” would be a better term.


That said, there are a few issues with the footage. For one thing, the stroller is not entirely in view, so one cannot rule out someone manually manipulating the stroller. In a sense, Jason and Grant try to cover off that explanation by stating that the building was empty and the cast and crew were outside. Unfortunately, there’s nothing shown to support that explanation. This would be one of those cases where having a timestamp on the stroller footage and on accompanying footage showing the personnel outside the building would go a long way.

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