Ghost Hunters 6.6: "Haunted Reform School"

Six episodes into the sixth season, I already notice a few small but interesting changes to the show format. It’s nothing that will serve to change the minds of the fervent critics, and it doesn’t mitigate the issues regarding some of the technical shortcomings and the production concerns. But I do think it makes for a better show as a whole.

First, I’ve noticed a lot more episodes focused on one location, as opposed to cramming two cases into one hour. This is not just true of “Ghost Hunters”; it was evident during the GHI run as well. But “Ghost Hunters” was falling into a bit of a format rut. Every time they had two cases in one episode, the second case rarely had anything of note. Cynical viewers became even more cynical as a result.

Second, I’ve noticed a lot more blending of the team members. Tonight was especially good in that regard. How long has it been since we’ve seen Jason or Grant investigate with other members of the team, other than instances when one of them was unable to be there? We’ve seen more of it this season in six episodes than we saw in the previous three seasons, I would wager!

I’ve also noticed that the editors, while still pumping that idiotic music/sound effects mix to the hilt, are remembering to dial it back when there’s something for the audience to hear. If there’s one thing that I really like this season, it’s been more of the real-time footage of reactions to things being heard, and immediate follow-ups to hunt down a possible source. More can always be done, of course, and some would say that the team’s acting skills are just improving, but to me, it’s feeling more realistic.

This was another great location, and I thought that Amy’s personal reaction to the investigation was particularly well portrayed. There was a nice message being sent about the best way to handle an investigation with personal ramifications. It could be a location that you’ve always wanted to investigate, or a case that involves someone in your family or something similar. Whatever those connections might be, a good investigator has to be able to stick to the protocols and avoid letting those emotional ties from influencing conclusions. I never had the sense that Amy was letting her guard down; that hasn’t always been the case with past team members.

As far as the “evidence” goes, this case involved a lot of personal experiences, but they did get a few interesting things here and there. I thought a lot of the shadows and odd flashes of light could have been the result of all the reflective surfaces throughout the building. I’m sure they checked for that sort of thing, but even they were seeing things out of their peripheral vision, and that can be unreliable.

I liked Steve’s debunking of the cold spots, though I was a little surprised at how excited they were by the FLIR footage. I honestly couldn’t figure out what was supposed to be so impressive about that footage. To me, it’s just a simple anomaly without a distinctive or suggestive shape. Maybe there was something I missed, but the anomaly was also the same temperature as its surroundings, which would lead me to conclude it was nothing paranormal.

I’ve said before that I’ve noticed a huge upswing in the frequency of “footsteps” and related sounds. I firmly believe many of these instances are natural settling or related to temperature change over the course of the night. But recent experience has given me pause on dismissing such recordings and experiences out of hand. Besides, it was captured rather well on audio (and, for that matter, video).

As far as the disembodied voice calling out “Grant” is concerned, I’m of two minds on the matter. During the investigation, it sounded very much like a bird or other animal, not a human voice. During the reveal, it was a lot more clear, though that could have been due to the process of making it easier to hear. Contextually, I can understand why Grant would assume it was a direct response to his request, but I just don’t think it adds up to that degree.

The “slow down” EVP was certainly not an animal noise. Maybe I missed it, but it looked like it was captured on the production equipment. That would be an unusual circumstance. It would also rekindle some of the ongoing arguments about whether or not the production footage is available for review. Unfortunately for Jason and Grant, they’ve both claimed in the past that they don’t have access to that footage. Then again, I could be misinterpreting what was shown in the reveal.

Whatever the case, another good location, another entertaining episode. After a questionable start, this season has been surprisingly good.


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