Ghost Hunters International 2.6: "Holy Ghosts"

It’s a good thing that the previous episode reminded me to maintain a certain degree of perspective. This episode was a bit maddening for me. I’m not pleased that we’re seeing yet another casting change, even if it turns out to be temporary. While the core of the team clearly has found its comfort zone, there are still weaknesses to be addressed, and that sixth team member rotation plan is one of them.

I’m a bit more bemused by how much the team talked up the amazing new technology that has been added to their arsenal. A couple of things definitely sounded good. Adding data-loggers is a very good idea, even just for environmental data. And I would be interested in hearing about some of the other enhancements to the full spectrum camera. Barry mentioned them, but never explained what those upgrades were.

But adding more powerful IR illuminators? How is that innovative? And while I completely agree with Robb when he says that any additional environmental data is welcome on any investigation, and that it’s important to be able to quantify the changes that might mark paranormal activity, the multi-meter with the blinky lights is not the way to go. It may work great for television, but it took collection of environmental data and turned it into another example of K-II meter madness.

That said, the apparent oddities with the new multi-meter did make me think about what might actually be happening, if there is something unusual taking place. (To Robb’s credit, in each case, he noted that it’s not possible to conclude that the apparent activity is paranormal.) What if there is some sort of manipulation taking place?

So far, we see what appears to be “communication” through the manipulation of lights on devices intended to measure magnetic fields, static electrical charge, and ion count (not sure if it’s positive or negative ions being measured). What is common to all of those variables? Or is it less a question of a commonality of the variables than it is a commonality of the specific method of output display? What if it’s not that the item being measured is changing, but rather, that the simple circuit between power source and light is being manipulated?

This is where the question of assumptions and pre-conceived notions comes into play. It would be easy enough to add a few new items to an investigation to explore either direction. Is it a common environmental cause for all the apparent manipulation of these various devices, or is it simple manipulation of similar light displays? The question is not how to explore these potentials, but whether or not these additional lines of inquiry would ever cross their minds.

I’ve said it many times before, but here it is again: I think GHI is entirely sincere in what they’re doing, but I think they’re hampered by the beliefs and assumptions they carry with them. They believe more strongly than they think they do, and it stands in the way of their supposed skepticism. It’s a common enough problem, as I’ve noted. Reading the recent book written by Barry and Dustin has also underscored this point in my mind. (An in-depth review will be posted soon.)

I think it’s great that GHI is constantly looking for things to add to their data collection package. None of it is truly innovative or cutting edge, since these devices have been around for years, but if more people follow in their footsteps, it will be to the benefit of the field (assuming the investigators know what the data is telling them).

Case #1: El Bosque City Hall, Chile

The new member/substitute, Paul, thinks his equipment is a lot more special than it is. A lot of low profile groups have been using similar devices for years. It’s telling that he has worked with Barry in the past, however; Barry seems to be more willing than others to try things that other groups have used with some success. Not sure I like the idea of them taking credit for those ideas, though.

I did like the effort made to use the native language this time around. That’s been a major criticism in the past, so this bolsters confidence that it’s either been there all along or the team is responding to suggestions for improvement. Either way, it’s a good thing, even if it didn’t seem to get them very far in this instance.

I found the personal experiences to be a bit overdone, and both EVPs were buried within the background noise so deeply that I couldn’t make them out at all. That screams “pattern recognition” to me. So in this instance, I don’t agree that there is definite paranormal activity. Robb never said the place was haunted, but I still find it hard to see how they came to their conclusions.

Case #2: Santiago Severin Library, Chile

The potential sound of a chair moving was interesting, but they were right to toss it out, since there was nothing else to suggest a paranormal origin. They did a better job in this case of maintaining a degree of objectivity. Unfortunately, that logic only serves to undermine their conclusions from the first case even more!

This is being billed as a “season finale” by the Syfy Channel, but as usual, this is more of a seasonal finale than the true end of the second season. More episodes are definitely on the way. Hopefully they will bring back Ashley, because I think she had potential. I suppose that question will be answered when new episodes arrive in 2010.


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