Ghost Hunters 4.16: "The Boy in the Brothel"

I've gotten a bit of criticism following the previous two reviews for my strident dislike of the K-II Meter. At least one of those defending use of the device has claimed that it's part of an elaborate attempt to get my own television series! The truth is much less sinister. I've always been most interested in the application of scientific investigative practice to research into paranormal claims. TAPS has claimed the same goal; I simply point out where the practice doesn't match the sermon.

It doesn't take much research to determine that I've been more supportive of TAPS than critical. I've been writing about the show since the beginning of the second season, and I've given them credit where credit is due, even when the sentiment has been unpopular. After all, I wouldn't be a paranormal investigator myself if it wasn't for TAPS. I've said this many times.

That said, I have a specific point of view, particularly in terms of questioning methods and practices that are less robust than others. If the goal is to collect solid "evidence" of reported paranormal activity, then how you gather that "evidence" is at least as important (if not more so) than getting it at all. To that end, criticism of any given method or piece of equipment is always intended to be constructive.

So what does this have to do with the current episode? Admittedly, not much, except that the cases depicted were, in my opinion, more interesting and less sensationalized. At least one of the cases centered on debunking a client's claims, and in neither case was a technological Ouija board used as evidence of paranormal activity. In other words, there was less of the kind of material one would expect from "Most Haunted" and more of the classic "Ghost Hunters" fare.

When it comes to "Ghost Hunters", it's important not to overlook the difference between intractable skepticism and constructive criticism, even when the criticism appears harsh.

Case #1: Hoof, Fin, and Feathers, RI

The main "evidence" in this investigation was the audible noise: the footsteps/pounding and the two EVPs. The pounding noise could have been a number of things, such as floorboard contraction, branches on the roof, etc., and it's certainly possible that the team checked for all of those things. It wouldn't be the first time the editors left out the apparently obvious!

The voices were interesting, but as always, I'm wary when they are audible, and especially so when they are so loud and sustained. I listened to the recordings a few times each, and I'm not quite sure what to think. My first impression was that the recording sounds like something mechanical or transmitted. The sound quality is different than, say, Jason or Grant's voice. If it were simply recorded on wireless audio, I might even think it could be a captured baby monitor transmission. If I had experienced that, with no apparent explanation, I can't say I'd be any less perplexed.

Case #2: Stitelers' House, CT

The team was pretty thorough during this case, but I'm not entirely sold on some of their explanations. I agree with the comments on the toys (any parent knows that one these days), and while it was never really investigated further, the speculation regarding the TV was sound. I suppose the point about the EMF is true enough, but I wonder if that's really a strong enough field to have the effect they mentioned.

I do like how Grant explained TAPS' position. While they were able to find a few simple explanations for some of the reported activity, they acknowledged that their explanations weren't comprehensive. They were very clear that more investigation might be needed, and that TAPS would make sure that happened. Contrast that with the overly harsh dismissal of client claims on recent episodes of "Ghost Hunters International", and there's a clear difference. The approach in this episode is very similar to my own stance on client relations, so I appreciated seeing that hig


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