Case #1: Eden Hotel, Argentina
Case #2: Monte Cristo, Australia
The previous episode was a solid enough return from hiatus, but there were several elements that proved challenging. Many of them were franchise-related, but others were self-inflicted, such as the focus on Hitler and the over-reliance on the static meter as a âcommunication deviceâ. As Iâve said before, Iâm not keen on the idea of using technical instruments as some kind of modern Ouija board, whether itâs the easily-manipulated K-II or anything else. And in the case of the static meter, the more I read about it, the more questionable it seems. There are too many ways to generate a false positive and draw conclusions from bad data.
On the other hand, I donât have the feeling that the static meter is something that could be reliably manipulated for effect, as compared to the K-II meter, so my impression of the sincerity of the team remains intact. Iâve often been amused by those who bash GHI for being a terrible team because of a lack of sensational âevidenceâ. If anything, that has been an ongoing testimony to their honesty and, dare I say it, integrity. Not one thing on the show has suggested fabrication. (And in some ways, the lack of âevidenceâ gathered by GHI, on par with the level of âevidenceâ found by most investigators, highlights the more questionable findings on âGhost Huntersâ.)
I think itâs also important to note that consistency is a good measure of sincerity. Dustin, for example, is extremely consistent with his statements over the years, and heâs also very upfront with his religious perspective. This carries through his comments on the show, his portions of âThe Complete Approachâ (his book with Barry), and even his Twitter entries. His stated desire to prove the existence of life after death, as an affirmation of his personal beliefs, informs his investigative style and his assumptions regarding activity.
This episode reminded me of the other side of the equation: the clientâs expectations. In both cases, GHI was brought in to validate the experiences and reports of the clients with hard evidence. That made it twice as likely that anything unusual would be accepted as paranormal in origin, because the clientâs wishes aligned with the preconceived notions of the team. Debunking can and does take place under such circumstances, but itâs not going to involve anything elaborate or substantial.
Keeping all this in mind is important to me, because Iâm occasionally accused of projecting my own preferences and investigative approach onto these âentertainmentâ groups and finding them wanting in comparison. Part of that is accepting that the edited footage may be deceptive, and considering it from the perspective of what I would think if I caught that âevidenceâ myself.
But itâs also an attempt to judge a group by the measure of their stated purpose and approach. Iâve come to criticize TAPS more and more because their actions and interpretations have strayed dramatically from their original stated approach. Similarly, I criticize shows like âGhost Labâ that donât live up to their own premise. GHI, on the other hand, has evolved into a group that is very consistent with their mindset, at least in terms of their core investigators, and I appreciate that for what it is.
Case #1: Eden Hotel, Argentina
I find it ironic that this location, which was edited down to only half an episode, yielded a lot more âevidenceâ than the previous episode as a whole. I would have much rather seen this location for a full hour, rather than the overdone Hitler hunt. Iâm not sure about the interpretation of all those EVPs, but they were worth closer examination.
Since I already brought up the effect of personal belief, I have to wonder how much that played a role in Dustinâs interpretation of the âchild playingâ EVP. The intersection between the alleged EVP and Dustinâs personal experience cannot be denied, but to me, it sounds like it could have been an animal outside, perhaps close to the location itself. Itâs hard not to understand, though, why Dustin and the others would have drawn the conclusion they did, under the circumstances.
I wasnât at all impressed with the use of the tri-field meter as a communication device. Itâs much better than using a K-II meter, however, because I have a solid reason for dismissing the footage. Itâs clear from the footage that the tri-field meterâs audio alarm was set to trigger at a very low magnetic field reading, no more than 1 mG. It doesnât take much to get that kind of reading, even with a natural tri-field meter.
This might seem, at first glance, to be identical to the behavior of a K-II meter under similar conditions. But this is exactly why I prefer to see them use a tri-field meter in such experiments. The K-II supposedly spikes all the way to red when investigators communicate with an entity. Assuming the K-II is calibrated, this would correspond to a magnetic field on the order of 20-30 mG. On a tri-field meter, that would immediately produce a significant swing of the needle. That didnât happen in this case, so itâs not at all the kind of extreme shift in EMF that one supposedly gets with the K-II meter.
Part of that could be the difference in sensitivity, or the lack of calibration of the K-II meter. But a lot of K-II meters seem to be close enough to the right calibration for the qualitative nature of its design, so that shouldnât matter. Even if one meter is more sensitive than another, it shouldnât result in wildly different final results. If so, then one of the results is wrong. Yet, unfortunately, a lot of people are going to accept both examples as valid, because they want to believe.
I think the same applies to Robb and Brandyâs reaction to the âcold spotâ. Without any data to back up the claim, itâs hard to know what they were really encountering. Was it really an anomalous mass of cold air, or was it natural air movement for that abandoned building? I wasnât shocked by their own interpretation of the event, but I donât see any evidence to back up the case.
Case #2: Monte Cristo, Australia
I loved the client for this case. Iâve always had a fondness for Australians for some reason (maybe itâs the accent), but I really thought this was a lively investigation. The team seemed to pick up on the energy of the client. Cases like this make me wonder how critics can claim that GHI is less energetic than TAPS, because the difference in overall drive is palpable these days.
Two things strike me as intriguing about the EVPs, beyond the context in which they were recorded. First, to my ear, the recorded voices had a distinct Australian accent. One thing that has bothered me about other EVPs captured by GHI is the lack of regional connection. Not only are many of the voices in English, but they donât sound âlocalâ. Itâs one reason why I agree with the possibility that many of GHIâs EVPs are the result of pattern recognition, despite the many theories offered to explain the apparent contradictions.
On the other hand, I also thought that these EVPs had a very unusual âtinnyâ sound to them. EVPs often sound distorted as compared to normal speech (which is why many conventional explanations arenât universally convincing), but these EVPs almost sounded like something from a transmission. To be fair, that could have been the result of Barryâs attempt to clean up the audio, so the EVPs were more easily discerned.