Ghost Hunters International 2.7: "Hitler's Ghost"

Had this episode aired shortly after the previous episode, in which Paul was introduced and some of the new technology was mentioned, then it might not have felt so out of place. The reintroduction of Ashley, for example, felt more casual than it probably should have been. It really felt like the episodes were edited together all at once, originally intended to air as part of a longer run, and then broken up by a network decision.

The episode suffers a bit for being out of context. Ashley’s previous appearances are well out of mind, so it’s hard to know if there was any progress in her investigative technique. I prefer to give newer investigators the benefit of the doubt, but I’m not sure what she’s bringing to the table, other than a pair of hands. The “rotating sixth member” concept has prevented the team from completing the process of gelling into a solid unit.

Robb does his best to get the team around that problem, ensuring that the teams shift around. Unlike TAPS, the teams are not static, which eliminates some of the monotony that has been plaguing the over-formatted “Ghost Hunters” for a few seasons now. The regulars are all making strong contributions, and while I still think Paul takes credit for ideas that have been around for years, he brings a vitality that does GHI some good. It will be sad to see him go, once the South American run is over.

It should really be interesting once the “winners” from “Ghost Hunters Academy” come into the picture. I hope Dustin’s tenure on “Ghost Hunters” was not a sign that he was absent from GHI for any significant amount of time. Dustin is one of the better investigators on the team, especially given his rapport with Barry, and replacing him with either of the “trainees” would be a disaster.

If they were brought in as Ashley’s replacement, perhaps one after the other in separate short runs, that would work better. It wouldn’t be perfect, but it would be better. After all, the core team is used to adjusting to new members by now. It wouldn’t be as logical as bringing in someone Robb has already worked with (a reasonable solution in the past), but it could minimize the damage. My worry is that GHI might be forced to include “training segments” in upcoming episodes to justify the rationale behind Pilgrim Films’ expansion of the franchise.

Beyond the team dynamic questions raised during this long hiatus, there is the touchy nature of the location itself. Very little in the historical record supports the notion that Adolf Hitler made it to South American, let alone a specific hotel in Argentina. (Nazis? Yes. Hitler? No.) But even as removed as this particular location might have been from true Nazi territory, there’s still a certain stigma to investigating such a site. I can imagine a lot of people finding it tasteless.

That said, it seemed like the team understood that it was a controversial choice, and they adjusted accordingly. And they also did a good job of maintaining perspective, since they acknowledged that nothing in the “evidence” pointed to Hitler or even Nazis. Had they stepped over that line, it would have been the low point for the group.

I’m still not comfortable with the static meter. Without any specifications on the device to give me a better feel for what would and would not trigger a response, it’s hard to see how it’s any more credible than the K-II meter. Using such a device as a communication device (and, for that matter, any technical instrument) assumes that the measurable variable in question can be finely manipulated on command. Unlike the K-II meter, however, I’m not sure how a static meter could be manipulated remotely. (The K-II meter, of course, can be easily triggered by tapping a walkie-talkie nearby.)

I loved the idea of using a remote control rig, and having equipment strapped to the back of a motorized model tank was priceless. (Take the Nazi connection into account, and there was a certain thematic irony at play.) On the other hand, it was a bit disappointing to realize that they had never tested the rig outside of the investigations, to determine what noises are normal during operation. I know the shooting schedule is fairly hectic, but that’s a fundamental error.

The footsteps were nice and easy to distinguish, but that photo was the most interesting piece of “evidence” they’ve had in a long time. It’s hard to tell if this is really as impressive as it seems at first glance. For one thing, the “head” is aligned with a significant bit of lens flare, so combine that with a random smudge in the right location on the bed, and pattern recognition is going to do the rest. But it’s not necessarily that clear-cut, and nothing about the photo leads me to think it was faked. And given that Barry and the others are convinced that apparitions are likely to show up in the UV part of the spectrum, I completely understand how they would draw the conclusion that they did.

If the episode wasn’t so out of context with the previous six episodes of the season, and if the location wasn’t so questionable, this probably would have been the strongest start to a GHI run since the series began. As it is, this had some good points and one intriguing piece of “evidence”, so it is still a solid entry.


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