Ghost Hunters International 2.1: "Wicklow Gaol"

This episode continues to remind me why I consider GHI to be superior, at this point, to TAPS. Both have their strengths and weaknesses, to be sure, but there is a vitality and touch of innovation to GHI that is largely missing from recent episodes of "Ghost Hunters". And that has been retained despite an unfortunate amount of roster instability, which has kept team chemistry on its toes.

The question of team chemistry has been largely addressed by Robb's tendency to bring in new members from his original Florida team. That's a smart move; he can choose new members based on existing knowledge of their skills and personality. That Ashley is rather attractive is only a bonus. Her attitude and approach to investigation is already a bit more promising than Angela's admitted lack of scientific background.

If nothing else, these constant roster changes have kept the team on its toes. They always seem hungry and excited to get into a location, despite the constant travel, and they react to potential activity with a bit more urgency. At the same time, they continue to avoid the kind of ridiculous (yet oddly entertaining) histrionics seen on shows like "Ghost Adventures". The response is a bit more measured, even if they still tend to interpret events as paranormal a bit too readily for my taste.

But the highlight for GHI has often been their attempts at innovation, and that's where they put TAPS to shame. There's plenty of room for improvement, particularly in terms of establishing baselines more effectively. The "full spectrum" equipment is great, but it would be a lot more interesting if that footage could be compared against the more conventional footage. If nothing else, it would provide more information about the nature of any anomalies. (More on that in a moment.)

I continue to enjoy the little things. The effort to document anything that they hear or see, and fully describe any event as completely as possible under the circumstances. How Barry and others will pull out equipment to take readings when the situation begs for it. How they place instruments right in front of a camera so that technical data can be collected along with the usual recordings. It's hit or miss, but it's a lot better than K-II meter antics and games with flashlights.

One thing I liked about the EVPS for this investigation was their amplitude. Across the board, they all rose above the background noise, thus proving that there was actually something there to analyze. I'm not particular fond of the interpretations, however. The one that sounded like "rice" was taken into directions not remotely supported by the data itself, and they seemed to miss that there were syllables within that "growl" that Dustin recorded.

In terms of the personal experiences, I found it interesting that they seemed to have things happen in certain common locations. They also took note of that, which I appreciated. As others will no doubt attest, this would be the easiest kind of event to fabricate, but I have yet to see anything on GHI that would lead me to conclude that they were staging any of the activity.

The most interesting "evidence", of course, was the video footage. I think it's a bit premature to link the anomalous lights to the reported activity, since the information to be gleaned from the footage is decidedly limited, but it is worth some attention. The footage is fairly pixilated, but it's easy enough to tell that the "lights" both appear suddenly, and there is no movement in those areas before or after. The "lights" move as they fade away, which suggests something other than, say, a flashlight or similar device.

While I'm not sure the analysis went as far as it could (or should) have, I think this was a fantastic start to the gang's second season. It's fairly easy to understand why Robb declared the site haunted, and I loved the client's reaction to the "evidence". It also blew away much of the fifth season of "Ghost H


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