Watching this episode, I was compelled to ponder the difficulties of investigating a small boat or ship. We've seen TAPS investigate large military vessels and cruise ships before, but relatively speaking, they don't react quite the same to the shifting waters and the stresses created by that motion. When I was younger, my family would vacation at the Jersey shore all the time, and we were on boats of various sizes on a regular basis.
While it has admittedly been a long time, one thing I do remember very well is the constant noise. Boats creak all the time, and there are natural points within every vessel where the stresses are released. Just as temperature changes in house floorboards can create sounds that imitate footsteps, the natural behavior of the materials of construction for a boat or ship will inevitably create the same effect.
There's also the fact that sea vessels move with the shifting tide and there are subtle changes that could go unnoticed and might happen only when the circumstances (tide, wake, swell size, hull orientation, etc.) are exactly right. Objects that might otherwise stay perfectly still can, unexpectedly, move and shift. This is not a stretch of the imagination at all, or even a stretch of physics.
All of which made me wonder: how much experience would the TAPS investigators have with boats and ships of that size, especially when mostly vacant? Could a lack of experience with that kind of location lead to assumptions and reactions that were unwarranted, even for investigators with years of experience? To me, it speaks to a larger problem seen with the rush of new investigators we've seen in recent years: because they've never run into certain kinds of locations first hand, they attribute natural noises and occurrences to paranormal sources.
Case #1: The Berkeley, CA
I liked how they managed to debunk a number of the reports for this location, and essentially dismissed any talk of paranormal activity there, but I think one debunking attempt is open to debate: the locked bathroom stall.
Given the limitations of time, any reasonable explanation is probably considered enough to lend doubt to reported activity. And I can appreciate the theory that a practical joker is more likely than any paranormal source! But I thought they took more out of that explanation than they should have. It just seemed like they tossed it aside too easily. It would have been more satisfying for me if they had found a way to explain it that wouldn't require human intervention.
Case #2: The Star of India, CA
All the personal experiences with footsteps can be explained by the materials of construction for the ship, even Grant's comment that he could feel the movement under his feet. And as a cat owner, the thermal image immediately struck me as what one might see if a visitor came and decided to hang out and watch the strange people for a while. With nothing to give us a sense of scale for the thermal image, it's open for debate.
The EVP was interesting, particularly how it almost sounds superimposed on the rest of the audio. The voice quality doesn't make it sound like it's synched up with the rest of the audio. That's not to imply that it was added to the audio after the fact, and it's hard to argue that a voice that's not supposed to be there should sound a certain way! What I am saying, however, is that it doesn't sound like something from a speaker or someone in the room. It's too clear for that, I think, and so it would warrant further study.
Which leaves Jason's observation of the shadow figure, and his unusually severe reaction to the experience. Without some kind of objective footage or proof, it's hard to know what he was seeing and whether or not the environment might cause those shadows to appear. (The same applies to Kris and Ami.) But I thought it was odd for him to react so strongly to something that was, based on his own description, no different from a dozen oth