Ghost Hunters International 2.3: "Gates to Hell"

Given the usual patterns for the franchise, I wasn't expecting much out of this particular case. Talk about being pleasantly surprised. I thought that this was one of the best cases they've had on the show, and while the "evidence" wasn't as showy as some might have desired, the investigation as a whole felt authentic.

After the last review, I caught a bit of criticism for focusing so much on the age of the investigators. A number of people felt that age, and the subsequent lack of experience in the field, was beside the point. In a way, this episode helps to prove my point. Ashley’s terror was palpable throughout the incidents in the attic and “Satan’s office�, and it was in stark contrast to the reactions of the more seasoned investigators. (Even Dustin, who is not much older, but has apparently been around the paranormal block more than once.)

That said, I want to give Ashley the credit that she deserves. How many investigators would have been running out that door before Dustin was even finished explaining some of the possible implications? A lot of people are going to criticize her for reacting so strongly, but I found it a lot more telling that she stood her ground and kept investigating.

The incident in the attic was certainly interesting, and I’m sure that it will be the subject of some minor controversy. This is where I believe that the established credibility of the GHI team comes into play. GHI may sometimes fall into the common trap of misinterpreting data and events based on preconceptions, but they haven’t been accused of faking events or “evidence�.

So I have no reason to suspect that Dustin and Ashley were being disingenuous during their session in the attic. Both of them seemed shocked when something came back in their direction. (Dustin said it slid back across the floor, but the sound is identical to the sound of the rock being thrown and hitting the floor.) How many times do investigators ask for something like that to happen, and it never does? That alone made this a much more interesting case.

The camera situation is mostly interesting in context. If nothing else had happened in the room, it would have been easy to dismiss as a simple malfunction. Add to that the personal experiences, the apparent rock-tossing, and the potential EVP, and it starts to build the case that there is actual activity. I like it a lot better when the “evidence� seems to make the case for itself.

Of course, it must be noted that there could be simple explanations for everything the team encountered. The sound of rock hitting the floor could have been a rather timely piece of debris dropping from the wall. The camera could have malfunctioned. The EVP was within the background noise and they depended on the client’s questionable interpretation. The personal observations could have been colored by the circumstances and the client’s melodramatic talk about demonic demons.

As always, I try to take into account the psychological basis for whatever conclusion the team might draw. The team was clearly taken aback by some of what they encountered, and the apparent intersection of “evidence� is worth taking note. I think it’s absolutely clear why the team felt the location was haunted.

More importantly, this was easily one of the most entertaining episodes of the series to date. In many episodes, and on many shows currently on the air, the investigating team is clearly unsettled by the location, but the effect doesn’t necessarily carry over to the audience. This was a genuinely exciting episode, even if the case didn’t produce much hard evidence.


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