Ghost Hunters 5.1: "Betsy Ross House"

It should be no surprise to anyone that this season of "Ghost Hunters" is all about the credibility. In the months since the most recent Halloween special, the accusations of fraud against TAPS have increased exponentially. To be fair, this is probably the most convincing evidence against them to date. While situations in the past have always involved edited show footage and clear post-production manipulation, thus making any definitive conclusion regarding TAPS members impossible, the Halloween special was live.

For their own part, Jason and Grant deny any shenanigans, so it's still (as always) a matter of trust. For many, that trust remains intact, if a bit bruised. For others, it was the last straw, and they will join the many others who watch the show to see if they will bury themselves. Whatever the case might be, that places an enormous burden on the fifth season, especially on these first eight episodes that run in the spring. This run will be, whether they like it or not, a referendum on their credibility.

On the face of it, it should be easy enough to handle, especially if one assumes they were well-intentioned from the start. Ironically, the spinoff team GHI has already shown them the way. GHI recently ended its first season on a high note with closer team integration during investigations, stronger debunking, and more diverse and innovative equipment. They made plenty of mistakes, but there was never a moment that felt insincere.

In other words, GHI have become, in short order, the very thing that TAPS used to be, back at the beginning of the series. A lot of "Ghost Hunters" fans continue to claim that TAPS is the superior team (sometimes vehemently), so it follows suit that TAPS should try to demonstrate why with even stronger team identity, even better debunking skills, and even more impressive and innovative equipment and data analysis.

Case #1: Hannum House, PA

Unfortunately, that doesn't happen at all in the first case. Far too much time is spent on the K-II meter, their dubious toy of choice, and it seems to be the highlight of their "evidence". When Jason and Grant felt the bed vibrating, I found myself wishing they had that vibration sensor that GHI was using in a recent episode. That would have confirmed, better than the "ear to the ground" test, that the bed was actually moving.

I was also less than impressed with the EVPs. They weren't significantly above the background noise, and I found it hard to figure out how they came to their conclusions about what was "said". This is par for the course of late, however.

One thing that I did notice was the same team breakdown that was seen at the end of the fourth season: Jason and Grant as the experienced duo, Steve and Tango as the goofballs, and Kris and Amy as the foul-mouthed girly team. (Though, to be honest, I don't mind foul-mouthed Kris so much.) Whether driven by the production staff or not, it might be better if they mixed things up a bit more.

And was there even a conclusion given to the case? For all that they rushed to the location to give the client piece of mind, they didn't seem to draw anything definitive from what they gathered. Perhaps they realized that it was largely inconclusive.

Case #2: Betsy Ross House, PA

There's a certain irony with this particular case. The story of Betsy Ross has been largely dismissed as a myth, created by a descendent of Ross circa the 1876 centennial celebrations. There's no evidence that Ross actually created the first flag, and significant evidence to the contrary. It's incidental to the case itself, but like some other "famous" locations, it does steal some of the thunder.

This EVP was a complete waste of time. Just looking at the sound profile as a whole, the "voice" is exactly the same level as the ambient noise. Why the team pointed to that as significant is hard to understand, especially since they once again give no conclusion for the case. (Maybe th


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