Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Last Season for Ghost Hunters

The long-running paranormal investigation television series Ghost Hunters may be coming to an end. According to a statement from TAPS founder Jason Hawes, the upcoming eleventh season will be the last to air on the SyFy Channel. Recently SyFy has been moving back to actually showing science fiction rather than reality TV, a move I generally applaud. Still, Ghost Hunters is one of the only reality TV programs that I generally like.

Jason Hawes posted to his Facebook page on June 7 that, "With heavy heart we want to inform everyone that we are choosing at this time to end our relationship with SyFy channel. Season 11 will be the last season we will do "Ghost Hunters" with the Syfy Channel." He went on to say that although they are ending their impressive run on Syfy, there are new plans in the works for "Ghost Hunters." What that is exactly, the founder of TAPS (The Atlantic Paranormal Society) isn't sharing just yet.

Fans of the show responded with over 6,000 comments so far to the post, expressing their disappointment and concern over the wildly popular series wrapping up after their eleventh season with the Syfy channel. Some fans have stated that although the team conducted some ground-breaking investigations, it may be time for a fresh start for the TAPS team. Others are wondering if "Ghost Hunters" and the TAPS team are planning on moving to another channel, but only time will tell.

"Ghost Hunters" premiered on October 6, 2004, to rave reviews and featured co-hosts Jason Hawes and Grant Wilson. Along with their TAPS team, the duo took viewers along on investigations to locations that were reported to be extremely haunted. Using the latest investigation techniques and devices, over the years the "Ghost Hunters" team often captured compelling and startling evidence in support of paranormal activity at several of the locations that they investigated.

Ghost Hunters raised the bar for paranormal investigation shows in a couple of key ways. First off, they did look for normal explanations for allegedly paranormal phenomena before deciding a location was haunted. Also, they did away with the bogus practice of working with psychics that dominated preceding paranormal shows. The psychics would often produce lurid narratives, but never anything that could be checked or verified.

Of course it was still television, so the show had a tendency to exaggerate what the investigators experienced and take some forms of evidence more seriously than I personally would. Still, if you go back and watch a show featuring folks like Ed and Lorraine Warren I think you'll see what I'm talking about. "Demonologist" Ed was completely ignorant of how magick and spirits really work, and "medium" Lorraine was a master of vague, unverifiable pronouncements.

Ghost Hunters also made greater use of technology than previous programs. In part, this was because a number of devices currently used by paranormal investigators were not available back in the 1970's. The advent of inexpensive digital video, for example, was what made it possible for TAPS to record their entire investigations from multiple camera angles and store the whole thing without spending a fortune on film and development services.

I even have incorporated a few things that I saw onto the show into my own magical practices. Based on some of what I saw there, I have done some evocations using an EMF detector on my containment structure to see if it could detect the presence of a spirit, and so far have gotten what look like positive results if the measurements hold up over a (much) larger sample size.

The show spawned many imitators, but many of those were more ridiculous and sensational. Also, for the most part, they were not generally as meticulous as TAPS or as savvy about debunking the locations they investigated. It's safe to say that Ghost Hunters and its imitators were largely responsible for paranormal investigation becoming as popular as it is today.

Hawes has not yet announced what the "new plans" are for his team, but I look forward to finding out what they will be up to next.

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