Monday, January 2, 2012

"Ghost Adventures" Revisited...

Roughly six months ago I wrote a post called "Paranormal TV".  In it I talked about paranormal investigation shows, past and present.  One of the shows I spoke of in less than flattering detail was "Ghost Adventures", the current paranormal investigation show on the Travel Channel.  I have felt the need to update my views on the show as they have altered a bit.

Over the last few months, I have reached the point of stagnation on Paranormal investigation shows.  I am not saying that to indicate that I have grown tired of them.  What I mean is that I have been in need of some fresh viewing of the genre.  "Paranormal State" has been in reruns for ages now.  I keep hoping for new episodes, but more and more I am wondering if there will be anymore produced.  "Ghost Hunters" keeps the new shows coming, but the investigation team is so...boring.  I appreciate their methodology in their investigations, but most of those guys need to grow a personality.  For paranormal investigation show episodes unseen by me, I was left with one option...

"Ghost Adventures".  Yep, the show I said I couldn't sit through.  I did have to take a couple of runs at the show before it stuck, but I have now seen quite a lot of the episodes available on Netflix.  Enough to say that I can give a more 'educated' personal critique of it.  I am not saying that what I am about to write is more positive or negative of what I said before.  I just have more viewing time to base my opinion on.

I guess the first point to make is whether or not I have been entertained by the show.  That answer would be, yes.  Not necessarily for the same reasons as a lot of the fans.  Lead man, Zak Bagans, is...well, he comes off as a caricature of himself.  He's overly intense and dramatic when covering a site.  The main reason I am entertained by him is his wreckless approach to taunting spirits. Egging spirits on and inviting them to enter your body, well...not what you want to do in places where negative activity has been reported.  Just not a good idea in any haunting situation.  Taunting spirits is like a box of chocolates...catch my drift?

While net surfing a bit before starting this post, I found a story on the TMZ site about Bagans.  He decided to make a wise (cough, cough) decision, and take a human skull home that he found while investigating an old mining town hotel. He put it in a custom built case in his basement, and guess what?  He noticed an immediate spike in the paranormal activity in his home.  A "demonic presence" that hadn't been there before.  He said that he was grabbed and yanked several inches by unseen hands when he was sleeping, and a girl visiting his home was pushed down some stairs by unseen hands.  He hired a local Bishop to do an exorcism because he wants to feel safe in his home. Think he might want to start by not bringing home random parts from human remains he finds...

The above clip is from an episode that aired this past Friday on the Travel Channel.  The faithful trio were in Scotland investigating the extremely haunted Edinburgh Vaults.  (They are below ground for those unfamiliar.)  The particular area that Zak is in is purportedly haunted by an evil entity called "Mr. Boots".  The entity (when he was alive) was said to have murdered a prostitute in that room of the vaults.  Zak is flying solo at the point of the investigation in the video.  He is clearly terrified, and rightly so.  I included this because it illustrates the wreckless approach he has to taunting spirits.  He doesn't do it in this particular instance, but he regularly dares evil entities to do him bodily harm or to possess him.  Zak is lucky that Mr. Boots only scratched the wall behind him, a response that sends Zak into the five-year-old girl state.  Can you say 'sensationalism'?  Doing stupid things to thrill the audience?  Zak, if you want to feel safe you might want to rein in this deal of challenging spirits. Or, if you have methods you employ to get cleansed after these intense encounters, you might want to update them. Especially if stuff is following you home like I have heard you say on more than one occasion.  I find what you do fascinating on one level, and absolutely stupid on another. 

(Left: Nick Groff; Right: Aaron Goodwin)

The other two members of the on-air team are Nick Groff, and Aaron Goodwin. Quieter than Bagans, they do not have the 'in your face' approach to spirits that Bagans does.  Nick Groff seems to be the middle man, and Aaron Goodwin is the perpetual drawer of the short straw, having to hang out solo in some of the more hardcore haunting areas.  Aaron is in a constant state of 'AAAAAAGH', and both of his partners find great humor in sticking him in places he would rather avoid.  Put Goodwin in a room where a demon is said to prowl, and let the "dudes" begin.  I said in my 'Paranormal TV' post that you could create a drinking game around the number of times 'dude' is said in an episode, and Aaron is the main source.  In most episodes his eyes bug out as he shares that he felt a breeze or something touched him.  I just hope he doesn't treat Zak and Nick to him having a heart attack during one of their lock downs.  Nick, on the other hand, does get a tad spooked here and there, but he keeps his cool for the most part.  The most intense experience I have seen that involved Nick was when he was supposedly possessed for roughly a minute.  The video of the event is below:

I'll admit that he seems to be acting a tad 'off', but is he really possessed? Maybe. The way these lock downs are conducted, I wouldn't be surprised. They don't appear to really believe in safeguards when addressing the spirits, so they leave themselves wide open.

Do I think "Ghost Adventures" is legit?  Yeah, I do.  As I have also written in posts on this blog, I have experienced hauntings first hand as two separate places I have lived were haunted.  (My experiences were rather, but not malevolent.)  The guys reactions and body language.  They seem to be having real reactions to something.  

There are some things I like about the show.  The way they interview a cross section of people, for example.  They also give pretty in depth background on the places they investigate.  "Ghost Adventures" is hosted by Bagans, who comes across like the love child of Henry Rollins and Steve Irwin.  Then you have Goodwin who always reacts like Don Knotts in "The Ghost & Mr. Chicken".  As for Groff, I really don't know how to describe his place in the mix.  As I said before, he is the middle man. 

Am I hooked?  Well...I wouldn't go that far.  I am still waiting hopefully for new episodes of "Paranormal State".      

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