By Ted Twietmeyer
There are only three words needed to describe the difference between these two paranormal investigation shows: Night and day.
From an earlier essay on Ghost Hunters I still receive periodic emails from people. The paranormal field is like politics people either fully support the show and often venomously defend it in their emails, or agree with me on my appraisal of the many problems it has. There doesn't seem to be anyone in-between.
Having seen a number of Ghost Lab episodes, the two brothers who run the show deserve kudos for the way they have strived to apply science to a very difficult field. They have repeatedly recorded and documented strange events at a number of haunted locations where Ghost Hunters (TAPS) investigated and found nothing.
A recent Ghost Hunters show took place at a home in Groton, Connecticut. Groton is home to a US Navy submarine base which is also the location of a military family's home. It was not clear if the family lives on base or off, although the home did appear compact enough to be located on base.
The family's mother presented several events which have continued to happen to the investigators, including a television that turned on and off and changed channels by itself, toys that turned on/off by themselves and a spirit boy having "Black eyes, black hair and a black mouth." All of these events took place in the child's playroom. The father also witnessed a strange boy staring at him from the hall, standing in front of the door to his son's room.
All of these events provide more ample evidence for any ghost hunting team to investigate. The investigation appeared to take place at night.
The list below documents some of the highlights of TAPS' investigation:
* Television No attempt was made to test the television or even turn it on.
* Toys Toys were quickly examined, with the statement made that most toys have a sleep/standby and could easily turn themselves on.
* AC Fields An EMF meter was held up to the ceiling light fixture, giving a higher than normal reading (!)
* Ghost interaction or attraction with the child No attempt was made to test for this.
The following "analysis" was presented to the mother:
1. She was told that "A remote control in another room or nearby home could activate or change channels on her television." (Apparently these investigators don't yet realize near-infrared light from television remote controls *cannot* penetrate drywall, bricks or concrete.) It was claimed that two-way radios the TAPS team has can change television channels, although no such example or evidence was given. Nor was any such test performed.
2. It was determined nothing was wrong with the child's toys which were determined to be "Sensitive to vibration."
3. TAPS' told the mother "AC fields extend from the light fixture straight down to the floor." Apparently TAPS still has no knowledge of power line AC fields or how AC fields propagate.
4. No mention of paranormal interaction or attraction with the family's child was suggested or even considered. A good investigation would have had the child in the room, during normal hours playing. There would be no one else in the room, just monitoring equipment. But this was not done.
To summarize, this was among worst paranormal investigations I've ever seen TAPS do to date. This was almost as bad as another incident I exposed in another episode. A man in a dark cloak-type costume ran up to the camera and quickly turned around and ran away on a catwalk in dim light, at a closed correctional facility investigation a few years ago. He was wearing white sneakers, yet this blatant fake was heralded as "evidence" that the former prison is haunted.
I did receive an email from a former TAPS film crew member after that article about the correctional facility and other issues was posted on Rense.com. He claimed that it was faked as were some of the other incidents shown on other episodes.
Lead characters on the show seem to convey in this recent Groton Connecticut episode they are tired of doing the show by their attitude and actions. (Perhaps without Brian to pick on all the fun has evaporated.) If they are bored and tired of doing the show they should quit at the end of their contract. This is a far better thing to do, than to trash the reputations of people in communities all around America. It would also stop making fools of paranormal witnesses that alienates friends, co-workers and family members.
I've received emails from readers who have been humiliated and laughed at after being told by TAPS in the "Reveal" segment of the show their business is not haunted - on national television. This was done in spite of numerous eyewitness accounts of paranormal events to the contrary, too.
Ghost Lab on the other hand is a very thorough show. The brothers and their Ghost Lab team use data recorders which record temperature and voice. They also research the people, building and grounds being investigated and set up wireless/wired cameras and microphones at critical locations. Working through the night often until dawn, this team just don't suddenly quit in the middle of the night as TAPS usually does. A second day of investigating is also used if needed.
The two brothers of Ghost Lab carefully examine all the data collected and conduct remote television interviews with experts from around the country to seek their help. Interviews, discussions and data analysis are performed in their large, towed mobile command center.
Documented and recorded paranormal events are often found by Ghost Lab at locations TAPS had previously investigated but found nothing.
RECORDING PARANORMAL AUDIO
Of great importance in paranormal research is quality audio recording. Quality audio recording is critical for paranormal work. Digital recorders in use today utilize high compression ratios. This creates the underwater-sound heard during playback. Internal noise from the recorder's solid-state circuitry creates problems for analog to digital converters inside the recorder.
White noise also contains a broad spectrum of frequencies, some of which are too high for cheap analog to digital converters to work correctly. It is aliasing that creates the garbled audio you often hear on ghost hunting shows when the recorded audio is highly amplified. (For the techies this simplified explanation for aliasing was given on purpose here aimed at a broad audience - so don't write me about it!)
The most useful recorders for any paranormal investigation team will employ a purely analog design. One such example is older audio cassette recorders with Dolby noise reduction. High quality audio cassettes should be used that have never been previously recorded on. Tapes should be electro-magnetically erased before use in the recorder to minimize noise issues. Virgin audio tapes (which are increasingly hard to find in a digital world) will deliver the lowest possible noise.
In lieu of analog any digital recording system should meet or exceed the following specs:
* 16 bits analog to digital converter resolution (24 bits or more is better)
* Anti-aliasing filters must be used if analog to digital converter speed is limited
* Audio compression must be disabled
A laptop or other computer can be configured to accomplish this with the right software/hardware, but be aware that digital noise may be present in the audio as a whining sound.
Equipment used during paranormal investigations will make the difference between trying to guess what some dis-embodied entity is saying - and easily determining what it IS saying.
Going digital is not better if quality software/hardware isn't used. Professional broadcast- quality cameras have dead-quiet audio and can do the best job of recording EVPs. But this audio is rarely used during investigations.
I sincerely hope that Ghost Lab will continue doing diligent work in all their future investigations. They are setting a new standard in the field of paranormal investigation for others to follow.
Ghost Lab is just what the name implies, it tests various equipment and theories.
GH is an investigative group and Jason and Grant were investigators years before the show appeared.
Ghost hunting is not what the Shows reveal, in true hunting you may never ever get anything no matter where the location is. Spirits rarely act on command and a true investigator will never provoke in someones home.
They have ripped the public off many years with strings attached to the back of a jacket and claimed it was tugged bu a Ghost, and ex-=emplyees have told reports of them rigging the show.
recently Grant Wilson left for some unknown reason and jts cant say what these people are up to but you dont ever find out their credentials, if they have a collge level science background, electronic background ect...I wont name all the back grounds or courses and college drgrees one should have other than being an ex cop, and rotor rooter guys.
Lastly, I have been in this business for 20 years or more - the business is acting and writing. In order for any show to have a cohesive, homogenous whole it must have a beginng, middle and end. They must write the show or there will be NO continuity - period.
They never check certain things
1)> Toys that go off by themselves - Steve Gonsalvez never checked for remote control
2). Sounds heard in a room - they never checked for small speakers set up
3) They were hoaxed by a house in Califronia and were made to look like fools s0,
please until these ppl from Taps and International show sho some sort of educational background other than being hangers on - to me this is total bunk sorry for those who believe and watch but I know the industry
no story line no advertisers and no audience bye bye
as far as the others...well I know that some of this too is prepared and ghosts dont appear all the time or at will and most importantly they dont let independent ppl go with them it is closed, hand picked guests so until then they can take their show and let the kids watch because they cant fool me -
Onelast thing I offer 10K to any show who will let me go held in escrow that will prove the existence of what they experience and have yet to have anyone accept challenge - Just like the great Randi who has 1 Million in offers for those who claim to be psychic NOT one has proven anything.
Thanks for letting me share
I still feel these shows should show what education level and real experience such as sciences and other related areas these people have other than filming degrees from colleges. Toy know many came before them "ripping off" Ghost Busters and ppl like Peter David deserve moost of the credit they were in the trenches doing this stuff in the 60's and 70-80's etc....
I have friends who do paranormal investigations and most of the time they find nothing or find a natural explanation to the mystery - that would make honest but not very compelling television. I tried watching Ghost Adventurers but the fellow who fronts the show is too much of an over-acting annoying twat to actually enjoy it. I haven't seen Ghost Lab but may give it a go, sounds interesting.
I agree with some of the things your saying. but ghost hunting is not a direct science. when you do investigations, every place is different. what works, and gets results one week, doesn't work the next.
I'm in the UK, and have carried out over 200 investigations. i have worked with EVP, ITC, and numerous other methods to gain evidence. one place i have visited several times as i always get results there, on 2 occasions i took a particular friend along, and on each of those occasions the place stood quiet., now admittedly when we tell him of the results on previous visits to that location hes a little skeptical when nothing happens when hes been. To say just because One set of investigators do not get anything, and the second set does,. does not mean that the first have no idea what they are doing, or are not good at what they are doing.
My review on that.. lets say you visit someone you haven't met before and they have a dog. they open the door to you. that dog could either jump up and lick you, roll over to have its belly rubbed, or growl and back away. now lets say it does the latter. its growls and goes on defend mode. why would it do this ? you haven't met this dog before.(i use this as an example as its happened to me before.) also her comment " hes never usually like this" didn't help. As i wished to have further meetings with the owner, i tried a little experiment. it could have been smell, or colour or anything that set that dog off. so returned a few days later, having changed my aftershave, and wearing brighter colours. it didn't work. i even took his favorite doggy treats along. which when i went to hand them to him.. it made no change. i even sent a friend round the following day to drop off a book, and the dog was fine. infact a little to lively. so i have to come to the conclusion that he just didn't like me.
This applies to Investigations too. now we do have 3 teams, and each team will take it in turn at each point at the location. This does seem to work quite well, but not all the time. just because it maybe a woman spirit, does not mean they will be attracted to a woman investigator. The same applies with the child, just because the spirit is more attracted to the child, it does not mean that placing that child in before, or during an investigation will make any difference. If you placed two children in a room together, and leave them alone they will play quite happily. Then have an unknown adult present, they will play totally different. There are just to many variables to place a rule or science to this situation.
Ok, then there is time scale. in the UK we have had 2 UK based shows in the past. one of which would stay on location for 72 hours. the other for 24 hours. i have been involved with both. the frist would arrive at the location, setup all equipment on day one. the second they would just chill. play games, anything except investigate. on the 3rd day cameras would roll. now this would work quite well. but the show is an hour long, minus adverts etc. means that this show has air time of 45 minutes. during that time they had to show you the setting up, history of location, and the evidence. now they could quite happily spend the 45 minutes airing an investigator sitting on a room for that period of time, just to show you one knock / bang. but it would be quite boring,. so don't. they have to condense an evenings investigation into 45 minutes of airtime,. just because you didn't see them doing something during that time, doesn't mean they didn't try it.
secondly. this method did work better than the 24 hour method. and on almost every investigation, some 350 of them. they gained evidence that the TV channel deemed inappropriate to air, and on numerous of the investigations, this was the only evidence captured.
Also from personal experience. we had a film crew with us on 2 locations. and on both investigations very little evidence was captured over 12 hours. yet once the crew had left. only then did we receive any proper evidence.
Analogue, and digital argument. white noise, pink noise, brown noise. bla bla. i hate this argument. again to much science placed on this. ok.. first rule if you use analogue always use virgin tapes agreed. we use both. and get results with both. we have used laptops, even phones.. iphone and nokia. obviously you have to rule out anything that may cause interference with either device., secondly. we use 2 at a time., if it appears on one and not the other we give it a rating of possible evidence. if they want to be heard or want you to hear,trust me they will use what ever your using.
ok.. EMF readers.. hate them. never use these as proof. just because you have a reading one minute and not the next means nothing. they are ok for controlled experiments. but walking around a castle. or someones house is not controlled. use it to take base readings, make sure there are no high level fields that may affect other variables that's it.
ok TV`s switching on, toys doing the same and remote controls, baby monitors. etc unless you can stick that piece of equipment in a lab, do not use this as evidence. unless you have something that can monitor every frequency, radio wave etc to rule interference. I will give examples from experience.
A TV switching channels.. usually one which wasn't tuned in.. channel 99 to be exact. was reported. we checked all remotes in the house to make sure it was none of them. do you realise how many we have of these. none of the tv`s were of same brand or model, so ruled them out, but tested anyway. we found that even tho the remote from the tv upstairs would not operate the tv downstairs under normal use. if you pressed button 1 and 2 together it would select channel 99 downstairs. Another example. Randomly front electric gates would open, car remote would stop working.. entry and immobilizer, they had to push the car away from the building to get it to start. now this house was a new build. and there was no history to the plot of land it sat on. and the owners had only been resident for 3 weeks. obviously putting the normal house noises and gates opening and car not starting together they came up with haunting. the fact that under half a mile away there was a games company, that manufactured games for arcades, and chips for consuls. would once or twice a month carry out the programming stage. now not being technically minded here.. they would send out a frequency that would block any interference, during this stage. and this would effect the gate and car remote.(i might add this was only found out when having a beer in a local pub down the road after the investigation)
Now i do, when i can watch most of the paranormal shows.. UK and other based. it is all about keeping the viewer happy. after you have aired series one.. you have to get better evidence series two or you lose ratings, and this has ruined many shows credibility.
Having been an investigator what makes a show is not the evidence.. but the TRUTH. if you visit a location and you do not find any evidence. then they are your results. it doesn't mean that place isn't haunted, just means there is no evidence to support the claims. be it weather, temperature, time of day, or year or the dog scenario related. just because a group can do the same investigation weeks later and come up with results in my eyes means nothing. if you took 100 investigations and both ghosts hunter and ghost lab had visit all 100. I'm sure you will find that it would work both ways.
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