Ghost Hunters – A Mid Season Break Review
Grant is gone. Amy’s home with her beautiful baby girl. New folks are attempting to fill some big shoes. And that’s not all of the changes we’ve seen on Ghost Hunters this season.
We all knew things would never be the same when Grant rode off to start his own board game company. For a lot of us, they haven’t been the same since they shipped Kris Williams off to GHI, never to return. (And boy, has GHI gotten an unceremonious burial at sea. I’d love to know the back story on that show). For my money, the best season was when it was just Jay, Grant, Steve, Tango and Kris. It was the perfect team size and they just clicked.
Along with the personnel changes this season came a totally fresh design to the show. From ditching Mike Rowe as the narrator in favor of Jay – who does an admirable job, to creepier music, slicker editing and even some quick recreations of spirits walking the halls, Ghost Hunters has a completely new look and feel. The Monster Men went through all of the new moving parts in our latest podcast that you can watch below.
I will say that overall, I think the changes were long overdue and breathe some new life into the show. I would like to see them investigate more homes and actually try to help people. I don’t get a sense of urgency when they visit another abandoned asylum. If it’s haunted, who cares? Just steer clear and everyone’s happy. And let’s stop giving hotels and restaurants a boost in foot traffic because they were featured on the show.
Now, I know that a lot of you that come to this blog and chain watch the show. What are your thoughts on the changes so far? Who do you miss more, Grant or Amy? Who are your favorite teams? Is it Britt and KJ, Jason and Steve, Michelle and Tango? Or how about Maddie and Jay? Since my new book, Sinister Entity, is coming out in a few weeks, I’ll give away a free copy of my first book, Forest of Shadows (Sinister Entity is the sequel) to a random person who comments on this post.
I’m not sure what the future holds, but I’ve watched every episode since the start and I’ll be there until the end.
Stranded : Syfy’s Latest Scare Fest
I never thought the Syfy channel would become the mecca for ParaTV, but thanks to the runaway success of Ghost Hunters, the network churns out new ghost-themed shows quicker than Willy Wonka on meth. The latest entry is STRANDED, a new take on the old theme, created by Destination Truth’s own Josh Gates. Now, Josh is by far my favorite para-celebrity because he doesn’t take things too seriously, but serious enough to put his life on the line while searching for the uknown. I swear that man is going to at least lose a limb while schlepping through the jungle looking for dinosaurs or an Africanized Bigfoot. It’s also produced by Jason Blum, of Paranormal Activity and Sinister (by far the scariest movie of 2012) fame.
The premise of Stranded is simple. Take a handful of real people and drop them in one of America’s most haunted locations for 5 days. Arm them with cameras and some basic ghost hunting equipment and let the good times roll. No camera crews or Syfy production folks to get in the way. The best part is, no matter how scared they get, they can’t leave.
I mentioned in my previous post on Ghost Mine that I liked the idea of making folks investigate a haunted location for more than the obligatory night. That way we all get a better feel for the place, and allow enough time to stumble upon some real scares.
In the first episode, three twenty-somethings (exes Sarah and Sean and their non-believing friend, Xand) are dropped off on Star Island off the cost of New Hampshire. Their mission : to stay at the haunted Oceanic Hotel and find out if spirits really do roam the halls. The hotel has been shut up for the oncoming winter, ala The Shining. Anyone care to place wagers on whether Xand changes her tune about the paranormal?
When they arrive at the empty hotel on the first night, a book is left behind explaining the haunted history of the hotel. Ghost Hunters fans should remember when Jason, Grant and the team investigated the hotel a few years back. The trio spend the next 5 days living in the dark in the shuttered hotel, jumping at noises and filling up hours of night vision recordings.
Kudos to Sean for coming up with the creepiest method for ghost hunting – ever! It seems the spirit of a little girl likes to open and close the doors of the hotel rooms on the 4th floor. Sean decides to raid the nursery (a kind of prop for tourists to get their chills) and tie little nooses around their necks, with the other end on the door knobs. If any door is openened, they’ll know because the doll will be out of place. What we’re left with is a long, dark hallyway filled with strangled dolls on either side. They should have renamed it Hangman’s Hall.
They do get a disembodied voice giggling and there are odd sounds every night. It’s just enough to put them on edge, which, as a viewer, is where we want them. It ain’t fun until the skeptic cries, and in that sense, Stranded doesn’t disappoint.
The first episode was interesting, but I’m hoping it can crank things up in future episodes. Personally, I’d like to see them bring in some older, more grounded people who are less prone to suggestion. The trio in the first episode were on edge the moment they stepped onto the dock. I wish they hadn’t been given any info on the stories of the hotel. It colors their perception of things. Better to let them discover the paranormal for themselves. Use graphics to clue the viewers into the history.
For those of you who saw it, what did you think? Para-good, or para-bad?
I’ll be staying tuned. Hey, Syf, feel free to drop me off any place you’d like. Let’s see how a horror author holds up in a haunted house.
Goodbye to a Ghost Hunter
Well, it’s finally here. Grant Wilson’s last investigation on Ghost Hunters takes place this Wednesday. I thought it was fitting to re-post this, which was written right after the announcement that he was leaving the show. And this time around, The Monster Men have added our video tribute. Good job Grant. On to the next.
For at least one episode of Ghost Hunters, the ghosts took a back seat on February 15th. After eight seasons of chasing spirits from coast to coast and even across the Atlantic, Grant Wilson announced that he will be leaving Ghost Hunters at the end of the current season.
Truth be told, I’m kinda sad he’s leaving. I’ve been a fan of the show since the very first episode. Yes, I fully understand that it’s entertainment. I don’t take everything I see on the show as paranormal gospel. I simply can’t stop tuning in week after week, getting my night-vision fix of spooky places.
I know it has its detractors and critics. It’s a rule that the greater your success, the greater your criticism. However, I do give them props for their dedication and passion. I’ve spoken to a few folks who are on other paranormal shows on TV, and the truth is, they only do investigations when there’s a camera crew in tow. This isn’t a vocation for them. It’s a job that gets filmed, edited and broadcast. Grant and Jason and their T.A.P.S. team have been living this life, years before TV came calling.
These two plumbers with a passion for ghost hunting have accomplished something that I, as a horror writer, truly appreciate. They made the paranormal cool and almost…normal. Their millions of fans seek out other venues to get their shivers. And that’s where I and a load of other writers come in, sharing the spirits and demons that roam our minds.
I’m not surprised that Grant is leaving. I’ve always thought that he and Jason would retire, leaving the show to the young hands to carry on their work. I’m the same age as Grant, and I know all that travel, combined with what I’m sure is a comfortable bank account, would equal my early retirement. You have to wonder how many days out of the year Grant actually got to be home with his wife and kids. I’m sure, at times, his family felt he was the ghostly presence left behind as a faint ripple of energy in their house. It’s time to kick back, recharge, reconnect and relax. The ghosts will still be there should you decide to get back in the game. In fact, with each dying breath taken every minute of every day, the number of potential undead to investigate just keeps on building.
Grant, thank you for eight years of creepy, fun Wednesday nights.
For everyone watching since he’s left, what do you think of the show? Do you like the dynamics of the team?
And now, The Monster Men get to say so long, and come back any time…
Dinner with Ghost Hunters
It’s been a while since I posted an original story here on the old blog and chain. This one is for my sister and brother-in-law, right down to the Cowboys jersey. This is a little flash fiction piece I call “Dinner With Ghost Hunters”. Hope you enjoy it. Please comment away!
It had long been a rule of Tom’s not to go to dinner parties hosted by people he either didn’t know or didn’t like. He gripped the steering wheel a little too hard on the ride to the Gundersons, angry at Carolyn for ignoring one of his cardinal rules.
As they pulled into the driveway, he said, “Okay, call me when you’re done and I’ll pick you up.”
Carolyn playfully slapped his arm, ignoring his discomfort. “At least you’ll get a free meal out of it.”
“Yeah, at what cost?”
Tom was so busy fuming about the night ahead that he didn’t notice the parked van until he walked smack into the rear double doors.
Carolyn was already at the front door, pinwheeling one hand to urge him forward. He joined her side, a tad woozy and holding his nose. Carolyn paid him no mind.
Missy Gunderson answered the door wearing a Dallas Cowboys jersey and denim shorts. Hank Gunderson came up behind her smiling in his blue Giants jersey.
“Hey guys, come on in!,” Missy said. “We were hoping you could stay after dinner and watch the game. Hank just got one of those huge plasma TVs and is dying to show it off to someone.”
Casual dress? Plasma TV? Football?
Maybe I’ve been wrong about all of this, Tom thought.
After a round of introductions, Hank led them to the dining room for cocktails. As they walked past the living room, Tom noticed three men and one woman sitting in front of a folding table loaded with small monitors and computers. The quartet never looked their way.
“Don’t mind them,” Hank said to Tom. “They’ve been here for a week and we barely even notice them anymore.”
“Who are they?” Tom asked. Carolyn shot him a cautionary look. Don’t pry her eyes pleaded.
Missy laughed and said, “You’re not gonna believe this, but they’re from that TV show, Ghost Trackers. Hank thinks this house is haunted, so one night after watching the show he sent them an email and, well, here they are. I was dead set against it but they paid us some money, so Tom gets his TV and I get my new laptop.”
“And most importantly, I get some answers,” Hank added.
“Sounds exciting,” Carolyn said.
Missy leaned towards Tom and Carolyn and said, “Trust me, it’s pretty boring stuff. They do a lot of walking around and looking at monitors. I don’t know how they stay awake.”
Hank walked in carrying a tray of margaritas and they settled into the dining room. And true to Hank’s word, they soon forgot about the Ghost Trackers team in the next room. Tom quietly admitted to himself that he actually liked the Gundersons.
Two pleasant hours and one delicious steak dinner later, Tom was startled by the sound of high pitched beeping coming from the living room. That was followed by the shuffling of feet and excited conversation.
“What’s going on?” Tom said.
Hank peered into the living room, his arm frozen in place, drink halfway to his lips. “I have no idea.”
One of the team members rushed into the dining room and turned off the lights. “Get a camera in here!” he shouted.
The rest of the team followed, one holding a little handheld device that whined nervously, another with something that looked like a radar gun and two with large cameras propped on their shoulders.
“It’s right over there,” the woman shouted, pointing towards the area behind Tom.
“Flash!” someone shouted and a camera flash went off, momentarily blinding everyone.
“What’s over here?” Tom asked. He was promptly shushed by the woman.
“Do you see that mist, just over his head?” one of the cameramen whispered.
Tom jerked his head around but only saw darkness.
“Temperature’s dropping. Down five degrees, seven, ten degrees.”
“EMF is spiking at five. It’s right here, I can feel it.”
“Whoa, did you see that blue light? It just went behind him!”
Tom grabbed Carolyn’s hand and knocked over his chair as he jumped to his feet.
“We’re outta here,” Tom shouted. Again, he was shushed.
“It’s following him. Quick, keep a camera on him.”
Tom and Carolyn made their way through the darkened house while the Gundresona sat in mute shock. He slammed the front door on the cameraman that was hot on his heels, leaving the madness behind them.
“And that’s why I have rules,” he said to Carolyn, and promptly smashed face-first, again, into the front of the Ghost Trackers van.
Monster Men Podcast : Paranormal TV
From the stygian depths of two minds addicted to all things dark and scary. This time around, we talk about the state of paranormal television and wrap things up with my own encounter with a ghost in a hotel room in Spain.
I hope you like my hat. I’ll sign that wonderful straw hat and mail it to a random commenter, so all you need to do is tell us what you think and you too can look like an escapee from a country fair! As you can tell from this still, even my partner Jack is having a hard time looking at it.