A few thoughts on TAPS & Ghost Hunters Academy

taps, ghost hunters, ghost hunters academy, syfi, scifiThe new season of Ghost Hunters Academy started last week, and while I really don’t watch any of the “spinoffs” of Ghost Hunters, I happened to catch it in a rerun late Sunday night (or rather, early Monday morning…thanks, insomnia). And like most things TAPS has been doing for the past 4 years or so, it made me angry. I appreciate everything Ghost Hunters has done for the field of paranormal investigations. But I also despise TAPS for everything they’ve done for the field of paranormal investigations. Sure, they brought attention to the field of serious and scientific paranormal investigations. Before they went on the air, all we had were things like Most Haunted. In the first season, TAPS brought a sensibility to the field that was sorely lacking. They brought, most importantly, level-headedness and skepticism. In the first season or so of Ghost Hunters, good evidence was hard to find. Jason would hardly ever call a location “haunted.” And even the best evidence was left in the “we don’t know what it is” category. Flash forward a few years, and now every little bump or sound is an amazing EVP! Everyone has personal experiences, every week. Which are presented to the client as evidence. Guest hosts abound. Residential cases are largely ignored in favor of commercial clients. “We’re here to help.” Yeah, you’re here to help the business attract customers since they were on a nationally broadcast cable show. I’m not the only one who’s a little fed up with Ghost Hunters and the spinoffs. E! Onlline takes some jabs at them too:

In 2004, after a paranormal experience he won’t discuess, Roto-Rooter plumber Jason Hawes created the Syfy channel show Ghost Hunters. Who knows what dark, evil mass inspired him, but now—like an aged carny handing down his tricks—the clean-domed spook chaser is training new recruits in Ghost Hunters Academy. It’s not an easy job. There’s a reason it’s not called Ghost Catchers.

Hang on. There are a couple more tips that really help if you want to see ghosts:

1. Be delusional.

2. Get thwacked out of your mind on hallucinogens.

3. Make sure you’re a plumber who wants a reality show and are willing to make a complete idiot out of yourself to get it.

They also include a video clip, from the season premier of Ghost Hunters Academy, and Jason talks about the 5 qualities of TAPS members that are super-important to him. Watch the video, and I’ll dissect each point.

1. Skepticism – look for any explanation other than paranormal: Ok, how does Jason even say this with a straight face anymore? Oh yeah, huge paychecks from SyFy. These days, TAPS assumes everything is a ghost or paranormal. Every EVP. Every little spike in the EMF detector. Every time a flashlight blinks. They used to try to debunk things like that, and very rarely do so anymore.

2. Technical knowledge -master the equipment and know how to interpret the readings: Really Jay? So why do your seasoned investigators think that an EMF reading of 1.9 is “high” and therefore, possibly a ghost? Background EMF readings can get into the 2.5 range and even a bit higher. Why is a loose battery cap on a flashlight, making intermittent contact with the batteries and thus causing the light to flicker on and off, interpreted as communication from the spirit world?

3. Honesty: Ok, I have first hand knowledge about TAPS and their “honesty.” I will blog about this specifically in the future, but let’s just say that Ghost Hunters did an episode where they investigated a place that my former group investigated twice, before TAPS ever got there. In the episode, they say that this location called them in because they needed help. False. The producers of the show called this location asking if they could investigate, probably after seieng my group featured on TV investigating it. They then asked this client to lie, on camera, about some experiences that happened in the past, specifically changing the story from “another paranormal team” found this to “some kids” found this. Way to be scientific and fair, TAPS. Jason then decides to debunk said evidence, and when the client tries to explain how Jason’s explanation isn’t correct at all, that gets cut out of the episode. Lies of omission are still lies, guys. Not really very honest of you, Mr. Hawes.

4. Composure: Brian’s “Dude, run!” Steve getting scared out of his skin by a spider on almost every episode. Steve and Tango daring each other to do ridiculous things, on camera, for money, at a client location. This is composure? This is serious investigating? No, this is reality TV and ratings and advertising dollars.

5. Patience – because paranormal activity doesn’t always happen on cue: Well, not the first season anyway. And not for most of the real, hard working, serious paranormal groups out there. But nowadays, for TAPS at least, paranormal activity does happen on cue. Usually right before each commercial break.

And lastly, to address the claim in E!’s article that Jason has a paranormal story he won’t share, that’s not entirely true. He didn’t share it for free on TV. But if you buy his book, “Ghost Hunting: True Stories of Unexplained Phenomena from The Atlantic Paranormal Society” for $15.00, you can read all about it.

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0 comments on “A few thoughts on TAPS & Ghost Hunters Academy

  1. I agree with the composure part, many people just want to see good tv and if this means people running off when they see nothing to please the viewers then its always going to be this way, which is a bit saddening really!

    1. It is very saddening. The truth is, I preferred watching Ghost Hunters back in the early days, when they didn’t find as much “evidence” or have as many “personal experiences.” What they do now is not an accurate representation of what actual paranormal investigating is like!

    1. Believe me, I’m not jealous of TAPS. They sold out their beliefs and ideals for money. They look worn out and exhausted. They’ve lost the respect of many in the paranormal investigations community. There are many people out there who, while interested in the paranormal, don’t really know much about it. And they take what TAPS says as gospel. This post was trying to expose some of the “smoke and mirrors” TAPS uses on it’s show. At its core, it’s a reality show and entertainment. It’s not about serious, scientific investigations anymore. Any real ghost hunter will tell you that!

  2. doesn’t sound like jealousy, taps really did lose their scientific way long ago. good to see actual ghost hunters pointing out the things the rest of us never get to see!

  3. Hi there guys how are you two keeping, Yea I live in the Kitchener Waterloo area of Ontario Canada, I would like to know when you two are comming up here? My Partner and myself are also Ghosts Seekers, what we do is go into area to see if the truth is real or not, we have gone to a couple of places and found some very hot spot and we also have photos with Vidoes and audio of the Spirts that we have found… Its kind of to bad that we cants sent them in. We are called DA GUYS and yes we are for real!

  4. lol they only show on cue? kk you obviously don’t realize they cut footage. the spend over 6h hours of footage. yeah i guess it’s possible to show all that in an hours span? lul kk noob jeez, there is so much more i could say about this, but your whole “oh wah wah cry baby cause ghost hutners sold out whatever blah blah” is pretty dumb. the moment they got a show would pretty much them “selling out” and your opinion on them being “frowned upon” by the paranormal community is few and far between.

    1. If you actually read my post, you will see that I say I had a lot of respect for them in the early seasons of the show. I’m an actual paranormal investigator, so I know (more so than you) what actually goes into an investigation and that they cannot possibly show everything within an hour long show. And if you did any amount of research or knew any groups in the field, you would see that the general consensus now is that “Ghost Hunters” and TAPS have lost most, if not all, of their credibility. And I suggest you learn basic third grade spelling and grammar before attacking and insulting someone else.

  5. I could not agree w/you more.I have since lost even more respect for them after they failed to stick to there guns and what they call a family,really??Asked them what happened to brandy,rob,ashley ,dustin,and britt,and yes that other guy.The truth is they quit because the show was going exactly in the direction your are sayen.i can tell you from someone on that show stated that 3 of them quit and they put that other women on there to increase the sex appeal of the show,boy thats really ghost hunting for u eh??I think its terrible as one of the person who was on that show stated ,the intigrity of the tru ghost hunting is being comprimised for rateing,therefore not really ghost hunting anymore.maryw

  6. Jason, I feel you hit the nail on the head when you dissected Jay’s definition of composure. The seizures Steve has over spiders is to say the least, highly dramatic – also his fear of flying and God knows what else. He has no patience for anyone else yet “sucks up” to Jay and Grant every chance he gets. He cannot do anything wrong but badmouth his colleagues which is highly unprofessional. I, like you, miss the days of “hi, we’re here to help” and am annoyed with restaurants, hotels, taverns and “historical homes” wanting TAPS to announce their place as haunted to pick up on tourism. I noticed lonnng ago, the clients always asking,”So is this place haunted?” Remember the episode where Jay and Grant found the tape recorder in the bathroom ceiling along with other “props” to “highten the guests’ experiences – that all was to boost business and TAPS seemed not to mind.

  7. i want to know how u feel on the other shows on tv me and my buddy do this but we have a hard time getting in 2 places do u have any thing u can tell me to help we are just getting stared doing this not as a teen joke

  8. When I first started watching GH, I was impressed at Jason Hawkes being so hard pressed to call any place haunted. When they brought in the “Reiki Master” I just started watching it for the entertainment value, and couldn’t take it seriously. If others believe in this, that’s great. Personally I believe it’s a religious title, and has no place in honest ghost hunting. I do not wish to degrade any person of their religious beliefs, but they are just not mine. Also, I personally have never met a true physic either, but perhaps that’s just me and my experience. When Jason Hawkes came down hard on Brian for the “dude run” episode, I thought it was funny. Brian would have been fired from any real job, just because of his attendance and attitude. Steve and his fear of spiders, heights, planes and who knows what else wears on one’s patience too. I have a fear of flying also, having been shot down in a helicopter in Vietnam, but when it was required of me, by my employer to get on a chopper, I got my butt on it, and kept my screams and fears to myself. I have never had much patience for drama queens.
    Now it seems like Jason Hawkes goes out of his way to degrade any other organization that does paranormal investigations, regardless of their findings or outcome of the investigation. It seems like everyplace they go it is haunted, and the private homes are never seen anymore, except on reruns. I noticed they don’t run the old reruns right next to the newer shows, because you would see how much the show has changed. GHI went on the “everything’s haunted” bandwagon first, but TAPS soon followed. I had wondered if others found the “talking flashlight” as funny as I did. One episode had Meat Loaf doing better than the professional hunters did on the answers received by the loose light. I am a retired engineer, and I could make a flashlight do anything I wanted with a few minutes preparation. I also have studied EMF’s and know where to look and how to focus on an area with a meter so it will give a high reading. With our electrical grid of today, a reading of 3.0 is not very high. The high tension wires that cover our nation have no insulation. Of course they give off EM radiation. Can a ghost use it to materialize? I have no idea, but it is a source of energy.
    I do wish Grant well in his pursuit of other endeavors. I can’t blame him or Jason Hawkes for going the way that the network wanted them to. Money and fame are hard taskmasters. The more you have, the more you sell to keep them. If you have integrity, it will demand you sell it. If you have ideals, you end up selling them too. I have seen people do far worse for far less. I hope when it’s all said and done, they can still look in the mirror and say “I did the best I could with what I had to work with, and I’m proud of the work I did”, for when you lose that, you lose more than any money can compensate you for.

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