Battle of the Live Ghost Hunt Events. We Have a Winner!

November 01, 2009 | | Comments 3

If you were watching the two Halloween Live events – Ghost Adventures Live! and Ghost Hunters Live Halloween Countdown – I think you’ll agree there’s little debate as to which one was a slam dunk winner this year. With the old stand-by “Most Haunted Live” (which is always questionable in its “paranormal activities” but which is also always HUGELY entertaining) out of the running this year with no live event for the first time, “Ghost Adventures Live!” easily skated to the top of the heap with a great show.

I guess that “Ghost Hunters” must have decided to pull back after last year’s controversial “events”, but the show they presented was dull and essentially one long advertisement for their upcoming “Ghost Hunters Academy” show premiering in November. With Jason and Grant literally phoning in their presence via what was clearly pre-taped segments, the show faltered right out of the gate. And speaking of gates, even with the masterful hosting talents of Josh Gates fiercely struggling to keep the show entertaining, it was limp and boring. (Can’t believe anything Josh Gates would do could be boring!) Steve and Tango seem like great guys and have a real guy-next-door charm, but if this is any indication of their skills as lead players, it could come down to good editing and solid voice-overs to sell the new show. The introduction of the “Ghost Hunter’s Academy” cast was mildly interesting, but they are still amateurs (through the shows own admission) so it remains to be seen whether or not they will make good TV. The Live event was not a good showcase for them. And did we really need to see the 5 “fan favorite” shows AGAIN? It was a bit anti-climactic considering that SyFy had been showing re-runs of old episodes all day, and the shows that were selected have already been run ad-nauseum. And was the number one show REALLY the most popular? It certainly qualifies as one of the most questionable. The appearance of the “shadowy phantom” running down the corridor looks even more staged today than it did when it originally ran. When first reviewing the footage, even Jason says something like, ‘it looks like someone with a black cloak over them running up and back’. It did then and it still does. Come on!! Better luck next year, guys.
Now for the positive – Zak Bagans and company pulled out a clear victory in a 7 hour GHOST ADVENTURES LIVE show that was never tedious or boring. Zak’s methods can be a little over the top with his constant yelling at “spirits” to show themselves, but he proved in this live event that he could really modulate himself. The addition of hourly “guest” investigators throughout the show, was just the mix needed to really keep the entire event fresh. This was not bullshit stunt casting of wrestling “stars” who have no connection to the paranormal. And there was no fawning over the celebrities to the detriment of the show like we see on Ghost Hunters. (Sorry – love Grant and Jason and the Ghost Hunters team, but this is when they are at their weakest and least enjoyable.) Maybe the fact that Travel Channel is not associated with an entity like NBC/Universal allowed for more freedom to stay on track with the task.
It was GREAT to see Chris Fleming back on TV doing what he does best. He’s a great personality and genuinely sincere and enthusiastic about what he does. Skeptics may scoff at mediums and sensitives, but if spirit presences can (theoretically) be picked up by EMF detectors and other scientific devices, why can’t a person be attuned to those presences? Some people have better eyesight than others, some people are natural musicians, or athletes, etc. And some people can just as easily be attuned to whatever vibrational frequencies in which the spirit world exists. I argue that having a “sensitive” like Chris Fleming as part of a paranormal investigation is essential in tapping into those frequencies and leading the team to hot spots. And speaking of frequencies – Chris’ Spirit Box SP7 gave me some of the most genuine chills of the evening. To hear those creepy voices coming through all that crazy chaotic static gave me goose bumps. Kudos! We hope to see more of Chris Fleming, soon.
Debby and Mark Constantino lent solid credibility with their own methods of EVP work. I’ve always thought it would be much more interesting to do an EVP session and check the digital recorders on the spot, rather than waiting for analysis later. I believe that it defeats the purpose of the exercise by doing that. They were able to identify responses on the spot, and then build on them. They were very watchable and a great addition to the investigation.

Another fun aspect was to bring in the “contest winners” who claimed to have never been on any sort of paranormal investigation and throw them into the inky blackness with Zak and company. It allowed the viewers to imagine themselves being in that position and wondering how they would react. The three winners held it together and it looks like they had a great time being part of the experience.

The only controversy came from “Para-bot” creator Robert Bess. It seemed like Paranormal-Quackery at it’s height. But, whatever that contraption was with the Tesla coil emitting electrical sparks and constantly sounding a “warning/danger” alarm, you can’t say it wasn’t entertaining. OK – in my opinion, the guy was faking it all the way. First he gets shoved by a spirit….uh-huh. Then a meter gets wrested from his hand and thrown down the hall. Video playback clearly showed that he threw the thing himself. Good for the production team to be on top of the controversy that must have erupted online at the time and for doing some quick thinking. Zak confronted Mr. Bess at the end of the show, and his explanation was less than convincing. We’ll see how Zak and team address this on next week’s “post-mortem” show.

And lest we not forget, the show’s host – former “X-Files” and “Lone Gunmen” star, Dean Haglund. A fan favorite who added just the right amount of gravitas to the event.

All in all, a wonderfully entertaining and chilling evening of live paranormal investigation that, in my opinion, is the best live paranormal show ever! Congratulations to Zak, Nick and Aaron and to the Travel Channel. Looking forward to the new season and to (hopefully) another great live event next year.

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  1. Robert says:

    Wrestling stars? Really?
    More Chris Fleming, less wrestling stars.
    Ghost Hunters Academy could be interesting though!

  2. admin says:

    Yes. Wrestling “stars”. It was really, really, REALLY awful. Why there is wrestling on SyFy is enough of a mystery, but wrestling stars on Ghost Hunters is totally baffling. Featuring paranormal experts is definitely the way to go as far as I’m concerned.
    Anything to promote research into the paranormal is welcome and Ghost Hunters Academy could be a great way to continue to spark interest. I’ll be watching…

  3. Tony says:

    Yeah! You hit the nail on the head. I couldn’t believe that the show was seven hours long. it flew by. You’re right about the show being helped by the guest investigators, each of whom brought something different to the proceedings. It was all great fun. Kudos on a great review. I can’t wait for the new season!

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