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Ghost Hunters International

Season 2 Episode 19

Pirates Of The Caribbean

Aired Wednesday 9:00 PM Aug 18, 2010 on Syfy
out of 10
User Rating
7 votes

By TV.com Users

Episode Summary


GHI travels to Honduras to investigate the stories of ghosts haunting the Fortaleza de San Fernando. Will the team find Spanish conquistadors still defending their post after hundreds of years, or the ghosts of the English pirates who briefly captured and held the stronghold?

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  • Bring back the good old days...

    I must admit, having read the title of the latest episode I've reached the conclusion that GHI will be the very last traditional (as it gets) Ghost Hunting TV show.

    I just finished reading entil2001's review (brilliant one at that) and figured I'd simply back up his lengthy analysis with my own "nutshell" version for the none essay readers out there.

    GHI use to be about visiting places that were genuinly haunted, whether that be just some crapped out house that some old guy lived in. It was all about finding evidence and dismissing all the rubbish that comes with haunted places.

    Now thought (it was inevitable), the silly production crew has got their Las Vegas-style minds all over it turning it into nothing less than a joke. The reason they do this is simply because of ratings and they have to reach the target audience. At the same time, lets just hope they didn't start losing their audience with every silly gimic they tried to introduce.. (maybe they should try removing all the gimics again and seeing if things pick up).

    I'm guessing here, but mayb the problem is that there aren't enough fans out there who appreciate Ghost Hunting in its true form. It's about going to somewhere, being quiet, not jumping at every noise and not demanding action every 20 minutes. Unfortunately, TV has become like fast food and the majority of the audience (as time passes and IQs deminish) are going to be those silly people that scream every 2 seconds because it's dark. They're the same people that "wow" because the crew are visiting a pirates cave or Hitler's bunker without thinking about the fact that it's just a famous place. Yes, another famous place with stories about a man who knew a woman who's sisters dog barked once at a tree and now that's where Hitler is seen smoking each night according to the franchise selling the tickets.

    Anyway, GHI won't be the same anymore without Robb. I think without him a backbone has been lost and the gimics and places will truly start to become ridiculous. I'm sure Barry will have free reign to spawn all sorts of gadgets and demon catching devices. I'm waiting for the day him or Paul come out with a backpack on and tell the rest of the crew not to cross the beams! It's already started this season with all the new laser gadgets and the silly theme park locations they visit. Not to mention the background music that keeps playing and getting annoyingly loud when you just want it to be silent so you can listen with the crew and feel like you are helping out.

    It's all gone now.

    If any producers read this, please just stop, rewind 2 seasons, press play and copy the process.

    GHI - RIPmoreless
  • How to ruin a good thing

    There are a lot of rumors flying around, so I've tried to dig into the various stories and get a sense of the facts. Unfortunately, as has always been the case with the Ghost Hunters franchise, Pilgrim Films and Syfy play things very close to vest. And the cast members, often caught in the middle, don't necessarily have all the answers (or the legal ability to provide them).

    For those not aware by this point, this is supposedly Robb's final episode as leader of the GHI team. As of this point in the series, Brandy, Ashley, Dustin, and Robb are all out of the picture. Some by their own choice, others not so much. And one also gets the distinct feeling that some of those who openly state that they left of their own accord are putting a good face on a bad situation.

    This is actually not that shocking a turn of events. Unlike "Ghost Hunters", which took an established team and transferred it into the reality TV world, with the organization's leaders as producers on the show, GHI was conceived and constructed by Pilgrim Films. Let's be clear on this: despite what was shown on-screen, Jason and Grant had nothing to do with the creation of GHI. It was clear when the show began that it was all about the production company wanting to expand the franchise. The same is true with "Ghost Hunters Academy".

    Why does this matter? Well, for one thing, it means that they get to decide who is on the show and under what circumstances. Robb didn't get to decide who was in GHI; that was all Pilgrim Films. Those invited could accept or decline, and that's about it. At the end of the day, while Pilgrim Films can't directly control who shows up on "Ghost Hunters" (the key word being "directly", of course), they have absolute control over GHI.

    This is why I always made a point of demonstrating how GHI was staying the course and exceeding expectations. For a while there, the team was stable and had a very strong sense of direction and chemistry. They were solid believers, but they were also trying to be more and more thorough and scientific. They were operating from a consistent set of principles, and they were more than willing to take criticism and defend their choices.

    But let's be honest: GHI repeatedly set an example that TAPS and the GHA candidates couldn't match. None of the shenanigans from "Ghost Hunters" or GHA has ever been seen on GHI. And because of that, GHI has given critics and skeptics an easy point of comparison. More to the point, even early critics of GHI have become aware of that key difference.

    From a business standpoint, GHI has also slipped in the ratings. The very thing that makes it more enjoyable to serious investigators (the lack of sensationalized "evidence" and consistency of approach) also makes it less popular to the casual audience. A lot of fans of the genre claim it's "boring".

    So from that perspective, it makes sense that Pilgrim Films would want to make changes on GHI. Making a position on the team the prize for "winning" GHA is one step. Controlling the leadership and composition of the team directly is another. The drawback, of course, is the loss of the consistency of leadership, and thus a loss in the consistency of approach.

    (As for the rumors that GHI is being cancelled, I don't see that happening. First of all, these decisions were all made months ago, and kept quiet until the episodes aired. Second, all of the materials related to soliciting candidates for the next round of GHA all make it very clear that a position on the GHI team is the prize. And from a Syfy perspective, if GHI had been canceled, it would have been announced by now. Things can change, but until I see something official to change my mind, I'm assuming the show is still going.)

    One thing I should be very clear on: I am not, in any way, questioning the integrity of the investigators that will be team members of GHI going forward. My understanding is that Britt Griffith will be taking Robb's place as team leader for at least the next production cycle. I have yet to have any reason to question Britt's intentions. Joe Chin is solid enough, and I've liked Scott, Paul and Susan so far. I assume Barry will be staying, and I've enjoyed his technical ideas, even when I question the basis of his theories.

    But we've also seen how the GHA candidates were being molded in the latest round of that contest, how they were pushed to use bad science and poor critical thinking skills, and how fame was emphasized. And we've seen how more and more of the locations are being chosen for their sensational connections to people like Hitler Robin Hood, and even (in this case) the Pirates of the Caribbean. And I can't help but wonder if Pilgrim Films is going to start rigging the table, so to speak. Will Britt be the permanent new team leader, or is Pilgrim just putting him in charge until they find someone more amenable to their demands?

    It comes down to this. With Robb as leader, and with a fairly consistent team at his back, I and many others never had a reason to question whether or not GHI was operating with sincerity and integrity. This new team is going to get the benefit of the doubt (at least from me), but that relative sense of trust is going to have to be re-earned. And with Pilgrim Films and Syfy pulling the strings more directly, there's a reason to be concerned. After all, there is direct evidence of Pilgrim Films altering footage in the past.

    All that said, this was an interesting case. I like the fact that they showed the team having some fun together. And it was also nice to see them tie the last couple episodes into Susan's family background. I liked how they were incorporating the frequent use of the native language into the investigation.

    The idea of projecting images to elicit a response is intriguing. It's very similar to the notion of playing music from a given era. I wouldn't personally do it unless the reported activity was connected to the images or music, but if one assumes that the activity is caused by the spirits of the dead, I understand why the method would be used.

    The team did seem to capture noises of movement, but as a viewer, it was hard for me to take too seriously. It was an exposed site, there was storm activity during part of the investigation, and nothing was actually verified as having moved. There's a lot that could be considered circumstantial.

    The EMF meters were a bit more interesting. Some may question the use of EMF meters in a lightning storm, but it's not at all clear whether or not this would cause false positives. Lightning is generally considered to be DC in nature, but it also can have properties not unlike a single-cycle of AC current. Even so, as simple experimentation can attest, most EMF meters don't react to the weather, even during strong thunderstorms.

    With essentially no ambient EMF sources on-site, and little or no chance of the thunderstorm causing the EMF meters to spike, it's hard to know exactly what was causing the meters to react. One problem is that the tri-field meter has two different scales available for magnetic field detection. One is 0-100 mGauss, and the other is usually 0-3 mGauss. I didn't notice which scale was being used, but if it was the 0-3 mG scale, then the spikes weren't particularly high. With no means of identifying frequency, to rule out RF interference, it's difficult to assign any real significance.

    I'm also not so sure about this EFP device. What I've read about it seems to indicate that it gives a quick and dirty visual representation of the amplitude of the sound captured by a recording device. This seems to be based on frequency. So I have to ask the question: what frequency is being used as the basis of the visual display? For the most part, this is claimed as "proprietary", which raises all the usual red flags. (Remember when Chris Fleming claimed that the K-II was specially calibrated to detect paranormal energy?)

    As it happens, I do believe, based on experiments conducted in recent years, that genuine EVP does exist (though I make no assumptions on source), and that it is the result of an EMF at a frequency in the audible range. For this reason, it is not heard in real time, but recorded and heard on playback.

    Assuming the frequency was properly selected, the EFP would be able to detect the rise in amplitude caused by an EVP, especially if it was well above the noise floor. Unfortunately, it would also react to any sound-generated signal in exactly the same way. So there's no way to be certain, unless an area is properly controlled and locked-down, to know if a spike on the device is really due to an EVP being recorded.

    The EVPs that were captured were all fairly typical: buried in the background noise, barely audible, and therefore subject to interpretation. It's been a while since we've seen a truly impressive EVP out of the "Ghost Hunters" franchise. But then, I see that as realistic; great EVPs are far and few between.

    Thus ends this summer run of GHI, and Robb's three-year tenure as its team leader. Of the original lineup, only Barry remains. I suppose we will find out if the show can retain its core identity as a result.moreless

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (4)

    • This is the final appearance of Robb Demarest on GHI. No reason is given for his absence from the show. This leaves Barry Fitzgerald as the only original GHI team member.

    • The investigation took place on May 25-26, 2010, according to the dates embedded in their camera footage.

    • Also Appearing:
      Investigation: La Fortaleza de San Fernando - Omoa, Honduras
      Aldo Zelaya - Local Historian
      Daniel Castro - Night Shift Guard
      Carlos Johnson - Visitor
      Juan Ortega - Night Shift Guard
      Julian Corolon - Visitor

      Special Thanks:
      MC Tours Honduras

    • Susan does an entire EVP in Spanish, translating for Robb. Robb, Joe and Paul ask a few questions in Spanish, as well.

  • QUOTES (3)

    • Paul: Donde estas aqui?
      Barry: Do you understand modern English?
      Paul: Do you understand my crappy Spanish?

    • Scott: (when they get no obvious response to their EVP session) Let's open a can of New York whip-ass on this!

    • Barry: (after hearing GHI are going zip-lining through the jungle) I'm not good with heights. It's a fear I don't want to get over. (later) I'm always concerned about being up high. If I fall, I die... that makes perfect sense to me!

  • NOTES (0)