Ghost Hunters

Season 7 Episode 6

Frozen In Fear

Aired Wednesday 10:00 PM Mar 30, 2011 on Syfy

Episode Fan Reviews (1)

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  • Too good to be true?

    Reactions to the introduction of Maddie to the team seem to have been fairly consistent: while the possibility of an animal reacting to unseen stimuli is acknowledged, it's also apparent that it all comes down to subjective human interpretation of Maddie's reactions. In a way, it's no different than some of the flashy but useless devices they've come to rely upon in their investigations. On the surface, it looks like a valid source of information, but it doesn't take long to realize the flaws in the logic.

    Before delving directly into the episode, one aside. While I'm not too impressed with the episodes this season, and I think that Maddie is just another gimmick among many tossed out thus far (as opposed to making some truly substantial changes that could generate better "evidence"), I am happy with the fact that the majority of the episodes have been single-case installments. It allows for much better coverage of the locations, and with cases like this, a closer look at the challenges some of these locations represent.

    All things being equal, I can accept, on some level, the notion that Maddie might be able to notice spots with increased EMF levels. And sure, the K-II Meter was registering high magnetic field strength. But two things come to mind. First, the K-II Meter is, by the maker's admission, not calibrated. As such, the magnitude of response on the meter cannot be claimed to be representative of the actual field strength.

    Second, Maddie was standing within a couple feet of a door and barking. And when they came over, she was constantly pointing at the door or trying to look through the window. It seems far more likely to me that the dog was reacting to something outside, not to some entity or EMF spike in the corner. (And while Jason and Grant claim the doors were chained or padlocked to prevent site contamination, they seemed to open the doors easily enough!)

    It seems like a lot of the banging they kept hearing was coming from doors or walls facing the outdoors, at least as it seemed from the footage. It makes me wonder if someone might have been generating some of those sounds to either mess with the team or generate some excitement. And the extreme cold might have been causing some unexpected effects in the materials of construction within the building, so much so that all the little knocks and bangs were all too easy to dismiss.

    While Steve and Tango's experiment sounds great, it actually doesn't mean what they think it means. The theory is simple: if EVP is related to EMF frequency, why not see if human voices converted into EMF can generate responses? Unfortunately, that's not what they're doing. Playing their recorded voices back over speakers and simply speaking both rely on generation of sound waves through vibration at audible frequencies to be heard.

    That's the thing about EVP: the most genuine examples have been demonstrated to be an EM field with a frequency towards the low end of the audible frequency range, but well below the RF frequency range. To simplify, the EM field results in a pattern, when recorded, that mimics the electronic result of recording human speech. But it's not actually a sound wave being recorded and then converted to an EM signal in the recording device; it originates as the signal itself. So converting from an organically-generated sound wave to an electronically-generated sound wave is missing the point.

    Jason's overnight video was interesting for a couple of reasons. First, I thought it was odd how the camera just couldn't seem to focus very well. That's usually a sign that the camera auto-focus is struggling to figure out what should be the subject of the video. Unless Jason intentionally placed it to confuse the camera, it should have been apparent during setup. So I wonder why it was having such problems, especially when it stopped once Jason was standing right in front of it.

    Second, Jason gets up at one point because he's hearing voices and movement coming from the bathroom. I would think that most investigators would then adjust the location of the camera to point into the bathroom (and probably add a recorder or two for good measure). I'd love to know why he didn't do that, but the results do suggest a motive.

    I like that they were able to debunk some of the reported voices. The first audio recording was definitely buried in the background noise, and therefore had to justify as an actual EVP. The "evidence" from Steve and Tango's experiment was no better. Contrast that with the EVP from the theatre session; I'm not entirely convinced that it's a human voice, or not one of the production crew, but it clearly rises above the noise floor in the recording!

    I'm really torn about the footage from Jason's room. I do find the auto-focus issues interesting, because I've used similar equipment enough to know that it's very easy to setup the camcorders to avoid that problem. But more importantly, if the noises were coming from the bathroom, why wouldn't he reposition the camera? The fact that the captured incident takes place within the frame of the camera as originally positioned seems all the more suspect as a result. And yet, the footage is what it is.

    One last point on that footage: I've been on enough investigations and dealt with enough table lamps to know that they can short out and otherwise turn on/off unexpectedly, seemingly on their own. Usually, with turn-knob style lamps, there is no accompanying click if there is a short in the circuit. So that explanation seems unlikely.

    On the other hand, I must admit that the other likely offered explanation (especially from the skeptics) is a valid point. With many turn-knob lamps, it's possible to turn the knob nearly all the way, and let it sit on the brink of clicking over. The lamp will remain off during this time. Sooner or later, the delicate balance is broken, the knob clicks over, and the lamp goes on. I'm sure this is what people will suspect, especially with the camera-placement question also in mind.

    I'm not pointing fingers at Jason in this scenario, of course; if it was rigged, it could have been anyone involved in the production. And longtime readers know that I don't trust Pilgrim Films at all, given past transgressions. But it does raise doubt, and given the weakness in much of the rest of the "evidence", I think they overstated the paranormal case in this instance.