Ghost Hunters

Season 4 Episode 12

Garden State Ghosts

1
Aired Wednesday 10:00 PM Jun 11, 2008 on Syfy
SUBMIT REVIEW

Episode Fan Reviews (2)

6.7
out of 10
Average
17 votes
  • A fun episode, but relatively low-key

    6.0
    I enjoy the episodes devoted to locations in New Jersey, because more likely than not, I have either been to the location, have the ability to go to the location, or at least know exactly where it is. For example, I was just recently at the Burlington County Prison Museum (seen earlier this season) and only scheduling issues have kept my group from our own investigation of Proprietary House.

    The ability to go to a location and see it first-hand is psychologically satisfying. My investigation of Eastern State Penitentiary back in 2006 gave me much better perspective. It's said that the camera lies, and to a certain extent, that's true. Scale is very difficult to perceive, and everything tends to look bigger through the lens. But sometimes it's just the knowledge that it happened right down the road that provides some extra interest.

    Before getting into the cases, I wanted to mention something that has once again bothered me. After this episode, SFC re-ran a second season episode, and I happened to catch a short scene with Dave Tango. In this particular scene, filmed way back in 2005, Tango was being praised for how quickly he was learning the ropes. It occurred to me that these New Jersey case were filmed in April, so a few years have passed. So why is Tango still being treated like a rookie, when he surrounded by obvious amateurs like Kris and Joe, both of whom are a lot less polished?

    I understand that it's very likely a storytelling conceit. While the extent of the staging is always a matter of debate, there are a number of scripted set pieces that are filmed for every episode, including supposedly random conversations and walkthroughs. This is SOP for the industry, after all. So I suspect that Tango has been assigned the role as "Steve's trainee", and he will play that role until the bitter end. (Just as Kris has replaced Donna as "cute research girl" in terms of classic reality TV stereotyping.)

    It's not particularly surprising, but it's amazing how people continue to assume that the personalities seen on screen are somehow the full representation of those individuals. It was far more blatant on "Ghost Hunters International", since that team was compiled with a pre-conceived set of "characters" in mind, but it has also been part of the DNA of "Ghost Hunters" since the very beginning. That's part of the editors' job.

    Case #1: Red Mill, Clifton, NJ

    The excitement on this case was the apparent physical personal experiences, which makes it a difficult sell for me. The only on-camera suggestion of the phenomenon was the apparent real-time comparison of Grant's footage vs. Jason's reaction footage. As edited as the footage always is, it's not proof positive, even if there had been timestamps on both videos (since Pilgrim has altered footage in the past).

    I would also wonder why an EVP taken during a time when a young girl spirit was supposedly playing with the team would sound like a grown man, but the EVP wasn't particularly impressive anyway. Taken as presented, however, the personal experiences would be reason enough to conduct a more thorough investigation.

    Case #2: Proprietary House, NJ

    This was a bit more interesting, particularly in terms of some of the auditory recordings. Generally speaking, when a noise is heard and recorded at the same time, it is far more likely that there was a natural source than a supernatural one. After all, sound requires generation of a sound wave, which involves physicality, and therefore would require something a bit more substantial than an ephemeral spirit.

    This is also another reason why it's good to know the particulars about the area surrounding a location. It's hard to tell from the footage, but Proprietary House is right in the middle of a very busy part of the state, and there's significant RF interference from all directions. So even with the new on/off switch on the K-II Meter used in the investigation, the device would have been useless. Any nearby cell phone transmission would account for its activity (which is why it's good that it's use was barely mentioned).

    Both locations were declared active in some paranormal way, but TAPS held back in both instances from granting the locations the "haunted" label. Maybe it was more noticeable because of some discussions I've had of late on the subject, but it would help if Jason and Grant would use a consistent classification system. What's the difference between "active" and "haunted", in their perspective? It's always going to be subjective, but cases like this tend to fall into vague and poorly defined territory.
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