Ghost Hunters

Season 6 Episode 17

Grammar School Ghosts

0
Aired Wednesday 10:00 PM Oct 06, 2010 on Syfy
8.5
out of 10
User Rating
37 votes
1

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Grammar School Ghosts
AIRED:
TAPS travels to Alton, Illinois to investigate a former elementary school said to be haunted by the custodian and the girl he was accused of murdering.

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • Lots of claims, little evidence

    6.0
    This has been an interesting week for "Ghost Hunters" fans. There was quite a bit of controversy when Britt Griffith appeared to make some racist and homophobic comments during a radio interview. As with so many aspects of the "Ghost Hunters" franchise, this is an instance where everyone should probably hear the comments in context for themselves, and make up their own minds. But I can say that Britt has been fairly unapologetic, and considering that he is heavily rumored to be taking charge of the GHI team, I suppose Syfy doesn't care about the potential for criticism.



    Beyond that, there were also a number of comments and questions regarding a comment I made in the review for the previous episode. In essence, I made a sarcastic remark about how it must be a TAPS policy these days to minimize the use of handheld instruments. This wasn't taken particularly well, so allow me to explain further.



    I've noticed, over the past season or so, a much greater emphasis on personal experiences, with less and less use of technology, innovative or otherwise. If it's not a K-II meter or a standard EMF meter, they don't seem to carry much of anything. They use the silly flashlight test more often than they use simple ambient temperature probes! There's none of the attempts at technical innovation that has been, in recent years, the hallmark of GHI.



    And that was my point. There are a number of devices that could be used, handheld and otherwise, that could give solid and meaningful information during a standard investigation. Instead, they conduct EVP sessions almost by rote, use the same devices that have been all but dismissed by serious researchers (who have been forthcoming and open with explanations for why such equipment is flawed, presenting better, similar-cost alternatives), and declare many locations "haunted" based on little more than personal experiences and, perhaps, a few EVPs that barely rise above the background noise.



    When "Ghost Hunters" started, most existing groups were left playing a game of "catch-up", adjusting tactics and their technical arsenals. For a time, TAPS had the right to say they were ahead of the pack (or at least, a good part of it). But in the last five years, since I started investigating actively, a lot of groups with less resources and much smaller budgets have taken that original mindset of TAPS, to apply the scientific method, and they've outpaced TAPS without question. And meanwhile, it's as if TAPS is not standing still, but rather, taking several steps backward.



    So that was the context of my frustration. For those who wonder what I think TAPS could or should be doing, I point you to "Paranormal Technology" by David Rountree. That book pretty much sums up our shared philosophy on the best practices for paranormal investigation. (And in the interest of full disclosure, yes, David and I investigate together regularly.) But on to the show!



    Jason and Grant, as always, start the action, this time in the girls' shower room. They hear sounds and potential voices, apparently leading them towards the boys' shower room. They hear a couple of loud popping noises. My first instinct was that it was a fuse or something, triggered when Jason turned off the light, but then the light wouldn't have turned on again. And that was followed by a noise that everyone seemed to hear, prompting a full-team search for the source. They didn't find anything, but I will admit, that caught my interest.



    Britt and Joe Chin catch the sound of walking right over their heads, and this time, there's no question that it was the sound of someone walking. It was ridiculously loud! This is one of those situations where I really question whether or not it was either someone interloping on the site, or a member of the Pilgrim production crew "helping" things along. The "Manson Murders" post-production manipulation by Pilgrim still looms large in the back of my mind. But even if it was totally legit, why wouldn't they put a camera on that hallway? Britt and Joe also try to hunt down an apparent shadow form, but to no avail.



    Jason and Grant keep trying to draw out whatever made the popping sounds, and they continue to hear sounds, as if someone is walking over to them. Just as Britt calls them on the walkie, there is another loud popping sound down the hall, along with sparks. That could explain the popping sound, if there was an electrical fault in the wiring! Jason displays a brilliant lack of self-preservation by touching metal that might be electrified, but a natural explanation is beginning to emerge. (And I'm crossing my fingers.)



    Kris and Amy finally get some screen time in the same general area. Instead of the usual flashlight test, Amy sets up a little on-camera object manipulation, which makes me a lot happier. Unfortunately, there was just some random knocking, which gets their interest, but it's really not much.



    Britt and Joe tackle the girls' bathroom hall. Britt and Joe hear whispers, but to be honest, I hear a lot of odd noises in the background when the stupid music and sound effects aren't running. There's a lot of potential for unusual acoustic effects under those circumstances. The moan, though, was pretty clear. Once again, my skepticism is triggered, because it sounded like someone faking a moan, just as Joe remarked. I will note that Britt doesn't seem to react at all, which is a bit odd to me.



    Jason and Grant move on to the gymnasium and the stage catwalk. They try to do some basic debunking regarding stories of faces being seen through the windows. For some reason, Grant jumps right to the possibility of an entity inside the building appearing to be outside the window. I'm not sure what led him in that direction, as there was no evidence to suggest it at all.



    Kris and Amy go into the boiler room, which struck me as unwise. Amy mentions that she nearly had a panic attack when she went in there to set up the cameras. Now, as leader of an investigative team, I would never in a million years have an individual reporting that kind of issue go back to the same spot. Not only could it be unsafe and lead to a serious reaction, but the anxiety could easily alter perception and objectivity, no matter how professional the investigator might be. But that's just my two cents on the matter.



    They hear footsteps in one particular direction, but no one is around. Amy chooses to stay out in the hallway area, while Kris resumes the EVP session. Amy observes a light that comes and goes. (It's worth nothing that this exact sort of thing happened during a recent investigation of Fort Mifflin. I'm not remotely suggesting that it's paranormal in origin, but as usual, if I've had a similar experience to what the TAPS team reports, I can't simply dismiss it out of hand.)



    I won't comment on the analysis too much: the obvious footsteps are obvious, the rest is not particularly so. During the reveal, they cover the electrical sounds/sparks right off the top, but as they never could explain it, it's still a mystery. But I'm willing to bet there's something wrong with the wiring, maybe for the fan that was hanging near the ceiling. They bring up the footsteps, of course, but I'm still not sold at all on that being paranormal. I'd need more camera coverage to prove out that no one was there at that exact moment. They wrap up with the sound that had the team running about looking for the source, but there's nothing to explain it.



    Once again, I have to say that I don't understand their conclusion that there is paranormal activity taking place. There were a couple of unexplained events, but that's not the same thing at all. But it does fit the pattern that I mentioned earlier in the review, and maybe makes my point for me.moreless
Amy Bruni

Amy Bruni

Investigator

Britt Griffith

Britt Griffith

Investigator/Acting Tech Manager

Jason Hawes

Jason Hawes

Lead Investigator

Grant Wilson (II)

Grant Wilson (II)

Lead Investigator

Kris Williams

Kris Williams

Investigator

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