Ghost Hunters

Season 7 Episode 5

Hotel Haunts Unleashed

Aired Wednesday 10:00 PM Mar 23, 2011 on Syfy

Episode Fan Reviews (1)

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  • This "haunted" conclusion is for the dogs!

    So far this season, most of the "innovations" have been a spin on some element of a competitor's television series: the tricked-out van, the shoulder cams. For all I know, the inclusion of a dog to a paranormal investigation comes from another series as well. But in this case, it's something that they've discussed in interviews and presentations before, so it doesn't shock me.

    In general, the issue for me is that it's subtraction by addition. This isn't just another new member of the team; this is a team member that must be managed in a very specific way to ensure that the investigation itself is not compromised. And so it's that much less attention paid on the investigation.

    More than that, any "evidence" that is indicated by an animal is purely a matter of subjective interpretation. There's absolutely no way to demonstrate that an animal has been trained to "detect paranormal activity", regardless of what one may say, so it all comes down to how behavior is perceived. It's just a special brand of "personal experience", which is unreliable, to say the least. Jason and Grant both admit as much on camera: it's all about how they choose to interpret (and, perhaps as importantly, portray) Maddie's "responses".

    On the other hand, Jason does mention that Maddie could be useful in tracking down stray animals in a location. And it is true that animals have different sensory reactions than humans, including magnetic fields, odors, and so forth. So I'm not completely discounting the idea that animal could be useful in certain situations. Like a psychic, however, I would need to work with the animal enough to prove, through correlation with other properly collected data, that there was something to it.

    By design and inherent limitation, "Ghost Hunters" does not allow for that level of scrutiny, and we are left to take their interpretations of Maddie's behavior on faith. I suspect, then, that this will do nothing to change existing opinions. So, on to the case!

    As mentioned, Maddie's presence essentially becomes a major distraction for Jason and Grant, so they do little more than watch the dog run around. Other than the K-II Meter they constantly carry these days, they just let the dog do most the work. Again, in my opinion, this actually hurts the overall investigation by wasting valuable investigator time.

    The use of the Bumblebee device is a good idea; if nothing else, if they can log the data, it helps to demonstrate whether or not an EVP recorded at a given time correlates to a stray spike in the radio frequency range. Of course, without recording the frequency of EMF detected when an EVP is recorded, it's useless. If fact, any spike in the RF spectrum at the time an EVP is recorded (as Steve asserts they should look for) would actually be a reason to exclude the EVP!

    The thermal imaging camera is best to detect unusual leaks that might give the impression of "cold spots". It could also be useful to show those heating pipes that Jason and Grant mentioned could cause the odds bangs and "growls". The "figure", however, seemed more like a matter of pattern recognition than anything paranormal. After all, just looking at the footage, there are all kinds of odd geometric shapes that appear in the thermal imaging, and it wouldn't take much for them to take on a familiar arrangement.

    Contrary to what Amy and Adam might believe, EMF spikes do "just happen". The EMF meters they are using are responsive to RF frequencies, and do not indicate the frequency of the EMF being registered. It is, essentially, taking the sum total of the EMF detected in a given spot along its entire frequency response range. So if there is a sudden RF signal in the general area, such as a cell phone call, it can cause a small spike in the meter. This should not be a surprise to seasoned paranormal investigators. (And it's also something I mentioned during "Ghost Hunters Academy", as Steve and Tango were specifically "teaching" Adam and the other recruits the wrong way to interpret EMF spikes on those meters!)

    As far as the IR photograph goes, it's an interesting image. I'm not exactly sure what to make of it, just as it's hard to get a good feel for what it supposed to be anomalous in a "full spectrum" photograph. Is that sort of "mist" effect unusual for an IR photograph taken with that type and model of camera? I would like to think the team would research that well, but considering they still misinterpret FLIR footage and swear by the K-II, I can't make that assumption. That said, I like how they took loads of other photos in an attempt to recreate the effect.

    I like the fact that Grant pointed out the same reservations, specifically noting that it was new equipment with its own little quirks, so we're on the same page there. And they debunked the thermal footage pretty quickly as a partial reflection, which I appreciated. It would have been easy for them to pass it off as unexplained, after all!

    I wasn't at all impressed with Tango's supposed "direct responses". It would be too easy for that to have been the pipes and other natural noises in the building. The supposed female voice is buried in the background noise and sounds a lot like a radio transmission to me. The other supposed EVP is even more buried. It all points to pattern recognition or a case of "mistaken identity".

    In other words, I really don't see anything that would justify Grant's assertion that it's "right on the edge" in terms of being "haunted". All of the "evidence" was either easily debunked or far too questionable in nature. There wasn't one solid hit that made it to the final edit, so unless something major was left on the cutting room floor, I really don't understand the conclusion.