When I heard that TAPS was going to Oak Alley Planation, I was quite pleased. I was fortunate enough to visit Oak Alley in the fall of 1995, just around Halloween, and I have vivid memories of the location and the stories. While I did not have much of a chance to investigate the premises at the time, despite my keen interest, the building is still connected to my memories of unusual and exciting encounters in and around New Orleans.
The location didn't disappoint, and as I said, most of the stories hadn't changed, so I could focus on the investigation itself in short order. Believe it or not, I actually enjoyed the presence of Barry Fitzgerald. There's a very specific reason for this, and it ties into some of the things he did after he replaced Brian Harnois as tech manager of GHI.
I'll happily admit that Barry is too reactive to the slightest hint of anything spooky about a site, and he jumps to conclusions about every little change in the air and shift in peripheral vision. He takes too much credence in the folklore he does know, and he fails to recognize the gaps in that particular brand of knowledge. These are the things that a lot of people dislike about his style. (His reactions in the "alley" are a perfect example.)
On the other hand, he is willing to look at new ways to measure and correlate raw data, and he makes a solid attempt at understanding what the data is telling him. He likes to compare and contrast readings on the same item from more than one device. Even if it falls short of the best scientific approach at times, that concept is something to be fostered in the paranormal investigative field.
This episode provides a good example; Barry does exactly what I think TAPS should have been doing all along. When the K-II Meter began to respond in the middle of the doorway while in Joe's hand, Barry's first instinct was to pull out another EMF meter to correlate and substantiate the readings. It didn't work out, but it was a great response and, in my opinion, the right response. That's not something that TAPS is shown doing very often, and it's not been present during the more infamous K-II sessions.
To be fair, Jason and Grant made a reasonable attempt when the thermal camera caught something outside a window; they had Grant go outside to see if his heat signature could be detected in the presumed location of the captured figure. At the same time, because it didn't register Grant's heat signature, I have to wonder if the thermal image was a reflection. Otherwise, the figure would need to be solid and much hotter than a human being for its temperature to "bleed through" (or Grant would have shown up).
I also liked their observations about the attic staircase. I can't imagine that the client wouldn't realize that the temperature was changing dramatically from one floor to the other in the exact same spot, but it is a lot warmer and more humid in that area and the difference may not be as stark and obvious as it would appear. That, and the "tilt" to the stairs, could definitely explain the disturbing feelings reported by the client.
I found it very hard to hear the "footsteps" in the audio recording, and I don't quite understand the conclusion that the clanking sound was related to a door. It's possible I just missed some detail earlier in the episode that might have shed light on that, but it didn't sound that distinctive to me. And I find it very interesting that the "evidence'" didn't support Kristen's assertion that the door moved.
For all that, I'm surprised that Jason and Grant were so reserved in their opinions. I was sure they would declare the site haunted, because they've been more enthusiastic at sited with even less "evidence" over the past few seasons. Ironically, it's not that I disagree with their more conservative stance, but rather, I think it's uncharacteristic of their recent trends. Whatever the case, I can honestly say that this visit to Oak Alley Planation met my expectations.