Ghost Hunters

Season 5 Episode 23

Pensacola Lighthouse

Aired Wednesday 10:00 PM Nov 18, 2009 on Syfy

Episode Fan Reviews (1)

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  • Is it lights out?

    This has been an interesting week for fans and detractors of the "Ghost Hunters" franchise. A lot of people are aware of the fact that a former cast member conducted a controversial interview, in which it was implied that fraud was taking place during the production of the show. This has led to a lot of debate, both good and bad, as one would expect. (And there is also evidence of furious legal action taking place, which also has certain implications.)

    I won't address the specifics of the interview directly; it would likely cause more trouble than it is worth. But I will note that this cast member aired similar grievances against the production company in the summer of 2007, and the details and accusations were consistent over time. Also, it is no surprise that the cast members are mostly paid poorly and make sacrifices to be part of the show. Such information has been available through countless interviews, articles in public domain, and other mundane sources.

    Of course, the real item under debate is the implication of fraud. Unfortunately, there is a lot of bad information out there regarding the exact comments made and a great deal of argument over context and intent. Sifting through all of that, I find it very difficult to say with authority that proof has been delivered. What I did hear was something that corroborates one aspect of the show that has been apparent for quite some time.

    The exact context involved mention of the editing process, which in my mind, connects to the many instances where it seems like something labeled as potentially paranormal could have been explained by a mundane source. Especially in regards to the K-II and FLIR footage, where it is hard to believe that Jason and Grant would continue to misinterpret the output of those devices or overlook their shortcomings, unless they wanted to play things up as potentially paranormal for the good of the show.

    Let me clear: this is not a new observation. I firmly believe that this has been happening for quite some time, and it has gone beyond the point where it can be explained as simple technical ignorance. I give the rest of the team benefit of the doubt because they can only go by what they are told, and I have often observed that teams like GHI seem to produce a uniform distribution of "evidence", while on TAPS, all of the truly questionable "evidence" and interpretations center on Jason and Grant.

    So while I was initially taken aback by the content of the interview, I don't know that the information was particularly new. At the same time, I completely understand that this is not something that Syfy or Pilgrim Films would want to have people think about when watching the show. Besides, it only lends credence to more egregious claims of staging "evidence", even if those are still not supported by direct admission/observation.

    It is the reaction to this interview that is most interesting. Overall, it hasn't changed too many minds, because the battle lines were already drawn. Some of the more dedicated critics and naysayers will say that this validates all their claims (which it does not), and some of the more dedicated TAPS supporters will assassinate the character and choices of the former cast member to justify ignoring the implications (which is deplorable). And still others will continue to paint those still choosing to believe in TAPS as stupid or blind, which speaks volumes.

    Most of the commentary, however, seems to be centered on two things. First, a measured acceptance that the information was largely factual and yet also vague and personal in nature. In short, it was fodder for existing platforms of the debate and little more. Second, admission by many fans that they have long since accepted that some form of staging or creative presentation goes with the territory when television production demands are involved.

    I've said many times that I believe that the earnest sincerity of the GHI team, as well as the less sensational nature of their "evidence", exposed some of the concessions made by Jason and Grant for the success of the flagship series. I have mentioned in the past that the "Manson Murders" episode in particular represented a clear shift in the direction of "Ghost Hunters", and curiously enough, there is an interesting coincidence of timing when taken in conjunction with comments from the interview.

    In the end, nothing will change. I don't foresee any dip in the ratings, which continue to rise. But I do think it was worth mentioning in context with this review, because I think some fans will be looking at "Ghost Hunters" differently now, starting with this episode.

    It's probably not hard to predict my opinion of their reaction to the noises in the lighthouse. Even as hot as it was, temperature changes can account for a lot of those bangs and clangs over the course of the investigation. I personally dismiss the K-II behavior based on the shortcomings of the device, and I don't trust the incident with the camera light at all. (I have experienced unusual equipment malfunctions before, but I would have been a lot more intrigued if the camera hadn't been in Grant's hand every time it happened.)

    When it comes to Amy and Kris feeling an odd breeze in the basement, I can only point out that there was a window in the wall behind them and vents in the HVAC ductwork right over their shoulders. They may have said that there were no drafts, but they didn't actually check for drafts or look for a source. It's hard to debunk apparent activity if you don't try to find a root cause. It may have happened off-camera, to be fair.

    I liked the bulk of the footage with Britt and Amy. It's sometimes easy to forget that they used to work together in the same group before Amy became a mainstay of the TAPS gang. I'm intrigued by Britt's claim that he could feel the impact of the footsteps, as if something was walking right by him. Of course, there was no attempt to get more equipment or otherwise document the event, so there's just not enough to it, even with the audio of the event.

    The EVP was above the background noise, which is better than a lot of the "evidence" they've collected this season. But as far as hard evidence goes, it just wasn't very compelling. A lot of the personal experiences were not definitive, and while Jason and Grant never directly said the location was haunted, they clearly implied that it was.