Ghost Hunters

Season 4 Episode 17

Speaking With The Dead

0
Aired Wednesday 10:00 PM Sep 24, 2008 on Syfy
8.9
out of 10
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47 votes
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Episode Summary

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Speaking With The Dead
AIRED:
The Buffalo Central Terminal was once an Art Deco masterpiece, but TAPS finds that it is now a hotbed for paranormal activity.

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • Size matters

    7.0
    Rather than focus on the K-II Meter, since my position on the reliability of the device has been mentioned in excess, I think time is best served on other aspects of the featured investigation. TAPS faced a number of challenges in this episode, and while one could debate how well they handled those challenges, I'm not sure they had many options.



    The location was ridiculously huge. TAPS has investigated several locations of unusual size over the course of the series (just about any asylum or hotel comes to mind), but this felt a lot more imposing. Investigating a location that size definitely sounds like fun, but it raises a number of complications.



    TAPS mentioned most of them in the episode. First and foremost, there's the issue of coverage. How can five investigators, even working on their own, cover a location that large, even accounting for several nights of work? They did have a few hot spots that they could focus on, particularly with the monitoring cameras, but there was still a lot of ground to cover. I think some team members were on their own more in this episode than in any other instance.



    (An aside: Kris notes how TAPS members normally wouldn't go off on their own. Really? Because it always seems like Jason and Grant send Kris on her own. Hence calling her the "bait" all the time. Maybe that comment was intended to remind the critics that a cameraman is always with her?)



    Getting back to the monitoring equipment, that raises another issue. I'm sure they could have used a lot more equipment, particularly the static cameras and wireless audio. It's hard to tell how much they did deploy, thanks to the editing, but I can't see how it was enough to deal with all the potential problems. Areas would be left untouched, and there's also the very real problem of "site contamination". I know there's some degree of site security involved with the production, but can a building that size really be secured tightly enough?



    The dusty conditions were another factor. Not from an investigational point of view (since the "orb" question is never a problem with TAPS), but from a simple safety concern. I don't want to know what the team was breathing during this investigation, but it couldn't have been good. The particulates and mold had to be out of control. And in terms of perception, the dust in the air can mess with your peripheral vision.



    With all of those factors working against them, I'm surprised that the team managed to put together anything remotely organized. At least the editors didn't try to shove everything into half an episode! Visually, the site was a lot of fun to see. It was, as I believe someone on the team said, something right out of a horror video game.



    In terms of the "evidence", I'm not sure what to think. As always, I dismiss the activity on the K-II Meter, and I don't need to get into the reasons why. I do recall Grant saying that it should be taken with a grain of salt, so there we are. Under normal circumstances, the audio would have been impressive enough to get my attention on any investigation; I'd be scheduling a return visit immediately. But my enthusiasm is tempered by the site security issue, especially with the voices they actually heard.



    That brings me to the thermal footage, which was the highlight of the episode (at least according to the presentation). I've described how the FLIR camera works in the past, so my skepticism is based in the science behind the instrumentation. The FLIR images are based on surface temperatures, so something had to be there for the camera to capture.



    TAPS apparently thought of that, because they happily point out that the footage of the hallway taken on the adjacent infrared video camera shows no human activity, despite being taken at the exact same time as the FLIR footage. That is intriguing and normally quite convincing, but there are a few mitigating questions to be answered or addressed before it's conclusive.



    The first question sounds silly but is actually relevant: were the time signatures of both devices synchronized before the investigation? One would assume they were, but it's often missed. That said, I would expect TAPS to be smart enough to check the footage for a few minutes before and after for signs of human intervention. On the other hand, the captured movement actually looks like it's further down the hall than the infrared camera can see, so it's not perfect for debunking.



    Unfortunately, after the post-production manipulation of FLIR footage in the "Manson Murders" episode, there will always be a question about the validity of time signatures when presented as part of evidence. In this case, TAPS points out the corresponding information during the reveal, so if anything peculiar is discovered regarding the footage, they will have little defense. Time (and diehard skeptics) will tell.



    The second question is based on the characteristics of the captured figure. It actually looks like a person moving around (quite recognizable), which doesn't necessarily mean anything. But the behavior is, quite frankly, goofy. It looks like someone mugging for the camera. I wouldn't put it past somebody to figure out a way to play a trick on TAPS during an investigation, especially on a site with so many potential security issues.



    What that amounts to is ample reason for a follow-up investigation with more equipment, a larger team, and solid site control. Given the team's enthusiasm following this investigation, I wouldn't be surprised to hear a return visit was already in the works.moreless

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Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions

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  • TRIVIA (2)

    • Also Appearing:
      Investigation: Buffalo Central Terminal - Buffalo, New York
      Tracy Doldan - Building Committee
      Marilyn Rodgers - Former Volunteer
      James Cooper - Eyewitness
      Adam Vester - Restoration Volunteer

    • The investigation of the Buffalo Central Terminal took place on June 16-17, 2008, according to the date embedded in the thermal camera footage.

  • QUOTES (3)

    • Steve: (referring to Tango's video camera) What's that pointed at, the ground?
      Tango: No! Over here!
      Steve: What, the bucket?
      Tango: No! There's a doorways there.
      Steve: (looking at the viewfinder) Hm. It's a great shot of the wall you've got there.
      Tango: It's not a wall, it's a wall...
      Steve: Yeah, that's a wall!
      Tango: (moving the camera) If I do it this way, what am I getting?! If you were holding this camera, I'd catch you doing the same thing, I guarantee it!
      Steve: Why do you think I always give it to you?
      Tango: (as they both laugh) Exactly, you bastard!

    • Jason: (seeing a Star of David inside a circle painted on a wall) Well, you know there's been some sort of occult activity going on here.
      Grant: (reading some graffiti) One thing I do know is 'Tom loves Jen'.

    • Dave: Each time I come into a room, it feels like another level of a video game.

  • NOTES (1)

  • ALLUSIONS (0)

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