Ghost Lab

Season 2 Episode 1

Dead Will Rise Again

Aired Tuesday 10:00 PM Oct 19, 2010 on Discovery Channel

Episode Fan Reviews (1)

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  • Good location, bad science

    During the first season of "Ghost Lab", the Everyday Paranormal team seemed to show a lot of promise. The use of an array of instruments is a good one (especially when they use dataloggers), and there's no doubting that having all that analysis equipment is a huge asset. There are plenty of investigators who would love to have all those resources at their disposal, along with the great locations!

    Unfortunately, the Everyday Paranormal investigators, starting with the Klinge brothers themselves, fall short of their stated promise. While they make some effort to apply scientific principles to their investigations, it's readily apparent that they are not particularly well-versed in science. For example, on more than one occasion, they made the mistake of believing that the Raytek-style "gun" IR thermometers could somehow measure air temperature and detect "cold spots". This is a basic, amateur-level mistake, which only serves to put into question their other assumptions and conclusions.

    So coming into this second season, the question is whether or not the Everyday Paranormal gang has overcome the mistakes of the past, or if they will simply pick up where they left off. A season premiere in Gettysburg is as good a test as any, especially after the recent "Ghost Adventures" episode in the same location.

    The investigation begins at the Fairfield Inn. I like how they use maps and layouts to give the audience a sense of the location; that's something I've always wanted them to do in the "Ghost Hunters" franchise. I also like how they try to get a detailed explanation of the reports from the clients. While some believe that feeds into confirmation bias, if a team is scientifically attempting to derive a root cause for activity, the team needs the information necessary to put the right resources and equipment to the task.

    It's readily apparent that the show has undergone a bit of a shift in approach. We don't see much in the way of the equipment setup, and a lot of the tactics are nothing more than what is seen in every other paranormal investigation show. Much of what made the group distinctive, if flawed, has already been stripped away.

    I'm fairly skeptical of the mirror picture, and I have absolutely no idea what they are talking about when they say that a shadow person is like a "temperature variance" that the human eye is detecting. That doesn't make any sense at all. Are they trying to link their false positives on their thermal cameras to shadow people? Biologically, the eye doesn't work through detection of thermal energy, so what in the world are they talking about?

    Instead of going right to the client, why wouldn't they take this evidence to, say, a photography expert for analysis? The owners aren't going to dispute what the team brings to them, and they certainly don't have the technical means to present a counter-argument! So other than validating their own snap judgments, what is the purpose?

    I'm also not a fan of the RT-EVP devices. In theory, it sounds great; if entities are leaving EVPs, why not try to capture them and hear them in relative "real time", so a sort of direct communication can take place? Unfortunately, the downside is that it becomes very, very easy to start interpreting every little bit of unusual background noise and static as an EVP, because of the desire for the process to work.

    A side note: this episode once again brings up the ridiculous idea that EVPs are recorded at frequencies below human hearing. This is logically false. For one thing, if that was true, how could the EVP be heard upon playback? It's not like recording and playback changes the frequency! I've heard this repeated again and again in the last year or so, and all it does is tell me that the person saying it doesn't have a clue how sound and audio recording technology works. (My co-director is an audio engineer. One of our team members does forensic audio analysis. We all get a huge laugh out of this "theory"!)

    The Klinge brothers actually verify what I was saying about the RT-EVP. Note that both brothers, before the "EVP" is analyzed in any way, both assume that the equipment worked and that a "real time EVP" was recorded. How could they possibly draw that conclusion without proper analysis? So of course, they hear what they want to hear. (And the audio is clearly manipulated before presented as well, which bothers me a bit.) The potential EVP is somewhat clear, but I would want to look at it more closely.

    The team moves on to the Jenny Wade house. I'm not sure I agree that those were footsteps. It sounded more like metal against metal, not creaking of floorboards. Of course, they way they "clean up" their audio, it's hard to get a true sense of what they're hearing in their recordings!

    After seeing the "Ghost Adventures" gang trying to stir up activity with a little Civil War re-enactment themselves, it was a bit funny to see Everyday Paranormal trying their own little "era cue" experiment. I actually don't mind this as a concept; since we don't know what the trigger for activity might be, why not give it a shot? There's nothing scientific about it, but it's amusing to watch.

    The unusual noise that they heard and recorded sounded less like a woman moaning and more like a dog howling or moaning nearby. This time, when they mention footsteps, the sounds are clearly audible on the recording. But I agree; it could have been them shifting around on the floorboards.

    The supposed hot evidence in this episode is the apparent sobbing caught on audio. I'd be rather intrigued if we caught anything like that ourselves, because it's not likely to be an animal noise. So I'll give them the benefit of the doubt on that one. But as a whole, I wasn't particularly impressed. There were a couple interesting things here and there, but it was buried in more of the same bad "science" that made it hard to take them seriously in the first season.
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