I used to watch Ghost Hunters on the Syfy Channel. I used to be completely entertained by the blue-collar, average-Joe investigators, New England accents, and healthy dose of skepticism that the show brought to the world of paranormal investigations. True, they never seemed to actually catch anything that they supposedly “saw” on camera, although they enthusiastically told the audience that they felt and noticed various things, from actual apparitions to chilly feelings. Still, Grant and Jason brought an authenticity and veracity to their methods.
Then I watched the South Park episode that brutally mocked the show. Thirty minutes later, my world was shattered. Ghost Hunters is actually a pretty boring show which gives you, if you are at all interested in ghosts, very little proof as to whether hauntings actually exist. Yes, their main point is to disprove, or debunk as the like to say, not prove. But when they do encounter something they consider to be paranormal, I need more than hearing some bro say he feels icky to go on.
Ghost Hunters International began a few years ago as an offshoot of Ghost Hunters. Basically, several members of the original Ghost Hunters team and a few newbies head out to various European haunt spots, using the same infrared cameras, EVP recorders, and electro-magnetic readers that Grant and Jason use on the mother show. And what do they find? Not a whole lot. That is to say, they tell us they see, hear, and feel a bunch of different phenomenon (“I could have sworn I heard…” “Did you just see that?” No.), but we, the viewers somehow manage to not share any of those experiences. Maybe the cameramen are to blame, but I doubt it.
Robb Demarest leads the team, with his scary-intense eyes bugging out of his head as he performs the initial walk-throughs of castles in Scotland, Germany, and Italy. Barry Fitzgerald, an Irishman, is his sort of second-in-command, another self-serious believer. Donna La Croix is way more charming, a recognizable face from the early years of Ghost Hunters. The most entertaining investigator, though, is probably Brian Harnois, a complete bonehead with even less courage than intelligence.
I’m not doubting the existence of ghosts, necessarily, although I think 99.9 percent of paranormal experiences are hoaxes or mistakes. But both Ghost Hunters and GHI do little to prove (and only slightly more to disprove) the existence of the paranormal. I’m still waiting for a good ghost show, but unfortunately this ain’t it.
Ghost Hunters International Season One: Part 1 is out now on DVD from Image Entertainment.
Some love it, some hate it, and no one thinks it’s as good as Six Feet Under. I’m definitely a fan, and I can’t wait for the new season of True Blood coming this June on HBO. Read my review of the first season DVD set for Paste Magazine here.
Spoiler alert for those who haven’t watched yet – this is how season one ended: