Thursday, June 21, 2007

GHOST HUNTERS UP THE STAKES

I was impressed with the first and third episodes of last night's Ghost Hunters. The third had some great sounds in an attic, which I thought warranted more investigation and there was a faucet that turned on by itself. The plumbers didn't investigate too far there - odd. But the one that really got me excited was the first episode, a rerun I had not seen.

In the first, the team was in an old Army armory, which now served as a Army Reserve unit. In this ep., one of the cameramen gets pushed down and if you haven't seen it, I don't know if I can explain it. Firstly, let me say that anytime something happens to the film crew, I perk up. It's one thing for confabulation or fraud to arise among the "faithful." However, many of these videographers, etc... are just getting paid to do their job by the show's production staff. There's very little in it for them (of course, there is always the case of Jackie Hernandez's San Pedro home, filmed by Jeff Wheatcraft) and so I am more likely to really absorb their testimony. What made this episode additionally special is that the TAPS team luckily(?) recorded a dead-on video of the incident.

The footage depicts the cameraman toward the back of a phalanx of Tapsters, doing his job, when suddenly his camera bag swings upward (seemingly of its own volition) to smack him in the face. He staggers backward and then seems to double over before collapsing to the floor. Later, a visibly frightened cameraman seems to be in shock but manages to sputter out what had happened to him. The man said that he felt something go right through him with enough physical force to knock him down. The experience was frightening for him as pulse, pupil dilation and blood-pressure measurements (taken by Army personnel) seem to confirm. One of the lead investigators also managed to get some thermal imaging video of the man once he had already been knocked out. In the image you can see the inflamed tissue where the man had been struck. After watching it myself, I must say I agree with the TAPS assessment that the cameraman had neither the reason nor ability to have perpetrated himself what was captured on video - the bag flew by itself.

It was probably one of the most historic incidents in the annals of paranormal investigation; the spontaneous kinetic manifestation of an unknown source of energy. And yet, excited as they were, I must say the TAPS team seemed oddly... underwhelmed. Is that the word I am looking for. It seemed like, "Wow, Grant. That's some really great footage. Let's pack it up and hit the road again."

I desperately wanted to believe - and I'm still cautiously optimistic - but I must remember what I had been once told about the TAPS team after their investigation of the "haunted" Stone Lion Inn in Edmond, OK. I heard stories of fraud, of black wires used to tug and move objects. Could it be that this underwhelmed feeling seemingly expressed by TAPS was actually a sense of regret? Are they now puppets to a machine of their own design, now in the hands of a production company sitting on a cash cow? Maybe I am being cynical. Maybe TAPS was overwhelmed to the point of seeming underwhelmed. But then again, in a field of unbridled zeal, perhaps a dose of cynicism is more than warranted. I just hope that a truly scientific and professional investigation can be conducted in that armory. Because, if real, this would be the first time on video that something more than a door closed by itself or a chandelier seemed to sway on its own that seemed genuine. And that's something worth exploring.

3 comments:

SCU LIBRARY COMMONS said...

I saw that episode as well. I was struck by the fact that the camera man's hands were both occupied when the event occurred and the center of action was not -mysteriously- on the camera man but actually focused on the "stars". The scene was stolen by an event on the fringes - maybe that explains the cautious demeaner of underwhelmed excitement.

j.e.silverstein said...

This episode has just been rerun by SciFi and I watched it again, probably my third or fourth time. I don't think the TAPS team is underwhelmed at all. I think their first concern was making sure that Frank was okay, their second concern was making sure they could do their jobs, and later they'd worry about evidence. Panicking or being excited: Neither behavior would have been called for in the immediate circumstance. Panicking would have made things worse. Being excited would have been, at least, inappropriate when someone's physical safety was at risk. In the privacy of their trailer later, when reviewing evidence, they seemed pretty darned excited to this viewer. I think their behavior was appropriate, all things considered, and in the end, pretty professional.

Cullan Hudson is said...

And, perhaps, that's what I am mistaking for "underwhelmed." Perhaps they are simply restrained. We can, at times, forget (as they must too) that they are on-camera. Of course, they're also from Rhode Island and New Englanders tend to be less exhuberant than we Southerners who slap our knees and cry out, YEE HAW. :-D