Ghost Hunters and other Paranormal

DVD Review – Ghost Hunters: Season 2, Part 2 – Poor Quality DVD Reflects Badly on the Show

Ghost Hunters is a popular show on the Sci-Fi Channel. Members of an organization known as The Atlantic Paranormal Society, or “TAPS”, travel to various places that either have a reputation for being haunted or where the owners have requested that they come to investigate because they believe there is a problem.

Before getting their own television show, TAPS had a pretty good reputation in this area. That is because they approach an investigation like a skeptic, looking for a logical reason for some of the claims and stories. Sometimes they honestly find explanations that make sense. Other times, things happen that will leave even the biggest skeptic scratching his head.

TAPS is headed by Jason Hawes and Grant Wilson. They are two plumbers for Roto-Rooter by day and paranormal researchers by night. They sacrificed a lot of family time over the years on this “hobby” and probably caught a lot of flack from wives who couldn’t imagine that it would one day pay off for them. TAPS is staffed by other regular volunteers. Those are Donna Lacroix who’s their researcher and case manager, Steve Gonsalves who’s the tech manager, and Brian Harnois, who’s … well, Brian. Others who make appearances this season include Dave Tango, Dustin Pari, Lisa, Kristyn Gartland, Mike Dion, Kristen Perkins, and Christine Selfridge.

I never knew these organizations were out there, but after viewing the show for several seasons, I have come to realize that there are many paranormal research groups across the country and the globe. Some subscribe to the same philosophy as TAPS and try to find logical explanations for things. Those people sometimes join investigations and are considered part of the TAPS family.

A variety of devices is used to gather evidence in addition to personal experiences. Thermal cameras are used as well as electromagnetic field detectors. In each episode, there are brief explanations of what the equipment is and why it is used. For hardcore fans like me, it gets really repetitive. However, it does make the show very accessible to a viewer who tunes in anew. Jason also dismisses orbs as evidence of paranormal activity, and it doesn’t matter whether they are captured with a video camera or a digital camera. His opinion is that most of the time it’s dust or a bug and those few times it isn’t, it’s just balls of energy that aren’t necessarily paranormal in origin. Some people find that position controversial. When orbs are captured during an investigation, they do show this evidence even though they don’t necessarily give it credence.

In this second half of the second season, on the personal front, the problems previously experienced with Brian are still causing fallout despite his being brought back into the fold. People still harbor resentment over the behavior that led to his departure and are unsure whether or not he’s really changed, as promised.

There are some really terrific investigations among the cases. The team gets the opportunity to travel to many well-known places across the country and experience some of the more notable haunted places. Included are the Stanley Hotel in Colorado where Stephen King was inspired to pen The Shining, The Lizzie Borden House, Waverly Hills Sanitarium, and the St. Augustine Lighthouse. The Stanley Hotel and St. Augustine Lighthouse are two of the best investigations I have seen. It’s really hard to deny the evidence of an afterlife with what they record at the lighthouse.

There were some major problems with these discs. Right from the first episode, there were audio issues. It’s muddy and there are problems with reverb and distortion. It’s worse at the beginning of the collection and gets better as the discs go on. However, in the final (eighth) disc, it’s back really bad as well as there being some visual distortion at times around the edges of the picture. I feel the sound could have been much better throughout the DVDs and it really was a disappointment. How can we listen to the EVP evidence when it’s so horrible and distorted?

I also don’t like the way the discs are packaged. They are basically stacked one on top of the other, so if I want to get to one of the other discs I have to take the discs out that are on top. Keeping them in order is also a problem. If I want to view the investigation at the Stanley Hotel or the St. Augustine Lighthouse, they are later in the package and that means taking discs out and either leaving them out until I am done viewing or putting them all back out of order. To protect the discs from getting scratched, I usually just put them back in out of order.


• Mansfield Reformatory – This is the prison where Shawshank Redemption was filmed. The crew has some interesting personal experiences.

• Lizzie Borden House – The home where this notorious murder took place has been turned into a bed and breakfast and the team travels there to investigate and see if they can capture any evidence of the strange goings-on reported by guests.

• Crescent Hotel, Eureka Springs, Arkansas – A place that was once used as a fake cancer treatment center with a morgue in the basement is investigated. It’s now used as a hotel and there have been many strange occurrences. There’s some good evidence captured here.

• Dr. Ellis House – When they travel to the home of the doctor who ran the clinic, now owned by a man named Caroll Heath, Jason and Grant get a surprising and very interesting look at the concept of being able to read people’s minds.

• Waverly Hills Sanatorium – Waverly Hills was a renowned tuberculosis hospital operated in Louisville, Kentucky. The team gets some pretty good evidence here including personal experiences by a number of the TAPS members as well as some video evidence.


• Mades House in Holliston, Mass. – A family is scared of a visitor they have named “Grace” who roams the house at night and calls out “Mommy”.

• Palladium Theater – There have been mysterious footsteps and orbs at this theater, built in 1928.

• Leonard Home – A home in Jason’s hometown in upstate New York is investigated. The homeowners have reported mysterious bangings as well as full-body apparitions. In addition, their infant son has had scratches appear on his body for no apparent reason.

• Valentown Museum – Jason remembers this museum having a reputation of being haunted when he used to live in the town. There are a number of personal experiences, but all of the computer-recorded evidence is accidentally lost.

• Home of Two Brothers – While investigating a home of two brothers (who wish to remain anonymous), a variety of phenomena is encountered, including a physical attack on one of the TAPS members.

• Willard Library – A library in Indiana that has a long-standing reputation of having paranormal activity is investigated. Jason and Grant review pictures and reports put up on websites by people who have experienced a wide variety of phenomena before embarking on the investigation.


• Hodgman Home- The TAPS team travels to New Jersey where they investigate a home where a couple has been uncomfortable as well as having some unusual experiences since purchasing it. They capture some excellent EVPs at the home.

• Hartford Conservatory – TAPS gets to investigate a school for the first time. It’s a music school and there are sometimes eerie musical echoes in the building. Even as they are setting up Donna hears music from a room where no one is.

• St. Augustine Lighthouse – This lighthouse in Florida has seen a good deal of death, including a caretaker who hung himself and the death of two little girls while it was being constructed. The group captures a lot of evidence, including a figure moving up and down the stairs inside the lighthouse as well as looking over the railing down at them. They also debunk some of the reports of strange happenings in the lighthouse.

• Domani’s Restaurant – A restaurant where the owner has had some strange happenings is investigated, including a mirror she won’t touch for fear it’s bad luck. Dave tries to go into the banquet room, but the door resists him, yet there’s no one behind it. They also get some EVPs and explain some of the other things that have happened.

• Old Jail in St. Augustine, FL – There were eight hangings in this jail where the inmates lived without running water or electricity. While they do pick up some evidence, it’s not enough for them to conclusively say the place is haunted.


• Stone Lion Inn, Guthrie OK – This Inn in Oklahoma used to be a funeral parlor. Another paranormal group has investigated there and recorded EVPs and seen shadows. They come up with recordings of some strange things during this investigation as well.

• Edgerly Home, New Bedford MA – Asked to come to this home because of personality changes that a close friend has witnessed in the home’s owner, the team locates huge EMF leaks from the electrical panel as well as tons of mold on the wood in the basement. There are also tons of hazardous chemicals in the home. This is a great episode that illustrates how they find explanations in homes that aren’t related to the paranormal.

• The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, CO – The hotel where Stephen King had his inspiration for The Shining. It’s just an incredible investigation that leaves the viewer wanting to see more here.


• Deleted Scenes from all of the episodes
• Bonus Investigation at the Elkhorn Lodge in Colorado
• Trailers for the DVD Boxed sets