A Look at “Ghost Lab” – A Brand New Paranormal Investigation Show
Less than twenty minutes ago I finished watching the premier of the new paranormal investigation show, Ghost Lab.
This new show takes place on the Discovery Channel (as opposed to the SyFy Network for shows like Ghost Hunters and Destination Truth, A&E for Paranormal State, or Travel Channel for Most Haunted and Ghost Adventures) and the latest to join the rankings of the other paranormal / docudrama / reality shows.
Overall, this show wasn’t bad. It certainly wasn’t great, but it also wasn’t a horrible show.
The best thing that I liked about Ghost Lab was the way that the investigative team, a group called Everyday Paranormal, approached the paranormal activity through the use of science. These people didn’t rely on psychics or using a Ouija board to try to “talk” to the spirits.
One thing that I noticed immediately about the show was that it appeared to at least have a fairly decent budget.
First, the show is on the Discovery Channel and the TV footage tends to have that high quality look and feel to it. The pictures are sharp and the audio is clear.
The other main indicator is that the show is narrated by Mike Rowe of the popular Discovery Channel series, Dirty Jobs. He’s also been appearing in a few recent Ford truck commercials. There’s no mistaking his voice during the show, and of course this was later confirmed in the end credits.
The problem here is that Mike Rowe doesn’t strike me as a person who has a keen interest in the paranormal. It’s as if he’s just sitting there and reading a script. I think that Mike is great in Dirty Jobs and he has that perfect tough guy personality for the Ford truck commercials, but he is out of place in this show about ghosts and spirits.
Ghost Lab would have been better if it was narrated by one of the Klinge brothers, or not even narrated at all. Paranormal activity isn’t rocket science, and long as the people in the show can talk and explain themselves clearly, then a narrator is not needed.
Another indicator of the money being thrown at the show is the ghost lab itself, or as they liked to call it, the “mobile command center.”
Yeah, like you really need a massive trailer full of electronic equipment to investigate and study paranormal activity. The Ghost Hunters and Destination Truth crews have already shown us that you don’t need nearly as much equipment to carry out investigations. Ordinary video playback on the cameras themselves are usually all that is needed when it comes to doing an analysis during an investigation, such as checking to see if you caught something particular in video or on the audio recording. For the rest of the analysis, you can just use a hotel room (such as in Ghost Hunters), or just take the data back to your home location and study it there (like in Destination Truth).
For the show itself, I like how Ghost Lab tries to take a scientific approach. The investigators made it a point to show how they tried to get a baseline reading for the EMF detectors in the first location. This was referred to doing a “linear sweep” with the data loggers. They also went on to show how the EVP that they captured was supposedly real by recreating the voice and comparing the audio samples.
It’s hard to debunk EVPs without being there in person and seeing what actually takes place when the cameras aren’t rolling. There was a message on the screen saying that everything presented was basically unmodified, real evidence, but you never know just what exactly is real and what is fake. It’s not that hard to fake audio evidence and splice spooky voices into pieces of audio.
The original aspect of Ghost Lab was the theory of using a technique called “era cues” to sort of stimulate paranormal activity by doing activities and playing sounds that would have been present back when the paranormal spirits were still alive. This was tied in to the theory of parallel universes in an attempt to try to explain the forces behind paranormal activity and spirits.
I’ll give the show credit to trying this new technique to try to stir up paranormal activity. From what they played on TV, it appeared that this “era cues” trick worked and some evidence was captured and personal experiences supposedly occurred because of it.
This doesn’t mean that the Ghost Lab people are the first ones who have tried to communicate directly with spirits. Everybody has done stuff like that before. Some investigators on other shows try to be nice to the spirits, talking to them politely, while others take a more direct, aggressive approach, often resorting to yelling and insulting them, daring them to show themselves or do physical contact.
It’ll be interesting to see if the “era cues” theory really works in future investigations.
As far as the investigations in tonight’s show, I’ll have to say that the evidence collected was pretty weak and unconvincing.
In the first investigation, in the music hall in Shreveport, Louisiana, the only real evidence that we saw (or rather heard) was an audio clip. A mysterious voice said, “They saw the light.” Nobody heard the voice when it was recorded, but upon analysis it was classified as a “Class A EVP” (or something or other) meaning that they didn’t need to do any audio enhancements to the clip in order to understand what it was saying.
Otherwise, nothing else captured on audio or video could have been presented as real evidence. Doors mysteriously opened and closed (all out of sight of the cameras) and one of the female investigators was touched, but that was just a personal experience. Personal experiences do jack squat when it comes to making a good paranormal investigation show or proving that a place really is haunted.
These people were quick to jump on the “this place is haunted” bandwagon even though the only authentic piece of evidence collected was the single EVP recording. Personal experiences can always be debunked until we see hard evidence on video (such as Jael’s hand being pulled in the “Ghosts of Chernobyl” episode or when the guy was yanked backwards in the Hoia Baciu Forest in Romania on Destination Truth), and suddenly seeing that things have been moved (such as a door open that was closed before) aren’t convincing for us TV viewers since it could have easily been manipulated off camera.
The investigation at Myrtles Plantation didn’t go much better when it comes to the real paranormal evidence.
For a place referred to as “America’s most haunted house,” it didn’t seem like the spirits came out to visit the investigators.
A child was heard as the Klinge brothers were in one of the rooms and it was captured on the camera’s audio. That itself was pretty good evidence, but the lame thing was that the Klinges were already acting like the place was crazy haunted or whatnot based on hearing something unknown. It’s not like they actually saw a child ghost or anything else.
Like at the music hall place, the investigative crew did another “era cues” session and played audio recordings of Civil War sayings. One of the Klinge brothers went around issuing orders or commands like he was an officer himself and trying to get the “ghost colonel” to show himself.
During this session a cold spot was noticed on the stairs behind one of the Klinges, and as somebody noted, it appeared to be moving across the room. The spot was about twelve degrees colder than the normal temperature and, allegedly, you could literally stick your arm into the mass of cold air. We saw the temperature change on the thermometers, but I don’t recall seeing anybody take any EMF readings at the same time. They were all focused on the temperature of the spot and not any other factors.
As he was chasing this cold spot out of the room, one of the Klinge brothers was touched on the back of his neck. The only video evidence of this event was his reaction, so again this was really just another personal experience and not hard evidence. We saw it happen on video, but it “touched” bare skin and, um, that was it. There really was no video evidence.
Here’s the million dollar question:
Why did these people not have a FLIR thermal imager?
When you go looking for paranormal activity in the dark, it is imperative that you bring along some kind of visual recording device that can either A) see in the dark, and/or B) capture the heat being given off by people, the environment, and anything else whatever it may be.
Without real visual evidence, it’s extremely hard to have a convincing story that a place is in fact haunted. Personal experiences make for great stories around a campfire, but that’s about it. These people were declaring places to be haunted with very little real evidence, which in itself degrades the show and insults the viewers and those who take paranormal investigations and activity seriously.
EVP recording are good for supplemental evidence, but you really need visual evidence of spirits or suspected spirits in action if you really want to convince people. Using K-II meters and asking for spirits to “make the lights flash” isn’t the best solution, either.
For a show that takes the scientific approach, it’s surprising on how little evidence was collected for a place to be declared as being haunted.
Don’t take me wrong, though.
I like the “era cues” theory and I would like to see this show survive.
The problem is that the show feels like an A&E or Biography Channel show with bad hosts and not an investigative documentary show with real pieces of evidence and accurate conclusions. Despite its big budget look it feels like a cheap rip-off of Ghost Hunters and just a notch below the humorous and seemingly unscientific, Ghost Adventures. I have little doubt that parts of Ghost Adventures may be “less-than-honest,” but at least they use cameras everywhere in addition to taking note of cold spots and audio evidence.
Right now this is how I rate the paranormal investigative shows from best to worst:
- Ghost Hunters
- Destination Truth
- Most Haunted
- Ghost Adventures
- Ghost Lab
- and finally, Paranormal State (I don’t like people relying on psychics)