The Untold Truth Of Ghost Hunters

The Untold Truth Of Ghost Hunters

January 14, 2020 60 By William Hollis


Ghost Hunters was an unscripted paranormal
investigation series on Syfy that saw its cast, well, hunt ghosts. But how did this whole thing get started? Has the team actually discovered evidence
of the paranormal, or has it all been one big con?​ Jason Hawes, former co-lead investigator for
Ghost Hunters, founded a paranormal support group called Rhode Island Paranormal Society
in 1990. In his book, Ghost Hunting: True Stories of
Unexplained Phenomena from The Atlantic Paranormal Society, Hawes writes about RIPS saying: “It wasn’t a ghost-hunting organization…at
least not at first. It was more of a support group. I was trying to connect with people who had
gone through experiences similar to mine.” Those experiences included seeing things. He said: “Usually it started with a mist, out of which
emanated a dim light, and then out of the light came other things – including see-through
animals and full-body human apparitions.” They terrified him, but the support group
and, bizarrely, eating green olives, helped him feel less crazy. During the early days of RIPS, Hawes received
a call from someone offering to improve their website for free. That person turned out to be Grant Wilson. After a period of working together, Hawes
and Wilson wanted to develop a more rational approach to investigating paranormal activity,
something that relied less on emotions, and more on science and logic. The duo formed The Atlantic Paranormal Society
– T.A.P.S. – which was the start of what would eventually grow into the Ghost Hunters made
famous on television. In addition to the standard electromagnetic
field meters and electronic voice phenomenon recorders, EMF and EVP devices respectively,
Ghost Hunters investigators use a wide variety of unconventional items to detect paranormal
activity. Among the more unusual items are helium balloons,
which Grant Wilson says are used in cases where property owners experience cold spots
thought to be made by nearby ghosts. Half-deflated balloons can be put into play
to show that, no, there’s just an actual draft in the home. “You don’t even gotta take it out of here,
just make it roll back and forth.” A few other items in their toolbox that you
wouldn’t expect to see include crepe paper, which is sometimes used as a cheap motion
detector, and talcum powder, which Wilson says ghost hunters sometimes sprinkle on the
ground to pick up footprints left behind by creeping apparitions. Steve Gonsalves, former lead investigator
and case manager for Ghost Hunters, recommended some of his favorite tools of the trade in
a gear guide for Roadtrippers, and put a good old fashioned flashlight at the top of the
list. Just goes to show that it doesn’t take a lot
of money to hunt ghosts. “For what we do, I get excited when I see
a new flashlight. Check that one out.” There’s plenty of evidence Ghost Hunters is
fake, and always has been. While filming at the Overbrook Asylum for
the 2009 episode “Garden State Asylum,” a member of the crew left behind what appeared
to be staging notes. Further first-hand evidence is found in a
Reddit thread of people involved in various “reality” shows. In it, a user going by the name BosskHogg
says: “I was on set for a filming of Ghost Hunters
in Buffalo. On the show, they are ‘investigating’ an upper
level of the Buffalo Central Terminal when they hear a ‘disembodied’ voice say ‘Get out!’ It was the property manager on a lower level
yelling at some homeless people to clear out. Everyone knew it was him, but it somehow made
it in the show as an ‘unexplained’ event.” It’s Reddit, so take that “proof” with a grain
of salt, but it definitely seems plausible. Even the equipment used on the show has been
called into question. An in-depth article by The Atlantic details
how EMF meters, specifically the K-2 meters frequently used on Ghost Hunters, are, quote,
“erratic, prone to false positives, [and] easily manipulated.” EMF meters supposedly detect electromagnetic
fields. The readings spike when in proximity of something
as simple as wiring in the walls of a building, which isn’t accurate, but great if you want
“evidence” of ghosts for your TV show. If the ghost sleuthing business suddenly dried
up, many of the investigators on Ghost Hunters, both past and present, have side jobs they
could rely on to keep food on their tables. The New York Times reports both Jason Hawes
and Grant Wilson are former Roto-Rooter plumbers, so they’re the ones to call if your pipes
are full of tormented souls. Kristen Luman, the new co-lead investigator
for A&E’s Ghost Hunters reboot, is a licensed hypnotherapist. Former tech manager Steve Gonsalves is a film
producer, even working alongside Guillermo Del Toro to create the horror short “The Captured
Bird.” And Daryl Marston, another new co-lead investigator
on the re-boot, is a former firearms instructor and a contractor. Looking at that list, compiling a team that
knows how to properly fire a gun, fix a leaky pipe, patch up the wall when its fixed, film
the whole process, and then hypnotize you into thinking the whole mess never happened,
sounds like a pretty well-rounded crew. Donna Lacroix, a case manager and investigator
for Ghost Hunters and Ghost Hunters International, has been very vocal in expressing her distaste
towards the show, as well as her former cast members. Calling in to a radio program called “Ghost
Divas” in 2009, Lacroix said that her contract while on the show was so bad she nearly went
bankrupt, plus everyone was out to stab each other in the back, and there was a staging
crew for episodes. As for her opinion about Ghost Hunters leads,
Grant Wilson and Jason Hawes, she referred to them as, quote, “the kings” during her
call, going so far as to say they treated tech manager and investigator Brian Harnois
like their, quote, “whipping boy” to the point of mental abuse. In 2012, Harnois scared his fans, friends
and family, when he went missing after posting a note on his Facebook that appeared to threaten
self harm, which has since been deleted. In 2012, Grant Wilson, co-lead investigator
for Ghost Hunters, announced during an episode that he’d be leaving the show at the end of
his eighth year to focus on other aspects of his personal life. “Jay and I have been talking, and it’s been
a very difficult decision to make, but I’m going to be leaving Ghost Hunters.” In a recent interview with Den of Geek, Wilson
says that at the time he felt as though the show had started to rely on gimmicks, and
that they were, quote, “kicking a dead horse,” which ultimately led to his decision to leave
the show. “I was tired. And I was ready to get back to my family.” But in 2019, A&E picked up Ghost Hunters for
a reboot, with Wilson returning to head up a whole new team of investigators. This thrilled fans, while also causing a bit
of confusion. What prompted Wilson to change his tune? In an interview with TV Insider, Grant said: “I never stopped investigating the paranormal…My
youngest is about to graduate from high school, and he’s got it all figured out, so why not
get back into it?” “Still doing it, still gonna do it, will always
do it, and just because, you know, you want to take a break doesn’t mean people don’t
need help.” Makes sense. But, why didn’t his previous partner in ghosts,
Jason Hawes, come back as well? Looking at the chain of events for Ghost Hunters,
specifically those having to do with key members leaving the show, there are a few mysteries
to puzzle over. Why is it that Grant Wilson was the first
to announce he was leaving, then returned for the A&E reboot in 2019, but co-lead investigator
Jason Hawes rode the sinking ship to the very end of its run on Syfy, and stayed gone? You’d think that when A&E picked the show
back up for new seasons, and Wilson announced he’d be returning, Hawes would have jumped
on board as well, but that wasn’t the case. Instead, Hawes heads an entirely different
show, with a very similar name, Ghost Nation, which debuted on the Travel Channel in October
2019. Although Wilson and Hawes have both stuck
with their stories that, when it came to their working relationship, everything was rosy,
it’s hard not to wonder if that’s as true as they make it seem. Shortly after Grant announced he was leaving
Ghost Hunters in 2012, he and Hawes listed Spalding Inn, a New Hampshire property they
co-owned, for sale. Hawes spoke about Grant’s initial split during
an episode of Beyond Reality Radio, which he co-hosts, saying: “Anytime a cast member leaves there is a change
in the dynamics of the team – sometimes good, sometimes not good.” If there was ever a feud here, Hawes and Wilson
are playing it cool. On June 7th, 2016, Jason Hawes posted a message
to Facebook that read: “With heavy heart we want to inform everyone
that we are choosing at this time to end our relationship with SyFy channel.” Further insight, however, points more towards
a cancellation than a voluntary departure. During a speaking engagement in Vermont in
2015, Kris Williams, a former case manager and investigator for Ghost Hunters and its
spin-off series Ghost Hunters International, said that a dip in ratings, and the subsequent
envelope-pushing stunts in a desperate effort to bring them up again, led to Ghost Hunters
International getting cancelled. In an episode of Ghost Hunters International
titled “Sacrificed Mayan Spirits: Belize,” cast member Susan Slaughter cut herself during
a bloodletting ritual and Williams thought that the stunt was too much. After expressing her reservations and then
pleading for the episode not to air, Williams quit when her requests were ignored. Knowing this, it would make sense that Ghost
Hunters, which experienced a ratings dip of its own, was next on the chopping block. In 2015, the year before Hawes’ announcement,
the show was averaging ratings of just 1.7 million viewers, a significant drop from the
three million it brought in during earlier seasons. And Syfy was going in a different direction,
towards mostly scripted television. Within a few years only one paranormal show,
Paranormal Witness, remained. The women of Ghost Hunters have proven themselves
more than capable of holding their own. One woman in particular, Amy Bruni, an investigator
for the show from 2008-2014, sleuthed spooks while pregnant. In a 2013 interview with Glamour, Bruni said: “If we’re local, I’ll investigate until I
go into labor – as long as I’m close to the hospital, it’s fine,” A proclivity for the paranormal has fallen
within the wheelhouse of women for many years now, believe it or not. When the director Paul Feig made the announcement
in 2014 that he’d be making a new Ghostbusters film with an all female cast, the negative
reaction was immediate. Bruni, as one would guess, had a lot to say
on the topic, and admitted in a 2015 Huffington Post article that at first she thought the
angle was, quote, “a stunt,” but gave it more thought and concluded it was actually a perfect
way to add to the arc of the films without attempting to replace the original cast. She also chimed in with some pearls as to
why women have every right to be ghost hunters, or fans of the paranormal in general. “I would say the paranormal field strongly
skews female. When you attend a paranormal convention, you’ve
usually got 75 percent ladies to 25 percent men…However, on television, the field is
strongly represented by men and frankly, it’s just not accurate.” Throughout the years, Jason Hawes has spoken
about the infamous Amityville haunting in such a way that leads one to believe he doesn’t
believe it at all. In an interview with the blog Geek Mom in
2015, Hawes was asked what location he would investigate, if he had unlimited access, and
he said: “To answer this, I would need a time machine…I
would want to see what truly happened at the Amityville house. I know the claims and have studied the case
for many years…I just believe there was way too much hype and not enough truth to
it.” Furthering evidence of his doubts on the matter,
Hawes shared a video of the home’s patriarch, George Lutz, discussing the Amityville events
to his Facebook page in 2018 with the caption: “In this video, George Lutz talks about his
and his families experiences at the Amityville house. Take a listen and tell me, your thoughts. ‘Real or hype?'” Seems like Hawes had long since answered that
question for himself. Check out one of our newest videos right here! Plus, even more Grunge videos about your favorite
stuff are coming soon. Subscribe to our YouTube channel and hit the
bell so you don’t miss a single one.