Poking at Haints

By Betsy Bradford

I believe in ghosts. Not so much the transparent kind that pass through solid walls and go "oooooooo!" I am willing to believe, however, that strong emotions can leave an impression on the world. If someone dies in a state of despair or terror, then I believe that they may well become stuck in this mortal plane, unable to pass on and perhaps trying desperately to reach out to those of us still living.

To me, this is incredibly sad, so I was somewhat taken aback by the ghost hunting methodology of the fine fellows on Travel Channel's Ghost Adventures. If you've never seen this show, you should go check it out. It's on Netflix.

For the uninitiated, Ghost Adventures follows Zak Bagans, Nick Gross, and Aaron Goodwin as they run into various haunted locales armed with scientific equipment. They proceed to mercilessly bully ghosts until the ghost responds, and then they piss themselves with fear.

For the moment, I'm going to ignore the quasi-scientific nature of ghost hunting. Instead, I'm going to focus on the Ghost Adventures Crew's techniques for eliciting responses from ghosts. In essence, these three assholes walk into a place where they suspect there are ghosts and yell at it until something happens. They'll do whatever it takes. If some behavior has been known to provoke a reaction in the past, then they'll do it. They'll call the ghosts names. They will violate the places and things which are sacred to them. Basically, they'll act like playground bullies.

Some will disagree with my assessment. Bagans himself has claimed on numerous occasions that he respects the afterlife; he only taunts evil spirits who've attacked the living. I guess he thinks they had it coming. Still, this seems exceptionally stupid to me. In essence, the Ghost Adventures Crew finds the most dangerous spirits they can and works to make them pissed off. How do you think that's going to end? It's kind of like giving yourself a flesh wound and then jumping into shark infested waters.

I get the impression that Zak, Nick, and Aaron simply got bored with pissing off the living, and moved onto the dead. The difference is, when the dead will fight back it's a hell of a lot harder to defend yourself. For me, the most satisfying part of the episode is watching these three morons run around, scared shitless. Though I have to give them credit; that's never made them actually stop an investigation.

People eat this shit up. I was surprised to learn that Ghost Adventures is now in its seventh season, and Bagans apparently has yet to fulfill his mission of capturing what he saw on video. Or maybe he really needs that paycheck to ward off the specter of Sally Mae. Either way, I think Ghost Adventures will be around for a while, and the ghosts of the world are probably not too happy about that.