What is Ghost Adventures?
Ghost Adventures is a popular American TV show that premiered on the Travel Channel in 2008. It’s led by ghost hunter Zak Bagans, Bagans and his crew (Aaron Goodwin, Billy Tolley and Jay Wasley). They roam around the world searching for different haunted places to document claimed paranormal activity.
The team uses various ghost-hunting equipment to capture evidence of eerie beings. And they often lock themselves in these locations overnight to conduct their investigations. Throughout the paranormal show, they have explored a range of locations. They have travelled from historic hotels to asylums and abandoned hospitals.
The ghost show has earned a significant following. But it has also sparked debates about whether Ghost Adventures is fake.
So let’s have a look at Zak Bagans and his spooky search team. And will decipher if the Ghost Adventures TV show is, in fact, the real deal. Or if they use clever camera techniques and electronic voice phenomena to trick the mind into thinking that ghosts actually exist…
The Believer’s Perspective
People have been telling Spooky stories for centuries. Some with harmless origins and others with a more sinister background.
“The Flying Dutchman” is a famous maritime ghost story of a ship that is doomed to sail the seas for all eternity. William Peter Blatty’s novel, The Exorcist, showcases how demonic spirits can possess human beings. All of which have left many of our imaginations to run wild.
This stems from the universal fear of death. Humans compartmentalize these fears into rational negotiations of the afterlife. True believers, like Zak Bagans, ‘feel’ the surrounding energies, making their claims to the supernatural more ‘real’.
Los Angeles is a city that sets the tone for a terrifying scene. “We focus on Los Angeles because the locations here offer so much in the form of hauntings and mysterious history,” Bagans says. “It’s a smorgasbord of pure, haunted dreams.”
Los Angeles’ The Comedy Store – a haunted location that Ghost Adventures visited on one of their shows. We saw “an amber orb” fly over one of the co-members shoulders. “Legend has it that the place was used to extort, torture and kill those who crossed the mob” back in the day. With flying sorcery and cold spots about, Zak Bagans was led to believe that these claims were true.
Ghost hunters use a range of equipment to solidify their macabre sightings or encounters. These include:
- Photographic evidence:
Thermal or full spectrum cameras are used to catch weird sightings on video.
- Audio recordings:
Often referred to as Electronic Voice Phenomena (EVP). These are used to analyse and decipher ghostly voices or messages found within the static.
- Scientific investigations:
Electromagnetic Field Meters (EMF) can detect paranormal activity. They detect fluctuations in energy fields can indicate macabre beings.
- Mediums or psychics:
Mediums or psychics can communicate with the dead. And they’re often using these transcripts as evidence.
- Personal experience:
Encounters with ghosts, spirits or unexplained phenomena can serve as first-hand evidence. Who are we to doubt a person’s reality?
Testimonies from the same location and with similar experiences, can prove that ghastly entities are lurking in the area. Legends and historical evidence can provide data that support claims of supernatural existence.
The Sceptic’s Stance
On the other hand, sceptics often rely on “seeing is believing”. And they are not drawn into the supernatural world as easily. They question and doubt the reality of ghosts even existing.
Many supposed ghostly phenomena have been proven as hoaxes, misidentifications or exaggerations. Often, the cause of ‘ghosts’ can be attributed to natural causes. Or it can be deliberate deception, like a slamming door in the dead of night.
In modern times, ghost stories are told through the lens of reality TV and are done to entertain viewers. Camera trickery, fake audio recording and deceptive manipulations can all be done behind the scenes. Mainly to heighten the ‘existence’ of spirits in these paranormal shows.
Sceptics are said to believe that Ghost Adventures is damaging “true paranormal research”. Due to offering downright wrong information about these ghostly entities. They believe that the show is more of a drama series whose intention is for entertainment purposes only.
In one of the Ghost Adventures shows, the Bell Witch was claimed to have killed John Bell in December 1820. And the family found a “mysterious black liquid in a vial next to his bed”. The evil Bell Witch was claimed to have said in a disembodied voice: “I gave old Jack a dose of that last night, that fixed him”.
Zak Bagans and his crew met with direct relatives of the Bell family. They all claim to claim they believe the ancestor was poisoned and killed by some evil entity. John’s headstone, found in a secluded part of the Bell Witch Farm, sets the tone for a spooky investigation.
Could the Bell Witch have killed Mr Bell? Or was he so severely ill that he was having hallucinations?
When Zak Bagans ‘feels’ cold air on his own show, the viewer can’t tell if it is the truth. However, the human brain can fill in the gaps and trick us into believing that it is true. Cold spots, floating dust particles, disembodied voices, moving Ouija boards and the feeling of being touched – these are easily faked and are often done for reality TV.
When Zak Bagans airs a static recording with subtitles underneath that says, “help me” your brain believes what you are reading and not what you are hearing. The show often features strange shadows, floating orbs and objects moving in the distance. Again, this can be done by editing and replaying the footage to manipulate the situation for the person watching.
For sceptics to completely understand the realness of Ghost Adventures and their claims of the supernatural, it’s going to take a lot more than fancy camera techniques.
The Entertainment Factor
The role of production in reality shows
The production of reality shows, including paranormal shows, plays a crucial role in shaping the content. And the entertainment value and overall experience for the viewer. These include:
Producers select hosts or a paranormal investigator who will lead the show. In many instances, these guys (or girls) are actors. They know how to work the camera with their charisma and charm, and are excellent at acting scared.
Choosing a legend-based spooky location already wins half of the producers’ battle. And then the human brain is programmed to believe whatever sightings are real.
- Special effects:
Graphics, editing and manipulative camera techniques can be used to ‘create’ paranormal encounters.
What do the reviews say about the Ghost Adventures show?
Out of 15 reviews between 2019 and 2021, IMDb reviews gave Ghost Adventures an average score of 3.1/10. This suggests that many viewers questioned its credibility.
Whether Ghost Adventures is considered genuine or not largely depends on personal beliefs and expectations. While it may not provide concrete evidence that otherworldly beings exist, these ghost adventurers have left a mark on the world. It has sparked discussions and debates with their eerie show.