Just the hosts and the ghosts

Adel Gabot

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9:42AM

Here I go again with my weird and senseless obsession: paranormal investigation shows. I know these shows have absolutely no point to them, no logic, no truth. They’re obviously fake, or the hosts are really crazy for believing in them.

I am too, for watching. Yet I watch them anyway. Rabidly.

I love to scoff and mock them for their trumped-up, self-fulfilling nonsense with their EVPs and electromagnetic spike detectors and digital voice recorders and all that stuff. One of them, Ghost Asylum, even constructs “traps” to capture these ghosts. Geez Louise.

The granddaddy of them all (for me, at least) is Ghost Hunters, and the TAPS guys meander through haunted houses like buffoons with gear and scare themselves silly, usually with “strange” audio glitches on their recorders that they imagine to be voices of the dearly departed.

But I obsessively watch them every week, and other shows of their ilk. And I hate myself every time I finish every ridiculous episode.

But I’m currently watching a new one called Paranormal Lockdown, which features a couple of investigators who lock themselves in a “haunted” location for 72 hours straight and try to uncover evidence that way, and I find I’m liking it a lot, and starting to …well, believe is a strong word. Maybe become less mocking?

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Nick Groff and Katrina Weidman

It stars Nick Groff, who until most recently was a co-host of the very popular show Ghost Adventures with Zak Bagans (he was actually a co-founder of the show, and was treated with equal respect as Bagans) until he had a falling out with them and dropped out of the show sometime two years ago. I have mixed feelings about Ghost Adventures. While I like the show’s creative excesses (they recreate and dramatize a lot of the happenings), I feel the show has a nasty, sinister bent most of the time.

Groff’s co-conspirator/investigator in the show is Katrina Weidman, who I’ve never heard of before but I assume she’s just as experienced and knowledgeable in the field as Groff, at least. The two lock themselves in the location with the same sort of equipment as the other shows, and they’ve come with interesting bits of nonsense. The key word there is “interesting”.

They’ve come up, so far, with interesting voice phenomena that actually sound like understandable speech, and they’ve even gone so far as to conduct actual conversations with these entities where they sort of reply in real time. That kind of convenient nonsense. No actual recorded apparitions yet, though.

I like Paranormal Lockdown because there are only two investigators, and just those two throughout the entire show. and you get to know them on a more intimate, personal level. The style of the program is also much nicer because they come off as staunch skeptics first, and reluctant believers a far second.

The other thing I really like is that they spend three whole days locked in there. Three days. 72 hours. I’ve always said that the other shows never spend any real time in their locations, like Ghost Hunters, who just stay for a night. You’re never going to get any good evidence (if there is any evidence to really get, that is) if you just drop in for a quick visit. Groff and Weidman really burn the oil when they investigate.

The show is also recorded in a more in-your-face style that is new to the genre, unlike the crowded multi-host mess of other shows that makes for an impersonal approach, and they’re not afraid to show the crew in their shots; heck, they even participate in the fun often. And the other programs show us numerous camera feeds and endless replays of dubious footage and doubtful audio that we’re treated to ad nauseam, just in case we miss the “phenomena”. Here it’s just the hosts and the ghosts.

I was watching Paranormal Lockdown’s third episode this morning, fresh off the pipes, detailing their time spent in a place called Franklin Castle, which is a grand and fancy name but in reality is just this big old abandoned mansion in Cleveland, Ohio. I actually got the chills early on in the episode where they think they see a little girl slinking off in the hallway, and I believed they saw something, just for that instant. That’s never happened to me watching one of these shows before.

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John Tenney

Dropping into the episode for a quick visit was John E.L. Tenney, a former host of one of the other paranormal shows I also watch but has since been cancelled, Ghost Stalkers. I’ve always liked Tenney. He comes off as a no-nonsense guy who’s like some businessman who just happened across this paranormal investigation schtick and went along with it. It’s weird seeing him in Paranormal Lockdown; it’s like my different worlds are getting mixed up, but in a nice way.

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Amy Bruni and Adam Berry

In fact, in last week’s episode, Lockdown also had a couple of other guests visit: two of my erstwhile favorites from Ghost Hunters (who also had a falling out with their show and quit last year, like Groff did with his old show): investigators Amy Bruni and Adam Berry, who I hadn’t seen in a while and missed quite a bit. It’s like Lockdown’s become a melting pot for former paranormal investigators. Anyway, that was nice too.

Oh well. Wala lang. Just wanted to make kwento.


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