Posted: 01/12/2008

 

Ghost Hunters International

(2008)

by Jef Burnham



Wednesdays at 9/8c on SciFi Channel.


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In this spin-off of the Sci Fi Channel series Ghost Hunters, we are introduced to a brand new team of ghost hunters, led by The Atlantic Paranormal Society (TAPS) approved Robb Demarest. The show features Robb and his team traveling the globe, as they attempt to debunk various supposedly haunted sites.

First the team cases the site, learning what they can from the caretakers. Then, they spend the night there, using their high-tech equipment to gather as much evidence to the existence of spirits or the contrary as possible. After careful review, the team must determine whether or not to declare the site officially haunted.

Though the series may appear in advertisements to have a certain Blair Witch quality, it does not. The investigators are very professional, employing an extensive network of cameras, voice recorders and local environment gauges to gather evidence. Plus, I never felt as though they were placating to the audience’s expectations with an appreciated amount of skepticism. For instance, when a mysterious orb floats past the camera, Robb immediately discredits it, though it appeared to be quite convincing evidence. He tells the rest of his crew that the presence of the orb may indicate nothing more than the night vision camera attempting to make sense out of a bug.

This kind of honesty in the face of the supernatural is undoubtedly the success of Ghost Hunters and will be the success of its international counterpart. In the premiere episode, which aired on January 9th (and can be seen in its entirety on scifi.com), they investigate two supposedly haunted locations, and though they find numerous compelling bits of evidence, they are unable to declare either location officially haunted. The first location they investigate is Chillingham Castle, which is said to be the most haunted castle in England and was the site of many gruesome acts of torture and execution. The second is Mary King’s Close, an alley that leads into an underground city in Scotland, where they once left those suffering from the bubonic plague to die.

Those fond of the supernatural will find the show to captivating, leaning your ear toward the speakers as they play back the Electronic Voice Phenomenon (E.V.P.), which is believed to be the means by which spirits speak with the living. Most importantly, you will not be insulted. They explain everything they are doing and the reasons why, but never condescendingly. After all, the members of the Ghost Hunters teams are not Ph.D.’s. They are ordinary people from a teacher to a website designer, who just so happen to spend the night in some of the spookiest places on Earth in the name of research.

Ghost Hunters International can be seen on the Sci Fi Channel on Wednesdays at 9/8c. Also, check out the original Ghost Hunters, as well the upcoming series, UFO Hunters.

Jef Burnham is a freelance writer and film critic in Chicago..



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