Why I Love The Unholy Shit Out Of Ghost Adventures On The Travel Channel
You know where I am at 9PM on a Friday night?
Nope, I’m not out sassing it up with the ladies. I’m not drinking Pabst Blue Ribbon with a tangle of hipsters. I’m not snortling blow from inside a hooker’s uterus.
I’m watching the fuck out of Ghost Adventures on the Travel Channel.
This show is ridiculous — by which I mean, ridiculously awesome.
How the wife and I got into this ludicrous piece of television programming is as ludicrous as the show itself. Get this: we were in Hawaii (Kauai in particular). It was the middle of the day. The sun was up. And we? We were in our hotel room and not frolicking around paradise. Okay, we had just returned from such frolicking, and I was coming down with a cold and the wife was coming down with a bad case of “there’s a baby inside me and now I think I might throw up.”
So, we took some time to just lay down in the hotel room. Hey, it sounds bad, but you open the lanai doors, you hear the surf crashing right outside your window — it’s relaxing as shit.
Of course, we ruined that by putting on the television but what waited there on the Idiot Box made it all worth it. There, in the middle of sun-blasted paradise, we watched an episode of Ghost Adventures.
If you don’t know the scoop behind the show, it’s like this: three guys go to a notably-haunted location (not just, say, some dude’s house but a well-known site like Eastern State Penitentiary) and at night they get locked inside the location, turn off all the lights, and run around in the dark yelling at ghosts and jumping at shadows with night-vision cameras running.
We were rapt. It’s unintentionally hilarious. You probably need to see an episode to really understand, but here, let me try to elucidate for you the reasons this show totally holds my interest.
Because This Guy Looks Like This Guy
Let’s just get it out of the way right now. Zak “Bilbo” Bagans looks like a roided-out Michael Cera.
Need proof? Boom.
See? What’d I tell you? Zak “Dildo” Bagans is like Bizarro Michael Cera — all muscles and hard angles but still the same turtle-faced dude. Sure, okay, Cera’s kind of a hipster goof with the body of an overcooked noodle, and Zak is like… I don’t know, some kind of Emo Jock Frat Goth? Still. I think they’re alternate universe versions of one another. They should devote an episode to that shit. Yeah.
Because This Is The Unlikeliest Crew Of Ghost Hunters You’ve Ever Seen
Your average ghost hunter crew comprises… well, social miscreants of some kind. It’s like someone emptied out a bag of nerds and gave them all EMF detectors. I don’t mean to knock the ghost hunter type: hey, I probably am the ghost hunter type. I love that shit. I believe in ghosts. Still, I’m just saying: ghost hunters often reveal some weird mix of science nerds, paranormal nerds, history nerds: nerds, ahoy.
Oh-ho-ho, not the Ghost Adventures crew. They’re the tough guys of the ghost hunter world. They’re ghost-tracking frat boys. It’s even in the title of their show: they’re having adventures, goddamnit. They see themselves as intrepid heroes — just as Indiana Jones banished the image of the nebbishy archaeologist, so too do the Ghost Adventures Crew squash the idea that you have to be a super-nerd.
Of course, it comes across as bizarrely insincere at times: one suspects these guys were hired together, chosen by network executives out of a TV-friendly lineup, but apparently, they’re not only friends but also worked together before the show on a documentary (that… won awards?). In fact, these guys are reportedly totally sincere which makes the show even better.
Oh, and they call each other “bro” and “dude” a lot.
As in, “I just felt some weird energy go up my arm, bro.”
Or, “Dude! I hear some old woman screaming in here! I just peed a little, dude.”
These guys look basically like the types who roll around in puddles of Axe Body Spray the way my dog likes to roll around in gopher diarrhea. You can practically smell the vinegar and water.
Because They Taunt The Ghosts With Their Brash Machismo
They have called their approach to ghost hunting “raw,” “extreme,” and “in your face.”
Here, then, is their basic mode of ghost hunting:
They go into a room or area known for its paranormal weirdness, and host Zak “Frodo” Bagans will inevitably taunt the shit out of the invisible specters. He’ll be like, “I know you’re in here, ghost. Are you upset that I’m in here? I hear you like to punch little girls. Why don’t you punch me? Why don’t you take this Samurai Sword that I brought with me and use it to chop my head off? Why don’t you molest me? Why don’t you take down my pants and molest me and then chop me in half with a Samurai Sword? Show me your power. I’m letting you have my energy. Go ahead. Take my body for a joyride. Are are you some kind of pussy? I heard you were a pussy. All the other ghosts were like, ‘Oh, that other ghost, he’s a big old vagina.’ Why don’t you stick a thermonuclear device inside my body and blow me up? I brought one. Are you man enough to blow me and the whole Eastern Seaboard to pieces, pussy-faced ghost vagina?”
I’m exagerrating, of course.
But not that much.
Because It’s Fun To Watch Them Piss Themselves
And yet, despite all the ballsy taunting of the spirit world, any time they hear a loud noise, think they hear whispering, see some kind of shadow — whatever — next thing you know one of them (usually Aaron) is shrieking like a girl scout who just had a mouse run up her kilt. He jumps, flails, says “DUDE” and “BRO” a whole lot, genuinely looking like he just filled his trousers with fear poo.
Because They Find EVP Everywhere They Turn
Other ghost hunter shows, they try to collect EVP — meaning, “electronic voice phenomena,” where they capture ghostly whispering on recorded media only — and it doesn’t happen all that often. They get one good one, maybe, and the rest they debunk. Oh, not the Ghost Adventures Crew. They get a dozen EVP an episode. Every time they whip out that digital recorder, it’s a goddamned EVP-looza.
Half the time, they hear something that just plain isn’t there –
ZACH: “Are you here, ghost? Why don’t you rip out my throat with a claw hammer? Prove your power!”
EVP: ***incomprehensible static that sort of sounds like some old man whispering to himself on a park bench**
ZACH: “And now, we receive a sinister and intelligent EVP from the spirit, where he says –“
TEXT ON SCREEN: “Kill Zak.”
And my wife and I look at each other, eyebrows cocked. “I don’t think that’s what the ghost said.”
Just to make sure, they replay the EVP on screen like, seventeen times. And each time it’s like, “Ehhh, I dunno. Maybe the ghost said, Whack attack? Or, Backpack? I’m just not feeling this one.”
Other times, the ghosts say something that just doesn’t make sense. My favorite is when one ghost said, “Coffee… Cafe.” Seriously? That’s what the ghost wants the communicate to us? “Coffee Cafe?” The spirit expended all his spectral energy to see if he could find the nearest Starbucks?
Because Of Holy Shit, Bro! Goosebumps! Dude! Bro! Goosebumps!
Goosebumps to these guys are not an indication of being creeped out, or cold, or whatever — no, no, goosebumps are hard scientific data. They get goosebumps, boy, that’s clear evidence that the paranormal is hanging around. They point to it like it’s their first erection: “Dude. Goosebumps.” “I know, bro, I feel it, too. It’s running up my arm.” “Man, it’s running down my leg. I feel the energy. Like a spirit is moving through me.”
Me, I’d get goosebumps too if I was running around in the dark playing grab-ass with a bunch of invisible ghosts. Hell, I get goosebumps when I watch Star Wars or listen to old Captain and Tennille records. It doesn’t mean I’m being haunted by specters.
OR DOES IT?
Because Orbs Always Look Like They’re Flying Up Into Someone’s Butt
They don’t do a lot with orbs, which I appreciate because mostly, I think orbs are completely ridiculous. It’s always dust or a moth or some shit, but a lot of ghost hunters spaz out whenever they see an orb — “Oh! Oh! Orb! It’s a spirit!” No, it’s a flake of dandruff. Wash your hair. I’ll get excited when a full-body apparition comes up and tries to cup my nuts or steal my iPhone. Orbs do not thrill me.
Still, once in a while Zak and his crew will find an orb, a mote of light that seems to move in ways one doesn’t expect — and on this show, they often seem to be moving into people.
And often, though it’s never acknowledged, into someone’s butt.
I don’t know why this is, exactly, but it suggests that specters are somewhat anally-fixated.
So, if you ever go ghost hunting, maybe tickle your rosebud with a little holy water.
I’m just saying. Be prepared.
Because They Always Save The Day
Obviously, reality television lives or dies on narrative, and ghost hunting shows are no different. Ghost Adventures doesn’t always hit you over the head with it — which is nice — except at the end. At the end of every show, Zak “Deep Frodo” Bagans will offer some magnanimous look back on their lockdown — “Well, I think we helped some ghosts reach the other side today. We gave these ghosts peace.” Or they mumble something about having solved a murder despite having solved no murder at all anywhere ever. Really? You believe this stuff? The most you did was threaten a bunch of ghosts and give one boogity-boojum directions to the nearest coffee house. You’re not Zelda Rubenstein from Poltergeist, dude.
OR IS HE?
Okay, probably not.
Because Despite All That, The Show Is Sometimes Pretty Damn Creepy
At least once or twice an episode, you get a moment which is genuinely spooky. Like in last night’s episode, you get to see this shadow on the wall that is plainly an arm and plainly has no source and then morphs into something and disappears. Or you get an EVP which honestly sounds like someone saying something from beyond the grave — the words are crisp, clear, and often sinister.
Sure, they might be making this crap up. But they seem to really believe it. And it helps turn this show from something that is pure farce into something on a whole other level — because I don’t suspect these guys think they’re bullshitting anybody. From all reports, they’re sincere as all-get-out. They mean it. They believe it. Are they making stuff up? Who cares? You’ve got a show with three lovable douchenozzles wandering around in the absolute dark, word-punching ghosts and squealing at whatever rat fart they hear two rooms away. It’s awesome. It’s funny, it’s goofy, and yeah, once in awhile it’s actually a little spooky.
Tell me you watch this show. Someone. Anyone?
Let us share the love.