The GHI crew plies its trade with an emphasis on debunking spooky happenings, while the show itself looks to create interesting personalities and interactions. These things add a bit of scientific and humanistic interest to otherwise standard proceedings, but are they enough to make Ghost Hunters International float eerily above the pack? We sure hope so, since some of these supposedly haunted locations have already been covered on other shows. Real-life paranormal investigators Robb Demarest, Dustin Pari, Barry Fitzgerald and Brandy Green form the core of the group, traveling to various spooky locations, castles, manors and citadels for instance, but forgoing any sightseeing in order to set up their gear and spend a tense night gathering evidence. It's stuff anyone relatively familiar with this genre of TV will be well aware of. The investigators often take the short route to solving mysteries; hearing eerie footsteps, they quickly find a loose window banging in the wind, or responding to reports of shadowy presences, they note the numerous life-size mannequins of tortured corpses standing about (certainly an easy solution, there).
Of course our investigators are as eager to find real evidence as they are to eliminate the spurious, so they're armed with the usual cameras, recorders and EMF meters, which they deploy in purported hot spots of activity. They also go in for a little shock and awe, questioning, taunting and challenging spiritual presences. And if that doesn't work, they're not averse to simply running through locations hollering and banging on things to rouse any sleepy ghosts. With the sun rising, the team packs up to examine its findings in a nearby hotel. They analyze, discuss the findings, and then present them to a representative from the haunted location. It gets a bit repetitive as they listen to or look at evidence about three times each over the course of ten minutes. After all, how many times can you listen to a scratchy recording that seems to say the name 'Toby' before you long for a good old-fashioned splatter of ectoplasm to the face?
Actually, GHI seems intent on canceling itself. Debunking efforts are valid and sensible, but tend to cut down on the chill factor. Meanwhile, offhand comments such as, "[this place seems] a whole lot different at night" really give up the ghost. Could it be possible that after dark, when our eyesight is at its weakest, our hearing is heightened, and our imagination is running wild, that we might be prone to misinterpret the information we receive, especially in a location that we think is haunted? Or have tortured spiritual energies decided to hang around for centuries to the benefit of thrill-seeking tourists?
I'd love to see a ghost, to have concrete proof, and shows such as Ghost Hunters International really have me chomping at the bit to spend a night alone in a haunted location. There's nothing quite as exhilarating as feeling the unhealthy rush of the uncanny, and it's an experience you want to talk about. However, the watered-down, second-hand chills of GHI, especially when served with healthy doses of common sense, repetitive programming, and too-average helming personalities, act a little to effectively to demystify ghost hunting for my tastes.
The 11 44-minute episodes included on this three-disc set sometimes include trips to more than one haunted location, but are as follows: