I have a secret guilty pleasure which I will now confess to the world. Every Friday night at midnight, I get a snifter of cognac, handcuffs, whip cream, a badminton racket and a pogo stick… oh, no wait, that’s my other addiction. No, on Friday nights, I like to watch “Ghost Adventures” on the Travel Channel.
This show follows the exploits of Zak Bagans and crew as they get locked into some of the scariest places in the world and dare the ghosts to come and get them. If ghosts appear, Zak and crew will record it, and the ghosts get to be on national tv. It seems to me to have been based on a British show called “Most Haunted” where a British crew does the same thing except you can’t understand them. Except for the screaming. Which is really loud. Zak has essentially Americanized the idea by going into haunted houses and taunting the ghosts, saying, “You want a piece of this?”
The first half of the show involves the crew touring the location and interviewing people who have had ghost “sightings.” When they find a ghost hot spot, Zak will say, “put an X there” and the camera guy will put down duct tape in the form of an “X” which will mark where they will place cameras later. I now try to use that phrase in my daily life. During meetings when someone makes a valid point, I exclaim, “Put an X there!”
After getting locked down, the crew sets up cameras, video, recorders, seismographs, MRI’s, X-ray machines, etc. to record ghost footage while Zak taunts the ghosts to come out. My favorite device is the EVP (electronic voice phenomenon), which is, for lack of a better term, ghost-speak translator. For example you might hear a whisper, the wind, or a mouse scurry across the floor, and the EVP will pick it up as “Shhhbrggghgfffttyuitbundesliga.” When this happens on the show, I can never seem to make out the translation, but Zak can. He’ll say, jumping up and down, “Did you hear that? It said, ‘Get out! Get out!’”
But the EVP has really revolutionized ghost hunting. (In fact, I’m thinking about getting a “Scooby Doo Theme” ringtone for my cellphone, then charging people obscene amounts of money to let me walk through their house: “Yep, every time you hear the Scooby Doo song, that means a ghost is present.”)
Some paranormal investigators contacted Zak to let him know they heard the ghosts from one of his previous investigations say, “I want Zak.” The ghosts called him out! Apparently, ghosts watch a lot of tv, especially the Travel Channel (which makes sense for a soul doomed to spend eternity in some old house). Another time, an interviewee from a haunted saloon and brothel reported that some ghosts were having sex upstairs. The afterlife is apparently not so bad: there’s satellite tv and hookers!
Recently, St. Pauli Girl, her son Eduardo, and I were at a pub when the subject of ghosts came up. Eduardo pointed out that he actually had an EVP application on his smart phone and proceeded to show us how it worked. The phone displayed a radar with brown dots which represented numerous ghosts in the bar. We were surrounded, which makes perfect sense; if ghosts exist, they have to be all over the place, not just in dungeons, old houses and television sets.
But I needed more proof. Having watched enough Zak, I knew what to do. I looked around the room and called out, “If there are any spirits here that would like to talk to us, please pay our beer tab.”
St. Pauli girl was not amused. “What are they going to pay with?”
“Hmmm, yes of course. ‘If there are any spirits here that would like to talk to us, order me another beer. A good one, something imported or a microbrew’.”
I never got another beer, but it doesn’t make me any less of a believer. Rest assured, I’ll be watching Ghost Adventures this Friday night, rooting Zak on. “Yeah, Zak, put an x there!”