Humans enjoy horror — the things that make goosebumps line our arms and send shivers down the backs of our spines, things that keep us cautious in the dark and turn the sounds of a settling house into demons going bump in the night. The paranormal is especially intriguing to some people. The thought of spirits from years or centuries past reaching out to the living from beyond the grave. Haunted houses, poltergeists, inhuman entities that never walked the Earth in human form. Whatever form these specters might take, they bring with them a new level of adrenalin to supernatural adventure junkies. Ghastly happenings also present an outlet for skeptics, a sort of magicians stunt that they get to reverse engineer and debunk. Whichever side of the preternatural fence one might land on doesn’t matter. Instead, it’s our collective fascination with the paranormal — investigating or debunking — that paved the way for shows like Ghost Hunters.
For Ghost Hunters fans, there’s one reality that not all of us like to admit. Sometimes, the encounters on the show give us the creeps and induce frightful fantasies that happen to coincide with the sounds of our house settling or an object falling in another room. It’s usually fine watching even the scariest moments in the safety of the daylight hours, but watching spectral happenings after the lights go out will play tricks on even the most fortitudinous minds, and the creepiest moments on Ghost Hunters will get us every time.
A face coming out of the dark
The Atlantic Paranormal Society (TAPS) crew often differentiates between different types of hauntings and breaks them down into three categories — the residual, the human, and the non-human. During the episode “Irish Ruins,” the team believes they’re dealing with the latter. TAPS is called out to the ruins of Lisheen Castle in Ireland due to its haunted history. According to historian Joe McGowan, who appears on the episode, Lisheen Castle was cursed by a widow that the castle’s owner had evicted from her home. Since then, the Lisheen ruins are believed to be haunted by fairy spirits. These aren’t the cute winged creatures of today’s stories but rather the older, more dangerous spiritual entities of Irish folklore.
Throughout the Lisheen Castle investigation, the crew experiences several eerie happenings. While recording in the castle’s basement, Dave Tango and Dustin Pari hear footsteps walking across a wooden floor. Except, there aren’t any wooden floors in the ruins. Weird, but cool. Then, Brian Harnois takes an ethereal whack to the finger while explaining how “The Wrath,” what’s believed to be the fairies’ home, gives off seriously “creepy” vibes.
The activity begins to amp up when a local friend of the TAPS crew, Barry Fitzgerald, sees a disembodied face flash out of the darkness. The investigator chases the face into the ruins but finds nothing. Fitzgerald takes this as a spectral warning and decides to remove himself from the investigation before the other shoe (or his bowels) decides to drop.
Was this investigator thrown down the stairs by a restless spirit?
During the season two premiere of the A&E Ghost Hunters reboot, co-lead investigator Kristen Luman takes an awful fall down the stairs of the Clifton Hotel in Clifton, Ariz. People fall down stairs sometimes. It’s a thing that can happen without any paranormal involvement, but Luman’s fall doesn’t feel like your standard staircase ski run, and when the town’s history is added in, it becomes even more suspect.
Clifton is an old mining town with a bit of a haunted past. When the TAPS crew calls a town hall meeting to gather stories of the paranormal from the locals, almost everyone that shows up has their own paranormal experience to share, making Clifton a hotspot for either mass hallucination or mass spectral activity. Townsfolk claim to hear mining activity and the shades of children roaming the town at night, and when TAPS asks the less-than-living inhabitants of the hotel about the activity, they hear voices respond. The crew says it’s “creepy,” but not as creepy as what happens a little later.
Luman walks down the hotel stairs when suddenly, she’s sent flying. Not falling, flying. She tells Popculture that she knows she didn’t trip, nor did she feel a sensation like she was pushed. But the co-lead investigator clears most of a flight without hitting a single step. Luckily, Luman escapes injury-free, but she still can’t explain what happened.
A ghost walking through doorways
Thermal imaging has been a game changer in the world of paranormal investigation. Ghost hunters can use the technology to read unexplainable hot or cold spots in supposedly haunted buildings, and if they’re lucky, they can use the thermal cameras to catch apparitions doing ghostly things and give more credibility to their investigations, or in this case, provide entertaining and creepy moments for viewers.
In season ten, episode ten, “Darker Learning,” the TAPS crew catches an apparition on a thermal camera while investigating the Everett Mansion on the Southern Vermont College campus. The figure walks through two doors right in front of them, which is something living people with heat signatures do all the time, but there was a problem — besides no living people being in that area of the building, both the door the human-shaped heat signature walks out of and the one they walk into are locked.
It’s believed by some that Edward Everett’s wife and their children’s nanny took their own lives in the mansion, which is more than enough to provide fuel to any preternatural fire. And the thermal specter the crew catches on camera falls well inline with previous sightings within the home, including accounts of a lady in white and other female apparitions walking the premises. So, maybe, just maybe, this heat signature is the wandering soul of one of these tragically deceased ladies.
A crewmate quits after being traumatized by an entity
Ghost Hunters‘ creepy moments can be found throughout the entire length of the show’s run, starting in season one. Sure, they’re production capabilities and rhythm have gotten better over the past decade, but even the first season will give you the good old “heebee jeebees” on the right night.
In the season one episode titled “The Armory,” the Ghost Hunters team investigates reports at a castle-like building in Massachusetts that operated as a facility for the National Guard for the majority of its existence. Soldiers lived and learned there. Some of those folks would leave this building only to die in battle shortly after, making it a prime spot for their restless spirits to return to. It was their last point of safety before the chaos of war or the danger of a disaster at home ended their lives. And, just because this building was once a safe space doesn’t mean the deceased soldiers are happy to be there. One of TAPS’ members finds this out the hard way.
While walking a catwalk in the building, Frank DeAngelis, one of the show’s sound guys, gets knocked backward by what he claims, according to South Coast Today, to be an entity passing straight through his body. DeAngelis is so shaken by the experience he required medical assistance afterwards, and, unfortunately, DeAngelis later finds the event so traumatizing that he quits the show. You probably won’t find him wrestling poltergeists anytime soon.
Spectral children wanting to play
Objects moving on their own are some of the creepiest things to come out of any paranormal investigation. It’s definitely possible to fake, but it’s the kind of con that a magician would pull off, not a crew of paranormal investigators. Let’s face it, if they were that good, they’d be up on stage sawing assistants in half or picking pockets in downtown New York. It would certainly be more lucrative for most. That’s why when it happens on shows like Ghost Hunters, it sends chills down our spines.
As the crew investigates claims of a spectral children in an old Victorian manor in season 11’s “Manor of Mystery,” a couple of the TAPS guys ask the supposed ghost children if they want to play, which is creepy enough by itself. Then, after feeling a cold spot in a doorway, they ask the spirits if they are capable of moving objects, and the door behind them opens on its own. This is the point when viewers get off their couches to make sure all their doors were firmly latched. But, it isn’t only the moving door that makes this investigation eerie. The spirits within the manor seem to respond to the crew through several methods of communication, including responses to questions via a phone app that beeps when touched. There is also an unexplained thermal signature in a chair next to the crew, suggesting these specters aren’t afraid to get close.
Flashes of a ghost at Waverly Hills Sanatorium
Louisville, Kentucky’s Waverly Hills Sanatorium is believed to be one of the most haunted places in the state if not the entire United States. They host tours and paranormal investigations through their website and, quite frankly, have earned some serious bragging rights. Serving as sanatorium for tuberculosis patients for around half a century, the facility saw thousands of people die agonizing, isolated deaths under its roof. Not to mention the suicide of a working nurse in the 1930s after an unfortunate stillbirth. (She’s still rumored to walk the halls.) Being such a notoriously haunted location, the TAPS crew at Ghost Hunters had no choice but to check it out during episode 14 of the second season.
This particular haunted location has a wealth of claims covering just about every type of paranormal activity known to man, and TAPS was lucky to catch some of evidence of their own. During their investigation, the crew catches a 3-foot shape on thermal imaging that they believe to be the spirit of a child, as well as an object that flashes across their camera in the same location. The team also comes across a different entity that looks like a bat-like creature flying through the sanatorium’s walls. Through the entire episode, apparitions of different types seem to show themselves to most of the crew, but in a location with this much history, it isn’t surprising for a ghost or two to show their ethereal faces.
Living in The Shining
If you didn’t already know, Stephen King’s The Shining is based on the real-world Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colo. According to Vice, the site, for some weird reason, has a pet cemetery that served as another of King’s inspirations, Pet Cemetery. Guests of the hotel have reported seeing apparitions throughout the halls, feeling spirits sit on their beds, seeing ghost children playing on the fourth floor, and even having spectral entities walk up and steal their jewelry. King stayed at the hotel in 1974 and, drawing from a terrifying nightmare the author had during his visit, a thrilling supernatural horror tale was born.
TAPS investigates the Stanley Hotel during a special live investigation in season three of Ghost Hunters, called “Best of the Stanley Hotel,” and some of the evidence they find confirms claims echoed by former guests. In the spirit of King’s story, members of the TAPS crew hear sounds of music flowing from unoccupied rooms, bringing back visions of Jack Nicholson partying it up in the ghost bar before going insane. A fairly mild occurrence that seems to catch the crew’s attention is the clear sound of a woman saying, “Hello,” caught on their recording equipment. The team hears this in person as well, and, honestly, Jason Hawes seems pretty confused when it happens. But it was the sound of laughter they find during their evidence review that really creeps them out. To be fair, it creeps us out too.
A chair moving on its own
When the TAPS vans set off for Long Island Sound, Conn., at the beginning of “Race Rock Lighthouse,” the fourth episode of season one, things get off to a rough start as one of the crew members almost forgets the teams folding chairs, which would’ve cost them valuable evidence later on. The chairs are found, and the crew turns out to have an exciting investigation because of it.
According to the crew, the lighthouse has had eight documented shipwrecks at its shores and a whirling undertow that would prove deadly to any sailor caught in its waters. Lighthouses have been viewed as paranormal venues for much of their history, and Race Rock is no exception. Over the years, it’s built up a portfolio of haunted phenomena, from spectral sounds and sightings to disembodied wet footprints climbing the lighthouse steps. So many haunting tales, in fact, that lighthouse keepers are scared to set foot inside, but the Ghost Hunters crew lives for this sort of thing.
The most hair-raising thing to happen in the episode is after Grant Wilson leaves his nearly forgotten chair in an empty room. A camera placed in the room catches video of the chair being pulled across the floor by an invisible entity. This could be explained away by a wire trick or stealthy string-pull, but so far, no one has come forward to disprove it, so let’s chalk it up to “creepy” and leave it at that.
Meat Loaf stirs up some paranormal activity
What’s the one thing every paranormal investigation team needs to stir up a little haunted activity? Well, actor-singer-writer Meat Loaf, of course. He’s not the most obvious addition to a team of paranormal investigators, but the Loaf has an unmatched love for ghosts and spirits and a personality that could drive any entity out of hiding. He’s also one of Ghost Hunters‘ favorite celebrity guests and has appeared on the show more than once. So, TAPS invites him to tag along while they check out Alabama’s Sloss Furnace in the season six episode by the same name, and Meat Loaf does not disappoint.
Several “creepy” things happen throughout this two-night investigation. At one point when Jason Hawes, Grant Wilson, and Meat Loaf are walking through the tunnels, they hear voices responding to Loaf’s inquiries. Even better — they manage to catch these voices on a recording device. Knocks are also captured in response to the musician’s prodding at another time, which corroborates claims from locals. And at other points, Wilson feels like he’s shoved by an invisible force, and an image believed to be an apparition is captured on video. The moral of the story seems to be one of two things — either Sloss Furnace isn’t the type of place you want to spend your free time or that hanging around Meat Loaf can be a creepy endeavor. You pick.
A ghostly shadow in the lighthouse
There has to be something to do with the age of old lighthouses or that whole “guiding light for wayward sailors” thing that juices up these life-saving structures with heavy doses of ghastly activity. The paranormal seems to permeate from them. Maybe it could be a trick of the mind from growing up on Scooby-Doo cartoons. Regardless, lighthouses tend to produce entertaining evidence for paranormal connoisseurs.
St. Augustine Lighthouse, which Ghost Hunters visits in season two, episode 19, is Florida’s oldest lighthouse. And if you know anything about Florida’s coastal waters, you know they hold the bones of hundreds of shipwrecked vessels. Naturally, this leads to ghost stories and other rumors of the paranormal that draw investigators to the area.
The lighthouse in St. Augustine features the classic spiral staircase extending up the center of the tower. These spirals can be intimidating on the best of days, even when they aren’t haunted, and this one proved to be both. As the crew climbs the steps, they spot an apparition looking over the rail above them. They start and jump into action, attempting to chase down whatever had been looking down at them, but they fail to find a corporeal cause. However, they do catch two different shadows on the stairs. They also managed to catch the sound of a disembodied voice crying, “Help me!” If horror movies have taught us one thing, now’s the time to get out of dodge.
A conversation with a woman waiting on a train
Buffalo Central Terminal in Buffalo, NY., saw thousands of travelers come through its station in the 50 years it was open. And though it closed down in 1979, not all of those travelers have vacated its premises. Some, it seems, are eternally waiting for trains that may never come. It’s why Ghost Hunters likes the location, and, let’s be honest, they really like it. They’ve filmed here three times over the seasons, and each time, they find something new that keeps them interested. But it was their first investigation in season four, episode 17, “Speaking With the Dead,” that the TAPS crew finds their most chilling evidence of Buffalo Terminal‘s paranormal residents.
After setting up a K-II EMF meter, Grant Wilson and Jason Hawes appear to be speaking with an entity that lights up the meter to voice its responses, and from those EMF’s responses, they determine they’re speaking with a woman who’s been waiting since the 1940s for a loved one’s train to come in. They also catch what they believe to be several voices on recorders. Some yelling for them to “go home,” while others say cryptic things like “bring back the girls.” The entities don’t seem to be malevolent or anything, but hearing conversations between the dead is a surefire way to creep out even the most astute skeptic.
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