Television Review: Ghost Hunters, Episode 101: Fort Ticonderoga
by R.J. Carter
Published: March 10, 2010
For a guy who really loves paranormal investigative shows, I must confess that the investigation into Fort Ticonderoga is my first exposure to the SyFy series, Ghost Hunters, a "docu-soap" that follows The Atlantic Paranormal Society (TAPS) to various locations of interest, where team leaders Jason Hawes and Grant Wilson investigate claims of hauntings and other spooky activity, with the help of their staff.
Tonight's trek takes the TAPS team to upstate New York, where they meet with Christopher Fox, the curator of Fort Ticonderoga, who will brief them on the numerous strange events that have happened to the staff there, from docents to maintenance workers. Grant Wilson is out with an illness, so joining Hawes tonight is Steve Gonsalves.
Once all the stories have been told about images in windows and phantom footsteps on empty floors, the team settles in for the night with cameras and recorders, taking up various positions and talking to the air, hoping for some sort of reaction they can document. In some cases, there seem to be things that happen -- but unfortunately for the viewer, they never seem to happen on camera, and noises heard by the investigators are so faint as to be drowned out by the show's dramatic undertone.
Perhaps the most compelling scenes are when Hawes and Gonsalves are investigating the barracks, when they encounter a phenomenon that is simultaneously seen and verified by a second team across the courtyard. Unfortunately, both cameras were on the investigators at the time, and neither captured the event.
On the other end of the spectrum, two female investigators head down to the French ovens, where Fort staff have reported they have often heard whispers in French, and smelled burning bread. The ladies try to evoke a reaction from the prospective spirits by taunting them -- and then tell the camera that this is exactly what they're trying to do. One would think that if a spirit were actually there, they would hear that as well, and laugh their invisible selves silly.
When all is said and done, there isn't much of anything recorded to convince the audience that paranormal activity is happening at the site. From what I glean from others who have watched the series, this is par for the course. Despite the whole Scooby-Doo feel, there isn't a moment of unmasking Old Man Peterson, or any other kind of revelation of either genuine haunting or debunked hoaxing.
Which is probably the best formula for maintaining a long-running series: offer up the possibility, never confirmed or destroyed, and leave the audience hoping that next episode will be the one where the hunters capture their elusive ghost.
Ghost Hunters, "Episode 101 - Fort Ticonderoga," airs Wednesday, March 10, at 9pm ET on SyFy.