SciFake.com has taken a swing at the folks from The Atlantic Paranormal Society once again — this time going after a supposed staged scene where television’s “ghost plumbers” attempt to fix a sink at a Roto-Rooter client’s bathroom. An anonymous tipster named “Chris” (I am throwing my hands in the air on this one — it’s not me, swear to Zuul) claims that the bathroom is actually the bathroom in the TAPS offices in Rhode Island.
Ron Tebo from SciFake, a paranormal investigator himself, has been on a one-man crusade (accompanied by a few pseudonyms I believe, sorry Ron) to rid the world of paranormal forgery and stagers for a while now. His website has become a mainstay on my browser. His banner reads, “Safeguarding the paranormal community (and clients) from fakers, liars, and cheats” — a noble and respectful mission from Ron and the crew. There was a time when the banner listed multiple television shows that Ron claims to have been faked.
However, despite Tebo’s seemingly non-biased grudge towards paranormal television personalities, shows such as uber-emo-fratboy hunters “Ghost Adventures,” the obvious British phonies “Most Haunted,” and over-achieving and over-believing Gifted-labeled angels of “Paranormal State” (a 19 year-old “occult specialist,” folks? C’mon!), rarely get mentioned.
I drop in every week or so to see where he is aiming his precision-tuned anti-ectopack — and it usually seems to be aimed at TAPS. And I would like to take the time to reiterate from a previous post that I used to be a die-hard fan of “Ghost Hunters” during its first three seasons but have fallen out of love with the show because of the formulaic shape it has taken over the years — and this opinion is my own best effort to remain as unbiased as possible.
At times, Ron brings up some very good points that, through the power of his pen and/or keyboard, should send the TAPS crew scrambling for cover. When a former (maybe former) TAPS member put together something called “TAPSCON” — a paranormal convention in Florida — that never happened and never reimbursed ticket holders when the event fell through, Ron pounced. He wouldn’t let it go, and rightfully so, shouting the bilker and his cohorts into a corner. Besides calling out the shysters and hustlers of the field, he also aims his EMF detector at another problem that plagues the paranormal field: sexual offenders, namely pedophiles, working in children’s homes as supposed “investigators.”
Kudos Ron. And more power and support to you.
That Ron has had a major impact on the field is undeniable. He’s even inspired the group I investigate with, GRASP, to fire members with shady pasts (no pedophiles, mind you — just tainted records of deception).
His blog pushes the fraud issue and puts the spotlight on this new burgeoning reawakening of 19th-Century spiritualism that airs on primetime television rather than in a parlor room around a Ouija board.
Many times, I agree with Ron. His shot-calling attitude towards the television industry’s depiction of paranormal investigation makes me cock my eyebrow and rub my non-existent beard. Other times, I snicker at the logical leaps and bounds he takes to demonstrate “evidence” against the show. There is a part of me that thinks that what he is doing is good for the “new paranormal movement” in our society — sometimes it just seems too personal. I can almost picture him pounding his fists on his keyboard in a fit of infantile rage.
With nearly every post against the team, TAPS’s founder, Jason Hawes, always seems to respond in kind. Ron and Jason have cordial banter interspersed with vigorous disagreements and often a finale of amicable discord (sans resolution).
I had the opportunity to discuss the issue with Jason Hawes, who also stars in the Syfy television show Ghost Hunters, at which Ron directs so much of his vitriol. Hawes admitted that SciFake has a personal vendetta against the show though he won’t disclose why. The Shaved-Head One never said a bad word about Ron’s website other than it keeps him on his toes. He also chuckled over many of the site’s claims of his own show being rigged.
Truth be told, I left the conversation in limbo — Ron never convinced me of his side, and Jason didn’t either.
Whether or not I believe shows like “Ghost Hunters” are fake is completely irrelevant. To be honest with you, I don’t see how that show, or any other “reality documentary” television program, can be 100 percent authentic. We live in an age of image creation, when marketing reps and talent agents invest too much time and money into the “reality” that these shows purportedly depict. The folks on “Ghost Hunters” are bad actors, so it’s pretty obvious when they’re giving a performance. Other times, it is hard to tell (something tells me that Steve Gonsalves does not scream like that intentionally whenever he sees a spider).
What it comes down to is this: is the “evidence” depicted on “Ghost Hunters” and other paranormal TV shows manufacture and sell to us “the real” as entertainment. Or is it actually real? To me, in the end, it’s all television. Sometimes I think Tango sees a ghost just as much as “ALF” was from outer space. Certainly a crafty editor not on the TAPS payroll can cut one scene into another that occurred four hours later and make it look like Kris Williams heard her name being called out to her from the darkness.
This is obvious when they cut to commercial right when one of the TAPS gang says, “What was that?” and shines a flashlight into a corner. Only to return from commercial break to find out that it was nothing more than someone from the crew upstairs or something else equally non-paranormal.
Any person with a critically thinking mind can see this. It is not difficult.
So, in the end, does it matter that the “Ghost Hunters” crew used the TAPS bathroom to stage a scene where Jay and Grant discuss the business while fixing their own sink? They are, after all, filming a television show. And TV shows require second takes for multiple reasons, not just because what they’re filming is fake.
Does it really matter that a television show may or may not be real? Ron claims that the paranormal events that I have written about in prior posts, where fans pay top dollar to meet their television heroes, are a form of modern day snake oil sales events, but who’s keping score? What’s the difference between a TAPS event versus a Star Trek convention where people do the same thing, other than one is marketed (loosely) as “reality”?
I mean, the parent network was called the “Science Fiction Channel” for years. Shouldn’t anyone anyone with a brain comprehend the “reality” of its offerings are limited?
Ron’s voice needs to be heard and every counter opinion must be taken into account — this website wouldn’t be called “Contrarian Media” if we/I didn’t believe that an opposing argument can potentially be valid. That said, I often spend my time on SciFake gauging the subjectivity of Ron vs. TAPS rather than Ron vs. paranormal television. Which is its own form of entertainment, really.
And that’s why I hope Ron keeps writing, and that Jason keeps responding.