Ghost Hunters is one of the myriad of shows that made a name for the paranormal and its investigations. Over the years, there have been a number of investigation type shows to follow suit when it comes to hunting down things unseen. Ghost Hunters International, Ghost Adventures (which personally I could never get into), Ghost Hunters Academy (albeit short lived), Paranormal Witness, Paranormal State, Destination Truth, Ghost Lab, well, I’m sure you get the idea, all shows that center around this very thing. Although the very first paranormal reality-ghost-hunting-type show In Search of… aired in 1977, it wasn’t until the early 2000s that this kind of content became widely popular.
The TAPS (The Atlantic Paranormal Society) team created by Jason Hawes and Grant Wilson has been the favorite show of my best friend. She cried when they announced the show was coming to an end, and in our local city, she has joined a paranormal society. Most of what I know comes from her love of the show and everything paranormal. I know talking about things with the word “paranormal” attached to it can cause quite a debate. Either you believe in the supernatural, or you don’t. I’ve never come across anyone who has been on the fence about their beliefs. What I do know, is that as much as I love my best friend, I am ever so happy that she found a community that likes to ghost hunt. I support her passion, but I have no desire to sleep or spend the night hunting for something that is no longer of this world.
With all of that being said, I decided to write about the episodes I felt were the best over the years that Jason and the gang hunted and debunked supernatural activity. I’ve seen quite a few episodes, and by no means were they all interesting. In fact, my favorite aspect of the show (besides the group dynamic) was that the TAPS team set out to disprove most of the claims they received, which sometimes included nothing being found (which typically meant the show dragged). So, without further ado, let’s jump into this list!
15 Race Rock Lighthouse - Season 1, Episode 4
Way back to the first season of this popular show, the team was asked by the U.S. Coast Guard to investigate the Rack Rock Lighthouse. It was located in Long Island Sound, off the coast of New London, CT, and built in 1878. To be fair, my brain automatically jumps to anything made in the 1800s having a fair chance of being haunted.
Anyway, after hours of investigation, there appeared to be light orbs moving around, and Grant, who had gone to the attic, felt and saw nothing... until he left through the only door. A few minutes later, the chair he was sitting in moves on its own. With the footage to back their claims, TAPS reported back to the Coast Guard that the lighthouse did indeed seem to be haunted.
14 Garden State Asylum - Season 5, Episode 8
Located in Cedar Grove, NJ, Essex County Hospital was another investigation not to be forgotten. It was built in the late 1800s and was a facility that treated the criminally insane and mentally ill. Something like 10,000 patients have died there over the years. Again, the 1800s and thousands of deaths? For sure, this place was going to be haunted.
Lots of different claims came to the TAPS team including full bodied apparitions, voices, and spots of fatigue. Like most of the episodes I’ve seen, the team typically splits off in pairs. Jason and Grant are usually together and Tango and Steve as well. I remember Tango and Steve vividly because they always made me laugh. Anyway, each pair experienced something similar to each other. Tango and Steve went full on brave mode by laying on slabs and closing themselves in freezers in the morgue (no, so much no to doing that). It wasn’t until going over footage that they heard a voice sound as if it were saying, “he’s here.” Who’s here? What does that even mean? Nope!!!
That amongst other voices and sounds were enough to say this hospital was very much haunted.
13 Rocky Mountain Hauntings - Season 5, Episode 19
Are you really surprised to see that the Briarhurst Manor in Colorado was built in 1888 is mentioned on this list? This house was in Syfy’s “Great American Ghost Hunt Contest” and voted by America to be haunted, so naturally, the team went there.
Grant and Jason, Amy and Kris, and Steve and Tango all had some experiences in the 14,000 square foot home. Grant and Jason are walking around in one room, but hear the floor above them creak. Since they have zero fear of the supernatural (or so it seems), they head upstairs, but of course, no one and nothing is up there. They ask Amy and Kris to do the same, but still nothing. Often, it doesn’t seem like anything is going on until they go over their footage later. That is when audio can be heard in nearly all of the spots the teams were hunting at in the house. Guess what? Haunted.
12 Waverly Hills Sanatorium - Season 2, Episode 14
Built in 1926, the Waverly Hills Sanatorium is located in Louisville, KY. At one time, it boasted to be one of the most advanced tuberculosis hospitals partaking in experimental surgeries. The TAPS team met with co-owner Tina Mattingly, who took them on a tour of the 180,000 square foot structure. She takes them to room 502 where it is said that a nurse hung herself due to an unwanted pregnancy. The result of that action led to claims that people would get sick upon entry and have to leave the room. Mysterious lights and ghostly figures round out the claims.
Since it was such a huge building, the team decided on the first night to get an overall feel for the place before figuring out where to investigate. On night number two, Grant sees a full bodied apparition; Steve sees legs out of the corner of his eye, and something else appears to be going in and out of the walls. When reviewing the footage, it was hard to deny that the verdict was… haunted. With more than 63,000 deaths in the sanatorium, was there ever any doubt?
11 Cincinnati Music Hall - Season 9, Episode 26
In Ohio stands a music hall from 1878 built atop an old orphanage, asylum, and unmarked graves. This type of structure is begging to be investigated. Claims of footsteps being heard, lights turning on and off, and apparitions round out what TAPS came to debunk. Most of the claims from staff and personnel were confirmed, which we all know means it is haunted. If any building was set on top of an asylum, orphanage, or unmarked graves, I’m thinking, yeah, that goes without saying.
And although this is a music hall, it reminds me a lot of a local theater we have in Tampa. On Halloween two years ago, I went to see Hitchcock’s Psycho, and I remember sitting on the second floor watching one of my favorite movies of all time and looking to my right. I saw something out of the corner of my eye, and when I looked, it was a lady dressed in all white, with long brown hair. She walked past the hallway and disappeared. Now, I’m not saying that what I saw was an actual apparition, but, when I did tell my friend who works there about it, she said that a lot of people had seen the very same thing I described. Even knowing that doesn’t deter me from going to see movies there because the Tampa Theater is gorgeous.
10 Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum - Season 4, Episode 9
The building of this facility started in 1858 and at one time housed 2,600 patients. The fact that Jason was creeped out at all was a sure sign that something would be found upon their investigation.
In the Civil War section, Jason and Grant heard loud clanging noises and a child’s laughter. As an avid fan of horror movies, a kid laughing, in any scary film at all, thoroughly creeps me out. I can’t explain why it just does. Anyway, Dave and Steve hear female laughter, and other team members Joe and Kristyn hear loud banging as well. Once the tapes are reviewed, the team is bummed to find out they caught no video of the entities they heard, just audio. When they bring the evidence to owner Rebecca Jordan, she asks if it's safe to walk around, they let her know it is. Verdict? Haunted.
9 Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum – Part 2 - Season 9, Episode 25
In 2012, Grant announced he was leaving Ghost Hunters for personal reasons, and it was a sad time. However, for the two-hour 200th episode, Wilson came back. Since the asylum is as big as it is, more familiar faces joined this episode as well, which did not disappoint. Grant, Amy, and Adam heard a chair crash in another room, Jason and Steve saw a strange mist type of thing and also heard loud banging noises, and Joe Chin felt something pull on his shoulder. With it being creepy the first time around, you knew it would be the second time around as well.
What was even better? This time they recorded actual footage. I’ve heard so many people claim their footage is fake, but I also feel like the TAPS team tended to go out of their way to prove that these claims at various locations held no merit. So when I see anything they’ve found, I tend to believe what’s presented. Verdict still remains as a resounding haunted.
8 Surf Hotel - Season 9, Episode 15
The investigators went to two different places this episode, but we are going to talk about the second location in Rhode Island. The owner, Lorraine Seer, called in TAPS to debunk claims of paranormal activity at her Surf Hotel. The hotel had been in the family for 59 years.
Guests and employees alike claim to have heard voices, see apparitions, you know, the usual. One of the team members sees a figure they believe to be male in the basement, and on the top floors doors open and close on their own. When this evidence is presented to the owner, she’s happy to know that she isn’t crazy. Again, I must reiterate, I could never knowingly sleep in a place that has been proven to be a hub for paranormal activity. Is it the thrill? Because I have ghost hunted in a group with my friend who loves this stuff, but it was a group, and we didn’t sleep there. I suppose those are my boundaries for this sort of thing.
7 Eastern State Penitentiary - Season 1, Episode 5
Fun fact, I have been to this location, and it is huge. You pay for a ticket, and they give you headphones and a cassette player to guide and talk you through its landmark. Of course, there were places closed off, but it was still amazing to get to see Al Capone’s cell in real life. It was even staged to show what it looked like when he was an inmate there (pictured above).
Tensions ran high in this episode. Jason and Grant had to deal with some team members that could be categorized as unprofessional, and as it was the very first season, they had to prove they knew what they were doing. Jason and Grant experienced the same shapes while together, but could not replicate them, thus concluding that this jail was haunted.
I didn’t feel any presence or see anything out of the ordinary, which I’m completely fine with. I’m not saying it’s not haunted; I’m just saying my experience was much more pleasant.
6 Valentown Museum - Season 2, Episode 16
At the time, it was 128 years old. Carol Finch, the museum curator, shows the team around the building and of course retells claims of what an employee had seen. In this episode there was a ballroom where the story goes, a woman was killed by her jealous lover.
The TAPS team sets up shop and gets to cracking on debunking paranormal activity. Most of the team members hear something at some point during their investigations. Jason even believes he sees a shadow walk by a doorway. Unfortunately, when the team is packing up to leave, Kristyn disconnects the computer and ends up losing all of the audio evidence recorded. Huge bummer for the TAPS team. So even though they may have heard things, it remained unproven for the supernatural.
5 The Crescent Hotel - Season 2, Episode 13
Located in Eureka Springs, Arkansas, it was once a fake cancer treatment facility and was used as a morgue. The team meets with the general manager and a local historian. Claims of room 419 being haunted catch their attention and Grant stays in there. One of the team members notices Grant’s computer propped against the door (much like guests stated of their clothing), so they set up a camera to see if there was real activity and figure out how the computer was moved.
In the morgue, Jason and Grant spot things on the thermal camera. To debunk this (as they do), they try to recreate what they saw, but can’t disprove what was recorded. During this investigation, the local historian, Ken, tells Jason and Grant that Dr. Ellis’ (who practiced in the hotel in the 1880s) house is also haunted. Upon investigation of the medium who lives there, things happen that can’t quite be disproved either. Although, Jason and Grant think maybe the medium herself may be haunted.
4 Charlie Chaplin Studios - Season 3, Episode 12
Most people (who watch the show) will remember this episode because it also contained an investigation regarding the Manson cult murders. However, I am an avid fan of Charlie Chaplin, so this list is biased, naturally.
Anyway, the team meets with an employee. He shows them where he saw a shadow with a top hat and coat (think Chaplin). As with any “haunted” studio, there are claims of voices heard on the soundstage and doors opening and closing by themselves. Tango collects electric voice phenomenon (EVP), and Steve gets audio data. They bring the evidence to Jason and Grant who in turn show the evidence to the employee, including the image Jason and Grant found. All of what was recorded was enough for them to confirm the suspicion of paranormal activity. If Chaplin was really there, it might be the one condition I would find acceptable to want to find something supernatural.
3 Lizzie Borden House - Season 2, Episode 12
The team meets up with the owner, tour guide, and manager for this case. Apparently, a maid quit after seeing an indentation in the bed of the room where Lizzy’s mother was murdered. Claims ranged from being shoved from behind while no one was there (which came from the tour guide) to a psychic who stated a strong smell of perfume coming from Lizzy’s room.
When investigators Donna and Andy heard a banging noise, it’s debunked as maybe being the air conditioner. The claims that were presented were all given reasons for happening; thus concluding no paranormal activity. However, I had a friend years ago go on tour there, and she told me that one of her earrings came out of her ear and it felt as if someone threw it at her chest. So although they didn’t find anything, it could still very well be haunted.
2 St. Augustine Lighthouse - Season 2, Episode 19
When TAPS arrives in St. Augustine, they meet with the director of education of the lighthouse, Paul. He takes them around the lighthouse telling the story of the family that died during construction, sounds of a bucket dropping, at the top of the lighthouse a padlocked door recently being found open, well, you get the point, right? Freaky stuff is happening here.
I remember this episode vividly. I remember when Jason and Grant ran up and down those lighthouse steps because they saw what we all clearly saw: a shadowy female-like figure leaning over the railing above them. However, when they got up there, nothing. It was also the same episode that Jason, Grant, Steve and Dustin all heard a voice saying “help me.” This is probably one of the very first episodes I ever remember being truly spooked at the evidence found. And although the bucket was debunked, nothing else could be. Needless to say, St. Augustine Lighthouse is haunted.
1 Stanley Hotel - Season 2, Episode 22
This is probably one of the most popular episodes of Ghost Hunters because it’s where Stephen King’s The Shining was filmed. The movie alone would make me believe it was haunted. But as much as I remember the lighthouse episode, this one is also engrained in my memory. What I remember most is when Jason was asleep in his room. You could clearly see the closet door opening, and then the glass on his nightstand just shatter. Right there. On camera. It shatters. Like, no way bruv.
Other things happened to the team as well. Brian and Steve see shadows, and their bed shakes. Some of the things that happened were explained as residual hauntings, but, not everything is so easily explained. If you watch any episode of Ghost Hunters, let it be this one. You will not be disappointed.
Oh, and yes, the Stanley Hotel is definitely haunted. I’ll stick to watching the movie as opposed to spending the night there.
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