Paranormal investigator/plumber Jason Hawes might as well switch these familiar words to "Saddle up" for the third season of Sci Fi’s Ghost Hunters, in which TAPS (The Atlantic Paranormal Society) checks out the spirits of the Old West.
Hawes, fellow Roto-Rooter employee/investigator Grant Wilson and their faithful team ride into Tombstone, Arizona to check out the Bird Cage Theatre — an 1880s burlesque theater, gambling house and brothel — that boasts at least 26 deaths in or near the premises. That means that the probability of things that go bump in the night is pretty high.
And even though TAPS believes (them being practical folks) that 80 percent of the so-called hauntings can be debunked, the Bird Cage looks to be a hotbed of paranormal activity.
There’s nothing like burlesque employees wearing bustiers and plumes describing their various haunting experiences. Bird Cage manager Leroy Colomy gets into character too with his long grey hair, cowboy hat and handlebar mustache. It’s no wonder the ghosts feel comfortable enough to stick around. According to the locals, the ghostly activity includes:
- A shadowy figure called "The Stagehand," who likes to walk across the show area.
- A cold chill near the craps table, followed by three taps on Leroy’s shoulder when no one else was around.
- Ghostly images in the photos tourists took of the old-fashioned hearse nicknamed Black Mariah.
- Images of people walking down the stairs leading to the high rollers poker room in the basement.
- Unexplained faces in the dresser mirror in the Bordello Room where Wyatt Earp and his lady had their trysts.
- Music playing backstage when nobody’s there.
The waiting is always a tense time, especially since night vision renders the investigators somewhat creepy-looking to the audience. But they don’t have to wait long. There’s so much auditory, visual, tactile and even olfactory activity that Wilson begins the evening commenting, "That was awesome," which at some point turns to, "This is getting out of control."
For an episode so chock full of activity, it’s especially frustrating not to witness some of the bigger phenomena. A lot of the episode is filled with stuff like "Did you see that?" followed by a detailed, yet unsatisfying description of what the cameraman was too slow to catch on tape. I don’t blame the guy, seeing how ghosts are a wily lot, but I’d like to see it all the same, especially when both Wilson and Hawes witness what they think is the Holy Grail of paranormal phenomena: a full-body apparition, non-vaporous.
Reviewing the tapes for additional activity takes even longer than the first-person experience, which is probably why Hawes and Wilson sit this part out as lead investigators, leaving it to lackeys like tech manager Steve Gonsalves, investigator Brian Harnois and investigator-in-training Dave Tango.
Ah, but slogging through recordings pays off with two juicy pieces of evidence that is best left for the reveal.
What, did you think I’d spoil it for you? Suffices to say, this is the perfect episode to start the new season.
What’s your verdict on the evidence? Like Davy Jones of The Monkees, are you a believer?