Review | Ghost Hunters 2019

Review | Ghost Hunters 2019

On August 21st, Ghost Hunters returned with a new cast and new network, A&E. Get the scoop on Grant Wilson’s new team after the jump.

Grant Wilson and a new group of investigators returned to TV on Wednesday night. It’s been 3 years since the original series ended. Now, Ghost Hunters switched to A&E from SyFy, its former home.

In this review, I’ll look at the new team, tech, evidence presented and my overall impression of the show.

By the way, SPOILER ALERT IS ON!

The New Ghost Hunters Team

ghost hunters 2019 team members in cast photo
Brian, Richel, Daryl, Grant, Kristen, Brandon and Mustafa investigate haunted hot spots in the new Ghost Hunters TV series on A&E

Only Grant Wilson returns from the original series. I want to point out that the show tells you the team was assembled for the series. Most other shows will hide that.

By the way, I like to put the members’ home states. Just a little state pride, eh?

Grant Wilson | Lead Investigator | Rhode Island

We all know Grant from the original series and his appearances on other ghost hunting shows. You can follow him on his Facebook page or website.

Kristen Luman | Lead Investigator | Oregon

Kristen has appeared on Ghost Mine, another SyFy paranormal show, a few years ago. The producers skipped over that. I’m not sure why because it gives her more paranormal cred. Anyway, she’s also appeared as a guest investigator on the original Ghost Hunters series. She’s a hypnotherapist when she’s not investigating.

Note: I’m assuming she’s originally from Oregon because she went to Portland State University. I think she lives in California now. @Readers: Correct me in the comments below and I’ll fix this part.

Daryl Marston | Lead Investigator | Delaware

Daryl has investigated ghosts and paranormal phenomena since 2008. He has a popular streaming talk show, American Ghost Hunter Show. You can get more about him at his personal website.

Brandon Alvis | Tech Manager | California

To me, Brandon was the breakout star of the show. He is a no-nonsense gadget guy, who spewed ghostly facts. I couldn’t find much about him online, other than his personal website and Twitter profile. His team is APRA.

Brian Murray | Investigator | Illinois

Brian is a former Marine and he began investigating the paranormal in 2007. He’s the leader of Riverbend Paranormal in Illinois. I didn’t find much else about him online, but he has a decent bio on the Ghost Hunters Wiki.

Richel Stratton | Investigator | Illinois

Richel is a member of Riverbend Paranormal with Brian. She has investigated the paranormal for a decade. There’s not much about her online, but she has a page on the Ghost Hunters Wiki and a Facebook profile.

Mustafa Gatollari | Researcher | New York

Mustafa is a journalist for Distractify. The team uses him to research a haunt and get the facts. In the premiere, he gets the scoop on 2 urban legends at Pocatello High. First, no one hanged from the chandelier. Second, there was never a swimming pool at the school, so no one drowned there. He’s a newbie to ghost hunting. You can follow him on Instagram.

In all, it’s a congenial group. However, I have a quibble: Mustafa whispers during his parts of the investigation. That’s a big no-no and pegs him as a rookie.

Episode Structure

 pocatello high school from first episode of ghost hunters 2019
Pocatello High School (Pocatello, ID) is the first haunt investigated (source)

The first episode takes place at Pocatello High School (Pocatello, ID). The episode structure doesn’t vary from the original series. Its segments align with 4 parts:

  • Preliminary research and witness testimony
  • Investigation of haunted hot spots
  • Evidence analysis
  • Reveal to stakeholders

The investigation was the longest part of the episode. It took up 60% of air time. The team broke up into 3 smaller groups to investigate each hot spot.

The one thing I didn’t really get is why 2 co-lead investigators were put together (Kristen and Daryl). Usually, the leads take the less experienced members with them. For example, Brandon (tech manager) and Mustafa (a newbie) spent a lot of time in the gym, and no lead investigator went with them. Now, Brandon could be a lead investigator, but he’s positioned as the tech manager on the show. Anyway, this is just a quibble.

The evidence analysis part got recorded on cell phones, which added some authenticity, but it went by fast. You didn’t see anyone react to ghostly evidence on playback. The reveal was longer than the evidence analysis. The editor may have shortened this segment because there wasn’t much captured. Plus, evidence analysis isn’t exactly riveting TV.

I do like how the producers added a montage of the first series and Grant’s decision to return to ghost hunting.

Ghost Hunting Tech and Evidence

First off, Grant began with debunking the apparition captured on a security camera. He and Brandon seemed to know the natural cause and it was the first thing they focused on during the investigation. Other debunking included the flickering hallway lights. Brandon had a local electrician review the footage and give a reasonable explanation for it.

Back to the tech …

The team used equipment you and I would use on a ghost hunt. This is what I saw them use:

  • Digital audio recorders
  • Mel meters
  • Infrared camcorders
  • REM pods (seen, but not used during investigation)
  • Tesla Coil EM Pump

It was refreshing to see the team skip the ITC devices and Kinect cameras. If I remember correctly (keep me honest here @readers), the original team didn’t use spirit boxes much, either.

As for the evidence, there wasn’t anything sensational. They caught a couple of Class B or C EVPs, and no apparitions. The most compelling evidence was the lights dimming in the auditorium, heebie-jeebies in the gym, and battery failures next to the Tesla EM pump.

It was all stuff a regular ol’ ghost hunting team would capture.

I do have a quibble with the evidence analysis part of the show. The team members reviewed their data in their rooms, except Richel and Brian. I hope they have team analysis like the original series. It was always fun to see Tango slap Steve and say “listen to this!”

Ghostly Activities’ Conclusion

It felt real, didn’t it? That’s not something we’ve seen in recent years. If you read my post on reality tv, Ghost Hunters 2019 puts the kabosh on over-the-top ghostly encounters.

Overall, this was the best premiere of a ghost hunting show in some time. It could be nostalgia or familiarity, but I got pulled in right away. The pacing was brisk; the cast congenial; the location interesting; and, the evidence was just ‘meh.’

And most ghostly evidence is ‘meh’ in real life.

I’ll continue to tune in, and I hope the show doesn’t pick the sensationalized ghost hunting habits on other networks and shows.

You can watch Ghost Hunters on A&E, every Wednesday at 9 PM ET.

Image sources courtesy of A&E press materials unless noted

13 thoughts on “Review | Ghost Hunters 2019

  1. Ratings Update: Ghost Hunters pulled in 850,000 during its live broadcast. It was the 16th most watched cable telecast that night. I’d say it’s a hit.

    Source: http://www.showbuzzdaily.com/articles/showbuzzdailys-top-150-wednesday-cable-originals-network-finals-8-21-2019.html

    I should also mention that the “Back to the Hunt” special had 690,000 viewers. Psychic Kids, which followed Ghost Hunters, had 615,000 viewers. That’s a steep drop off (-25%) from its lead-in.

  2. Hi gang. I just watched the 2nd episode, “The Lady in the Window.” Again, I really liked the episode. I thought the most interesting evidence collected was on the Trifield Natural EM Meter and engagement session with Brandon and Mustafa. Also, I liked how Richel and Brian tried to replicate the face in the window. But, the EVPs didn’t sound like anything to me.

  3. “First off, Grant began with debunking the apparition captured on a security camera.” I thought Grant’s debunking explanation was not convincing and too dismissive.

  4. I was never a huge fan of Grant anyway, so I knew that for me… he would need a very likeable team around him to keep my attention. Unfortunately this wasn’t the case. The one woman (who is likely cheating on her husband with the guy friend on the show) is downright annoying to me lol. The rest of the investigators are meh at best. When you combine the lack of personality with the lackluster investigations/evidence, Ghost Nation comes out as the clear victor in the reboot category.

  5. Ratings Update: Boy, this show has some big swings from week-to-week. I’m not sure if the back-to-back episodes was a good idea, but the second episode does better than Psychic Kids. Anyway, GH2019 has fallen back in ratings. It’s between 510,000-610,000 now. I wouldn’t be surprised if it gets renewed, but has some cast changes. Source: http://www.showbuzzdaily.com/articles/showbuzzdailys-top-150-wednesday-cable-originals-network-finals-10-23-2019.html

    As for Ghost Nation, it’s averaging about 600,000 viewers per week. There haven’t been major viewership changes from week-to-week: It’s stable. Source: http://www.showbuzzdaily.com/articles/showbuzzdailys-top-150-friday-cable-originals-network-finals-10-25-2019.html

  6. Grant i wish would go to Ghost National He seems out of place without the other team members

  7. My family and I absolutely loved the raw and rational perspective of the original Ghost Hunters team, sans characters such as Brian, Berry, etc. Demonstrably, those whom were seen as too “dramatic” to be truly professional investigators. It’s the equivalent of a pest exterminator jabbering and yelping from the inside of an infested house because he/she is afraid of insects and mice. It defeats the purpose of being a professional in your field. The “Dude, run!” moment served as a teaching tool for the entire team and for seasons to come.

    The mellow, practiced attitudes of the longest-lasting members may not have been the kind of camera fodder drama-lovers admire, but it earned respect from those of us who understand that obnoxious personalities and flighty tendencies can muddy up an investigation. I’m more likely to lend an ear to someone who inquisitively asks his partner if he saw something down the hall rather than a loudmouth college fratboy wearing a shivering body-cam hollering, “Bruh! Did you see that, bruh!? Holy sh*t, bruh! I’m so shook!”

    With that being said, I feel like some of these newer cast members are GH’s latest versions of the “Dude, run!” participants. Brandon and Mustafa, namely. Brandon even drops the word “dude” like birdseed at a wedding and starts excitedly jabbering every time he believes to have encountered/observed something. That is anything but professional, I don’t care how extensive his “experience” is in the paranormal investigation field; he should know better.

    He would look more at home with the Ghost Adventurers. Yelping at every [fake] EVP, gasping at every [radio wave] voice that scratches through the [completely unreliable] voicebox, and taking part in the most cringe-worthy Civil War reenactment the world has ever seen. (I could go on and on about the tragedy that is “Ghost Adventurers, and the absolute wretch of a human being Zak Bagans is, all from family-experience to boot, but… all in due time.)

    I’m not completely giving up on this newer rendition of Ghost Hunters. Here is to hoping that what I’ve witnessed thus far is simply the team’s process of re-acclimating themselves to televised investigative procedures. Everyone needs to calm down and use their indoor voices.

    On another note, and I say this about Ghost Nation as well, I have seen a large step away from ‘objective’ investigation techniques. The teams more readily label these paranormal events as “spirits” and “people”. Forever ago, I recall Jason Hawes finding it difficult to admit that a place was “haunted”. Now? Hell, your place is haunted before they even arrive to set up their equipment! You’re haunted, I’m haunted, he’s haunted, she’s haunted. Everyone is haunted! Grant, noticeably the more emotional of the two, is shown speaking to home owners, saying that a “ghost” is probably/likely [insert name here], the formerly inhabitant or victim of a tragic accident. I don’t recall this kind of presentation of evidence as being acceptable for any season of the original GH teams, and for good reason.

    All in all, if I had my way, Grant would be back with Jason, Steve, and Tango. Brian Murray is professional from what I’ve seen thus far, so let him tag along! Can’t say as much for anyone else without watching a few more episodes. Whether or not this overly-emotional, haunt-frenzied attitude of theirs is the product of conceding with TV reps to be more dramatic, I don’t know, but I wish it would stop. We really don’t need another Ghost Adventurers crew, aka the bona fide “Finding Bigfoot” of the paranormal investigation world. Though I do wish Zak Bagans would get lost in the forest, cooking bacon on a camp grill because “Bigfoot (apparently) loves bacon.”

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