On Wednesday, July 25th at 9:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, millions tuned into the Sci-Fi Channel for the TV premiere of “Ghost Adventures,” a raw documentary in which Zak Bagans, Nick Groff and Aaron Goodwin go to Virginia City, NV and Goldfield, NV on a ghost hunting expedition. Virginia City is rife with macabre lore and reputed to be one of the most haunted cities in America. The townsfolk seem to enjoy their town’s reputation and history. Goldfield is the site of the Goldfield Hotel (the last paying, and living, guest was in World War II), which is reputed as being one of “the scariest places on earth.”
“Ghost Adventures” has already won Grand Jury Prize for Best Documentary that was given by the New York International Film & Video Festival and it was almost nominated for Best Feature Film from the Eerie Horror Film Festival. Zak and his team also traveled to the Berlin Feature Film International film festival and the Cannes film festival for international appeal.
Zak and his crew venture into places where others fear to tread. “Ghost Adventures” is probably one of the most convincing paranormal documentaries that viewers have seen, or will ever see. Along with the usual orbs there are noises, EVP (electronic voice phenomena), mysterious shadows, flying objects, and the coup de grace … a full-bodied apparition. The internet is abuzz with the news of this evidence and with the film’s premiere. The film and its crew all have My Space websites, and hundreds of My Space Friends.
This film and the Zak’s techniques have been described as “extreme ghost-hunting” due in part to the taunts Zak slews at potential spirits in a highly controversial way, to the areas that they visited, and partly due to the evidence that they captured. One viewer has described Zak Bagans as the “Ty Pennington of Ghost Hunting” because of his charm and appeal to viewers and his enthusiastic attitude to his profession (Ty Pennington gained fame in “Trading Spaces” and then his own show, “Extreme Makeover”).
In Virginia City, NV the team visited the Old Washoe Club that harbors an infamous reputation. Among the rooms they visited were a crypt that was used to stack and store bodies that had died from disease or mining accidents in the later part of the 1800’s. Many orbs and EVP’s are heard throughout this segment and it is within this Club that a full-bodied apparition is seen walking across the screen. As Nick sets up cameras and other paranormal equipment he walks from one side of the screen to the other and a few seconds later a semi-transparent image, clearly human, walks the same path. It is too far behind Nick to be a shadow and it is not another person since the light behind it dims but does not get blocked completely.
At the Goldfield Hotel in Goldfield NV an elderly lady, who lives within 100 feet of the hotel, gives them a tour. She is quirky, lively and one of the most knowledgeable and open-minded of ghost tour-guides that have been seen on “ghost TV.” Within the Goldfield Hotel is a room where a prostitute is rumored to have been chained up and starved to death. Zak sits down and attempts communication with the spirit of Elizabeth. He is sympathetic and caring towards her plight and soon a bright and perfect orb forms at the hand of Zax’s arm (crossed over his chest) and it follows the exact contour of his arm and muscle, as if stroking it. The orb literally looks as if it a 3-dimensional object gracefully rolling down his arm. Later, Zak is astonished to see this footage but relays to the viewers that he felt an icy chill on his arm at that moment. The tour-guide states that quite often people feel a touch as if being lightly stroked by a hand or finger and she has even felt it herself.
The hotel segment-with its close proximity to an abandoned mineshaft and home to rapes, murders, imprisonment and a labyrinthine basement-was the livelier hour of the show and for many viewers, who tuned in late, it was not disappointing. Towards the end of the movie a brick is thrown from one side of a room to another and a board that had been leaning against the wall falls down. Zak and Nick (Aaron does not appear in the 2nd half of the movie) “freak-out” at this poltergeist-like activity and run. They get separated and the film starts to take on a “Blair Witch Project” tone that will keep viewers on the edge of their seats. As Zak calls for Nick in the distance, a voice very close to Nick (who’s camera footage is being shown at this time) whispers “Nick” in a positively eerie manner.
Fans of the paranormal will not be disappointed in this film; it is filled with compelling evidence, drama, excitement, and even expert attempts to prove fraud or altering of the video footage. The only aspect viewers seem to be displeased with is that the crew “assume” everything to be paranormal in explanation and do not try to “debunk” the events and find a mundane, or real-world, possibility. The term “de-bunking” is popular among another paranormal show that airs on Sci-Fi on Wednesdays called “Ghost Hunter” in which the crew investigate reported haunted buildings or areas and are fond of trying to disprove a haunting and come up with mundane explanations to reported activities.
The Sci-Fi Channel has contracted another 7 airings of “Ghost Adventures,” dates to be announced later, and there is a DVD that should be out within the near future. Fans of the movie can log into My Space and become a friend of the movie and its film crew as well as sign up for blog subscriptions.