Most reality TV shows get a bad rap. Either they are accused of being totally fake, or their stars get up to all kinds of illegal activity behind-the-scenes. For a show like Syfy’s Ghost Hunters both of those scenarios come into play and so much more.
It makes sense that viewers, and experts, would doubt the dubious claims made by the TAPS crew. Were these sightings really authentic or merely Hollywood magic? However, it turns out, even the investigators themselves disagree on how much of the show was legitimate and how much was fake.
Some claim to have seen amazing things with no explanation during their time on the series, while others threw their co-stars under the bus revealing all sorts of fakery involved with the making of the series. One even admitted to never having seen a real ghost.
From hacks and hauntings to unstable homeowners and desperate ratings grabs, here are the 15 Dark Secrets You Didn’t Know About Ghost Hunters.
15. They Got Called Out By Their Own Case Manager
When Donna Lacroix left Ghost Hunters after three years (and another two on spin-off show Ghost Hunters International), she was incredibly angry. The TAPS crew’s former case manager had a lot of problems with things that went down on-set. So, when she was invited on the radio show, Ghost Divas, she wasted no time letting it all out.
LaCroix railed against co-producers and lead investigators, Jason Hawes and Grant Wilson, for alleged mental abuse toward Brian Harnois and said she thought they made far more money than the rest of the allegedly destitute cast.
She also called out her former castmates for constantly saying they were the very first to investigate a supposedly haunted site when the site had actually been investigated several times by lesser-known groups.
14. There’s A Website Accusing One Of The Crew Of Cheating
An ex-girlfriend of investigator Robb Demarest, Jackie Sydney, accused Demarest of being a womanizer, a cheater, and a manipulator. She said he strung along multiple women, at least three at one time, promising them rosy futures filled with babies all the while telling everyone close to him that they were just friends.
Sydney also claimed that Demarest used his TV status not only to pick up women but to keep them quiet about his relationship with them. He allegedly claimed to have had stalkers and insinuated that they would become jealous if they knew he was a taken man.
Sydney felt Demarest’s behavior was so harmful she set up a website to warn other women about him. Over the years many women have come forward to tell their stories on the site, complete with photos of themselves with Demarest.
13. Robb Was Accused Of Assault
Not only has Robb Demarest been accused of using his celebrity to hit on and lie to women, he’s also been accused of assault.
When the story first broke, a writer for Medium claimed to have received multiple messages from women eager to share their experiences with Demarest. She also claimed she was only willing to share the most harrowing (and most reliable) story, which just so happened to accuse the ghost hunter of assault.
The report included alleged copies of a text message conversation with Demarest in which he brought up the accusations and openly admitted that he was large enough that he certainly could have hurt someone, but he couldn’t remember doing it.
12. They Were Accused Of Stealing The Idea For The Show
It’s not uncommon for popular TV shows to become the target of a lawsuit. It’s also pretty common for those lawsuits to last several years. However, Ghost Hunters producer, Craig Piligian, got caught up in a brutal legal battle for eight straight years.
Piligian and Syfy were accused of idea theft. Parapsychologist Larry Montz and publicist Daena Smoller claimed their idea for a ghost hunting show had been stolen out from under them. But Piligian had never actually met Montz and Smoller.
The Supreme Court denied the opportunity to become involved in the case. NBCU Cable chairman, Bonnie Hammer, was asked if she was a paranormal investigator, too. This bizarre case took a lot of back and forth and even more hoop-jumping, but Piligian finally won the lawsuit in the end.
11. A Redditor Said A Ghost Sighting Was A Real Person Yelling
The TAPS team presented themselves as being serious about their investigations, not afraid to debunk sightings that were clearly false.
They would explain away weird vibes by finding excessive levels of energy in certain locations. Or, they would test reflections and angles to find real-world explanations for the creepy goings-on in their supposedly haunted sites. However, according to Redditor, BosskHogg, the crew would sometimes pretend real events were actual hauntings.
The example Hogg gives is that of a “disembodied voice” demanding the investigators “get out” of his haunt.
According to the Redditor, everyone on the set knew full-well the voice was really just the property manager screaming at homeless people (sad) but they pretended it was a paranormal incident and included it in the show anyway.
10. Real-Life Investigators HATE The Show
Given the alleged lies and hacks the TAPS team reportedly resorted to in order to create their supernatural encounters, is it any wonder real-life paranormal investigators have written off the show as a bunch of hokum?
Parapsychologist Loyd Auerbach accused celebrity ghost hunters of stealing away the majority of his and his colleagues’ income. Auerbach said that most parapsychologists actually make their money giving lectures, but the popularity of haunting shows led to their stars being invited to lecture instead.
Similarly, investigator Dr. Barry Taff said investigative teams without their own TV shows were left in the dust after these reality shows became a hit. Homeowners looking to have their homes investigated were much more interested in having the TAPS team and other famous crews hunt ghosts in their buildings.
9. Grant Wilson Leaving Was A Real Ratings Boost
Grant Wilson was a producer and co-lead investigator of Ghost Hunters. He had been there from the beginning. So, it was a super big deal when he decided to leave the series in 2012.
Fans weren’t sure who was leaving the show, they simply knew a huge announcement was going to be made. Wilson did not disappoint. Wilson’s big reveal led the winter finale episode to its highest ratings in 15 months. The episode drew over one million viewers, a growth of 36 percent growth over its last winter finale the year before.
There were still 20 episodes to go in the season when Wilson announced his departure. But he didn’t sever ties with the show entirely. He was featured in at least six more episodes of Ghost Hunters International before officially leaving the show. And, of course, he would return years later, much to fans’ delight.
8. One Of The Investigators Admitted He’d Never Seen A Ghost
If faking encounters and lying about their locations weren’t bad enough, at least one member of the crew admitted he’d never actually seen a ghost in over 20 years of investigating. To be fair, Steve Gonsalves didn’t say he didn’t believe in the supernatural, but he couldn’t exactly confirm the veracity of ghost sightings either.
Gonsalves said he had seen a lot of things that he simply couldn’t explain, like moving objects and weird smells and noises. However, he in all his years with the TAPS team, he had never seen an actual apparition. Why did he continue to hunt ghosts after so many dead ends?
To attempt to answer questions about death and the after-life, of course. Gonsalves believed it was human curiosity to be drawn to the paranormal and he felt it his duty to answer life’s toughest questions.
7. An Investigator Said He Was Terrorized By Ghosts As A Kid
While not every TAPS team member has actually witnessed a supernatural entity, Adam Berry revealed that not only had he seen a ghost in real-life, but he had been utterly terrorized by them as a child.
Berry claimed to have had many paranormal encounters growing up. He said there was a creature that haunted his childhood home, almost like a ghost dog scratching at the walls. The TV glowed Poltergeist style, and he even believed to have seen a ghostly Civil War reenactment.
Berry said he had seen white figures in a field in Gettysburg, accompanied by the sounds of yelling and gunshots. These events upset him deeply. According to Berry, his many paranormal encounters were what led him to eventually become a respected paranormal investigator.
6. They Never Run Out Of New Places To Investigate
You might assume after so many years the TAPS team would run out of new places to investigate. However, producer and co-lead-investigator Jason Hawes said that’s just not true. According to Hawes, there was no limit to the number of allegedly haunted places he and his crew could have been invited to.
Hawes said in the crew received a whopping 92 million hits on their website in 2015. He went on to say that the Ghost Hunters team received around 1,000 inquiries a day from people interested in having their buildings investigated by the crew.
5. They Dealt With A Lot Of Mental Illness
Sadly, part of the reason the TAPS team had so many potential sites to explore was because some of the people they had to deal with really needed help… and not the paranormal kind. T
he crew didn’t really vet the homeowners or business owners they dealt with beforehand. Which meant they never really knew what they were walking into.
Jason Hawes revealed that on more than one occasion the team would show up to a home where someone claimed to hear voices or see things.
Nothing would be found and the team would go on their way, only to later learn the homeowner was schizophrenic or suffering from sort of mental illness. Those moments, according to Hawes, are much more haunting than any actual ghosts could ever be.
4. One Of The Investigators Believes Some Hauntings Are Just Sensitive People
Jason Hawes believes some seemingly supernatural encounters are simply “sensitive” people who pick up on things the rest of us would never notice. To explain this, he told a story of a chance encounter he had with a random stranger when he was younger.
This person told him everything was “going to be fine” during a moment of stress and he said a friend of his was randomly gifted with a specific amount of money at a moment when she needed it most. Hawes didn’t believe these were guardian angels, just sensitive people.
Likewise, Hawes admitted that he thought some hauntings are caused by the same phenomenon. He said certain real-world materials aid in sensitivity, like limestone, for example. Hawes claimed that some people who thought they were in contact with spirits may have been picking up extra energy from these materials.
3. They Don’t Mind Skeptics Unless They Get Hateful
Even if there were zero doubt that the TAPS team never faked a single scene of Ghost Hunters, there would still be plenty of fans with major doubts about the veracity of the show. Of course, those fans would be very vocal in their doubt. According to Steve Gonsalves, that’s OK. The ghost hunting crew don’t mind skeptics…as long as they’re polite about it.
Gonsalves admitted that he’s a bit of skeptic himself and isn’t quick to openly believe everyone he meets with a ghost story to tell. He encourages that sort of thinking from fans, too. Gonsalves said he believes those doubts are what keep people searching for evidence and help weed out false stories.
2. A Haunted Mental Hospital Wouldn’t Let The Show Film There
Despite the insistence that the TAPS team is sought after to investigate allegedly haunted sites, not every location welcomed the ghost hunters with open arms. In fact, the show was once refused entry to one of the most reportedly haunted locations in the world.
The Fairfield Hills Hospital, a supposedly haunted asylum in Connecticut, flat-out refused to allow the TAPS team to film inside the building.
The hospital has a terrible reputation due to the torturous ways patients were treated there in the past, frontal lobotomies and electroshock therapy were reportedly common in the early days of the asylum. Trespassers would later report satanic cults and ghostly spirits walking the grounds. So, the board voted “no” on allowing Ghost Hunters to film there in an attempt to avoid more negative press.
1. The Push For Ratings Got The Show Canceled
Despite all its inherent flaws, Ghost Hunters was a hugely successful show. However, according to former researcher Kris Williams, it was that success that ultimately led to the series’ downfall. Williams blames the production companies quest for higher and higher ratings for the series’ jumping the shark and ultimately getting canceled.
According to Williams, it was a hokey (and desperate) blood-letting sequence in Ghost Hunters International that got the show the ax. Williams said she was so disappointed over the distasteful decision to air the episode that she quit the show before the series was actually canceled.
Williams was sure to say that Syfy had been a great company to work for, overall, but she felt the controversial scene should never have been allowed to air.
Can you think of any other dark secrets about Ghost Hunters? Sound off in the comments and let us know!
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