The paranormal hit Ghost Hunters originally aired in 2004, and its eleven-season run lasted until 2016! And they’ve even had various reboots and spinoffs since the show’s original airing. So there’s no denying that there was an enormous demand for this type of creepy content on television, and Ghost Hunters hit all the marks.
It was a show revolving around a team of paranormal investigators or, as the show was aptly named, “ghost hunters.” This team would make their way through various locations in the dead of night, using their equipment to try and detect paranormal activity. And, of course, cameras followed wherever they went.
This show was one of the first introductions the world had to paranormal reality tv, which may be why it’s still such a well-known show.
The First Air Date
The first episode of Ghost Hunters aired on the Sci-Fi network on October 6, 2004. Sci-Fi, owned by NBCUniversal Television and would eventually be rebranded as Syfy, was the perfect home for this show primarily because it specializes in horror, among other similar genres.
Creation and Production
The prominent players in Ghost Hunters’ creation, production, and direction are as follows:
The series was created due to Jason Hawes’ and Grant Wilson’s formation of The Atlantic Paranormal Society, or TAPS, which the show was based around and featured.
As far as producers go, of course, Jason Hawes and Grant Wilson both produced many episodes. But the series’ largest executive producer, who was responsible for most episodes, was Alan David.
Various directors took part in the show, including:
- Mark Marinaccio
- Richard Monahan
- Tom Thayer
- Peter Zasuly
- Gabriel Knight
- Ivan Dudynsky
- Jay Bluemke
The main cast of Ghost Hunters is as follows:
- Jason Hawes — A plumber from Rhode Island that ended up co-forming TAPS and becoming one of the stars of Ghost Hunters and Ghost Nation because of his involvement.
- Grant Wilson — An art director that developed a gaming company with a co-founder. He also co-formed TAPS, becoming a star alongside Jason Hawes.
- Steve Gonsalves — An actor and producer with a love of horror who appropriately joined the cast of Ghost Hunters.
- Dave Tango — An actor within the horror genre, much like Gonsalves, aptly joined the Ghost Hunters cast.
- Amy Bruni — An actress who has appeared in multiple paranormal shows.
- Mike Rowe (Narrator) — A professional television host who narrated a large portion of Ghost Hunters episodes.
Primary Focus of the Show
The Ghost Hunters cast mostly investigated reportedly haunted locations during the show’s run and would only explore where people had previously complained of paranormal activity taking place. Most times, the paranormal activity (or hauntings) was reported by the location’s owner.
Each investigation would start with the team exploring the area alongside the owners while discussing reportedly paranormal encounters that they’d had at the location.
They would then proceed to try to coax activity from the paranormal presence to gather information.
Afterward, they would review any evidence they collected. After reviewing the data, they would have one last talk with the location owners, where they’d share their findings and suggest how to deal with any activity they may have encountered.
The TAPS investigative team were believers in the paranormal, but they also went about their investigations with a fairly logical outlook. And have been known to explain that sometimes apparent paranormal activity can have reasonable explanations. Although they’ve also stated some paranormal activity they’ve experienced, they believe it to be authentic.
Ghost Hunter’s Impact on the Paranormal Community
Ghost Hunters was a massive hit, with the ratings to prove it. It was one of its network’s highest-rated reality television shows throughout its run. And for a time, it was the highest-rated paranormal show on television itself!
Part of the reason why the show was so popular was that the audience loved the subject matter. This popularity was the first time a paranormal television show was being marketed as reality TV, and it made the idea of things like ghosts and hauntings feel real to the viewers. They found it thrilling.
The arrival of Ghost Hunters was also huge for the paranormal community because it gave them some real representation for the first time. And it caused many other paranormal-based TV shows to be made, providing that community with even more content to enjoy.
Overall, Ghost Hunters normalized TV shows based around other worldly matters, which was great news for fans of the paranormal.
Ghost Hunter’s Seasons and Episodes
Originally, Ghost Hunters ran for eleven seasons, spanning from 2004 to 2016. Those episodes all aired on the Syfy channel, as previously discussed.
But Ghost Hunters has also been rebooted several times, with more short seasons airing on A&E, a season on Discovery+, and one other on the Travel Channel.
This means that, in all, Ghost Hunters has had fifteen seasons. And their episode count is currently at 249! They’ve also had several live shows and holiday specials throughout their run.
Most Popular and Well-Rated Episodes
Some episodes have performed better than others. But the following twenty were some of the most highly rated on IMDB.
- “Grant Is Back”
- “Ghost Hunters Return To Waverly Hills”
- “Proof Of Afterlife”
- “The Glenn Family Curse”
- “Manor Of Mystery”
- “Nightmare Camp”
- “Hospital Horror”
- “Haunted Lighthouse”
- “Alone In Alaska”
- “Haunted Hospital”
- “The Lady In The Window”
- “Dancing With The Dead”
- “Haunted By Heroes”
- “Overdue For Death”
- “Stanley Hotel”
- “Haunting Of The Garde”
- “You’ve Been Warned”
- “Darker Learning”
- “School Spirit”
- “Public Poltergeist Number One”
Ghost Hunters didn’t have a wide array of famous guests on their show, and it mostly centered around the core investigative cast. But one of their most notable guests was Meat Loaf, who appeared on “Ghost Hunters: The Haunted House On The Hill.” This was actually one of Meat Loaf’s final television appearances before his death.
Controversies & Criticisms
As would be expected from a show that centers around something as controversial as the paranormal, Ghost Hunters had its fair share of criticisms. Both from people who disagreed with the subject matter and those who felt that the Ghost Hunters cast was faking certain incidents.
On the skeptic’s side of things, one of the largest cases of criticism happened in 2008 when Ghost Hunters won The Truly Terrible Television Award (TTTV) from the Independent Investigations Group. The reason is that Ghost Hunters was “peddling” things like “pseudoscience and superstition” to their fans.
As for ‘controversies,’ one of the most notable examples happened concerning a Ghost Hunters live show on Halloween 2008. During this live show, two events took place that many people claimed to be fake.
The first event was when one of the star’s collars was repeatedly pulled down, although he never visibly touched it. And the second was when an unexplained voice eerily said, “You’re not supposed to be here.”
Critics were enraged over these two instances, although the two stars of the show claim that their contracts for the show don’t allow them to fake evidence for entertainment purposes. So their official statement is that everything seen on Ghost Hunters is real.
The response to all of this was split. Some people remained avid fans of the show, while some felt that Ghost Hunters lost some credibility after the incident. But as seen by the consistent ratings, it lost none of its popularity even after the controversies.
Ghost Hunters fans are looking forward to new episodes of the show coming in April of 2023. Many old cast members are returning for this, and those episodes will be airing on Discovery+ and the Travel Channel.
But even aside from new Ghost Hunters episodes, because of the show’s impact on the paranormal entertainment space, many new ghost hunting reality TV shows have hit the screen since then. So, fans of this genre have plenty of content they could’ve never dreamed of before it first aired.
And despite the controversial nature of the show and its genre, it is a show that’s loved and appreciated by many. And it was, and is, a true pioneer in the entertainment space.
Final Thoughts on Ghost Hunters TV Show
So, all in all, Ghost Hunters was a game-changer for fans of the paranormal. And it reinvented the space to include more reality-based content. Through this, it gained a multitude of fans, and its popularity is still present to this day!
The episodes are compelling, even for those who aren’t believers in the paranormal, because of the stories of the locations and the overall entertainment factor of all things scary and spooky.
If you’re a fan of the paranormal or anything just mentioned, you could also check out some other reality paranormal TV shows. Some great recommendations would be Paranormal Lockdown, The Dead Files, and Kindred Spirits.