With baited breath, millions of fans waited for Halloween evening to watch Travel Channel's Ghost Adventures live investigation of West Virginia's Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum. Zak Bagans and crew conducted the live seven-hour investigation with well-reputed names in the paranormal research field, such as Cris Fleming and Debby and Mark Constantino. Also accompanying the Ghost Adventures Crew was independent paranormal researcher, Robert Bess.
Bess is best known for his self-developed Parabot containment chamber. The Parabot is an 8 foot by 4 foot by 4 foot Plexiglas chamber which encases a Tesla coil. Bess claims that the Tesla coil emits over a million volts of electricity which is said to attract spirits. Once in the chamber, Bess claims, a spirit can be contained for close study.
Intrigued by the device, Zak asked Bess to demonstrate the Parabot on live television for the Ghost Adventures Halloween investigation. The demonstration had a rough start as Bess tried unsuccessfully to activate the Tesla coil inside the over sized paranormal phone booth. Bess implied that the failed start was impossible thus alluding that spirits somehow sabotaged the machine. However, after a commercial break, the investigation resumed with the Parabot flashing in the background.
Activity appeared to commence immediately as both Bess and Bagans exclaimed, in grandiose fashion, that shadows were dancing along the hallways and cold spots and hot spots appeared, seemingly, out of nowhere. The show climaxed as Bess walked down a hall with a Trifield EMF detector in his right hand when a member of the Ghost Adventures Crew, Aaron, claimed to see a mist approaching Bess. The camera operated by Aaron showed no such mist on the broadcast, however an event which will forever live in Paranormal Reality Show infamy, seemed to validate the claims made by Aaron that an entity was indeed approaching Bess. Seconds after Aaron claimed to have seen the mist approaching Bess, Bess's arm jerked and the EMF meter that he was holding was heard crashing fifty feet down the hallway.
Almost immediately, viewers from all over the country joined on-line chat-rooms and forums posted on the interactive website, ghostadventureslive.com, claiming that Bess had actually thrown the EMF meter. Fans expressed their disappointment that such a blatant attempt to fabricate evidence was so clearly performed on live television for the world to see. In an attempt to address the several complaints generated by the segment, show host, Dave Shrader, attempted to distance the show from the alleged act by replaying the event on a monitor but stopped short of accusing Bess of misleading Bagans and crew into thinking the EMF meter had flown out of his hands on its own volition. You Tube users began posting the segment on Youtube.com the next day. The footage can be viewed HERE.
This controversy follows just a few weeks after a separate incident created some troubles for A&E's new show, Extreme Paranormal, which included actual voodoo blood rituals, blood letting, and murder reenactments as methods to stir possible paranormal activity. Paranormal researchers joined with parent activist groups to display their opposition to the show requesting that it be taken off the air immediately. An on-line petition containing some of the paranormal research field's biggest names, including John Zaffis and Christopher Moon, has appeared on the Internet demanding the cessation and removal of the show. The petition can be viewed HERE.
Ghost Adventures and Extreme Paranormal are not alone in their troubles. Ghost Hunters spurred their own controversy last Halloween during their live investigation at Fort Mifflin. Grant claimed to have his jacket tugged a number of times during the night as shocked viewers watched the hood of his jacket sink, seemingly on its own. However, You Tubers, once again, appeared the next day with their after-the-show analysis demonstrating possible flaws in the analysis, including the fact that Grant's hand seemed to stay in his right pocket the entire time during the "jacket tug incident". Critics also pointed out that during one part of the show as Jason patted Grant's back, Grant's hood made the same movement as it did when he claimed it had been tugged, except this time apparently unnoticed by Grant. Ghost Hunters did not conduct a live investigation this Halloween.