Notable Facts From Ghost Hunters – The Syfy Sensation

Updated August 27, 2021
Stars Of The Paranormal Series Ghost Hunters

Ghost hunting is having a moment, and it owes much of its growing popularity over the past decade to the OG of paranormal investigation reality shows, Ghost Hunters. SyFy's Ghost Hunters series first aired in the mid aughts and starred two plumbers seeking answers to the unexplained. Since its inception nearly two decades ago, Ghost Hunters has spawned several spinoffs as well as dozens of copycat shows looking to capitalize on its massive success.

Ghost Hunters Begins

On October 6, 2004, Ghost Hunters aired on the SyFy channel. At the helm were Rhode Island two plumbers --Jason Hawes and Grant Wilson. However, outside of their day jobs, Hawes and Wilson had an interesting side hustle--they were ghost hunters who led a group of other paranormal enthusiasts called The Atlantic Paranormal Society (TAPS) as they investigated places that were reportedly haunted.

Hawes had experienced an undisclosed paranormal encounter and founded the group as a way to find answers, first inviting friend Grant Wilson to join him. With Mike Rowe's narration adding gravitas, the duo led the reality TV show team episode after episode using a process of elimination they called "debunking." If they weren't able to determine a probable cause, then the group reluctantly conceded the place might be haunted.

More Hauntings, Less Debunking

This attitude changed over the course of the first couple of seasons after viewers complained that they wanted to see proof of hauntings, not just a bunch of debunking scenarios.

Viewers also wanted the team to investigate locations that had far more paranormal activity other than private homes with loose plumbing that caused uneven water pressure, forcing faucets to turn on by themselves, or old settled and uneven floorboards when walked over caused doors to pop open.

Due to these viewer demands, Ghost Hunters started investigating places known for being haunted, such as Alcatraz, now a museum, abandoned asylums or tuberculosis sanatoriums, hospitals, and mansions. This set the viewers' expectations that the team would at least find some kind of ghostly evidence, so episode after episode the viewers weren't disappointed.

Growing Fanbase

Together and separately, Hawes and Wilson authored books, created an internet radio show called Beyond Reality Radio, and published the bi-monthly subscription TAPS Paramagazine. The show enjoyed a huge fanbase once it got on the right footing and met the audience's expectations of a paranormal investigation.

Ghost Hunters Cast

The Ghost Hunters cast included:

  • Jason Hawes: Founder of TAPS and lead investigator
  • Grant Wilson: Lead investigator and co-founder of TAPS
  • Steve Gonsalves: Lead Investigator and Technical Manager who also analyzes evidence
  • Brian Harnois: Former Tech Manager and analyst who later joined the cast of the spinoff, Ghost Hunters International
  • Dave Tango: Investigator and Tech Manager
  • Kris Perkins: TAPS Family Manager
  • Dustin Pari: Investigator
  • Jen Rossi: Investigator
  • Donna LaCroix: Former Case Manager/Researcher moved on as an investigator for Ghost Hunters International
  • Kris Williams: Investigator and then case manager for Ghost Hunters International
  • Amy Bruni: Team researcher and investigator
  • Traci Boiselle: Case Manager
  • Samantha and Hailey Hawes: Investigators (Jason's daughters) during the last seasons
  • Mike Rowe: Episode narrator
Paranormal Series Ghost Hunters Cast

Significant Investigations

Ghost Hunters documented some memorable adventures over the 14-year run of the series. A few stood out from the others, offering some of the best paranormal evidence.

Eastern State Penitentiary

In this episode of the Eastern State Penitentiary investigation, the team captures footage of a mysterious black figure. The dark figure seems to appear out of nowhere and then runs down a corridor. Just as suddenly as it appeared, the apparition disappears.

Race Rock Lighthouse

At the Race Rock Lighthouse location, the team recorded footage of a folding chair in the lighthouse attic that appears to move by itself after Grant leaves the room.

Massachusetts Armory

The Massachusetts Armory episode includes a particularly dramatic moment when sound man Frank DeAngeles is apparently knocked to the ground by an unseen entity. Replays of the footage show Frank's equipment bag rushing up on its own to slam into his body.

Omni Mount Washington Resort

Princess and EVP is the title given to this EVP captured in Room 314 of the Omni Mount Washington Resort in New Hampshire. The resident ghost seen as a lady in white is believed to be Carolyn, the wife of Joseph Stickney. After her husband's death, Carolyn married Prince Aymon de Faucigny-Lucinge (France) and was dubbed Princess Carolyn. The EVP captures her first response to Jason and Grant talking. "Hello, is someone there?" Jason then asks, "Princess, are you in this room?" to which a woman's voice is distinctly heard responding, "Of course I'm here. Where are you?"

End of the OG Ghost Hunters

During the February 15, 2012, GH episode, Grant announced he was leaving the show to pursue other interests. Those interests turned out to be a video game company, his band Carpetshark, and high-fantasy novels.

Hawes continued Ghost Hunters with his team. During the October 22, 2014, fans were thrilled to see the boys were back together with Wilson rejoining the GH team for a two-hour special, marking the show's 200th episode.

The last Ghost Hunters episode aired on October 26, 2016, and fans had to resort to watching reruns to get their Ghost Hunters fix.

Ghost Hunters Spin-Offs

The show spawned various spin-offs due to its massive success.

  • Ghost Hunters International (GHI) featured investigations around the world.
  • Ghost Hunters Academy featured GH members teaching inexperienced investigators.
  • UFO Hunters was a one-and-done potential series created by the same production company (Pilgrim Films &Television) that used similar investigation techniques.

Ghost Hunters Revivals

Then, in 2019, Ghost Hunters was revived, appearing on the A&E channel with Grant Wilson and a new team. The resuscitated show survived for two seasons and then died.

Meanwhile, Hawes fired up his own show on the Travel Channel called Ghost Nation. The show first aired October 11, 2019, and in January 2021 moved to Discovery+. Longtime GH teammates, Steven Gonsalves and Dave Tango rejoined Jason Hawes in the new series. The trio formed United Paranormal Research Organization (UPRO) that focuses on global paranormal investigations. The second season was short-lived with only seven episodes.

In 2021, the Ghost Hunters series ended up back in Jason Hawes' pocket. In a May 18, 2021, Discovery+ press release, it was announced that Ghost Hunters was making a comeback there. The cast members for this reboot include Jason Hawes, Steve Gonsalves, Dave Tango, and Shari DeBenedetti. The series airs on Discovery+.

Grant Wilson and Jason Hawes

Ghost Hunters Has Lasting Influence

Ghost Hunters blazed the trail for all the ghost hunting and paranormal investigative shows that followed. They carved out a new niche for this genre. Hawes and Wilson showed ghost hunters from a new perspective as they attempted to investigate using technical equipment and protocols. The show opened the floodgate for all manner of reality paranormal shows and fueled a previously untapped media market.

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Notable Facts From Ghost Hunters – The Syfy Sensation