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'Ghost Hunters' visits Pearl Harbor

By Mark Rappleye

For the Deseret News

Published: Monday, May 30 2011 3:00 p.m. MDT

Anne Murata, left, Jason Hawes, Grant Wilson, Josh Gates and Dave Tango.

LucyPemoni, Syfy

Enlarge photo»

A team from The Atlantic Paranormal Society, led by Jason Hawes and Grant Wilson, investigates claims of paranormal activity at the Pacific Aviation Museum in Pearl Harbor and its findings can be seen in a special episode Wednesday at 10 p.m. on Syfy when ‘Ghost Hunters’ makes its first visit to Hawaii.

The museum includes the original airplane hangars from the fateful December morning in 1941. The hangars still stand as they did the day of the attack and still bear the scars and bullets holes left by enemy fire.

Paranormal claims at the museum include hearing voices and music, seeing or hearing movement around the artifacts on display, objects being moved during the night, equipment being turned on and off on command, visual apparitions, and interacting with people who do not appear on security footage.

Special guest Josh Gates from ‘Destination Truth’ joins the team in the investigation.

While ‘Destination Truth,’ which also airs on Syfy, is geared more toward investigating paranormal or supernatural creatures, it does use a similar episode format and some investigation techniques found in ‘Ghost Hunters.’

‘Ghost Hunters,’ now in its seventh season, has followed the same format for nearly every episode.

The TAPS team learns about the location it is going to and is given a tour and an explanation of the paranormal claims of the site from the owner or someone closely associated with it. The team sets up a series of specialized electronic equipment throughout the site, focusing particularly on “hot spots” where paranormal activity has most often occurred.

The actual investigation always takes place at night with the team usually splitting up into groups of two or three people moving through the different areas being investigated and using handheld devices to attempt to collect evidence of paranormal activity.

These devices include video recorders, thermal cameras, audio recorders, digital thermometers and EMP detectors. Team members will often attempt to communicate with any entities that supposedly inhabit the location or attempt to coax the entity into revealing itself or interact with them or the environment around them. Sometimes team members have experiences that can be considered paranormal and sometimes they don't.

The team also attempts to debunk the claims made about the site by trying to find or recreate any natural reasons or causes for the activity that has been witnessed.

After concluding its investigation, the team then analyzes all the video and audio recorded during the investigation in the hope of finding something to substantiate the claims about the location or what it may have experienced during its time there. The team’s findings are then taken to the client and Hawes and Wilson give their opinion regarding whether the site is haunted or not, ultimately leaving it to the client to decide what he believes.

Wednesday’s episode, “Pearl Harbor Phantoms,” begins according to the usual format. However, extra time is devoted during the episode to the nighttime investigation. The episode ends before the team is able to analyze and reveal its findings, which many might consider to be the most exciting part of the episode.

The team has experiences during the course of its investigation that, as is often the case with paranormal investigations, skeptics would claim have reasonable explanations, while hardcore believers in the supernatural would claim is undeniable evidence of the existence of ghosts.

Is the Pacific Aviation Museum really haunted? Viewers will have to wait an extra episode to find out if TAPS thinks so, but those looking for a healthy dose of suspense and commercial break cliffhangers will not want to miss this week’s episode of ‘Ghost Hunters.’

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