SyFy added another collectibles show to it’s lineup. Sorta.
Haunted Collector is a marriage of sorts between SyFy’s Ghost Hunter franchise and the ever-increasing television line-up of shows for collectors. It sounded like a marriage made in heaven, but I think Ghost Hunters, the folks at TAPS, all collectibles programming, and all television viewers should ask for a divorce.
Haunted Collector follows the renown John Zaffis, “Godfather of the Paranormal” and “eminent paranormal researcher and world-renowned demonologist” and his “family” (son Chris, daughter Aimee, psychic investigator Beth Ezzo, and tech specialist Brian Cano) of investigators as they try to help people by identifying and then ridding them of their haunted objects. But…
The very things that make Ghost Hunters cool and worth watching is their diligence to detail in their ethical investigations. The very things that make the best collectibles shows (Pawn Stars, American Pickers, Oddities) cool and worth watching is the discovery of and information about collectibles. And all these shows offer a nice heaping of interesting personalities too; that’s the “reality” part of the appeal, we have to admit it. But Haunted Collector misses each and every one of these points. …Save for, perhaps, a bit of “personality” in team members; it’s hard to say with all the annoying stuff going on.
Errors in paranormal investigations:
A blue “cold spot” on the thermal camera appeared — quite obviously, below a vent in the kitchen’s ceiling. Instead of investigating to rule out such things as TAPS would have done, the crew heads outside to investigate under the house. Sure, they found an old gun, but fans of Ghost Hunters, like hubby and I, were perturbed.
After finding the gun under the house, it would have seemed like another “go” at an EVP would have been worthwhile, with a few questions targeting any connections to the item. And because guns like that could have been used in crimes, the team believes it’s haunted and caused the blue spot on the floor — something we never see the team go back to after the gun is removed, to see if the thermal readers resolved themselves. But instead, Zaffis keeps the gun accused of being used in a crime, placing it in “haunted museum” rather than turning it in to the police.
In the libary — err, sorry, Zaffis’ mispronunciation drives me nuts — in the library, the antique typewriter gave high EMF readings. That could be kind of cool in terms of unexplained phenomenon, but true investigators would have moved the typewriter to another place and gave it another check — as well as the place where it once sat — to see if anything changed or could be explained.
Perhaps they did such further investigations, but they were edited out in the final cut of the show that aired?
Either way, it’s sloppy.
Zaffis also has odd rules about hauntings… He drops the idea that a house is itself haunted when it turns out it was not made from wood once belonging to a church; only church wood can be haunted? He removes three shark jaws from a house, despite a single shred of “evidence” that they are haunted by ghost sharks — simply because they were carnivores. Hey, Zaffis, humans are carnivores. The stuff we own is made by carnivores.
When the team got a recording on the EVP, the Godfather of the Paranormal hears the muffled noise(s) as a voice saying, “purple flowers.” I didn’t get that. Hubby didn’t get that. I don’t think the rest of the Haunted Collector team even heard that. But sure enough, that’s what Zaffis shares with the bereaved daughter who believes the voice belongs to her mother. Such clearly shoddy leading was emotionally abusive in its manipulation and extremely uncomfortable to watch.
Not even fans of the paranormal can really enjoy this show.
How will collectors and collectibles fare?
In terms of the collectibles themselves, they get some camera time, but even this is as oddly skewed as the paranormal investigations.
When researching an antique cane gun, said to have been purchased in an antique shop in New York I think it was, Aimee turns up some expert who says there were only a “handful of cane guns in the area” in 1870 — and there was one unsolved cane gun murder from that time, so naturally we can conclude it’s haunted. Ummm, isn’t one gun a “handful”? Anyway… Listen, 1870 was the year the gun was likely made, there’s no proof the cane gun was ever in New York at that time — and so how do you get there? I guess it’s enough of a reason to take the rare valuable antique to your personal museum. …And why is it, again, you don’t really tell us the value of the cane gun you took?
(And, while on the subject of your personal “museum of haunted collectibles”… I wonder, how does that work? Do the haunted objects wrestle one another? Is it a loud place? Moving on…)
When researching the music box,which looks no more than 10 years old, no one even points its age out. I suppose that doesn’t matter in terms of an object’s supposed haunting; but to collectors it matters. Having the local antique shop owner say she has no doubts the music box could have sentimental value to someone was a silly statement. Name one object that couldn’t have sentimental value?
Photos of my children, you are all haunted!
Oh, and then there’s scary just to be scary. Not just how it’s filmed (think Ghost Hunters meets Blair Witch), but what is filmed.
The vintage cold paint figural clown face McCoy pottery cookie jar (I had just sold one!) got a lot more camera time than it deserved. I don’t just say that as one who is uncomfortable around clowns. Clearly the clown is suspicious — the team thought so too. But merely suspicious, creepy in a way that loves the camera, or out-and-out accused of haunting places, the object is given minimal attention. Not only in terms of “proof” of being haunted, but in terms of history, price or any “value” at all.
In short, the marriage between collectibles TV and ghost hunting shows could have been great — maybe it could still be. But I have little hope.
Yeah, Haunted Collector sends me screaming into the night. Or mocking into the night; because we watched the second show rather like an episode of MST3K. It became the only way I could sit through it. My apologies to the people on the show who sought help. And, here’s some free advice: Next time, call TAPS.
PS Even more annoying than the fact that the Haunted Collector‘s official website has incessant audio from the commercial for the show in each and every page I loaded, there’s no real photos of (or information about) the items found on the episodes which have aired — making the efforts of searching fruitless as well as infuriating. I warned you.