The Haunted Collector has grown from previous seasons. I have to admit upfront that I came to this series well after its first season. I knew John Zaffis to be the nephew of famed psychics the Warrens, whose reputation leaned more toward psychic impressions than physical evidence. But I pride myself on being open-minded and gave the show a second look. After having the pleasure of meeting John and his team at Paracon this past October, and attending his presentation on Demonology, I fully understand why he is referred to as The Godfather of the Paranormal. He enters a location as a data-gatherer first, entertaining all logical possibilities, before exploring activity from a paranormal perspective.
I used to think that the dead didn’t have unfinished business. It was my belief that if the dead chose to communicate with the living, it was for the purpose of helping or hurting them, not to solve some lingering problem for themselves. Unfinished business was for the living. The Haunted Collector has chipped away at that belief. For they have uncovered items that appear to tether the spirit to their lives like anchors. Then those anchors shift as the ebb and flow of life’s tide overtakes the person’s previous territory like weeds reclaiming a neglected building. New occupants move in and displace everything from the past. Carelessness and disinterest causes valuable items to go missing. Things found to be worn, outdated, useless junk vanish. Life-saving tools and conveniences from by-gone eras hold energy imprints of those who relied on them. If those items are moved to an inappropriate place or dishonored in some fashion, a spirit might have something left to say about it.
Zaffis’s team not only learned from a master but mastered the research involved in uncovering the life attached to a physical item. In the most recent episode, they employed an old Polaroid Instamatic camera to capture an image of what appeared to be a woman in an empty men’s prison. Digging deeper, they discovered it had housed female prisoners prior to holding men. Something not revealed to them before. The team on this show usually hunts for an object that can be removed from the premises. But in cases they do not find such an item, they seek to honor the deceased, if only to acknowledge that they knew who was communicating and tell a portion of their story. The woman in the photo was honored at their request.
No one wants to be forgotten and we all want to be heard. Few of us get to do big, world-changing things. For many, ripples we make never reach farther than a few miles from home. How would you feel if, decades later, a stranger hammered your casket plate on the wall of his lovely Victorian bed and breakfast? Insulted? Used? Dishonored? The Haunted Collector team is sensitive to this and does what they can to respect the memory whoever might still be lingering. What more could the dead ask for?
Josh Gates is in the producer’s chair of the new paranormal show Stranded. I miss Josh’s humor since Destination Truth was banished to SyFy’s Bermuda Triangle. I have to admit, I was apprehensive about the concept of giving amateur ghost hunters handhelds and dropping them off at a secured haunt for five days. But I’ve been pleasantly surprised.
Stationary cameras are positioned throughout the locations to capture the travels of the brave/crazy souls who have given up their vacation days (and possibly their reputations if they run screaming into the night.) Stable views of the building help balance the jostling of the handhelds as the trios move about the property. But in the first two episodes, no one (on tape anyway) has fled the premises hysterical, vowing to never return. Members who have had minor freak-outs went out for some air, regrouped, and went back into the breach.
I feared they might make too much noise. Even some professionals get so caught up in catching evidence they become over-exuberant in the celebration of its capture. Ghost hunting is no spectator sport, but shouting, shrieking, and high-fiving is as inappropriate on hallowed ground as it is in live game hunting. Celebrations should be reserved for the end and so far, the teams have done pretty well keeping themselves in check. And for people unaccustomed to the stress of such circumstances, their conduct has been pretty impressive.
Most importantly, both teams have managed to capture audio and video evidence that would make any professional jealous. I don’t think it proves anyone can be a good ghost hunter, but it does provide an opportunity for a few curiosity seekers to see what they are made of. A couple skeptics admitted theirs to be a mind-broadening experience, even if it didn’t pull them off the fence. That’s all anyone can ask for when a person ventures out of their comfort zone.
Other reviews have gone so far as to call this show boring, but not me. It may lack cumulative evidence, but it is abundant with character-building possibilities.
A good friend of mine is a pet/house sitter. Most recently, she was lying in bed at a client’s home when she heard a voice get right in her face and announce, “You’re getting a gift!” Startled awake, she went through the house and spotted a strange blue light “shooting through the room like a comet.”
A few days later her boss gifted her with the microwave she’d been wanting for nearly five years.
Was that the gift the voice was referring to? Perhaps. She certainly celebrated as if she’d won the Powerball. But if it’s not, she better grab hold of something solid, cause it might be big.
“If you’re comfortable, you aren’t growing.”
Well, I am certainly out of my comfort zone here. And someone (who shall remain nameless) convinced me that blogging “would be good discipline.” They, of course, have it to burn and seem to turn everything they touch into gold without appearing to break into a sweat. Discipline is a gift I have yet to receive.
And publicly sharing my thoughts feels like I joined a nudist colony knowing full well that my teeth chatter when I’m not fully dressed.
Notes about me:
I’ve been writing for 35 years, but didn’t write anything paranormal until recently. Warning Signs is my first paranormal suspense.
I’ve been hooked on the paranormal since age 12, when I read The Bermuda Triangle by Charles Berlitz.
As attracted as I am to the unknown, I remain skeptical until I have my own personal experiences. Truth is an individual as fingerprints.
I’m behind on many things popular and discover books and music years after the rest of the world sang their praises. Perhaps this will help me catch up.
I’m a late bloomer. Had I known what I wanted at 25, I would have had a job traveling the world in search of the strange and unusual. Since television is the only way to get paid for that, I would have had to overcome being camera shy.
I strive to say what I mean and mean what I say, and that has gotten me in trouble on several occasions.
I’m always hungry for knowledge. The more I gain, the more I can share here.
I’m not an expert in any phenomenon and remain open to views from all sides.