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.


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