Review: Is Destination America's "Ghost Stalkers" Teaching Old Paranormal Investigators New Tricks?

Review: Is Destination America’s “Ghost Stalkers” Teaching Old Paranormal Investigators New Tricks?

ghoststalkers

You can almost hear an audible groan when a new paranormal series starts. We’ve come to expect creepy music, cheap special effects, and people you’ve never heard of proclaiming themselves to be experts at demons, ghosts, and everything in between. Yet somehow, Destination America’s new show Ghost Stalkers which premiered Sunday, October 19th, provides relief from the exhausted formula.

Starring respected paranormal investigator and author John E.L. Tenney (interviewed here at WF? back in 2012) and his cohort Chad Lindberg, actor and excitable chihuahua, the duo seek out the veil between worlds. (It’s worth mentioning here that Lindberg was in Series 5 Episode 9 of The X Files, titled ‘Schizogeny’.) Not content with just trying to experience paranormal phenomena, these men explore the line between the world we know and the world of the unexplained, be it portals, wormholes, or some other doorway separating the two.

Chad Lindberg (left) and a Frapuccino-drinking John E.L. Tenney relaxing on the porch of Whispers Estate.

Chad Lindberg (left) and a Frapuccino-drinking John E.L. Tenney relaxing on the porch of Whispers Estate.

If Shaggy and Daphne from Scooby Doo broke off from the gang and went Hollywood, their reality show might be something quite comparable. And if the “closed inside for 48 hours” part sounds a bit familiar, it’s worth mentioning that Nick Goff of Ghost Adventures is behind the creation of the show. Tenney and Lindberg seem an unlikely pairing; one is an actor who seems to shriek in fear at the slightest noise, while the other carries on his work in a Dragnet “just the facts, ma’am” manner. Yet somehow, the dynamic works well, even if it does feel at times that Lindberg is the hysterical lab rat being observed by Tenney.

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Tenney’s supposition that the upstairs “goatman” creature is likely evil because half man, half goat creatures in the past were often thought to be evil or demonic is something I would refute, though. Satyrs such as Pan from mythology were believed to be fertility spirits known to be lewd and disruptive. Evil intentions cannot be assumed about these creatures, though their behavior should be described as drunk and disorderly conduct. Damnation of pagan belief systems by the Christian churches often linked these and other benevolent symbols with evil, witchcraft, and demonic forces.

According to Tenney himself, though, that’s actually what he did say. He told me, “…in my original narration for the show, I discussed pre-Christian animal totems and how they were converted into demons and devils by the Church….all of which was edited into what people heard on the show minus all the pre-Christian/Christian influence stuff.” (That’s a relief, and I’m sorry if I came across like Fox News.) That only goes to show that editing can remove a lot of what someone says and does. But if you’re familiar with the inner workings of network television, you already knew that.

What is refreshing in their first episode is the technical equipment. While the usual night-vision cameras and digital recorders are in their arsenal of evidence-gathering devices, they also carry out some truly astonishing and interesting machinery straight out of the mind of Egon Spengler. A device to detect radiation and electromagnetic fluctuations on a screen like a digital seismograph? Genius. It seems that finally, television has made the leap to trying to figure out what types of energies are involved with paranormal activity instead of just regurgitating the tired old “ghosts are definitely static/electromagnetic energy because they are” non-logic. In fact, Tenney’s conclusions that whatever inhabits the Whispers Estate comes from a different dimension seems less like superstitious mumbo-jumbo and more like time-space pondering.

Whispers Estate in Indiana, the filming location for the first episode.

Whispers Estate in Indiana, the filming location for the first episode.

Without the dramatic reenactments and “look at our awesome black t-shirts” you find in so many paranormal reality shows, the cleanness and shirt-and-tie presence hearkens back to the good old days of Loyd Auerbach, Hans Holzer, and the classic investigators of the past who were methodical and serious about their pursuits. Actual historical facts and documentation replace silly, bloody actor portrayals of events. Of course, it’s still television… and still a story-driven piece of entertainment. But being entertainment, it’s a stark contrast to Destination America’s other show, Ghost Asylum, where a team of five Tennessee brothers set out to capture a ghost. While it sounds like high-tech Ghostbusters brought to life, it marches to the same tired ‘sensational paranormal television’ drumbeat.

While it’s too early to judge the show on all its merits, Ghost Stalkers is promising. John Tenney isn’t some bearded amateur or pretty airhead. His Weird Lectures are well-known and liked, and he’s an actual bona fide investigator with nearly three decades under his belt, not a product of the network machine. (Hopefully, his realness, logic, and paranormal street smarts can keep the show from becoming yet another supernatural circus of the absurd.

Ghost Stalkers airs Sundays at 10:00PM EST on Destination America.


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Ken Summers
Ken Summers is a historical researcher and purveyor of strange tales and forgotten hauntings. An explorer of haunted sites since 1995 and the apologetic creator of the "orb color chart," he has always endeavored to balance eager curiosity with logical questioning in the pursuit of truth. Ken is reluctant to call himself either a skeptic or a believer, yet throughout his life, he has had strange experiences that fall under the category of "unexplained". His last book, Queer Hauntings, was published in 2009.
Ken Summers
Ken Summers

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[…] post “Ghost Stalkers” Teaching Old Dogs New Tricks? appeared first on Who Forted? […]

nice piece ken. I have to agree about the feeling of this show being different than the other tired old paranormal crap that’s currently on TV. I definately enjoyed the contrast of the two hosts and even enjoyed chad getting scared and I believed he was scared. I am still not sure how to feel about ghost asylum because I hate to say this but it felt very redneckish, maybe because of the over the top southern accents. The idea of catching a ghost in a rock or whatever the hell else they claim they can catch a spirit in… Read more »

They can employ me. I would have a genuine response &never allow trickery. Now, my verbiage may be beeped somewhat.haha

Show sucks big time, sick of Chad squealing like a girl every three seconds. If you are this scared, why hunt ghosts. Look for another profession. BAD Casting…. Apparently no other C lister celebrity was available

I agree that Chad is either scared of his own shadow or just bad acting.he is not someone I find credible,at this point. I’d like to know the truth, too.Not an unbelievable waste of 23 minutes. He plays his recorder back constantly.

Akileo. What’s the matter BRO? You can’t get into this idiot squeeling like a pig at his own shadows? Gee, I don’t know why? This moron is listed as an “actor” in his bio. Is that what he’s doing, “acting” Nick just made a huge mistake in his career choice. He got tired of being 2nd bananna behind the boss, Zack,on Ghost Adventures. This show will never stay on the air as it’s made for kids not us big people and kids go to bed early. This fool that screams so much would do better on akids show, just not… Read more »

Ha, ha ! You are right Robert Edward. I had to ask my 14 year old grandchild what this was about. Kids do watch it. She’s crazy about Chad. But she is just a little girl. I haven’t seen it.

Chad is unprofessional. If you are a ghost hunter, hunt. If you’re an actor on this show, you suck. I’ve enjoyed the science of the paranormal. The the science gets lost with Chad acting a fool. Please encourage him to stay cool and focus on listening and collecting evidence. The show won’t last and it would have been great without all the squealing like a little girl. I tried to watch as long as possible. It just got ridiculous. Show the viewers the evidence not the idiot. I’m sure Chad is trying to keep things exciting by being dramatic. It… Read more »

How do they know that the portal is opening? That is a question they ask constantly — “is there such a thing a portal or passageway “.I’m just asking. How are there machines made to detect something that isn’t proven? Suspected! Not proven.

getting sick of hearing “what was that” Hey, someone pushed me”, Oh man, I wanna get out of here”
this is the dumbest of the dumb and I am a believer, yet its boring as hell that they have to fill it in with dumb things to make a “show” making stupid faces and acting like they’re getting sick from energy drain, Well, this show is making me sick and I’m wondering when I’m gonna see a real ghost show without all the hype.

David Rountree, Are you that desperate to get your face on TV by lending your name to this insult of a show?

Finally got the chance to watch one of these shows (Ghost Stalkers) this show is terrible. These two idiots are so unprofessional, monotone is not the best way to narrate a story, some guy screaming every 5 min like a little girl, the other guy having sudden medical problems.. Hell, they can’t even come up with original script – using the same script from Ghost Adventures. Wormholes? come on get real, they need to go back to school to learn about philosophy (this is hell, right here right now) & physics. Nick Groff should be embarrassed to have his name… Read more »

Nothing is as bad as ghost asylum!!!

I agree this show sucks as much as I believe Chad sucks his thumb between takes on the show. He is also always screaming and gasping over the “evidence” that he is trying to collect. In one episode, he is screaming questions at the “spirits” in a women’s lunatic asylum. Would you answer this guy? Thought that I had seen him somewhere before, then found out he’s an actor. Must be a loosely defined term for this show. On another note, has anyone tried to count the number of times they utter the word “portal” in an episode? It’s exhausting.… Read more »
Just saw the first 4 episodes back to back. If I was a ghost hunter and found a place where a) spirits spoke to me via EVP, b) doors & rocking chairs moved by themselves and c) video captured shadowy images, I would set up camp and study the heck out of that place. What do these (and all other TV investigators) do? Move on to another location for next week’s show. And re Chad’s screaming: I agree with other comments. If you’re scared of what you’ll find, then don’t look. It’s getting so every ghost in town can be… Read more »
I agree completely with all your comments. I have had experiences too. I would set up camp and study the fuck out of that place if I had enough money. Also it’s funny how afterward they don’t talk about the rocking chair but the scratches. They are doing this for money, and not as a passion. I bet they have to have a little guilt inside. Why not explain that wave device. Also wouldn’t there be activity if someone stood in front of it? Why are they freaking out over that. This show didn’t have to be on TV, it… Read more »

Please put this show out of it’s misery after the 6th episode.

Y does the guy scream all the time it makes me think this is all act if hes that scared y does he do it im think there are ghost but he makes me sick

Nick what on earth is this you can do better

Everybody just needs to be quite.. You don’t them. If u were in pitch black darkness you’d scream too. They are different, not ur typical clichė ghost hunting show. And mr. Tenney has been at it for 27 years with big time researching and if u read or heard bout his work you would realize dat he cares bout what he’s doing. He’s not out there to get his face out to promote his books or website or anything like that. He’s like john keel. He is genuine and his presence is welcoming. He’s like this really cool detective type… Read more »
NICK GROFF, WHAT ARE YOU THINKING? ARE YOU TRYING TO RUIN YOUR CAREER WITH THIS IDIOTIC, FLAMBOYANT, SCREAMING LOONEY TUNE CHAD? THIS SHOW IS AN UTTER JOKE, I AM SHOCKED IT IS STILL ON THE AIR!! WATCHING IT IS ACTUALLY EMBARASSING!! CHAD NEEDS TO BE SLAPPED OUT OF HIS CONSTANT HYSTERIA!! IS THIS A COMEDY OR ARE THEY REALLY TRYING TO BE SERIOUS?? MY LORD NICK GROFF, WAIVE GOOD-BYE TO YOUR GOOD NAME. YOU WERE AWSOME ON GHOST ADVENTURES, WHY ON EARTH DID YOU DO THIS TO YOURSELF?? THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE ARE SITTING BACK LITERALLY LAUGHING AT THIS ABSURD SHOW… Read more »

I do not believe that Ghosts can physically hurt people. I do believe that a ghost can frighten a person into hurting himself and or others. The other thing I have trouble believing is that supernatural occurrences only happen at night or after dark. Please correct me if I am wrong.

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