Eastern State Penitentiary with the Ghost Hunters

After writing so much about Eastern State Penitentiary, I went back to the first season of Ghost Hunters to watch their original investigation of the site. This is perhaps their most infamous, dare I say notorious episode. It’s been several years since I’ve seen it and I forgot that not only was it the episode where Brian comes running down the hall yelling his famous "Dude, Run!" line, but it’s also the episode where they capture a figure walking around in cell block 12.

In looking back it’s pretty clear they were trying to build drama and tension into the show since they weren’t sure the paranormal angle was going to stick. We have the petty bickering between Steve and Brian, as well as the drama of whether Sheri is going to stick around. There’s the trouble with Brian Bell and his oversleeping and abandoning his post of watching the monitors at Command Central. Plus, there’s the general trouble of just trying to get everything set up and knowing how to use their equipment.

But the big topper is how Jason is an arrogant ass to everyone he runs into. He’s pushy, rude, condescending and seems to want to pick a fight all the time. He’s even pushy with Grant, telling him what to do and how to deal with Brian Bell. Just to prove he’s got a pair, he spouts off to Brian Harnois, "Yeah, we want to talk with you, you got a problem with that?" It’s actually surprising the show made it out of the first season. What’s more surprising is that Jason could walk down those narrow halls with an ego that large.

On to more important things of Brian and a cameraman tearing down the hallway screaming, "Dude, Run!" after seeing something pass right in front of them. The odd thing is, the whole episode leading up to this event has been about keeping calm and not running when you see something. How strange for them to spend so much time talking about not running from ghosts and then all of a sudden that exact thing happens, as if on cue. They certainly wouldn’t have planned something like that would they? That’s just pure coincidence, right? When you do that sort of thing in a novel it’s called "foreshadowing" but this is "reality TV", there’s no script… Right? Right?

The next big piece of excitement is the apparition they catch while everyone is off at dinner. Supposedly when everyone has left the cell block and no one is paying attention or watching the monitors or making sure someone isn’t playing around an apparition appears on camera. Of course we’re all familiar with the footage which now looks like someone with a cape over their head, wearing jeans and tennis shoes walking toward the camera then turning to run away. Strangely, that’s exactly what Jason says it is. He says it looks like someone is playing a prank on them. But try as they might, this brain trust can’t seem to replicate what they saw. Apparently it’s too dark for Stumbling Brian to walk with a cape over his head and no one else thinks to try it for themselves. So obviously if Brian can’t do it, it must be paranormal. Since Jason thinks Brian is a incompetent boob, I’m surprised he even let him try. Considering his ego in this episode I’m surprised he let anyone do anything. Odd though, I figure he would have tested it out himself. Or had Grant do it.

What I find funny is that they’ve all but admitted how it was done. Jason comes right out and says it looks like a person with a cape over their head. He admits to seeing a pant leg. He admits no one was actually up there paying attention. He admits readily it looks like a prank. So is this one of those "wink, wink, nudge, nudge" moments, that if he completely dismisses the obvious then it has to be something else. The answer is so obvious we’d be stupid to believe it?

Looking back on this episode, the entire thing feels staged and rehearsed. The comments leading up to Brian running seem so contrived. Jason saying the whole apparition is a hoax, then slyly laughing it off seems downright bizarre. The forced drama with Brian Bell and Sheri was just stupid. And Jason picking fights with everyone is painful to watch. For not having a script they sure do seem to be putting a lot of things in place.

After watching this one again, I’m not entirely sure why I found this show appealing.

 


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One Response to Eastern State Penitentiary with the Ghost Hunters

  • Paul Williams says:

    When i saw this episode the first thing i thought was, “Brian can run full throttle down the darkened hallway during the ‘Dude, run!’ portion of the show, but he can’t muster anything more than a stumbling, half-hearted attempt at recreating this hooded apparition?”

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