Mustafa Gatollari is the paranormal historian and site analyst on the Ghost Hunters reboot, and he will be blogging about the show's paranormal investigations each week exclusively for Distractify! Follow Mustafa on Instagram at @mgatollari.
Before I get started, as always, I just need to say that any of these thoughts, commentaries, opinions, and musings on the third episode of Ghost Hunters are entirely my own, and in no way shape or form reflect my team, Pilgrim Studios, or A&E TV.
Episode 3 of Ghost Hunters was a two-for-one special that took our team to the St. Augustine Lighthouse and Deanna's home in Hanover, PA. What isn't really reflected on screen, however, is that we spent the same amount of time in these investigations as we did at our other locations.
In the world of paranormal investigating, especially when we're doing it for TV, we only have a limited amount of time at a location which often leaves us with more questions than we have answers. That's what happened at St. Augustine. But with Deanna, it turns out that we were able to get to the bottom of what was going on in her home rather quickly.
What I love about this particular episode is that it really shows the breadth of how we conduct our investigations.
On the one hand we have a location with a lot of history, not just in, you know, the historical sense, but also with Ghost Hunters. It's not every day that you get to visit an iconic location that has some of the gnarliest paranormal evidence ever with the man who captured it, Grant Wilson.
On the other, we have a more personal home case that had some claims that appeared to be easily debunked, but ended up being a total surprise to everyone on the team.
But first, the St. Augustine Lighthouse.
Going into this investigation, I went in with a particular mindset: it wasn't a question as to whether or not there was any paranormal activity going on over there, but it was just a question of whether or not we'd be able to find out just what or who was there.
With the countless shipwrecks that occurred and the number of people who lived and died on the property, it had all the makings of a great investigation.
Plus, you got that figure Grant spotted on top of the staircase. Personally, I wanted to go in there and see if it was possible to see if there was some shadow play at work that, in the moment, could've seemed like an entity. And there were a lot of spooky occurrences we were able to debunk. The weird banging noises I heard with Brandon and Kristen? A loose windowpane. The figure that looked like a head peering over the railing? I thought it was a post, but then I went and reviewed the original footage.
It clearly looks like a head and shoulders poking in-between the posts over the railing. But then there was the report of the "woman in white" that was seen in the woods, and some visitors reported seeing her on top of the lighthouse as well.
I personally thought that we were going to easily debunk whatever was going on in the woods, as our cameras and motion detectors didn't pick up anything. But then I saw Brandon, our producer Mike Nichols, Brian, and some of our other crew come into the cast holding area afterwards.
To say they were spooked would be an understatement. They were not looking forward to going back into those woods and when they told me that I was up, the only thing on my mind was to not get eaten by an alligator. I had two flashlights going and was constantly checking behind and in front of me and Brandon and our camera guy.
While some owls and other wildlife showed up on our thermal camera, apparently, whatever they were coming into contact in the woods, did not.
Convinced it was an alligator in the bushes, Brian and Brandon visited a gator farm to see if the reptiles would even show up on the FLIR, because they're cold-blooded reptiles and all. And they did. I still don't know what they came across in those woods, all I know is, it had our team shook.
Next, the case of Deanna and the Poltergeist.
When we first approached Deanna's house in Hanover, PA, I was very skeptical of a lot of the evidence and the claims. I didn't think that there was much going on there and I had an easy time disproving some of the myths surrounding the property. No, it didn't used to be a cemetery lot. No, no one died in the house either.
The photo she showed us of a shadow figure looked suspiciously like a thumb, and we couldn't replicate the "uneasy" feeling that Deanna claimed to have experienced in the home.
However, Grant had the brilliant idea for night two of our investigation to see what would happen if we brought Deanna into the house halfway through our session. And holy smokes did things change. Not only did the entire vibe in the home get palpably altered, but we were able to document actual environmental changes with our equipment.
Deanna's unresolved issues were the root of the paranormal activity she was experiencing.
While the word "poltergeist" is associated with some very scary imagery, thanks to Hollywood, it isn't necessarily always a bad thing. This energy, whatever it is, is following Deanna. Grant had a heart-to-heart with her, and once she understood that it wasn't an "evil" entity in her home or some type of pernicious demon, she felt way more at ease.
While a single visit isn't a cure-all for someone's issues, it was nice to hear from Deanna after our investigation was done, she said she felt more at ease and isn't experiencing anything out of the ordinary in her new home.
That was the biggest "red flag" for me going into Deanna's case: is she someone who is looking to be haunted? Is she someone who wants to believe in demons and blame them for any problems that are occurring in her life? Thankfully, she wasn't, and as a result, the activity she was experiencing, which we caught a glimpse of in our investigation, ended.
I couldn't have asked for a better conclusion, personally. Often, the only demons that are invading our lives are the personal issues we ignore. It might sound like a line out of a corny after-school special, but it doesn't make it any less true.
Watch Ghost Hunters Wednesdays at 9 p.m. EST on A&E.