SyFy’s Ghost Hunter’s Academy, a spin off of Ghost Hunters, goes reality show June 2 at 9 pm EST. Instructors Steve Gonsalves and Dave Tango, TAPS team members–and members of the Ghost Hunters crew, lead the team as they prepare cadets to be paranormal investigators. The twist is that the classroom will televised, and one member will be eliminated each show–making Ghost Hunter’s Academy a reality show that is sure to draw the attention of would-be ghost hunters looking to learn the trade.
Ghost Hunter’s Academy season 1.5 differs from the original series that debuted in fall of 2009. The original series trained college-age students, and although it did eliminate cadets throughout the run of the series, it was not a weekly occurrence. Several cadets earned the opportunity to continue their training. Season 1.5 episodes feature a range of ages in cadets, with the understanding that elimination of one member will happen at the end of each investigation. This season features eight cadets competing in six Ghost Hunter investigations for the chance to become a member of the Ghost Hunter family.
I’m not sure how SyFy chose the cadets, but the public interviews reveal a look into the personality and experience of each member. I see the potential for a bit of conflict from day one between several of the members. I suspect that played into the choice of cadets.
Meet the Cadets
Eric Baldino, 36, of Willington, Ohio claims that he has the ability to gather 10 to 15 % more EVPs than other investigators. Eric claims that he is not psychic, and does not see or hear ghosts, but that ghosts and spirits are able to use his energy to communicate via EVPs. Eric emphasizes his work ethic and passion for the field.
Eric seems sincere, but I am a little concerned about his claims to be better at gathering EVPs than other investigators. Perhaps his claims will prove to be true, but setting yourself up as guru of a specific technique could backfire and cause a bit of resentment from team members.
Brett McGinnis, 21, of Boyers, PA claims 2 ½ years’ experience as an investigator. He considers himself both a leader and researcher. Has attended film school and wants the opportunity to work with the equipment available through Ghost Hunters. He wants to learn from TAPS.
Brett sounds like he really wants to learn. My concern with Brett is that his eagerness to learn may not been seen by viewers as valuable and he may be ousted early because he may be too reserved to compete with other members. In the original Ghost Hunter’s Academy, a very talented young man named Ben Smith blended into the background for similar reasons.
Natalie Poole, from Dana Point, California, started a paranormal group called Orange County Paranormal, but claims she basically does it all by herself because everyone is afraid to investigate. She claims to be a leader, who is self-taught in the field of paranormal investigation–but expresses she would like to learn from others with more experience. She wants to know what’s out there. Natalie runs the sound for a band and claims to be tech savvy. She has no tolerance for those who whine or are control freaks. She claims her experience traveling with bands, sleeping in vans and going for weeks without bathing make her a perfect fit for the lifestyle of a paranormal investigator.
Her language is punctuated with cussing and a couple of profanities leading me to question how well she can present herself to clients, or as a cadet on televised investigations. My guess is she was chosen to be the cadet the audience loves to hate and to be a thorn in the side of other cadets. She claims to be a leader, yet freely admits that her paranormal group consists mainly of her. I’m not seeing the leadership she claims to hold. Let’s hope she surprises me and proves to be a valuable member of the team.
Adam Berry, 26, from Provincetown, PA began a paranormal group 2 years ago to investigate in Provincetown. His personal paranormal experience in Gettysburg propelled him to seek answers. He claims to have a great team, but freely admits they do not have much experience with investigation. Adam is equally comfortable as a leader or a follower. He loves researching the background of places and events. When asked what type of people he would not want to work with he responded that he doesn’t want to work with people who think it’s a joke, are late, who quit or don’t have cell phones (because he wants to be able to contact them at any time). Adam wants to prove skeptics wrong.
Adam’s research skills may prove to be an asset to Ghost Hunter’s Academy. He seems sincere and the only concern I’m seeing at this point is his unusual stance on cell phones.
Vera Martinez of San Antonio, TX is a psychiatric nurse and would love to learn how to use the equipment that Ghost Hunters uses. She works nights, shows attention to detail and is a team player. Those she prefers not to work with are drama queens. She admits that she would probably be scared–if she encounters the paranormal–but that she will remain calm and work to gather evidence.
It seems her experience as a psychiatric nurse could prove helpful for the Ghost Hunter’s Academy Team, particularly when speaking to witnesses and evaluating personal experiences. I assume her position has taught her good communication, listening and observation skills.
Michelle Tate of Midland, TX is a criminal justice major with an emphasis in investigation. She started her own group 2 years ago and is in charge of setting up and analyzing evidence. Michelle doesn’t want to work with people who are not scientific and who respond only to their feelings, because feelings cannot be verified. She also does not wish to work with people who try to “one-up” you at every turn. She likes people and feels her criminal justice background has taught her valuable skills, like attention to details, that will benefit her as a ghost hunter.
Michelle’s investigative skills should prove to be an asset to the Ghost Hunter’s Academy team. Her scientific approach should temper the tendency to rely on personal experiences.
Rosalyn Bown of Woodbury, NJ has 3 to 4 years of experience in paranormal investigations. She claims to be comfortable in leadership roles and expresses that her interview skills would be an asset to the Ghost Hunter’s Academy team. She describes herself as a good team worker. She prefers not to work with people who are overly emotional, but says liars on the team are the worse kind of people to work with, because you cannot trust their evidence. She claims she puts people at ease and possesses good composure while looking for the evidence.
Rosalyn speaks well, appears professional and seems sincere. She should prove to be an asset to the team.
Daniel Hwang of Newport, RI opened his interview with a short Rap tune and describes himself as funny, hyper and a hard worker. Daniel has over 10 years’ experience as a graphic designer, which he feels gives him valuable tech experience. He is a proclaimed skeptic, but wants to find proof of the paranormal. Daniel loves challenges.
Daniel’s skepticism may add balance to the team, but I’m a bit wary that his claim to be “hyper” may interfere with other members. It reminds me a bit of Brian Harnois’ influence in the original Ghost Hunters series. Although excitement and exuberance can be refreshing, it can interfere with those who prefer a strict scientific approach, or take their work more seriously.
The group appears to make a solid team that may prove both entertaining and educational to watch. Tune in a Wednesday, June 2 at 9pm EST on the SyFy channel to watch the debut of season 1.5 of Ghost Hunter’s Academy.
SyFy. Recruit videos. Season 1.5 Ghost Hunters Academy