Television

The Not So Positive Evolution of Ghost Adventures

In 2004 Ghost Adventures, an original documentary, was released that would change the landscape of paranormal television and documentaries. Since it aired, I was a fan, and when it was announced that there would be a series, I was thrilled. However, eighteen years have passed, and I find myself feeling very different about the whole series. The series has been through changes, and through its evolution, it has become a different show, not necessarily for the better. 

In the original documentary Zak Bagans, Nick Groff, and Aaron Goodwin visit two locations in Nevada; The Goldfield Hotel and The Old Washoe Club. Both locations are infamous and known for paranormal activity connected to their dramatic pasts. The then inexperienced ghost hunting team found themselves in the middle of investigations that would produce some of the best evidence of the existence of ghosts up until then and since. The footage they caught would change how they view the world of the paranormal. 

The Old Washoe Club is where it all began for the Ghost Adventures Crew. Screenshot from Travel Channel’s Youtube by Melissa Rothman for thegameofnerds.com. All rights reserved to Trvl.

You could definitely see that they were not as seasoned during their time investigating The Goldfield and Old Washoe. Zak, at one point, got into a tub that a woman died of suicide in and essentially made fun of her actions. Years later, he would return and apologize to the spirit for being naive at the time of his first visit and for how he treated the situation. This showed growth and maturity and gave hope for a bright future to the show.

The series brought them into more investigations and more experience. They all grew as investigators and found themselves at the forefront of innovative research techniques. Their goals became more focused, and they gained enough knowledge to become some of the top paranormal investigators in their field. 

The team investigates The Bell Witch Cave. One of Nick’s final episodes with the show. Screenshot from Travel Channel’s Youtube by Melissa Rothman for thegameofnerds.com. All rights reserved to Trvl.

As the series continued, their ventures into the darker side of the spirit realm increased and, in my opinion, changed their personalities. The progression into looking into cases of demons and darker spirits became more important as the team tried to continue to document amazing evidence. But then, at some point, it felt as if Zak, Nick, Aaron, and equipment tech Billy had different views on what was best. 

Eventually, Nick left the show, and other team members began to be more involved. Billy Tolley was transitioned into a full-time team member, and Jay Wasley was brought on to manage the tech. Even Dakota Laden, now of Destination Fear fame, joined the team as a cameraman for a few seasons. 

Zak, as team leader, became bossier as time went on, and at some point, instead of just ordering Aaron into the scariest rooms, he began tricking teammate Aaron into spaces that he could lock him in. Now, it seems that Zak has moved on to straight-up bullying, which makes the show unwatchable for me. In a recent episode, Zak actually pushed Aaron into a room that he didn’t want to go in after ordering him to remain in the house they were investigating. Aaron thankfully stood up for himself and left the house for a bit, but that didn’t save him from behind shoved into a room against his will. 

Zak shoves Aaron into a room he has said he didn’t want to enter. Screenshot taken from Youtube. All rights reserved to Trvl Channel.

I have spent one documentary, 18 years, and 24 seasons watching this unfold. But unfortunately, it has turned into something I simply can’t tolerate. It is an awful feeling to be turned away from something you gave so much of your time to. I had given it many chances because I saw some hope in it, but I think it has become a show more concerned with being dramatic and capturing evidence of the spirit world. I also hate to say that I think that Zak especially has had too much of an attitude change. Whether or not you believe it is due to the negative spirits or because fame has gotten to him and made him feel like he can boss everyone around, either way, the behavior has affected my ability to tolerate the show. 

Unfortunately, it seems as if Ghost Adventures and its investigators have fallen victim to the entertainment world and the success of their series. Nick Groff seems to have been the lucky one to escape when he left to work on other projects and has formed a successful and honest career since.

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