Ghost Adventures on the Travel Channel

Ghost Adventures, a paranormal, documentary-style reality television show on the Travel Channel, is hugely popular. Perhaps this is because of the history the sites they visit contain, or perhaps it is because people are sincerely interested in ghost sightings. Either way, millions of viewers tune in to watch the show every week. The ghost hunters, Zak, Nick, and Aaron, visit a new location each episode, and there’s never any telling what they’ll find there.

The Characters

The ghost hunter team of Ghost Adventures is made up of three men: Zak Bagans, Nick Groff, and Aaron Goodwin. Zak is the host of the show, with the most camera time. He is also the leader of the team. Zak is known for his extreme measures when it comes to ghost hunting. He is not afraid to yell at ghosts or provoke them into violence. These techniques have been doubted by some of his counterparts, but his antics do make good television. Nick is a co-host and co-investigator. He is usually behind the camera when the guys interview residents or owners of the various historical sites, but he does do a significant amount of the investigating. Aaron is the camera tech. He takes care of any technical issues that may arise during an investigation, and sets up the cameras in various locations to film while the team investigates. He also participates in the investigations.

The Premise

The basic idea behind Ghost Adventures is that the team is charged with finding ghosts in various, reportedly haunted locations. Their goal is not to get rid of the ghosts, but to prove that they are there. To do this, the team uses several different techniques. The first is talking and listening. The guys start talking and asking questions of the spirits that are present, and listen for any audible noises that might be caused by those spirits moving around. Sometimes, though, just listening isn’t enough, which brings on their second technique: scientific devices. During EVP (electronic voice phenomenon) sessions, the guys will usually have a recorder with them that records any voices not audible to the human ear. They also sometimes use very high-tech devices such as a thermal camera to record any changes in temperature the ghosts might cause, or what they call a “spirit box” that produces white noise, allowing the ghosts to channel that noise into words. All of this, plus what is seen on the cameras, works together to make up the proof that the audience needs to believe (or not believe) that ghosts exist.

The Appeal

Part of the appeal of the show is that the guys travel all around the world to many different locations, all rich with interesting history. The first part of each episode is usually devoted to finding out the story behind the place they are visiting and why it people believe it to be haunted. Another reason why the show is so popular is because of the explosion of ghost hunting teams across the nation. Ghost hunting has become a serious hobby for many people. This could be because they have experienced a paranormal encounter, or because they are just interested in finding ghosts. Either way, many people have taken on ghost hunting as a weekend activity. Because of this, people watch shows like Ghost Adventures to see how it’s done, get ideas for new gadgets and techniques, or just because it is fun to watch. Others might enjoy watching the show because they believe in ghosts, or because they don’t believe in ghosts and they want to try to disprove what the guys see. No matter what the reason, it seems that the Ghost Adventures audience gets bigger every week.

Pawn Stars: Why This Show is Such a Hit

The History Channel’s Pawn Stars is a reality show that follows the day-to-day workings of a 24-hour pawn shop owned by Rick Harrison, his father, Richard Harrison, and his son Corey Harrison. The audience sees people coming into the pawn shop to sell their belongings. The items people sell are as varying as their reasons for selling them, and, because of this, the show has taken America by storm.

The Characters

The characters of Pawn Stars make the show interesting and engaging. Rick Harrison is the main character as the owner of the 24-hour Gold & Silver Pawn Shop in Las Vegas, Nevada. The store is a family business, so he works there with his father, Richard Harrison, and his son Corey Harrison. Based on how they discuss different items that come into the store, these guys know their stuff. After decades of experience running a pawn shop, they are extremely business-minded, and are comfortable buying and selling even the most valuable items. Their knowledge of historical pieces is extensive, and when they don’t know about a certain item, they have a huge network of experts they can call in on a moment’s notice to appraise pieces. Chumlee, Corey’s childhood friend, also works at the shop, though he is not as business-minded as the trio. He is often the source of comic relief throughout the show.

The Premise

On the reality show, we see all sorts of people come in to sell, and sometimes pawn, old items. Usually, the items we see on the show are presumed to be very valuable, or at least unique, though I’m sure they see their share of mundane items in the shop, as well. At times, the guys can make a deal right away. Other times, they must call in a host of experts to appraise and authenticate items. Sometimes pieces need to be restored to their original glory before they can be resold, and the audience witnesses some of these restorations first-hand. The audience sees all of these scenarios in the course of the show, and hears the guys talk about how they decide to buy and sell different items.

The Appeal

Why would anyone want to watch a bunch of guys buy and sell items? To start, it is fascinating to see the different pieces that come into the store. The array of items that come through the doors is extensive. People bring in everything from priceless Civil War artifacts to old bicycles to autographed posters. Just when you think the guys have seen it all, someone comes in with something they have to call an expert about just to identify it. Seeing the experts come in is also really interesting. Often, they share lots of information about the history of the item and, sometimes, when the item is a fake, they share all the different ways they were able to identify it as such. When a deal is made, often the piece needs to be restored before it can be sold, and the difference between the original item and the restored piece is breathtaking. The professionals working on restorations are artistic geniuses, and they always manage to capture the essence of the piece in the restoration. Finally, when the guys decide to buy an item, there is always a scene in which the seller and the guys haggle over the price. Each seller haggles differently, and it’s fun to see if they will get even close to the price they wanted.

All in all, Pawn Stars is both fun and educational. It’s a great show for the whole family to watch!