Paranormal reality show seeks spooky locations in Joplin area

Grant Wilson will lead the all-new “Ghost Hunters,” which will debut next month on A&E. Show producers are looking for locations in the Joplin area. Courtesy|A&E

The Ghost Hunters want to hunt haunts in the Show-Me State.

Hoping to “investigate places that are reported to be haunted,” series original Grant Wilson will helm the show, along with a carefully selected group of professional ghost investigators; together, they assist Americans struggling to cope with unexplained situations inside their homes and property.

“I don’t chase ghosts,” Wilson said in a recent “Ghost Hunters” trailer, which will debut late next month on the A&E channel. “We chase the truth.”

“Ghost Hunters” aired for 11 seasons on Syfy, formerly the SciFi Channel, ending in 2016.

During its run, it gave the channel some of its highest ratings — 3 million viewers per episode. The show followed Wilson and Jason Hawes, who worked by day as plumbers but sought the supernatural on nights and weekends.

“Ghost Hunters” producer Olu Odebunmi recently reached out to Patrick Tuttle, director of the Joplin Convention & Visitors Bureau, about potential Joplin area locations — buildings, mansions or businesses: “The locations can be famous or unknown — we love them all,” he wrote.

Producers with Pilgrim Media Group, the North Hollywood, California-based makers of “Ghost Hunters,” are seeking locations that meet specific needs, namely:

• 10,000 square feet or larger;

• Have never before been featured on a paranormal-related television show; and,

• The residents, owners, staff, volunteers, guests have “experienced things in the location that they can’t explain or think is possibly paranormal.”

But what parts of the Four-State Area, if any, the show could explore in future episodes is still up in the air. It ultimately depends on what supernatural secrets are located on local residents’ property.

Lisa Martin, with The Paranormal Science Lab, a group of Joplin- and Carthage-area residents who uses similar audio and camera equipment to those used by the “Ghost Hunters” members, said there are several buildings — haunted buildings — that could easily meet the show’s specifications. They include: The former Joplin Public Library building on Main Street, Redings Mill Inn and the Sky Castle in south Joplin, as well as the Webb City Public Library on South Liberty Street, just to name a few.

“My favorite would be The Oliva Apartments (on South Moffett),” she said. “It is a gorgeous building, even in its current state. It combines the elements of Joplin’s affluent past with the mining days with Depression-era gangster tales and an incredible haunting.”

The Ghost Hunters are no stranger to the Four-State Area. They featured the Prosperity School Bed & Breakfast in their earlier seasons and, during the show’s final season, The Carthage Opera House in downtown Carthage. The team, led by Hawes, explored two local family’s homes in Duquesne, which aired during a 2015 episode. One of the show’s biggest finds occurred in Season 2, when an investigation of the Crescent Hotel in Eureka Springs, Arkansas, revealed an entity known as a “shadow person” in the hotel’s basement while using a thermal imaging camera.

“The Four States is a hot spot of sorts” for paranormal activity, Martin said. “I believe that it results from a rich history going back hundreds of years, with the trails and paths through this area being instrumental to western expansion. From Native American experiences to early settlers, mining days, brutal Civil War guerilla fighting, old West outlaws and Depression-era gangsters, to more modern events, it’s not surprising that glimpses of the past remain in places.”

“Ghost Hunters,” which features the investigations of The Atlantic Paranormal Society, “has done a pretty good job of focusing on locations and not focusing on dramatic artifices or shiny bauble gadgets that are marketed to the audience,” Martin said, adding that TAPS and other groups have opened the paranormal up to the mainstream, making it much less of a taboo subject.

“People are much more open about discussing experiences and beliefs than they were 20 years ago,” she continued. “The down side of the exposure is that people sometimes have an unrealistic view of the process of investigation.”

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