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What to Watch with Josh Gates Guiding the Expeditions for Halloween

Josh Gates Live! - Mayo Performing Arts CenterBy Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

Very few shows cannot match the enthusiasm that host, Josh Gates, extols when on an expedition. He rose to fame with Destination Truth on SyFy. This paranormal reality show saw him travel around the world and try to to find some evidence that those places are haunted. There are no easy pickings of which episodes are the best as the show is more about watching and listening to him provide the stories. With Discovery Plus available in more countries, this host’s filmography is nearly entirely available online for people to see.

These days, he’s one of the kings of the pop culture talk show scene with Josh Gates Presents. He delves into the fandom rather than the folklore. This show emerged during the pandemic crisis as he could not travel, and it’s become part of my weekly ritual when a new episode. The format is very clearly a platform to pimp out Discovery Channel’s other programs, and I’m okay with it. Oddly, nothing’s advertised this week for All Hallow’s Eve, so I’ll have to look at older episodes, to get into the spirit, like:

Very few people know about his side-project, Expedition X. It brings the X-files back to the IP (and swapping who is the believer and non). When Destination Unknown was cancelled, and Expedition took its place, the new direction was obvious. Some fans hoped he’d make a return to the paranormal side, and he’s actually delivered in by teaming hard core skeptic/scientist Phil Torres and television host/writer Jessica Chobot up. Both have careers in media before being brought together. Torres built his cred by being a presenter on PBS American Spring Live, and Chobot was on Nerdist before being revealed as a lifelong paranormal enthusiast. I see her as more of a pop culture geek than a seasoned investigator. It’s her enthusiasm which is infectious.

The episodes to watch for Halloween are:

Terror on Doll Island 

This sequel to “Island of Dolls” back when Josh investigated during his Destination Truth days is a decade in the making and certainly worthwhile to come back to! This is one episode I won’t spoil. There’s an alert for the last entry. 

Lake of the Dead 

Who knew that ghosts can talk underwater? A follow-up must be done to get to what’s holding these spirits back from crossing into the afterlife. There’s a belief in many cultures that a barrier of water prevent ghosts from crossing (it’s a constantly flowing energy source), and this episode suggests where they are here is where they stay….

Curse of the Old West Outlaw

The fun part is when the team gets lots of banging going on during filming and perhaps even a door swinging open. It’s not much, but when the ambience is right, I’d be jumpy at any creak recorded on film too!

Ghost Fort of the Civil War (two parts)

This two-parter rounds out the top five as Chobot tends to geek out when something good happens. Amy Bruni of Kindred Spirits (present) and Ghost Hunters fame (past tense) is more authentic; viewers know her from her work in previous television shows. Together with Adam Berry in this episode, they help the DX team out in identifying the strange goings on at this civil war fort, and perhaps have the best possible recorded image of a ghost wandering through the hallowed halls. It looks like someone super-imposed in a very pixelated moving Mario (from the Nintendo game) if I was to fake it, but we’re supposed to believe everything television presents itself, the group has proven themselves as talented actors!

The paranormal is hardly explored in the classic Expedition Unknown series, but for those wanting a stretch into the haunted, my list boils down to seven episodes. They range from searching for certain classes of the undead and many a ghost town.

Hunting Vampires
Incan King’s Mummy
The Vanished Empire
Ghost Ship of the Great Lakes
Mystery of Dead Mountain
Hunt for the Chupacabra
Lost Tomb of the Mummy

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