Simon & Schuster
The question I have about Steve Gonsalves memoir, A Life With Ghosts, is if he truly wrote it all? I suspect Michael Aloisi may have contributed with the background information. Afterwards, the tone switches over to this ghost hunter’s voice. Thankfully, this consultant gets credited too and his credentials are listed on the back book sleeve cover.
Technically, Ghost Hunters was not the first reality tv style show about paranormal investigators. That credit goes to Most Haunted. Before then, there were television specials and one off documentaries which helped let people know that there’s something of a general (if not academic) interest in this subject. Loyd Auerbach is the leader in the field, and I’m surprised Gonsalves didn’t mention either him or That’s Incredible! Both were the closest thing to witnessing investigators in the field back then (the late 70s) and he’d be at that right impressionable age when both were featured on network television.
Instead, what he delves into is a fondness for what got him interested in this world. It all started with the movie titled The Entity. I loved how his life is almost in sync with how I got into investigating the unknown too. While he didn’t plan on being a career investigator, just how he discovered this world nearly mirrors mine–but instead of being influenced by Han Holzer’s writings, it was everything I could find about the subject in my school and public library!
He even opens the book by saying he’s not out to convince anyone ghosts are real. What he does is to help validate claims, do some research to figure out how it all started, and tell some fantastic experiences he’s personally had! What A Life With Ghosts focuses on are the cases he’s been on since becoming part of The Atlantic Paranormal Society (T.A.P.S.) team. His partner in crime is Dave Tango, and their comradery is terrific. In the early seasons, they often joked around, and that made this series good to watch. These days, it’s not as well featured. To read about how he felt when the producers told the two to tone it down says a lot about what goes on behind the scenes, and I’m glad this book “tells all” in a very subtle way.
Sadly, that also includes the episode from season one, where Brian Harnois made the phrase, “Dude, run!” this series’ moniker back then famous! It became a running gag I’m sure this group did not appreciate, and had Steve wanted to talk about all those things we want to know about TAPS but were afraid to ask, I’m sure it would require team approval. That episode where the team was in Eastern State Penitentiary has really never been talked about again.
Fast-forward to now, whether Ghost Hunters remain king of the hill is not a subject Steve’s book is willing to delve into. Here, it’s all about what he and Tango did while in the field. After reading Gonsalves’s book, I’m ready to revisit some of the old episodes again. As for the new one, not so much since it’s still the same ol, same ol’–the formula really needs changing.
After what’s recorded by the cameramen, this author simply says it’s all sent to Pilgrim Studios to work into an episode. Sadly, that also includes deciding what is deemed fascinating for viewers, and it’s at this point where I think Steve is itching to get into the editing studio to try his hand at putting together an episode instead of letting others be in control.
Although Gonsalves’ reveals about how the show is made versus actual investigations is nothing I haven’t heard before, I’m glad fans finally have validation on the production process. One question I’ve always expressed my concern with is answered in this book: TAPS revisits certain venues in order to have a relationship with the spirits said to be haunting there. Without it, getting “evidence” is only tougher. And while no TV producer is ready to invest into this format yet, I’m hopeful!
What this book presents may well hint at Gonsalves’ desire to go create his own series that connects to his approach to investigating. After reading A Life With Ghosts, it’s easy to see he loves the TAPS team, but it’ll be hard for him to leave that group behind when he feels ready to produce his own thing. I’ll support him when he does, and who knows–maybe fans can finally see what goes on than consume what’s made available on network television.
4 Scares out of 5