I have had a long journey with these guys. Right from their early days when Aaron was scared of everything and Zak wanted to show all the ghosts how tough he was and Nick, well, he was there too.
I started watching Ghost Adventures mostly because I couldn't believe that it was a real television show - I mean, it was hilarious - and such a foil to the uber serious 'Ghost Hunters' style. I continued to watch because of the entertainment value and now, years later I realise that what began as a laugh, has become near and dear to me in the ghostly viewing genre.
I was there through the placement of the 'x' cameras and when Aaron was slightly, ehem, larger than he is now. And I was there every time Zak thought nothing was really happening and so miraculously became 'possessed'.
Having said all that, there has been a real evolution of character throughout the show. And nothing proves this more than the 'aftershocks' series. In these catch up shows, we revisit the characters we've met and see how things are faring. We also get more insight into what went on behind the scenes, which to me, lends more credence to the show. I also think that confronting some of these guests has made Zak seem a bit more compassionate and even display some genuine empathy...what now?
Or, the Stonehouse Bar and Grill as Zak continues to call it even though he is corrected...
We meet up with Nikko Wu, owner and operator and hear that during the original visit, the GAC uncovered some creepy goings on underneath the structure and possibly seeping in from the stream that runs through the property.
In a moodily lit studio, Zak greets Nikko and in a grave voice recounts their first meeting. After lots of zooming closeups and looking at the floor, he asks her if she thinks she is cursed. Of course she is, pssht, next.
Friends have died, car accidents have occurred, someone has committed suicide - it is decided that the ghosts of murdered Chinamen are to blame.
Zak is concerned. Nikko is concerned. Things are grim at the Stonehouse Bar and Grill, I mean Brewery.
But not to be bogged down with all that, we have a woman called Morgana Wyze to talk to. And of course Blood Demons to discuss in hushed tones.
Morgana tells us that said Blood Demon is behind all the shenanigans and actually killed her son. Zak doesn't know where to look. Awks.
Morgana then does a cleanse on Zak because ghosts are sitting in his spine.
Wrapping up, Zak shows some genuine concern for Nikko, and speaks calmly and sincerely to her. Perhaps this is why I like Aftershocks so much. It's softer and somehow more raw because of it.
Missouri State Penitentiary
We meet Maggie Scott, a woman who has been visiting the prison giving guided tours. She claims that she has a real connection to the place and it has a hold on her.
Wait, Zak is seeing a ghost. It's possibly one of those spine sitters looking for a new host with fewer muscles and baggier shirts.
Back to Maggie and her experiences. But Zak isn't interested in that, He wants to bring out her ex husband - separated because of the penitentiary; she loves it more than him. The interaction is awkward and made more so by Zak pushing the ghosts between them, then turning marriage counselor.
The whole thing is riveting because of its voyeuristic feel and we all know we love that.
Out comes the daughter for interrogation, to fill in the gaps. More ghosts to blame, we all decide with Zak that Maggie needs to stop going there: come on Mags, we all care about you (now), do the right thing.
The whole thing feels like a big girly gossip session and we're all closer by the end of it. Close ups of shaking heads and steepling hands, monologue and fade out.
I love this version of Ghost Adventures. perhaps its because we get an insight to what people are thinking rather than just trying to capture evidence, we get to see the real impact it has on their lives, whether they are being taunted by a demon or believe ghosts are living in their toilet. I may have learned to have a healthy dose of skepticism over the years, but it doesn't mean I don't love hearing the stories and deciding for myself.
So thanks Zak, hope you can walk taller without those ghosts sitting around on your bones, see you next week.