For Sham! TAPS En Vacance II

Continuing on this merry California holiday in the second season of Ghost Hunters, TAPS heads south from the Winchester Mystery House in San Jose to Long Beach, where they are going to do a definitive cursory investigation of the fabled ocean liner Queen Mary.  Somewhere Peter James raises his eyebrows and shakes his head.  R.I.P.

See disclaimer in En Vacance Part I.

Desert landscapes whisk past.

Jason: “During our drive through California, we got to see some of the great places. L.A. (he shrugs) – jeez, that’s bigger than Rhode Island is.”

TM:  Everything’s bigger than Rhode Island.

MB:  The Queen Mary is bigger than Rhode Island.

TM:  The Winchester Mystery House is bigger than Rhode Island.

MB;  I have a dog bed that’s bigger than Rhode Island.

TM:  You have a cat that’s bigger than Rhode Island.

The obligatory B-roll shots of Hollywood are unrolled.

Grant: “That is cool, to see the Hollywood sign, the Chinese theater – to just be dumped right into Hollywood like that. It was awesome.”

Roll the obligatory shots of towering palm trees seen from below,

MB: Just once, I’d like to see palm trees from above.

TM:  Here.

MB: Cute!  Like turtle bowls.

and stars on Hollywood Boulevard.

MB: Who is Jimmy Boyd?

TM: He saw Mommy kissing Santa Claus.

MB: Get out of here. He got a star for that?

TM: Wikipedia knows all.

MB: Then who’s Alan Curtis, and why do cartoon characters get to have stars?

TM: I don’t know. I googled him and I still don’t know. Godzilla has a star, too.

MB: Weird.

Jason interviews: “Grant and I decided to stop in Beverly Hills Rodeo Drive before our tough investigation tonight on the Queen Mary.”

Grant: “Look at this. Pierre Deuce [sic].”

Jason: “How would you even pronounce that name?”

They are looking at  a “BCBGMAXAZRIA” sign.

MB:  So they’re not fashionistas after all.

TM:  This is the most peculiar tourist stop for Hans and Franz.  I see them more as the wax museum type.

Grant: “Wow. That’s a nice lookin’ [mumble] you know, right there.”

They are looking at a statue of a nude female torso.

TM:  He’s wishing they had that in Rhode Island instead of a bunch of Mr. Potato Heads.

MB:  I’m not even going to ask.

TM:  That’s probably best.

Grant: “30 % off and it’s still 600 bucks?”

Jason: “Good pair of underwear.”

Grant chortles: “Ah ha ha ha. It’s like an amusement park for the insanely rich. This is cool up here, man. I feel like I’m in Europe.”

They are descending Rodeo Drive’s version of the Spanish Steps.

Jason: “Yeah, it’s nice.”

Jason interviews: “Beautiful area, great people, but you know what – it was a great place to visit but you know my home’s always back on the East Coast.”

MB: He didn’t say he didn’t want to live there.

TM: Why would one want to leave Warwick?

CASE #2

QUEEN MARY

TUESDAY 11:13 AM

The caravan arrives at the Queen Mary Seaport.

TM:  I don’t think two cars constitutes a caravan.  Two camels, maybe, but an SUV and a van?

MB:  I have a literary license that allows me to use caravan.

Donna: “Oh my gosh.”

Jason: “Oh my god. Is that the boat?”

Donna: “I didn’t know it was this big.”

Grant: “Donna, is the whole thing haunted or what?”

Donna pooh-poohs this: “No, just parts of it. Look at it as a challenge that we can overcome and conquer.”

The black caravan looks very tiny parking next to the Queen Mary.

Donna: “I have everything under control.”

Jason: “We’ll soon find out, won’t we?’

Grant: “We should have brought the whole TAPS family.”

Jason: “And their families, and…”

Grant and Donna chortle obediently.

MB:  A TAPS family reunion – the thought chills my blood.

TM:  There would be Kool-Aid.  Did you know Kool-Aid is the official soft drink of Nebraska?

MB:  I did not.  That’s – nice.

TM:  Not like it was.  If Jim Jones had used Tang…

MB:  Tang!  No, we have to focus.

TM:  Then I can’t tell you about new mango-flavor Tang.

MB: I’d rather get through this episode.

Donna and Dave are left somewhere to cool their heels while Jason, Grant, and Steve get the tour. The executive branch strides across an acre of patterned red carpet inside.

Jason: “Look it there.”

Grant: “Ah, it’s nice, huh?”

Jason: “It’s beautiful.”

Three people are waiting for them.

Grant: “I’m Grant, from TAPS.”

MB: Here to help!

TM:  Here to cast a black blanket of doubt and deception!

Will Kayne, Queen Mary Tour Director: “Hi, Grant. Welcome aboard.”

The usual niceties are exchanged.

Grant: “This place is wild, huh?”

Jason: “Huge.”

MB: I’m cringing.

TM: If you didn’t know better, you’d think they didn’t get out much.

Grant: “We just did a battleship before, and then we saw this and this is way bigger than that, so…”

TM:  So it’s really big!

Valerie Seale, Queen Mary Tour Guide: “Really? Well, Erika and Will, they can give you a tour of the ship if you like.”

Grant: “Great.”

Jason: “Perfect.”

Grant: “We don’t have any time to waste.”

TM:  Because they just drove 3,500 miles to get here, and they’ve got to leave tomorrow.

MB: I thought they didn’t drive.

TM:  If they hadn’t been lollygagging around Rodeo Drive, gaping at nude torsos, they might have some time to waste.

Will: “Right this way.”

Jason: “After you.”

Erika Frost, Queen Mary Ghost Guide, interviews: “I guess what I’m hoping is that TAPS will be able to find all kinds or paranormal activity aboard this ship. Legend has it, it’s been haunted for quite some time, and it would be nice to have – um – the science to back it up.”

MB: They always want the science.

TM:  I think Erika’s definition of science is a little loose.

Grant: “It’s pretty much a skyscraper on its side.”

Will: “Yes. She’s a thousand nineteen and a half feet long, a hundred and eighteen feet wide. She’s eight feet too wide to fit through the Panama Canal.”

MB: I bet somebody got fired.

TM:  Nah.  The Brits never wanted go to Long Beach.  Nothing fits in the Panama Canal anymore, you know.

The camera pans over a lot of lifeboats.

Will: “The second-class swimming pool was taken out and they turned it into the Royal Theatre.”

Grant: “So what can we expect to find down here as far as paranormal activity?”

Erika: “Um – well, there is a little girl who likes to reside in here from time to time. I believe she’s been spotted by a few different people as well as myself. I have also seen her.”

Grant: “So now you’ve actually seen her with your eyes?” He gestures from his eyes outward to make his point clear. “Something in here?”

Erika: “Yes.”

Grant: “Yes?”

Erika: “Yeah.”

Grant: “Okay.”

MB: That seems kind of rude.   She understands English quite well without sign language.

TM: I think Erika is kind of dim. Speaking of dim, you’ll have to watch her talking to a light bulb on Youtube.

The camera zigzags through a lot of corridors and down stairwells.

Will: “This is the first-class swimming pool. We have been told that this is probably the most active area aboard the ship. The little girl is also very popular here. Many people have heard giggling, peeking out from the sides of the pillars. Okay, let’s hit the vortex.”

Grant: “Let’s go vortex surfing.”

The camera travels more corridors, ending up in a tiny hall flanked by small cubicles.

Will: “These are the 18 dressing boxes. There were showers on either side.”

Jason: “Now do they say specifically where this vortex is, or is it through this whole area?”

TM: Who is “they?”

MB: Who are they.  I told you about “them.”   Remember?

TM: Giant ants?

Will: “The vortex is supposedly right there, in the center of the aisle.” He waves his hand in a circle and points to the middle of the hallway.

Jason interviews: “A lot of people believe a vortex to be an opening to the other side – uh – a doorway allowing human spirits to cross over to our world. Um – [he lifts his eyebrows] I’ve just never really seen much proof to support those claims.”

The camera zooms along more endless corridors.

TM: Look! We’re in Triangle.

MB: I thought it looked strangely familiar.  I want the Lone Gunmen back.

TM: They’d be useful here.

Will: “The reason that room B-340 was taken off the list of available hotel rooms was because people claimed that they were awakened by someone pulling the covers off their bed. When they did a little research about the room they discovered that back in 1948 a third-class passenger was found dead in bed.”

Erika: “I’ve been told that housekeeping makes it up and then – um – it gets pulled apart.”

They are all standing around staring at a small bed in a small room.

Jason: “Oh really?”

Erika: “Mm-hmm.”

Grant: “Let’s get a camera in here.”

Steve: “Yeah, make a note to camera there.”

Jason interviews: “While I was there with Steve and Grant, we’d come up with an idea we would make up the bed and set the camera up and see what we caught. Um – we wanted to see if the bed actually did unmake itself.”

Grant is tucking in sheets. Then we see the bed with a red and green striped coverlet spread the whole length.

The group moves on to the ship’s bowels.

Will: “This is the aft engine room.”

Jason: “This is an active room?”

Erika: “It is very active. Some of the noises actually that you’re hearing right now are caused by this particular spirit that is passed away.”

There’s a lot of general mechanical clanking going on, but it doesn’t sound too purposeful.

TM: She’s a true believer.

MB: She is dim.

TM: All the wattage goes into that smile. There’s nothing left to work with upstairs.

Grant: “What makes you say that here?”

Erika smiles knowingly: “That thing over there does not work and what’s happening is he is actually making it – um – start up for us.”

Grant: “What – what is that?”

Erika: “I don’t know what it is but – uh – he likes to – he likes to make that – um…”

Jason: “Are you okay?”

Grant: “You seem uncomfortable.”

Erika just smiles more broadly.

Grant: “Are you nervous or…”

TM: The Erikabot just needs a jump-start.

Erika: “I just think that there’s some stuff going on here right now. Yeah.”

Jason interviews: It really started appearing that Erika was claiming to be sensitive psychic. A few points during the tour she started to – uh – claim to be sensing something in the room.”

MB: Oh, I get Grant’s hand gestures now.  The external eyes vs. the internal eyes.  Well! If Jason doesn’t believe her, I guess that means I must.

TM: Jason believes the sky is blue.

MB: It isn’t. It’s pink. And Erika is a medium of the first water, the fabulosa Dona Erika the All-Seeing.

TM:  But she talks to light bulbs.

MB:  We all have quirks.

Jason: “We really wanna say thank you for the tour.”

Erika: “Thank you so much.”

Jason: “We’re gonna go upstairs.”

Will: “Good luck. Have a good night.”

Grant: “Thank you.”

Jason interviews: “This place is going to be a real tough case. We’re gonna be running a couple more high-8’s than usual, the mini-DV cameras. Eh – maybe they got somethin’. Maybe they don’t. I don’t know. I’m gonna have to really look and see.”

TM: Yeah, really look and see, bubba.  We’re counting on you.

MB: This going to be another one of those fake investigations because they don’t want to pay the production crew overtime, isn’t it?

TM: No, yeah – never mind that. Notice that he says they’re going to run “a couple more high-8’s.” Remember that.

THE INVESTIGATION

QUEEN MARY

TUESDAY 8:30 PM

Jason: “All right, so we’re set up. We got a high-8 here.”

There’s a view of the 4-screen monitor, which inexplicably only has two camera views on it. It’s July 26, 2005, and by the time stamp it’s 10:54 p.m.

MB: Okay, they’re on this humongous ship and they’re using two DVR cameras hooked to the computer, and one high-8? Isn’t that extreme underkill?

TM: And don’t forget that they can manage at least nine camera views with that equipment. But like you said, they’re on vacation! They need time to go see that burlesque show in the Lounge!

Donna: “We got two DVR’s here on D deck.

Grant: “Yep, everything’s all set up and marked.”

Jason: “Let’s get this show on the road.”

Donna: “I’d like to go to the pool area.”

Jason: “You, Dave and Donna can go with you and me and Grant can split off and so forth. I wanna go walk through with the thermal.”

TM: “Me and Grant can split off and so forth.” Ha. And so forth.

There’s a chorus of yeps and awesomes.

Donna: “All right, well, we’ll go to the pool.”

A lot of mumbling and moving off. We get to follow the fearless leaders.

Jason: “You ready?” He fiddles with his beloved thermal imaging camera.

Grant: “Yeah.”

Jason: “Eh.”

Jason interviews: “Our main goal tonight is to – uh – cover as much of this ship as possible. It’s one of those things that you’re hopin’ you’re gonna catch footage on your cameras and not personal experiences but it’s just the size of the boat. It might only be personal experiences you have to go on.”

MB:  Jason usually refers to “personal experiences” with a curled lip.

TM: I think he’s feeling out of his league.

MB:  Hmm.  If they don’t catch something, they’re going to look…

TM:  Exactly.

They’ve descended to the room where the fabulosa mystic Dona Erika said the ghost was playing with the machinery.

Grant: “What I want you to do up here, J…”

Jason: “Honestly I wanna see if anything is hot so I know if it’s working.”

Grant: “That’s what I was gonna say. I want you to look at that container. I betcha that’s hot. ‘Cause I betcha that’s a hot water heater.”

Jason: “I betcha you’re hot, pal.”

Grant: “Thank you.”

TM: What’s that about?

MB: Don’t ask, don’t tell.

Jason: “Up – whoop whoop. It’s a hot water heater.”

Grant: “When Donna and I were in here, setting up, there’s two circulators under there and one just kicked on and was spinning.”

Jason: “Yeah.”

Grant: “She said that thing’s not functional.”

Jason: “Yeah, that’s functioning, pal.”

Grant: “It’s – it’s hot.”

The FLIR shows the tank is indeed a bright red.

Jason interviews and thanks his corporate sponsor: “Debunking the sump pump and the hot water tank was definitely right up our alley as plumbers for Roto-Rooter.”

TM: Cats could do just as well.

MB: Oh, Erika. You disappoint me.

TM: The Erikabot is not equipped with the heat-sensing apparatus of the average household cat. She’s probably still in beta.

Grant: “The one on the right kicked on. The sump pump kicked on.”

Jason: “There’s nothin’ paranormal about this stuff turnin’ on, pal.”

Jason interviews: “It didn’t take a rocket scientist to figure that one out.”

TM: I’ll say!

Jason in scene, with a grotesquely bad English accent: “The idea of the circulator tuning on the pump has now been proven not to be paranormal. Dear Watson, I think you’ve got it.”

Grant: “That’s brilliant.” He laughs, feebly.

1ST CLASS POOL

2 HRS. INTO INVESTIGATION

Steve interviews: “Donna and I are in the pool changing rooms where the supposed vortex is, and we’re going to try to debunk it.”

TM: Where’s Dave?

MB: Why?

TM: Just pointing out Dave is missing. For future reference.

Donna: “Slightly cooler in here. About 66 to 69.”

Steve: “EMF point 2, point 1. Is anybody in here with us? Would you make a noise for us? Give us a sign of your presence?”

Donna listens in vain.

Donna: “People say they get scratched and pushed in here.”

Steve: “Yeah.”

Meanwhile, Jason and Grant have left the engine room and moved over to the former second-class swimming pool.

ROYAL THEATRE

3 HRS. INTO INVESTIGATION

Jason: “She said she’s actually witnessed a little girl in here, right?”

Grant: “A little girl, yeah.”

Jason: “Go down on stage to give me something to adjust to.”

Grant: “Okay. Finally, I made it to the stage. “Alas, poor Yorick, I knew him well.”

TM: Pft. He’s been acting for ages, the little shank de jambon.

MB: In The Edge of Fright.

TM: As the World Squirms.

MB:  The Dumb and the Restless.

TM:  Cash-ins.

MB:  I give up.

Jason: “All right. I gotcha.”

Grant: “Good?”

Jason: “Yeah, it’s good.”

The sound guy makes a lot of scary noises to make sure we are still awake, and the editors take us back to Steve and Donna.

TM: Dave Tango is still missing.

MB:  It’s a big boat.  Ship.  Gah.  I have been listening to Jason for too long.

Steve, whispering: “Hey, Donna – come here for a second. It’s kinda gone right now. For a minute, I kinda felt like kinda light-headed right here. Dizzy.”

Steve interviews: “Yeah, I was in the shower room area of the pool where they claim there’s a vortex. I did experience some dizziness and some – uh – light-headedness. I called Donna over to confirm it and see if she could experience it, but by the time she got there it wasn’t there anymore and I couldn’t experience it again.”

Boom bang.

BACKSTAGE AREA

12:45 AM

Jason: “Wow. Gee. That’s a long hallway. What’s this?”

Grant: “I don’t know. Something just touched my back.”

Jason: “What’d you say?”

Grant: “Something just touched my back.”

The editors flash a skull a couple of times here, once with the nifty effect of letting us see Grant through the eye socket.

MB: You know, I kind of feel for these editors. It’s not like editing this crap was their life dream.

TM: True. They would probably rather be editing The Apprentice, or Dancing with the Stars. At least they’d be paid better, and be contributing to society in a meaningful way.

Jason: “Is it one of these 50,000 cobwebs?”

Grant: “No, there’s no cobweb behind me.”

Grant interviews: “Right after J. and I left the theater I felt somebody touch me on the back and I turned around and there was absolutely no one there. There have been reports of people being touched and – uh – maybe that’s what I was experiencing.”

TM: Sure he was.

MB: The  boy who cried werewolf.  Will we ever again believe a thing he says?

TM:  Not me.  Not that I did.

MB:  Ha.  You did.

TM:  Never again.

MB:  Nope.  Me, neither.  Fool me ten or twenty times and I’m done.

1ST CLASS POOL

4.5 HRS. INTO INVESTIGATION

Dave Tango finally reappears from whatever he was doing wherever. Donna apparently is hearing things.

Donna: “Did you…”

Dave: ‘Yeah. What was that?”

Donna: “Sounded like a little girl’s voice, huh?”

Donna interviews: “When Tango and I were in the pool area we both heard a little girl’s voice and the story is that a lot of people have heard a little girl’s voice in that – in that area.”

Donna in scene: “57, right here, Tango.”

Dave: “What?”

Donna: “Take a picture right here. Quick.”

Dave dutifully takes a flash picture.

Donna interviews: “Around the time we heard the little girl’s voice I felt a cold spot.”

Jason interviews: “Some paranormal investigators believe that cold spots are an indication of spirit activity, that they’re manifesting themselves by drawing the energy out of the air.”

Donna is feeling around for cold spots.

MB: Bored now.

TM: Something fun will happen soon, I promise.

MB: It better. I could be watching the Lone Gunmen run around here with Scully instead of the stupid old Atlantic Paranormal Society.

Grant, somewhere else: “Dave, anybody – find Steve and Donna ‘cause they gotta change the tape in B-340.

Jason interviews: “Room D-340 [sic] – supposably [SIC] it’s one of the most active rooms on the ship – blankets and sheets being pulled down on the bed, a lot of different things going on in the room.”

MB: There it is – “supposably” – just what Commenter Hallie described! Only Jason is saying it here. Steve must have learned it from him.

TM: Rhode Island is a strange place. Maybe they all say that there. I’m going to start using it, myself.

MB: You will not.

Steve: “All right – uh – we’ll break out of here and go change that tape, okay?”

Grant: “Okay. Sounds good.”

Steve: “Let’s go, Tango.”

MB: That’s an awful lot of set-up for just changing a tape.

TM: Consider it the TAPS version of humming a little tune as they shuffle the shells around.

Dave is walking along a dark hall in night vision when Steve suddenly grabs his wrist from a doorway.

Dave: “Son of a gun!”

Steve: “I gotcha?”

Dave: “Yeah.” Grumbling.

STATEROOM B-340

1:40 AM

Suddenly we’re inside B-340.

TM: Note that we don’t get to see them unlocking any doors.

MB: They left the room unlocked? Why would they leave the room unlocked?

TM: That does beg the question, doesn’t it? Why, indeed.

Steve: “Hmm. This is interesting. The bed is all disheveled.”

Dave: “Whoa.”

In addition to being “disheveled,” the bed now has a completely different coverlet on it, stripe-free.

Steve: “Grant says he made it.”

Dave: “He did. I saw him make it. Steve, are you going to review that?”

Steve is removing a tape cartridge from the camera.

Steve: “This? Right now.”

Dave: “Good man. I wanna see what happened with that. That’s weird.”

Steve interviews: “Dave and I went into room B-340 to change the high-8 tape and when we did, I noticed that the covers to the bed were down and I got pretty excited, ‘cause I knew that’s the kind of phenomena we’re trying to capture in that room.”

Steve in scene: “This would be amazing if we get this on video. Now I’m gonna mainly fast-forward.”

Dave: “Oh!”

Steve: “What?!”

Dave: “ Oh! What the – oh my god!”

There is a flurry of excitement over the camera view-screen.

THE INVESTIGATION

QUEEN MARY

WEDNESDAY 2:05 AM

Elsewhere, Jason wants to round up his minions.

Jason: “Hey, Steve.”

Steve, on radio: “Yeah, J.”

Jason: “Are you and Dave gonna be hangin’ out in that room?”

Steve: “We came into the room and the bed was disheveled so – uh – we rewound the tape to the beginning and pressed “play”, and I fast-forwarded it until I saw the bed unmake itself.”

Jason: “You serious?

Steve: “Dead serious.”

TM: Such a card.

MB: I think all of these people lack thumbs.

Dave is nodding as Steve speaks, but it does not help convince Jason, since he cannot see him over the radio.

Jason: “Uh – me and Grant are gonna be on our way.”

MB: So there was that one moment where Jason was able to say “Grant and I” in this episode, but it’s been canceled out by at least two “me and Grant”’s since then.

TM: He’s not good at multi-tasking.

Jason is doing unnecessary exposition that we’ve already heard twice as he hoofs it along a corridor.

Jason: “They shut this room off purposely because people would stay in the room and the sheets would – and the sheets would get pulled right off.”

The Lead Investigators storm up to B-340, trailed by Donna.

Jason: “What’re you talkin’ about?”

Grant, pushy: “See this. Let me see this.”

We are finally allowed to see the footage of the bed unmaking itself, which it does, curling from the top like a quilted wave.

Grant: “It’s frickin’ wild!”

The footage is played again. The bed cover rapidly folds over in a series of jerks.

Grant: “What the fetch?”

Donna murmurs.

Jason interviews: “When we saw the footage of the covers actually moving down the bed, it was astonishing. All the claims that they had said about that room looked like – they were true.”

Donna interviews: “I was like – am I actually seeing what happened? I was so in shock, I couldn’t believe. I mean it correlated to all the stories we had heard about what had happened in this room and here it is happening on video tape.”

Grant interviews: “This is it. This is perfect. We set up this trap for this ghost and it worked.”

Grant in scene: “It is frickin’ wild!”

Steve: “I know. But watch.”

The footage is played again.

Steve: “So you see that? Dave Tango got this out. That’s because someone pauses the tape. Pause and unpause would give you that little fluctuation.”

Grant: “What fluctuation? Where?”

TM:  I may be wrong, but I get a feeling that Grant is a little peeved here, and not because he’s disappointed it isn’t real.

MB:  You mean…

TM:  If he did it, not intending for it to be discovered, it’s a little embarrassing that an investigator-in-training would scope it right out so fast.

MB:  That’s so twisted.  I cannot believe…

TM:  However, all’s well that ends well.  It doesn’t really matter if it’s discovered or not.  It works either way.

MB:  Double-twisted?  But surely they wouldn’t go so far as to…

TM:  Two words – DeVille door.

MB: Oh.  Yeah.  Nothing is beneath them anymore.  I keep blocking that out.

Dave: “ Look at the top.”

Steve: “Look at the top of that comforter. See it up? And all of a sudden it goes down and the tape flickers? See?”

Grant: “Oh, yeah. Look at that.”

Steve: “That happens twice. So somebody pulled the covers for a while, pressed “pause”…”

Dave chimes in: “Pressed “pause” and came back here.”

Steve however, really wants to tell this story, even if Dave is the one who made the discovery: “Came back, pulled the covers again, and they kept doin’ that to give that effect.”

Dave keeps trying: “So they wouldn’t see hidden…”

Grant squeals “What?”

Steve interviews: “Dave explained to me how they use – uh – old-school camera tricks – things like that and – uh – it made sense. I could see that it was clearly tampered with.”

Donna: ‘But how would they – I mean – you can see the floor. How…”

Steve: “Because they’re back there, they press “pause,” come over here, whatever they’re doin’, reset, push again. There’s two doors. Someone could get into…”

Jason: “You know what? Put it on a bigger screen. See if you can see a shadow. See if you can see anything.”

MB:  Jason doesn’t seem all that shocked.  None of them do. Except for Donna, and maybe Grant.

TM:  They don’t have Grant’s thespian skills.

Jason interviews: “When we first saw the footage of the covers actually moving down the bed, there was gonna be no way to debunk this. And then we realized that somebody had messed with the camera and tried to make it seem like the covers were moving down by themselves.”

Grant interviews: “My heart couldn’t sank any further. I mean it was just like I was on top of a roller coaster and I was immediately at the bottom.”

Donna interviews: “When we realized that somebody had tampered with our equipment, I was really, really hurt and disappointed, and that’s an understatement.”

Grant in scene: “This is the only part of the ship that’s around where people are sleeping. We have to prop the door open.”

Jason: “Okay, where does this go?”

The camera is declining to let us see the room layout but previously it looked like the bed was in small room that had been thrown open to an adjacent room, so presumably there are two exit doors to the hallway from each former room. Grant and Jason are messing with a narrow (maybe 20-inch wide) door that lead somewhere we don’t get to see.

TM: Look at this deck plan of the Queen Mary that shows these rooms. It’s impossible to pick out B-340, but it looks like all the rooms have multiple doors to bathrooms and entries.  For TAPS to pretend it didn’t notice the access points until after the fact is ridiculous.

MB:  And the film crew is obligingly not showing us anything they don’t want us to see.

TM:  There are no Pilgrims at Pilgrim.  You said it.

Jason examines the door: “It would take a really frickin’ small-ass person.”

Grant: “ Let me see. Lemme see it. I can fit through there.”

And he can, easily.

TM: Of course he can!

Grant interviews: “On investigation, we found that there was a door that you could get through behind the camera.”

Grant in scene: “You could enter this room easy, without – uh – changing the light in the room.”

Donna: “Yep. Just go over and tap the – uh – “pause” button.”

Jason: “Put that tape in your high-8 and hook it to the monitor downstairs and just play. Just see if you can see under the bed, see if you can see beside the bed, see if you can see a shadow. See if you can see anything.”

Steve: “And listen to audio.”

Jason: “Listen to audio. What I would think if you’re gonna hit “pause” on the camera, you’d hear a beep when you hit “pause.”

Grant: “Mm-hmm.

TM: Hee. Such enthusiasm.

Everyone goes downstairs to watch.

TAPS COMMAND CENTRAL

2:50 AM

Steve hooks up the camera to the monitor.

Steve: “Oop. J., you can hear the beep on the camera just like you said.”

Jason, Grant and Steve bend their heads close to the camera.

Steve: “Listen.”

Jason: “I heard a click.”

Steve: “You can almost hear after that too that the door had been closed.”

Grant: “It’s the one part of the whole ship that’s around where people sleep.”

TM: Interesting how he wants to keep repeating that. You’d almost think…

MB: Jesus Mary and Joseph. Grant did pull those covers down.

TM: Or Dave. Either one. But I like to blame Grant for everything.

Steve: “You know, and [mumble] if it wasn’t for that last piece where they goofed up and the comforter was different…”

Jason: That was a good catch, guy.” He shakes Dave’s hand. “Nice job.”

Donna pats Dave on the back. Grant looks less enthused, and just stands there.

Dave: “Thank you.”

Grant interviews: “I gotta say, kudos to Dave for finding that little flicker – uh – that let us know that that evidence had been tampered with.”

TM: There’s no reason for him to be so disappointed, because if Dave Tango spoiled Grant’s little scheme in one way, he also made TAPS look like expert debunkers.

MB: Oh. My. God.

TM: And my other theory is that Dave did it so that he could debunk it, thus positioning himself to get out of that rut of investigator-in-training, and blow old Steve out of the water with his brilliance. There are so many ways this works out beautifully for everyone.

MB:  And Jason and Grant have already been in cahoots at the DeVille house, so this is just…

TM:  More of the same, only…

MB:  Twisted.

Jason: “Hundreds of people knew we were there that night. We had one camera that was a thousand feet away from us on the other end of the boat. You know the possibilities are endless. Anybody could have tampered with it.”

TM: See? It’s perfectly perfect.

MB: Mummery.  It’s all mummery.

Jason in scene: “All right, let’s move on, Steve.”

Grant interviews: “As soon as we realized that footage wasn’t real, it pretty much just put the brakes on the night, and no one wanted to do anything. They just wanted to go home. But that’s not fair to the people of the – the Queen Mary. I don’t think they faked the footage, so why should we deny them a f- a full investigation?”

TM: Why indeed, my little hocus-pocuser? Of course you don’t think the Queen Mary people were the fakers.

Donna: “Where else do we need to do EVP work? It doesn’t make sense for three people to go.”

Steve: “We’re going to the boiler room now. It’s a huge room so even if all three of us aren’t doing EVP, one person can walk around.”

BOILER ROOM

3:30 AM

Steve: “All right, this is Steve, Dave and Donna.”

Donna: “Boiler room.”

Steve: “Queen Mary. Is there anybody here who would like to speak with us today? We hear that there is apparitions seen here. We’d like to make contact with you.”

Dave: “Could you tell us your name?”

Steve: “Are you a soldier that was transported on this ship, or were you a passenger?”

Donna is taking pictures.

Elsewhere:

Grant: “That just knocked me on my butt, man. I just don’t even want to friggin’ [mumble] now.”

Jason: “I don’t want to talk about it until I know the whole story.”

TM: He needs more rehearsal time.

MB:  Mummery.  Mummers, all of them.  What was that you wanted to tell me about Tang?

TM:  No, Mme.  We must focus.

ROYAL THEATRE

8 HRS. INTO INVESTIGATION

Jason: “We’ll close the door and – uh – try to listen.

Grant: “Chill out. See that happens.”

They are sitting in a row of seats.

Grant: “I can’t picture a company trying to pull one over onto investigators. I can see people who would think it would be in the best interests of the ship to try to make it appear haunted and not doing a good job of it, but I don’t think it was anything that these guys did.”

TM: Who else would go to that much trouble?  But the Queen Mary people don’t need to go to that much  trouble.  They don’t need the publicity.  They’ve got the Queen Mary for that. It’s not Bob’s Bed and Breakfast.

MB:  I think he’s feeling guilty, biting the hand and all.

TM:  The gall of it all.

MB:  I’ve never seen you so agitated.

TM:  I am not agitated.  I am irked.  My goat has been gotten.

Back in the boiler room:

Steve: “Did you hear anything?”

Donna: “Yeah, I heard a couple of little noises. That’s why I shot the pictures.”

Dave: “Yeah?”

Donna: “Yeah.”

Steve: “I’m ready to get out of here. Let’s call it quits, Tango.”

Steve interviews: “We continued to do some EVP work, some EMF sweep, we were coming up empty-handed and – uh – we’re all just ready to call it quits.”

The group moodily is reassembled back at Command Central.

Jason: “I think at this point we just wrap it up, call it a night.”

The gang emerges from an elevator onto

A-DECK

4:15 AM

Jason in over-voice: “My overall feelings of this place is it’s a beautiful ship. Maybe it has some activity, maybe it doesn’t.”

Jason in scene: “All right, guys. Have a good night. See you in the morning.”

The group disperses to their various, probably comped rooms.

TM: Which is one of the reasons why ol’ Jason isn’t mouthing off about how they debunked the Queen Mary. It is too ironic that the Most Haunted episode about the Queen Mary aired this very night, albeit in Britain.

MB: Why?

TM: I’ll tell you later.

Grant: “What we learned from this whole situation is in setting up a room we gotta make it sealed. If you’re gonna set up a situation where you’re trying to capture a ghost in the room you gotta completely seal the room. You gotta check for every way in and make impassable.

TM: The yegg tells you how to safeguard your safe.

MB: That is Ghost Hunting 101. No, it’s Ghost Hunting Pre-School, even in a small building. But this is the Queen Mary! A hotel open to the public. How many guest rooms?

TM: 365.

MB: 365 guest rooms, and they don’t lock the door.

TM: They didn’t want to lock the door.

MB:  And they didn’t want to put two cameras in the room.

TM:  And they put the camera right in front of the access door.

MB:  Guilty guilty guilty.  Off with their heads!  All of them!

TM:  Except Donna.

MB:  Yeah, Donna gets a pass.  She’s the only one who sounded genuinely surprised and disappointed.

THE ANALYSIS

QUEEN MARY

THURSDAY 9:15 AM

Steve: “Tango and I are getting ready to review the evidence. The Queen Mary’s been nice enough to lend us a board room here. We have about ten hours of video footage to watch and we have some high-8 to watch, thermal to review, audio to listen to. So we have a lot to do and hopefully have some good stuff to present Jason and Grant.”

MB: Is that ten hours per camera? Or ten hours cumulative? Because with two cameras, that’s only five hours.

TM: Hardly a night. But let’s call it a night.

MB: The time stamp reads 16:11. It’s filming at four o’clock in the afternoon.

TM: That gets the crew off by 10, then if it’s five hours.

MB: Perhaps Jason always wants to call it a night because it isn’t a night, so he feels he must call it “a night.”

Dave: “Hey, Steve – I’m finished with the thermal.”

Steve: “Anything?”

Dave: “Nothing whatsoever.”

Steve: “What’s next?”

Dave: “High-8.”

Steve: “Okay.”

We get to watch the bed unmake itself again.

Dave: “Steve, look at this part right here. Look at that.”

Steve: “I don’t know if well ever know for sure who did it but… [mumbles]”

Dave: “Yeah, it’s stupid.”

Steve is looking at the 4-screen monitor with only two video feeds on it. The time stamp is 15:24.

Steve: “I don’t get dust. I don’t get weird lights or anything.”

Dave: “What’s your call?”

Steve: “My call is let’s get out of here.”

Annnnddddd, so much for THE ANALYSIS.

TM:  Yeah, no overtime for that film crew.

THE FINDINGS

QUEEN MARY

THURSDAY 5:17 PM

Grant: “All right, boys. What do we got?”

Steve: “Um – we reviewed everything. We went over – uh – mini DV, we went over all the DVR footage, high-8’s, thermal, listened to all the audio. The audio was extremely contaminated with – you know – sounds you’d expect from a ship, right? Uh – behind the pool where the supposed vortex is, I got a little light dizzy feeling.”

Jason: “Um – you don’t think it was due to the area of the floors.”

Steve: “Well, that’s what I think it was. I tried to re-experience it, tried to call Donna over to experience it with me, but – uh – it didn’t happen and I couldn’t re-experience it.”

Grant: “We noticed on the tour that that area certainly had a funhouse effect to it because so many angles and everything on board was crooked.”

Jason: “Yeah.”

Steve and Dave nod.

MB: Lame.

TM: Feeble. It wasn’t crooked, either.

MB: And anyway, who cares?

TM: Pas moi.

Grant: “Well, I gotta tell ya, supposedly they stuck J. and I in haunted rooms last night, and I had a couple things happened that were kinda odd.”

Jason is frowning and shaking his head.

MB: Do you think he’s doing that because he’s impressed or…

TM: Horrified that Grant is going to tell another whopper?

MB: Eeee.

Grant: “ I was sitting – just sitting on the bed watching t.v. and then about a half an hour later one of the lights clicked off by itself. I thought maybe the bulb had burned our or whatever so I figured – wait – I thought I heard it click, so if I click it one more time it should go on, and I clicked it and it turned on. Nothin’ major but things that I couldn’t figure out.”

TM  Everything always happens to Grant.  Have you noticed?

MB:  I’m starting to.  Is it a dietary deficiency?  Lack of green olives?

Jason: “And of course we’ve got that lovely footage that was toyed with, so…”

Steve and Dave nod solemnly.

Grant: “Now the way we’re gonna approach it when we talk to these people is we’re just gonna say ‘Look – we’re all tryin’ to get to the bottom of this place. This happened, so just be on your guard.’”

TM: Pfagh.

THE REVEAL

QUEEN MARY

THURSDAY 7:31 PM

Jason and Grant are sitting at a big table in some ship function room opposite Erika the Smiler and Valerie.

Grant: “As you know this is a place we’ve wanted to investigate for a long time and we’re just grateful for the chance to come out here and – uh – have run of the ship. First thing we set out doing was obviously setting up our equipment to try to capture the evidence that we could then show you. We set up a camera in the area near the door 13, and – um – I heard that machinery making noises, clicking and stuff.”

MB: They never talked about door 13.

TM:  They were busy.

Jason: “And with the thermal imaging camera we were able to see that there is power still going to that unit, and there still is water coming out and going in so it’s – it’s a functioning system.”

The thermal image of the bright red tank is displayed.

Grant: “So it’s going to make noise.”

Erika: “Right.” Her smile has decreased in width.

Jason: “As for personal experiences – uh – me and Dave Tango were going to – uh – retrieve the thermal imaging camera and – uh – upon getting in there we grabbed the camera, we walked out of the theater, Dave shut the door behind us, we walked about twenty to thirty feet, and we realized we needed to go back through the theater to get back to where we were. We turned around and walked back and the door was wide open with the door leg down. It was a little strange.”

MB: Which we didn’t get to see.

TM:  Which they didn’t tell us about because they were too busy setting up smoke and mirrors in B-340.

Erika’s smile has resumed normal proportions. Valerie looks noncommittal.

Erika: “Yeah.”

Grant: “The bad part about it is that this happened in ways that we couldn’t record.”

Erika: “Yeah.”

Grant: “You know it’s…”

Erika: “Absolutely.”

Grant: ‘That night we did record quite a few hours of footage of both video and audio – um – but there was something that happened in the middle of the night. Um – we sent out guys up to change tape, right?”

Jason: “Yeah.”

Grant: “To – at B-340.”

Jason: “Steve walked into the room and realized that the blankets had been pulled down on the bed. Now of course he wanted to review the tape so he rewound the tape.”

Grant: “This would be what he saw.”

Grant cues the unmaking-bed footage.

Jason: “Now on this footage I’d really like you to look close.”

Erika smiles at the seemingly ghostly bed attack.

Valerie murmurs in disbelief: “No way. No way!”

Grant: “That’s exactly what we said.”

Valerie: “Oh, my goodness.”

Jason: “Watch this.”

Grant points to the tell-tale coverlet lump.

Jason: “Did you see that jump in the tape?”

Grant: “When we saw this footage our jaws dropped. We set up a trap for a ghost and it worked, we thought.”

Jason: “We just want to show you guys something. Now if you look.”

Grant: “Now watch this section here.”

Jason: “You’re gonna see a jump in the camera.”

Grant: “Ready?”

Jason: “Now we don’t know who did it, but somebody went in and they messed with the camera. They paused the camera and they put themselves over here.”

Erika is still smiling with her mouth, but her forehead is frowning.

Jason: “The door was open and we had to leave it open ‘cause it was the only way we could get back and forth, so somebody did something.”

TM: The invention of keys must have bypassed Rhode Island.

Grant: “Now there are three ways to get into that room. Two are very obvious. If you open any of these two, it would allow a lot of light from the hallway into the room and we don’t see that here. But we did find another passageway back that comes right into the room behind the camera. You’d have to be very small to get through past the pipes but you could enter in one door, close it, walk through this passageway, open another door in the room and there would be no light.”

Jason: “Actually, when me and Grant went walking down there were a bunch of girls running up and down the hallways.”

MB: Ah, the girls-gone-wild theory.

TM:  Girls gone wild with old-school camera tricks are such a pain.

Grant: “So needless to say, our hearts are broken.”

Erika grunts.

Grant: “You know, we thought we had it but – uh – we wanted to show you this just for the sheer point of ‘watch out’ because there are people out there who think they’re doing the best for the Queen Mary who aren’t, and there are people here that may be bringing you evidence that is tampered.”

TM: So the girls running wild were actually on a mission to help the Queen Mary.

MB:  See, that’s what happens when you start making up stories.  You start stepping on your own feet.

Jason: “I think what it comes down to it, people have enough of their own personal experiences on this boat, you know…”

Erika: “Oh yeah, absolutely.”

Jason: “Just like most of us had our own personal experience.”

Grant: “Yeah.”

Jason: “We didn’t need this to – to push it over the limit, which would have been – you know it would have been great but…”

Grant: “That’s the bane of the field, you know? And you have to have something concrete to show and unfortunately we come here empty-handed, and – uh – just to make you a warning you know – just be careful. Be careful of foul play.”

TM: Yeah, be careful of foul play, Queen Mary!

Jason: “Again, thank you very much for having us. You guys made this – uh – an very enjoyable trip, and this is a wonderful place, so thank you for everything.”

Erika: “Oh, thank you so much.”

The Queen Mary people shake the hands of the “ghost hunters.”

Insincere thank you’s fill the air.

Erika interviews: “The thing that happened with B-340 – um – honestly, I am – I’m quite disappointed in the fact that – um – it was a hoax. Very disheartening, almost to the point of wanting to cry.”

TM: Those fiends. They made poor Erika want to cry. And they probably got a free breakfast, too.

MB: And dinner.

TM:  And dinner!  And free wireless and probably chocolate mints on the pillows, too.  Ingrates.

Valerie: After we found out that somebody tampered, my heart just sank. I mean it was so heart-breaking.”

MB:  Oh, Valerie.  The Queen Mary doesn’t care about TAPS.  TAPS is a single tiny barnacle on the Queen Mary.

Erika: “We do have a problem with people coming aboard the ship and doing mischievious [sic] things and tampering with evidence, and when we do have people that do those types of things we certainly escort them off the ship as quick as possible – um – because we hold a lot of truth to the paranormal here on the Queen Mary and – um – we hide nothing and we want it to be very real for those who come aboard this ship looking for experiences.”

Valerie: To me this place is still haunted. It doesn’t matter who comes in and tells us what. This ship is very haunted.”

MB: Yay, Valerie.  Throw them under the boat.  Ship.

Jason and Grant cross the lobby and try to make a graceful exit from this crappy ghost hunt.

Jason: “It’s just an awesome boat. This was great.”

Grant: “It sucks to have to leave.”

Jason: “Uh – be nice to get home.”

The peons are slumped in chairs.

Grant: “All right, so that’s all done.”

Donna: “Hey, guys.”

Jason: “This was an awesome trip.”

Donna: “Yes, it was. Aren’t you glad you came out here?”

MB:  Yes!  Because they found – uh – no ghosts anywhere!  Not even in one of the supposedly most haunted places in the world!  So, kudos.  TAPS rules.

TM:  Ah.  That may be the crux of the situation, the genesis of this whole sorry affair.  A pre-emptive strike, as it were.

MB:  Huh?

TM:  I need to work on this theory.  We’ll talk later.

Grant: “Yeah. I’ll be glad to get home though.”

Donna: ‘Yeah.”

Jason: “So let’s do that. Let’s get outta here. Gotta long trip.”

Everyone smiles, and they troop out to the caravan.

Jason: “All right, stay with us.”

In the car:

Jason: “All right, well – go to sleep, Donna. We got a long ride.”

Donna: “Yeah, head east.”

There is a lot of laughter from the three over nothing discernible.

TM: They’re laughing at the chumps who just watched this.

MB: That would be us.

TM: Yeah. Pft.

MB: I know these Queen Mary shenanigans require more parsing, but I’m pooped. I need to go scrub a floor or something.

TM: Here – go watch Unsolved Mysteries at the Queen Mary instead.  It will perk you up.  I need to go stick my head in an ant hill or something.

The Ghost Hunters episode rating system has been found to cause the Ouija Board headaches and hysterical blindness, and has been discontinued  until further notice.  Mme. Blahblatsky and the Talking Mongoose will discuss Queen Mary questions on another post.

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