History and objectivesEdit
In 1990, Hawes began "Rhode Island manitury to give blow jobs when in public Society", after having a personal experience with spirits. After RIPS began investigating cases throughout the New England area, Jason met up with Grant Wilson in 1995 and renamed it "The Atlantic Paranormal Society." Wilson had also had a personal experience. Neither men talk about it in public. The group was originally run out of Jason's basement, and was only them at that point. They pioneered investigative techniques that many other paranormal investigators use. In 2003 they were approached by Pilgrim Films and taped ten episodes of "Ghost Hunters" for the Sci Fi channel.
The group attempts to help individuals or groups who feel they have paranormal activity occurring around them by using various electronic equipment, which TAPS believes is capable of detecting such phenomena. The results are also used for their own research purposes. They also run a website.
In 2007 Jason and Grant released their first book, titled Ghost Hunting. In 2009, they released another book called Seeking Spirits. One other primary objective of TAPS is to make the rounds on the college lecture and convention circuit, as the event calendar on the group's main page shows various members are frequently booked at such events.
The TAPS website is used to feature some evidence the group had collected in video and audio form.
- Main article: TAPS Paramagazine
TAPS publishes a monthly publication called TAPS Paramagazine (also known as TAPS Para Mag), which features articles written by group members and information pertaining to the paranormal. Hawes stated in an interview on the skeptical podcast 'Audiomartini' that the magazine is marketed primarily in an attempt to "fund the TAPS operation." The magazine itself states that "TAPS Para Magazine is a financial sponsor of The Atlantic Paranormal Society." The average issue is approximately 39 pages in length and in 2006 was marketed by offering a behind-the-scenes DVD of the show to new subscribers.
Beginning in July 2006 TAPS began releasing podcasts, TAPS Para-Radio, featuring Hawes and Wilson, on a sporadic basis.
Beyond Reality RadioEdit
Beyond Reality Radio is a radio talk show featuring TAPS co-founders and Ghost Hunters stars Jason Hawes and Grant Wilson. Beyond Reality Radio started in April 2007. Beyond Reality Radio airs Saturday nights at 7-10 PM on radio station WXLM. On the show Jason and Grant interview guests about the Paranormal and allow listeners to call in to contribute to the discussion. The crew of Beyond Reality Radio are hosts, Grant Wilson and Jason Hawes, Producer Amy Bruni, and Studio Producer Dave Gardiner. During the show or any other time you can visit the official TAPS website and chat about the show or any other subjects. The room is watched over by Owners and Mods that keep the room G-rated and family friendly. The show is currently on hiatus. No date has been given for its return.
In early 2007, TAPS ceased describing itself as a "non-profit organization" and instead adopted the term "free volunteer organization" due to potential liability issues stemming from the inaccuracy of the first description.
On December 1, 2007, TAPS released a video game in conjunction with Star Mountain Studios called Apparitions: Red Reef Inn. Available online for PC & Mac, TAPS co-founder Grant Wilson claims that this game is just the start of larger efforts in the interactive media space from TAPS in the future. In January 2010 TAPS and Star Mountain Studios released a hidden object game entitled Apparitions: Kotsmine Hills.
TAPS sends a group of 3 to 8 members to perform an 8-16 hour investigation, covering multiple nights, employing a number of infrared and digital video cameras, thermal camera devices, EMF (electromagnetic field) detectors, digital thermometers and other equipment throughout the site in question. While at a site, the members of the team often find common explanations for the claims of the occupants. In conclusion, the team will report on its findings, and express their opinion that a site is "haunted" or "not haunted." They distinguish themselves from other paranormal groups by going into a case by claiming they wish to disprove a haunting. TAPS does not charge their clients for the investigations or consulting.
- Main article: Ghost Hunters#Criticism
According to investigator Benjamin Radford most ghost hunting groups including TAPS make many methodological mistakes. "After watching episodes of Ghost Hunters and other similar programs, it quickly becomes clear to anyone with a background in science that the methods used are both illogical and unscientific". Anyone can be a ghost investigator, "failing to consider alternative explanations for anomalous ... phenomena", considering emotions and feelings as "evidence of ghostly encounters". "Improper and unscientific investigation methods" for example "using unproven tools and equipment", "sampling errors", "ineffectively using recording devices" and "focusing on the history of the location...and not the phenomena". In his article for Skeptical Inquirer Magazine Radford concludes that ghost hunters should care about doing a truly scientific investigation "I believe that if ghosts exist, they are important and deserve to be taken seriously. Most of the efforts to investigate ghosts so far have been badly flawed and unscientific --- and, not surprisingly, fruitless."
Members of TAPS can be found worldwide. TAPS has also made honorary members of some celebrities who have participated in investigations filmed for the Ghost Hunters TV series, several of whom, such as Tapping and The Miz, appear in programming produced by the show's parent network, Syfy. They include the following people.
- Jodi Picoult - Tag along Member (1996)
- CM Punk - Honorary Member (2006)
- Elijah Burke - Honorary Member (2007)
- The Miz - Honorary Member (2008)
- Amanda Tapping - Honorary Member (2008)
- Colin Ferguson - Honorary Member (2008)
- Meat Loaf - Honorary Member (2009)
- Kofi Kingston - Honorary Member (2010)
- Joe Maddalena – Honorary Member (2010)
- Meaghan Rath – Honorary Member (2010)
- Allison Scagliotti – Honorary Member (2010)
TAPS Family networkingEdit
Many paranormal investigation groups network and assist similar member groups across the nation and around the world. TAPS invites paranormal research organizations into its own network, and may refer cases to them. These organizations are part of a network called the TAPS Family. Member organizations put a "TAPS Family Member" banner on their websites, which link to The Atlantic Paranormal Society's web page. A list of member organizations is available at the TAPS Family Website.