Aired on: Syfy
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
I'm not a big fan of "reality" ghost story television series, so I was reluctant to watch Haunted Collector when it first appeared on the Syfy Channel. That being said, one Wednesday, I started watching the show out of boredom and found it entertaining. After watching two seasons of this show (it has actually aired for three), I find myself still entertained. So why can I stomach this show over those like Ghost Hunters and My Ghost Story?
Haunted Collector stars John Zaffis, a demonologist who has been plying his trade for thirty-five years, give or take. As the Haunted Collector, Zaffis, members of his family and some investigators and technical staff travel around the world helping folks who are experiencing paranormal activity at their various locations. The team consists mainly of John Zaffis as team leader, his son Chris as paranormal investigator and daughter Aimee as historical researcher. Joining the team are Equipment Technician Brian Cano, and (from Season 2 on) Jason Gates who acts as a paranormal investigator and historical researcher and Investigator Jesslyn Brown.
The format is relatively the same here as on other paranormal/ghost hunting shows: the team travels to location of the paranormal activity, does a client walk-through, a daytime sweep and a nighttime investigation. During the nighttime investigation, if something is found to be a possible source of paranormal activity, the item is brought to an expert, often times an antique dealer from the area who can explain the origin of the item. Then John and his team put all of their research together and, based on his findings, will ask the client if they would like the item removed from the location. The whole idea here is to locate the source of the activity and stop the activity if at all possible, unlike on other shows where the activity is embraced and actually egged on.
Most of the time, the client wants the item removed and Zaffis brings it to his museum, located in a barn on his property in Stratford, Connecticut. But there are some times when Zaffis suggests other things be done with the haunted items. In one episode, Zaffis believed that the entity haunting the item was trying to draw attention to something that had happened to them. In that case, Zaffis decided it would be better to place the item on display for others entering that location to see with an explanation explaining the significance of the item. In another case, Zaffis suggested the item be disposed of where the individual connected to it died. Almost always, the client reports less if not a total cessation of paranormal activity when Zaffis is done.
For some reason, I find it interesting that a person's energy could be attached to an inanimate object long after they have died. I enjoy learning about the rich histories of the various locations that the team visits. I liked that Haunted Collector wasn't very gimmicky when it first started. The show has gotten a tad more gimmicky this year, with impact music playing at moments of discovery, investigators that get overly freaked out (Example: Jesslyn melting down when she gets locked in the showers at the old Montana State Prison), newer toys that seem a bit far fetched in their workings, shadow sightings and more. There were less of these gimmicks involved when I first started watching the show, which is why I've stuck with it for so long.
I predict I will eventually get bored with Haunted Collector as it becomes more gimmicky, playing up to ratings rather than its reality status, but for now, I will continue watching for its entertainment value if not for its realistic presentation.