When the Ghost Hunters TV series first launched, do you remember it as Ghost Hunters or as TAPS?
I remember it as TAPS.
When it first aired, I’d seen the name (as TAPS) mentioned in the TV section of a Houston (Texas) newspaper. I didn’t read the article because I was looking for something else. However, I made a mental note to look for the show when it aired. I thought the might be based on the movie, Taps, and I wondered how they’d expand that into a weekly series.
That evening, I saw the TAPS show mentioned on our cable TV’s scrolling show listings. So, I clicked to watch it.
To my surprise, the show was about ghost hunting. At the time, I was writing my first full-length book about ghost hunting, so I was delighted to see a TV series about the same subject.
After that, I watched TAPS for the first two or three seasons, and I can remember when the show started being called Ghost Hunters in our Texas TV listings. I thought the name Ghost Hunters would attract more viewers.
I didn’t think about it again, until I mentioned the name change to Jason Hawes (one of the show’s stars). His reply was almost harsh. He said the show had never been called TAPS. His research team was called “TAPS” (The Atlantic Paranormal Society), but he never allowed Pilgrim (the show’s production company) to call the show TAPS.
(Pilgrim is the owner of the trademark to the TV show name, Ghost Hunters, and that was an issue for some time. The expression “ghost hunters” goes back to the 19th century or earlier, but at least one Pilgrim staff member seemed to think their trademark rights included all use of that phrase. Since then — and for many years now — Pilgrim haven’t tried to assert ownership of every use of the phrase, only when it’s used to reference the TV show they own.)
Jason was very clear about the name of the show, and it wasn’t the kind of thing I’d argue with Jason about. When he’s that sure about something, he’s almost always right.
However, I was equally certain about the name of the show when my husband and I watched it. So, I checked with my husband. (He has one of those very precise memories… no details elude him.) He, too, remembered the show as TAPS.
I’m still not sure if Houston (TX) TV stations thought the name “Ghost Hunters” might not appeal to their viewers, or what. After all, some marketers target Texas audiences differently than, say, viewers in New York City.
So, I need to check back issues of Houston newspaper TV listings, to be absolutely certain they weren’t calling the show TAPS in 2004.
I haven’t talked about this much at Mandela Effect. To me, it seems like a quirky memory, and I’m still not sure my memory isn’t correct for this timeline.
However, someone else brought up the TAPS v. Ghost Hunters topic again, today. So, I’ve decided to see if this is a widespread alternate memory, or something that might be related to a simple marketing decision at a few local TV stations.
If you recall the show in its first season or so — whether you remember it as TAPS or Ghost Hunters — I hope you’ll leave a comment and let me know where you were (geographically) when you heard about the show. If I see a geographical pattern, it’s easier to attribute this to regional marketing, not an alternate history.