TAPS or Ghost Hunters?

GHlogo - copyright Pilgrim production company and SyFy - used only for illustrative and commentary purposesThis hasn’t been reported as often as some other alternate memories, but it’s one that’s often on my mind.

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 is called “TAPS” (The Atlantic Paranormal Society), but he never allowed Pilgrim (the show’s production company) to call the show TAPS.

(Pilgrim are the owners 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.

48 thoughts on “TAPS or Ghost Hunters?

  1. phay

    Well the ghost hunting crew were originally called TAPS they would always go to houses and check leaks and pipes and that sort of stuff I guess they were some-what plumbers. But on this one show one of the guys said that they decided to change their name to Ghost Hunters instead of TAPS, so yes the first few episodes are titled TAPS and then later changed to Ghost Hunters because it was more fitting.

    1. phay

      whoops I meant “On this one episode” I recall one of the guys started talking about their original name and why they changed it to Ghost Hunters.

      1. Fiona Broome Post author

        Hi, phay,

        Yes, the team were called TAPS, which stands for The Atlantic Paranormal Society, http://www.the-atlantic-paranormal-society.com/.

        However, I’m not familiar with an episode where the guys actually talked about changing the show name. That doesn’t fit what Jason said about the name of the show, when I mentioned that it had been TAPS in Houston.

        So, I’ll go back and watch the first several episodes to see that conversation. That might help clear up the confusion.



        P.S. Jason & Grant weren’t just somewhat plumbers. They were full-time plumbers, and — in the early episodes of Ghost Hunters — they drove their Roto-Rooter van to visit clients.

        I’m not sure if Jason has always been a plumber. I think Grant’s pre-plumbing job had been related to website design, but then he went to work with Jason in the plumbing field. They’re really good plumbers.

        They’re also friends of mine. We rarely “talk shop” about our respective paranormal research, so I now know far too much about plumbing. *LOL* (Seriously, I will never use one of those “clean your tank with every flush” products that go into the tank where the water is stored. Jason once explained the problems he’s seen with them, in such vivid terms, I came home and immediately threw out the existing products in our bathrooms.)

        Jason is still a plumber. I know he had to shift his work focus because people were calling the company he works for, just to get Jason & Grant to visit, not because they actually had a plumbing problem. So, I think Jason & Grant started handling corporate accounts rather than private residential customers.

        (Many people seem to think that reality TV shows pay well. No, that was the point: Reality shows became popular during the writers’ strike, years ago. Reality shows were considered a temporary way to keep networks stocked with new programming. The pay scale wasn’t — and still isn’t — anywhere near what regular TV performers earn. And, weirdly, the viewing audience decided they liked reality programming. So, Hollywood now has lots of TV shows that cost them far less than pre-strike programming did. And, every one of my closest friends who are on reality TV shows… they’ve kept their day jobs. They’ve just had to modify their work schedules to accommodate grueling bursts of on-location filming. I don’t envy them at all.)

        Grant left the show after many years, and I don’t think he’s still involved with plumbing services, but I could be wrong. I do know he’s a gifted musician ( https://soundcloud.com/grantwilsonpiano ) and a talented artist (http://ratherdashinggames.com/ ). Frankly, I’m relieved that he’s able to have more time with his family and pursue his creative talents. To hear him play the piano… it’s amazing. I never expected him to stay with the TV show as long as he did.

        Together with their families, Jason & Grant own the Spalding Inn in Whitefield, NH. It’s a wonderful (and haunted) hotel near Mt. Washington. http://www.thespaldinginn.com/

    2. Frances

      I watched this show in Durango MX on cable and it was deffinetly called TAPS i came back to the US, as i was born here, afyer a few years and was suprised to see the same tv show named differently.

    3. TopsyKretts

      I clearly remember these as being TWO DIFFERENT shows, TAPS being the copy cat to the show GHOST HUNTERS.

      1. Vivek narain

        Hi fiona, You may be aware of these facts but just in case.Many of the psychics,occultists and paranormalists,have been either barber or plumber of celtic origin ,british and usually scottish.

  2. Rebecca

    I also remember the show being called TAPS. I remember the opening title screen saying T.A.P.S. I also remember a show called Ghost Hunters. I thought they were two different shows until now, although I knew Jason and Grant were on both. I feel as of the name change (or the reason for two shows), was something to do with the fact they were getting requests for outside of the Atlantic coast.

    I live in eastern Canada.

    1. Nik

      I live in southern Ontario, and I remember it as TAPS too. Maybe it just changed names in different markets, I’m not sure…

  3. Kathy

    I watched that show for years, from the beginning. I have always known it as and heard it called “Ghost Hunters.”

  4. Michelle

    I clearly remember it being called T.A.P.S., it was the first ghost hunting show I remember here in the America’s, Britain had that other one “Haunted something” with the blonde woman who screamed a lot. Annoying.

    I remember Grant and Jason debunking a lot of ‘hauntings’, it was the first time I heard that bad electrical and plumbing could cause increased EMF fields which could cause odd feelings and even sickness in people.

    1. Fiona Broome Post author


      Thanks for the confirmation about TAPS’ show name. (I think the UK show you mentioned was “Most Haunted UK.” If so, Yvette — the blonde woman — is actually very nice, though maybe too easily startled. Some of the other cast members had fun scaring her. She seemed to take it in stride, but the pranks did get out of hand, now and then.)

      Electrical and plumbing issues are just a few normal explanations for sites that seem haunted. I think infrasound may be an even bigger issue, and harder to identify.

      You can learn about many more in my free book (offered as a download at Jason’s website, The Authors Club), Is Your House Haunted? I’m revising it with additional, new information, but you can download the free 2013 edition right now at: http://the-authors-club.com/index.php/ebooks/non-fiction/product/1-is-your-house-haunted


  5. Robert


    I have watched Ghost Hunters since season one…and in my area it was always Ghost Hunters…I am in Northeastern Pennsylvania. I have most of the seasons on dvd so I will have to go back and check it out for you.

  6. T Post author

    Here is a link from an article originally written in 2005 that clearly refers to the now “Ghost Hunters” as T.A.P.S http://www.rense.com/general67/taps.htm

    Although I’ve never really watched the show, I remember when it called T.A.P.S because I’ve always watched Sci-fi now SyFy network.

    1. Fiona Broome Post author

      Thanks, T!

      It’s useful to see an article written in September 2005, months after the show first aired (Oct 2004), still calling it TAPS. I can’t think of any reason why someone would use the TAPS name nearly a year after the show started, unless that’s what the show was called when the person first started watching it. Well… maybe.

      Even as anecdotal evidence, the article is not as strong as I’d like. I skimmed it and I was amused by how the show was perceived… as if the show was even close to a real-time representation of the actual investigation. Unless access to the site was extremely limited, filming covered many days, not just a few hours during just one night. That’s true of most ghost-related shows prior to 2010 or so.

      Also, I have difficulty using that article as evidence that the name of the show was TAPS, when the blogger got Grant’s name wrong. He confused him with Steve Gonsalves. I’d understand if Grant and Steve looked alike or ever had a similar demeanor. They don’t. So, it’s reasonable to argue that — since the guy mixed up Grant’s name — he might have been confused about the show’s name, as well.

      The sad situation with Brian Harnois is a separate topic, badly misunderstood by the person who wrote that article. Brian is a sweet guy but he wasn’t a good fit for the Ghost Hunters’ TV series.

      And finally, New York is one of many states where sellers do not have to disclose whether a house is (or seems to be) haunted.

      Four errors in an article weaken its credibility. However, one could argue that the article’s shallowness makes it more likely that the show was called TAPS. It’s how the writer remembered the show. He was working from memory, not from research notes.

      Thanks for the reference!


  7. T

    No problem Fiona :-) I mainly wanted to point out the date and the fact that “Ghost Hunters” was indeed at one point called T.A.P.S . Lastly, there is another article from Before It’s News thats from early 2012 that I think you may like if you haven’t seen it yet:


    Note: As opposed to now, Before It’s News was a pretty cool site just over a year ago with alot of great articles concerning alternative news, the above article was one of my favorites from that period. Over the past few months or so, the site seems to have been taken over by religious fundamentalists and others of the like….a far cry from just a little over a year ago

  8. Vivek narain

    Hi fiona, ghost hunting is your arena and i may look like a, virgin babe in mafia convention,i have in my half century of existence,heard numerous folklores,but none of them convincing in totality of description.As i earlier speculated the soul is a container for consciousness and after the consciousness has shifted to an alternate reality the mindless soul may appear ephemerally as a ghost,somtimes when the embodied person was obsessed with the grandeur of his piece of real estate,the ghost may turn out to be not so ephemeral and may linger on for centuries,and what is a century in a cosmic eternity or even in an alternate universe with a very slow entropy.There is a live example in nature,SALAMENDER drops its tail while in flight,which continues to squirm for some moments,effectively fooling the predator.By the way a researcher surmised that, the voice presence is more tangible than visual appearance in ghost phenomena.

    1. Fiona Broome Post author


      You raise some good points, and — in my opinion — you are right.

      For much of the past 10 years, I’ve said that most ghosts aren’t “dead people.” In fact, when observing anomalous activity in a “haunted” area while using real-time communication devices, one of my first questions is, “Are you alive and well in your own time?” The reply is “yes” more often than many paranormal researchers are willing to accept.

      Talking about this has not endeared me to some traditional ghost hunters. Their careers, or the fame and fortune they aspire to, depend on most hauntings being actual ghosts.

      Until I tested my “alive and well” theory, my previous assertion (less unpopular, but not always well received) was that most “hauntings” are residual energy… similar to what you describe. (I’m pretty sure Grant Wilson, formerly of “Ghost Hunters,” would agree with that.) The example I gave was how a room can almost crackle with emotional energy, even an hour after a bitter argument took place there. Your salamander example is even better.

      I still believe that most hauntings are either residual energy or a perception of energy that’s in a nearby dimension. Whether the brane is thinner at that location or there’s a resonance with the location in our time-space, the energy comes through.

      When people lock into the idea that ghosts are always “dead people” — or (at the other extreme) deny that ghostly phenomena exist at all — I think they’re missing some great learning opportunities. I won’t pretend that those entities are lingering at the point where the brane is thinner, waiting to talk with us. (Then again, maybe some are.) However, when something anomalous is occurring, I’d like people to get past their prejudices and try more actively communicating with whatever-it-is, treating the “ghosts” like living people… which they may be.

      I still believe that some ghosts are spirits who are lingering here for their own reasons. I also think that some spirits revisit favorite places, check up on friends and family, and so on. That makes sense to me. (In addition, there seem to be other entities that we label “good” or “bad,” and we don’t fully understand what they are. For now, the labels seem to work, but I think there’s far more to learn there.)

      If we can focus on the idea that some “ghosts” are normal people in nearby, parallel realities, and talk with them, we might learn some very useful things that relate to the topics we’re discussing here, and quantum science in general.


      1. Vivek narain

        Hi fiona, To be precise, what we are contemplating is whether/either immortality is embodied or disembodied.While we are enthused with this new prospect of embodied endurance in an alternate reality due to shared objective memories,we still have to contend with the fact that psychic mediums,nders, theologies, tell that all people become disembodied after death,a slight variation exists in indic religions which purport that almost all people take rebirth after a brief sojourn in disembodied existence.It is heartening to know that you disregard the pecuniary aspect,and it is a fact that mediums and nde researchers become filthy rich and gain entry into wikipedia although an alternate route into the wikipedia is to become a debunker of the most famous of these wikipedians.

  9. Jennifer Shepherd

    Hi Fiona,

    Your body of work researching ghosts sounds very in depth and right on!

    I was a professional ghostbuster for many years as part of my psychic work and was even featured on two TV shows. Like you, I found simplistic notions of what a ghost is and isn’t dissatisfying and inaccurate. One thing that I discovered over time is that we have multiple energy bodies — an emotional body, intellectual body, spiritual body, even a time body — and sometimes various fragments of these energy bodies are what get left behind at a site where that person experienced strong emotional resonance (good or bad — meaning, maybe they had a positive experience there, like the classic “old lady who never leaves her house” syndrome, and a part of them remains there or checks in from time to time; or perhaps they had a negative and traumatic experience there).

    Emotions and conversations do leave energy residue in a room, even among waking, alive people. I remember one time I had to do a full-day psychic party and it was grueling keeping my psychic centers fully open that long day while also socializing between clients; I preferred to just focus for a few hours in my office working with clients and then “shut the switch off” because psychic work requires a lot of energy and a certain, specific brainwave state. Anyway, between clients I was sitting in the kitchen of my hostess chatting and having coffee with her friends while we waited for more people to show up for readings. I began making certain jokes, comments, and pop cultural references that apparently had JUST BEEN SAID at that same table the night before; it freaked people out! It was like I was picking up the words through the air that were still lingering in that spot.

    When you’re REALLY open psychically you can have these bleedthroughs where you pick up on things that happened in the past, let alone impressions of people who once lived there or died there.

    Additionally, powerful ley lines where there is heightened electromagnetic energy can be portals for many types of dimensional and time travellers. It gets VERY interesting on the ley line where I live because visitors stopping by are not always from our timeline or even our dimension, let alone our world! :)

    Psychometry is also related to this dimensional or energy bleedthrough idea. This is reading the past of a physical object; another trick people often asked me to perform at parties! Emotional residue, thoughts, words, and images remain associated with physical objects — except ones made of non-organic material like plastic, I’ve found. Non-organic materials don’t hold human psychic energy very well because it’s cooked up in a lab and would never be found in nature, so it is essentially “foreign” or incompatible with our bodies.

  10. Vivek narain

    Hi fiona, continuing with this concept of residual energy,there are about 70 documented cases where the receipient of a transplanted kidney or heart has got his most inherent traits overridden by those of donor.Could be that even blood donation causes some minor overriding changes,doing a statistical research is a painstaking job and the sheer number of possible topics of survey alone deters any would be enthusiast unless some expedient goal is served.So this particular and important subject could easily have been ignored,but it might explain many puzzling facts that undeniably exist.

  11. Drocks27

    I think, and I could be wrong, is that people are remembering that they used to show TAPS a lot more in the begining. It was plastered everywhere, so your brain just assoicated that with the name of the show, even though it still said Ghost Hunters in the title.

    1. Fiona Broome Post author


      I think that could explain some confusion, but the fact remains: I saw the show titled “Taps” in the TV listings in the Houston (TX) newspaper and TV Guide. It stood out in my memory because, at the time, I thought, “Wow… it took them this long to get around to making a TV series based on that movie?”

      Also, at the time, I was under contract for a series of ghost-related books. I’d have noted any show with “ghosts” in the title, figuring it was another good reason to be writing about the topic.

      So, I’m very clear about my own memory of the show’s name… at least as it was being promoted in the Houston (TX) area.

      Others might have been confused since the TAPS branding was so visible during each episode. That’s not what happened with me, which is why I’ve asked about regional references, in case it was just a mistake (or deliberate marketing decision) in the Houston TV listings.

      Fiona Broome

  12. Mektoub

    I live in France and can confirm you that the show was also aired here as TAPS. I clearly remember the crew black outfits with the big “TAPS” tags on them, and then, the show went to be aired as Ghost Hunters translated “Chasseur de fantôme” in French but as other persons did, I thought it was a different program. Totally weird.

    Excellent blog btw!

  13. Michael

    I remember it being aired as TAPS, and now am somewhat confused and a bit concerned to be honest. Really glad I found your blog though! I live in Australia if that helps at all.


  14. Kayne Ruse

    My mother is obsessed with ghost shows and the like, and she occasionally ropes me in, despite my stance as a skeptic. Still, I do remember at least one of these shows being called “T.A.P.S.”. I don’t remember how it related to Ghost Hunters, since she watches them online, and I figured it was a separate show altogether. I’m just saying that I remember /something/.

  15. Matthew

    I distinctly remember it being called TAPS. Much like yourself, I was very confused when I saw that the name of the show had apparently been changed to Ghost Hunters. When I was scrolling through the list of common memories, I saw this one and was immediately freaked out.
    This is coming from Georgia.

    1. Fiona Broome Post author


      You’re right. The group is TAPS. I think most people who watched the show regularly know that, too, and Jason and Grant are friends of mine in real life.

      The issue isn’t what Jason’s group is called. It’s what the show was called when it first aired.

      So far, it looks like a lot of people in a variety of areas saw the show promoted as — and called — “TAPS” when it first aired. I haven’t ruled out an early, erroneous press release that led newspapers to talk about the show as “TAPS.”

      However, those who remember TAPS as the initial screen — the title of the show on the TV screen when it aired — suggest something else, including a possible “Mandela Effect” issue.

      Mostly, I’m interested in how many people — and from what parts of the world — recall which title for the show. If there had been a regional pattern, I could explain the discrepancy in “normal” terms. So far, I’m not seeing a regional pattern.


  16. Brian

    I definitely remember the show as TAPS. I used to think it was a dumb name for a ghost hunter show. I also clearly remember in the first season dude wearing hats that said TAPS on it. Do we know if that is true? Perhaps we are confusing what they called their team with the name of the show? No. I’m fairly certain it was called TAPS for like the first 2 years.

    Also, I live in Texas, so maybe it was marketing? Maybe not…

    Other things I remember are Berenstein, and a couple Mandela deaths. I don’t even know about a lot of the main topics you have listed – I tend to steer away from any kind of pop culture, so I miss a lot of that kind of thing altogether.

  17. Success

    I’m Jacob from upstate new York. I also remember the name as Taps, I’ve never watched any of the shows but clearly remember making a mental note to watch it because I was interested in ghost hunting. (me and my friend used to call it ghost killing when we would search, a simple joke to make us more jolly before we would go out) I told him to check out the show.
    I remember asking myself why the show was called Taps as it didn’t make sense to me why they would name a ghost hunting show called taps.

    Not much information but it’s all I have


  18. some dude

    I remember it being TAPS for the first several years and later changed to Ghost Hunters. I even remember talking to my family, “Hey, TAPS didn’t get cancelled, they just changed the name…”

  19. Sarah

    I live in South Australia and we get this show on cable. I also remember it being called TAPS when it first starting showing here.

    1. Bonnie

      I’m in South Aus too, and it was totally T.A.P.S like, it had the same spooky house in the background of the text and everything the same, except it said T.A.P.S instead of Ghost Hunters. Even the info bar on the TV about the show said TAPS, and it was on Fox 8 on austar/foxtel, and when people started calling it Ghost Hunters I thought that was the American name of the show or something.

  20. Andy

    i remember T.A.P.S. and ghost hunters as being two different shows. i used to watch T.A.P.S. with my ex gf and very very clearly remember that being the show title. i live in virginia

  21. Tess Negron

    The funny thing about this is I first remembered it being called Ghost Hunters as I was growing up. I didn’t start watching the show until I was around 10 which was maybe 2 years after the show started. However, when i was around 11 or 12 I remembered I started watching a show called TAPS thinking it was a NEW ghost hunting show. I watched maybe a season of this show before it disappeared completely and Ghost Hunters started premiering again. It never occurred to me that they might actually be the same exact show with another name…

  22. Nicole Wilson

    I remember it as TAPS. I remember how the title on the screen reminded me of COPS. The size and font. Maybe I’m just getting the two shows mixed in my memory?

  23. Ash

    I definitely remember TAPS, but I also definitely remember Ghost Hunters at the same time, as two different shows. Philadelphia Pennsylvania here.


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