The Atlantic Paranormal Society
The official TAPS logo
|Legal status||Volunteer organization|
|Headquarters||Warwick, Rhode Island|
|Rhode Island Paranormal Society|
The Atlantic Paranormal Society (TAPS) is an organization that investigates reported paranormal activity. Based in Warwick, Rhode Island, TAPS was founded in 1990 by Jason Hawes and Grant Wilson. In 2004, the organization itself became the subject of Ghost Hunters, a popular weekly American paranormal reality television series on the Syfy channel. The show ran for eleven seasons on Syfy in the US. The show aired in the UK nine months after the US premier on Living It.
History and objectives
In 1990, Hawes began the "Rhode Island Paranormal 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 man talks about it in public. The group was originally run out of Jason's basement, and at that time consisted only of Jason and Grant. 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 (now SyFy) channel.
Starting in 2007, Jason and Grant began releasing a series of books related to their work and experiences in the paranormal as well as several fiction books.
|Ghost Hunting: True Stories of Unexplained Phenomena from The Atlantic Paranormal Society||Jason Hawes and Grant Wilson||Gallery Books||October 2, 2007||288 pgs.||978-1416541134|
|Seeking Spirits: The Lost Cases of The Atlantic Paranormal Society||Jason Hawes and Grant Wilson||Pocket Books||September 29, 2009||288 pgs.||978-1439101155|
|Ghost Hunt: Chilling Tales of the Unknown||Jason Hawes and Grant Wilson||Little, Brown and Company||September 7, 2010||277 pgs.|
|Ghost Hunt 2: MORE Chilling Tales of the Unknown||Jason Hawes and Grant Wilson||Little, Brown and Company||September 5, 2011||383 pgs.|
|Ghost Trackers||Jason Hawes and Grant Wilson||Gallery Books||September 27, 2011||384 pgs.||978-1451651171|
|Ghost Files: The Collected Cases from Ghost Hunting and Seeking Spirits||Jason Hawes and Grant Wilson||Gallery Books||September 13, 2011||560 pgs.||978-1451633108|
|Ghost Town||Jason Hawes and Grant Wilson||Gallery Books||October 9, 2012||288 pgs.||978-1451613827|
|Frequency||Every other month|
|First issue||June 2006|
|Based in||Fall River, MA|
TAPS publishes a bi-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.
Radio show and podcast
In April 2007, Beyond Reality Radio, a radio talk show that featured TAPS co-founders and Ghost Hunters stars Jason Hawes and Grant Wilson, began broadcasting on select radio stations in the New England area. Airing Saturday nights from 7-10 PM, Jason and Grant interviewed guests about the Paranormal and allowed listeners to call in to contribute to the discussion. The show was produced by Amy Bruni, with help from Dave Gardiner. During the show listeners could visit the official TAPS website and chat about the show or any other subjects in a moderated chat room. The show is currently on hiatus and no date has been given for its return.
In July 2006 TAPS began releasing podcasts, TAPS Para-Radio, featuring Hawes and Wilson, on a sporadic basis.
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- to 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.
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 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."
Non-profit status issues
In 2006, a website called "SAPS" ("Skeptical Analysis of the Paranormal Society") conducted an investigation into the status and legitimacy of the TAPS non-profit status. In several places on their website it stated that they were non-profit and did investigations free of charge, however did accept donations and held a raffle to win various branded merchandise. The site claimed that repeated attempts to clarify the subject was met with negative responses. It broadened its investigation by searching for its status both federally and at the state level and found no evidence that they were a registered non-profit organization. They also found that the raffle was in violation of the state's gambling laws as it allowed those that could be under the age of 18 to participate.
In February 2007, TAPS issued a statement regarding the status. It stated that they, "...by no means meant to give the appearance that we had non-profit status. By this, we meant that we do not make any profit at all from investigating. We couldn't simply say 'TAPS makes no money whatsoever' because TAPS does gather meager funds from the occasional donation and membership dues. The money that comes in does NOT come from the client in direct relation to a case, nor does it go into anyone's pocket. So, therefore we used the term non-profit."
They have since changed non-profit to "free volunteer organization" to clear up any misconceptions and have been working on filing for the appropriate status but claim that it is very difficult for a paranormal group to do in Rhode Island.
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 networking
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.
- "Welcome to the TAPS Staff Page". TAPS. Retrieved 16 March 2015.
- Rohrbach, Jill M. (July 26, 2005). "On Sci Fi Channel's Ghost Hunters Episode". Eureka! Historic Hotels. Archived from the original on September 28, 2007. Retrieved October 24, 2013.
- Hawes, Jason; Wilson, Grant; Friedman, Michael Jan (2007). Ghost Hunting: True Stories of Unexplained Phenomena from The Atlantic Paranormal Society. New York: Pocket Books. pp. 2–6. ISBN 978-1-4165-4113-4. LCCN 2007016062.
- Ghost Hunting (Hawes, Wilson and Friedman), p. 261.
- "T.A.P.S. Para Magazine". The Atlantic Paranormal Society. Archived from the original on 16 January 2006. Retrieved 19 March 2015.
- Audiomartini...Paranormal Radio with a Twist
- Allison, Andrea (April 2007). "Beyond Reality Radio". Ghost Stories. Retrieved 18 March 2015.
- "Apparitions game community". Retrieved 5 October 2014.
- Radford, Benjamin (November 2010). "Ghost-Hunting Mistakes: Science and Pseudoscience in Ghost Investigations". Skeptical Inquirer. Buffalo, NY. 34.6 (5): 44–46. ISSN 0194-6730. OCLC 470205411. Retrieved 19 March 2015.
- Smith, Alison (2006). "The Atlantic Paranormal Society". SAPS. Retrieved 19 March 2015.
- "TAPS as Non-Profit". The Atlantic Paranormal Society. Archived from the original on 8 February 2007. Retrieved 19 March 2015.
- "TAPS Family". Retrieved 5 October 2014.