THE INTRODUCTION OF entertainment-based paranormal television programming has been a mixed blessing for the paranormal community. At best, its popularity has mainstreamed a subject that once was mentioned only in hushed whispers by many and allowed those affected by the phenomenon greater freedom to acquire help with reduced fear of ridicule. Many investigation teams have reported increased opportunities to investigate locations that otherwise were closed to research, too. A down side has seen owners of purported haunted locations anticipating real investigations to be wrapped up in an hour minus four commercial interruptions, one bathroom break, and an immediate haunted or not haunted declaration. Also, locations that once did not charge money to investigate have discovered a new income stream by demanding big entry fees. Most dreadfully, show producers and personalities have been caught putting entertainment before facts, proper investigation protocol and basic ethics.
In 2005, The RMS Queen Mary found herself on the receiving end of paranormal television's worst with a much debated episode of SyFy Channel's Ghost Hunters filmed within the ship's cabin B340. After "investigating" the ship, the TAPS team proclaimed fraud was committed by a specific ship employee, leaving the reputation of the accused tattered and receiving death threats.
|Click our TV to watch TAPS' Ghost Hunters investigation of cabin B340, then read BIM's discovery of who truly perpetrated fraud on the show. The source might surprise you. Or it might not.
Soon following its air date, Patrick Wheelock and Beyond Investigation
(BIM) of Southern California were called by ship management to unravel the fraud claims and determine what really happened using the research and science-heavy protocol BIM is well known for.
ParaXplorer Project invites you to review the segment of Ghost Hunters in question and read how Patrick and team refutes the plumber team's claims step-by-step and presents solid evidence as to who truly perpetrated fraud. It might surprise you. Or not. Then stick around for research and commentary on cabin B340, one of the ship's most well known purported haunted locations. Its claims of the paranormal may be as spurious as the Ghost Hunters episode that investigated it.
BY PATRICK WHEELOCK, BIM | It's been over five years since SyFy Channel's airing of Ghost Hunter's season two / episode eleven aboard the RMS Queen Mary in Long Beach, California, and that whole debacle that took place during their "investigation", yet the Beyond Investigation team (BIM) is still receiving questions about the controversial episode centering around a "moving bed cover" in room B340. I would like to take this opportunity to document our investigation of the fraud claims, its findings, and shed light on the true history of cabin and the likely source of paranormal claims.
The episode originally aired on October 5, 2005 and has since had a few changes made when rebroadcast. I will get into that later.
Originally, when the BIM Team heard the rumor of a TV show that would depict a group of scientifically-minded paranormal investigators conducting serious investigations, we were excited about the prospect. Finally, someone was going to take the time to show the world what real PI's (Paranormal Investigators) do. We were quickly disappointed after the first episode.
| As founder of Beyond Investigation (BIM), Patrick Wheelock brings years of diverse experience with motion picture special effects prop construction, law enforcement and electrical engineering to a rational, scientific-based study of the paranormal.
The BIM team was contacted by the property owner presented in the first episode and informed TAPS performed poorly and they faked what we all watched in that episode. As each episode aired, our team got into the habit of playing a little game we called "Find the Fakery". It made the show more entertaining for us, but the overall implications of Ghost Hunters' "entertainment" had a negative effect on legitimate paranormal investigators as a whole.
We continued watching, laughing and reporting the fakery on BIM's radio show, The Pat and Brian Show, each week. It didn't take too long for listeners to email and call us on what they saw as fake, too.
By the time the second season rolled around, the show was pretty much a joke to the team. Oh, we watched and honed our investigative skills at picking out fraud, but chuckled our way through each "investigation" they aired.
On October 5th, 2005, the show came out to California to investigate the Winchester Mystery House and the RMS Queen Mary. The Winchester House "investigation" was more of a private tour with almost no equipment in use, but our TV heroes determined the house wasn't haunted, just a creepy place to visit. Amazingly, with a couple of hand-held recorders, an IR thermometer and a video camera used in the span of only a few hours, they determined it wasn't haunted. Well, chalk one up for TAPS. If they say it isn't haunted only after a few hours, it must not be, right? Strange thing, though, they never researched the house before heading-out from the east coast. Who needs to take the time when you have a couple voice recorders and as one of them put it, the "Holy Grail of ghost hunting equipment", an IR thermometer, which for many episodes they refused to use properly.
After the Winchester House declaration, they drive down to the RMS Queen Mary. Once again, they acquired no historical data or research whatsoever. They just drive to the ship as if no background was needed. Once aboard the ship, they are met by Erika Frost, a contract tour guide and ship employee who claims to have psychic ability. There is a brief introduction and the TAPS group is given a relatively short tour of the ship by Erika.
Erika had only been on the ship a few weeks prior to TAPS' arrival and was still learning her history and workings when TAPS came aboard. During the short tour, Erika does her best at answering their questions but was limited to what she had been told including the working water heater within the ship's "Shaft Alley". The two plumbers of TAPS point-out the water heater is functional after Erika informed them she was told it isn't. So our heroes proved Erika to be ill-informed about a water heater. Hurray for them.
After the tour, Erika bid them a good night as the TAPS team commenced with their "investigation" including video taping cabin B340 to "capture what happens there" which includes claims of "a bed that refuses to be kept made". Our TV heroes place a hand-held video camera within the cabin that was not wired back to any surveillance base because "it was in too far away location" and figured they would change-out the camera's cassette tape when its estimated length was at an end. It should be noted the BIM team has set-up hard-wired cameras on numerous occasions in cabin B340. The night's "investigation" consisted of TAPS walking around the ship in more of a sight seeing fashion than a real investigation.
When the estimated time to change the one stationary camera's tape came due in B340, the TAPS crew enter and lo and behold, the bed covers have been messed-up after they had documented making the bed prior to leaving.
They play the video footage and and cheer at how they had captured "real" activity. After a bit of examination, one TAPS member notices an odd change in the bed cover's movement. Clearly, the tape had been stopped to allow someone to sneak in, mess up the bed, and leave without being caught.
Immediately, the plumber leaders are called-in and upon reviewing the cabin's layout, remark they were unaware of a third door having access to the outside hallway prior to finding the bed messed-up. Our hero "investigators" are there to investigate a room and didn't take thirty seconds to look around and learn the layout of the cabin? It was at this point the two TAPS leaders suggests tour hostess, Erika Frost, is the person who committed the fraud, declare they are too disgusted with the event to continue their "investigation", and call it off.
After the show aired and us screaming "shenanigans" at the TV, the BIM team was contacted by the ship's management to find out what really happened that night. As it turned out, the ship, and notably Erika Frost, were receiving calls, emails and letters of anger for "what they did to the TAPS camera". Some of the emails were death threats directed at Erika.
At the request of Queen Mary management, the BIM team carefully examined TAPS' video footage and conducted its own investigation on location. Below are our findings.
|Soon to be a member of the carnage TAPS has a reputation of leaving behind after its TV "investigations", Erika Frost escorts the "investigators" on a tour of the Queen Mary. Ship surveillance cameras clearly show Erika departing the ship after this tour only to return the next morning, making it impossible for her to have been involved in TAPS' self-produced shenanigans.
Thirty seconds is all we ask | The BIM team did what TAPS should have: researched cabin B340's layout and utilities access before investigating. Within thirty seconds we had the room mapped-out and tested to determine if it had access to water, electricity, how many entry doors it had, etc. Yes, thirty seconds. Why was the TAPS crew incapable of the same thing?
Shedding light | The bald TAPS leader claimed whoever committed the fraud couldn't have entered from the two known doors as they would have caused the room's light to change with the camara recording it. So we tested that theory, yep, actually tested it. Our tests proved his claim completely false. They could have taken three seconds to come to the same conclusion, but chose not to.
The phantom third door | We looked at the "missed" third door and immediately determined the claim by the two TAPS leaders that "no one of regular size could fit in there" was an absolute lie. I stand two inches shy of six feet and weigh over 230lbs. I had no trouble getting through the pipe array in that space.
The non-coverage camera coverage | We took the TAPS stationary camera footage and positioned a video camera in the same spot and determined the camera viewed less than 20% of the cabin, leaving almost 80% of the area behind the camera. This is not the proper way to monitor a complete room, but the proper coverage to facilitate fraud.
Erika Frost did it. Not. | Our TV heroes claim they "knew it had to be Erika Frost or someone else from the ship". In the original airing, the two TAPS leaders verbally suggested it was Erika as they walked the hall of "B" deck, away from cabin B340. This content has been edited-out in reruns and DVD releases due to libelous implications that could haunt them in court.
Queen Mary security video shows Erika departed the ship just after leaving the TAPS group tour and not returning until the next day. Being "investigators", shouldn't the TAPS group have asked to see these tapes before implicating Erika as the person who perpetuated the fraud? Did they have no concern as to what troubles such internationally televised, unfounded allegations can cause an innocent individual?
Recreating a "creation" | We took their stationary camera footage and determined with frame by frame layering, the camera did not move in the slightest. I made a trip to Samy's Camera store and rented the exact model video camera that was used by TAPS. When I attempted to turn on, off, pause and unpause the camera, it slightly moved even when being extremely careful. Furthermore, when you amplify TAPS' camera footage audio, you can hear a beep. When I tested the rented camera with the remote that came with it, the camera would beep to report receiving the remote command. That's when we determined the camera was paused using the remote and not by touching the buttons on the camera itself.
Let's summarize what Jason and Grant would have you believe:
1 | Erika Frost shows the TAPS crew around the ship and leaves them that night,
but not the ship.
2 | She waits until they have set-up their one and only camera in cabin B-340 and leaves.
3 | She sneaks through the third passage entry to that cabin.
4 | Erika determines the make and model of that camera, leaves the cabin and ship.
5 | She races over to the local Ritz Camera and buys, rents, borrows or steals the
remote for the camera.
6 | She then heads back to the ship, sneaks back into the room (without any security
cameras filming her, mind you), pauses the camera, hides on the opposite side of
the bed, unpauses the camera, pulls the covers down and mistakenly pauses the
camera halfway through it, unpauses it again to finish the movement, repauses
the camera to make her get away and unpauses it one last time as she ducks into
the third entry passage without bringing any attention to herself.
7 | Erika then makes her way off the ship, again without the ships security cameras
That is the most ridiculous theory I have ever heard. The BIM team determined the only logical conclusion to this load of ridiculous crap is that the TAPS crew set-up the ship from the start and Erika Frost was simply any easy face to place the blame. The only person who messed with the TAPS camera was the camera owner -- the individual who had the remote that came with the camera when they bought it. No one else.
Years after the show's airing, many have found the same issues with cabin B340's segment and called TAPS leaders on the fraud. It was reported on SyFy forums that while at a convention in the south, the two plumbers admitted fraud was perpetuated by one of the TAPS members and they had been fired. At that time, none of the TAPS members were missing, so it appears it was simply a way of covering their own hind ends.
We have since spoken to some of the show's contract production crew members, including one that was on duty during the Queen Mary episode. He stated Grant was brushing off dust and spider webs from his clothes and dust footprints leading from that third entry door matched Grant's shoes. It appears Grant was the frauder and due to contractual obligations, all involved in production had to keep quiet.
After we released our findings, we were contacted by more contract production crew members who have spilled the beans (off the record for out of fear of being black-listed, of course) about other acts of fraud by the TAPS crew in other episodes.
During one broadcast our The Pat and Brian Show, respected parapsychologist Dr. Barry Taff was interviewed and he brought up the subject of "Ghost Hunters". According to Taff, he and parapsychologist Dr. Andrew Nichols, videographer Barry Conrad, and others were contacted by Ghost Hunters Executive Producer, Mark Phillips, a year or so before the show first aired. Phillips asked him and the others to be a part of the show's development. When asked how Phillips planned to keep the viewers interested since 99.9% of the time nothing happens during investigations, Phillips responded that his producers and camera crew would "make things happen and leave it up to the viewers to determine if it was fake or not". All of those contacted refused to be involved in any fraud and wanted no part.
In conclusion, the evidence, and not just in the Queen Mary episode's case, appears overwhelming against the TAPS crew and indicates that nothing on the "Ghost Hunters" show is about real investigation of the paranormal what-so-ever. Pop some popcorn, crack open a beer, and watch and laugh with the rest of us.
The legend | The legend of B340 starts when the ship was still in service, a man's murdered body was found in the cabin's bed. Other stories claim it was a woman's body and more have expanded to include causes of death including poisoning, throats cuts, shot to death and suicide. Supposedly, since the ship came to port for the last time in 1967, hotel guests renting the room have left in the middle of the night complaining of bed covers being pulled off while sleeping, hangers in the closet rattling, and the toilet flushing by itself. It is said that though the ship's hotel management has removed B340 from the hotel list and no longer rents it due to paranormal activity, the daily cleaning crew still has to make up a messy bed every morning.
The reality | The BIM team did a little research on B340 and the results are a far cry from the legend. Something the TAPS "investigators" should have learned as well long before buying into the legend, but then we wouldn't have spooky stories to tell on TV and a revelation of "fraud by Erika Frost and the ship's crew", now would we? According to the ship's records and Cunard Lines, there is absolutely no record what-so-ever of any person (male, female, adult or child) ever being found dead in cabin B340 while she was still sailing. So, we know that part of the story to be false. Furthermore, also based on ships records and the City of Long Beach (the current owner of the ship), the last time cabin B340 was used by a guest was on her last cruise in 1967. Meaning, that room has not accommodated a guest since 1967.
|Views of fabled cabin B340 and the bed that "refuses to be kept made".
The City of Long Beach states the hotel portion of the ship wasn't opened until late 1972 and it did not include B deck. The B deck rooms weren't open until the late 1980s and even then, B340 was never brought back to working hotel condition. The ship's current engineer also said the plumbing in B340 has never been converted to work after coming to dock in 1967.
So, we know no one was found dead in that room, ever, and the last time a guest slept in the room was in the year 1967, some forty-six years ago. Since the room has not had a hotel guest in forty-six years, why would the ship assign it a daily cleaning crew? The answer is, they haven't. There has never been a hotel cleaning crew assigned cabin B340 since 1967. The legend surrounding B340 is all false, something TAPS should have found long before "investigating" the ship.
The origin | According to research, it appears the the B340 legend started back in the late 80s or early 90s when the Disney Company owned the ship's management lease. A few Disney cast members wanted to scare others and made the stories up. We were unable to find references to any fragments of the legend prior to that time period.