TAPS (The Atlantic Paranormal Society) Volunteer Paranormal Investigation group, best known for its role in the reality television show Ghost Hunters.

The Atlantic Paranormal Society was founded by Jason Hawes, a plumber, in 1990 as Rhode Island Paranormal. The group focused on the investigation of regional reports of Hauntings. The name was changed to The Atlantic Paranormal Society. Grant Wilson, also a plumber, joined in the mid-1990s. Headquarters are in Warwick, Rhode Island.

TAPS was chosen by SciFi Channel for its new show Ghost Hunters, which debuted in 2004. The series was a hit and made Hawes, Wilson, and TAPS famous. Other key members of TAPS have included Steve Gonsalves, tech manager, Donna LaCroix, case manager, Lisa Dowaliby, interviewer, Paula Donavan, R & D manager, Brian Harnois, investigator, David Tango, investigator, Keith Johnson, Demonologist, Carl Johnson, Demonologist, Dustin Pari, investigator, and Mike Dion, investigator.

The format for the show originated in a 1996 United Kingdom show Ghosthunters by Inca Productions for the Discovery Channel. The format was sold to SciFi for the United States market. Ghost Hunters is produced by Pilgrim Films.

TAPS benefited from media timing. The group was featured in a New York Times article that was picked up by 40 other newspapers. The publicity generated more publicity and the interest of an agent, who brought the group to the attention of Pilgrim Films and SciFi Channel. Hawes and Wilson initially were not interested in appearing in a reality series and thought they would be consultants behind the scenes. They were persuaded to change their minds, but still they thought the show would be one episode, possibly no more than 10. The first season of Ghost Hunters was uneven, but then gained an avid audience.

Ghost Hunters became a model for paranormal investigation and inspired the formation of countless such groups. To make the show more interesting, personal storylines were added, placing the episodes in the docudrama genre. Ghost Hunters sent the investigators around the United States and abroad as well.

The popularity of Ghost Hunters made TAPS one of the largest paranormal investigation groups, with branches throughout the United States and affiliates in 12 countries. TAPS Paramagazine, a monthly publication, debuted in 2005. By 2006, the TAPS Web site was the largest paranormal site on the Internet, getting more than 50,000 hits per day. A weekly podcast, TAPS Para-Radio, was launched in 2006, starring Hawes and Wilson. That show became a live radio show, Beyond Reality, in 2007.

TAPS conducts investigations of reported hauntings, employing a wide range of technical equipment. The objective is to help the client by determining whether or not a location is haunted; the group starts with the assumption that a place is not haunted unless evidence Demonstrates otherwise. Hawes and Wilson offer opinions and advice to site owners in dealing with phenomena.



The Encyclopedia of Ghosts and Spirits – Written by Rosemary Ellen Guiley  – September 1, 2007