Dear Zak, Aaron, and Nick (a.k.a. the GAC [Ghost Adventures Crew]),
My name is Will and your show is very important to me. I never believed in ghosts. I still don't. That's not the point. The point is your show used to be stream-able on Netflix, and some close friends discovered that back when we lived together at this cool place called the Writers House. You might remember the phrase "writershouse" from a hashtag that we used as we incessantly tweeted at you, Zak, trying to get a reply or a retweet. It was a real letdown that you never made that dream come true for any of us. The closest any of us came to that kind of correspondence is when I did an awesome piece of fan art depicting Aaron (picture not found), and when I sent it to him he sent me a DM that said, "Looks good." Maybe you remember it, Aaron, it was your big, bald head filled with all the scary stuff that I assume keeps you up at night, plus it was all in green ink (my favorite pen back then was green, what's yours?).
Now, normally I would never, ever watch your show. I'm not a reality-show type of person. When I want a mindless escape from the day-to-day, I prefer weird, niche comedy shows. I've tolerated some competition shows here and there, but the Boo-Boos and the Kardashies and the Storage Facility Chronicles and the cake moguls of this modern TV-scape--they're not how I like to waste my time. In 2011, I had never even heard of your show. Enter Kim. She actually moved into the House the year before, our junior year, at which point she shared the upstairs double, my former room, with a girl it's best to say very little about. (Okay, just one sentence: She kept to herself most of the time and didn't mind being seen in her underwear, way more than any of us were comfortable with.) Fall of junior year laid the groundwork for important friendships, but then in the spring I went abroad to Glasgow. (Have you ever ghost-adventured abroad? I can't recall ever seeing an episode that took you outside the U.S.) It's senior year that really drives my nostalgia, when Kim continued to live in the upstairs double, now with Alison instead of that other girl, and that room became hangout central for most everyone in the House, now including my girlfriend in the downstairs double. Each year the House was populated by eight people, some cycling in and out, getting more and more like-minded and compatible as housemates.
So yes, when I say I miss the Writers House, most of all I miss spending evenings and weekends in the upstairs double, under its new management, expertly rearranged and decorated by Kim and Alison, watching TV and playing games like Jenga, Picture Down the Lane, and Catch Phrase. Have you guys ever played Catch Phrase? There's only three of you, which is a real bummer because you need at least four players. I've given this a lot of thought, and I believe six is the ideal number of people. Any more than that and it gets too rowdy to make out what people are saying. The game is basically Taboo or Password, where you play hot-potato with this phrase-displaying machine known affectionately to us as the "blinking orb" (it is actually neither of those things) or, more accurately, the "screaming disc." This game became the source of a lot of controversy, a lot of inside jokes, and a whole lot of yelling. Mainly what I remember is the feeling of exasperation--true existential terror, really--that comes from not being able to communicate an idea with your fellow human beings, frustration best captured by the time a persistent but defeated Kim demanded, "It's the only dolphin you've ever known," when her teammates would not say "Flipper." (I wonder, do you think this madness of linguistic disconnect is what ghosts are feeling most of the time?)
But if Catch Phrase was our Game of the Year, then even more defining was your program's status as TV Show of the Year. As far as I know, Kim and Alison discovered it first, staying up late into the night, searching through anything available to stream on Netflix. Other shows were given trial runs, like Paranormal State. But what made the difference was you guys, Zak in particular, the guy who yelled at empty rooms to "provoke" the spirits. Before long up to six of us at a time were gathering in the upstairs double to watch old episodes of your show. Don't mistake us for captivated fans of legitimate paranormal investigation. Nay, it's the unintended comedy of your show that kept us coming back. Your show is so outright mockable. Who edits your episodes? Because I am convinced, no lie, that they've made it their personal job to make you three look as foolish as possible, based on all the incessantly repeated embarrassing spooked-reaction shots. Moreover, there's something inherently disgusting and arguably immoral about your show, which comes with the territory of going to places where tragedies happened and turning those people's stories into entertainment and profit. (But who am I to judge? I write memoirs; at least you wait until your subjects are dead.)
My first distinct memory of your show is an EVP you guys caught of a ghost saying "I hate Zak." At the time I hadn't learned your names yet, and I thought Zak was Aaron, who in these earlier episodes seemed to be no more than a chubby cameraman who was made to stay in all the scariest rooms, so we laughed about how even the ghosts were dumping their verbal ectoplasm on this poor schlub. (Aaron, you're the Jerry. If you don't get that, watch Parks & Recreation.) But we should have been laughing because all of Zak's provocative behavior actually elicited some hate from the great beyond. That makes me think about what kind of messages I'd communicate if I were a ghost. I assume it's really hard for spirits to summon the energy to make words, or else we'd hear them all the time, so I imagine it must be a really petty, superficial ghost who just wants us in the living world to know, "I hate this guy with the rigid haircut and the way-too-tight t-shirt who keeps yelling at me." Didn't he have any loved ones he'd like to reach out to? (And, while we're on the subject of EVPs, have you ever gotten a reading that just said "Boo"? Aren't there any ghosts out there who honor the classics? I gotta admit, since I'm being kinda unkind to you guys, that the EVP segments really do freak me out sometimes. I don't believe for a second that you've recorded the voices of spirits, but there's something damned unsettling about hearing noises in static that sound just enough like English words. It goes back to what I was saying about Catch Phrase, language and communication. Their absence--or their near-approximation, or their insufficiency--can be psychologically horrifying, I think for anyone.)
By now the three of you might have tuned out because you think my intent is simply to make fun of you, but that's just not the case. Please understand that, while this is not a fan letter, it is a love letter. I firmly believe that without your show I wouldn't have felt the same memorable bond of comraderie that pervaded the House, especially this particular room in senior year. Because what better to unite a group of misfits into becoming a heartfelt "Us" than the all-important "Them," and that's where you came in. Of course there were thems coming in from all corners of our lives: it was Us vs. Them, where They were the fraternities and sororities sharing our block; there was Us vs. Them, where They were the kids in our workshops who talked too much or too little. Talk as we might about the peers outside our walls, we weren't bullies. The true laugh-in-Their-faces cruelty had to come in the form of a proxy whose feelings we couldn't hurt, because They were nothing but shiny images making fools of themselves on a screen in the corner. We must have jesters to ridicule and make us feel like royalty. Some fictional dramas might do the trick when they are so terribly written and performed (this is the reason, I claim, why I've watched hours of The Secret Life of the American Teenager, to laugh at failures and feed my sense of superiority), but they don't have the same punch as real people being themselves for cameras. Your show became our private compulsion, then our public obsession. One of us (a girl) dressed as Zak for Halloween. One housemate purchased Zak's book Dark World, which we passed around, taking turns reading paragraphs aloud, until we realized it was too boring to be funny.
Your show is the centerpiece in a smörgåsbord of memories of this room at that time. On the floor of that room I remember playing a seriously awful game of Pictionary with a friend from the outside world who thought he could represent a badger with an oval for the body, circle for the head, and sticks coming out the top and bottom of the monstrosity, as if we're getting an aerial view of the creature, resembling nothing but maybe an insect, and he could think to add no other features--not fur, not ears, not paws, not a face of any kind--until finally he wrote (not drew) a big "W" inside the oval, leading me to scream in desperation, "WOMBAT," but when time was finally up he revealed the "W" stood for Wisconsin, as in the Wisconsin Badgers, a team we've never heard of because he's the only writer out of anyone we knew and liked to care about sports at all. In this room I drew silly pictures of my one friend riding a horse with the head of my other friend (Aaron knows of my artistic skills). In this room we scooped Jell-O out of coffee mugs and drank wine that came in jugs and ate lots of Papa Johns pizza. All of these memories and more could have been recorded, if the technology existed, by a MemoirBROTM, represnted by a sad, limp stuffed robot that had a home on Kim's bed. Inspired by t-shirts we made up ourselves that said "Cool Memoir, Bro," this digital companion would record all the video and audio of events in your life (so I guess Aaron is like a human analog), increasing the accuracy and vividness of the memoirs you would write later, a concept we joked about for so long that I started making notes for a screenplay about it (think corporate espionage meets Eternal Sunshine meets Wall-E).
My nostalgia trip brigns me to the thesis of this piece: I implore you to stop making your show. For our purposes in the House, you achieved perfection back in those first few seasons that we viewed-unto-death on Netflix. I wish I could say that now you guys are out of my life, and if I ever see a rerun of your show it'll forever evoke thoughts of, Oh I remember just how we mocked this episode in the upstairs double. But I know from watching your show that you three are more persistent than that. I see you want to become a permanent installation in my life, and I have the evidence to prove it (just try to debunk this). Last month I went on a long cross-country road trip with my girlfriend, and most nights we stayed in a Super 8 or some other cheap motel. The rooms with better cable packages had Travel Channel, and almost every night I flipped around I found your show on the airwaves. And not only that, but they were recent episodes. NEW Ghost Adventures. I shudder at the thought. See, some shows (movies, books, events, what have you) are attached to certain times and places in our associative brains, and for the sake of my sanity and emotional health they should remain there/then. Some things should just stay dead. Because I can't flip away from your show out of loyalty, I've seen what this lifestyle is doing to your health. I know Zak has to wear a special respirator mask in musty old buildings, and I insist you take that as a sign that you should have quit while you were ahead. I understand that season eight of your show is premiering in a week. Eight is enough! Please let me have this. I know it's not your jobs, but help me keep the past in the past. Watching your show outside the upstairs double without friends is like watching an opera performed by street thugs in a dank alleyway. Same content, wrong context. Seriously: no new GA until I can organize a House reunion.
So you understand what your show means, and what the Writers House is to me. And you're professionals, so you've figured out the real reason I'm writing to you. If I die, and you three are still adventuring, you know where to find me. I'll have a lot to say.