Thursday, August 25, 2011

Paranormal TV: "Reality Check"

I have a confession to make: Back in 2006 when our group had our first meeting some of the people were talking about a TV show called "Ghost Hunters", and quite frankly I had no idea what they were talking about. I was too embarrassed to ask them about this TV show they were all discussing, so I just listened and nodded. Of course I quickly found out what the group was talking about, obviously this was a well known show on television.

I think I began watching paranormal related TV shows before they were so popular, I was a regular viewer of Unsolved Mysteries and would stay up late to watch Sightings. I loved those shows, especially the segments on ghost stories. I equally enjoyed the shows that showed ghost footage caught on camera, one in particular that comes to mind is the Ghost of Hampton Court, I thought that was pretty spectacular catch although I'm sure that one has long since been explained. I still enjoy watching shows on TV about haunted places, ghost sightings and ghost hunting, but I don't typically go out of my way to catch a show. In fact, I watch these shows very few and far in between these days especially since so many paranormal reality shows have sprung up over the past few years.

Today’s shows are all full of drama, excitement, and most of all….ghostly encounters! Television programs are generally meant to entertain the viewer and reality shows are generally staged, edited and I am sure many “suggestions” are made as to the content of the show. The reality is that all people on television shows are getting paid, and if they hope to have a show to get paid for, that show needs to have good ratings. I have watched many of these shows and I think the term “too good to be true” often comes to mind. I think we as an audience watch these shows and assume everything that we see before us on the screen is the absolute truth. We believe that every little noise the investigator on TV hears is a ghost, because they say it is a ghost.

Just like with paranormal investigation, you need to look at every single piece of evidence you collect with a healthy dose of skepticism, same goes for what we are watching on television paranormal reality shows. Whether you are an investigator or a fan of ghost hunting/paranormal reality, I think a “reality” check is in order. I personally do not look at the personalities on these shows as leading authorities on everything paranormal. I think television personalities are experienced in what they do, but really there are no true experts in this field of the unknown.

Melissa - HPIR Founder

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