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Paranormal Cops

A&E's Paranormal Cops
A&E's Paranormal Cops

Just when I thought I’m about as weary as weary can be (not to mention wary…who’s going to try and pull the paranormal wool over my eyes, à la Ghost Hunters, next?) along comes Paranormal Cops.

Sigh. Really? Is that what we need? Yet another ghost hunting show?


Still, what do I do? No, not watch it. At least not right away. I set my DVR to record it. (Hey, I’ve admitted it time and time before: ghost hunting shows are one of my guilty pleasures. As much as I’ve bagged on them, especially recently, sometimes they are fun. Ghost Hunters used to be. That’s the kind of entertainment I crave.)

Plus, I’m one of those eternally optimistic people. Maybe, just maybe, this time, this show, will be different. Fresh. Watch-worthy.


But I didn’t really have high hopes. Not after being let down by the likes of Ghost Lab and Ghost Hunters Academy.

Ghost Lab had some interesting theories, but ultimately I could not warm up to the personalities. I made it through one and half shows before I banned it from my DVR’s record list. And Ghost Hunters Academy…fuhgeddaboudit. No, seriously, that’s what I did.

With that kind of viewing track record fresh in my brain, it’s not surprising I didn’t have high hopes for Paranormal Cops. Still, this morning while I ate my breakfast, I hit “play.”

Suddenly Sergeant Ron Fabiani, founder of Chicago Paranormal Detectives, the team that comprises Paranormal Cops, commandeered my screen.


As the intro rolled, here was my knee-jerk reaction: Okay, now they’re not only poking fun of ghost hunting shows, but they’re parodying Chicago cops.

Ron is a character. Newsboy cap, cigar perpetually poking out his mouth, tough guy Italian with that thick, unmistakable Chicago accent…am I supposed to take this guy seriously? He’s almost like a caricature from some mob movie.



Wait a second, I think this guy might actually be for real. Not just his bigger-than-life personality, but also his sincerity for investigating the paranormal.

It didn’t even take me very long to change my tune. I made it to the first commercial break before I fired up my laptop to excitedly jot down things I already liked about the Paranormal Cops approach to investigating:

  1. Police line, do not cross tape
  2. Evidence bags
  3. Red evidence tape to seal doors
  4. Protection circle before the start of the investigation
  5. Use of psychics

Okay, so maybe the police line tape is a bit on the dramatic side. But it has it’s benefits. People know an investigation is underway. It might help people to exercise more caution.

And sure other investigation groups use things to seal doors to mark if one’s been disturbed, but it just seemed to come second nature to the Chicago Paranormal Detectives to do it. That’s when I started to give them credit that their background might be the most useful of any ghost hunting TV show group to come along yet.

But what made my guts flutter with excitement and renewed hope that, yes, this show just might really be different, was when I found out they use psychics…that endeared them to my heart.

Sometimes cops do use psychics on real-life investigations. And some of the toughest, most skeptical cops out there have been known to be swayed by a person with a true psychic gift. That Ron and his team are open-minded enough to bring in such an individual for the value she might add to investigations, especially when other shows seem more inclined to only use psychics for their dramatic value (or, like GH, not at all, because heaven forbid a psychic upstage them and their fakery!)…yep, that made me get excited about Paranormal Cops and what this show might offer.


My pal Autumnforest feels the way I do. We were both enchanted with Ghost Hunters at one point, but now…the thrill’s gone.

She wrote an excellent post yesterday which pointed out that with so many ghost hunting shows on TV now people are starting to get apathetic. Other bloggers like Julie of Above the Norm and Grim Wicked of Grimoire of the Hour (who was looking forward to the show and who I’m curious to see what his take was) admitted similar feelings.

But Paranormal Cops adds a different element. One that had me do something I haven’t done in long time: click the “record this series” button on my DVR.

Why? Not because they finally found irrefutable evidence of a ghost. They didn’t. (Although, they did identify via there equipment that one of the ghosts may be Rocco DeBrazia. That was interesting. As was the foul-mouthed EVPs, which were amusing.)

Actually, it’s because from the time they uncovered the hidden bathroom staircase, to the info that Big Timer’s was once called Casa Madrid and had an Al Capone connection, to the additional follow-up interviews they did which led them to do another blackout, they treated the case like…well, like a case. I felt like I was watching a mystery unravel. Like Law & Order meets Medium meets CSI meets Ghost Hunters.

Surprisingly, the cop show meets ghost hunting show format proved a refreshingly fresh blend of entertainment after all. If I were to use the Paranormal Cops method of grading on a scale of Code 1 (not haunted) to Code 4 (haunted), I’d give it a Code 3 (paranormal activity present). But I see that there’s room for it to move up the scale to a bonafied Code 4.

Kudos, A&E. This is one of the best ghost hunting shows to hit cable since the show that started them all.

Courtney Mroch
Courtney Mroch, otherwise known as HJ's Ambassador of Dark and Paranormal Tourism, is an author, traveler, and ghost enthusiast. When she's not writing, jaunting, or planning her next trip, it's a safe bet you'll find her in one of three places: on a tennis court somewhere, on a yoga mat somewhere, or watching a horror movie somewhere. She currently resides in Nashville, Tennessee.

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11 thoughts on “Paranormal Cops

  1. I was actually surprised thinking we might be getting something the likes of Extreme Paranormal but it wasn’t that bad.

    That Chicago Italian with the cigar hanging out of his mouth was a total turn-off in the beginning but I changed my tune after listening to him throughout the show. He can keep his cigar. lol I think it’s a part of his demeanor that some will learn to like.

    Anyway, it wasn’t bad at all. Take it over Paranormal State any day.

  2. Thanks soooo much for the review! I admit, it’s on so damn late here in AZ (11:30) that I ended up taping it, but because it was after “Paranoid State” (my name for the awful show), I figured it was a half hour,. so I taped it for only a half hour. I thought I’d just tape over it since I didn’t tape the whole show and I didn’t hold out hope that it wouldn’t be a bunch of abrasive guys (think “Ghost Lab”), that I wasn’t going to watch it. Now, I’m going to go back and see the half hour I did tape. There might be hope yet. I know they have to have a “gimmick” and I figured they’d use the cop thing for it. I was just hoping they weren’t the usual “Chicago” abrasive types that are cartoonish and after a while you get really annoyed with the sound of their voices… (no offense to Chicago folks, but the ones who become cartoonish are as bad as cartoonish New Yorkers and New Jersey folks)… Well, I’ll give it a try. Your opinion is usually right on the mark!

  3. Of course being a cop would give you an edge when it comes to ghost hunting! What would make you think otherwise??? 😉

    And you sound so jaded by all the ghost stuff you watch it’s making me sad!! I actually like Ghost Lab!

    I also found it intriguing the team used a psychic but I know a lot of cops that are gonna goff at that.One of my old instructors who used to be a beat cop then later worked homicide was one of them. I had a really bad hankering once to ask him what to do if we ever encountered someone who claimed to be a psychic and offered their “services” and he just gave a creepy laugh and said (to put it lightly) “you tell ’em, thanks but no thanks” and that was the end of that. We also had a textbook that briefly touched on the topic but I skipped that part. Oops.

    Hope to see a good episode next week if I can catch it!!!

  4. I figured I would return the favor of posting a quick note on your blog. First of all, I would like to thank everyone for watching the show and their input. We at CPD make every effort to offer credibility to paranormal investigating. To take it to another level. With every investigation we bring out new theories and methodologies in order to gather as much true evidence as possible for analysis. A few things to note:

    1. – If an event or occurrence is not captured on audio or video then we do not consider it evidence. Personal experiences are great but they are just that. These are things that e cannot review and we cannot therefore consider them evidence. When testifying in court we can only state facts, not what our opinions are. Same goes here.

    2. – Our incorporation of Moriah. With Moriah assisting us, we use her in the same capacity as a lie detector test. These are not admissible in court but they are used in the gathering of further evidence and facts. Moriah is NEVER provided with any information of the investigation location. She comes into the investigation blind and is not told anything. We will use the EMF detectors to corroborate her findings.

    3. – Each investigation is slightly different. The policies and procedures are always followed but in one investigation for example, we may use one particular investigative tool based upon the case and the claims being made and then in the next case, we may use some other completely different method for gathering evidence.

    Ultimately, we know that we will never please every person and that there are countless people out there that think we are a joke or that things are made up. All I can say is that we are four down to earth real cops who still go to work every day and patrol the streets. Credibility and integrity mean everything to us and are things we are never going to compromise no matter what! In addition, we at CPD continually research new and different methods to collect evidence and TEST these methods prior to using them in an investigation in order to ensure they work as needed.

    Again, thank you to everyone for your support and we at CPD will continue to bring you the facts and data ultimately for you the viewer to decide what locations are experiencing paranormal activity. Feedback is always welcomed and appreciated.


    “Just because I can’t explain something, doesn’t mean it can’t be explained” – Me
    Forensic Investigator
    Chicago Paranormal Detectives

  5. WOWSERS! Check out all the comments! Thanks everyone!

    Atrue: Yes, I was put off by Ron at first too! Just like you said. But by the first commercial break, he’d charmed me. By the end of the show, I felt bad I’d been so quick to judge the lovable mug!

    Autumnforest: HAHAHA! “Paranoid State” That’s a GREAT name. Or Pathetic State. Ick. As bad as Most Haunted. Maybe worse. I think you will like Paranormal Cops. I wondered if you’d watch and what you might say. But you didn’t post anything today about it. Now I know why!

    You should be able to tell by watching the 1/2 hour you caught if you’ll like it. I’ll be curious to know your assessment. I wasn’t expecting to like them, fully expected Ghost Lab level of abrasiveness (not that there’s anything wrong with that Grim, but there is an endearing kind and a put a person off kind), but it was the endearing kind. And that Ron…what a character. He wooed me!

    Grim: HI! Thanks for sharing your thoughts. After reading your post, I was really curious about your take. And I don’t know why it didn’t just occur to me a cop would be a natural ghost hunter…I’m slow like that. Also, I thought you had to be a plumber or something. (Eeek! That was snarky wasn’t it?)

    Still, your take is very interesting. AND what I loved is that I think the view you shared about cops and their views on psychics is the predominant one. But there have been the ones who gave it a go. Some with no results, some with surprising ones. I liked that at least they were willing to give that an option.

    Which brings me to Pete: WELCOME! Love the show! Love the comments you left. Love how you view evidence and introduce it to us, the viewers and jury.

    And that you use Moriah…man, do I love that. Especially because you use her WITH your equipment. I’ve been saying that for a LONG time now. Why, why, why can’t it be done like this. Then you guys come along and do it. THANK YOU! (not that you were listening to me about it, but just that you also had that same train of thought. I feel vindicated!)

    Great show. Looking forward to next week’s investigation!

  6. Yet another ghost hunting show, great – to be honest, I don’t know what to think. On one hand, it’s making paranormal more popular and people are becoming more interested in supernatural activities. On the other hand, what if because of all these shows which are becoming more and more reality show fiction than real documentaries about investigating the paranormal, people will start to think all paranormal is fake, it doesn’t exist and it’s good subject to earn money by making another show?

    Where are the real research, where are real experiments – every kid can go to a scene with tons of ecquipment, but it doesn’t make him an investigator, not mentioning a researcher.
    Sorry, but it is my belief that we don’t need more tv shows, we need real stuff, real people who doesn’t really care about becoming famous…

  7. Nathan: I’m with you, my brother! I feel your pain, and have commented about just the very dilemma you’re struggling with before. In fact, that fear about what more ghost hunting shows will do to the paranormal field is what prompted me to do my series Haunt Jaunting Behind the Scenes series. I wanted to get the production side take on all that. (I just posted the first interview, with Believers, this week in fact.)

    After talking to Believers producer Chris Hambright, I kind of changed my tune.

    Ghost hunting entertainment shows are one thing. They’re fine, as long as it’s made clear it’s entertainment and lets the viewer make up their own mind about the evidence. (That’s what Believers tries to do.)

    The problem starts with shows like Ghost Hunters, who pass themselves off as “real investigators using real science” and people buying their “act” as being “real researchers.”

    Because you’re absolutely right. There’s very little in the way of real experiments (actually, technically there are no experiments on any of these shows), nor is there true research in the form of using the scientific method and all that.

    I think the “real” people doing this kind of research aren’t on TV…because they’re too busy conducting real experiments!

    Anyway, I do feel your pain and frustration and would like to see the same thing as you…more real documentaries trying to do real science to uncover real evidence.

    And we’re not alone: I know Julie of Above the Norm, Autumnfoest of Ghost Hunting Theories, Javier of GhostTheory, and the Rotten One of Rotten Works are bloggers who commiserate with us!

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