Apparently when I wrote about Ghost TV shows the other day (Ghost TV Shows: Good for Paranormal Tourism, Bad for Paranormal Research) I didn’t get it all out of my system. I have a few more thoughts to share.
KEEP IT IN PERSPECTIVE
As I wrote about in my first post (and have readily admitted before), ghost TV shows are one of my guilty pleasures. Sometimes I forget that.
I get so caught up in what’s happening, or what the investigators “might” find, that I forget something crucial: at their essence, ghost TV shows are meant for entertainment purposes only. They’re not actually “real.” And most importantly, they don’t actually “solve” anything. (I’ll get to that at the end.)
GOTTA KEEP THEM COMING BACK FOR MORE
Ghost Hunters, especially in the beginning, did an excellent job of making it all seem legit and professional. They seemed to have standards, methods, and (most importantly) expertise.
I also think in the beginning, before all the hype and fanfare, Jason and Grant had good intentions. I do think they were trying to find actual evidence of the paranormal. Or, as they were better at, logical explanations which might explain why something was perceived as paranormal phenomenon.
But what happened? It all started somewhere after Season 2 and during Season 3. I used to follow Jason on MysSpace. I also used to keep up with various forums discussing GH. The more Jason and Grant debunked things and the more reluctant they were to label a place “haunted,” the more disgruntled viewers seemed to get.
I don’t know if it affected their viewing numbers or what, but I have a sneaking suspicion the show’s producers caught on. Skepticism wasn’t cool.
Suddenly GH’s fearless leaders started dubbing places haunted based on information that before would only have had them saying, “There might be something here, but we’d need to do further investigation before we could say what.”
THE ART OF POSING
I still think Cracked.com’s Ghost TV article probably summed it up best with their “only two scenarios for ghost hunting shows” spiel. You either find one and proceed, or you don’t but make a show out of it anyway.
A hundred years ago trying to communicate with the spirit world was also hot. From public theaters to private parlors, it was popular for people to hold seances and such to try and make contact with the other side. Many of the so called mediums of that time were frauds (or, as I like to call them these days, “posers”) and their evidence was faked.
The TV show producers of our era have simply built on that same concept –they just modernized it with the gadgets and all. And dare I say modern day FX?
SMOKE AND MIRRORS: IT IS REAL, OR IS IT FX?
Going back to GH and Jason and Grant being more quick to call a place haunted anymore. It used to be the rare show when they caught something really good, wasn’t it? Their first visit to Eastern State, the investigation at Moon River Brewing in Savannah, the St. Augustine Lighthouse…these are some of the shows which turned up memorable “evidence” for me.
But was any of it real?
With movies like Paranormal Activity or even that “scary” ghost video I posted last week for Friday Fun, it really makes me wonder. The effects in those videos were obviously simulated. But they look pretty real.
As “real” as some of the alleged evidence collected on the ghost TV shows.
WHAT WOULD THEY DO WITH IT IF THEY CAUGHT IT?
My father-in-law used to have a saying that cracked me up. He’d be talking about chasing women and he’d joke, “But I wouldn’t know what to do with one if I caught her.”
I think that’s what’s eating me most about the ghost shows and why they’re not as much fun for me anymore. They all want to claim they’re “professionals” and that they can “help.” But, seriously, how can they? How is capturing evidence any help really?
Sure, it might put someone’s mind at ease, and, yes, they can try to perform a blessing to help the spirit move on, but…
Why was the spirit trapped here to begin with? Is “trapped” even the right way to say it? Why didn’t they just move on in the first place? And where do they go when they do “move on?”(That’s the million dollar question isn’t it?)
Also, what if the deceased was never religious? Does any old blessing work to help them move on? If so, why?
See where I’m going with all this? We still don’t know what spirits are, how they exist, why some stay behind while others don’t, why some show up on EVPs or as images yet others don’t, why some are residual while others are intelligent, etc.
While “ghost hunter” is a catchy moniker, it’s also a joke. Real hunters know what to do with their prey: catch it, kill it, stuff it and mount it or eat it.
Well, maybe one of these days a show will come along where they really do find something. It’s what I keep hoping for and why I keep watching ultimately.
So the moral of this story is…Show me a ghost show and I’ll watch it because I’m the biggest sucker and the joke’s all on me!