I recently started watching the paranormal show Ghost Adventures on Travel Channel. I realize that the show
has been on the air for quite some time and I’m rather late to the party on this one, but I’ve found it entertaining
and really, isn’t that what we tune into tv shows for? But now that I’m a fair number of episodes in I’ve started
to wonder … what do people think of the paranormal community when all they have to judge us on are these tv
shows. Are investigations always so exciting? Are they scary? Is this what I can expect if I have someone come
to my home or business?
I’ve been a paranormal investigator for around a decade now (give or take). Over the years I’ve watched my
share of paranormal shows (Ghost Hunters, The Haunted, Paranormal Witness, Psychic Kids, etc) and I’ve
never really looked at them as anything behind entertainment. The more I continue in the investigation world,
however, the more I start to wonder what people think about the other groups that don’t have tv shows and are
just doing their own thing, trying to help people and businesses.
I’m not trying to say anything bad about any paranormal group (regardless of media status). I can’t judge what
their motivations are; but I wonder what impact their show has on the overarching community. When I watch
these shows, I see (minus commercials and intros) an hour of almost nonstop excitement. The amount of audio,
video, photographic evidence captured can be impressive. Add in the personal experiences and one would
think ‘ghost hunts’ were a thrill ride. Ask a question and get an answer pretty quickly. Have things thrown at
you. Hear footsteps walking down the hall towards you. Throw in cold spots .. orbs .. and other unexplained
phenomena and you’re anticipating an exciting night.
So now I wonder what home and business owners are expecting when they call us in to investigation their
situation. Are they expecting to hear audible responses to our questions? Or to have their shoes thrown
across the room? I sometimes feel bad because, in reality, we are taking their Saturday night and turning it into
4 – 5 hour bouts of silent boredom. No tv, no lights, no radio, no phone. I can think of a lot of ways I’d rather
spend my free night. I’m not saying this is the case for everyone, some people don’t care how long we’re there
or if they have to sit quietly for hours on end. They truly want answers. But there are people that I suspect
aren’t ready for what a true paranormal investigation brings … tedium. We ask questions then wait for answers
that we won’t hear until evidence review. I think it’s fair to say that even investigators get bored waiting for
things to happen. Because, let’s face it, this isn’t a 6 hour investigation edited down to 18 minutes of airtime.
Then bring about the reveal to a client. Sometimes we have no evidence to offer. Maybe we only have personal
experiences (which don’t amount to a great deal as there’s no proof to back them up). Do some clients wonder
why the team wasn’t able to capture anything when the tv shows come back with numerous pieces of evidence?
I led off with referencing the current paranormal show I was watching because I started to wonder how people
view our community in light of all these programs. I suspect, with respect to whether one believes in the
paranormal, that these shows have not really converted many people. Many sites I viewed brought out the
detractors – many of whom expressed how fake these shows are. I don’t know if they’re fake. I don’t always
agree with evidence they collect – what’s being said, if it’s an orb, what the noise might be. Even within this
group we’re not always at a consensus with evidence. I don’t think that makes any group less legitimate (which
can be the claim I’ve seen). I’d rather have disagreement at times then always be like lemmings agreeing with
So after all that rambling .. thoughts? Do the tv shows hurt? Help? Do a little of both? Do you think it affects a
client’s expectations of what an investigation will be like? Do you think it affects the quality of people who are
interested in joining or starting a paranormal group?
** MCPI was recently showcased on TV in the Rochester area and I realize that my thoughts expressed above
now relate to our group. I can only hope that we represented the paranormal community in a positive manner.
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