Some of my fondest childhood memories include watching a brand new episode of Most Haunted on Friday nights with my sister. Most Haunted was a British paranormal TV show hosted by Yvette Fielding, featuring “psychic-medium” Derek Acorah, along with investigators Karl Beattie, Stuart Torevell and parapsychologist Ciaran O’Keeffe. As you can probably guess from the title the whole purpose was the show was to visit the most haunted locations in the UK and make great television by jumping at the sound of everything, scream at random times and pretend to see moving shadows. The purpose of the psychic medium was to provide “historic” facts about the location, communicate with the dead, and the occasional possession (hilarious to me now, not so much when I was young and dumb) by one of the spirits still hanging about. This was the only paranormal TV show at the time (that I knew of).
It was a treat for my sister and I. We loved sitting in the living room, getting the absolute shit scared out of us. Sometimes the episode would be so scary, my sister would crawl into bed with me later than night because she would start seeing “the little man in the corner” again. When you’re 12 and 9 years old you believe everything you see on TV. Derek Acorah was real to us. More than anything ghosts were real to us. The whole show was proof in the paranormal. Come to find out a few years later, it was all fake. I know, shocking right?!?
My point is, that was the paranormal show on TV. Later on I would discover a documentary made by 3 film students called Ghost Adventures. The two locations visited were the Old Washoe Club and the Goldfield Hotel located in Nevada. Both of these place are notorious for their permanent residents. The documentary itself is very raw and not well explored. The most memorable scene from this documentary is the levitating brick. Seeing that happen for the first was incredible. Although, I was very skeptical about its authenticity. Today two of the three are still heavily involved in the paranormal. You’ve probably heard of them. Zak Bagans and Aaron Goodwin. Today they have one of the hottest shows on the Travel Channel called the Ghost Adventures. Zak Bagans has somewhat become of the face of the paranormal movement and has since written two books about the subject (I’ve read both) and produced multiple projects and shows surround the subject. The third member of the core group, Nick Groff also wrote a book (read that one too) and has moved on to spearhead his own projects. Today they’ve been all over the world, investigated some of the most haunted locations including Eastern State Penitentiary, Ancient Ram Inn, Bobby Mackey’s, Waverly Hill Sanatorium, The Queen Mary, The Myrtles Plantation and the Winchester Mystery House to name a few. Seriously, they’ve been to a lot of places. Whether you believe in ghosts or not, I consider this group to be the most authentic and professional of all paranormal investigators. I’ve never seen anything on their show that would suggest fake evidence (and believe me, I watch every episode as a skeptic). They do appear genuine in their pursuit and presentation of paranormal evidence, but then again, I’ve been fooled before.
Around the same time these guys were coming up, another paranormal show paving the way to the entire paranormal TV show boom was Ghost Hunters. This show centered around two guys, Jason Hawes and Grant Wilson, and their group called The Atlantic Paranormal Society a.k.a. TAPS. Plumbers by day, ghost hunters by night, the group investigated private residences in their early days, “debunking” paranormal claims and telling residents they don’t believe their house was haunted. Later on in their history they would branch out more and investigate more notorious places like Bobby Mackey’s and Eastern State Penitentiary. They would also get caught faking some evidence. Not sure what became of them. I don’t know if they’re still around and I don’t care.
Another show that pops up in my mind is Paranormal State. This show was centered around the Penn State Paranormal Society, led by Ryan Buell. The group was made up of students from Penn State, most in the journalism major, for the purpose of investigating cases for clients. This show had a guest psychic-medium named Chip Coffey. Also making an appearance at random times was famed demonologist Lorraine Warren (Ed and Lorraine Warren, THE Ed and Lorraine Warren. I’m going to have to go into a whole side note aren’t I? (Ok so these two became famous when they investigated the case of Lutz family, you know, the Amityville Horror house? I’m sure you’ve seen the trailer for the movie starring Ryan Reynolds and some point in your life. The famous house at 112 Ocean Avenue was the site of a puzzling murder case which is believed to have been triggered by demonic possession of Ronald DeFao. DeFao basically shot up his mother, father and 4 siblings in the middle of the night and nobody heard a thing. The Warrens also founded the Occult Museum located in Connecticut (one museum I really want to visit but will probably be too chicken shit to do so) that holds Annabelle the demonically possessed doll and a bunch of other haunted items.) Shit I am so sorry, I got sidetracked again. I can go on about this stuff for hours.) So anywho, this show basically got into the whole “there’s a demon here” vibe. It only ran for 5 seasons. Buell became famous in the paranormal world and released a book (yes, I read that too) and now I don’t know where he is, nor do I care much.
I consider these 4 shows the pavers for the paranormal show boom. After these came, Ghost Lab, Ghost Asylum, Ghost Mine, Paranormal Challenge, Haunted Collector (don’t get me started on that fool), Paranormal Cops (polices officers by day, ghost hunters by night), Psychic Detectives, Psychic Kids (way to exploit your children, parents. Chip Coffey was a part of this bullshit), Ghost Hunters Academy (spinoff of Ghost Hunters, basically a competition looking for a replace investigator for TAPS that they turned into a TV show to cash in on the paranormal reality show boom), Celebrity Ghost Stories, and Ghost Hunters International (TAPS again) to name a few. Seriously I can go on. Everyone is trying to cash in on the paranormal hype these days.
The whole point of this blog post boils down to this. There are way too many shows out there now trying to get a piece of this pie and it’s upsetting to me. What really did it for me was when I saw a commercial yesterday for a new show called Ghost Brothers (it follows a team of African-American paranormal investigators). That was it. Ghost Brothers. Really!?! It’s not even a racial thing. It’s the fact that there are way too many
“paranormal investigators” out there now, running around and making a mockery out of the field.
I am passionate about the paranormal as you probably have guessed by now. I don’t know all of it, but I know enough to know bullshit when I see it. I consider myself to be an open skeptic when it comes to this stuff. To see all of these other TV shows out there trying to force feed people paranormal proof sickens me. I get they’re for entertainment purposes, but for those of us who genuinely believe in life after death and finding answers, or discovery the mystery of historic places, it’s almost disrespectful. Then again, the greed of some people doesn’t surprise me.