I don’t know when it died but one thing I am sure of is that ghost hunting is dead. That isn’t a ghost-related joke either, it really has ceased to exist and it seems that very few people have noticed.
Looking back at my time as a ghost hunter I guess I should have seen the early stages of the onset of its death – ghost hunting teams set up simply as vessels through which the team members aimed for their slice of paranormal related fame. Their own television show, perhaps. More and more of these crap shows appearing, more and more tech being marketed at suckers who wanted to be their idols from their ghost hunting television shows.
I didn’t see it coming though as I was truly engrossed with my own fact finding mission – one that would lead me to my current skeptical-yet-curious position.
Recently, a number of members of my old ghost hunting team thought it would be nice to arrange a one off evening of ghost hunting for old times sake. A chance to meet up again and trade tales of the good old days. It never happened though because all of the locations that we visited between 2005 – 2008 as curious-yet-naive ghost hunters suddenly wanted us to pay over £300 or had such a long line of ghost hunting teams already visiting that they couldn’t fit us in. We thought perhaps the first venue this happened with was an unfortunate one off, but then the second venue did the same, and the third, the fourth…
Then we realised that the traditional approach to ghost hunting that we had so loved has been skinned alive, and instead of allowing it to rest in peace a more modern version is parading around wearing its flesh. The modern version is adventure tourism with the lights turned off; copying those cool looking people off the television who have action filled nights in the most haunted of venues across the world.
Claiming to be like the old school ghost hunters when they’re anything but…
These teams typically visit the same locations as other teams, paying over the odds for access for the night and charging their members and friends so they can afford the charges. The venues you visit are like medals you collect – ‘ooh, they’ve been to all the castles, I wish we were as cool as them’. Teams will spend roughly 5 – 8 hours at the location and that is it, so these modern ghost hunters have to make it worth their while by using all sorts of nonsense devices and techniques to find and communicate with ghosts. The bigger your arsenal of devices, the better you are. Bit like Pokemon card collections (only sillier).
It’s a popularity contest. Keep up or go away.
The modern ghost hunters want to replicate activity that has been reported. They want to see if they can experience it too, rather than spending hours trying to work out what might have caused it. There seems to be little or no interest in researching techniques – if it’s good enough for those other teams then it must be okay. I spoke to a modern ghost hunter recently who dropped into the conversation ‘we use religious provocation if we have to, we’re there to find the ghosts’.
Ghost Hunting as we know it is dead. Any old school researchers deserve better than to be likened to modern ghost hunting teams and celebrities who have latched onto something that was good and have dragged in into the mud. Ghost hunting is dead, let’s just hope it soon realises it so that we can all get on with decent paranormal research without these wannabe’s pretending they represent us all. Ugh.