Paranormal television

For nearly as long as I can remember there have been television shows where people go to a haunted location with a night vision camcorder or two, turn off the lights and get scared and then call it a paranormal investigation. Bit of a misrepresentation, but there we go…

These shows have always been very entertaining even though some people think they are exactly what a paranormal investigation should be like. Many paranormal research teams are modelled from shows such as ‘Most haunted’ or ‘Ghost hunters’ which is a shame because such shows aren’t always as straight forwards as they may seem.

An interview I conducted for the Righteous Indignation podcast a while ago with Barry Fitzgerald from the show ‘Ghost Hunters International’ revealed that what goes into one of these shows can take up to a week or more at the location in question. Not only this, but in the past ‘Most Haunted’ which is a very popular show here in the UK have claimed to be filming in one location when in fact they were in a similar derelict building in a completely different location.

You can read more at Tony Youens’ website. He has done extensive research into ‘asylumgate.’

Also, on ‘Most Haunted Live’ scenes have been filmed prior to the live broadcast. These scenes are then tinged with a green colour to make them look like they’re being filmed in nightvision to give them the feeling of being live. A classic example would be the ‘Mary loves Dick’ incident. Click here to read about it on the Badpsychics website where they wrote a really insightful article on what happened.

All in all, what we can be certain of is that these sorts of programmes are fun to watch and should not be taken seriously despite the fact that on ‘Most Haunted’ Yvette Fielding often insists that everything that happens on their show is real.

Perhaps she genuinely believes that? I couldn’t possibly speculate…

It says a lot for a television show though when everyone involved in paranormal research (no matter how woo) denies watching the show incase it gives a bad impression of themselves. To watch Most Haunted must make you a bad ghost hunter…

Why am I writing about this? Well, there has been recent speculation online that Antix who produce Most Haunted are parting ways with LivingTV. You can read about it all on the badpscyhics forums. Everyone seems to think that this is the end of Most Haunted, and even if it is (which I don’t believe it is) so what?

What about all of the other television shows that take their inspiration from Most Haunted? Ghost hunters? Ghost adventures? Dead Famous? We even have the amateur shows like ‘the paranormal five’ that was aired in my local area – it’s cast were a local paranormal team who were what I call ‘carbon copy investigators’ who are rip-offs of the Most Haunted team.

Even if Most Haunted stops broadcasting there will still be shows that air in it’s place. There will always be people who are allowed air time to spread pseudo-scientific bullshit to the public and there will always be members of the public willing to take what these television shows say as facts. For as long as that continues to happen it doesn’t matter if Most Haunted might be stopping.

The shows always use the ‘entertainment’ get out clause which is fine when the audience realise that means the show is meant to entertain and not teach, but they don’t.

I have the ‘Ghost Hunters’ book written by Yvette Fielding & Ciaran O’keeffe who are both from TV’s Most Haunted. In this book they advise that the best places to look for ghosts are:

– Cemetries (especially graveyards with people who have been murdered.)
-Places of mysterious, violent or untilmely death
– hospitals and nursing homes
– scools (old & in operation)
– prisons and concentration camps

It annoys me that people take this sort of crap from these entertainers seriously. I mean, concentration camps?! Have these people no respect?

It’s normally the teams or the investigators who strongly point out that they don’t watch Most Haunted because it is fake and suspicious who then go on the rip off the show, or hang on every word that the presenters say (such as information in the associated books etc.)

Such a shame that their skepticism of the show doesn’t spread to the other information that the show presents to people. Perhaps their skepticism of the information that spawns from paranormal television shows is selective in the sense that they’ll deny it if it doesn’t fit in with their beliefs in ghosts… but if it does, they’ll hold onto it?

So to conclude, Most Haunted might be ending but that doesn’t make a difference in the bigger picture. I hate paranormal television. It’s vile.

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Hayley Stevens

Hayley is a ghost geek and started to blog in 2007. She uses scientific scepticism to investigate weird stuff and writes about it here while also speaking publicly about how to hunt ghosts as a skeptic.

3 thoughts on “Paranormal television”

  1. I like your attitude to some degree, most of the paranormal stuff on tv is designed for entertainment purposes only. I do not believe it depicts what happens in real paranormal research, but I watch the programs anyway. I get some ideas for content for my website.

  2. Shame I really wish there were some real findings in paranormal investigations. I suggest the person who wrote it’s article does one of his own then we can rule out the fakes completely . Just for scientific purposes you understand and without the disclaimer. Now that would be interesting!

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