Guilty Pleasures: Ghost Hunting Television Shows

So I have a little bit of a confession to make.  I actually enjoy watching those ghost hunting TV shows every now and then, even though I don’t really believe in paranormal phenomena.  It’s a guilty pleasure of mine (but you already knew that because you read the title of the post…you clever scamp).

But let’s rewind a bit, back to March 2014.  I was just starting up this blog and my very first post dealt with the paranormal.  In it, I talked about how even though I am skeptical when it comes to whether or not ghosts and the like actually exist, I enjoy ghost stories and just the idea of the paranormal in games, movies, and television.  In the post, I only really talked about video games, specifically the Dark Fall games, a series of point and click adventures dealing with ghosts.

I suppose then, that this was a long time coming.  I have seen several ghost hunting shows before (interesting fact, the show Ghost Adventures actually visited Duluth earlier this year), but the one I’ve enjoy most is Ghost Hunters and its spinoff Ghost Hunters International on the Syfy channel (yeah don’t ask, I don’t know how that ever became a thing).  I mainly like this show specifically because when it comes to the spectrum of being believable, Ghost Hunters probably lies at the top.  I have a healthy skepticism about most of these shows, especially a certain one I’ll talk about in a little bit.

But why do I like these shows?  Mainly because they feel atmospheric to me.  I like the idea of going into a supposedly haunted place and just experiencing all it has to offer.  And since I’m certainly not going to be buying plane tickets and going to any famous haunted locales in the near future, I have to do it vicariously through video games and television.  I chalk it up to a mixture of the part of me that likes exploring and that masochistic part of me that likes horror and being scared.

And as far as experiencing a haunted place goes, Ghost Hunters is a good avenue for it.  If you’ve never seen the show before, the gist of it is this team of people go to a bunch of different places (usually two per episode) and see if they can find any sort of paranormal evidence, be it on video, audio, or some other means.  And of course, they investigate in the dark, because that’s when all the spooky stuff happens.  In any case, I enjoy the process that they go through in each episode.  And in the end, they seem the most genuine out of all of the shows, because they at least admit when they haven’t found anything…which leads me into the other show I want to talk about.

Have you ever heard of Paranormal State?  If you have, and have seen it, you might understand the direction I’m about to go in.

Paranormal State is another ghost hunting show I’ve watched, but not for the same reasons as Ghost Hunters.  I watch Ghost Hunters because I like the idea of ghosts and hauntings, and their method of doing things doesn’t strike me as ridiculous as some of the other shows.  I watch Paranormal State because I like to laugh at it.  Me and my roommate used to watch it in college a lot because it was just so absurd.  The team in this show hails from Penn State University, and seems to have a major confirmation bias going on.  If you don’t understand what I mean by that, let me put it like this: they like to twist things around so that it fits their version of what they want to be true.

Here’s an example.  In one episode, they investigate an abandoned sanitarium (read: mental hospital).  While they’re there, they get a recording of a voice saying the name “Lucy”.  After doing some research, they discover that they can’t find any evidence of a woman named Lucy ever having worked there, been a patient there, or even having set foot through its doors.  So what’s their conclusion?  A demon is covering up the evidence.  Yeah…I wish I was kidding.

But that kind of thing is precisely why my roommate and I watched the show a bunch, because it was hilarious to us.  About ninety percent of their cases were attributed to demons.  I mean they even had a serialized arc going on with a demon that followed the Mississippi River.  It’s really rather ridiculous how much demonic activity they’ve supposedly encountered in their time.  And after all that, most of their demons just create drafts of air and blow doors shut.  Demons everybody!  They’re seriously evil and stuff!

Paranormal State is definitely one of those shows that I believe is either faked on some level, or the people in it are just really full of themselves.  In any case, I still enjoyed watching it.  Too bad it’s no longer on Netflix instant streaming.  Comedy for days man.  Comedy for days.

Everyone has that guilty pleasure in their life, that thing that they do that they know is kind of stupid but they do it anyways because they enjoy it.  Ghost hunting shows are that thing for me.  I know that on some level the science those shows use is pretty much bunk or unproven, but the idea of chasing down paranormal entities is something that fascinates me.  It’s a primal sort of thing, when you enter a deserted or empty building in the middle of the night, and you feel that sharp chill on the back of your neck.  You get the unshakable sensation of not being alone.  The wind howls through a distant hallway, creating an eerie sound akin to someone moaning.  That’s the kind of thing I feel when I watch those types of shows, the sensation of exploring a place like that.  And I love it.

And you know what the best thing about shows like Ghost Hunters is?  No obnoxious jumpscares.


Well that’s all I’ve got for this week.  Tune in next Wednesday for another new post, and as always, have a wonderful week.