HOW THE MEDIA IS SATISFYING THE DESIRE FOR REAL PARANORMAL EXPERIENCES


Every once and a while I like to share my personal interests with my readers. I don’t watch much television. On the rare occasion I’m actually in front of the boob tube, there are only a few different types of programs that will keep my attention. In addition to shows about home improvements and house hunting, I like to watch programs with paranormal themes. In fact, last night I discovered yet another one. Without giving the name, let’s just say the show focuses on two sisters who are mediums and happen to live near Atlantic City, NJ. Time will tell if these entertaining ladies, and their antics, will become popular. At any rate, I enjoyed their show.

The question of what happens to individuals after death is an intriguing topic. While most theories point to some sort of afterlife, only those who have passed on know the truth. For countless years, screenwriters have created fictional hair-raising ghost tales meant to scare movie audiences. While some claim to be fact-based, with a bit of Hollywood embellishment thrown in, most are just the figment of someone’s imagination. Nonetheless, stories meant to frighten and question reality will always be popular.

As individuals search for some concrete assurance their souls won’t expire along with their bodies, it’s this mystery of not knowing that keeps many interested as well as entertained. It seems people can’t get enough of hearing about real-life ghost encounters, haunted houses, and poltergeist activity. Lately, true accounts of a supernatural nature are all the rage on the small screen. Real-life stories have millions tuning in every week. Some of the individuals recounting their stories might even surprise some people.

Celebrity Ghost Stories, airing on the Biography channel, spotlights well-known individuals recounting unusual and sometimes frightening paranormal experiences. Encounters with dead relatives, stories of residing in haunted houses, sightings of apparitions, objects moving on their own, and evil entities abound on this popular show. A spin-off called The Haunting Of… follows up with those who’ve already told their tales on Celebrity Ghost Stories. Medium Kim Russo helps individuals interpret what they’ve experienced and discussed on the previous show by taking them back to the location of their experience. Using her physic abilities, Kim’s able to bring closure to many who have questioned what they experienced and why it happened to them.

If looking for ghosts or spirits appeals more to someone, in lieu of just hearing about them, there are several ghost hunting shows currently on the airwaves. Ghost Hunters and Destination Truth on the Syfy channel, Ghost Adventurers on the Travel channel, and Paranormal State on the Biography channel, send a team of investigators into a reportedly haunted place to gather evidence. The use of ghost detecting material such as EMF meters, EVP listeners, digital voice recorders, handheld, head-mounted, infrared, and stationary video cameras, and motion-activated sensors keeps it interesting, especially when something is captured. On occasion, some of these shows also bring in psychics to verify if a place has paranormal activity.

One of the most entertaining ghost hunting shows was cancelled after only two seasons, but its reruns are still being broadcast. Ghost Lab, which aired on the Discovery channel from 2009 to 2010, followed the exploits of brothers Brad and Barry Klinge. They formed Everyday Paranormal in 2007 in order to prove, through scientific methods, the existence of the afterlife. What made this show unique was the brothers’ approach to haunted locations. Brad would often use an antagonistic attitude to try and elicit activity during every investigation. He appeared not to be intimidated by anything, so he used his bombastic personality to the extreme. Their mobile command center was also equipped with high tech gadgets to immediately interpret any evidence they gathered.

Haunted Collector, which airs on the Syfy channel, is now in its third season. A team of investigators led by demonologist John Zaffis, and his grown children Chris and Aimee, enter a location with the intention of identifying and removing any object, artifact, or antique that might be holding onto negative energy. Some examples are religious objects of a supernatural nature that were used in occult rituals as well as non-paranormal antiques or furniture that might have absorbed energy from a past owner. Initially, several team members do a daytime sweep of the location using EMF equipment. Next, historical information is gathered about the residence or building by visiting local libraries. Lastly, a nighttime investigation commences. Once it’s determined an object might be the source of paranormal activity, it’s removed from the location and placed in the paranormal museum located in the basement of Zaffis’ home. A follow-up is done weeks later to see if removing the tainted object helped alleviate the paranormal phenomena.

Paranormal shows recreating a situation are also popular. One of the best is A Haunting, currently airing on the Discovery channel. Actors portray people who’ve experienced paranormal or supernatural phenomena in their homes. Their stories are told along with commentary from the actual individuals. The location’s history in addition to other pertinent information is revealed within an hour. As the disturbing details unfold, viewers are left to question why or how something so eerie could happen and to appreciate it hasn’t befallen them.

My Ghost Story is a half-hour show broadcast on the Biography channel. It showcases the supernatural experiences everyday people have experienced. Participants reveal their first-hand narratives through reenacting their stories. Evidence gathered such as photographs, audio recordings, and video recordings are shared and any historical information about the haunted location is discussed. None of the individuals appearing on the show are professional ghost hunters, just regular people who found themselves put into irregular or bizarre situations.

For debunkers of paranormal activity, everything has an explanation. Balls of light, commonly called orbs, are merely dust. Strange sounds in the middle of the night could be a house settling. Disembodied voices are someone’s overactive imagination. Electrical oddities are simply problems with wiring. Individuals who’ve seen apparitions suffer from mental problems. Even if someone strongly disbelieves in the supernatural, they have to agree that shows of a paranormal nature are popular and here to stay because of their power to scare, entertain, and enlighten their viewers. Sometimes fact can be stranger than fiction and that’s the biggest lure of all for some individuals.


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