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G is for Ghosthunters

“Oh my God! Did you hear that?”

Nope.

“Listen to this! I got something on my super high-tech digital recorder!”

* disembodied snarfling with static*

“The spirit told us to get out! Oh my God!”

It did?

“Hey, it’s a half degree cooler in this room! I can feel its presence! It’s here!”

Um…or maybe it’s a draft?

“Oh my God! What was that?”

The floor creaked, you moron.

ghost in the hall

You would think, with my keen interest in all things paranormal and mysterious, I would love ghost-hunting reality shows.

You’d be wrong.

Oh, I was excited at first. Until I watched a few and realized how ridiculous and boring they are. During the last one I watched, the host snapped at his camera man and then claimed he’d been “possessed” by the spirit of the island.

Shortest possession on record.

I rolled my eyes so hard I nearly hurt myself.

Ghost-hunting shows are destined to be boring for a few reasons.

  • Ghosts tend to avoid crowds. If you have five or more people investigating, chances are you won’t see a thing. (This makes the events at Edgehill even more extraordinary.)
  • Hauntings are incredibly prosaic, for the most part. It would be great dramatic fodder if phantoms showed up clanking chains and throwing tables around, but that’s not gonna happen. If a floor creaks or a door slams off-camera, who’s to say a ghost caused it? (Besides, how would ghosts make the floor creak when they’re weightless?)
  • Ghosts aren’t here to do our bidding. Just because you’re there with a crew and cameras doesn’t mean anything will happen that evening, and chances are it won’t.

So instead of paranormal activity, we get to watch a group of people act sillier and sillier–either for dramatic effect or because their imaginations have run away with them.

Every single “event” I’ve seen on one of these shows can be explained away, including those “orb photos”…don’t get my photographer boyfriend started on those.

Are you a fan of ghost-hunting shows? Have you found one that isn’t completely annoying and over the top? Why do you think these shows are so popular? Have you ever seen or heard a ghost?

If you like this sort of thing, I highly recommend Paranormal Witness, which relies on reenactments and interviews. So much better!

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62 Comments

  1. Frank

    I was severely disappointed the first time I saw a ghost hunting show.

    I love ghosts and ghost stories and these shows would be great if they just told the stories of the ghosts and then stayed in the area in hopes of seeing them. How cool would it be for them to tell the stories in the dark as they are lying in bed in the room that is supposedly haunted?

    Instead, we get the idiocy you describe.

    How do they know their gadgets detect ghosts? Ghostbusters was more believable than their nonsense. Bah!

    Reply
    • JH

      I completely agree, Frank. Every time I get sucked into trying another one, I’m disappointed again.

      It sounds like you would love Paranormal Witness. Some of the episodes are terrifying! Give it a try; let me know what you think.

      Reply
  2. Tasha Duncan-Drake

    I like watching Ghost Hunters every now and then and watch each season as they have to get more and more silly because otherwise their viewing figures go down :). Ghost Hunters International is even more fun – some of them are bonkers I’m sure!

    I can’t watch the reconstructions and interview programs very often because they freak out my darling husband. He doesn’t like to watch them before going to bed :).

    We used to have a ghost in our house – I think she’s moved on now, but she was the old lady who used to live here. Well at least we assume so because she got very excited when her son visited and actually spoke to me and my husband at separate times. She only said hello, but it was freaky :). Never saw her though.
    Tasha
    Tasha’s Thinkings | Wittegen Press | FB3X (AC)

    Reply
    • JH

      That *would* be freaky, Tasha! Thanks for sharing your story. It’s funny, I’ve only heard ghosts too–never seen them. Maybe most people hear them instead of seeing?

      I recently discovered another one of those reconstruction and interview programs your husband might be okay with: it’s called Evil Lives Here, and it’s interviews with the loved ones of serial killers, school shooters, etc., about the signs that something was wrong before the event or arrest.

      It’s really good, and surprisingly scary sometimes.

      Reply
  3. Nikki

    I’m glad I’m not the only one!! Ghost-hunting shows most remind me of when I was younger and friends and I would go exploring in an old graveyard or in the woods at night and we would WANT to see and hear things so we would feed off of each other’s energy. Every noise was something, every glow off a gravestone was something (usually the moon) and it was a giggling, fun time. But when I see shows like that, it’s all I can think of; a bunch of little kids being overdramatic.

    I don’t fault anyone if that’s what they are in to, it just isn’t something I can take seriously. My weirdest, unexplained moments always happened when I was younger and left at home by myself. 🙂

    Reply
    • JH

      So true, Nikki. I’m glad to hear I’m not the only one who feels this way about these shows. I actually thought there would be a lot of people screaming about how awesome they are.

      It’s the boring aspect that gets me the most. A lot of times, it would be more interesting to watch paint dry.

      Reply
  4. Misha

    I used to like Ghosthunters, but as the seasons progressed, they just became really ridiculous.

    Paranormal Witness sounds interesting. I’ll check it out. 🙂

    Reply
    • JH

      Let me know what you think, Misha. I love it! It’s so good.

      Evil Lives Here, while a different type of show–more true crime–is really good and quite scary as well.

      Reply
  5. Somer

    I like to watch them in their infancy. They tend to start taking themselves way too seriously and the stupid gadgets courtesy of big sponsors sort of ruins it. The main appeal, of course, is watching these serious people get themselves worked into a lather and jump at every little thing on camera. As a naturally jumpy person, I laugh because I can sympathize!

    Reply
    • JH

      I’m not sure if the ones I’ve seen have been in their infancy or not…I never watch them long enough to find out!

      But I always crack up when they introduce a medium who claims to hear the spirit of a little girl crying. It’s ALWAYS the spirit of a little girl crying. Apparently she makes the rounds.

      Reply
  6. Madeline Mora-Summonte

    I’ve heard of these shows but never watched them. I think I’d rather just watch a scary movie. 🙂

    Reply
    • JH

      Any recommendations, Madeline?

      Reply
      • Madeline Mora-Summonte

        Hmm, I recently re-watched Blair Witch again – still creepy but not as creepy as when I originally saw it.

        We did go see 10 Cloverfield Lane in the theaters. The first chunk was good, but then I felt like it fell apart. It had so much potential!

        There’s a scary movie coming out next month with Kevin Bacon that looks good…now if only I could remember the name of it….

        Reply
        • JH

          Google is your friend!

          Yeah, I think Blair Witch is a one-shot deal. Once you know how it ends, it’s not as scary. And you have to see it in the theatre!

          Alex made me very curious about Cloverfield. What a shame it fell apart.

          Reply
  7. Random Musings

    I’ve watched a few of these shows and I have to agree with you. It’s far too easy in making programmes to add effects and have actors so the fear looks genuine. Also, I think when you go looking for stuff like this, you jump at shadows which all adds to the effect.
    I have seen some comical so-called “possessions” on these shows, none of which have any effect except making me laugh and roll my eyes
    Debbie

    Reply
    • JH

      Yeah, they’re pretty funny. This one was so ridiculous. He was “possessed” and then a minute later, fine. One of my fellow bloggers says he’s on steroids, which could explain his mood swings better than possession.

      Le sigh.

      Reply
  8. Alex J. Cavanaugh

    That’s exactly how I feel about those shows! It’s like they are trying way too hard.

    Reply
    • JH

      I always knew you were a smart guy, Alex.

      OMG, what was THAT!?

      Sigh.

      Reply
  9. Michele Truhlik

    I’m with you. Some of shows are truly boring and not exciting like they claim to be. There was one that I really liked and I can’t for the life of me remember the name of it now.
    I like watching My Haunted House, which isn’t a ghost hunting show but it’s really good, in my opinion.
    I went on a ghost hunting trip to a haunted bar in downtown Austin. We spent the night there and didn’t see or hear anything. I took a bunch of pictures and saw maybe a few orbs but then again, your boyfriend would probably explain those away. It was interesting though to take multiple pictures and see orbs in some and not in others of the same exact spot with photos taken a mere seconds apart. Who knows.
    I had fun though. It was interesting to talk to the others who had been on multiple ghost hunting trips. Now that I’m talking about it, I need to get active with that group. It is fun if nothing else…

    Michele at Angels Bark

    Reply
    • JH

      Ghost-hunting trips *are* super fun, even if nothing happens. I put those in a different category altogether.

      As for orbs, they’re dust particles lit up by your flash (or a reflection, such as your flash bouncing off a mirror or wall). In the case of the dust, that’s why there will be orbs in some photos but not in others. As the particles move, they’ll go out of frame or not be at the right angle to catch the flash the same way. Viola, vanishing orbs! 🙂

      Reply
    • JH

      I’ve seen a couple of Supernatural episodes, but not that one. I’ll have to seek that one out.

      Reply
  10. Kelly Gunter Atlas

    You summed it up perfectly. When one of those shows pops up on my TV, my husband just rolls his eyes and puts on his headphones because he knows I’m about to pick them apart and point out everything wrong or stupid that happens onscreen.

    Reply
    • JH

      Oh, that would be fun, Kelly! I’d love to do that with you. We’d have a blast.

      Thanks so much for commenting, and being so supportive on my page. It’s appreciated more than you know.

      Reply
  11. C. Lee McKenzie

    Maybe they should just all be comedies like Ghostbuster to start with, then laughter would be appropriate.

    I enjoyed reading the scene you gave us because it was absolutely typical.

    Reply
    • JH

      Thanks, Lee. Unintentional comedy still makes us laugh, I guess. It’s the boring ones I really can’t stand.

      Reply
  12. Shadow

    I do believe in ghosts, smell them, feel them, never seen or anything…. But the TV shows, no! no! no!

    Reply
    • JH

      Have to agree with you there, Shadow. A big whopping NO from me as well.

      Reply
  13. Birgit

    those shows are beyond dumb. They should get together with the guys who search for Bigfoot. I have had strange things in my home but not for a log time. The husband was sickly and died in the house, our bedroom actually. When we bought the house, my ex was working at Radio Shit..um Shack and he would come home after 9pm. I was with my dog, Katie, and I was watching a dull movie(Prince and the Showgirl). There was a kissing scene going on when I heard footsteps from the back of the home coming towards the front (I was at the front in the TV Room). Katie also heard it. At first I thought it was my ex and then realized it was only 8pm. No one was walking in the movie so I thought I have my glass of wine to throw in his face. As soon as he would have been seen, the footsteps stopped. My ex and I were one night watching a show when we heard a major crash as if someone fell by the stairs because it sounded like metal. We called up stairs to my mom who had recent hip surgery. She was watching TV and told us to leave her alone(hahahaaa) her walker was plastic and was in her living room untouched for a few days. Another time, my mom came down to talk to my ex because she heard him yell but he didn’t as he was on the computer and no one was outside and she swore it came from the stairway again. Even though I felt silly. I spoke to the former owner and told him I would respect the house and make sure I would honour the home. Since then I haven’t heard anything.

    Reply
    • JH

      Oh, those are some creepy stories, Birgit! Thanks for sharing them. There’s been some weird stuff around this house too, but it comes and goes.

      Reply
  14. Samantha Bryant

    Did you see the episode of Supernatural where Sam and Dean met up with some Ghosthunters? I think you’d like it. 🙂

    @mirymom1 from
    Balancing Act

    Reply
    • JH

      No, I haven’t, but that obviously has to change! Thanks for the recommendation.

      Reply
  15. Keiley Blair

    I am the EXACT same way although I keep watching new ones expecting to be wowed (and never am…isn’t that the definition of insanity?).

    Reply
    • JH

      Or boredom. Let’s go for boredom. 🙂

      Reply
  16. Ryan Carty

    I have two (too long for this forum) ghost stories, and because of my experiences, also wanted those ghost hunting shows to be good. They aren’t. Take away the silly music and bad editing and it’s hours of silence and nothing.

    I think these shows are popular because people want evidence of some sort of after life. Though, why one would want to be a ghost for eternity is beyond me. 🙂

    Reply
    • JH

      Good point, Ryan. It wouldn’t be much of an afterlife, would it?

      I hope I get to hear your ghost stories sometime. I’m planning to keep in touch after the challenge, in any case.

      Reply
  17. Lexa Cain

    “I rolled my eyes so hard I nearly hurt myself.” — Hahaha!

    Ghosthunter shows are just embarrassingly stupid. It’s so obvious it’s all a put on for the viewers. And I should know since I’ve watched many of them! LOL

    Reply
    • JH

      Glad to hear I’m not the only one who feels that way, Lexa. Thanks for coming by! I’ve missed you around these parts. 🙂

      Reply
  18. Stephanie Faris

    Ghost Hunters seemed authentic at first…they had a lot of cases where nothing happened. But then Ghost Adventures came along and they changed. They started doing the same fake crap that Zak Douche-Bagans guy does. I do sometimes watch the beginning of Ghost Adventures, though. I have no interest in watching him run around in the dark, saying, “Did you hear that?” but I do like to hear the ghost stories! I took a ghost hunting class for a book series I wrote called Ghost Patrol and it was a lot of fun! I’ll never see a ghost, but I still love hearing the stories. Demonic possession goes a bit far for me, though. I have no interest in watching that…it’s just a little too on the dark side for me.

    Reply
    • JH

      But you did see a ghost! You were friends with one when you were a kid–your mom told us. 🙂

      I laugh whenever I see you call him Douche-Bagans. That joke never gets old. I didn’t realize he was actually added to the Urban Dictionary! You know you’re a douche when…

      Reply
  19. Barbara In Caneyhead

    While I believe in spirits, I do not believe in ghosts. I do not believe that the human spirit lingers here. So, I don’t give any credence to ghost hunter shows. And if they did somehow stumble upon something, you can bet it would be demonic in origin, not the soul of some departed person.

    Reply
    • JH

      I had a medium tell me that once about an experience I had with my friend’s spirit. It freaked me out, that’s for sure.

      Reply
  20. Michelle Wallace

    Sorry to ‘burst the ghostly bubble’, but to my knowledge, wooden creaking floors is the result of expansion and contraction that takes place as temperatures fluctuate… 🙂

    Reply
      • JH

        That’s it, Michelle. You’re out of the ghost-hunters club.

        Reply
  21. Zeljka

    I completely agree with your opinion on this one. These shows are ridiculous. Even if there is a proven story they’d make it seem imaginary. I’ll let you know if I encounter some one day 🙂

    Reply
    • JH

      Please do!

      I’m actually surprised so many people agreed with me. Those shows are so popular, someone has to like them.

      Reply
  22. Tamara Narayan

    We don’t have cable anymore, so I’ve never seen one. Documentaries on Youtube are probably much better. Who wants to watch a group of idiots pretend to see/hear/feel a ghost. Ridiculous.

    Reply
    • JH

      Exactly, Tamara. We haven’t had cable in years, either. YouTube is my TV when I have time, which isn’t often.

      Reply
  23. Djinnia

    I watched the first season of ghost hunters when they were just average people. I quit after season two or three.

    Going in scientifically is fine in theory. But with all the camera people and stuff . . . Nope.

    I’ll stick with S.P.R.

    Reply
    • JH

      What’s SPR? I don’t think I’ve heard of that one.

      Reply
  24. Mary Aalgaard

    I know. They’re ridiculous. I took a photography class and the teacher showed us how to make ghostly images in our photos. Not so scary, now, is it.

    Reply
    • JH

      Just think…you could use those techniques to become internet famous! The frauds and hoaxers really piss me off, because they make it even less likely people will believe a real claim.

      Reply
  25. Corina

    I love discovering and exploring ghosts but not ghost shows. The only way to experience it is in person. I’ve gone on a few ghost hunting tours and they can be fabulous. Notice the use of the word “CAN.” I’ve even been touched by a ghost!

    Reply
    • JH

      I’d love to hear that story, Corina!

      Reply
  26. Patricia Lynne

    I like ghost hunting shows. It’s interesting to see what they find. Although, most of the time it’s not much and I think the voices are open for interpretation. But it’s mindless TV I can put on and write to.

    ~Ninja Minion Patricia Lynne aka Patricia Josephine~
    Story Dam
    Patricia Lynne, Indie Author

    Reply
    • JH

      I agree with the mindless part. 😀 I never thought of those as good background noise. I’d find all the freaking out distracting.

      Reply
  27. Yolanda Renee

    Horrific the way they do these shows! But everybody’s got to make a buck! LOL Same as the big foot searches! And that group from WV hunting all kinds of monsters!

    Reply
    • JH

      Ooh, I’ve missed some of those. Is it wrong I’m tempted to check them out? 😀

      Reply
  28. Denise D Hammond

    I have a solatube in my family room – basically a skylight. If you position yourself the right way you can capture a blurry orb in a photo. I usually delete the photos, but perhaps I should try to sell them a ‘ghostly images’. I thought those ghost hunter shows were comedies.

    Reply
    • JH

      They kind of are, unintentionally.

      You totally should, Denise. You could make a killing. Just let me know so I can delete your comment…kind of gives everything away. 😀

      Reply
  29. Heather M. Gardner

    Ha! Yeah, those shows should be considered comedy/dramas not ‘reality tv’!

    Heather

    Reply

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