So, I’m scrolling through Facebook today when I see the headline: “Paranormal Investigator Exposed to Fake Activity of Ghosts”. Oh the outrage! You mean a ghost didn’t really move that ball on command? Shocking!
And I think to myself…really? Really we’re surprised? The paranormal field has taken a huge turn since back in the day when Ghost Hunters on SciFi began its run. Sometimes back then Jason and Grant didn’t find paranormal activity. Sometimes they found reasonable explanations like the neighbor’s garage remote was turning on the TV or the child of a family was playing too many video games before he went to bed. Ever play those dumb games where you pop balloons or break blocks for way too long and when you close your eyes you can still see said blocks or balloons? Yeah, uhhhh, me neither, but I digress. The point being that they used to try to figure out a reason why something was happening before jumping to the conclusion that someone had a haunting.
Then along came shows like Paranormal State and Ghost Adventures. They got paranormal activity on every single investigation! Scratches, bricks flying, even possession! So not only was it ghosts they were encountering every single place they went, it was demons. Can’t beat that for ratings, am I right? And ratings are fine, if you are promoting entertainment. But the fact that it was promoted more as “reality TV” really hurt the field of true paranormal investigation. All of a sudden, that high EMF that your Mel meter is registering has to be a ghost; it couldn’t possibly be that breaker box that’s not up to code. Those footsteps the homeowners are hearing upstairs have to be an incorporeal being, not the squirrels that are jumping off from the tree outside. The field became less about debunking and seeking the truth and more about what crazy stuff could happen and what molehill could become a mountain. In effect, we’ve been given not very real reality TV.
I’ve pretty much given up on any kind of paranormal TV show. But if you want truly entertaining, let me suggest Ghost Brothers on Destination America. They don’t really promote themselves as true ghost hunters. The fact that they’ll use their phones around EMF equipment then are shocked when their REM Pod goes off shows that. But they are hilarious, and I prefer that kind of real any day.
In my opinion, if you find a group that’s finding evidence and experiences on every single investigation, you’ve probably got a group that’s embellishing things a bit. If they can’t find anything solid, they may claim to have gotten nauseated or felt a chill. Not necessarily bad people, but they want to make their clients and their YouTube subscribers happy. There’s big pressure out there to find paranormal activity any time, any place, using any means possible.
As for Fringe, we will continue to find natural explanations for phenomena when possible and, while we’re always hoping we find evidence, we are always honest when we don’t. And I will continue to not be surprised as more and more ghost hunters are exposed as frauds.