Paranormal Reality TV: A Blessing and a curse
Over the latest decade or so a great number of major cable channels have at least one “paranormal reality” show. More often than not these shows are the highest rated shows on the network. Although each shows’ cast has a different style or technique, they all follow a similar format. It starts out with the team being called out to a location because of the paranormal history or a resident is having an issue paranormal in nature that is affecting their lives. Then there are the interviews and a brief history of the location, the investigation, and then the wrap up.
It seems that most of the time in each episode the team finds evidence of the paranormal and may even resolve the problem; all over the course of 30 minutes to an hour long episode. Several times the cast/team member will experience something amazing: being touch, pushed, scratched, or even possessed. These are all fascinating events that intrigue the audience and send the ratings high.
Now, I don’t want to make it seem that I am dismissing these shows as pure Hollywood drama as I am a big fan of many of these shows. I believe that 99% of the teams are doing real paranormal research and are there for the right reason. However, there have been times over the years of teams being caught faking evidence during a broadcast. Although many call them out when this happens it really hurts all paranormal research because it keeps with the stigma of fraudulent, pseudoscience. While that is true I can’t really blame it all on these teams when they create a fake experience. The executives do put pressure on these shows to keep it interesting and action packed. It is still wrong and misleading to do, but I can understand why they do it.
Also, what many have noticed is that only the highlights of an investigation are shown on-screen. If a person is not a paranormal researcher themselves, they do not realize the hours of sitting and waiting in the dark for something to happen. They are ignorant of the hours of watching the same video of an empty room and seeing if anything paranormal is captured on camera. They do not realized the dangers of being in these substandard building, with poor foundations and black mold. All they see is the glamour of living an interesting life having spiritual experiences and being friends with psychics and witches.
Due to this false reality of paranormal research some people over time have created their own teams in hopes of living that perceived glamorous and interesting life; maybe even getting a TV contract of their own. Some have gotten hurt and some even vandalize the location they are investigating after they get bored. So, are paranormal reality TV shows a blessing or a curse for the scientific paranormal research world? Perhaps it is somewhere in the middle. On one hand you have infamous hoaxes done by these shows and over the top reactions from team members coming off as hokey and for pure entertainment only. While on the other hand amazing, new equipment has been invented to aid in paranormal research. These shows have gotten people talking and excited about paranormal research. Even, inspired amazing researchers to get into the field and find answers for themselves.
The ratings of cable TV are on the decline but the interest in the paranormal field is on the rise. It is safe to say that networks such as The Spirit Realm Network are the future. Real time live streaming of investigations, audience interaction and feedback, and no corporate giant dictating the content of the shows that are broadcast are what people are drawn to these days. As for The Spirit Realm Network and others like it, this is only the beginning.