Watching Paranormal TV Shows… Not Watching Paranormal TV Shows… Does it Really Matter?

I have met many ghost hunters who swear they don’t watch TV shows about ghost hunting… I don’t believe it for a second!  People seem to claim this almost as if they think that they are cut from a better ghost hunting cloth.  Like it is a declaration of automatic entitlement over the rest of the ghost hunting field.

I can’t speak for anyone else, but the fact is, ghost hunting is my passion.  So when something airs on TV that deals with the same subject that I love… sure as hell I am going to watch it!  It really is as simple as that.  I would like to think that most of us are smart enough to know that television is for entertainment.  So why does the paranormal field seem to take up this cause and jump on their soap boxes about paranormal TV shows?  Don’t we all know that this is just for entertainment?

Because I watch a paranormal show does not mean that I automatically agree of everything I see.  It does not mean that I believe everything that they insinuate or claim as evidence either.  I whole heartily believe that as long as I am aware of that, and don’t treat these TV shows as the standard with which to measure myself… I can watch away without feeling like I am less of a ghost hunter!  Just like I do not think that a homicide detective uses CSI to adjust how they investigate a crime scene, but we seem to have no issue with the fact that a cop watches CSI, or a lawyer watches Law and Order… why such a fuss over paranormal shows?

And let me add an argument to the mix.  In my very sheltered life growing up; I absolutely LOVED “true” ghost stories and everything paranormal.  In elementary school I would check out book after book from the library and scare myself reading these tales of the unknown to the point that I couldn’t go to sleep.  I would just lay in bed and shiver in fear certain that there was some sort of dark entity behind me.  My mom banned me from bringing these books home, so I continued my quest within the school library walls.

But with the circumstances of my life and upbringing, I never knew that there were ghost hunting groups out there.  I knew about the Warrens and other Parapsychologists, but never thought that there was anything beyond this small fold of scientists that investigated people’s homes.  These were the kind of investigators highlighted in one of my favorite shows, A Haunting (the old school version).  I ate that show up, and wished I could be among the ranks of the Warren’s, Auerback’s, or Taff’s of the parapsychology world…

Then comes along the TV Show, Ghost Hunters, and with it the realization that ghost hunting is actually out there… and anyone can do it.  One night they aired an episode in Gettysburg, which is not far from where I live at this time.  I couldn’t wait to go up to Gettysburg to “see for myself”.  And so it began…  I dove head first down the rabbit hole of the paranormal because I wanted to see if something like what I am watching on Ghost Hunters could really happen to me.  I refused to believe what they are saying is going on in this location until I experience it for myself!  Soon after this revelation I stumbled across a group run by a friend of a friend, and the rest is history.  I have been educating myself, and hunting ever since.

If not for the widely popular show, Ghost Hunters, I never would have found this whole wide world of everything I am fascinated with.  The mystery, the suspense, the adrenaline.  I never knew it was all at my fingertips!!  Ghost Hunters ushered in a new era in the paranormal on a couple of levels.  It mainstreamed the possibility of the paranormal which, in my upbringing, was not a possibility.  It brought back to life the extreme curiosity of these mysterious happenings that used to keep me up as a child… the stuff I kind of grew away from because my religious upbringing did not have room for ghosts.  Secondly; it showed that, if you really want to, you can do this too!

I know many of you do not like what I just said.  I have heard so many people say with absolute spite how ghost hunting shows on TV have ruined the paranormal.  Saturating the field with a bunch of half assed crack pots that give everyone else a bad name.  And yes, in a way it may have done that.  But at the same time, look at your team.  Look at the people you trust with every investigation and tell me that you aren’t grateful to have them in your ranks.  Odds are several or all of them go into this after the TV wave of ghost hunting popularity became unavoidable.  There are a lot of amazing investigators that have come out of this as well.  And it is these investigators that will still be here when all of the ridiculous thrill seekers and frauds fall away.  Those of us that are serious about what we do have been forced to step up our game.  To rise to a higher level of understanding about the field and various theories within.

So I ask again… is it really that disgusting that I still tune in and watch paranormal TV shows?  I treat them with the same entertainment value as I do with Breaking Bad, or Drop Dead Diva… because we all know that those are absolutely real as well!!  And by the way; does anyone know how the Fresh Prince of Bel Air is doing these days?  I have always hoped that things worked out for him…

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Orbs… We Have To Have This Discussion Again?

Orbs… need I say more?  Apparently I do because the math just doesn’t add up!

Everyone I talk to claims that they don’t believe in orbs.  “Orbs Schmorbs” they say.

Perhaps those of us trying to sound sciency would word it more like, “It is so hard to successfully differentiate a true orb from dust, particulates, moisture or bugs.  In addition, orbs are too easy for a skeptic to scrutinize as far as validity because of the higher possibility that it is one of the aforementioned natural occurrences.  Therefore, our team does not support orb photo’s.”

So why do I continually hear this caveat to the above statements, “But check out this picture…”?

WHY??!!??  Really; why should I “just check out this one picture”?  Because it looks like a demon head is inside of it?  Because, if you blow it up so much that it is as pixelated as a 70’s video game, you can see a southern belle in all her finery on her way to Cotillion?  Is that why this particular picture merits a “but…”?

A few years ago I investigated Antietam Battlefield in Sharpsburg, Maryland.  As you can see by these pictures… there must have been ghosts EVERYWHERE!!!  Well; that or it was such a humid night that every picture looks like “Its raining ghosts!  Hallelujah, it’s raining ghosts, amen!”

It was an amazingly humid night folks.  Just like every other summer night in Maryland.  It was plenty warm, we were in jeans and t-shirts, but it was so humid that the moisture just hung in the air.  We saw that with every flash of the camera’s.  One of the people, whom I had never met before, was investigating for her first time.  Some weeks later I ran into her at an event in Fredrick Maryland.  She informed me that she caught a picture of a ghost.  This peaked my interest as she whipped out a well worn photo from her giant purse.  I am not kidding, this purse was big enough to stuff a baby in!

I am looking at her photo, and looking, and looking.  I can’t see this ghost, until she points it out to me, and there it was!  Actually; the ghost she pointed out to me looked exactly like a storm ship trooper.  She began to explain to me that this is a confederate soldier leaning against the fence while watching us investigate.  If confederate soldiers wore full body armor made out of white plastic with silly mask faces… then yes, I would have to agree with her.  But it wasn’t a confederate soldier.  It was a clump of moisture droplets suspended in the air.  To an eye that is desperate to find something, they turned into whatever she wanted them to be.

People I have never met before show me their “ground breaking” evidence which consists of smokey swirls between the camera and a scrubby mess of bushes.  But I look at the picture and I think one thing… okay, maybe two.  Why do people always take pictures of scrubby messy bushes?  And why am I supposed to believe that this isn’t cigarette smoke?

Oh, I know you say it isn’t cigarette smoke, and you tell me that this was taken on a warm night so it wasn’t your breath.  But the truth is, I wasn’t there when this picture was taken so I can only rely on the most logical conclusion… which is that it was cigarette smoke.  Any skeptic can only rely on this conclusion as well.  The bottom line is that you have no way of proving that this isn’t cigarette smoke especially when you have no corroborating evidence to show me along with your photo. “But look at the mist.  It is clearly a picture of a Care Bear shooting a musket at Bigfoot!  Look at this swirl here?  This is the rainbow across his tummy! DON’T YOU SEE IT?”

“Well yes, I see something resembling what you are describing, but yesterday I also saw a perfect formation of an elephant in the clouds… it wasn’t paranormal.”  And guess what everybody, I have been in Gettysburg on a night so hot and humid that we were sitting in chairs in our shorts and t-shirts, and you could see our breath like it was below zero.  Any number of natural occurrences (or cigarette smoke) cold have caused this.

“Okay, fine.  That doesn’t impress you?”  as he scrolls through pictures on his iPad, “Check out this one Orb…”

FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS PARANORMALY HOLY!!!

Flash Light Trick? Or Flashy Light Trick?

“If you are a male, turn the light to the left on.  And if you are a female, turn the light to the right on.”

“O! M! G! Did you see that?!?!  It’s a girl!!!”

“Okay, okay, thank you for helping us speak with you.  Can you turn the light off now? (short pause) Good job!  Thank you so much!  Now, can you start turning on the left light for yes and the right light for no?”

“She said yes!!!  Okay…”

We have all seen it on TV.  Someone props one or two flashlights somewhere in the room and starts asking the spirits to turn them on and off.  They begin to ask questions and the flashlights start responding to their questions, justifying a communication with the dead.

** I am going to say this now and probably many, many, more times as I post blogs: Watching ghost hunting on TV is for  entertainment only.  In fact… I think the debate about watching or not watching ghost hunts on TV would make a great blog post.  Stay tuned folks! **

Now where was I… oh,yes, we see people use flashlights as a form of communication on TV and want to rush out and try it.  Who wouldn’t???  It is a very inexpensive tool to add to your kit.  I have two flashlights that I use and I have found some interesting things while experimenting:

– I took these flashlights and set them up at work and home for 2 weeks.  I went through several sets of batteries during this process, and the lights didn’t turn on once.  That is not to say that they could have blinked when I went to the bathroom or wasn’t looking, but for the most part I paid attention to them, and kept them in my line of sight.

– I took the same flashlights to Trans Allegheny Lunatic Asylum where they claim that flashlight communication is extremely common, and wouldn’t you know, those two lights were turning off and on like gang busters!  This led me to believe that there may actually be something to this method.  But there is a problem…  Myself, and a young woman I was investigating with, successfully used these flashlights all over the building.  Oddly, they were turning off and on during almost every session, but throughout the entire night we were not able to get any consistency.  They were randomly turning on and off even when there was no request by ourselves for an answer.  When asking the same question in two different formats the lights would “give” two different answers.

– Conversely, I used the flashlights in Moundsville, WV at the West Virginia Penitentiary and got nothing but crickets….

Sometimes I wonder if the problem that bothers me about flashlights is actually the operator.  You know what I mean… one tiny blink and the person goes over the moon!  They suddenly feel so special that a ghost is talking to them that they make sure and draw all the attention to them (attention from the living I mean), and now feel like they have every right to take the one or two blinks they have gotten and craft that into a “tale of responses” worthy of a movie deal.  I especially love it when they take their hand crafted back story and run around telling the tale as if it is some sort of factual piece of history they pulled out of an archive somewhere.

Are you DYING to have some sort of communication to the point that you will interpret anything as such?  Or are you using common sense to rule out natural forces or other non paranormal anomalies?  Hell, even if you don’t fully use common sense… have you tried just a tiny bit that, when applied to your flashing flashlights, would reveal that your “communication with the dead” is nothing but random flashes that keep contradicting themselves?

I understand that everybody wants to something to happen; wants to be the one to find THE evidence of the night.  Or possibly THE evidence of the paranormal field.  I sure as hell do, because I am not yet 100% convinced that we really are reaching through the veil.  I need THE evidence to seal the deal for myself, but I can guarantee you that running up to me and telling me about your flashlight conversation you had in Lizzy Bordon’s bedroom an impressed blogger does not make.  From my observation, an impressed anybody does not make.

I will tell you this; I will keep playing with my two flashlights because something interesting is going on and I mean to see if I can’t quantify it more.  But maybe some helpful tips for those of us that are experimenting with flashlights:

– For the love of Pete; video tape your flashlight communication attempts.  Word of mouth means nothing but a good camp fire tale in this world and we all should know better.

– Think like a prosecutor.  Drill down on a subject and ask the same questions in different ways.  Not just two different ways, but three or more.

– Constantly circle back to things you have already gone over.

– Change the order of the questions and jump randomly between subjects.

– Hash, re-hash and re-re-hash to ensure consistency.  Don’t stop hashing, re-hashing and re-re-hashing until the flashlights stop flashing.

Happy hunting everybody.  And with further experimentation, I hope to let you know if I come across an intelligent “conversation”… or if ghosts are just stupid.