CNN does a feature story on the thousands of ghost hunting groups. Where have they been? This is certainly not a new phenomenon. Paranormal teams have been tripping over one another and elbowing for space for many years now. When does this fad go away? That’s what I’d like to know.
We’ve heard of ghosts that harass the living. Now people are starting to harass the ghosts. Virtually every night on television, a paranormal investigator like [Zak] Bagans can be seen trying to summon a ghost or “dark spirit.” All across America, novice investigative teams are creeping through people’s homes at night, trying to get rid of their paranormal pests.
The public’s fascination with the paranormal, though, has created a problem. Ghost-hunting teams are chasing television gigs more than ghosts, some investigators say. The allure of fame, they say, has done what the forces of darkness could not do — turn ghost hunters against one another.
The stars of some paranormal shows feud over whose show is real or fake. Local ghost-hunting teams refuse to work together because they see each other as business rivals. Some teams refuse to share spooky “evidence” captured on film because they plan to use it as a demo tape for a potential television pilot or a Hollywood movie like “The Conjuring,” investigators say.
I did extensive research into amateur paranormal investigation groups for a Masters thesis in 2010. My thesis is here [PDF] and a popular article about what I found is here: Amateur Paranormal Research and Investigation Groups Doing ‘Sciencey’ Things – CSI. What is in this CNN feature is nothing new to me. But it is disappointing. At least there is a small token skeptic quote from Joe Nickell.
For many and various reasons, I don’t buy these outrageous, extraordinary claims of hauntings. I would be amenable to helping with an investigation. But no one asks for a skeptic or scientist to be on the team. In fact, they kind of hate that. From what we see on TV, in movies and in the thousands of paranormal teams, people are interested in seeking mystery, not searching until they find the best answer.
To the Warrens, profiled in this piece and in the hit movie, The Conjuring, everything bad was caused by demons or dark forces and could be solved by God. Even if it wasn’t demonic, the Warrens MADE it demonic. They were rather despicable in that regard, preying on people’s religious beliefs and literally putting the fear of the devil into them.
Warren is a devout Christian who says she became a paranormal investigator to bring people closer to God. “The Conjuring” is filled with chilling moments, but she doesn’t consider herself brave.
“I’m brave in my faith,” she says. “That’s where my bravery comes from.”
The bottom line is, people really believe this stuff. What is happening to them could have a hundred different explanations. If there is actual paranormal activity occurring, it’s about damn time we should have had some decent documentation. TV shows ain’t it!
Ghost hunters need to get their act together and stop playing pretend scientist. They are failing.