Podcast: Are Shadow People Dangerous?

Are you worried about shadow people?

I created this 11-minute podcast to accompany my article at Ghosts101.com:  Are Shadow People Dangerous?

During the podcast, I talk about several topics, including:

  • Shadow people (v. fleeting shadows)
  • “Hat Man” and why he’s different
  • An odd shadow form seen in 2009
  • Protection for paranormal researchers

Ghosts 101 – Are Shadow People Dangerous?

This is a podcast by Fiona Broome, created to accompany the Ghosts101.com article, Are Shadow People Dangerous? In this 11-minute podcast, Fiona discusses shadow people, “Hat Man,” and protection for ghost hunters and other paranormal researchers.

Is Your House Haunted? bookIn the podcast, I mention the shadow person I saw – and photographed – in Laconia, NH: Laconia, NH’s Ghostly Places, and the photo of the man in a hat, at the former bank in Old Town Spring, TX.

Books I mention: Paranormal Parasites, by Nick Redfern, and The Ghost Hunter’s Survival Guide: Protection Techniques for Encounters with the Paranormal by Michelle Belanger.

This podcast is also available at HollowHillPodcasts.com (hosted by Libsyn).

Ghost Hunting – Reality v. TV Shows, Revisited

In the early 2000s, ghost hunting TV shows helped many people learn more about paranormal research and haunted sites. That helped this field expand, almost overnight.

However, many viewers were disappointed when they went ghost hunting, themselves.

I’ve talked about this in the past, and – I’ll admit – ranted more than a little. Here are my current thoughts (mid-2019) about ghost hunting TV shows.

If you’re busy and you’d like to listen to this instead of reading it, here’s the six-minute recording:

Ghost Hunting – Reality v. TV, revisited

In April 2019, with a new (and different) season of TV shows, Fiona revisited the topic of ghost hunting on television versus what happens in real life. Six-minute recording. Related article: Ghost Hunting TV Shows, Revisited

Recently, a news report confirmed what I’ve been saying… and more concisely (and perhaps with more authority) than I have.

The article is “5 Myths about Reality Television,” and it was in the Washington Post newspaper.

Here’s part of what the article said:

With very few notable exceptions (like “Big Brother”…), most reality television is shot first over a period of days or weeks, then edited. A month in the field could be whittled down to 44 or 22 minutes of action. That way, the audience sees reality stars only in essential moments… Almost nothing airs exactly as it fell into the lens, but the final product is usually more or less what happened.

That’s true about many (not all) ghost hunting TV shows. A typical one-hour episode might require three to five days of daily filming at the site.

Then there’s editing, to make the show compelling to watch, with cliffhangers immediately before each commercial break.

What viewers see are the highlights of an investigation. They don’t see time spent waiting while nothing happens… and that can most of what goes on, at many (perhaps most) investigations.

We sit for an hour, and then something odd happens. We investigate it and debunk it, and then sit or walk around for another hour. And then something creepy happens, and it’s memorable. When we can’t debunk it, that’s what makes the wait worthwhile.

It starts with a good location.

Viewers don’t see the dozens of locations scouted by people like me. Location scouts know that most ghost stories turn out to be more fiction than fact.

(That’s typical in any community; if you’ve gone ghost hunting, I’m sure you’ve visited many places where absolutely nothing noteworthy happened. It can be discouraging.)

When a producer contacts me to identify good sites for filming, the majority of “haunted” sites either aren’t haunted or the owners (or tenants) prefer not to be featured in a TV show.

(The good news is, I almost always find some genuinely impressive haunted sites in the area, with owners willing to grant access to investigators and the camera crew.)

An encouraging trend

Ghost hunting is more than what you see on reality TV showsSo, from my experience, most sites features on TV shows are actually haunted. Also, what viewers see is usually more or less what happened.

I’m seeing a shift – towards almost radical authenticity – in some ghost hunting TV shows.

Most Haunted remains one of the leaders in this trend. They test show ideas (and investigation techniques) before most do.

Also, Most Haunted producers suggested they may air shows featuring outtakes. That’s a fun idea. (See @OnlyMostHaunted at Twitter.)

While more authentic ghost hunting TV shows – like Most Haunted – aren’t the adrenaline fuel of their fast-paced, highly edited counterparts, I like this trend.

(2020 update: Yes, some shows are far better at showing what’s real. And others still go for sensational shrieks and chills.)

Problem: Shows’ time limits

Ghost hunting shows are short – really short – compared with real-life investigations.

The only sites I’ve investigated for just 22 minutes (the length of a 30-minute TV show, sans commercial breaks) are those that seemed too dangerous for research.

Usually, that had nothing to do with ghosts; instead it was about creepy people in the area, or imminent lightning strikes.

My average investigation at a haunted home or large site is probably around two to three hours.

Then, I may revisit that location multiple times, and each additional visit can last several hours.

Or, if I’m familiar with a site, I might investigate just 45 minutes (the content of a one-hour TV show).

That kind of brief investigation is probably a follow-up visit, to debunk (or confirm) anomalies we previously encountered.

Though the time problem isn’t exactly new news, I was glad to see mainstream media mention the reality behind many “reality” TV shows.

Your investigations will be different

If you’re new to ghost hunting, don’t expect something startling every five or ten minutes. Instead, arrive at events and investigations with low expectations. Lots of waiting may be required.

But, that’s a good opportunity for you to do a thorough (and sometimes repeated) “baseline yourself” check, so you’re always aware when weird things start happening at a haunted site.

What you see on TV rarely represents everything that happens during a ghost investigation. I’d describe it as “ghost hunting without the boring bits.” (That’s a nod to Horrible Histories and Ghosts. I love their humor.)

However, TV shows can reveal the wide range of phenomena you might encounter at an extraordinarily haunted site.

Shows that emphasize real ghost hunting experiences… they’re well worth your viewing time. You can learn a lot from them. And, with their insights, you might be better prepared when you encounter something chilling.

Related articles

And, if you want to be on a ghost hunting TV show, search related keywords at sites like AuditionsFree.comBackstage.com, and – for the UK – Starnow.co.nz, TheStage.co.uk, and similar sites. (There are many.)

What Readers Believe – Jan 2019

What do Hollow Hill visitors believe in? That’s what I asked in a late January 2019 poll.

Here are the results:

Ghost hunting survey January 2019

The votes represent about 3% of the people who visited that webpage. So, I’m not sure these numbers are reliable.

Why so few votes? I’m pretty sure one reason is concerns over privacy, and what data might be collected during the voting process. I understand my readers’ and fans’ concerns, though – in this case – nothing more than vote numbers were recorded.

In order, here’s what they believe in:

Ghosts – Since this is a ghost hunting website, I’m not surprised that most people believe in ghosts.

Angels – My readers tend to include many deeply spiritual people. So, the high range of ghosts isn’t a surprise.

Also, there’s the matter of the words we use. The creepy entity lurking in the shadows at the haunted abandoned hospital may be a “ghost.” But, if a deceased relative visits you, to be sure you’re okay, she or he is often described as an “angel” or a “spirit.”

UFOs and Aliens – That number surprised me. Oh, I’ve seen flying objects that were either UFOs or really, really good experimental vehicles. And the latter had to be very well-kept secrets, as well. (In Northern California, two of us saw a huge object – big enough to nearly blot out the sky – about 100 feet overhead. And it was totally silent. But, an air base was nearby, so – for me – whether it was a test vehicle or a UFO… that’s a coin-flip.)

With the number of my readers who conduct research late at night, often in isolated places with little light pollution, I probably shouldn’t be surprised that they’ve seen weird things in the sky, too.

Demons – Again, this isn’t a surprise. I didn’t believe in demons until I met John Zaffis and – in his presentations – he showed compelling evidence for evil, malicious, demonic entities.

Though I’m not sure where to draw the line between “angry ghosts” and “demons,” John’s experiences were enough to scare me. That’s why I don’t talk about demons very much; if an entity at a haunted site might be dangerous, I leave.

Mandela Effect – Another expected answer, due to the wide range of reports, and an overlap if parallel realities could explain some (not all) ghost encounters, and some (not all) Mandela Effect memories.

Shadow People – For me, this was predictable. I’m not sure what shadow people are, and if they’re a category of ghosts, or something else. But, having photographed one – and seen him, in real life – I’m sure they exist. And, they tend to appear at haunted places.

Cryptozoological Creatures (Bigfoot, etc.) –  Many use the term “cryptids,” and – though I’ve only had a couple of encounter with what might be a cryptid – I’ve heard enough first-person stories to take this topic seriously. It’s just not my field of study.

Faeries (fairies) and Banshees – This did surprise me, as I thought the Venn diagram of “ghost believers” and “faerie believers” didn’t have much overlap. I’m rather pleased to see more open minds than I’d expected. I believe paranormal researchers may need to expand how we explain – and think about – lifeforms and entities we encounter.

Thank you to everyone who participated. If you’d like to add your thoughts, I welcome comments about this poll and these topics, as they related to ghost hunting.