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Since I’ve been a resource for TV and movie producers since the late 1990s, people ask me if ghost hunting TV shows are real.
The simple answer is no, they’re not. Those shows may represent what we do, as ghost hunters. But even the most authentic shows are edited to make them more entertaining.
They have to be. If the shows were 100% real, few would watch them. What really happens at haunted sites isn’t nearly as exciting as what you see on your TV, or heavily-edited YouTube (etc.) videos.
So, don’t try to use ghost hunting TV shows as training for your own investigations.
That can be risky, foolhardy, and —in some cases — miss the point of real ghost research.
Here are some points to keep in mind:
1. TV shows don’t represent how many houses we visit that aren’t haunted. The majority of houses that seem haunted are either victims of high EMF or infrasound levels, or some other very normal (if odd) explanation. Even if they are haunted, the issue could be related to residual energy, not a ghost or an active entity.
2. Demons and malicious spirits are very rare. If you think you’re being bothered by a demon, call an expert, not just the local ghost hunting club. However, demons and evil entities appear at about 1% of the hauntings we’ve encounter… if that many.
3. Don’t let TV shows convince you that most ghosts are evil or dangerous. They’re not. Watch the “ghostly” TV shows & movies of the past, and see how they portrayed ghosts.
Topper – the TV series
Ghost & Mrs. Muir – original movie with Rex Harrison
Ghost & Mrs. Muir – TV series (unavailable in Dec 09)
One Step Beyond – TV series (described as “historic accounts” of paranormal events) (Episode on YouTube (one of many))
4. Provoking ghosts? No. Please don’t do that. Instead, look for someone like “ghostbait” from the Hollow Hill team: Someone who, just by being there, seems to attract ghosts and hauntings.
5. ‘Tis the season! When you’re watching “A Christmas Carol,” think how you might interpret Scrooge if you were at a location that he (and his ghostly companion) were visiting. Would you think he’s a ghost that is scary, or needs help to “cross over”?
TV shows aren’t “reality.” (Even TV producers changed the term to “unscripted,” since they didn’t want to be sued for pretending a show was “real.”)
Don’t try to mimic TV shows or movies. Don’t take seriously any advice from paranormal TV shows. In many cases, the ghost hunter didn’t really say whatever-it-is; their advice was edited to give the audience chills.
Learn what ghostly phenomena really are. Study the history of paranormal research. Discover what psychics and ghost hunting equipment really do.
Explore haunted places with a pro. Events are a good starting point.
Never go ghost hunting alone. Always have a level-headed person with you, and — if you feel frightened during an investigation — leave at the first hint of danger.
TV shows can be fun to watch, but most of them don’t represent what we really do as ghost hunters.
You’re seeing an edited version, and it was edited with a specific production goal in mind.
Real ghost hunting is different.