Ghost-Hunting TV Shows Are Transparently Fake Oct 4, 2017 12:41:43 GMT -5
Post by Graveyardbride on Oct 4, 2017 12:41:43 GMT -5
Ghost-Hunting TV Shows Are Transparently Fake
On a fuzzy green screen, you see a T-shirted man pointing a small electronic recorder toward a murky corner. He swivels his head toward the camera, his eyes glowing like orbs. “This is where a figure of a small girl has been sighted on numerous occasions,” the man says in a hushed voice. “We’re hoping she’s in the mood to answer some – holy (bleep), something touched me!”
The frame jumps and blurs before focusing on the man’s face and his look of shock. And it’s largely ghost-hunting theater, according to one of Phoenix’s longtime paranormal investigators.
‘It never happens like that.’ “Most of that stuff on TV is bunk,” Vincent Amico said. “It never happens like that.” Amico has the experience to back up his claim. He’s been investigating the paranormal for 15 years, and in 2014, he and his wife started AZ Paranormal Investigations and Research Society. Amico also leads tours for Haunted Historians, which attracts fans of the many ghost-hunting TV shows. And that’s where these un-reality shows pose problems, he added. Those fans expect to see evidence of the afterlife, from an empty rocking chair moving by itself to shadowy apparitions coalescing in corners.
Such eerie incidents are extremely rare and easily fabricated. “A guy says he felt something touch him, or you hear a door slam off camera,” Amico continued. “That’s the easiest stuff to fake. There’s no way to prove he wasn’t touched, or that someone off camera didn’t slam the door.”
Specter-chasing TV shows caught on in 2004 with SyFy’s Ghost Hunters, which lasted 12 years before broadcasting its last episode in October 2016. Similar shows followed in its glowing green footsteps, including Travel Channel’s Ghost Adventures and Haunted USA.
Following the formula. The recipe is the same. Investigators equipped with cameras and various ghost-detecting devices spend a night in a hotel/house/abandoned warehouse said to be haunted. Before the sun rises, they’ve seen/spoken with/found evidence of the afterlife. Everyone goes home shaken. According to Amico, the shows are misleading at best, fake at worst. A typical paranormal investigation takes several visits over weeks or months, he claimed, and 99 percent of that time would set off every tedium monitor in the place, if such a thing existed.
The “night in a haunted house” scenario is necessary to keep viewers interested, though it’s highly unlikely that’s how the investigation unfolded. Jay Yates, who with his wife Marie have been featured on several TV and radio shows dedicated to paranormal investigations, said that in some cases cameras are set up weeks before the ghost hunters themselves arrive. “I wish that ghosts showed up on demand but it doesn’t work that way,” he explained. “Many of these ghost-hunting shows are not evidence-driven, but more based upon experiences from the cast and crew, not concrete evidence always.”
Amico also takes issue with the way hunters interpret those static-filled electronic voice phenomena (EVP) recordings. Viewers are familiar with the setup. The experts either place an EVP recorder in an empty room (the recording is analyzed later) or use it to “interview” any spirits interested in chatting. Since ghosts have no vocal cords, they use their energy to electrically manipulate sound that can be picked up by EVP recorders, paranormal investigators believe. In most cases, words are almost impossible to make out amid the static and buzzing and may be nothing more than background sounds, Amico asserted. That changes once ghost hunters put words to those sounds, interpreting them as voices from beyond the grave.
‘It’s all about suggestion.’ A fluctuation in static, for example, can be translated as, “Get out!” Or “He’s here.” Or any number of things, most of them eerie. “It’s all about suggestion,” Amico said. “Let’s say he tells everyone he hears, ‘Help me.’ When it’s played again, that’s what you hear. ‘Help me.’ But it’s only because he planted it in your head.”
The on-screen investigators also can manipulate devices that detect changes in the electromagnetic field, believed by ghost-hunters to indicate the presence of spirits, Amico continued. The electromagnetic field (EMF) sensor features a series of lights that illuminate one after another. The more lights, the stronger the electromagnetic change. The problem, he added, is that something as simple as a cellphone can disrupt the field and make the EMF sensor light up like a Christmas tree. “I remember one time they showed the device starting to light up and the guy holding the device had a huge watch on his wrist,” Amico recalled. “When they cut back to him, the device was lit up and the watch was gone. It was clearly two different times.”
Then there are those who believe everything about investigations are bunk. They watch the shows so they can shake their heads in utter disbelief. “People can believe whatever they want and it makes no difference to me,” Amico concluded. “A paranormal experience is by definition something that can’t be explained. I’ve experienced a lot of things I can’t explain.”
Source: Scott Craven, The Arizona Republic, October 2, 2017.