TELEVISION: ON THE PLUS SIDE (Mostly)

TELEVISION: ON THE PLUS SIDE (Mostly)

My lengthy blog last week – which many have correctly called a rant — was perhaps a bit tough on paranormal TV shows, but rightly so. However, I want to underscore a couple of things said in the article, which perhaps people may have glossed over, related to the positives of TV and people I’ve worked with over the years.

Having read that blog, some might feel I’m mighty down on television. While that may be true with regards to most of the paranormal “reality”(unreality, in my mind) shows, there have been occasional shows that at least tell a good ghost story, and that don’t seem to have screwed with the story or the interviews with witnesses.

One that I’ve enjoyed from time to time has been Ghostly Encounters on BIO, which at least appears to allow people with all sorts of ghostly experiences (good, bad and neutral) to tell their own story, with re-creations happening on screen under their own narration. I don’t know for sure that the editing hasn’t screwed with the stories, but at least they fall more into the range of the experiences that parapsychologists have had reported to them for over a century.

On occasion, there’s a good portrayal of a medium or psychic at work, though all too often these days the show devolves into one where the camera is more interested in the non-psychic activities of the medium/psychic and her/his family. They also give the impression that these folks can walk up to anyone on the street and start giving a reading, no matter how intrusive – and I’ve had a number of people (viewers) tell me how off-putting that seems.

Those folks and everyone reading this should be reminded that almost anyone these days backed by a TV camera crew can walk up to just about anyone on the street, and often someone from the crew makes sure it’s “okay”(after all, the person does have to sign a release).

I’ve met a few of the psychics/mediums who do those shows, and none of them (they tell me) would walk up to someone on the street, in a market, etc. and start a reading uninvited without a TV crew to smooth the way.

Frankly, this isn’t much different than a street magician (a la David Blaine) walking up to someone saying “want to see a magic trick?”No camera crew, most likely the people would walk away – and that I’ve seen in person (I used to be a magician myself).

On to Positives…

Television has the ability to bring good information to the masses. It has the ability to educate while it entertains. It has the potential to be a tool to introduce concepts and experts to many millions of people, and the potential to push them to question all sides of a subject or issue.

As mentioned in that last blog, having grown up in a TV production family, I’ve been around TV people all my life, and absolutely through my formative years. My first appearance on TV, I was told by my parents, was when I was 6 months old and my mother was visiting the set of a NY talk show my father was working on. I worked as a “runner” (okay, a go-fer) for NBC Sports at a bunch of baseball and football games when my father was a producer, and ended up on camera a couple of times playing catch with Joe Garagiola. Had a great time as an extra on All My Children back in the early 80s (only one day, unfortunately).

I love television, and have known great people over the years, both through my family connections, and ever since I had my first job in Parapsychology at the ASPR. Some of the folks I’ve worked with – whether for actual shows or pilots or for proposed series – are still people I’d jump for the chance to work with, and a few of them have become good friends.

There are, in fact, people with real creativity and integrity working in the industry who have either a genuine curiosity about the phenomena and experiences, or even an abiding interest. But there are also folks who think the paranormal can make good television, yet want to make it“right” and have respect for the knowledge, experience and even creative ideas of the experts and the witnesses. They respect the ghost story and they respect the base of what’s actually known and the questions we, the researchers and investigators, ask. They might suggest new technology and new methods, but respect our reactions – positive or negative – to such suggestions.

In my experience, sometimes the right question that needed to be asked in a case that was being shot for TV actually came from a member of the production crew, and not from me or people with me. TV crew members should always be reminded to ask questions and even make observations (though some directors have gotten a little testy when a sound guy or production assistant points something out or asks a question, regardless of whether I’ve thought it was a good one or not).

WHAT TV NEEDS

There are three very important things to keep in mind when working with television.

First, it’s important to always remember television is a visual medium. That’s why producers are always looking for a way to “get something happening on camera.” TV is not just “Tell,” it’s Show and Tell.”

After the release of The Amityville Horror (the original film, ), and after Poltergeist (1982) in the 1980s, the media somehow got the idea that we could take a reporter or TV crew to places where they could pretty much get phenomena happening. Mainly, they thought they would see/record things moving of their own accord any time, as if what was on the screen was an actual representation of what really goes on. I still get people asking the same thing today – and my response is the same as back then: “If we could find places where phenomena happened all the time, or on demand or request, do you really think parapsychologists would be so under-funded (or non-funded) as we are? Or that the field would have little or no acceptance academically?”

Post Poltergeist, and especially post Ghostbusters (1984), there was this expectation that we had an arsenal of technology. Back then I had to remind them that Steven Spielberg had a much bigger budget for pretty equipment than we ever have had. That and “None of that stuff in Ghostbusters was real, guys.” Of course, once environmental sensors became reasonably available (and priced), we did have toys to use on camera – though for a long time some producers moaned about them not having pretty lights or sounds.
The reality is that while phenomena might happen during a shoot, it’s as likely as not to happen behind the camera, or simply out of frame from where the camera is pointed – if it happens at all.

Well, I totally understand the issue and desire of the producers and their networks to have visuals on camera. Hence reenactments/acting out of some of the stories with actors and even occasional special effects during the reenactments. If done well, if representing the story and reported phenomena correctly, this can be quite compelling and even of use to the investigative process.

There are other ideas along those lines which have yet to be done on TV which I’ve shared with a couple of producers who have been trying to pitch shows – but unfortunately networks see their shows as “too different”from the current crop of crappy ones (which still get the ratings).

Then there’s the need for dramatic events in the shows, especially around the phenomena.

But if there’s no phenomena, and you’re not willing to fake it (there’s the integrity thing), you have to get your “drama” from the people– who have to be able to tell a good story, and the story itself ought to be interesting. The experts need to be able to relate to the story, to the location, to the witnesses and above all, to the viewing audience.

To me, one of the reasons to dislike so many of the“investigation” shows currently on TV is that they’re missing the actual ghost story. And unfortunately, most of the shows that focus on the ghost story and reenactments have again and again been shown to play fast and loose with the actual story – even editing the witness testimony to give a particular focus or element to the story that was not actually reported by the witnesses.
Not that there’s always an easy fix to make a ghost hunting show interesting, visual, and accurate. But it is entirely possible, if the producers are willing to learn about the phenomena and science (Parapsychology) AND the experts are willing to learn something about the needs of television.

Now, the second point: TV people are often ignorant of the paranormal/parapsychology or have the same misconceptions as the viewing audience because what they know came from other TV shows.

I cannot possibly calculate the amount of time spent on the phone with producers, directors and production staff answering their questions about the phenomena, research and investigation methods, and findings– as well as misconceptions. In my last blog, the final point made was about getting paid. Yet other than extremely rare circumstances, I’ve not gotten paid (or asked for payment) for time spent educating TV folks about the basics and what they can and cannot reasonably expect. Just as I don’t charge average folks to consult (basically) with me – though I do charge for classes, and for mentoring people beyond the basic conversations.

It’s always been part of my mission in this field is to help educate the public, which is why my first job in the field, as “Public Information and Media Consultant” in the Education Department of the American Society for Psychical Research was so apropos. Even though there’s so much misinformation and misconception –crap – out there in the Media, as the late D. Scott Rogo told me just after I finished my Masters’ degree in Parapsychology, if there’s even one good, credible story in the middle of a lot of bad ones, someone will recognize the good from the bad, and follow up on that. If I and others don’t try to educate and correct the misconceptions, what chance is there that any good information will get out there?

So, I work with the Media, always hoping that the time spent informing and discussing with the production people will lead to occasional bright spots in the darkness that is unreality TV (and even TV news coverage of the subject).

People in TV, until they are assigned a topic or story, or get a request to develop a show, or even a contract for a show/series, may have no personal interest in the paranormal. Consequently, one cannot fault them for not knowing anything, especially how to separate the good info and experts from the oh so big pile of crap that’s out there on TV and the Web.

Most of them are open to what my colleagues and I have to say, even if they can’t follow up on it due to the constraints of the show/series as it has been pitched to a network, or as the network dictates. I’ve had great conversations with producers I’d love to work with on other projects, just not the one they’re calling me about (again, because of what the network wants/has dictated). Some of them have even gone back to the network with what they’ve learned to try to sway them in a different direction (usually fails given the network folks having their own ideas about what “works” without any clue as to what’s actually possible for credible coverage).

Some got so interested in the “real paranormal” that they contact me every now and again for updates, and even try to sell a decent series idea every so often.

In other words, not all people in television fall into the areas I covered in my “Unreality TV” blog.

The third point: What’s on the screen is a result of network executives/personnel ordering the results or intervening directly as much as or even more than what the producers had in mind.

Television is a business, and there are advertisers to be placated, ratings to be had, and politics and personal preferences within the networks. The production companies are in business, and the more the networks like their product, the more shows they sell – or they go out of business.

I totally get that. After all, my father worked for a network (NBC) and then was out on his own. No orders for programming means no business and no money.

Television does not purport to be educational in general, though naturally PBS has strived to be that, and some of the cable networks have claimed to provide educational programming (and some do) besides news programs.

But there’s much more to this. Even educational programs on PBS need sponsors, though we hope they don’t have a say about the content. Educational programs, such as they are, on cable networks do depend on ratings for continuation, and as with all programming, no ratings = no sponsors = no shows.

I have little problem with shows that at least admit to be attempting “entertainment,” but real problems when the folks representing the shows – producers, talent, network people – claim it’s all “real” or “as it happened” or “a true story” when it’s very clearly been edited or otherwise put together in a way that is not real, not a representation of what happened (or the order in which things happened), or a story that’s been altered in the writing or editing. Saying events represented on the show have been “edited for time” is fine, as it lets the viewers know something vital (and as long as the events are still presented in a fair representation).

I have a problem if the show utilizes naysayers who clearly have not looked at the actual evidence, or yea-sayers who accept everything happening as paranormally real, without question.

I don’t have a problem when a show spoofs the paranormal, parapsychology, psychic phenomena/abilities, psychics or ghost hunting. As long as it’s an honest attempt at comedy, even if I don’t find it entertaining, I can appreciate the effort.

It All Boils Down to Ratings

The most credible show we could come up with would still need to get decent ratings to stay on the air, though we’d have to get on the air in the first place, and hope the network sees the potential.

On the plus side, I’ve worked with many producers and writers who had great ideas or really wanted to portray this stuff correctly within the context of trying to build an entertaining show.

On the negative side, getting those shows past the network “deciders” is tough, since almost no one in the management of TV networks seems that interested in trying something really “new” – they don’t want to be first to fail, and consequently even if they think a new idea is a great one, they’re often unwilling to take a chance on that in favor of a retread of something they know does get ratings. They have to think bottom line, with little regard to credibility.

Can it be done? Absolutely. I’ve been involved in numerous show concepts that have real centers of good information and stories, presented in a variety of entertaining contexts.

Can it be sold? There’s the rub: how do you sell “credible” when it’s unclear that “credible” can get ratings and clear than non-credible (in-credible) does indeed get ratings (although as we’ve seen, not always).

If it’s sold, will they give it a fair chance? This is a problem in and of itself with networks. I’m sure all regular TV viewers reading this can recall at least one example of a new show they liked being bounced around the network schedule week after week, giving viewers no real chance to consistently even find the show, let alone watch it to help its ratings.

There have been several pilots or specials or single episodes – not just ones on the paranormal — for cable networks being scheduled in such a time period that it’s unlikely anyone would find it (unless they did a search of their cable provider’s schedule) if they even knew in advance the show was coming up. Network doesn’t want to give a show a fair shake? Schedule it at 1 in the morning on a weeknight or early to mid morning on a Saturday or Sunday and don’t do any promos for it. Series have been cancelled by being moved to the worst time slots so ratings would drop (remember the third season of the original Star Trek – moved to a network “death slot” of the 1960s, Friday nights at 10).

I’ve met and worked with and become friends with many in the television industry of good heart and great ideas when it comes to covering the paranormal – and here I’m talking about all facets, from ghosts and haunting to ESP and psychokinesis, from field investigation to laboratory studies, from psychics and mediums to the psychic experiences and encounters of “normal”people.

Great people, with lots of integrity.

Even met people at the network level with the same.

But the unfortunate reality is that such people in the are few enough, most especially at the network level, and often can’t get past the biases and expectations of others in the industry who have the buying power or decision-making ability for their networks.

If there were sponsors out there willing to put their money into advertising only on credible shows, we’d have a chance.

One Final Thought….

I came to my interest in psychic phenomena mostly from being a comic book and science fiction fan, with a little bit of the TV/movie watcher fascinated with ghost-infested comedies and dramas – NOT from the horror/scary side of things.

To me, and why I got into the field at all in any serious way, psychic abilities and apparitional phenomena indicate there is way more to human beings and our potential than what we might currently believe. Humans have potential to exceed what we are now, both when we’re alive and when we’re dead.

Too bad that the network named after science fiction, SyFy, has chosen to focus on scares and chills, rather than wonderment and inspiration, for its coverage of the topics involved. I love many of the dramatic and adventure shows on SyFy. But the only “wonder” their paranormal shows inspire in me is wondering why they consistently choose to buy and produce shows that hit almost all my “crap” points (from my last blog).

The Paranormal, when presented properly, can activate the Sense of Wonder! It can inspire!

Psychic phenomena is cool!

There are TV people who get that. Isn’t it time they get a chance, too?

*****

To any network people or sponsors reading this: Get in touch. I know great people in the industry who can put out a phenomenal (pun intended) product and know how to promote it to draw an audience, to give them awe and wonder, to keep them coming back.

Take a chance on credibility and real psychic experiences, research and investigation. Reach out to the majority of people who believe in this stuff (but who rarely watch your current shows) and make them feel wonderment at their paranormal experiences and attitudes about them.

Guaranteed it will get them talking more. It will make psychic experiences more “normal.” It will expand the potential audience exponentially.

More viewers = better ratings = more money.

This entry was posted in Articles, Entertainment, News, Paranormal in the Media by Loyd Auerbach. Bookmark the permalink.

About Loyd Auerbach

LOYD AUERBACH, M.S., Director of the Office of Paranormal Investigations, is one of the world’s leading experts in Psychic Experience and Ghosts, and has been investigating and researching the paranormal for over 30 years. He is the co-author of author of the book THE GHOST DETECTIVES’ GUIDE TO HAUNTED SAN FRANCISCO with the late renowned psychic Annette Martin (2011, Craven Street Books/Linden Publishing) and the author of 7 other books, including A PARANORMAL CASEBOOK (Atriad Press, 2005), HAUNTINGS & POLTERGEISTS (Ronin Publishing, 2004) and GHOST HUNTING: How to Investigate the Paranormal (Ronin, 2004). His first book, ESP, HAUNTINGS AND POLTERGEISTS: A Parapsychologist’s Handbook (Warner Books, 1986) was named the “Sacred Text” on Ghosts in the 1990s and has been cited by numerous people as their inspiration for “getting into the paranormal.” He has a graduate degree in Parapsychology and has been teaching courses on the subject since 1983. He is a professor at both Atlantic University and JFK University and is the creator and Instructor of the Certificate Program in Parapsychological Studies at HCH Institute in Lafayette, also available for distance learning or in coaching form. Recently elected President of the Forever Family Foundation (for 2013 & 2014), he is on the Board of Directors of the Rhine Research Center, holds a position with the Psychic Entertainers Association and is on the Advisory Boards of the Windbridge Institute and the Forever Family Foundation. His media appearances on TV, radio and in print number in the thousands, including national programs such as The View, Larry King Live, Ghost Adventures, Ghost Stories, Sightings, Unsolved Mysteries, and specials on A&E, History, Travel and Discovery Channels, and more. He is a professional mentalist and psychic entertainer, performing as Professor Paranormal. He is also a public speaking and media skills coach, and has been teaching those subjects in university and corporate settings since the late 1980s, and currently coaches authors, entrepreneurs, corporate execs and others. As of 2010, he is also a professional chocolatier, producing and selling his chocolate under the business name of Haunted By Chocolate – with a book on the subject coming in 2013.

by Loyd Auerbach

Ghost In The Machine?

 

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There is no machine on earth that can detect, measure or communicate with ghosts or spirits as far as the science of parapsychology is concerned (and no, a Ouija Board is not a machine).

Ignore and forget the misinformation depicted and discussed on the glut of foolish, idiotic, and fraudulent paranormal reality shows.  They’re about as real as a wooden nickel or an honest politician and are NOTHING more than mindless entertainment for people who do not know any better.  Do not attempt to emulate or reproduce what you see and here on these shows, as you’ll be totally wasting your time and money.   If paranormal phenomena was as common as depicted on these nonsensical shows, it wouldn’t be called paranormal or phenomena anymore, would it?

If we do not really know what a ghost is, other than what the term implies, how then can we detect or measure it?  What are we supposed to measure?  Contrary to what’s seen on paranormal unreality shows, there is no hard scientific evidence that ghosts, apparitions, etc. emit any form of energy we currently know of. 

In fact, this brings the entire matter of observing a ghostly image (apparition) into question. What is it that we are allegedly seeing during such experiences? Are we even seeing anything at all? 

That is, observing photons being emitted by something physical in the immediate environment.  Or is our brain being stimulated by localized electromagnetic/geomagnetic fields so as to induce a sense of vision when nothing physical is even there?   What I’m referring to here is an audio-visual hallucination induced by the EMF/GMF, such as discussed in the work of Dr. Michael Persinger.  But this, in and of itself, does not fully explain what may be transpiring here.  My book, Aliens Above, Ghosts Below: Exploration of the Unknown,  delves into this at length.

Whether one speaks of remote viewing (telepathy, clairvoyance, precognition & retrocognition) or RSPK  (poltergeists), neither electromagnetism, nuclear or gravitational forces appear to be the operational mechanism at work.  However, the coupling mechanism between us and this other force of nature, some yet unknown endothermic energy, is almost certainly magnetic.

Several interesting metaphors help to clarify this point.

Do you know of the tale of the three blind men touching an elephant in an effort to determine what it is?

One blind man hugs the elephant’s leg and believes that he’s holding the trunk of tree.  The second blind man holds the elephant’s trunk and believes it to be a hose, while the third blind man is holding the elephant’s tail and assumes he’s touching a rope.

They’re all wrong, as they’re very limited, non-visual contact with the large beast prevented them from accurately perceiving and describing what it really is.

This is a perfect analogy as to where we are today in terms of understanding what the paranormal really is.

When we observe seemingly random, non-reproducible images that don’t mean anything to us, our brain attempts to make sense of suchunique shapes of unknown images.  Our brain constantly strives to bring order to chaos, such as when we look at clouds and see faces or when trying to interpret any unrecognizable image.

Even when we hear odd or peculiar sounds, our brain searches to apply what we already know to give meaning to that sound, even if there is none.  Like recording a person’s gurgling stomach and trying to interpret such as a real voice communicating real words, when it’s nothing more than amplitude and frequency modulation of sound waves, emanating from your gastrointestinal tract.

When it comes to orbs, I’ll simply make a very direct statement.

In my professional opinion, 99.999999999% of all orbs are nothing more than artifacts of modern digital photography.

These so-called paranormal orbs are nothing more than particulates of dust floating around in virtually every environment that are relatively close to the camera’s lens and are illuminated by the flash or other light source.

They can be easily observed, by shining some very bright, white LEDs into a very dark room and you’ll see the ubiquitous dust particulates directly in front of your light source.  The same can be seen within a laser beam in darkened rooms.

These non-paranormal orbs are very easy to generate or reproduce, just flap you’re arms around in most environments and you’ll record many of them.  About the only place you will not find these dust particles are in clean rooms, such as those where satellites and other sensitive equipment are built.

However, there are real, paranormal luminous anomalies that are somewhat rare and are generally much larger than the artifactual orbs discussed above.  Unfortunately, these types of luminosities are nowhere near as common as what’s being shown in most paranormal unreality shows.  But of course, nothing seen or heard on the paranormal unreality shows is real anyway, so what’s the concern?

Another way of demonstrating the problem we’re facing here is to say that we’re measuring the effect of an unknown cause.

EXAMPLE:  Imagine that you see the wake of a boat in a lake’s water before you, but you’re unable to see or hear the boat itself.  This is a situation where we’re only able to perceive or know the way an unknown variable affects something else we are already aware of, in this case, water.

We know from science that there are four basic forces in the universe; electromagnetism, gravity and strong and weak nuclear forces.  These forces dictate how everything in our physical world works, including our own physical body.

Each of these known forces produce very consistent effects in the physical world, all of which are demonstrable, quantifiable and measurable.  Measuring instruments (sensors) are ONLY designed to measure these four known forces.  One cannot design a machine to measure an energetic source if we do not even know what that source is.

If you watch any of the paranormal unreality shows (if you can stand to), you’re sure to notice how many of the participatory clowns use electromagnetic field detectors of one type or another.

For the most part, these devices are 60 Hz. calibrated and cannot really detect anything below 60 Hz.

In fact, many of these devices are specifically designed to measure leakage from various man-made electronic devices such as computers, cell phones, microwave ovens, like the K-II meter shown here, not to detect electromagnetic fields (EMF) anywhere near the extremely low-frequency (ELF) or ultra low-frequency (ULF) part of the EM spectrum.

K-II EMF Meter

However, measuring 60 Hz. EMFs is relevant, as they can, if of sufficient amplitude, irritate the nervous system of sensitive individuals so as to potentially trigger poltergeist outbreaks.  Measuring EMF spikes in these environments, especially with the wrong type of devices, does NOT indicate the presence of a ghost or spirit.

These sensors can measure numerous environmental parameters, both natural and man-made, and can, if sufficiently sensitive measure bioelectric fields as well.

Measuring biomagnetic fields is another matter altogether, as they are substantially weaker than their electric counterparts.  In order to measure biomagnetic fields, one requires superconducting sensors, which are not yet available in portable, hand-held devices.

There is no evidence whatsoever that ghosts, spirits, etc., generate any electromagnetic fields of their own, although such phenomena may be the product of how we living human beings interact with our environment in the most extraordinary of ways.

What is interesting when speaking of biomagnetic fields, is that we have been able to detect and measure such around what’s referred to as poltergeist agents, as their biomagnetic field amplitude is frequently more than a million times stronger than normal for a human, and is directly related to the fact that a significant number of these individuals tend to be either seizure prone or epileptic.

This type of super-powerful biomagnetic field can and will couple with the proper electromagnetic or geomagnetic environment to trigger and mediate poltergeist activity.

When scientifically investigating paranormal events in the field (not in the lab), it is vitally important to measure both the environment and the individuals living within it, as well as collecting medical data on all those living in said location.

Unfortunately, engineering grade instrumentation to accurately and correctly measure such locations does not come cheap.  Examples of some of the

Geomagnetometer from Less EMF.com

instruments I’ve been using for years are the following; Geomagnetometer and Zero Gauss Chamber (more than $1,300), a Spectran low-frequency spectrum analyzer (1 Hz.-1 MHz.)  [$800] (featured photo at top)a132 and an air ion counter ($500), a Natural Tri-Field Meter ($200) and an E-Smog Scout LUX, all of which are pictured here.

Obviously, most of these devices are well beyond the budget of most investigators.  However, if you do purchase these expensive devices, it’s vitally important that you read the instructions accompanying them to fully understand what it is your measuring and how the device works.

It would be real waste of your hard-earned money to buy these sensors and then incorrectly use them and/or not comprehend the information they’re providing you.  What good is such detailed information if one does not know what it means and how it relates to the subject being studied?

If you wish to learn more about which specific instruments are relevant here and where to purchase them, visit another of my blogs entitled “One Stop Ghost Shop”.

As far as electronic devices to actually communicate with ghosts, such as “spirit or ghost boxes”, these are generally radio-frequency sweep devices that intercept AM/FM/shortwave and cell signals and randomly grab words from such sources and then strings them together electronically.  The circuitry is designed to form word trains from random signal sweeps and sometimes they actually produce legible sentences. These might also be called Random Event Generators, which are none to be very sensitive to volitional psychokinesis.  If you really want to talk to the dead, talk to an attorney or politician, as they’ve been dead from the neck up since human’s have walked the Earth.

Air Ion Counter from Less EMF.com

Many gullible people are wasting their money on these worthless devices that are no more relevant to communicating with the dead than talking to your dog would be.

In the end, we are only able to measure various parameters of our physical environment along with those living souls within it, and little else. 

The most we can expect from such environmental monitoring is to look for longitudinal patterns seen over a long period of time and hope that they correlate to the occurrence of paranormal events.  

Thus far, there is a definitive pattern observed in the data, and it strongly indicates that these incredible paranormal encounters are the result of how we living people inductively couple with the local EM environment. 

This is where some people act as biological operational amplifiers, waveguides and focalplanes with respect to paranormal events, while others do not. Bottom line, check out the phrase “Monsters From the Id”, and you’ll better understand what I’m saying here.  It’s all real, it’s all paranormal, but far more complicated and perhaps disturbing than we ever imagined it to be.  

The bottom line with all of this is simple.  If one does not know how the physical world around them works, how can they then understand what may lie beyond it’s boundaries?  Before we assume something is paranormal, we must thoroughly rule out all normal explanations. 

There is a basic principle at work in all science that’s exemplified by Ockham’s Razor.  That is, all things being equal, you always go with the simplest explanation.   When dealing with the paranormal, this principle is more relevant than ever.

Natural TriField Meter from Less EMF.com

 

E-Smog Scout LUX from Less EMF.com

 

Psi’s Circus Sideshow?

At last count, how many alleged paranormal reality shows are on television? Do you remember all their names?  Do you recall what any of them are really supposed to be about?  Probably not, because they’re about absolutely nothing.

Does anyone really believe that these shows are unscripted?  They’re as well choreographed as any Broadway show in many respects.  After one hundred and twenty nine years of formal psychical research and forty three years of my own investigating close to five thousand field cases of poltergeists, hauntings, apparitions, doppelgangers, UFO abductions and the like, one clearly obvious pattern has emerged:  the chance of regularly or consistently running into real paranormal phenomena while investigating a case is the chance of winning the lottery ten times in a row at the hundred million dollar level.  More simply put, the odds are astronomical against you.

However, if you’re producing a paranormal reality show where something paranormal must occur during every episode, perhaps even several times per segment, you have a serious logistics problem on your hands, don’t you?  You cannot simply have talking heads on camera for forty minutes out of every hour, or you’re ratings will be as remote as your chances of encountering real paranormal phenomena are.

Therefore, if one wants their reality show to get ratings worthy of renewal, one must do one of three things;  a) fake paranormal events.  b) populate the show with such colorful or outlandish individuals that they’re weekly rantings serve the same purpose as observing real phenomena would or, c) dramatically exaggerate and embellish whatever really does occur to make it appear more important than it really is.

Long before the air was littered with such ridiculous shows, I was approached by the creator of one of the first (whose name will remain absent as I do not wish to promote this clown in any way).  Years ago, when we first met, I made it very clear to him what the true reality was regarding investigating such paranormal events was like.  His answer was simple and straightforward.

Each episode of his show would fake such occurrences, and on the very rare occasion when they actually encountered demonstrable paranormal events, they would make it appear as if it were a hoax.  Compelling reverse logic indeed, but not for me.

I made it clear to this producer (who already had a well established track record), that his thinking was certainly novel and provocative, but his show idea was nothing I could ever be associated with as it would be a blatant fraud.  I shook has hand and walked out.  About six weeks later, I once again met with this producer along with one of my colleagues at the time, and he again made his pitch.  But now, to the both of us.

We both shook our heads in unison to the negative as we were not even vaguely interested in his offer.  The seriously disturbing aspect of all these shows are that they’re doing a tremendous disservice and injustice to academic, scientific researchers within parapsychology by misinforming the public as to the real nature of these types of events, which in reality are not as frequent or intense as erroneously depicted in these juvenile, ludicrous shows.

If paranormal events were as consistently reliable as seen in these “unreality” shows, they wouldn’t be referred to as paranormal, as we’d already understand what they are, how they operate and why they occur.

Trust me on this, no one on earth really knows what’s going on with such other worldly events, which is why they’re referred to as phenomena.  The primary reason that these shows follow the the same intrinsic formula is that they are feeding a population that is totally ignorant as to what’s real in the paranormal world, let alone within science in general.

It’s very easy to fool and manipulate large audiences if they are unaware of the facts regarding a specific subject.  And when it comes to the paranormal, this applies to probably 99.99% of the population.

In the end, one must remember that all these shows are nothing more than mindless entertainment for people with way too much spare time on their hands and cannot differentiate between reality, fantasy and entertainment.

All too frequently, amateur paranormal investigators venture forth on their own attempting to emulate what they’ve seen on these shows.   The results of such copycat investigators is nothing more than sheer fantasy and misinterpreting very normal, everyday events as something paranormal.

An interesting closing note here is that several of us (parapsychologists) have been officially banned from ever appearing on one particular cable network for consistently refusing to lie to the public on their behalf.

With the exception of myself, the names of the three other gentlemen forbidden from appearing on this network will not be disclosed in order to protect their innocence and privacy.

So is this the fate of those few academicians in parapsychology who work with the media, but refuse to lie for their potential employers?

How utterly vile and disgusting I say.

In the end, the most seriously damaging effects of these numerous paranormal “unreality” shows are their severe contamination to the field of parapsychology and those of us who have been scientifically investigating paranormal phenomena for many decades.  These shows are causing people to actually believe in what they see and hear during such staged events. They therefore suspect that parapsychologists are the frauds and little more than very old dinosaurs who have not yet fossilized. 

However, the majority of the media is well aware that these shows are little more than clever, manipulative, choreographed productions by people making lots of money off gullible, naive and ignorant viewers.  And of course, many of the “actors” performing on these fraudulent “unreality” shows frequently appear on very well-known radio shows that play into the garbage these shows spew to increase their listener audiences. 

Once these unreality shows fade from cable networks and our memories, the paranormal as a genre may disappear from television and feature films for several generations, as young, new producers will view it all as little more than clever hoaxes to attract sponsors for those people who believe that there’s a demon in every closet and under every bedpost.  Far too many people, and are far too many shows will have cried wolf way too long for any real, scientific evidence to be believed and taken seriously again.   If I didn’t know any better, I’d almost suspect that there’s a real disinformational program at work here to totally discredit the paranormal in general.  Who knows, maybe there is?