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?