There’s a lot on your plate. So many problems. So many crises. So much fear and far too much stress. Will your family be okay? You don’t know, and the burden you carry everywhere you go is too heavy to bear. It is exhausting and it affects your mental and physical health. Before you know it you’re seeing a therapist, a psychiatrist, a cardiologist, a priest or shaman, you’re down with migraine headaches and your guts don’t work like you want them to. It’s diarrhea or constipation. You’re taking a whole drugstore every day and it keeps getting worse. I know. I’ve been there and I’m still there. I can’t possibly live much longer. The damage that will take me is already done.
But I want to help you. You don’t have to suffer so much if you only meet the enemy head-on. Avoiding an enemy only increases the damage it does to you, and you to yourself. I don’t want you to be like me.
First of all, the stress from a myriad problems makes us look to escape. Whatever type you choose depends on personality and experience, and how deep you get can be so bad that you don’t ever escape the pit you’ve just dug for yourself.
Let’s take these escapes and false, unreasonable expectations of ourselves and look at them for what they are: lies and an opiate for the masses, and there are many. You with me? Let’s dig into it then.
Part One: TV and Internet
I can’t get too far into every aspect I’d like to. There’s too much to cover. First up, Paranormal TV shows. Good God. They’ve so proliferated that I can’t keep up with which ones are still in production and which ones are not, as they’re always on.
After 2004, when “Ghost Hunters” first premiered, the fad was on. It was a real phenomenon and sponsors loved it. This was a transition time for Sci-Fi, later SyFy. It went from hokey movies, after being a reliable place for classic monster pictures, to really confusing faire, like James Bond movies, SyFy made films like “Pteranodon” (has to be seen to be fully appreciated as the schlocky fucking trash it is) and a full library of shark, piranha and anaconda shit you wouldn’t even find in the discount bin at Walmart. “Ghost Hunters” was followed by “Ghost Hunters International” and eventually Jason suspiciously sent one of his female team members over, saying her help was needed. I don’t remember if it was Kris or Amy. Whichever one it was, she’s not the one on “Kindred Spirits”, another new Travel Channel piece of crap. I won’t watch it after my first sampling; it follows the usual template of all paranormal “investigation” shows: they get some story to set it up, they turn off the lights and use gadgets to find and kick out ghosts bothering the homeowner. There’s usually a “reveal” at the end, where they play audio called EVP in which there’s static or themselves talking and faintly you hear a “voice” from some ghost or, my favorite, a demon.
This is usually followed up by some visual “evidence” caught on a thermal imaging or infrared camera, but there’s never been much to go on. It’s not enough to constitute actual proof. And when they began inviting “psychic” Chip Coffey to help out, I knew it was a sign that the show was weak, in danger of becoming one of those one or two season disasters of which there are so many. He appeared years ago on A&E’s “Paranormal State” which was one of the first paranormal shows to be outed as as scripted fake from the beginning of each episode to the end. Ryan Buell personally pitched two shows to the cable network. One of them I never found anything on, but A&E revealed later that they were game for the Penn State paranormal one. What they did was to take people who needed help, send the producers out to the home, and sometimes, I’d say most of the time, Chip Coffey went with them. So the “psychic” was always in on the initial story and walkthrough by the homeowners.
That’s why he always stunned Ryan when he would “see” or “get impressions of” certain spots where activity was most often encountered. Because Ryan didn’t know about Chip or Elizabeth Warren’s walkthrough, he had no reason to believe them fakes. Chip went on to do a show that heinously exploited children, “Psychic Kids”, and it went on for three seasons of child mental abuse. They were coached, scripted, taught to “act” (lie, because they knew they were on a reality show) and who knows how many today are disillusioned or even brainwashed because they’ve found they have no really special supernatural abilities or because they believe they do.
Unfortunately later on, Ryan recruited Chip (I actually find the recruitment part unlikely) to go on tour to speak to live audiences. But Ryan was already in trouble. He had a drug addiction and personal problems, and he ended up stealing the advance ticket sales and was eventually arrested. I believe it’s certain to say that he was a criminal and liar, as he was charged with stolen property possession and other things. He claimed at one point to have pancreatic cancer, something you should know is an almost certain death sentence. Later, he claimed to be in remission and it got so bad that his own mother had to tell people that he never had cancer.
Buell is not someone I enjoy picking on. Drug addiction is a fucked-up thing to deal with, and I saw it kill my son two years ago this very day. I sympathize. I focused on this show in particular to demonstrate that early on, the way these shows work was revealed. However, the show still airs, has a new host of fans, and people believe everything they see.
Since 2015 paranormal TV shows have proliferated to the point where they have serious sponsors, a huge fan base and eager audiences. Even Jason Hawes and former partner Grant Wilson are back, with Wilson taking up the “Ghost Hunters” title and Hawes serving up “Ghost Nation”. The market is so saturated that the producers can use any trick they want to keep you watching. The biggest offenders are Zack Bagans and the Ghost Brothers. While the latter doesn’t take itself seriously, it seems to perpetrate a running TV and cinema racial stereotype and is ultimately comedic but a horror.
“Ghost Adventures” is still running. It has to hold the record for longest-running production of a paranormal based TV show. It too follows TheTemplate: a bit of background followed by a lights-out, gadget-loaded ghost hunt. The static produced by one is caused by a radio constantly passing stations. Of course a word or two in quick passing is going to be heard if you wait long enough. That hardly constitutes proof of some entity using a random freq to communicate. What a cheap trick, and people fall for it.
People waste away watching this crap. And while it really can be entertaining, most of it’s just garbage.
I’m not saying that there’s nothing supernatural; hardly that. I maintain that the paranormal is a misunderstood part of the natural. But the nature of it scares people and makes science recoil and deny its existence flat out.
I have had a lifetime of experience with many things I knew were real but still cannot explain. I’ve been an amateur ghost hunter and only investigated one location. I did experience things that defy a clear resolution, but not ever on the same night. It took from April to July, and when I finally saw some kind of entity it had taken months, weeks, hours spent surveiling the area. In the beginning I did tons of research. The ghost story traced back to folklore, a lurid tale often told about almost every place in North America where there was a forest and at its edge a lonely railroad crossing some narrow, lonely street. A surer recipe for a legend of a haunting never existed.
I redoubled my quest to debunk the haunting after that. I was ever more the skeptic until several terrifying things happened. These caused me to continue the investigation, culminating one night in one of the worst and most frightening things I’ve ever experienced finally happened.
I was out of the ghost hunting business forever, but I wasn’t close to ending supernatural experiences.
And this is my main concern with paranormal TV: it doesn’t happen that way. To encounter so much in a single night is just too much for anyone who’s really encountered things they can’t understand or ever explain or even describe something as it happened to believe. Typically a haunting has isolated incidents over years. Really severe cases almost always cause people to call in help from priests, pastors, anyone but TV ghost hunters. They’re terrified and they are desperate. I’ve known people who were in such situations. Sadly, there’s often no resolution. In fact there rarely is. They either move out or suffer. I’ve lived in no less than four haunted houses. To my great relief, only one brought serious and lasting damage; it housed a demon and if you don’t believe in those, more power to you; you’ve either never encountered one or you ignored it as best you could. That’s important because they feed on fear and revel in causing sickness, health problems and enmity within a family. Fortunately they rarely take up long term residence; they have to be invited either by ritual, spirit boards, or evil behaviors that grow chronic.
There are some shows that use security camera footage. “Paranormal Caught On Camera” and “Strange Evidence” are two that come to mind.
While some footage cannot be readily explained, it bears mention that most of these cameras use tape or other storage medium which are constantly recorded over. One problem with this is called “ghosting”, which is when playback shows a ghostly image in the midst of the most recent recording. For example, a man gets into a taxi, followed by a female ghost. Chilling, but probably not what happened. The ghost was likely a remnant of another night when a woman entered a cab parked in the same spot.
And let’s not forget that these recordings are not tamper proof. Once it’s on YouTube, debunking it can be difficult. We have no original and can only go on what we see.
In this video a fixed camera shows a man struck 3 times by lightning. He survived all 3, an unlikely outcome. Other versions have only two strikes. In the end he goes back the way he came and later admits he planned on robbing the couple ahead of him with the umbrella. It’s a viral post meant to prove divine intervention.
It’s a fake.
Lightning is brilliant light. You’ve seen near strikes light the night like noon. Here there’s none of that; the shadows from streetlights don’t change and that’s simply impossible.
Viral videos and creepypasta are more opium for the masses. People post everything from dolls that move to doors slamming shut behind them during a webcast. People can’t get enough.
Meanwhile, your frame of mind has darkened. Goodness and light are gone. You dwell in the thrills of fear and obsession with the supernatural. There’s no room for time with your kids. Friends. Homework.
Look at what it’s done. And it’s almost all a lie.
That’s dangerous. People will believe anything. They’re open to any lie.
Next: Part Two