What’s next in ghost hunting?

It’s difficult to predict what will happen next in ghost hunting. These are my guesses.

Media-driven attention is fading, leaving mostly serious researchers in the field. That’s a good thing.

TV and Movies

TV producers and networks will seek more sensational, adrenaline-spiking ways to present ghost hunting. We’ll see more silly a few unabashed “freak shows.” (We’ve already seen too much.)

Finally, after exhausting every possible idea, TV producers will move on to something else.

A crowded stairwayI believe Ghost Hunters will be among the last canceled. (I first said that in 2013. Now, as I’m updating these Q&As in late 2016, that’s exactly what’s happened.)

Ghost Hunters retained a large following of dedicated fans. Many of them will remain loyal to the brand, and to the show’s stars.

Look for independently produced TV shows with very low budgets. They’ll air on YouTube or streaming services like Roku.

For the foreseeable future, fans may have to find those shows in an uncurated hodge-podge of good and bad productions. Nevertheless, I think indie produced (and aired) shows will replace traditional TV altogether.

Ghost-related films will maintain their appeal. At Halloween, movies will portray haunted places in extreme, unrealistic ways. That’s what audiences want.

Better Resources

In general, ghost hunters need more reliable, educational resources. Too many people come into ghost hunting for fame, money, and power over others.

That produces drama. It also attracts con men and other criminals. We reached that phase of the bell curve around 2006.

The good news is, now that ghost hunting isn’t so trendy, many charlatans have moved on to other fields.

Revisiting Past Mistakes

I’ve been in this field for over 30 years. The more I study ghosts, the more I realize how little we know. I have to revise my theories regularly.

Ralphie and the bar of soapFor example, I spent six years studying “ghost orbs,” and had to admit my early theories were wrong. It’s far more difficult to create a convincing false orb than I’d thought. (Please, test this for yourself. And then tell others.)

Unfortunately, mine was one of the earliest ghost-related websites. So, my mistaken theories influenced a generation of ghost hunters. That’s pretty embarrassing.

Of course, I’m not alone in my stumbles and mistakes. We’re all throwing labels — verbal shorthand — on phenomena we don’t really understand.

Maybe We’re Looking in the Wrong Places

We have no scientific evidence that ghostly anomalies are caused by actual ghosts.

We need to be flexible and open minded. Avoid dogma.

If we were on the right track with this research, we’d have seen clearer, more repeatable results at least 10 years ago.

We need to expand our research to look at far more phenomena that could influence our results, not just anomalies.

In the future, I believe we’ll learn more about haunted places thanks to advanced ghost hunting tools and techniques.

We’ll see more specialized cameras and voice recorders. Reliable heat and cold sensors and other devices will be within most ghost hunters’ budgets.

I’m interested in affordable infrasound detectors. We’re overlooking an important explanation for some hauntings. Every site should be check for elevated EMF, carbon monoxide, and infrasound.

The on-off phenomena with loosened flashlight connections is interesting. That technique needs refinement and standardization. In fact, I’d like more devices that can return binary results (on/off) for communication.

The subject of Frank Sumption’s boxes, usually called “Frank’s boxes,” is volatile. I don’t think we’ve even scratched the surface of what’s going on there.

What makes some of those boxes (and clones) produce astonishing results, while others do nothing? So far, we don’t know.

Ask “What If…?”

Start again?In general, we need to ask more “what if..?” questions. I’m not certain we’ve identified all categories of ghostly anomalies.

For example, as I’m writing this, few people check subnormal EMF levels.

Hot spots receive scant attention, compared with cold spots.

Personally, I’m continuing to focus on geographical and historical patterns. They might explain and even predict paranormal activity.

Repeating paranormal patterns could show us why some locations are haunted.

I’m also working on techniques to better understand personal dynamics that can influence hauntings.

Going Far Out on a Limb…

What’s might be next in ghost hunting? Lots of things.

I’m looking at something few are willing to consider.

As of late 2016, I’m revisiting one of my long-time theories. I believe that many ghosts are alive and well in their own time, in a parallel reality that some people are accessing at certain locations and at certain times.

With the broad introduction of multiple interacting worlds (or realities) as science, not science fiction, there may be some overlap between the Mandela Effect and paranormal research.

And, of course, that was the genus of the first “Mandela Effect” conversation, about seven years ago. That’s what led to me talking about the theory… but that’s a story for another day and another website.

How should I write haunted house stories?

Authors often ask me how to write (or even begin) a realistic novel about ghosts and haunted houses. They’re usually asking about typical haunted house stories:

  • The team that spends the night locked in the haunted house.
  • The individual or couple stranded on the road, who take shelter in the only nearby house.
  • Or, the family that innocently moves into a house that’s deeply troubled and dangerously haunted.

First, decide whether your story is primarily character-driven or plot-driven.

Character-Driven Haunted House Stories

If it’s character-driven, outline a rich array of characters that your readers will care about. Shirley Jackson’s novel, The Haunting of Hill House, is a good example of a character-driven haunted house story.

TVTropes.org can be a great resource for the tropes you’ll want to include among your characters. Or, you can default to the basic character types in Scooby-Doo. (I’m not kidding. They’re classics.)

When the Ghost is a Character

If your ghost is a character in the story, he or she will need a backstory. Decide why the ghost lingers at the location, and exactly how he or she manifests.

Choose one or two sensory features to focus on. Few real-life ghosts produce noises, moving objects, physical contact with the investigators, smells, or ghostly voices. (If you want to include all of those, write multiple ghosts or entities into the story.)

When the Location is a Character

haunted houses can be disorientingSometimes, the haunted house is almost a character. Jackson’s Haunting of Hill House is a good example. We’re never entirely sure if the house is evil, or if a specific ghostly entity is behind the scenes.

If you’re going to use this story device, study several genuinely haunted houses, and (loosely) base your story on one of them. The house should have a personality, displayed in its styling, decorating, or the kinds of things that happen there.

(A moaning sound suggests a different kind of haunting than an evil cackling. The modern house built over a Native American burial ground will have a different “style” than a falling-down castle in Ireland.)

Plot-Driven Ghost Hunting Stories

The first movie in the House on Haunted Hill series is a good example of a story that’s primarily plot-driven. Many characters were shallow and unsympathetic. Viewers didn’t really care when each died a terrible death.

(Towards the end of the movie, we care more about the characters surviving than what’s going on in the house. Whether we loved them or hated them, we wanted to know what happened next.)

Nevertheless, the House on Haunted Hill franchise presented clever plot elements with superb timing. It’s not quite a “puzzle story” like The DaVinci Code or National Treasure.

Still, the mysterious sequence of events held our interest more than the characters. In that respect, plot-driven ghost stories are similar to mysteries. The reader (or audience) try to guess “the real story” before the reveal at the end.

What’s Important

Whether it’s a plot-driven story, a location-based tale, or a character-driven story, get right to the action. Reveal the characters and make them endearing — or unappealing – in a story that has already begun.

Your characters can make or break your story. Tropes are fine, if the plot is the focus of your story. (Avoid making your ghost a predictable trope.)

For a plot-driven story, avoid stereotypes for the lead (and possible romantic interest). The sidekicks can be cliches. The early victims can be “redshirts.” (To understand them in depth, see TV Tropes.)

Don’t base any characters on real-life stars of ghost hunting TV shows, or the shows they’re on, either.  Not closely enough to be sued, anyway. Those shows are considered “intellectual property.” They’re protected by trademark laws and highly-paid attorneys.

If you need more ideas for rich, dimensional characters, study ghost hunting in the past. Going back in time: the subject has been popular in the 1960s, the 1920s, and throughout the spiritualist era of the 19th century.

You’ll find plenty of material and some biographies to inspire you. Those can help you with your characters as well as your story line.

How should I write a ghost story?

Writing convincing ghost stories can be challenging.

opening door - ghost story tropeYou might think you can get away with more in fiction than nonfiction.

That’s not necessarily true. You’re competing with accomplished writers like Jane Goldman, Heather Graham, Stephen King, and Nora Roberts. Past greats include Edgar Allan Poe, Henry James, and Shirley Jackson.

Fiction

If you’re writing fiction, read lots of ghost stories. Don’t skip children’s literature. Those can be the best stories to study.

Watch classic movies based on haunted houses, and compare them with later remakes.  There are formulas for haunted house stories. You can find them online.

Take careful notes during your favorite ghost-related movies. Do the same as you’re reading ghost-themed books. (I take scene-by-scene, page-by-page notesto understand the structure.)

Do on-location research. Use a voice recorder to capture what you notice at every point during your visit.

Keep your voice recorder (or your phone set to record, easily) by your bed, afterward.  If you wake up with nightmares or fears related to the haunting, those are useful points to include in your story.

However, if you aren’t already a fan of the genre, think carefully before proceeding. Fans of ghost stories have certain expectations. They can seem like hidden standards, but they’re important. And, the reading audience is widely segmented. Some readers love a scene where the heroine goes down to the basement though it’s clear she shouldn’t.

However, some readers will give your book a terrible review if you include that cliche.

Know your audience. Deliver what they expect, and a few things they don’t. They’ll love you for it.

Nonfiction

If you’re writing nonfiction, thoroughly research the site, people, and relevant time periods.

If possible, visit the location. Explore historical sites and living history museums for additional insights.

Interview people with first-person stories. Investigate the site with a professional ghost hunting team, if you can.

Your story should include all of the elements that have made ghost stories – true and fictional – enduring and successful.

Get waivers from everyone you might quote in your book. You may also want a release form signed by the owner of the haunted site. These precautions protect you from later lawsuits.

In paranormal niches, nonfiction readers may have fewer expectations. Your book can succeed if you tell them something new and interesting or useful. Include as many details as you can. Experienced ghost hunters are looking for specific cues and clues, even if you don’t consciously add them to your book.

In a book about poltergeists, I’m looking for research notes from the kitchen, bathroom, and basement. The author doesn’t need to make a big deal about that. I know the signs of a credible tale.

Regional cues can be important. An Irish or Scottish ghost is likely to protect the house or castle, as well as the family. An English ghost is more likely to care about lineage, honor (even among thieves), and the portrait gallery. Are your ghost stories set on the coast? To take smuggling legends seriously, I’ll expect some reference to tunnels.

Research your stories thoroughly, whether they’re fiction or nonfiction.

Then, your stories will impress readers who are experienced ghost hunters.

Why do some haunted houses require waivers?

haunted? monasterySome haunted sites require waivers due to dangerous areas that visitors must avoid.

The fact is, some ghost enthusiasts take risks anyway. A waiver protects the site owners from lawsuit.

Usually, waivers are designed to create a scarier atmosphere. It’s simply good theater. Consider the waiver and posted warning signs part of the set dressing. It’s performance art.

Fiona's adviceBut… whether they’re “set dressing” or not, don’t ignore those signs. They might just be legitimate.

Haunted houses can be very old, and old houses can have loose or weak floorboards, narrow corridors, and other potential hazards.

Sometimes, liability insurance requires waivers. When you are investigating in the dark, it’s easy to bump into something, trip over a loose carpet, or lose your footing on stairs.

The same thing could happen if you’re wandering around an unfamiliar not-haunted house in the dark.

Take precautions, whether you’re asked to sign a waiver or not. If you see someone stumble on uneven stairs, tread carefully. Old houses and other haunts can present risks like that. That’s expected.

However, if you’re ever hurt at a “haunted” site due to the owner’s obvious negligence, see an attorney.

It doesn’t matter if you’ve signed a waiver. There’s a big difference between an accident, and poor site maintenance.

Was there really a Canterville ghost?

The story of the Canterville ghost was created by Oscar Wilde. It’s fiction.

Canterville ghost illustrationHe based it on stories he’d heard from his mother, Jane Francesca Agnes, Lady Wilde. She was among the leading experts in folklore of the British isles.

As far as I know, no haunted 19th-century British home is or was named Canterville Chase, and no town in England is named Canterville.

The plot is a solid template if you’re writing ghost stories, especially with a romantic twist.

My favorite movie version is the one with Sir John Gielgud. He’s every bit as cranky as some ghosts I’ve encountered.

The tale makes ghosts less scary to children.  That’s a very good thing.

Read the story online at Gutenberg.org,  or at  http://www.eastoftheweb.com/short-stories/UBooks/CanGho.shtml

LibreVox has several public domain audios of the story, if you’d like to listen to the story. It’s not very long, but it is fun.

And, if you search online, you’ll find several ideas for related, stylized stage plays.

How can I get my own ghost hunting TV show?

Many people ask me about how to land their own ghost hunting TV show. The reality is: it’s not impossible, but be sure you really want to invest your time, energy, and enthusiasm in it.

Ratings for many ghost hunting shows have declined over the past decade.  As of late 2016, even “Ghost Hunters” has ended its long tenure on SyFy.

So, I can’t pretend that ghost hunting TV shows are great opportunities, even when they’re offered.

Today, few networks or production companies will sign anyone new to star in a ghost hunting TV show. (You may have better luck if your ghost hunting videos have been successful on YouTube.)

First, decide why you want to have your own ghost hunting TV series.

The Paycheck

If you think stars of ghost-related TV shows are well paid, think again.

Many of them probably earned less per hour than they would working at a fast food restaurant.

Most of my friends who star on paranormal TV shows… they never quit their day jobs.

When they’re not filming, they work at normal jobs, just to pay the bills.

A one-hour TV show can involve up to two travel days, then jet lag when you reach the site, followed by two or three days of filming.

After that, you’ll analyze the evidence, and film the reveal. That will require additional days. With all of that completed, add another day or two to return home.

In other words, while it might sound great to be paid $500 for a one-hour TV episode, you might need a week or 10 days to complete just one episode.

You’ll often film shows back-to-back. No days off.

  • Expect to work seven days a week, including weekends and holidays. That may include Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, etc.
  • You won’t get time off for your mom’s birthday or your child’s school graduation.
  • Even if you’re miserable with a stomach bug, you’re still expected to show up on the set and act as if everything’s fine. As they say, “the show must go on!”

Fame

Is fame that important to you? If so, here are my suggestions:

Look for casting calls for existing ghost hunting TV series. (HARO can help.) See if you can get on just one show, even for 5 minutes.

stage lightsUse that 5 minutes to your advantage. Treat it like an audition. You should seem so interesting, producers will want to include you in future shows.

When your particular episode is about to air, make sure people know that you are on it. (Check your contract to be sure you can talk about the show.)

Also, you should have your own website, and it should look terrific.

Have you been on two or three ghost hunting shows? If they haven’t called you back, get additional exposure on non-paranormal TV shows. Look online for casting calls. Anything on camera is good. Get work as an extra if you must.

Plan your networking carefully. Earn the respect and interest of both the cast and the production company. However, the cast rarely have much input into the show. Impress the filming crew and any producers on the set. They might be involved in scouting and hiring.

After you’ve been on three to five TV shows, start looking for a theatrical agent. You’ll have enough experience for an agent to promote you as a future star.

This can take months or longer. Attend ghost-related conferences with presentations by casting agents and producers. You’ll learn more about breaking into TV. You may also make a connection that leads to work.

Never forget that this field is full of overeager ghost enthusiasts who’d do almost anything to be on TV. Many of them are pushy and obnoxious. Most seem almost oblivious to the realities of working on TV… until they’re actually on a TV show, that is.

Then, they can’t voice their disillusionment because they signed a non-disclosure agreement.

Distance yourself from starry-eyed and self-aggrandizing aspiring stars.

Stand out as a confident professional. That’s the best way to hear from more producers than you’d ever want to talk to. Really.

How can I pitch a location to ghost hunting TV shows?

Would you like to scout haunted locations for ghost hunting TV shows and movies? Do you know some great haunted places that should be on TV?

dracula's home - a great locationIt’s best to wait until ghost hunting TV shows request locations and story suggestions.

You’ll find those requests online.

Look for specific paranormal TV shows and the production companies that cast and film them.

Also check casting calls listed at websites like http://www.realitywanted.com/ and http://www.must-see-tv.com/forum/reality-tv-show-apply-here/

You may also find opportunities on the HARO lists. http://www.helpareporter.com/

Be prepared

For the best success, you should:
– Know the history of the location.
– Know if it’s ever been featured on a TV show (of any kind) in the past.
– Know who owns the site, and exactly how to contact them.
– Take lots of photographs at the location in daylight and during the hours the show would probably be filming.
– Have a list of witnesses to the ghostly phenomena. They must be willing to talk to TV producers about their experiences, even if they’re not paid for their time.

Many production companies like to film several shows in the same vicinity. For best success, be ready to present three or four other haunted locations in the same town or nearby.

If you’re just scouting locations, the producers might not involve you in the filming. This means no screen credit, unless you negotiate for that.

My advice: Present the one story that most interests you. Then, mention that you have several other nearby locations equally suited to the TV show.

Take precautions

Before you reveal those other locations:
– Get a written agreement that’s signed by someone authorized by the production company. (Email and phone agreements do not count.)  This is especially true if you’re dealing with Gurney Productions.
– Hire an entertainment lawyer to review the contract.
– Be sure you’re allowed to use your professional work as a credential on your CV or resume.
– Be very clear about your continued obligations to the show or producers. For example, they may expect you to appear at events. Know how much time they expect, and who will pay for your expenses.
– Make sure you’ll receive full benefit of — and credit for — all of your work and creativity.
– Understand what you can (and can’t) say during and after the show airs. Know how long your non-disclosure terms extend, after the final episode.

Some liabilities of ghost hunting TV shows

Fiona's adviceNever expect TV producers or production companies to be honest or even logical. Get everything in writing… printed and signed, not just email.

Know exactly what’s expected of you, and what you’ll get in return.

I was on one TV series for a major cable network that focuses on history. (Ahem.) But, even to promote the show, my contract prohibited me from saying I’d actually appeared on it.

Yes, that seems very weird. The producers seemed to think it was a normal requirement.

Then there’s the time that, with a verbal agreement and lots of phone calls and emails confirming it, I spent three weeks scouting locations for a TV series.

That involved lots of driving. Hours in dusty libraries, creepy locations, and conversations with a few truly strange people who wanted to tell me their ghost stories.

Was it fun…? Yes, most of the time. Would I do it again…? No. Not working 12+ hours a day, seven days a week, under a lot of pressure from the producer.

Then I delivered the information the producer needed, with photos, ghost stories, verified site contacts, and witnesses.

The production company said that their producer “hadn’t been authorized” to hire me.

Even with the star of the show and my manager working on this, I was never paid a cent.

Sadly, my story is far from unique. It’s just so embarrassing, others in the field won’t talk about their similar experiences.

Remember: Some people are eager to be involved in a TV show. They can be so excited by what sounds like a great opportunity, they’ll assume things they shouldn’t. Production companies will take advantage of that, if they can.

Is this just for fun?

Are you happy to work for nothing, just to know you were part of a TV show? If so, go for it.

However, no matter what is implied, make sure you have it in writing, on real paper (not a printout). Be sure it’s signed by someone with the authority to make that agreement.

Even well-known TV stars have put together great show ideas. They’ve lined up everything necessary for a successful TV series.

Then the show was given to someone else.  I can think of two instances of that. There are probably many others that I never heard about.

TV work is like a lottery.  You have a slim chance of winning, but – if you did – it could be great. If that’s not good enough for you, make sure everything you expect is guaranteed, in writing, in an iron-clad contract.

Most of my friends who work as production consultants also ask for at least half of their fees, up front.  Their out-of-pocket expenses are extra, and covered as they go.

They receive the other half of their fees when they complete the job.

And, one friend insists on payment in full before she does anything at all.

(She’s hired regularly, anyway.  So, don’t think you’re being “too difficult.”  If your information is unique and valuable, remember that you’re the one calling the shots.)

If you want to work with a TV show for fun, that’s one thing. If it stops being fun, or you expect anything in return, get it in writing.

How do I contact Ghost Hunters’ TV show?

Fiona's adviceAfter season 11 (2016), new episodes of the Ghost Hunters TV show are not scheduled for SyFy. That was reported in various media, including Jason Hawes/TAPS Facebook page.

As of 2017, the best way to contact the Ghost Hunters team is through their TAPS website (that site’s contact form isn’t working, but you can email Tapsjasonh@gmail.com ) or Facebook. You’ll also find Jason on Beyond Reality.

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Here’s my original article about contacting Ghost Hunters. It includes other ways to reach the cast, SyFy, and information about joining a similar TV show.

Old TV and remoteIt’s easy to contact Ghost Hunters’ TV stars and producers, if you’d like to. It depends on what you’re looking for — to follow the stars’ careers, learn more about the Ghost Hunters TV show, or meet the cast & crew, personally.

One general way to find information about the Ghost Hunters’ TV show — through Season 11 — is via SyFy.

That’s the cable network that ran Ghost Hunters for many years. You can visit the site the Syfy.com website and — if it’s still there — click on the link for the Ghost Hunters TV episodes.

You’ll find several options, from direct contact with Syfy, to related forums.

However, if you want to contact Jason Hawes or Grant Wilson, Dustin Pari, or any cast member from the many seasons of Ghost Hunters, look for their respective websites.

To learn more about TAPS Family members, visit the TAPS website. That’s at http://www.the-atlantic-paranormal-society.com/

If you want to be part of a show like Ghost Hunters, look for casting calls at the Syfy.com website and similar pages at other networks’ sites.

Or, search online using phrases such as “casting calls,” “ghost TV shows,” and so on.


Comments are disabled on this article, due to the large number of people who try to use this site to reach the TAPS team. Fiona is not part of TAPS and never has been. She does not investigate private homes, and refers those tormented by ghosts and entities to other professionals.

Why did Grant Wilson leave Ghost Hunters?

At almost every ghost hunting event I attend, long-time fans of Ghost Hunters always ask me why Grant Wilson left the Ghost Hunters TV show.

So, it seems like this question just won’t go away.

On the show and at the TAPS website, Grant explained why he left the Ghost Hunters show.

It wasn’t a sudden decision. It wasn’t related to interpersonal relations with fellow cast members.

From what I saw, Grant got along fine with everyone on the investigation team. Nothing was inappropriate or hostile, on either side.

Grant simply wanted more time for “other aspects of [his] personal life.”

Not a surprise

His decision did not surprise me. Grant has always been an excellent paranormal investigator. However, I believe that his talents are greater in music and the visual arts.

spalding inn - once owned by grant wilson and jason hawesSeveral years ago at New Hampshire’s Spalding Inn (which Grant and Jason and their families owned), a few of us were relaxing on the hotel’s porch.

I was completing a landscape painting on the hotel’s porch.

I said, “When I get to the end of the road, I won’t say, ‘Gosh, I wish I’d investigated one more haunted location’. I’m more likely to say, ‘I wish I’d painted one more painting’.”?

Grant paused and said quietly, “So true.”

I wasn’t sure if he was simply agreeing with me, or if what I said resonated with him. For many of us in the arts, it’s difficult to balance paranormal research and our creative interests.

Ghost hunting, like many other interests, can be a fascinating hobby. That hobby can evolve to the professional level.

However, whether you’re a professional or hobbyist, your interests may change. Many ghost hunters find the answers that brought them into ghost hunting, in the first place.

Others conclude that there are no real answers.  At that point, the person may quit ghost hunting or continue with renewed interest.

I haven’t a clue if that was a factor in Grant’s decision.

Nevertheless, I applaud Grant’s decision. He was ready to re-prioritize. Many people — in any field, not just TV — reach that point when their careers become too demanding.

That’s especially true when you want more time with your spouse and family.

And, life in “the industry” (in this case, the world of TV and public events) can skew anyone’s perspective on life and importances.

Yes, Grant Wilson left Ghost Hunters. That was a professional decision, and I wasn’t surprised by it.

Grant hasn’t vanished from ghost hunting. He still appears at some ghost-related events and conference. He’s just reorganized his time to have more time for what he loves most.

It’s wonderful that Grant’s fans remained so enthusiastic about his work on the show and his personal well-being.

If you’d like to follow his career — as a ghost hunter, author, artist, musician, or game designer — see his website, GrantSWilson.com.

There’s no mystery and no scandal in his decision. Grant Wilson left Ghost Hunters because it was the right time to do so. He was ready to pursue other interests.

Do TV shows give credibility to ghosts?

Do TV shows help give credibility to the spirit world?

For several years, I said yes. Now, it’s a little “yes” and a lot more “no.”

The “no” side is obvious. Many ghost-hunting TV shows became parodies of what we do as paranormal researchers. Extreme Paranormal was one of the first to leave serious investigators reeling in horror.

Fiona's adviceIf you want to compare a real ghost story with the TV version, see my article that explains the real ghostly history of Bonito City.

(That location was among the “investigations” featured on Extreme Paranormal.)

The Haunted Collector TV series wasn’t nearly as bad as Extreme Paranormal, but it still made respected researchers such as John Zaffis look… well, stupid. Even gullible. And, some thought he was downright criminal.

abandoned creepy houseIn real life, John and his team are among the most honest, ethical and open-minded researchers in this field.

I winced watching the show, seeing what I knew were contrived, uncharacteristic scenes.

(The episode where Eric Dionne supposedly met John for the first time, when John and his crew came to investigate the Dionnes’ home…? That was when I stopped watching the show. I know both John and Eric as paranormal researchers. So, from the first scene in that “investigation,” I knew that episode’s story line was fiction.)

But, yes. Maybe.

On the other hand, shows such as Ghost Hunters and Ghost Adventures increased interest in ghosts and ghost research.

So, in general, I say yes, ghost hunting TV shows brought more credibility to the subject of ghosts.

Of course, many people watch ghost hunting on TV and mutter, “That can’t be real.”

Then, at some point, many of those people want to check out “this ghost hunting stuff,” themselves.

People may joke about ghost-related TV shows, but they keep watching them.  Privately, I think most people want to believe in an afterlife. Many people want to believe in ghosts, too.

Ghost-related TV shows have given the field enough credibility to attract new researchers. We’re at least one step closer to finding real ghostly evidence.

I believe that shows like Ghost Hunters and Ghost Adventures have moved paranormal research forward.  More people are looking for evidence, and we have more tools to document what we find.

If that’s all those shows did, they’ve still made a valuable contribution to the field. I think there’s been an uptick in belief since the shows aired.

Personal field research makes a bigger difference than TV shows. But, to get people into the field for serious investigations, they have to be interested.

I think ghost-related TV shows were very helpful towards that end.