What are the best TV shows and movies about real ghosts?

“Best” is in the eye of the beholder. Also, ghost-related movies are usually different from ghost-related TV shows. So, I use different standards when I talk about them.

In general, when it comes to ghost videos on the big or small screen, I’m very opinionated about this topic.

My favorite ghost-related movies include the 1963 version of The Haunting.

So far, nothing else has measured up to that. Not even close.

Although the marsh scene and the ending spoiled the Daniel Radcliffe movie, The Woman in Black, I thought much of it was compelling.

I like many dramatizations of The Turn of the Screw.

The old Roddy McDowell move, The Legend of Hell House, can seem ridiculously dated and sensational. However, some elements in it are excellent.

It’s one of the more popular ghost-related movies that air on TV around Halloween. Expect some unintended laughs, keep your expectations low, and I think you’ll enjoy it.

My favorite ghost-related TV show was probably the Ghost Lab series by the Klinge Brothers. It seemed the most genuine, though I winced at much of the editing.

When I met them — and got past my starry-eyed fangirl moment — they seemed genuine and had some great ghost insights. (They’re the only ghost hunters I’ve gone fangirl over. So, that says a lot.)

Here are a couple of their investigations, from a YouTube video:

I’ve liked some episodes of Ghost Hunters, mostly because I’m dazzled by the locations they visit.

(Well, to be honest, I’m actually envious of the access they have to great, haunted sites. I just wouldn’t trade my privacy for that.)

In terms of the show itself, I know (and like) many of the cast members, so I am biased… and I’ve seen fewer than a dozen Ghost Hunters episodes.

I just can’t watch friends on TV shows, when they’re edited to look gullible, ignorant, belligerent, or… well, very different than they are in real life.

So, I’ve avoided watching Ghost Hunters.

Ghost hunting on YouTube

I like about 3% of ghost-related videos on YouTube. Maybe less.

The other 97% are so silly, hyped, or badly filmed, I can’t watch. Still, when a YouTube video is good, it can be great.

Entertainment v. reality

In general, most ghost-related movies don’t accurately represent hauntings.

Likewise, ghost-related TV shows are edited as entertainment. They don’t show everything that goes on at haunted places. They don’t realistically portray ghost hunting.

Often, the team’s research was genuine. Then, the footage was edited to amuse or entertain the viewing audience.

Remember: these shows aren’t documentaries. In recent years, instead of pretending they’re “reality” shows, producers call them “unscripted” shows.

If you want to know the truth about ghost-related TV series, look for interviews with former stars of Extreme Paranormal.

They’re no longer bound by the terms of their TV contracts, and they’re talking about what really goes on, behind the scenes. It’s more chilling than the ghosts they’ve encountered.

My answer to this question: The best way to identify good, ghost-related movies and TV shows, is to become a ghost hunter yourself. Soon, you’ll be able to spot what’s real and what’s fake.

What are good books about ghost hunting?

Girl reading bookAny ghost-related books that resonates with you can be good ghost hunting books. My judgment is subjective, based on my experiences in this field.

In other words, if you’re looking for ghost stories – fictional or true – that can be a matter of taste.

Nonfiction

– For years, I’ve been an almost rabid fan of Colin Wilson’s books. Though I don’t always agree with him, I’m dazzled by his innovative ideas and research. He’s an “everything but the kitchen sink” kind of guy.

– I like the ghost hunting books by Jason Hawes and Grant Wilson, because I know them.

So, I understand the context of what they’re describing with each story and case.

– Troy Taylor’s book, The Ghost Hunters Guidebook, is superb for beginners.

– I like the speculation in Marie Jones’ book, PSIence.

Michelle Belanger may be my favorite authority on paranormal topics, but I’m biased. Michelle is a friend, and I’m always impressed when someone has read more books than I have. (I’m pretty sure she has.)

– I love the insights and humor provided by Lesley Marden’s book, Medium, Rare.

And, of course, I’m proud of my own books. My most popular book is Ghost Hunting in Haunted CemeteriesGhost Hunting in Haunted Cemeteries. (It’s free to read in Kindle Unlimited.)

Folklore and Fiction

– Since childhood, my favorite ghost stories have been those by Edward Rowe Snow. He specialized in eerie folklore of New England. Many of those tales are being updated by Jeremy D’Entremont, who has a commitment to authentic stories.

Nick Redfern isn’t a ghost researcher, per se. In fact, he wanders into UFOs, lizard creatures, and so on. In other words, he rarely talks about ghosts and ghost hunting.

Now and then, I browse his books because I believe we need to look outside the ghost hunting field. That’s the only way to maintain a healthy perspective on some of the truly weird things we encounter.

Paranormal Parasites by Nick RedfernBut many (most?) of his books, such as Paranormal Parasites, make me raise an eyebrow. (That’s an understatement.)

I mention him because some of my readers absolutely love Redfern’s deep research and his writing style. I think he’s one of the best in his field; it’s just not my field.

– And, in fiction, I still like The Haunting of Hill House, by Shirley Jackson. It may be my all-time favorite ghost story.

What’s the difference between a ghost hunter and a parapsychologist?

A parapsychologist isn’t the same thing as a ghost hunter or even a paranormal investigator. A parapsychologist can research haunted sites. He or she is likely to investigate local paranormal phenomena.

But, the terms aren’t interchangeable.

A ghost hunter is usually looking for evidence of ghosts and hauntings.

A paranormal investigator is looking for evidence of unusual, outside-the-norm events and experiences.

glassesHowever, parapsychology is a subset of psychology. Parapsychology deals with a wide range of phenomena. That includes ghosts, ESP, remote viewing, and various related studies.

Rarely, some colleges and universities offer courses and symposia related to parapsychology. Due to tenuous funding, few parapsychology programs continue for more than a year or two.

Also, some interpret parapsychology as the study of specific mental illnesses, including delusions of ghostly encounters.

In many cases, that kind of parapsychologist has already made up his (or her) mind. To him or her, ghosts, ESP, and so on, do not exist outside fantasy.

It’s important to examine all hauntings and paranormal activity with an open mind.

With experience, most “true believers” learn that many hauntings can be explained, and vanish after minor building repairs.

In addition, many skeptical parapsychologists learn that some paranormal phenomena aren’t just imagined experiences.

Closed minds — in either direction — create barriers between two fields of study that could help each other. It’s important to try to work together.

But, ghost hunters and parapsychologists aren’t synonyms.