This article is from 2021 and may be outdated. We're working on restoring a newer version.
Do TV shows help give credibility to the spirit world?
For several years, I said yes. Now, it’s a little “yes” and far 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.
If 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, at times, it still made respected researchers such as John Zaffis look… well, stupid. Even gullible. And, some thought he was downright criminal.
In 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.
But, yes. Maybe.
On the other hand, shows such as Ghost Hunters and Ghost Adventures increased interest in ghosts and ghost research. That’s been helpful.
The latter show has featured some preposterous scenes. I sigh and say, “It’s just TV.” I don’t know Zak and his crew, personally, so I’m not sure where the just plain silly things come from.
So, in general, I say yes, ghost hunting TV shows brought more credibility to the subject of ghosts.
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.
While it lasted, Ghost Lab was another important TV show. The Klinge brothers were daring and honest. Ghost Lab impressed me as much as — and often more than — any other ghost hunting TV series.
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.