I've finally figured out what annoys me so badly about most modern paranormal research programs. (Yep folks, time for another rant.)
This past weekend while at a group meeting of friends, our host had on Ghost Adventures
on the Travel Channel as background noise. You can check the link here
for more info on the show.
What caught my attention was host/producer Zak Bagans and his blatant "look at me" attitude. Buffed up and belt buckle blinged, his onscreen antics screamed of the "15 minutes of fame" timer ticking.
One part watching, one part ridiculing, and the final part talking about other things more important, I did gleam that his "team" was in Louisiana, probably looking for ghosts, and investigating the voodoo culture of the region. What sent me over the top is when his team came out all dressed in white t-shirts with handkerchiefs on there heads apparently participating in a voodoo ceremony. That's when it struck me what is so
wrong with modern paranormal shows. The participants aren't willing to just report the story, they're trying to be
the story. They'll preen and posture and make totally over-the-top claims so they can claw their way to celebrity status (at least in their niche market).
Then my friend related to me the tale of their 3rd season Halloween premiere best summed up by this Wikipedia entry:
Ghost Adventures Live
Premiering on October 30, 2009, the third season started with Ghost Adventures Live, a 7-hour live televised "lockdown" investigation at the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum in Weston, West Virginia. Hosted by Dean Haglund, an actor on The X-Files, the program enabled and invited viewers to interact with and participate in the investigation via a live webcast, using text messaging, webcams, playback reviews, and a video chat with the crew. Guests invited to co-investigate with the trio include three fans of the show; clairvoyant Chris Fleming from Dead Famous: Ghostly Encounters (another paranormal TV series); Robert Bess, the inventor of the so-called "Parabot" (an electrical container said to attract and trap spirits); and EVP "specialists" Mark and Debby Constantino, whom the trio regularly consult on the series. An encore presentation of the live show aired for Halloween the next day.
The reception of the live "lockdown" was met with critical success; however, viewers criticized guest Robert Bess for arguably throwing an EMF meter out of his hand and claiming that it was removed from his hand.
A week later, a "post-mortem" special highlights the major events of the investigation. In the special, Bagans and Groff addressed the viewers about the incident, believing that it was not paranormal. Bess responded by claiming that the incident was authentic paranormal activity.
Fame hogs trying to out do fame hogs. It sounds like a total ego sideshow to me with a blatant grab at attracting a small portion of The X-Files
That's when I think of shows like Leonard Nimoy's In Search Of
and Ancient Mysteries
, Jack Palance's Ripley's Believe It or Not!
, or Robert Stack's Unsolved Mysteries
. None of these shows were as pretentious or lacking in real content like the modern crop. Just go to YouTube and look up In Search Of Voodoo--- go ahead, I'll wait---
Not one of the best episodes of the series but it shows an authentic white and black magic voodoo ritual. It only took about 25 minutes of your time instead of an hour with 25 minutes of commercials. No posturing host with "look at me" antics, just the facts as they see them. I guess in the era of self promotion it's too much to ask for just the facts.
So another modern paranormal show draws my venom and I happily stroll back to my very dated but informative bootlegs of paranormal shows of a bygone era.
Ghost Adventures indeed.