The thing I always do before I start working on a story is research.
My latest endeavour is to write a ghost story. So I'm going to be reading all manner of ghost hunter fiction (and non-fiction), interviewing any paranormal investigation teams in my area, and snooping around for anyone else who might have had paranormal experiences before.
And, of course, I'm going to be watching paranormal shows.
Which is the topic I wanted to get onto. The shows I've watched most are TAPS, Most Haunted and Ghost Adventures. Entertaining and scary stuff, if you have the mind for it at 11pm at night.
I used to absolutely love TAPS because I got suckered into believing they were the real deal. They're not, as it turns out. They are very good at faking things, and the locations they've visited are places I personally would never set my foot, so they are still amusing to watch at the end of the day.
Why I believe they are fake: the camera is always on Grant and Jason. In one episode, for example, the two of them are sitting down and trying to provoke whatever entity lives in the house. A hanger is thrown across the room as 'response'. Grant picks up the hanger and puts it back in the open cupboard, emphasising that he's putting it in a certain spot. Astonishingly, the same hanger is thrown across the room once again! Just as astonishingly is that the camera was aimed at Grant and Jason sitting on couches rather than at the hanger, even though the anticipation of the hanger moving again had been created by Grant. Sure they could claim that there was no one else in the room, and the camera man was too far away to be responsible. They could claim that, but can they prove it? Nope. With editing and neat little tricks set up before filming starts, you could get away with it looking 'legit'.
Most Haunted isn't amusing or entertaining to watch. The only thing that scares me is that the lead woman investigator is going to open her eyes so wide that they might actually pop out of their sockets. Now that's as scary as Most Haunted gets. A bit disappointing, considering they visited my hometown and went to one of the only places in New Zealand that is said to be haunted; the St. James theatre. But definitely, without a doubt, fake from start to end. When you have people who 'jump' at the slightest sound and mediums who sporadically go into trance in every show, and there is some kind of footage captured or communication achieved, you just know they're fake.
Ghost Adventures I can't comment on as much. All I can say is that the main guy (I'm not 100% certain on his name) has charisma, and the kind of personality that a good TV presenter ought to have. Whether they are genuine and have caught real footage, or whether they're just as fake as all the rest, is up for debate. I don't believe that they're serious either, though.
Something most of these 'investigators' seem to have in common is that they were personally faced with a ghost of some kind. Some even multiple times. You would think that if this had been true, they wouldn't go out looking for these things, and they wouldn't be provoking them either. People who really believe that they are being haunted are contacting these guys because they're afraid. If they had similar experiences, wouldn't they want to avoid being subjected to it over and over?
Yes, there is the matter of them 'helping' people, but what are they really doing to help? They either confirm a haunting, or they don't, and usually their final result is questionable. They don't catch on camera what the families say they experience, therefore they can't say for sure whether it's haunted or not. Or they do catch something on camera and present it to the family, but then it's either an 'experience' one of the crew had on the investigation, or it's an 'orb' floating around the screen - neither of which any of the family members have personally experienced or seen themselves before.
I'd like to see the team from BS go undercover and hire these 'investigators' to a house with a fake history. They catch fake mediums out that way all the time, so why not try the same strategy on investigators to prove/disprove their credibility?
- Storytelling is a talent passed down through the generations in my family. It is a way of life in that the more you live, the better the story; the deeper the experience, the broader the plain to connect with readers. Just like life is about people so writing is about people - about their love, their loss, their triumphs, their failures, and their x ever after. I write to understand myself and make sense of life. I share my work in order to find others who can relate to my characters, or their lives, or the moral of the story.