Hey, guys! So Halloween is right around the corner and you may be wondering what to watch this scare season? Now, if you know me, I am not a big fan of horror films, but I am a believer in ghosts and the super natural and have had a few personal experiences. So naturally, I am drawn to some Ghost investigation shows. There’s a couple out there which are pure crap and should not even be taken into consideration, like Discovery Channel’s Ghost Lab. Seriously… don’t watch that one. So, to help you out find the best evidence out there and give yourself a good fright, I am going to give you a few ghost shows that are really worth watching! So let’s dive in.
One question you may be asking yourself is why is there such a huge draw to these kind of investigation shows. Let me try to answer that: It’s such a controversial issue and the fact that proof is so hard to come by. Plus it answers our primal fear of life after death. Will we live on after we die? What happens? Now, I won’t go into religion because that is a whole separate can of worms.
Now some of you are skeptics and don’t see the difference between one show to the next. However, there are some differences between each in terms of style, direction, and credibility. I’ll break down each one of these shows and let you know which ones you should check out!
To start, let’s look after the classic Ghost Hunters. Airing in October of 2004 on Sci-Fi Network, Ghost Hunters follows main investigators Jason Hawes and Grant Wilson through several paranormal areas. Usually the show follows a format of where the two plus their investigators meeting with the property owner/client for a walk through and basic history of the site. The investigations take place at night using night vision cameras and digital recording devices, kind of the standard for these shows. After the initial lockdown is done, the crew returns together to review all the evidence that they collected and then present their findings to the clients. This show sets the standard for most paranormal investigation shows when it comes to this format.
Now the show is a good place to start at because, like I have said, it’s the standard for this genre. Now is it the best show? No. The investigators are professional to the point where they aren’t even phased by anything that happens. They are also very quick to dismiss evidence as outside contamination or just not allowing to admit that it was paranormal. This happens a frustrating amount of times to where they investigate a haunted house, a ghost practically says, “I’m haunting this house!” and the investigation team goes, “eh. It might be something we can’t explain.” Another flaw with this show is that it has a huge production team following them around. You can tell several cameramen are on site to record everything, which make the show look good, but it just feels cluttered and you feel like you miss a lot. Do these things mean I hate the show? Not at all. It is still fun to watch and is provocative with the evidence that the do claim as paranormal.
Show rating: B
Next, I would like to recommend the show Paranormal State. This show premiered in December of 2007 on A&E and ran for 5 seasons until May of 2011. The show follows Ryan Buell, the lead paranormal investigator, and his hand selected team of investigators as they look into hauntings or homes and public areas. On several locations, they bring in demonologists and mediums to help in their investigation and help bring a solution to the paranormal activity.
I liked this show a lot. It was the first show that really went into a location, investigated in depths, and then presented their findings in a very well delivered manner. But the best part was the show gave the clients solutions to the problems. They help prevent and evict spirits out of the homes and areas and take measures to make sure activity would be lessened. However, there are some cases where they were like, “They’re not dangerous and are here to just be noticed.” Where they don’t take action. I like that because it shows that not all ghosts are dangerous and aren’t going to try to kill you, unlike what most people believe in horror movies. Now the biggest flaw with the show is the obvious production value. Some situations that they are in you don’t believe because of the way the cameras are set up. This show doesn’t have the most evidence presented to the audience because they go on their sense at the location and not as heavy on EVPs (electric voice phenomena’s) and video evidence. Now the show kind of ended abruptly because the lead investigator, Ryan, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. I would have liked the show to continue on further but, I guess everything has to end.
Show rating: B+
Next, we have The Dead Files. Premiering on Travel Channel in September of 2011, The Dead Files follows a unique way of investigation that’s not like any other show. The show has two main detectives, ex-NYPD Homicide detective, Steve DiSchiavi, and psychic medium, Amy Allan. Both of them will investigate a location separately without communicating with each other. Detective Stever DiSciavi will investigate the property and the history of the location through local historical societies and old newspaper articles and goes indepth with what he finds. Meanwhile, Amy Allan will do a walkthrough of the location without knowing anything of what is going on and uses her psychic abilities to feel the environment and come up with what is going on. At the end of the investigation, with will meet and come up with their findings to the client.
The freaky part is 9 times out of 10; both Steve and Amy come up with the same information. However, there are those moments where they find stuff that neither has picked up on which leaves a lot of question marks with the clients. Either way, Amy would make a suggestion to the clients of how to move forward with the activity. There are a few negatives to the show, like you can tell that the producers wanted a New York cop with a stereotypical accent. I’m from New York, we don’t all talk like that. Another thing is the production value. Amy’s walk through is just supposed to be her and one other guy, but where did all the other camera angels come from and who is filming the guy holding the camera? Yeah, not a small one person film team. However, the show is a lot of fun, especially when it comes to the revealing the results of the investigation.
Show rating: B
Now this show has changed from when it started to where it is now. That show is Ghost Adventures. This show premiered on Travel Channel in October of 2008 and is currently on season 11. The show follows investigators Zak Bagans, Nick Groff, and Aaron Goodwin through several different haunted areas that has a lot of dark history and known paranormal activity. They use modern ghost hunting technology to capture and present their findings. This show also has the luxury of having a very small production team, where each investigator is filming their investigation.
Now this show started off with the Ghost Adventures film documentary that was released in 2005 where they captured some of the most compelling evidence to ghost activity (That movie gets an A, so check it out).Once getting their own TV show, they continue to present some interesting evidence that’s really provocative and thought provoking. Now I mentioned that this show has changed dramatically from season one to now. If Ghost Hunters is too professional, Ghost Adventures started off the complete opposite. They were loud and over the top when they heard things and they were out of control. However, at some point, someone may have come to them and told them that if they want to be taken seriously, they have to stop being idiots. Recently, they have been much more mature, but not huge stiffs. Now the show definitely provides a lot of evidence that is hard to argue with and is by far the most believable when it comes evidence presentation. They don’t do edits during their investigations, unlike the other shows above. The biggest down fall of the show is that the investigators can be immature still and are purely out to exploit the paranormal and not provide any sort of solutions to the hauntings.
Show rating: A
Now, I mentioned this show at the start of my review, Ghost Lab, and I’ll tell you why this show is a hoax in comparison to everything else. Ghost Lab premiered on Discovery Channel in October 2009 and ran for 2 seasons until January of 2011. The show follows investigating brothers Barry and Brad Klinge through haunted locations. So the show follows Ghost Hunters to a T.
But why does this show blow? To start, why is it called Ghost Lab? There is no lab! They review their “evidence” in the same place as their investigation. Next, it has a huge production team behind it. When the investigators are moving through a house and are noticeably prohibited by a cameraman, sound tech, and producer, there is a problem. Next, having them walk through a house and say things strictly for commercial use is dumb. Plus, some of the evidence was way too convenient. During a “reveal” to a client in restaurant, a camera was placed on a table well out of the way focused on a glass with a fork balanced across it. The fork just happens to flip off the glass and onto the floor. The brothers stop the reveal run over and start doing their best Ghost Adventures routine by shouting and going “It’s in the room! It’s in the room!” Yeah, fucking dumbasses. Lastly, the actual evidence presented in the show is too little and not always believable. Some evidence can be debunked as something else, which the other shows are quick to do, and with the production team, there’s a good chance of contamination from them. Thankfully, viewers thought Discovery Channel was full of crap and pulled the show after two seasons.
Show rating: F
Now there are other paranormal investigation shows out there, but I feel this is a solid list for you to explore this Halloween! I know I will be showing my girlfriend the Ghost Adventures documentary this weekend and expecting her to jump. If you have some suggestions for me, please leave it in the comments below!