Paranormal Cable TV

Let’s start with a disclaimer — I’m not a believer. I LOVE ghost stories, but my personal experience with hauntings is limited to an occasional eerie feeling and the firm belief that I carry part of my grandmother with me in the form of memories of our very close bond. I have friends who believe in ghosts — friends who swear they grew up on haunted houses and who have been visited by the shadows of dearly departed or of previous inhabitants of an old house.

Not me.

That being said, I really do love a good ghost story and can almost believe when the story seduces me with the proper mix of credible evidence and the illusive element of magic.

I enjoy all sorts of paranormal fiction, but usually kept my distance from the current batch of real/first person accounts of ghostly activity. I remember liking all the non-fiction investigation shows when I was growing up but I can’t seem to remember the names of most of the shows. “The Unexplained” was in the 90s but there were shows before that one. “In Search of…” with Leonard Nimoy was a particular favorite, but I’d watch all of them without discrimination. I was hooked on the storytelling aspects more than the proof of ghostly activity.

There’s a whole new crop of such shows and cable TV being what it is, the inexpensive, syndicated shows that use hand-held video cameras and feature earnest searchers for the beyond are easy to find. But do they deliver? Not really. They hint at evil doings and apparitions, but the quest for reality overrides the magic every time.

I guess I’ll have to satisfy my yen for ghosts in fiction.









  1. “In Search of…” used to scare the crap outta me. I blame it all on my vivid imagination. I couldn’t read books that even touched on a non fiction aspect of ghost hunting. My mind would always run away with it (still does).

    These new ghost hunter shows do nothing for me. They don’t feed my imagination in the least. Their fake antics are juvenile at best. What gets me though, my youngest daughter loves them. She will go through marathon days watching them back to back if we let her. I don’t think I will ever understand it.

    • Candy

      Wonderful having a good imagination! Of course it gets us in trouble sometimes. Well worth it for the writing.

      On a rainy, gloomy summer day I tried watching one of those marathons of a particular ghost hunting show and it was so memorable I forgot the name of the show! It did inspire me to think about “In Search Of…” and the rest of the genre.

      Back to writing fiction for both of us!

  2. I’m not a believer either, but every since watching The Innocents [starring a very young Deborah Kerr], I’ve hated windows at night, and always have to have the curtains drawn.

    The Innocents was an adaptation of Henry James’ Turn of the Screw, and I did not read it until after I’d seen the movie. I really enjoyed the book but… it just wasn’t quite as visceral as the movie, and it’s not often I say things like that.

    I don’t know if that original movie version is still available but if you get the chance to see it, do!

    • Candy

      I love Deborah Kerr so I will have to find this movie. I may have seen it as a kid on TV. I have vague picture in my head but…

      The visceral response to ghosts and hauntings in movies is a marvelous thing. Music, subtle changes in light and other cinematic tricks help create evocative atmospheres. It’s harder with words alone. Our challenge as writers!