Paranormal television shows like Ghost Hunters and Ghost Adventures are becoming incredibly popular. What is their appeal?
Even if you’re not a fan of paranormal television shows, you’ve probably noticed that they’re popping up everywhere. Ghost Hunters, A Haunting, Ghost Lab, Celebrity Ghost Stories, Ghost Adventures and its spinoff, Paranormal Challenge, are just a few examples of wildly popular television shows that involve ghost stories or the search for paranormal activity. If you’ve ever watched one of these shows – whether you enjoyed watching it or not – you’ve probably found yourself wondering why so many of these shows are flooding the airwaves.
Reality Ghost Television
Part of the appeal of paranormal television shows is the same as the appeal of any reality television show. We watch it because we like to think it’s real (even though most of us know it’s not – there is so much editing and splicing, hardly any of it could have actually happened) and we want to know what happens from one week to the next. Ghost Adventures and Ghost Hunters, for example, are reality-format television shows that give us the impression that these paranormal seekers are actually experiencing this paranormal activity as they are in haunted spaces.
If anyone is looking for more scientific proof, rather than anecdotal evidence, that ghosts actually exist, these shows provide that. We watch them, then, to give proof to some of our experiences or fears. In a similar vein, these ghost hunter teams are using scientific instruments to detect the presence of ghosts. From using highly sensitive recorders to detect Electronic Voice Phenomena (EVPs) to using infrared cameras to see the outlines of ghosts that might be in the room, these teams have no shortage of science-related gadgets to collect evidence of paranormal activity. For even the most skeptical person, this evidence might be difficult to ignore.
The Thrill of Being Scared
Another reason these shows are so popular is because of the age-old thrill of being scared. It’s the same reason people wait in line to see midnight showings of The Sixth Sense or Paranormal Activity: people like being scared. It is kind of fun to go watch a movie and cover your eyes and jump at all the right places. Similarly, when watching paranormal television shows, that same thrill exists, though to a lesser degree.
When the Ghost Adventures guys are attacked by a ghost or hear a loud noise or creepy voice, we hear it right along with them and we get scared. Big, terrifying ghosts aren’t jumping out of corners to attack their human prey like they do in the movies, but what makes these shows ultimately frightening is the reality of it. We don’t expect to go home and be confronted with an attacking ghost when we leave the movie theater, but if we hear a new noise in our house after watching one of these television shows, we might think twice about the source!
Ghost Hunting as a Hobby
Ghost hunting has also become an important hobby to many people. Whether they had experienced a paranormal phenomenon or they are just interested in the afterlife, lots of people have gotten involved in ghost hunting and joined ghost hunting teams. This is one of the reasons why Paranormal Challenge, a competition show where ghost hunting teams compete to see who can find the most evidence of ghost activity, has become so popular. People on ghost hunting teams work together to find evidence of paranormal activity, and many of them are inspired by these shows or use them to pick up new tricks or ideas for the latest technology. Their involvement in this field brings people back to watching these shows over and over again.