I love ghost hunting shows. I give no fucks what you think about that.
Do I believe that every single door creak and mouse fart caught on tape is a dead soul trying to make contact through the aether? Fuck no. But I’m totally willing to suspend my disbelief for an hour every Friday night. In the never to be forgotten words of one Fox Mulder: “I want to believe.” And so I choose to, for as long as the show runs. I go into these shows the same way I go into horror movies: I want to be scared and entertained. Most movies about paranormal activity fall seriously short of the mark. Most movies about paranormal investigative TV shows (cough Grave Encounters cough) outright suck ass. You’d be better off watching the actual shows themselves. Whether you choose to believe it’s all real, or just cleverly presented fiction is entirely up to you. Instead of wasting full ticket price on Paranormal Activity 4 (which looks like shit anyway) why not google some of these? They’re on Hulu, YouTube and Netflix and they’re free. The economy may suck, but your Halloween doesn’t have to. Check out some of these shows, just for the hell of it:
You should know about this show even if you don’t watch it. It has replaced Ghost Hunters as America’s favorite ghost hunting show, mostly because the guys are hotter and a hell of a lot more enthusiastic. Give them a couple of years and they’ll probably get sick of it too, but for now this show is THE paranormal reality show on TV.
Synopsis: Once a week, Zak Bagans squeezes his impressive pectoral muscles into a tight black T-shirt, sharpens his hair and heads off to an abandoned prison/insane asylum/murder site with his buddies, the quiet Nick and the goofy Aaron. These guys don’t do the whole “private residence” thing. They’re out for the Holy Grail sites, such as Poveglia, Waverly Hills and the like. More often than not, they do a little sight seeing before the “lockdown” part of the show, and at least try to make the viewing experience fun. Highlights include Aaron’s horrifying imitation of Bigfoot, the sexual harassment of Zak by a busload of school girls and Nick’s flat refusal to “suck anything out of” Zak’s body.
Favorite Episode: The Return to Bobby Mackey’s. For those of you who don’t know, Bobby Mackey’s is an old school honkytonk down in Wilder, Kentucky. Built over the site of a former slaughterhouse, it was also the scene of a murder involving a pregnant girl, two Satanists, a decapitation, a lot of cocaine and a botched abortion. With dental tools. There’s not enough coke in the WORLD for that bullshit. Anyway, the honkytonk is allegedly haunted by the aforementioned Satanists, a girl ghost who committed suicide, the head of the decapitated girl and possibly the Devil Himself. Several exorcisms have been performed on the premises, apparently to no avail.
Best Part: Whilst performing the latest exorcism, Zak and Nick catch a very unnerving growl on audio. Seriously, it sounds like a very grumpy Satan after eating 40 tons of Taco Bell. It’s demonic and genuinely chilling and the look on Zak’s face is priceless. I have $5 that says he peed himself a little when that happened.
*The Sex Factor: Yes, I think Zak is hot. I give no fucks what you think about THAT either. Also, GAC if you’re reading this: interview please. I know Zak is a horror fan.
Runner Up Episode: Return to the Goldfield Hotel. Another golden EVP catch, as a very nasty male ghost orders the team to “get the fuck out” of his house.
This is the newest show to come charging out of the paranormal chute. It’s kind of a reboot of A Haunting with a bigger budget and a lot less cheese. Admittedly, it’s still kinda corny around the edges, but it’s fun and takes a look at several cases I’ve never heard of before.
Favorite Episode: The Dybbuk Box. This is the story that the current Sam Raimi shitfest flop “The Possessed” was based on, and one has to wonder why Raimi felt a need to deviate from the actual story, which is a hell of a lot more interesting than a girl slamming down pancakes and puking flies.
Synopsis: Guy buys antique Jewish wine cabinet at estate sale. Guy gives cabinet to his mom as a birthday present. Mom opens it and immediately has a massive stroke. When she regains the ability to speak, she insists that the frigid evil inside of the box struck her down. Cabinet is sold on eBay and snapped up by a guy who doesn’t believe it’s haunted. Guy keeps a blog chronicling his experiences with the cabinet, including resulting illness, misfortune and nightmares. Cabinet is sold AGAIN, with a repeat of phenomena, until it is finally locked away in the cellar of an abandoned house. I have to admit, this is a very intriguing tale, with a shit-ton of credible witnesses and evidence. I wouldn’t go near the fucking thing, that’s for damn sure.
Best Part: The nightmare sequence with the stringy haired hags was cool, and not terribly unlike a few nightmares I myself have had.
Runner Up Episode: The Rain Man. Thankfully starring neither Tom Cruise nor Dustin Hoffman. It’s literally about a possessed kid who can make it rain ectoplasm whenever he feels like it.
The Haunted Collector
The nephew of legendary ghostbusting team Ed and Lorraine Warren, Zaffis has appeared on Ghost Hunters, Ghost Adventures, A Haunting and many others, before finally landing his own series. And it’s a very hotly debated one, topping the list of paranormal reality shows that are most often accused of having been faked. Paranormal State is right behind it, doubtless because of their involvement with the Warrens, whose authenticity is shaky to say the least. Nevertheless, I always learn something fairly interesting when I watch this show – not about ghosts, but about antiques and unusual artifacts, which is the show’s main focus.
Favorite Episode: The Cross Of Salem. A crumbling marriage and reports of possession lead John and crew to rip up the carpet in a client’s house, revealing a “Cross of Salem” drawn on the floor in what looks like blood. Not much comes of it, but it looks really cool.
Synopsis: John, his son and daughter and some other people, answer distress calls from private citizens and set up shop in their homes to capture evidence of hauntings. They also collect and remove allegedly haunted trigger items (broken ouija boards, old slave tags, swords, lockets, etc.) from the homes and place them in their Connecticut “Museum of the Paranormal” reasoning that the removal of the object will cause the hauntings to subside. I don’t know if it really works, nor do I care. I just think some of the shit they find is cool. Like a leeching jar, and a little spring-loaded doohickey that gamblers used to use to cheat at cards.
*Bonus Sex Factor – Brian Cano is hot.
Runner Up Episode: The Breakstick. May Michael Vick rot in Hell.
The ghost hunting crew out of Warwick, Rhode Island that started it all. And if the show doesn’t scare you, try making the twenty minute drive from North Providence to Warwick on any given day. That merge onto Post Road is a bitch. Anyway, Jason Hawes and Grant Wilson, two average joe plumbers, set up shop in a trailer out back of Hawes house. The rest is history.
Favorite Episode: Taciturn sourpuss Grant and jackassy Jason head over to Ireland to investigate a crumbling castle which boasts a bloody chapel, a bone-littered oubliette and an “elemental” demon which reputedly smells like cabbage farts.
Best Part: One of the guys gets picked up and thrown on his ass in the bloody chapel after talking shit about a resident evil spirit. I think it was Dustin, whose lawn aerator hairstyle makes Zak Bagan’s faux hawk seem tame by comparison.
*Bonus Sex Factor – Barry Fitzgerald. Also hot. In a totally average kind of way. He’s also very sweet and funny. I’m sure he doesn’t remember talking to me a few years back, but I do.
Runner Up Episode: The Saint Augustine Lighthouse, Florida. A ghost is caught on video peering over a spiral staircase.
Docudrama series that ran for two (or three?) very short seasons. I loved this show. Basically a soap opera with demons in it, A Haunting way overdramatized events, featured terribly some untalented actors (two of whom would go on to appear in “Lovely Molly” by the way – there’s your horror trivia for the day), cheesy special effects and melodramatic twaddle that was unintentionally funny more often than not. But I’m not ashamed to admit that I taped every single episode and watched them over and over until they wore out.
Favorite Episode: Where Evil Lurks.
Synopsis: An Arkansas family of five move into a great big dream house. Pretty soon, there’s a Ringwraith walking around the upstairs hallway, making it necessary to exorcise the property with the help of a Ouija board and two goofy mediums.
Best Part: The Ringwraith thing (supposedly a demon named Seth) is actually pretty cool looking.
Runner Up Episode: I forget the title, but it’s about a snotty little boy possessed by a demon called “Man.”
Celebrity Ghost Stories
Famous people talk about their personal paranormal experiences. Everyone from Marilyn Manson to Squiggy has been on there. It’s really pretty cool.
Favorite Episode: Jordan Ladd, star of Death Proof and Cabin fever, discovers a skeleton in the closet. Literally. Not only is she hot, she solved a fucking murder as well. The segments are only about 15 minutes long so I can’t share too much without ruining it, so go YouTube that shit up right now. (Sneak peek below.)
Runner Up Episode: A teenage Marilyn Manson sidesteps into a demonic dimension of Satanic incantations and butchered farm animals. The world would never be the same.
My Ghost Story
Random people come forth with their home video and audio evidence of purported haunting activity in their homes and/or business and tell their stories.
Favorite Episode: The Demonic Ceramic Giraffe.
Synopsis - who gives a fuck? It’s about a DEMONIC CERAMIC GIRAFFE!!! Seriously. it’s a goddamned ceramic giraffe statue, toddling about a house at night and peeking around corners. It’s fucking adorable. If Winnie the Pooh was possessed by Satan, it might come out looking like this. How can you POSSIBLY beat a show entitled “Demonic Ceramic Giraffe?”
Runner Up Episode: Not even possible, unless somebody comes forward with a possessed Hummel figurine.