I Want My 15 Minutes: Advent of Paranormal Programming

As I sat watching one of many paranormal programs to have invaded television for the past decade I shook my head and sighed louder than any human should sigh. These programs although perhaps created in the beginning for the right reasons have become an outlet for every idiot who thinks themselves the next Ghost Hunter or Ghost Adventurer. Now, don’t misunderstand me. As those of you who have read my blog in the past know I am a believer in the paranormal/supernatural; I’m simply not one who takes everything as a sign from the “other world”.

This particular program I was watching airs on the Biography Channel and is entitled My Ghost Story. I love watching this program because of the wild-eyed average men/women on the street who claim to have had paranormal experiences. They come bearing photos, videos, and audio to back up their claims; all of which can be faked, mistaken identified, or is a case of the overactive imagination. Their first story was of a group exploring a cemetery in Indiana.

Now, one of the most obnoxious things I’ve heard repeatedly in “ghost stories” is the classic cliché of the “haunted cemetery”. It makes for a creepy fantastic story, but cemeteries are rarely haunted in my experience. As a child I played in many bone yards as the old folks in my neck of the woods called them. If there was one place in the entire universe that should never be haunted it is a cemetery. Most cemeteries if not all are blessed aka hallowed ground, the dead are laid to rest in the earth, emphasis on the word “rest”.

Hauntings as a whole are often in one of three categories:

1) Residual – This is when the energies of the once living saturate a certain location, intense emotional moments in time captured in the very ground and surrounding space. These residual hauntings never interact with the living and seem to occur under certain predetermined conditions. They are simply recordings of a past event anything from audio, visual, or emotional reactions to people who are more sensitive to atmospheric changes.

2) Unaware Spirits – These are the spiritual energies remaining of people who have no idea they are dead. Sometimes they are victims of murder, suicides, or just stubborn people who refuse to accept death is not the end. They are the ones who often frighten people with their emotional outbursts; inflicting the living with their emotions or even causing poltergeist-type activity.

3) Aware Spirits – These are the spiritual energies of people who have passed and are fully aware of their state of being. They may travel between worlds or chose to stay behind for various reasons. Much like Unaware spirits they can communicate through emotions or poltergeist-type activity, yet their communication is not fueled by negative emotions such as anger or frustration.

This group in the cemetery provided what they believed was proof of paranormal activity. It was winter and late at night. A falling recorder from a tree branch (Umm…wind? The recorder is heavy and precariously balanced on a thin branch, a faint gust of air is all it takes to cause it to fall at a certain moment that convinces them its a supernatural force). A pair of glowing yellow eyes in the branches of a tree (Hello, any nocturnal bird or tree climbing mammal such as an owl or cat could be the culprit). Orbs (Moisture in the air can be captured easier by a camera than a human eye). A flash of light at ground level (The flash of the camera reflected off any number of items i.e. beer can, metal marker on a grave, etc). Nothing they had to offer convinced me they’d experienced anything other than an overactive imagination. After all cemeteries have a certain feel to them to begin with couple that with a bunch of people hyped up on a ghost hunt at night, in the middle of winter, and well…you see where I’m going with this.

Every Joe Blow in the universe has been encouraged by the advent of paranormal programming into mainstream entertainment to go wandering about in an attempt to gather “evidence” of the paranormal. They wander in abandoned buildings, local cemeteries, and other such places in hopes of being “the one” who gets that single piece of evidence that will shock the world. Then you have those who will go to obnoxious lengths to manufacture “evidence” to get their “15 minutes of fame”.

Trust me on this one thing:

If you ever met a real spirit you would more than likely piss your pants and cry for your mommy. How do I know? I’ve been there as a fifteen year old girl who had a spirit say hello to me one cool autumn afternoon. It frightened me so bad I refused to stay alone in my family home for a good six months after the fact. As I grew older I learned a few things about the paranormal and about the supposed paranormal.

Spirits are people. They may no longer have physical bodies, but they’re still human. Treat them with the same dignity and respect you would any fellow human…

Oh, yeah…that’s right…there is no such thing as dignity or respect any longer in society. As a society we’d sell our own mother down the river for a fucking minute or notoriety and fame. *face palm*

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