THE CULT OF PARANORMAL CELEBRITY
While paranormal reality T.V and the celebrities it created popularized paranormal research, ultimately it also poisoned it. The “paranormal bubble” burst several years ago and its negative effects are still far reaching. But it didn’t have to be that way.
A paranormal T.V show is perfectly acceptable if it involves visiting allegedly haunted locations, investigating them using basic logic and not making unfounded claims unless you have the scientific proof to back them up. This would mean not presenting data from equipment that has never been proven to produce the results that are stated, and more importantly accepting the fact that you may not get any evidence at all. Or you could just be honest about your intentions and admit that you are not seriously attempting to investigate anything, but are merely visiting these locations for the purposes of thrill seeking. But it’s the spreading of false and misleading information that some people take as fact that is the most damaging, not only to the paranormal community but to the general public. And you should also be aware that rightly or wrongly, people are more likely to believe what you say and consider you an authority on a subject just because you are famous. As a paranormal celebrity and the star of a T.V program you can’t just blame any negative feedback on the producers. If you go on a reality show you should know that it’s going to be edited to be more sensationalist, poorly researched, or even fabricated. If you are trying to justify what you did by pretending that you didn’t realize this may be the case, this either makes you ignorant or dishonest neither of which qualifies you to be a paranormal investigator.
A major part of the problem regarding the paranormal is the public’s expectations. It’s self perpetuating. The reality T.V ghost hunters appear to find “evidence” on every show. Then when they don’t they get criticized for it. So in order to meet the public’s demands instead of raising their own standards and educating the public to expect less. They lower them to meet those of their audience, because instead of paranormal research, ratings have become more important. But what is worse is how a paranormal celebrity will claim to help people when what they are doing is scare-mongering, which is the complete opposite. If you go into someone’s house and automatically assume that it’s haunted, rather then if it’s haunted or not, then claim that it’s because of a demon, or an evil spirit, then tell the client that it’s talking to them in the form of some garbled static on a digital tape recorder, this isn’t investigating and you aren’t helping anyone by stating speculation as fact. The entire premise of the show Ghost Hunters is that they are there to disprove a haunting. A completely illogical statement to make, how can disprove something that hasn’t been scientifically proven to exist in the first place. It’s like saying you are trying to disprove the existence of unicorns. The influence of these shows has gone beyond a hardcore of people into ghosts and the paranormal and onto the mainstream. If someone does request an investigation of their home or business the chances are that they are going to expect you to follow the same non-scientific protocols that they have seen on T.V.
Due to the popularity of paranormal reality T.V many paranormal research groups do want their own reality program to showcase their work, and among them maybe there are some that could make a show that is credible, educational, entertaining and not detrimental to their own community. But with so many willing to compromise their beliefs merely to get on T.V there is no shortage of people that will trade integrity for fame. And because of this they are afraid to openly criticize a paranormal celebrity because they are also criticizing the entire genre and therefore the production company’s that make the shows. But if you’re scared to speak out in case it jeopardizes your own chances of getting on T.V. you really shouldn’t consider yourself an investigator. And the same applies if you agree with everything that a paranormal celebrity says no matter how ridiculous or illogical just on the off chance that you or your team may get a guest spot on their show walking around holding an E.M.F meter and pretending that it’s a ghost detector. Perhaps there are good, honest paranormal celebrity’s out there, but their voices are invariably drowned out by the majority. But in reality most paranormal celebrities don’t deserve your respect or adulation, so stop giving it to them.
If you court the mainstream you get mainstream ideas and opinions, you are just going with the flow and aren’t prepared to take a stand for or against anything, just taking the path of least resistance. That’s not investigating and when it comes to the paranormal having an opinion shouldn’t be a fashion statement. It’s something that you stick with until whatever you opposed changes not until your opinion is no longer in style. The “if you can’t beat em, join em” defeatist attitude of some in the paranormal field is one of the main reasons it has become what it is. Change for the sake of it is pointless and it doesn’t automatically mean progress. Did the phony psychics, false T.V prophets and their sheep like followers suddenly change? No they didn’t. But you blinked first which doesn’t just make you as bad as them it actually makes you worse. As far as being popular and getting your own reality show, you have everything to gain and little to lose if you side with the T.V driven side of the paranormal. But if you want to be taken seriously, once you have formed an opinion be prepared to defend it even if you are the last man standing. It’s not about doing a U–turn or swapping sides just because you realized it will get you a few more hits on your website. Paranormal research is not a popularity contest or about how good your ratings are. Reversing an opinion because it will give you a better chance at getting on T.V. and allow you to become a paranormal celebrity just proves that you had little credibility to begin with. And no matter how many times you try and justify it by saying you have “moved on or forward” won’t change this, but keep trying to convince yourself that it has. The only person you are fooling is you.
Many people would like to have a paranormal T.V show but would they all want one at any price ? There is nothing wrong with seeking publicity to popularize your opinions. But seeking publicity merely for the sake of fame and purely using it as a stepping stone to get on television is what distinguishes the glory seekers from the genuine investigators, those that chase fame instead of research. It’s O.K to be famous if it’s a bi-product of your beliefs; it’s when it becomes your only goal and you pretend that it isn’t that you can expect your motives to be questioned. But when you turn on your own community for 15 minutes fame, after that fame passes (and it will) you will be judged not for your forgotten T.V show but as being someone that was willing to sell-out to whoever was the highest bidder. But then for some people it was never about research or educating the public it was all about being popular. Is it still possible to make an honest and exciting paranormal reality show, one where you may not find any evidence, but more importantly you won’t be popularizing false and misleading claims just for the sake of ratings ? Of course it is. Every time you investigate WITHOUT a K2 Meter or Ghost Box or some other meaningless device you saw on T.V you are taking a stand against both the technology and the people that are promoting it. But if the best you can do is just mindlessly emulate the same techniques and philosophies that have been destroying your field then you deserve little respect.
At best paranormal T.V has become a double edged sword. The positive effects of it are that it has showcased many interesting locations and their history, opened them up to the public and provided funding, where as they may not have been accessible at all before. The flip-side of that is that some of these same venues have drastically increased their admission prices merely as a result of T.V exposure regardless of if it is justified. Another positive is that paranormal reality shows have encouraged people to stop being armchair investigators and actually go out in the field. But this becomes detrimental when all they are doing is spreading the ill informed techniques and theory’s that they have learnt from watching T.V.
When criticized, the standard defense from a paranormal celebrity is always the same. You are criticizing them because you’re jealous it’s never because they are at fault. All this proves is that that they clearly have delusions of grandeur. The fact is they are appearing on a low budget T.V show with an audience slightly below that of an infomercial selling magic-mops. They didn’t discover a cure for cancer or win an Academy Award, and with a few exceptions anyone could visit these places they went to, so their exclusive access is as about as exclusive as a trip to Walmart. But if you really can’t see that the criticism is because of their exploitation of the paranormal community that they claim to represent, then you are exactly the sort of gullible people that they rely on to continue their deception. You aren’t supporters; you are followers. Just people that are so blinded by the cult of celebrity that you are giving them a free pass because they are famous. This implicates you as much as them. And when pointing the finger at people that are doing the criticizing and asking them what they have achieved, it’s irrelevant. Because someone would be doing more for the paranormal field if they sat and home and did nothing, then if they went on T.V and spread their misinformed opinions via a international medium. But peer reviewing paranormal researchers, particularly paranormal celebrity ones is just as important as peer reviewing evidence and of course it’s no coincidence that the more famous people get the more criticism they receive. When no one heard them then the harm they were doing was minimal. When they are given a high-profile platform then naturally more people are going to be increasingly vocal in their opposition. But maybe you should be joining their detractors instead of acting like star-stuck schoolgirls and defending these celebrity’s merely because they are celebrities.
But why do these para-celebrity’s think that their personal credibility shouldn’t be questioned and it is somehow irrelevant to what they as public figures do. You’re on T.V and claiming to be an authority on paranormal research but are making claims that are only valid because “you said so” not because you have any facts to back them up. If you’re representing the field honestly and with integrity then why would you object to being under the spotlight? The difference between someone on a paranormal show claiming that they are authorities on a subject and most other reality shows is that the people on the other shows deal with facts and already proven techniques and opinions. The paranormal is the unknown and if the claims they are making don’t have science behind them then the only thing supporting them is your credibility. If you’ve already been proven to be a liar, a cheat, an opportunist or a criminal, then why should people take what you are saying seriously? What if skeptic James Randi suddenly decided that he was a psychic and that he could bend spoons with his mind because this would give him a better shot at getting on T.V ? Not only should his current credibility be questioned then so should his past. This is no different from those in the paranormal community that swap over to whichever side is going to make them the most popular. But it’s not only the unsubstantiated claims and theory’s that originate from these shows, most of the entirely useless equipment now used as standard in the paranormal is as a result of these celebrity’s endorsing them on T.V. This includes K2 meters, Mel meters, Spirit boxes, the Ovilus and every equally worthless variation of them. These shows are just extended commercials for products that don’t work. And it doesn’t matter if some of these celebrity investigators have been investigating for 20 years. Doing something for 20 days correctly is still better then doing it for 20 years incorrectly. Length of time in the field is no indicator of competence, but being on T.V gives you a better platform to sell the illusion, much like selling used cars.
Judging by some of the defensive statements made by many of these ex para-celebrity’s they know what they did, and now that they have nothing to gain have stated that they don’t care about the criticism because “they got to travel around the country visiting interesting places and someone else paid for it.” Meaning it was never about paranormal research it was what they could get out it. But maybe they should have worked harder, or got a better education so they could obtain a higher paying job that would have allowed them to do the same thing without having to appear on a paranormal reality show that will forever haunt them (unlike the ghosts because they never found any). But who ultimately paid for their free ride? It’s those that are not on T.V but that still wish to conduct legitimate scientific investigations without the stigma that reality T.V created, but are now unable to do so.
One of the worst by-products of paranormal T.V are these para-conventions such as those put on by Ideal Event Management and Strange Escapes where as a “thank-you” to their fans para-celebrities charge an extortionate price to ghost-hunt with them. All they are doing is just repackaging the deceptive practices and general incompetence that they displayed on T.V and selling them back to you. And while it is true some of the venues they use are expensive to hire, much of this is due to being featured in the same paranormal reality show that many putting on these convention’s are a part of. I have nothing against people covering their costs and making a reasonable profit for their efforts. But $250 for a V.I.P ghost hunt with someone that has done little for the paranormal community except make it a laughing stock and is once again putting money ahead of research is just a rip-off. In addition to this these conventions normally offer as standard some sort of celebrity “psychic” (usually Chip Coffey) that is there to further capitalize on the proven gullibility of their fans and squeeze a few more of their hard earned dollars out of them. But what is most telling is that on their T.V shows many of these investigators don’t give any credibility to psychics, but this doesn’t seem to apply when they have the opportunity to profit from them. At most of these conventions you will also have the usual assorted Z list celebrity wannabes just there to fill space on a flyer, many of them just hoping for a chance to suck-up to the real celebrity’s there and to bask in their second-hand glory. These rent-a-sell-outs normally just work for expenses so their financial gain is minimal. However they would have been better working in McDonald’s where at least they would get to keep some of their self respect as well as receive a discount on French Fries. But as they see these conventions as a stepping stone to paranormal fame, they are quite happy to be the puppets of the big names running the event, and the big names are quite happy to pull the strings. And of course even they will acquire their own groupies who will be impressed that they know someone that knows a paranormal celebrity. But if you really want to break this cycle of rip-off paranormal conventions just don’t go to them. Don’t be a Parasheep. Support independent conventions with reasonable admission fees or even better put one on yourself. It’s simple enough to just rent the venue and then split the cost with other people. You will be surprised how much cheaper this can be and you will be shocked at how much your T.V hero’s are making from you.
Ultimately taking the side of the paranormal celebrity will always be the most popular option because their on T.V but if you just take what ever side is the most popular or the side most likely to get you your own show then you are as bad as they are. You also have to question these celebrity investigators about their powers of deduction. Are they really that ignorant that they can’t apply even basic scientific protocols to their claims or do they really know what they are presenting is nonsense but they don’t want to jeopardize their ratings by admitting it ? But is merely criticizing the illogical beliefs and claims seen on paranormal reality shows and the people that follow them actually building an opposing platform? The answer is yes, because as the saying goes “disregard the impossible, then whatever remains must be the truth”. The same applies to the paranormal. It’s called critical thinking, something that all paranormal investigators should be familiar with long before they grab their Ghost Boxes and K2 meters. You are criticizing and disregarding all that’s wrong with the field and what remains is your platform. Is it negative to criticize, no it isn’t. There is nothing negative about educating someone or opposing what are obviously false claims.
Once someone becomes a paranormal celebrity they immediately begin to circle the wagons to protect their own interests, being it financial or just the benefits of being famous. It’s an exclusive club, and once you get in mutual-back-slapping is expected. And none of them wants to break ranks and deviate from the tried and trusted formula that it’s better to present weak, unsubstantiated evidence, then no evidence at all because it will get you higher ratings. But once one person does show some backbone and takes a stand against the farce known as paranormal T.V then the entire house of cards will start to come crashing down. And if no paranormal celebrity’s are willing to do so then at least you can do it as an individual. One individual can become many and many can become an alliance. One that isn’t attempting to rebuild what’s left of the paranormal community but distances itself from it entirely and starts to regroup as something new.
How To Get Your Own Paranormal TV Show – Chasing Midnight
Are Ghosts Real ? Science Says No – Live Science
Paranormal State Exposed – Eye On The Paranormal
Ghost Adventures Clashes With Paranormal Researchers – Huffington Post
Fake Most Haunted – Live Halloween 2015 – Youtube
Ghost Hunters – Halloween Hoax – CNY Skeptics