Are Television Shows Destroying the Paranormal Field?

I write today not just to give my opinion, but to honestly seek out and understand yours. The paranormal community has enough blowhards in it, wouldn’t you agree? One thing I feel is missing is a concerted effort to find out why our beliefs are the way they are. People are always going to disagree; about the paranormal and just about everything else, and that’s okay. But it has become increasingly rare these days to try and find out how and why we disagree. So, let us begin. And remember to leave your comments in the designated section below. This is meant as a topic for discussion, after all.

Today’s topic: Are television shows destroying the paranormal?

A common sentiment among those in the paranormal community is that certain television shows (ie: Ghost Hunters, Paranormal State, Extreme Paranormal, Paranormal Cops, etc.) are “destroying the field.” While I would certainly agree that they are rife with fakery, fill the heads of the believers with common misconceptions, and generally teach the enthusiasts among us improper scientific investigation techniques, I would hesitate to say that they destroy the “field” or the community.

Why? Because in order to destroy something, you infer that the victim was once a healthy or viable commodity. It is my opinion that the paranormal was not, is not, and will likely not be healthy or viable anytime in the near future.

Perhaps this sounds cynical and, if so, I apologize. I assure you it is not my intent. I am simply stating how I feel. My opinions are, however, based on evidence. Simply put, there has been no time in the history of the paranormal where investigators have found a shred of proof for any of the claims we insist today are true. We swear ghosts are the spirits of the dead, that EVP are the voices of the dead, and that fluctuations in EMF indicate the presence of the dead. But since we still have little information on what consciousness is, much less whether or not it can survive bodily death (or even exist outside a body) our “theories” are little more than objects of faith – belief based on no evidence.

And, not only that, but it could be argued that, as a community, we are as silly, if not more so, than we were more than 150 years ago. Throughout paranormal history, well respected psychical researchers were using “scientific testing” and concluding that horses were psychic. Some of the most prominent chemists and psychologists of our time were convinced by simple charlatans that the dead could not only speak through them, but that they could play trumpets and materialize themselves via ectoplasmic means through the vagina of the medium! And yes, these are true stories.

Couple that with today’s “investigators” who contend that the best ghost research takes place in darkened rooms, that photographs of dust and bugs are proof of intelligent hauntings, and that the dead can speak through broken radios. It is utter madness! So, pray tell, when exactly was the paranormal community in such good shape that a television show destroyed it?

No, I’m sorry. The television shows aren’t “destroying the field.” I’ll agree that they certainly help to keep it in its doldrums, but they are doing far less to destroy anything than the community of faith-based believers have done all on their own.

Thanks for reading. Now, please, tell me what you think in the comments section.


About Jason Korbus
Friend, family member, possible werewolf. I co-host Strange Frequencies Radio, blog at Confidential Korbus, and generally walk among the weird. When I'm not doing busywork, I can usually be found with my nose in a book, my eyes glued to a glowing screen, or my ears tuned to The Ramones.

One Response to Are Television Shows Destroying the Paranormal Field?

  1. Rachel Wolf says:

    But on to my opinion. I agree with you dammit. But I see the same thing in other areas. For example, after Silence of the Lambs came out, there was a massive influx of women applying to the FBI and going into forensic psychology and behavior analysis (cough cough ahem). While this may have been a positive thing for the FBI (which was notoriously known…and still is…for it’s lack of female agents), had they not been prepared to hold up their standards, the Bureau could have fallen apart. Not to mention all the cops who read Mindhunter and decided they were a profiler.

    The paranormal field had no such standard to begin with, no set methodology and no regulation, so when all these armchair investigators came waltzing in, things went to hell. There really wasn’t much there, so there was so room for people to mess with it, destroy it and have the freedom to do so. I know what ruined the paranormal for me: the internet. Forums, misinformation and chat rooms had me so discouraged I wanted to become a ghost myself.

    TV shows/popular media are really just the bridge between something with potential and stupid people.

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