Are Ghost TV Shows Real?

In the past, and especially when “ghost hunting” TV shows became sensational, people asked me if the shows were real.

The simple answer is no, they’re not. They may represent what we do, as ghost hunters, but even the most authentic shows are edited to make them more entertaining.

Also, some people use ghost hunting TV shows as training for their own investigations. That can be risky, foolhardy, and — in some cases — miss the point of real ghost research.

Here are some points to keep in mind:

1. Lighthouse - photo by Horton GroupTV shows don’t represent how many houses we visit that aren’t haunted.  The majority of houses that seem haunted are either victims of high EMF or infrasound levels, or some other very normal (if odd) explanation.  Even if they are haunted, the issue is related to residual energy, not a ghost or an active entity.

2. Demons and malicious spirits are very rare.  If you think you’re being bothered by a demon, call an expert, not just the local ghost hunting club.  However, demons and evil entities appear at about 1% of the hauntings we’ve encounter… if that many.

3. Don’t let TV shows convince you that most ghosts are evil or dangerous.  They’re not. Watch the “ghostly” TV shows & movies of the past, and see how they portrayed ghosts.

Topper – the Cary Grant movies
Topper – the TV series
Ghost & Mrs. Muir – original movie with Rex Harrison
Ghost & Mrs. Muir – TV series (unavailable in Dec 09)
One Step Beyond – TV series (described as “historic accounts” of paranormal events) (Episode on YouTube (one of many))


4. Provoking ghosts?  Instead, look for someone like “ghostbait” from the Hollow Hill team:  Someone who, just by being there, seems to attract ghosts and hauntings.

5. ‘Tis the season!  When you’re watching “A Christmas Carol,” think how you might interpret Scrooge if you were at a location that he (and his ghostly companion) were visiting.  Would you think he’s a ghost that is scary, or needs help to “cross over”?

TV shows aren’t “reality.” (Even TV producers changed the term to “unscripted,” since they didn’t want to be sued for pretending a show was “real.”)

Don’t try to mimic TV shows or movies. Don’t take seriously any advice from paranormal TV shows. In many cases, the ghost hunter didn’t really say whatever-it-is; the advice was edited to give the audience chills.

Learn what ghostly phenomena really are. Study the history of paranormal research. Discover what psychics and ghost hunting equipment really do.

Explore haunted places with a pro. Events are a good starting point.

Never go ghost hunting alone. Always have a level-headed person with you, and — if you feel frightened during an investigation — leave at the first hint of danger.

TV shows can be fun to watch, but most of them don’t represent what we really do as ghost hunters. You’re seeing an edited version, and it was edited with a specific production goal in mind.

Real ghost hunting is different.

6 thoughts on “Are Ghost TV Shows Real?”

  1. Hi Fiona, so glad you gave this little talk about TV shows that are guiding so many individuals out there -including the charges to investigate the places these shows make “hauntingly” famous- which you didn’t get into but maybe another time.
    Still as I’m sure you encountered,even when I met you – when you were gathering your research,maybe-
    AT Buttonhill, has it been 2 years already, we were amazed at how many people were there, especially after the small intimate group with David Well’s Past Life Transitions seminar – which I loved. Buttonhill was very haunted. I personally felt & heard American Indians all night, esp. outside by the river with David, who said he had one Indian saying a name in his ear. Lakapee – I think something to that effect- I had never heard & could not google them. I have been practicing Wicca for 25 years & made the mistake of telling a psychiatrist after my Mother’s death that I can sometimes hear peoples thoughts & hear voices which stole 3 years of my life as I had to fight to prove I was not Insane- this is 15 years ago. So at first I was delighted that everyone was coming “out” , so to speak. Now everyone is a ghost Hunter -they pay the dues, get the certificate, but never really go to any haunted places – it seems, groups have their core members, although it didn’t take long for me to get in, it seems, I have that “ghostbait” quality. Last July a murdered ghost from around 1840’sname Roger stood in my front yard & caused my lawn mower to stall every time I got near him- so until we settled things, he did go to the light , I had a2’x2′ unmowed square on my front lawn. -another time for Roger & many more – I could & will write a book .
    In light & Love, Myqui

    1. Myqui,

      Thanks for the comments, and the time you took to share your experiences. You should write a book! You’ve led a colorful life with experiences that could probably help others, too.

      I will talk about places that charge higher fees once they become famous through TV shows, etc. It’s a difficult issue, made worse when the grants and funding those sites received is jeopardized by budget cuts.

      That said, I’m stunned when I hear about sites that are charging outrageous fees to allow people to “investigate” them… often with astonishing restrictions that would prevent serious research.

      It’s one thing to pay a fee to investigate haunted locations as part of an organized event with additional features such as talks by experts, access to professional researchers & celebs, and so on.

      It’s something else when it’s a clear get-rich-quick effort by the location. That will sour many people on visiting at all, and I think it will cost the site dearly in the long term.

      I hope to see you again soon, and I’m looking forward to your new music projects!


  2. I’m even getting a little tired of all these shows – although I will still watch. There is now yet another one on Discovery ID. This is after A&E just came out with another one, on top of their Paranormal State, Psychic Kids, Celebrity Ghost stories, they now have “Paranormal Cops” and another one “Extreme Paranormal”. All on ONE channel! Discovery Channel has “Ghost Lab”. National Geographic just started a series on Sunday called “American Paranormal”. SciFi has “Ghost Hunters”, “Ghost Hunters International” and “Ghost Hunters Academy”. Travel Channel has “Ghost Adventures” and “Ghost Stories” and “Most Haunted”. TLC had a short lived show a few weeks ago titled “Ghost Intervention”.. And, even ANIMAL PLANET has jumped on the bandwagon with “The Haunted”. Now, this new one on Discovery ID is “Living with the Dead” that makes 16 different television series that have aired on TV this month alone … 16 !!!! And that doesn’t include reruns of “Haunted History” and “Ghost Encounters” and “Unexplained Mysteries” on Biography.

    I need a life. I shouldn’t know all this! LOL.

    I still believe in this stuff. There are just way too many eyewitness accounts. I mean even just accounts of “Dogs” being able to see something we can’t. You hear this all the time. Same with batteries dying or cold spots, etc. I can NOT believe that every single piece of evidence or eyewitness is either “FAKE” or “MISTAKEN”./ I just can’t come to a logical reason to say those are the ONLY two possibilities. That people are either lying or mistaken. Maybe some people are crazy but that goes under “mistaken”. Point is, this stuff is real. But, I’d still like to experience it myself to prove it to myself. But, there is just way too much evidence to the contrary. Again and again we ahve similar pieces of evidence – in science that means proof! Yet, people believeing in God and in the Bible is more accepted than believing in Ghosts and UFOs where there is more evidence. (Altho Ghosts and the Bible go hand in hand..). But I say I believe in “Ghosts” i get laughed at. My neighbor says “I believe in God and the Bible” gets praised for being a good person. But, I’m the crazy one? Doesn’t make sense.

    Also, Ghosts can hurt people – Why do all the “injuries” look the same when a Ghost supposedly attacks a human? Why are they usally just THREE SCRATCHES? Again, this time it would mean every account of someone being attacked by a ghost was lying or mistaken yet all the injuries look the same?? As a budding Mathematician, I believe in numbers and law of averages! This stuff is real !!!

    1. Hello herbi,

      I agree about the TV shows, but the ratings will decline as people tire of them. I’m hoping a few of the best remain for quite awhile, but that’s in the hands of the viewers.

      Regarding ghosts hurting people: I’m not sure what to think. I believe that ghosts can cause a very small amount of pain, injury or other physical influence, but it usually lasts only briefly. The number three is often regarded as significant in terms of demonic activity, as well as the use of the number in various spiritual contexts (the Trinity, the triads, etc.).

      The consistency makes it easier for people to fake this on TV and in real life. However, I’ve seen enough evidence that I believe some of it is genuine.

      Thanks for your comments!

      Fiona Broome

  3. It just hit me that Celebrity Ghost Stories are fake. Peter Cin- something.. I forget his last name, has been on there about 3xs. This last one I saw he said,” This is the only time I’ve had an experience like this, so I’m a pretty big skeptic…” That’s odd…your sister died when you were young and appeared to you in Peru… and then there was that other time… Other people as well are on there a little too often.. Somehow, I feel safer.

    1. Lorraine,

      I agree. Many of the stories on that show seem more of an effort to revive a stalled acting career than about a real encounter with a ghost.

      It’s pretty sad. The show features people who are like ghosts themselves: They’re lingering among “reality” shows, hoping someone will actually notice them.

      Thanks for your comment, and observations!


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