All right, so I'm going to just jump into it. Ghosts. Hauntings. Paranormal Activity. The Metaphysical. Why are all of those things considered so real? I mean, just flip through your television for a little while and you're bound to fall onto some program about one, if not all, of those things. Sure, I used to watch those shows, and much like everyone else, I used to believe in ghosts. Or at least found them interesting. But then I began to realize: How could I not believe in a god but still believe that there might be paranormal activity out there? Or better yet, how was I so ignorant of the truth? Well, the truth is, there aren't any ghosts, there isn't anything paranormal about the world and metaphysics can kiss my ass.
I mean, let's face it, I used to try to goad my friends into accompanying me to an abandoned building or a reportedly haunted village to see if we saw anything. Of course, I still enjoy going into abandoned buildings for the sheer thrill of it and for the simple fact that it interests me that a large construct to house people/inmates/businessmen and women/whatever is now an empty relic, frozen in time (until they demolish it, of course.) But for ghosts? No. I'm sorry, but anyone who believes in that crap should have their brains examined, which leads me back to my point.
Television shows about ghosts and the paranormal seem to be everywhere, and they also seem to be on what used to be reputable channels like The Discovery Channel, The History Channel, The Science Channel, National Geographic, and so on. Yet, they produce these shows as if they were fact. As if they actually happened, and the people who are usually interviewed, are interviewed as if they're reporting something that actually occurred! And anyone who's watching takes it all in, believing it to be a harrowing and frightful tale, only to end in happiness for the afflicted family. What's worse is that most of the time, they show some sort of exorcism or resorting to a christian service to help get rid of the hauntings. Let's take a look as to why all of those things are so wrong and so stupid.
Shows like these are about normal people who were haunted at some point in their lives. They're usually middle-class, run-of-the-mill families with very boring lives and very uninteresting jobs. Yet, all of a sudden, they're being haunted! Now life has some spice to it! Please... I couldn't possibly be the only person to see how obvious it is that they need attention, or, at the very least, something interesting going on. Those types of shows are usually catered to people who will believe anything, because they never need to prove it ever happened. They just have to say that it did, and because there are normal people like them telling them that it occurred, then it must have! I mean, why would normal people lie? What could they gain? Well, let's see... CASH. COLD HARD CASH. I mean, come on, they're getting paid money to tell their stories to people to put on an interesting show! Anyone with any common sense would be able to figure that one out! And, no, it doesn't matter if their faces are blacked out, they still get paid. In fact, ever consider that these people are actors? They say that these stories are true, but does anyone ever look them up? I have, and one episode in particular came out as being "verifiable." I say that because it had been reported before the show came to them. However, this "haunting," (A Haunting in Connecticut) seems to be the catalyst for money for the Matriarch of the family. She now runs a website where she sells items and speaking tours about the "haunting!" Oooo, spooky. It's things like these that make me ashamed that no one is able to see through her scam, or any purported haunting scam, and yes, I do feel that they're all scams.
These types of shows, and many others, are about famous/notable places that are considered "haunted." Many people will believe that these places are haunted because they are usually either:
B.) Sites of Horrific Crimes/murders/Satanic rituals/whatever
C.) Built on top of an ancient burial ground of some sort
D.) Because they were told it's haunted
The problem with these shows is that they're about places that regularly take in visitors and tourists. Now, since there are so many places in the U.S. and the world that would love for more people to visit and/or tour, it's not hard to imagine that some of those places aren't seeing that much an increase in revenue. So, a proper plan would be to create some sort of interesting hype about a place to stir up some more revenue, and what's better than a good ghost story to rake in the tourists! Okay, yes, some places bring it upon themselves just by being the places they are (i.e. The Catacombs in Italy, The Lizzy Borden House, etc), but still, you'd be a fool not to acknowledge how much money someone could make just by saying, "MY HOUSE IS HAUNTED, COME CHECK IT OUT!!" Ignorance can be a gold mine.
Finally, it's these types of programs. Programs that purport to show the "science" behind investigating the paranormal. This is probably the most egregious type of program for the simple reason that it attempts to justify its claims by misrepresenting science. Using the most "state-of-the-art ghost huntin' technology this side of the Mississippi" (not actual quote), they go to supposedly haunted places in order to confront these spirits. Now, whether they resort to using christianity or not is not necessarily the problem, though it's still as embarrassing as anything else they could pull out of their asses. What pisses me off the most, however, is how they "use" science in order to prove their fantasy. First of all, any area of any home, building, room, even closet fluctuates in temperature. Yet, this fluctuation is usually credited to some ghostly being or energy. Come on, it's so simple! Air changes temperature often, especially in rooms that aren't adequately heated. Then they use devices to chart the change in electromagnetic activity. Any signal picked up by any such instrument could come from a myriad of REAL sources, such as radios, televisions, even light bulbs! Yet, why not assume it's from some spirit from the beyond? I mean, it's much more exciting, right? RIGHT?? Well, perhaps, but it's disingenuous, whether the perpetrators of the lies know or not (I'd like to think they do, just to give them a little more credit than they deserve). And, after all that, there are the spirit orbs. They're usually fake (photoshopped), but if they aren't, they're usually dust particles or blurred light from a light source. Yet, anyone who's willing the believe will take it all in, slack-jawed and all.
What's the point of all this?
Well, for one, I hate it. But I'm sure you've already figured that out. The real reason I wrote all of this is because, well, I think it's part of what's wrong with our society. Not only does an immense fear of anything hinder our progress, as well as religious and spiritual beliefs, but so do these types of programs. They give validation to ignorance, consolation to lack of reason, and justification to a distrust and misunderstanding of science. I wouldn't say outlaw this medium (no pun intended), but boycott it. It's mindless drivel that encourages people not to seek factual, reasonable information but rather to jump to unfounded stories with no proof, whatsoever. It's this kind of thing that establishes ignorance as normal and acceptable. People should understand Occam's Razor, the simplest explanation is probably the right one, not the most convoluted. So, with that, I leave you with this image of what's really mystifying and, to me, supernaturally incredible:
Amazing. Just amazing. :)