It never ceases to amaze me what they put on TV and just how absolutely insane they have gotten in trying to wow the audience and yet, never really quite are able to show a REAL HAUNTING STORY. If you are one of the few that think that what you see on TV for reality TV or especially the documentaries is real, you are truly one of the few. Why is that? Is it really because the public doesn't believe? Well, if they don't, it might have something to do with misrepresenting the spirit world in such a disdain, inaccurate and quite obviously ignorant way, it's not surprising the public doesn't just jump on board with thinking everything they say is truth. After all, as I keep telling people, they underestimate the intelligence of their audiences repeatedly. If they think people want to be entertained more then being told the truth, they have already put themselves in a box of their own making and can't see out of it.
As the old time radio show called “The Shadow” had that air of mystery and that edge of relaying a story to keep you on the edge of your seat, today, they have gotten lost in the great affects and just throwing all the stops out to wow people, they actually miss the mark of retelling a ghost story. Like the radio show that was fictitious and not real, our “reality” TV is no longer real either. But, does it really entertain? Does it really? Or are people left with the feeling that it's just not right or hoped it would be better then it was after watching an episode. We all might as well be watching Harry Potter or Charmed on TV for the lack of reality, at least they do not propose to be reality.
Now, before you think me some great cynic that is merely just putting down all the documentaries out there and reality TV with it, I have had the privilege of knowing personally many of those people who have real haunting stories that have been either approached by filming crews or a good many of them have actually been seen on TV. The one thing that all these people have shockingly in common is that their story is NOT COMPLETELY THEIR STORY it is always changed in some manner to suit a make believe audience for ratings that seems at least in my opinion, non existent. I have a good reason to say this. Do people really want to be told something is real and then what they see is not exactly the truth and sometimes portions completely not true to the story? Do they? I have a hard time believing that. I also have a hard time believing that if they do not embellish or change the story, that it will not be watched. Yet, I am left with the feeling that they leave such a huge part of the story out... it's in the mystery and feelings and what happens in between the haunting phenomena that is left as if unknown and even unimportant.
One thing that always sits with me in viewing any of these shows is how it's not represented to show the reality of experiencing this type of phenomena. They can't show it if they have never experienced it and perhaps from the filming crew experience, it's all bull and it doesn't matter about telling the truth, because either the people whose stories they are filming are full of it, or... they have issues... either way, the feeling of telling a story in the manner of which it happened falls short every time. (At least as far as I have seen.) You wonder why those haunting stories seems so scary and over the top, because they are. It is not uncommon for the film crew to hear of some stories and add some of the ghost story to one they are filming to add interest, as well as shorten time lines or exaggerate greatly. It appears at least in some cases, they read the story online or it was previously submitted to them for a show idea by someone hoping to have their story told. Imagine if you will, seeing YOUR story included in another person's story. Oh yes, this happens. Online is just another place to search for ideas after all. Not that I blame these writers at all for doing this. However, plagiarizing is still plagiarizing and credit should still be given to the correct parties. That's just having values and etiquette. I do not much care about the “dog eat dog” world television production is suppose to be. I'm sure I'm not alone in my thinking here. Reflect being a jerk, that is how people perceive you, company or not.
So, can haunting stories to be told accurately? There is much that can't be shown accurately... right? Well, here's the deal, a lot can be. I notice that often they like to make a action packed show... but, it's the calm and then sudden action that have you in the sensation of feeling like you have truly witnessed something so unearthly and magical and yet, so very terrifying, because it goes so far outside what you thought was possible. You don't know what it is, why it's happening or what to expect. THAT is never even attempted in a telling of a story. It's the calm before the storm that is needed. It's the wonder and gaps in between where you do not know if something evil or angelical. It's the mere mystery and yet... the almost sudden and unexpected phenomena that happens in hauntings that truly make the stories different. They miss the magical, mysterious and unknown world that is so very different then the world we are conditioned to believe is.
Stories do not need more happening... they need the stories told in a manner that makes sense and is more true to what it is really like to live through a haunting. One thing about haunting is, the why's are not always answered, nor are the who or what it is. It's common for people to think a haunting is friendly when it may not be or to think it evil when it's not. People make assumptions on dark mist being evil for instance, but, is it? No matter what intention a ghost entity has, not knowing makes it threatening, mysterious and that feeling lingers. Now, they say that they can not show feelings. I beg to differ on that. Not only can they show feelings, they can show a story that will have the audience react. We are conditioned to react to our fellow man and their plights after all. It is much of the reason Ghost Investigators get involved with helping people. It is always a large part of the motivation behind people in this field.
I would like to challenge the TV networks and film crews that make these shows to bring about a truth to those stories and honor not only the people who are telling the stories, but, the spirit world. For how often does the story telling of lies oversee the reality of truth and make myth into reality in the beliefs and hearts of society? It's a dangerous proposition to play at such spiritual truths.
One thing people should be aware of is the “mockumentaries” that are documentaries gone wrong in my opinion. One such show is called “Mermaids” that is suppose to be for entertainment, but, is completely made up. I have heard some people think parts are true. Well, no, it's all completely made up as much as “War of the Worlds” was. The scientist and experts are all actors, the proof fabricated and the filming all done by a professional film crew. It's as fake as “The Blair Witch Project”. It has come to a point in time where telling the truth on supernatural or paranormal events is not needed and lying is acceptable. Or is it?
I have this one last fleeting message... how great would it be to have a film crew brave enough and yet creative enough to try to tell a REAL ghost story and get it right? It might be the best story ever seen. I always think that there is a reason to object to spiritual messages that appear to have gone wrong. It's one of the reasons I do what I do. I do not think I am alone. I am only almost alone in having the guts to just go out in public and blurt out what I think. Nobody ever likes to be lied to or accepts it as OK, even when proposed as truth by a mere television show.
The truth is out there... believe it.
By Evan Jensen,
Producer of Beyond the Edge of Reality Radio Network
(Note: I did not leave names or examples of whom I am speaking of about what isn't true in TV to protect those people who are under contract, as well as their reputation. However, if you know someone that has been on TV, feel free to ask them for the whole story and what has changed. One part is that often, the haunting continues and is not resolved.)