Ghosts have never been more interesting to the general public than they are right now. We can thank TAPS (The Atlantic Paranormal Society), and the successful SciFy show “Ghost Hunters” for getting the ball rolling. This show has fostered the creation of similar shows across the cable spectrum. Most have been forgettable, but “Ghost Adventures” on The Travel Channel has established itself as the closest thing to a competitor, although the two shows are completely different. Biography has launched their own block of paranormal shows which began with “My Ghost Story”, and branched out with “Celebrity Ghost Stories”. Both are more testimonial shows with dramatic recreations. All of this activity has been met with mixed feelings from the established paranormal research community.
With increased interest comes foolishness. The big complaint among the old guard is that any teenager with a Tri-Field meter thinks he’s a ghost hunter. There seem to be ghost hunting groups just about everywhere, and many of them are 100% newbies. We have seen ghost hunting teams arrested for trespassing, something that was once purely a teenage issue, but now we see people old enough to know better getting the cuffs slapped on. My personal peeve is the people attracted to the field with the sole goal of getting their face on TV. They are the biggest threat to the collective, legitimate work that has been done in this field, and it’s because they play fast and loose with their evidence collection standards. The community will eventually weed them out, but I’m afraid it won’t come until much damage has been done.
We all need to keep a watchful eye out for con artists, and media whores.
The upside is with the increased activity there is now a huge data pool to explore. People feel free to reveal locations that may be haunted, and share their experiences where they would not have eleven years ago. So this is progress. More locations now make themselves available for legitimate ghost hunting groups to investigate than ever before. Yes, most of these locations are hotels looking for free publicity, but a growing number are simply businesses hoping to put their employees at ease with squeaky floors. Either way we’re winning. On the book shelves, where once ghost-related titles had almost vanished in favor of UFO books, ghost books dominate more than any time since the 1970s.
So what’s next?
Hard to say. Ghost research teams have always been tribal in nature. Some cooperate but many do not. The smart move now is to extend the networks as far as possible. On any given night someone is out there hunting somewhere. There is no reason we all cannot benefit from this. This means getting along better than we traditionally have in the past. The time is now, strike while the iron is hot before people get tired and move onto the next thing (and they always do).
It is a good time for people fascinated by ghosts.