What you see on TV…

By Dave Juliano (davejuliano@theshadowlands.net)

There seems to be a sudden panic in the paranormal community and among the public who watch paranormal TV shows.   While most of these shows are fine and have no ill effect on the perception of what ghost researchers actually do, others do damage to that reputation and are now putting people at risk.   There are no experts in this field and I do not believe I know everything by any means.  These are my views based on my 20 years of experience in researching hauntings and 37 years experience of living in haunted locations. First I’d like to make two statements that should be obvious to everyone but it seems as if they are not.   

1.  The shows that feature reenactments of events are embellishing a bit by adding the special effects, background music, etc that build up to an edge of the seat view experience.    This is Hollywood stuff folks, if they did shows based on a typical haunting with no embellishments then no one would watch because it would be very boring.   

2.   Cases with difficult hauntings do not take 60 minutes to fix.   Everything you see has been condensed down to fit in a 30 or 60 minute show so there are lots of things that are left out.

There are many good shows out there that are entertaining the public and not scaring them.    Ghost Hunters is one of the good ones.   I know that some researchers do not like the way that they do things and the protocols they follow.   I have my own set of protocols that I follow that many of you would disagree with.    We all follow the basics but we also have our own theories on what is best and since this is not an exact science this is how it should remain.   What the TAPS show has done is to make a huge amount of the public aware that there are normal people that go out and investigate hauntings and help people.  I get about 3 or more cases a month from people being referred from the show.    That is a good thing for everyone.    Even the series on Discovery Channel “A Haunting” is ok with me    although they seem to go the Hollywood route with the show and just deal with negative cases, it is all reenactments so those cases are already finished and history.

Now there is a new TV show that has caused a stir like I have never seen before.  Just over the last 2 weeks my group (South Jersey Ghost Research) has handled 8 cases of people living with normal hauntings that were so terrified after watching this show that some were living in motels and one was sleeping in her car.    Since the show aired the Ghosthunter Store has been selling out of religious based items because people are buying, for example, 6 holy water bottles, 8 crosses, 20 St Michael prayer cards, etc all in one order.   Many of these are people living in homes that have some spirit activity and are now terrified.  Some are groups that are suddenly stocking up on these items.   I imagine many of those groups don’t usually deal with negative hauntings and they are trying to prepare for something that you can’t really prepare for.   A word of warning for any group deciding to deal with a case that could be a negative one, once you’ve become involved and opened the door to that side, it will remain open the rest of your life.    We deal with many negative cases but only a small group of members in my group are involved because they have had experience dealing with this type of case.    I also consult on almost every one of these cases with people that have been doing this longer and have more experience than I do.   Quite often they will tag along to assist us with the case.   So please if you don’t have experience in dealing with negative hauntings, please do not go rushing into a private house to “help” because you could do more damage than good.

The show features students who are dealing with hauntings in a manner that could be making any negative spirits in the places they visit stronger by focusing all this extra energy on them.   A rule of thumb in dealing with negative hauntings is you do not want to interact with the spirit, acknowledge it, etc.  By filming these cases and them broadcasting to millions of homes they are amping up the amount of energy and attention the negative spirits are getting. This is irresponsible.    The procedures being used are not being explained thoroughly either.    A woman called our emergency phone number today saying she had a demon in her home and she wanted us out to smudge her house with sage because that’s what she heard on this TV show.     Now my group will do smudging in certain circumstances so that isn’t the issue.   The fact that the show instilled the belief that sage smudging will get rid of evil spirits is very misleading.    Sage does create a more positive energy in the location but it does dissipate.    Then the negative spirit can return.    Long term solutions that often will have to be continued for a lifetime are what successfully work in these cases.    There is no easy quick fix for negative hauntings.   I could go on and on but I believe that I have made my point.   I am appealing to the network and the people involved to take a moment and think about the fact they could be putting many people in dangerous situations.   I also appeal to all the viewers to take what you see any where on TV with a grain of salt and realize that most of these shows are in the entertainment business.   I realize that many people down play this kind of haunting or don’t believe in demonic entities at all.    They are entitled to their beliefs and I don’t debate the topic with them.   We each have our own paths to follow and mine has opened that door and I have to deal with that.    For people who would like to read and get more valuable information on the topic that includes cases studies as well as great advice you can get these books (Some of these are required reading for members of SJGR):

Shadows of the Dark by John Zaffis and Brian McIntyre
The Demonologist: The Extraordinary Career of Ed and Lorraine Warren   by Gerald Brittle
And for more advice and assistance:
Relax, It's Only a Ghost by Echo Bodine
Way of Psychic Protection by Judy Hall
Armor of God by Dave Juliano


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