Paranormal stuff on TV

Hi everyone, good Halloween topic here - my question is whether or not it's safe to watch all the ghost hunting/paranormal shows on Discovery, Travel Channel, Animal Planet (why there's a ghost show on Animal Planet is a head-scratcher), etc. I do love a good scare, but wonder whether these shows are somewhat dangerous, as in is one flirting with the demonic if one indulges in these ghostly goings-on. One show (Paranormal State) regularly features a Catholic priest, others are somewhat new-agey (John Edwards, good grief). I do worry about the poor guys on Ghost Adventures, they are so cavalier about the spirits they come in contact with (if indeed they are in touch with something and not just making it all up). Anyway, I do watch in the understanding that there is probably a lot of deception going on by the dark powers-that-be, but again a good scary ghost story is hard to pass up, and I like how they go against the "worm food" theory of death the secular world likes to promote. Maybe it's good for the average tv watching atheist to reconsider the afterlife. :shrug:

As an aside, does anyone know how to change their screen name? I'm not "InRCIA" anymore, I was confirmed on Easter (yay!) and would like a new screen name. :blush:

There’s nothing at all un-Catholic about belief in the paranormal (most of our religion centers on belief in beings we cannot see, after all), and there is nothing at all dangerous about being entertained by shows that explore and investigate paranormal phenomena.
If the investigators on such shows do something that might be occultish in nature (which isn’t something I have experienced, and I watch all of those shows), the viewer is in nowise culpable, of course.

Of all of them, I like “Ghost Hunters” the best, featuring the TAPS team. It seems the most authentic, to me, and their primary purpose is to “debunk” reports of the paranormal: to find natural explanations for reported activity. And sometimes they can’t debunk; that’s when it gets interesting.

“Paranormal State” and “Ghost Adventures” I enjoy less, principally because of the personalities of the lead investigators, both of whom seem immature and very full of themselves. The lead investigator on “Ghost Adventures” seems more concerned about wearing tight shirts and displaying his sculpted arms and torso than he does about investigating the paranormal. And the lead investigator of “Paranormal State” seems to me to be a mimick of the lead investigator from “Ghost Adventures”. He even talks just like him. Give him a month in the gym and the two of them will be indistinguishable from each other.

Guys - screaming like girls. Humorous at first and then just stupid and sad.

I do watch Supernatural thou. The best dry humor on television.

And occassionally I watch psychic detectives. Verdicts out on that oddity.

I advise you to avoid those shows. The fact that you’re asking the question tells me that it bothers your conscience somewhat, so deep down you already know the answer.

I would venture to say that these shows are more likely to make a Catholic curious about the occult (forbidden), than have any positive effect on a skeptic or an atheist. Skeptics simply laugh at anything that has to do with the supernatural, and with them no proof is possible. Certainly not a TV show that can be easily manipulated with special effects and sounds. These shows also trivialize (IMO) matters that are serious and shouldn’t be for entertainment.

This may be helpful to you:

glorify-god.com/specials/a-catholic-answer-to-paranormal-questions/

[quote="dusza, post:4, topic:217874"]
I advise you to avoid those shows. The fact that you're asking the question tells me that it bothers your conscience somewhat, so deep down you already know the answer.

I would venture to say that these shows are more likely to make a Catholic curious about the occult (forbidden), than have any positive effect on a skeptic or an atheist. Skeptics simply laugh at anything that has to do with the supernatural, and with them no proof is possible. Certainly not a TV show that can be easily manipulated with special effects and sounds. These shows also trivialize (IMO) matters that are serious and shouldn't be for entertainment.

This may be helpful to you:

glorify-god.com/specials/a-catholic-answer-to-paranormal-questions/

[/quote]

I adamantly disagree with this perspective. I would ask you to produce any Catholic teaching that would support the notion that watching ghost hunting shows is dangerous and puts one's faith in peril.

These porgrams do nothing more than show paranormal investigation teams in the process of attempting to collect evidence of alleged paranormal phenomena at a given location: the viewer is simply watching what these reasearchers are doing and observing the evidence that they collect (or fail to collect).

Rarely do these teams collect any utterly convincing evidence of hauntings, but sometimes they do, most notably EVP (electronic voice phenomena): voices unheard during the investigation but later found to be caught on recording devices. This phenomenon was first discovered by two Roman Catholic priests while they were recording Gregorian chants.

These two priests (Father Gemelli and Father Ernesti) were so bothered by the disembodied voices that they eventually brought their concerns about having captured them to Pope Pius XII. The Pope responded:

Dear Father Gemelli, you really need not worry about this. The
existence of this voice is strictly a scientific fact and has nothing
to do with spiritism. The recorder is totally objective. It receives
and records only sound waves from wherever they come. This
experiment may perhaps become the cornerstone for a building for
scientific studies which will strengthen people's faith in a hereafter
(Italian Journal Astra, June 1990 quoted Kubis and Macy, 1995:102 ).

njghostresearch.org/textfiles/evp.txt

The mere observance of data, whether on a recording or on a television show, is not dangerous.

I don’t watch these shows regularly but I do love Supernatural as well. I can’t get enough of that show. My sister does get annoyed with me sometimes because i sometimes point out the bad theology on it though :shrug:

[quote="Pregustator, post:5, topic:217874"]
I adamantly disagree with this perspective. I would ask you to produce any Catholic teaching that would support the notion that watching ghost hunting shows is dangerous and puts one's faith in peril.

These porgrams do nothing more than show paranormal investigation teams in the process of attempting to collect evidence of alleged paranormal phenomena at a given location: the viewer is simply watching what these reasearchers are doing and observing the evidence that they collect (or fail to collect).

Rarely do these teams collect any utterly convincing evidence of hauntings, but sometimes they do, most notably EVP (electronic voice phenomena): voices unheard during the investigation but later found to be caught on recording devices. This phenomenon was first discovered by two Roman Catholic priests while they were recording Gregorian chants.

These two priests (Father Gemelli and Father Ernesti) were so bothered by the disembodied voices that they eventually brought their concerns about having captured them to Pope Pius XII. The Pope responded:

Dear Father Gemelli, you really need not worry about this. The
existence of this voice is strictly a scientific fact and has nothing
to do with spiritism. The recorder is totally objective. It receives
and records only sound waves from wherever they come. This
experiment may perhaps become the cornerstone for a building for
scientific studies which will strengthen people's faith in a hereafter
(Italian Journal Astra, June 1990 quoted Kubis and Macy, 1995:102 ).

njghostresearch.org/textfiles/evp.txt

The mere observance of data, whether on a recording or on a television show, is not dangerous.

[/quote]

Well, I provided a link. That should be a good start. If you are sincere, you can research it further yourself.

The problem I have is that these shows trivialize serious matters for entertainment. I trust church-appointed priests when it comes to the supernatural, not self-appointed paranormal investigators on TV.

[quote="dusza, post:7, topic:217874"]
Well, I provided a link. That should be a good start. If you are sincere, you can research it further yourself.

[/quote]

Ditto. If you click on the link I have provided, you will read a sketch of the history of the investigation of Electronic Voice Phenomena (EVP), and how it begins, not with TV shows, but with Catholic priests recording Gregorian Chant...and how the further study of the phenomenon continues with the Church. But you needn't rely soley upon that website; this is all a matter of public record and you can Google it as you like.

Some excerpts from the website I happened to select:

The Vatican & the EVP

 Unknown to many Christians: Catholics, Protestants and Fundamentalists -

the Catholic Church has been actively positive and encouraging towards
investigation of the Electronic Voice Phenomena.

o Two of the earliest investigators were Italian Catholic priests,
Father Ernetti and Father Gemelli, who came upon the
phenomena by chance while they were recording Gregorian chants in 1952.

o Father Gemelli heard his own father's voice on the tape calling
him by a childhood nick-name saying 'Zucchini, it is clear, don't
you know it is I.'

o Deeply troubled by Catholic teaching in regard to contact with
the dead the two priests visited Pope Pius XII in Rome.

o The Pope reassured them:

Dear Father Gemelli, you really need not worry about this. The
existence of this voice is strictly a scientific fact and has nothing
to do with spiritism. The recorder is totally objective. It receives
and records only sound waves from wherever they come. This
experiment may perhaps become the cornerstone for a building for
scientific studies which will strengthen people's faith in a hereafter
(Italian Journal Astra, June 1990 quoted Kubis and Macy, 1995:102 ).

o Pope Pius' cousin, the Rev. Professor Dr Gebhard Frei,
co-founder of the Jung Institute, was an internationally known
parapsychologist who worked closely with Raudive, a pioneer in
the research. He was also the President of the International
Society for Catholic Parapsychologists. He himself is on record as
stating:

All that I have read and heard forces me to believe that the
voices come from transcendental, individual entities.
Whether it suits me or not, I have no right to doubt the
reality of the voices (Kubris and Macy, 1995:104).

o Dr Frie. Professor Dr. Gebhard; died on October 27, 1967. In
November 1967 at numerous taping sessions a voice giving its
name as Gebhard Frei came through. The voice was identified by
Professor Peter Hohenwarter of the University of Vienna as
positively belonging to Dr Frei (Ostrander and Schroeder, 1977:271).

o Pope Paul VI; was well aware of the work being done from 1959
onwards on the voice phenomena by his good friend, Swedish film
producer Friedrich Jurgenson, who had made a documentary film
about him. The Pope made Jurgenson, a Knight Commander of
the Order of St Gregory in 1969 for his work. Jurgenson wrote to
Bander, a British voice researcher :

I have found a sympathetic ear for the Voice Phenomenon in the
Vatican. I have won many wonderful friends among the leading
figures in the Holy City. Today 'the bridge' stands firmly on its
foundations (Ostrander and Schroeder, 1977: 264).

o The Vatican also gave permission for its own priests to conduct
their own research into the voices- Father Leo Schmid, a Swiss
theologist, collected more than ten thousand of them which were
published in his book When the Dead Speak in 1976, shortly after
his death.

o Another Vatican-approved researcher was Father Andreas Resch
who as well as conducting his own experiments began courses in
parapsychology at the Vatican's school for priests in Rome
(Kubris and Macy, 1995:104).

o In 1970 the International Society for Catholic Parapsychologists
held a conference in Austria and a major part of that conference
was concerned with papers on the Electronic Voice Phenomena.

o In England in 1972 four senior members of the Catholic hierarchy
were involved in the famous Pye recording studio tests conducted
by Peter Bander (Connelly 1995: 44).

o Father Pistone, Superior of the Society of St Paul in England
said in an interview after the tests:

I do not see anything against the teaching of the Catholic
Church in the Voices, they are something extra-ordinary
but there is no reason to fear them, nor can I see any danger
(Bander 1974: 132).

o His excellence, Archbishop H.E. Cardinale, Apostolic Nuncio to
Belgium commented:

Naturally it is all very mysterious, but we know the voices are
there for all to hear them (Bander 1974: 132).

o Since the 1970s the Vatican has continued to sponsor extensive
research into all areas of parapsychology including Electronic
Voice Phenomena.

o Recently Father Gino Concetti, one of the most competent
theologians in the Vatican, said in an interview:

According to the modern catechism, God allows our dear departed
persons who live in an ultra-terrestrial dimension, to send
messages to guide us in certain difficult moments of our lives. The
Church has decided not to forbid any more the dialogue with the
deceased with the condition that these contacts are carried out
with a serious religious and scientific purpose (printed in the
Vatican newspaper Osservatore Romano - cited in Sarah Estep's
American Association Electronic Voice Phenomena, Inc
Newsletter, Vol 16 No, 2 1997 )

Clearly, the Church realizes that science is making enormous,
inevitable, irreversible and cumulative progress which nobody is in
a position to stop.p

[quote="stanncie, post:6, topic:217874"]
I don't watch these shows regularly but I do love Supernatural as well. I can't get enough of that show. My sister does get annoyed with me sometimes because i sometimes point out the bad theology on it though :shrug:

[/quote]

Such a fun show, but the bad theology drives me crazy, too.

But not that crazy: I still love the show!

;)

Personally, I love “Ghost Hunters.” I watched their live Halloween show where they investigated the Buffalo train station. I like them because they work to debunk reported phenomena and they are quiet and laid back. Unlike Zach in “Ghost Adventures.” It really irritates me that he is always talking, talking, and usually in a loud voice. As one poster mentioned, he seems full of himself and comes off as arrogant.

Thank you all so much for the thoughtful answers. I keep going back and forth on the issue. I get caught up in the whole can-or-can’t-we-get-messages-from-beyond thing.

The EVP business is interesting, especially in light of their discovery by priests. I do believe, however, that there is a solid probability that they are demonic in origin and meant to deceive. How easy would it be for an evil spirit to know the details of a famous place and use those to fool impressionable investigators? If the Vatican says EVPs are okay and that they may indeed be voices of our dearly departed that’s very interesting, but we did just have, a few weeks back, Sunday’s Gospel reading of the parable Jesus told of the rich man who’d died, and was separated by a chasm from the poor man who was feasting, and wanted to send a message to warn his friends on earth to change their ways, but Jesus said he could not. So it would seem that Jesus himself has let us know that once you’ve “crossed over” as they like to say there’s no possibility for any connection. I guess I should read that one over again.

Then again, last week I went to my very first hour of Eucharistic Adoration, and was reading from a prayer book that was provided. In it was a story about a certain prayer that was said over a dying Pope who had been very sinful, and after this pope died he came back in a vision to the man who said the prayer to tell him how much merit this prayer would bring, etc. So there right in the chapel was an account of the dead bringing messages and guidance.

Maybe the souls who are haunting are in Purgatory. Has the Church talked about that at all?

I worry about poor Zach from Ghost Adventures, actually. I think deep down he’s just a big doofus who really doesn’t know what he’s getting into, and is vulnerable because of his obvious vanity and insecurity (and lack of any obvious religiousness). I do like the guy, only because he seems nice and he can’t really hide his inner nerd, however much hair product he uses. :rolleyes: We should pray for him and his friends.

So, maybe I’ll keep watching, carefully of course. Maybe not. I do look at my crucifix on the wall when it gets a little scary to remind myself of who’s got my back. :thumbsup:

I should add that I am NOT interested in the occult in general, as I do unfortunately have a background in occulty things (astrology, tarot, a longtime interest in new-age and a stint with Tibetan Buddhism). I know what it’s all about and am OVER it, thank God! It’s more like now that I have been able to see the dark forces at work behind the curtain I want to make sure I don’t get fooled again, so that’s why the shows are interesting to me. And, of course, I like a good old fashioned scare like most people.

No reason not to watch it other than how **** it is/

They never find any footage of ghosts on the shows. All they do is show grany camera footage of the people running around an old house. I laughed at one episode of ghost hunters because it was obvious that there was no paranormal activity whatsoever.

I do think is is dangerious to look for ghosts. I dont really ever watch the shows because they're boring, but I guess it is wise not to look at them at all.

I believe in certain aspects of the Supernatural, like Ghosts, but I feel that the folks in Ghost Hunters and Paranormal State are amateurs who get off on "Taunting'" these entities (like ordering them to "come out" and saying "we're not leaving until you talk to us') and that is not good. Potentially dangerous as well. Also irresponsible, as one is attemoting to present these entities and spirits in a "light-hearted' way as a means of "enterntaining" people. Not cool. :thumbsup:

I'm past my interest in these things (like a previous poster stated) so I thank The Almighty I don't watch these shows. I'm speaking from a time when I used to watch these shows.

I watch these shows regularly and enjoy them thoroughly; I think they're marvelously entertaining, even when the various teams don't find anything convincingly paranormal (which is most of the time). The interaction amongst the living on these shows is usually entertainment enough, without Casper showing up.

I will say this, however: the lead investigator on "Paranormal State" needs to stop compelling things to depart "in the name of Jesus Christ". For one thing, although he is a Catholic, he isn't ordained and he isn't an exorcist, so it's more than a bit presumptuous for him to behave as though he were. Also, I think that if one is going to compel something to leave in Christ's name, one should probably have indisputable evidence that something is actually there, to begin with, so that one isn't roaming about basements and attics and wooded backyards like a fool, yelling commands at nothing.

This kid, very much like the lead investigator from "Ghost Adventures", is enamored of himself and far too impressed by his own insights. I much prefer Jason, Grant, Steve and Tango from "Ghost Hunters". Their approach is much more grounded and scientific and their show lacks the absurdity of "Paranormal State," what with it's line-up of completely ridiculous psychics, moody wiccans, and schismatic clergy. I nearly fell over when sedevacantist Bishop Robert McKenna appeared on one episode. That told me all I needed to know about that group.

All of that having been said, "Paranormal State" remains entertaining, despite the absurdity of it (or perhaps because of the absurdity of it), but it has no credibility. "Ghost Hunters", on the other hand, to me, seems credible. It really seems like the TAPS team are out to prove that there is not a ghost at a given location, whereas the other two teams are likely to label every bump or sensation or cold spot as "evidence" of something paranormal.

I think that if you have a sound Catholic education and healthy faith they can be entertaining. I myself watch these shows on occasion and although I don’t agree with most of their beliefs find it amusing.

I think that a younger or immature crowd is more susceptible to believe everything they see on TV and should have some guidance by their parents or guardians.

And finally trust your conscience, if it makes you uncomfortable for whatever reason, don’t watch it.

First, it was not that long ago that we Catholics use to refer to the Holy Spirit as the Holy Ghost. Probably the church changed it to “Spirit” because a ghost cannot do anything. They (ghost) are like trapped energy; repeating patterns over and over like a broken record over and over again. And we all know that the Holy Spirit does a whole lot more than repeats visiting a place etc. They (ghost) can neither harm you or touch you in any way because they are just energy. However, when objects start moving around in the room, lights start to flicker on and off, shadows move across a wall etc. I believe that you are not dealing with a ghost but a spirit - probably a demonic spirit.

I use to watch Celebrity Ghost Stories every week even the re-runs. One night after going to bed it sounded like something fell over on the night table next to the bed. I switched on the light and there was nothing out of the ordinary there. Another night my wife and I climbed into bed turned off the light and we both heard something scurry under the bed I quickly jumped up an turned on the light looked under the bed and there was nothing. We both agreed that we heard something. Needless to say, I don’t watch any paranormal shows anymore. Where as I don’t know this for a fact, but feel, something (probably my guardian angel) was trying to tell me to knock it off.

Even tho shows like these are entertaining, they are dangerous. The ouija board is entertaining too, but look at the trouble using one can cause. The spirit of this world can see us playing around with paranormal things and you never can tell what might happen. Tis better to be safe than sorry. Anyway - just my opinion.

Banjojoe :byzsoc:

The ghost hunting shows are pointless. No matter how scientific they look or how much expensive equipment they have, it’s back next week for another episode. Aside from filling up airtime, their “story” is entirely predictable.

Flashlights

“What was that?”

“I felt something brush my shoulder!”

Scream!

“Who? What?”

“Jodie just saw something in that room!”

Rinse. Repeat.

Are the world’s scientists paying attention? Sure doesn’t look like it.

“Can you pass me that bag of Doritos?”

These people appear to have no idea about what they’re dealing with.

Peace,
ED

Well I can’t tell you for certain if any of those shows are truly real, but I watch all of them frequently. For me Zack’s (Ghost Adventures) personality is awesome. Their approach is quite bold and entertaining. Whether you believe in the subject matter or not anyone that has the guts to stay overnight at Bobby Mackey’s Blues Club deserves a tv show. Ghost Hunters is okay…but not very exciting. Paranormal State is quite interesting. The Haunted on Animal Planet is a very scary show, wouldn’t watch it at night.
My favorite paranormal show was called “A Haunting” on Discovery where they re-enacted people’s haunting accounts. That show was beyond scary. I could barely watch it alone at 3pm. I’ve always had a fascination with demonic spirits and exorcisms. Perhaps I’ll be an exorcist one day. :slight_smile: God Bless!

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