Ever catch a falling star…Ain’t no stopping ‘til it’s in the ground…Everybody is a star…One big circle going round and round.
"Everybody is a Star"
Sly & the Family Stone
Pat Miley, founder and investigator for Miley Paranormal based in Reading, PA., recently posted a thought provoking dissertation on Facebook that could possibly be at the forefront of “business as usual” for many paranormal investigative groups. Hopefully, not.
Paranormal television, while somewhat on the wane since its inception many years ago, continues to be a viable medium of expression, and also continues to present itself as an accurate representation of what it is like to be a paranormal investigator. While there are certain truths factored into the broadcasts that strike a familiar note with those involved in “ghost hunting”, there also are fabrications and gross inaccuracies. Let’s face it…it all revolves around the Wow Factor. It’s all about viewership and consequently ratings. A dismal audience turnout is ultimately the death-knell for any network program, paranormal or otherwise. Entertainment is the key ingredient, and these types of shows just don’t have the time to get everything right. It’s about keeping the viewer glued to the couch. Miley recognizes this, but has words of caution as it relates to the field of paranormal investigation:
The producers of this show do not have your best interests at heart. All they want to do is package something and sell it to the masses, and if it is inaccurate and unflattering to those depicted on the show, makes no difference to them.
While Miley is centered on one show in particular, television is television, and other network formats pertaining to individual personal experience could certainly apply.
Miley illustrated some examples that showed a clear lack of any kind of verification of accuracy or historical ramifications as a result. Ghostly occurrences as portrayed on the network show that would be laughed off by any veteran investigator worth his salt were presented as hard-core fact. Why after all, if it’s coming across your television set, then it must be the truth!
I have had my own experience with dealing with My Ghost Story when they profiled a member of my former team and an investigation we conducted as a group. First…My Ghost Story only profiles individual personal experiences. They do not feel the need to exposé investigative groups. This approach I completely agree with…after all, do we really need another program showcasing a group stumbling about in the dark looking for answers? However, for the 15 to 20 minutes of air time shown for any particular story the networks goal is to get the most bang for their buck. In the case of my investigator’s experience it became completely something different than what actually happened. The base experience remained the same, but it turned into a laughable fest of inaccurate contributing factors that left our team scratching our heads. It was all just good TV!
I don’t watch paranormal television…not anymore. Occasionally I might happen upon an interesting location that has not been done to death, but generally stay away. I’m an investigator on the side, so consequently don’t feel the desire. I’m involved, as are most of you, with the things that paranormal television does not show you—long hours when nothing is happening…smoke breaks…snack breaks…bathroom breaks. These things paranormal television will never air because…well, its reality. And reality doesn’t sell, not when you have only a limited amount of time to catch a viewer’s attention and keep them on your channel.
And the last thing I would wonder about concerning any paranormal investigative group is the question of motivation. Why do you do what you do? What drives you on a personal level and the group on a professional level? What do you hope to accomplish at the end of the day? If it is to become a paranormal “star” then you have a hard road ahead, and plenty of competition. And really, at the end of that day, what are you contributing to a field that has, and always will, more questions than answers?
Recognition for what you do in the paranormal field is not a sin in the literal sense. Just be pure and genuine in your choices and actions, and certainly level-headed if you so choose to go the paranormal media road. It all comes around full circle in the end.
I completely understand the human need for validating your beliefs. We all have them. However, seeking validation by going onto programs such as this only harms the Paranormal Community. The only validation that matters is the one you get from your client and peers.