Top Ten Ghost and Monster Reality Shows to Watch this Halloween

It’s the season for pumpkin spice, trick or treat, scary movie marathons, and ghostie and monster TV shows.  Especially ghostie and monster TV shows.  Don’t get me wrong, I love these shows for the sheer entertainment value.  It’s not that I don’t believe in ghosts, exactly; it’s that I don’t buy these ghost hunters for one moment.  Most people don’t realize these are heavily edited and scripted for maximum viewer impact.  That said, some seem more realistic than others, some are downright hilarious, and some just *may* make you wonder.  Here is a listing of some ghostie and monster hunting shows you may, or may not, want to check out.

Ghost Adventures

Follow the adventures of Zac Bagans and his crew, including the much-abused Aaron Goodwin, as they seek out haunted buildings that specifically feature nasty ghosties.  Zac must wear a respirator due to allergies when he is in old buildings, but more offensively, he wears it while investigating occupied houses, too.  No matter what the owners of the building claim, Zac is “immediately overcome by feelings of *fill in the blank*.”  He is constantly being “touched” by ghosts yet continues to challenge them despite his hilarious fear.  Poor Aaron is always sent to the most dangerous rooms, and usually shoved in from behind while Zac slams and locks the door behind him, lights off, alone, and against his will.  The show has a fair number of EVPs, orbs and other spooky happenings per episode.  Zak narrates the episodes with a dreary monotone voice that is somehow amusing in itself.

Boo Factor:  3 boos, for sheer entertainment value

Mountain Monsters

Have you ever wondered what would happen if you gave a set of self-professed hunters and trappers rifles and the freedom to track Bigfoot through the mountains while filming them bumbling, firing at trees, and falling over rocks in the forest at night?  Wonder no more; Mountain Monsters is classic goofy viewing for all audiences.  The crew chases a different iteration of Bigfoot (yes, apparently there are countless breeds of Bigfoot) each episode, creating elaborate traps to catch the monsters which, of course, they never do. The combination of stupidity and over-the-top dramatic acting, delivered in deep southern drawls (which, in any other context, I absolutely love), will make you laugh at loud.

Boo Factor: 3 boos, too funny to turn off

Ghost Stalkers

You may know Chad Lindberg from Fast and Furious as well as (ironically, perhaps) Supernatural (where, if you want to know, he played one of my fave side characters).  He teams up with author John Tenney to look not only for ghosts, but for portals that spirits use to travel from the beyond to our world.  Putting aside that Tenney will have you picturing Dragnet the entire time or that Chad can scream with the best of them, the entire premise is hilariously flawed as “portals” seem to be everywhere in every haunted location they visit.  Perhaps people should stop inviting these guys to parties?  They use a wide array of what looks like very expensive equipment but never really seem to catch any evidence whatsoever.  One person locks themselves into the location for half the night, then his partner does the same.  Each monitors the other from inside a van, with very dramatic narration delivered in such a monotone that it makes Zac Bagans seem like he is on speed in comparison. This show is a complete waste of time, unless men screaming and running through empty halls is your kind of entertainment.

Boo Factor:  1 Boo

Finding Bigfoot

This show takes a little more realistic and scientific approach to the hunt for Bigfoot.  A couple of researchers and one skeptic comb the US and check out potential clues, debunking several as they go while finding some compelling evidence as well.  This is a drama free show that may make you wonder if there is a big, hairy monster out there after all.

Boo Factor:  5 Boos for an intelligent quest without overacting and drama

Haunted Collector

What if it wasn’t your house that is haunted, but an item you have in the house?  That’s the premise with this show. It may be of interest to know that “Friday the 13th – the Series” had this idea years ago. I’m not saying that Haunted Collector stole borrowed the idea … just pointing out it’s been done. Anywho, these paranormal investigators somehow track ghostly activity to objects within the house.  At that point, Lead Investigator John Zaffis willingly takes on the burden of the haunted object, storing it in his basement full of other haunted objects.  Interestingly, the objects tend to be high value, rare, or of historic value. Go figure.  It’s still a fun and creepy romp, though.

Boo Factor:  3 Boos for the creepy premise

The Dead Files

If a show *might* make you believe, it *may* be this one.  At the very least, it’s a fun romp for an hour.  Amy Allan, psychic medium, and her partner the infinitely skeptical, tough, ex-New York homicide detective Steve DiSchiavi.  Amy Allan investigates the haunted sites at night, seeing spirits and filming what they are “telling” her, while Steve interviews occupants and researches the property.  The two supposedly never meet until the Big Reveal with the family after the investigation is over when, amazing surprise, all the facts from the two separate investigations add up perfectly.  Still, this is one of the better, far less over-reaching ghostie shows around and while you know it’s fake, well, what if it’s not?

Boo Factor: 4 Boos

Ghost Asylum

Hunky front man and lovable side investigators, these guys now have a live show presented every Friday night.  Known as the Tennessee Wraith Chasers, the team breaks out the usual equipment to investigate haunted locations live on TV, with watchers tweeting what they see as they monitor cameras themselves.  It’s kind of neat that the guys respond and investigate on things the viewers tweet to them in real time.  Prior to this, their show Ghost Asylum was a classic yuk-yuk fest, with them somehow miraculously catching spirits in home-made inventions to take back to their office and store in ghost chambers, just like Ghostbusters.  The show can be little other than ridiculous as it starts with a disclaimer that ghost hunting is dangerous and best left to professionals. Ummm… okey-dokey, guys.  Still, it’s a fun way to pass an hour.

Boo Factor: 4 Boos for the live show on Friday nights

Deep South Paranormal

Remember our bumbling deeply southern Bigfoot enthusiasts from Mountain Monsters?  What if this same type of chaw-chewing, bearded crew hunted ghosts with equipment instead of Bigfoot with rifles?  You will be spellbound by the group’s use of southern rock guitar to draw out spirits (who apparently like southern rock; who knew?), ridiculous homespun sayings, and love of grits.  Sadly, this show lacks the overacting of Mountain Monsters, which let’s face it, is why we watch Mountain Monsters.

Boo Factor:  1 Boo

Ghost Hunters

I couldn’t have this list without including the plucky plumbers who started it all; TAPS.  Sort of like a Hydrox is the original Oreo, this show laid the groundwork for all the rest.   Millions of viewers tuned in weekly to watch this ghost hunting duo justify dust orbs caught on film.  Compared to the shows that followed, this one is stripped to bare bones like EMF detectors and thermal cameras.  At one time TAPS was the “real deal,” in a manner of speaking, but has been overshadowed by its descendants and lacks the nonstop “evidence” displayed by them.

Boo Factor:  2 Boos

Josh Gates:  Destination Truth and Expedition Unknown

Josh Gates is an explorer whose shows cover a wide array of subject matter, from monsters, near death experiences and ghosts to lost treasures and myths.  His approach is very light hearted and fun, and his investigations are free of dramatic emotion; very straight forward and sincere.  As far as great shows covering all kinds of spooky and fun topics, this one is a must see.

Boo Factor:  5 Boos

So there they are, my top ten ghostie and monster hunting shows to watch, or not. I urge you to give them a look though. Seriously, they are nothing if not fun. Oh, and if you do, be sure and come back to leave your own “boo rating” below!

 

Late Night Boogeyman Revisited

So with Halloween right around the corner and enough horror movies marathoning on t.v. to make my twisted little heart skip a beat, I’ve been thinking about monsters and ghosties and boogeymen more than usual. I thought I would revisit an entry I did a while back…to sort of garner a bit of sympathy or empathy (?) for the “other side” as it were.

Original Post ——

There was this movie that came out in 1989 called Little Monsters starring child-actor-of-the-decade Fred Savage and Howie Mandel in a career defining role as Maurice, the monster who lives under the bed in a world full of ghouls and goblins. Sort of like a live-action Monsters Inc. In the movie Fred Savage’s character gets taken into this netherworld and learns that those scary spirits under his bed are by and large pretty fun-loving dudes who just want to live their life and have a good time.

Why did this thought come to me? My mind is hard to shut off sometimes and one night when I was attempting (unsuccessfully) to doze off, I noticed the light in my bedroom closet had been left on. I didn’t remember leaving it on and couldn’t recall even being in the closet at all that day. It made me think about just how long the light had been burning before I noticed it. And then, as so often happens to me late at night (or any other time if I want to be completely honest), my mind wandered off the rails.

Lying there in bed I thought that maybe it wasn’t me who turned it on. Maybe it was a boogeyman. And if it’s a boogeyman, what if he’s afraid of the dark? What if all these monsters children grow up fearing are simply misunderstood creatures that have been swept under our beds or crammed into our closets because eons ago humans forced out all the boogeymen so we didn’t have to cohabit ? Is it possible that the monsters under our bed are refugees? Did we put them there centuries ago and now they only come out at night when they know we’ll be asleep so they won’t run into the scary humans?  But….they’re afraid of the dark.  So once in a while as the others are huddled around trash-can fires in their ghost world, a few adventurous boogeymen (probably children boogeymen…because I doubt the grown up boogeymen can control their kids at all times any better than we can control ours all the time) step out into a human’s closet and, frightened by the shadows and odd shapes that the clothes and sundry items make on the wall, they turn on the light.  Perhaps they are just misunderstood, much like Maurice and his brood, and we should really just hand them a flashlight instead of screaming at moving shadows.

That would definitely account for why my closet light is on…I mean it makes sense, right?  And if there really is a boogeyman in my closet who is afraid of the dark, who am I to get up and turn the light out on him thereby frightening him to death?  So I stayed in my warm, cozy bed, looking at the soft light beaming out from under the closet door and I pondered the various underworld creatures who might benefit from some night-lights and a little empathy.

Yes folks, this is what I think about as I’m trying to pass out after a long day. Maybe instead of worrying about spearheading humanitarian efforts to create a cross-species allegiance between humans and monsters I should just go to Walgreens and buy some Zzzzquil.

Please sir...can you spare a flashlight...??

Please sir…can you spare a flashlight…??

Late Night Boogeyman

There was this movie that came out in 1989 called Little Monsters starring child-actor-of-the-decade Fred Savage and Howie Mandel in a career defining role as Maurice, the monster who lives under the bed in a world full of ghouls and goblins. Sort of like a live-action Monsters Inc. In the movie Fred Savage’s character gets taken into this netherworld and learns that those scary spirits under his bed are by and large pretty fun-loving dudes who just want to live their life and have a good time.

Why did this thought come to me? My mind is hard to shut off sometimes and one night when I was attempting (unsuccessfully) to doze off I noticed the light in my bedroom closet had been left on. I didn’t remember leaving it on and couldn’t recall even being in the closet at all that day. It made me think about just how long the light had been burning before I noticed it. And then, as so often happens to me late at night (or any other time if I want to be completely honest), my mind wandered off the rails.

Lying there in bed I thought that maybe it wasn’t me who turned it on. Maybe it was a boogeyman. And if it’s a boogeyman, what if he’s afraid of the dark? What if all these monsters children grow up fearing are simply misunderstood creatures that have been swept under our beds or crammed into our closets because eons ago humans forced out all the boogeymen so we didn’t have to cohabit ? Is it possible that the monsters under our bed are refugees? Did we put them there centuries ago and now they only come out at night when they know we’ll be asleep so they won’t run into the scary humans?  But….they’re afraid of the dark.  So once in a while as the others are huddled around trash-can fires in their ghost world, a few adventurous boogeymen (probably children boogeymen…because I doubt the grown up boogeymen can control their kids at all times any better than we can control ours all the time) step out into a human’s closet and, frightened by the shadows and odd shapes that the clothes and sundry items make on the wall, they turn on the light.  Perhaps they are just misunderstood, much like Maurice and his brood, and we should really just hand them a flashlight instead of screaming at moving shadows.

That would definitely account for why my closet light is on…I mean it makes sense, right?  And if there really is a boogeyman in my closet who is afraid of the dark, who am I to get up and turn the light out on him thereby frightening him to death?  So I stayed in my warm, cozy bed, looking at the soft light beaming out from under the closet door and I pondered the various underworld creatures who might benefit from some night-lights and a little empathy.

Yes folks, this is what I think about as I’m trying to pass out after a long day. Maybe instead of worrying about spearheading humanitarian efforts to create a cross-species allegiance between humans and monsters I should just go to Walgreens and buy some Zzzzquil.

Please sir...can you spare a flashlight...??

Please sir…can you spare a flashlight…??