This week I'm ranting about... TV ghost investigations


Mark Lingard

MY wife likes ghosts. Personally they're something I can take or leave - if the truth be known I'd probably leave them rather than be face to face with a ghoul.

I'm not sure if she's the same or not. She loves watching ghost investigations on TV, but if confronted one night be a spectre with rattling chains, what would happen? Personally I think she'd run faster than I've ever seen her run.

But anyway, quite often I return to the front room to find the television has mysteriously turned over to Most Haunted. Only last night I went to make a drink during a break in the Arsenal v Braga game, and returned to find some spook fest.

No more Fabregas and Arshavin dismantling a shoddy Portuguese defence for me. Instead I was treated to some American maniacs charging round a castle in the Czech Republic looking for the infamous 'gateway to hell'.

For the most part, I'd rather watch live coverage of an empty field, because that's pretty much what you're watching on these programmes - nothing happening.

You never see anything on screen - perhaps ghosts can't be transmitted over sattelite television. You occasionally get the odd random grunt, and that's normally from Anna when I suggest we watch something more interesting.

And what you most definitely do get is ghost hunters getting frieked out, screaming 'what was that' everytime they stumble or a pigeon flies too close to them.

After all, they are there in the dark, in a room/location suspected of being haunted. What exactly are they expecting, just to sit back and enjoy it...

If I was alone in a 14th century Gothic castle's attic, known coloquially as the 'Devil's office', I'm pretty sure I'd start to imagine someone was there with me... 

Maybe it just doesn't translate to television as well as if you're actually there. You're watching coverage of a person getting frieked out by things you can't hear.

And then you get the analysis. The Americans are the best - they just take it so seriously. Nothing is good enough for them in terms of evidence.

They're ghost hunters for crying out loud. They surely believe, or at least want to believe. And yet when they get audio clips of something talking in the room with them when they were alone, they refuse to accept it was paranormal.

So what was it then? Some drunkards on the way home who just happened to wander into a Czech dungeon while lost in the early hours...

They'll get frieked out to high heaven and then during the analysis - 'well, we have no evidence that the place is haunted'. It's almost like unless they actually catch a ghost on camera doing the Lambada they won't be satisfied.

Ridiculous. At least Most Haunted doesn't take itself too seriously and allows the investigators to believe there truly is something out there...

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