Mainlining Ghost Shows Because I Cannot Cope with Our Nightmarish Reality and Must Seek Relief in the Astral Plane
Or, A Distracted Review of A Haunting and Ghost Adventures
You know about ghost shows, right? Programmes of the paranormal? The kind of thing you catch in the middle of a marathon on the weekend and before you know it the day’s over and you’re sitting in the dark genuinely creeped out by any sudden noise? They’re generally divided into two basic flavors: ghost story shows and ghost hunting shows. I have a favorite of each type, and those favorites are A Haunting (running for 9 seasons and still going strong on Destination America) and Ghost Adventures (a whopping 14 seasons, still running on Travel Channel) respectively.
Did you know that Donald Trump is our president right now? Like the super tacky rich guy with the weird combover that said “Yer Fiyah’d” on TV a bunch of times until he became a parody of himself? Holding the highest office in the United States government. It’s true.
Both types of shows scratch that supernatural itch, but A Haunting stands out for its focus on reenactments of personal accounts of hauntings. Most of these scenes are poorly acted but deliver on spooks with plenty of jump scare moments, sudden dramatic musical cues, and elaborate visual effects that often embellish on the experiencer’s testimony. A Haunting uses several familiar tropes of this genre that become regular enough occurrences you could play a drinking game based on them, and I have.* Some of these tropes include: Oh Yeah The Old Haunted House, And Then We Discovered the Human Remains, and Congratulations, It’s A Demon! The stories usually end one of two ways: either the spirits are able to be dispelled by a medium or priest and the family lives happily ever after, or the ghosts win and they move the hell out. Both endings are entertaining.
You know a week doesn’t go by without some news about wild incompetence coming out of the White House now? You know I’m constantly checking news sites and cross referencing shit multiple times a day just to keep up with everything our president and Congress are trying to pull? You can’t leave them alone for two seconds! Can I live?!?
Ghost Adventures takes a slightly different approach. The show consists of the Ghost Adventures Crew trying to find answers about the paranormal, capture evidence of ghosts, and make contact with the spirit world. They do a bit of research into a supposedly haunted location and then get locked inside for the night with their cameras, recorders, and other ghost-sensitive gadgetry. The crew themselves are the real draw of this gem. While their process isn’t strictly scientific, their dramatic reenactments, macho bravado, and aggressive tactics make them deeply entertaining to watch. Some classic Ghost Adventures tropes include: It Helps If You Yell At Them, Ghost Sex, and Cracking Open A Cold Spot With The Boys.
I can hardly keep track of how many blatantly offensive and untrue things Trump and his staff have said at this point. Like I’m really starting to favor the whole “we’re living in a program and supercomputers are harvesting our organs” argument rather than accept that this is real life. Sometimes I think about how Trump is still tweeting ridiculous, hysterical junk every other day and I just sort of float out of my body.
*Now to make the enjoyment of these already deeply enjoyable programs even more palpable (and to calm your already-shot nerves when our president inevitably does some new foolishness in front of the whole goddamn world) you too can play the official unofficial A Haunting and Ghost Adventures drinking games, created by yours truly…
A Haunting (watch online or find episodes on Amazon Video or iTunes)
Take a sip of your drink if:
- A spooky piano music sting plays at a time other than a commercial break. (You’ll know the one when you hear it.)
- Someone telling the story has chosen to remain anonymous and their interview segments are filmed in shadow.
- The inhabitants of the house have no idea why weird things are happening there but everyone else in town knows it as the Haunted Evil Murder House.
- There is an Embellished Ghost in the reenactment. (When a scene depicts something that isn’t backed up by any interview segment or testimony. For example, Mom says one time she saw a shadow, but the scene shows a ghost howling in her face with full VFX.)
Take a shot if it turns out to be demons, and finish your drink if the house wins and the family moves out at the end.
Ghost Adventures (watch online or see episodes on Hulu)
Take a sip of your drink if:
- Zak tells Aaron he’s going to be locked into the basement/bathroom/attic/crawl space/morgue ALONE because he is good ghost bait.
- The boys capture an “EVP” that sounds like absolutely nothing but they caption it as a whole sentence and talk about how clearly they hear it.
- Zak talks about wanting to have a sexual encounter with a ghost.
Take a shot if somebody gets possessed (two if it’s Zak) and finish your drink if something legitimately creepy happens that makes you remember why these shows are so much fun to watch.