Posted on August 15, 2012 by Blane Bachelor
One of the best things about travel is coming home: to my hot husband, my own bed and a DVR full of shows. And to the eternal annoyance of the aforementioned hubs, most of those shows involve ghost hunting, alien abductions, the paranormal and the unexplained. I come home, drop my suitcase and do a happy dance for the hours of television-induced terror in my immediate future.
So, as Halloween, the spookiest of holidays, is on the not-too-distant horizon, here are my picks for the best paranormal shows on TV right now to put you in the spirit. (I refuse to pay for any new panties after you scare the crap out of yourself by tuning in.)
The Haunted; Animal Planet
Just try not to feel a cold chill trickling up your arms during the opening credits or when the three-note musical sequence chimes, both of which are so freaking creepy you’ll be whimpering for your mommy for days to come. This show is based on the well-documented premise that animals are more susceptible to paranormal energy than humans, so some of the footage (both actual and scripted) focuses on Fido and Fluffy getting seriously freaked out in the context of the haunting. Stories are well-documented and have the air of authenticity, so whether you’re a believer or not, the show will give you pause for thought the next time your beloved pet starts acting a little weird.
Destination: Truth; SyFy
I’m a relative newcomer to this show, but the episodes I’ve seen – especially one about the chilling number of suicides in the Aokigahara Forest of Japan — chilled my blood. Host Josh Gates, a sort of Indiana Jones of the Unexplained, travels to some of the spookiest, way off-the-beaten-path spots on the globe looking for hard evidence of creepy legends and lore, including the Creature from the Black Lagoon and a purported real-life vampire monster in Transylvania. Gates’s entourage and equipment are a tad overboard at times; these scenes would be far scarier if it was just him and one or two others with the basics (video cameras and audio recorders) instead of a passel of excitable extras and loads of gear, all of which can detract from the eerie factor. Still, the destinations and their sometimes-horrifying history are enough of a reason to tune in.
My Ghost Story; Bio
Though it’s occasionally sensationalistic (as is everything in this genre, to some extent), this is one of the most well-done paranormal shows on television, in my humble opinion. No camera crews, nobody trying to get famous, no steroids (more on that later) – just a regular Joe Blow, sitting in a chair, telling his ghost story. The latest version is My Ghost Story: Caught on Camera, with some pretty hair-raising video evidence.
Paranormal Witness; Discovery
There’s no secret formula to why this one works so well: The show features believable re-enactments, spooky graphics and enough real footage to back up sources’ claims, creating a solid lineup of scariness in just about every episode. Case in point: I got so creeped out watching the season premier (idiotically on my part, in the wee hours) about a young single mom tormented by a seriously pissy spirit in her rental home that I had to stop and resume the show again in daylight. If you’re a fan of paranormal shows, put this one into your DVR rotation, as it constantly delivers.
Ghost Adventures; Travel Channel
Ok, so the only reason that GA, which features a trio of testosterone-addled dudes constantly trying to one-up each other and what they may or may not have heard/seen/felt/smelled/tasted as they hunt for ghosts all over the world, made my list of best paranormal shows is because of the sheer cojones of its hosts. Zak Bagans and Co. (photo above courtesy of Qimuktis/Flickr) are amped-up versions of the laid-back plumber duo of Grant and Jason on Ghost Hunters, the show that really kicked off this whole ghost genre, but they’ve created a nice niche (and, presumably, a harem of horny groupies) with their bro-tastic ‘tudes. But I have to hand it to them – they’re not afraid of much, and if they are, they proceed anyway, challenging spooks, specters and spirits at every step during their all-night “lockdowns” in some pretty creepy spots. Some of the show’s most dramatic footage shows the scary consequences of their bravado: angry scratches that appear on Bagans’s back, for example, and a board and bricks launching themselves across a room.
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