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Are Ghost-Hunting Shows Real Or Fake? Paranormal TV Tricks Explained

While very entertaining for viewers, shows like Ghost Adventures and Ghost Hunters are often blatantly fake and reliant on various tricks of the television industry. This isn't an inherently bad thing. People who watch and view these shows with an interest in the paranormal first and foremost can still get a lot out of them. It's usually people with knowledge of how video and audio work, along with the scientific realities when it comes to ghosts, who can see through these shows' tricks.

Humans have had a fascination with ghosts and spirits since the very beginning. It all stems from the universal fear of death and the unifying question of whether or not there is any kind of life after death. Ghost stories have always been a way for humans to safely explore the ideas around the concept of life after death, but at the same time, there have also always been people who strongly believe in the actual existence of ghosts, like those in Amazon Prime's Them. In the modern age, these stories are often conveyed through the lens of reality television. Since there has never been any concrete scientific evidence of the paranormal, the shows have been forced to rely on trickery and theater in order to sell their ghost hunting reality to their audiences.

Related: Ghost Adventures Live Is The Best Show In The Series

A large part of it is the performance of those involved. The hosts will jump and say something touched them, or they heard a noise or hit a cold spot. That part is easy to fake, but these shows also rely on the power of suggestion, ambiguous footage, and equally suspicious audio. The human brain always tries to fill in various blanks and see patterns where there aren't necessarily any to be found. This means that in a bid to make things feel more like a paranormal horror movie, investigators on these shows would set up an EVP (electronic voice phenomena) recording and get a bunch of incoherent static as a result, but if the host says within the static is the phrase 'help me' and the show plays that static back multiple times in a row with a little 'help me' subtitle underneath, a person's brain will do the work to convince themselves that the static really is saying 'help me'.

Along with that, there's also manipulation and suggestion when it comes to much of the video footage featured on these shows. Similar to audio suggestions, the shows will often present footage of strange shadows, light orbs, or even figures moving in the distance. This can be explained in a number of ways, even down to just how any kind of light particles behave on a night vision camera, but these ghost hunting shows will always be quick to suggest otherwise. If they play the right few seconds of footage any number of times and edit the sequence properly, they could convince just about anyone.

There isn't any maliciousness behind these hosts using these techniques. Rather it comes from attempts to entertain and keep the shows thrilling and interesting instead of presenting any kind of hard evidence. Shows like Ghost Adventures really are more invested in making their programs compelling to watch than in actually proving the existence of ghosts.

Next: Every Horror Movie Based On Ed & Lorraine Warren's Ghost Cases

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