Back when I used to watch TV, some of my favorite shows were about ghosts. I liked the Discovery Channel’s A Haunting and things like that. As far as ghost hunting shows, I actively disliked most of them. Shows like Ghost Hunters and Paranormal Cops annoyed the heck out of me. For me, the one exception was A&E’s Paranormal State. I really enjoyed that show…in the beginning, anyway.
What set Ryan Buell and his team apart was the fact that they often didn’t find evidence of paranormal activity. Unlike the Ghost Hunters crew that often challenged the incorporeal to fistfights, Ryan often recommended psychological and religious services to affected families, astutely recognizing that what they were experiencing was simply due to family stress. It gave the realm of televised paranormal investigation a nice dose of reality.
But as the seasons progressed, the show took a turn. Lorraine Warren, a sensitive and demonologist, began to replace Chip Coffey, the loveable psychic. To Lorraine, every house was inhabited by a demon, and there this weird subplot developed that involved some demon following Ryan from house to house. They also started bringing in Chad Calek, a Fred Durst lookalike who brought some of the Ghost Hunters trashiness to the show, challenging ghosts to hurt him.
There is no doubt that this forceful dramatic turn in the show’s nature came about from the need to boost ratings. But it was frustrating for me. I appreciated the show for its moderation, its goal of exploration over sensationalization. Ghosts are interesting enough without all the theatrics.
And that’s what this book is about. Written for the sensationalists in the field, Mullaly and Ohlde draw a line in the proverbial sand. They’re tired of people falsifying evidence, of folks trying to turn their paranormal hobby into the next big TV show. They’re sick of the in-fighting and social media gossip that takes the legs out from underneath any attempt at cooperation and replication of results. They’ve had it with orbs and shadows and EVPs.
The duo is both ticked off and hilarious. Their commentary, though clearly designed as sobering slap to the face of their charlatan peers, is suitable for the average reader looking for insight into the politics of the paranormal. If you read one book this year written by disgruntled paranormal investigators, make it this one.