I hope this isn’t a topic that has been beaten to death but I will address the many differences between a television episode where people hunt ghosts and how the rest of us do it in the real world.
- Obviously we non-television personalities don’t get to scout for a prime location with a great reputation, nor can we pay for ideal places with haunted reputations. We get what we get; we investigate what we get called to investigate. Nothing more, nothing less. In our case, that’s usually homeowners who can’t pay us (we’re non-profit anyway) and homes without any reputation. This type of investigation frequently leads to questionable, if any, evidence.
- People involved in investigation. First, because we investigate homes we often have home owners on the investigation with us. This causes multiple problems like constant chatter and noise that contaminates evidence. Their movements can cause shadows. They often leave phones, radios, televisions, etc. running. Granted, no one wants to leave their house and allow in total random strangers to go through it but on some level there has to be trust. After all, you called us for help. Further, it has come to my attention that paranormal groups form and disband often. This can mean different people in and out of the same investigations which can erode trust from the clients, as well as other paranormal groups and the people in the groups. Will the people who leave spill secrets? Divulge confidential information? Use tips and tricks against his or her original group?
- I can’t speak for all teams but I know on my team and on a few others the team members have to review all the evidence, or at the very least their own evidence (EVP, video, etc.). I’m sorry if you believe the television personalities actually sit through endless hours of mind-numbing video but I assure you they do not. Reviewing evidence is mindless and tedious. I personally hate it. There are hours and hours of nothing, no sounds, no lights, no motion, no shadows, nothing, which are sometimes (but rarely) punctuated by moments of breath-taking awesome (which then need to be noted and held up against other evidence, i.e., EVPs must be compared against video to make sure they truly are disembodied and not an investigator or client).
- Sometimes you get them, sometimes the results are that there is nothing to show the client. That almost *never* happens on television. Rarely does a television show end with a shrug and a “better luck next time.” However, it has been par for the course for my group. We all know the adage that spirits don’t perform on cue or do what is asked when we are investigating. My group always offers to come back, and we are frequently taken up on that offer. First, for a television show to return to the same place they must have had seriously compelling evidence. Second, talk is cheap. If a show has little to no evidence, they go back until they do. No evidence makes for low ratings, cancellations, etc. Neither the personalities nor the channel sponsoring them want hours of nothing. They can say spirits don’t always play on cue but the reality is that they will keep trying until it looks like they do.