The Big Business of Ghost Busting

 

There’s a huge uptick in interest regarding both ghost hunting and ghost haunting these days. 388982_3377538558968_401329802_nIn fact, according to the entirely fabricated Bureau of Fictitious Statistics, nearly one in every two television shows are devoted, or in some way connected, to the post-life life.

The difficulty for the public, of course, is determining which shows’ casts, “psychic mediums” and “haunted business” owners are legitimate, (or at least believe themselves to be) and which are as sincere as a politician’s outrage.

Things that Go ‘Cha-Ching!’ In the Night

It’s hard for a layman, or anyone, really, to distinguish which perceived phenomenon is real, which is unknown or misunderstood science, and which is simply an overactive imagination.

However, it’s not hard to imagine some business owners being unaware of the untapped potential publicity and profits that might come their way, should the rumor of a haunting in the edifice housing their various saloons and eateries spread.

But to give them the benefit of the doubt, is it really necessary for these owners-who are mere proprietors untrained in matters of the occult-to speculate on odd occurrences?

I mean, how are they really to discern if a glass of beer spills due to gravity or faulty craftsmanship, or if an 1880’s temperance advocate was blowing off a little steam in the 21st Century?

Instead it’s much better for them to call the producers of a highly-rated cable show and ask if they wouldn’t mind investigating; to make sure. You know, not for a piece of the action; just peace of mind.

One Psychic Medium, Hold the Theatrics

As far as Great Unknowns go, the Afterlife is the reigning king. It’s the largest question mark of our existence.

And while everyone has different interests, it’s probably safe to assume that if given the chance at an honest reply, the one query we’d all ask the world over is: What happens next? (Although we’d skip the italics)

Well, thank G- okay; thank whomever you may believe in (if applicable) that there are people who can answer that question.

You’ve heard of psychic mediums. And surely you’ve seen many of them on TV helping others out of the goodness of their hearts. Any ancillary promotional benefits or book sales they may receive are grudgingly tolerated merely as part of the cost of assisting mankind.

Unfortunately, that’s not how some skeptics see it. And the jealousy born of that skepticism rears its ugly head in the form of these non-believers spreading sordid tales of unbridled chicanery.

They introduce deceptive terms like “Cold Readings” and speak of “mic’d up audience seats,” as if the Gifted Ones would ever resort to such disreputable tactics.

However, to be fair, I will say that some of their results are beyond me. Who would’ve thought that so many spirits would fight their way back from the Great Beyond to enlist the aid of a psychic standing two feet from a loved one; and then choose that specific moment to start playing word games with them?

You see I can’t help but wonder why on these shows, whenever “Uncle Joe” makes a cameo from the Hereafter, he just doesn’t simply say “Hi. Tell Mary it’s me, her Uncle Joe. Thanks for your help.”

Instead the medium usually seems to state things to his or her client like:

“Have you ever had a male family member who has passed on? Yes? Okay, well I’m sensing he’s here now, and that his name starts with either a consonant or a vowel. I’m also sensing he may be your brother, father, husband uncle, cousin, second cousin or third cousin twice-removed. Wait, now he’s saying that in life he enjoyed making love to women and quaffing occasional beers. Does this sound like any man you might know, Mary?”

I also wonder why, to my knowledge, not a single one of them has ever asked while on camera of a visiting spirit: “Hey, wait! Before you go, Joe-like, is there a God?” It just seems like such an opportune time to ask such an obvious question.

But what do I know?

My Experiences

I myself have lived in a couple places where the unexplained has occurred. In fact one time many years ago my mom called in a pair of very well-known names in the field of parapsychology to check out our house. Which they, and later their assistants, did.

Now I hadn’t seen anything there first-hand, but I did see a thing or two after the fact that had piqued my interest in their findings. They themselves visited only once, but on that day the performance of medium-half of this team as we all walked the cellar together was a sight to behold.

Before they came I was unsure if we’d had any ghosts, or if they even existed at all. But by the time they’d finished they almost had me convinced that not only were there ghosts there, but enough to consider asking them for rent.

See, that’s the thing. On the one hand we want answers, but on the other we know many charlatans are out there looking to make a buck off our curiosities and bereavements.

Too be honest I’m of the opinion that there are indeed a few authentic psychics here and there looking to do good for people; but I also think they’re overshadowed by many who aren’t.

And I don’t mean the $5 county-fair palm readers, I speak of those who happily profit from inconsolable people by claiming a “gift” they know full well that they don’t have. They’re unconscionable, those morals-bereft swindlers.

The TV People

Those famous guys and gals all over cable TV who run from city to city with Radio Shack’s latest hardware in tow are a different story, however. You know going in that it’s merely entertainment, and as such sometimes you’re happy and willing to suspend disbelief in exchange for a few laughs and a night on the couch with a bowl of popcorn.

Also, it can be funny to see how far they’ll go to try and turn a century-old creaking floorboard into Satan himself.

Just once though I’d like to see them do a live show during which Casper or Sam Wheat actually shows up at 3a.m. to be interviewed. But I digress.

In Conclusion

Over the past several years I’ve seen a couple of things in my home that have given me pause, along with a few Kodak moments that have produced goosebumps rather than memories. But it’s difficult not to try and think of rational, scientific explanations for things. Even when there doesn’t seem to be any.

There are millions who’ve claimed to see ghosts or ghostly phenomenon but, even with all of this new technology it’s still been difficult to produce anything concrete. And that’s without even addressing how many ordinary people can now produce full length-movies, including effects, on their smartphones and laptops.

One thing is certain, though. As long as this Great Unknown remains just that, there will be folks trying to convince us something beyond exists. And for the most part, who cares? That’s cool.

Their shows are often entertaining, and we can always console ourselves in the knowledge that sooner or later we’re all going to find out the answer, anyway.

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Popcorn Salad

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Spaghetti Sandwich

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Chris Gay is an author, freelance writer, voice-over artist, broadcaster and actor. He writes and broadcasts a daily, minute radio humor spot in Hartford, Connecticut. He’s also written the paranormal, theological thriller novel Ghost of a Chance, the novella Sherlock Holmes and the Final Reveal, (an original, extraordinary short story on the great detective) Santa Claus: Kris Kringle From Man to Myth, a unique, realistic take of a classic tale, and several humor books:Something Witty this Way Comes, And That’s the Way It Was…Give or Take: A Daily Dose of My Radio Writings, Shouldn’t Ice Cold Beer Be Frozen? My 365 Random Thoughts to Improve Your Life Not One Iota, The Bachelor Cookbook: Edible Meals with a Side of Sarcasm and Another Round of Ice Cold Beer: My 365 More Random Thoughts to Improve Your Life Not One Iota. He’s been published nationally in Writer’s Digest and is currently writing the Ghost of a Chance sequel Perdition’s Wrath. Chris has written and voiced radio commercials, authored comedic, non-comedic and sports freelance articles, scripts, press releases, website, media and technical content, done occasional radio color commentary for local sports, and acted in a couple of movies and plays. His website is chrisjgay.com.

Facebook

Twitter: @chrisgay13

Movies:

2012: Hope Springs (Barfly)

2009: Testimonies of a Quiet New England Town (Constable John Gilbert)

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