Monday, July 11, 2011

When Being First Means Second...

A lot of paranormal shows (as well as paranormal groups) relish in the idea of being the first investigators allowed into a reputedly haunted site. It can be a big announcement if there's enough publicity. But sometimes, things turn out to be incorrect. With a little digging, anyone can find these mistakes.

Such a claim was made back in an episode of Ghost Adventures aired on February 18, 2011, when the team went to Salem, Massachusetts, for a two-part investigation including the Lyceum Restaurant and the famous Witch House owned by Jonathan Corwin. The episode talked about the Witch House investigation and the difficulties of getting access and permission to film at the site. They showed a local Salem News article about the show which stated, "This may be the first time ghost hunters have been allowed in the home. . ." Unfortunately, this guess was snagged by Zak Bagans and mentioned several times as false truth.

"That's cool, man! We had to... you had to go to a committee and a board hearing..." Zak said while talking to author Jeff Belanger during the filming, "but we won! We won lockdown at the Witch House!" Later, inside the home, Zak went on: "This is a huge moment for the Ghost Adventures crew being the first allowed to investigate the historic 'witch house'. . ."

Actually, he might be right that no one has ever been "locked down inside" for a night in the museum. (Not many people feel the need to lock themselves inside a haunted building at night.) But as far as being the first people to investigate at the house... well, that's wrong. Another television show actually did investigate the Witch House just a few years back. Episode six of the second season of Dead Famous aired on October 18, 2005, in search of Betty Davis. (Click here to watch a clip.) During their hunt for the famous actress, they stopped for a brief ghost hunt inside the Witch House. They even interviewed warlock Christian Day briefly for the show. (If you have seen the episode, Christian was the one performing the ritual inside the house for Zak and the gang--much to their horror.)

With so many paranormal shows having come and gone in the last decade, it's easy to forget about them. And as always, we do love to forget our history, be it recent or long ago.

Having watched both of these episodes--and the reactions of the hosts--it makes me glad, in a way, that I am who I am. Both Chris Fleming and Zak Bagans seemed completely clueless about witchcraft or anything outside traditional Christian beliefs. Most of my life, I've experienced different things, different places, and different people. I've exposed myself to so many ideas, religions, and types of people that nothing really seems bizarre or foreign. Some things are definitely different, but not too shocking. It's always amusing to see people be shocked (or overreact) to anything outside their own view of "normal life." This world is a complex, unique place where everyone sees things in a different way. It's hard to find out what really is average or normal when it's all relative and subjective.

While our life experiences shape who we are, we tend to limit our view of the world to what we know or familiarize ourselves with. That leads to misunderstanding people and beliefs as well as coming across as ignorant or self-righteous in front of a camera or a crowd. There is no true right or wrong, only different. Opinions, morals, and views of truth and history are all based upon a society or individual point of view. But one thing is for certain; only one person can be the first.

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