Veracity of Ghost Claims on the Travel Channel

Alright, after getting tacit permission (you will note no moderator told me I couldn’t), I think I will go ahead with this thread.

Has anyone ever seen any of the shows (there’s more than one) on ‘real’ ghost stories on the Travel Channel? And if you haven’t, would you be willing to watch it just for the heck of it?

Because some of the stories are striking. And why would so many people lie? One couple had a figurine that smashed to pieces, and then was mysteriously restored. A pregnant woman’s bump mysteriously disappeared by a baby-stealing ghost, and then came back, again mysteriously. The examples are too many to mention.

Because I don’t believe in the paranormal, for one. So what are the explanations for things like this? Let’s take illusions and hallucinations off the table, just for starters.

@Sunny_Daze I don’t mean to invade your space. But you claim to have watched the series (assuming you weren’t just pulling our collective legs). Do you have any input on this?


That’s kinda like saying “What’s 2+2? Let’s take 4 off the table.”

@AlsoNamedBort well that explanation has already been overdone. My idea was to start a new thread, from a different view.

But okay. Let’s put hallucinations and illusions back on the table then :slight_smile: .

The only paranormal show I watch on Travel Channel is “The Dead Files”, the rest are garbage.

I don’t consider “Mysteries at the Museum” to be paranormal but Wikipedia does, for some reason.

I’ve watched a lot of these sorts of shows on cable over the past decade or so, including Kindred Spirits (which currently runs on Travel Channel), which is a spinoff of Ghost Hunters (currently on A&E, formerly on SyFy). That said, I don’t really choose to watch them – my wife loves those shows, and thus, I wind up watching them by osmosis.

My take on them:

  • The “ghost hunters” use a lot of electronic equipment to collect their evidence. They may be picking up something on their equipment, but it seems to me that there are likely non-supernatural explanations for what they find. Yet, they usually, steadfastly, tell the audience that what they are picking up must be supernatural in origin.
  • One of the types of evidence that they often feature are scratchy recordings of what they claim are ghosts, talking to them. As the hosts are telling us (the audience) what they are sure is being said in those recordings, they seem to be using the power of suggestion to get the audience to “hear” exactly that. They do similar things with any other “evidence” that they find (strange noises, odd shadows caught on their IR cameras, etc.) – “it could only be a ghost!”

In answer to your question, “why would people lie?” Well, one reason is that they get attention for their seemingly unbelievable stories, which, after all, got them onto TV. It’s also possible that they aren’t lying, per se, but embellishing or interpreting events to fit their own desire to believe in the supernatural.

And, as anyone who deals with eyewitnesses to crimes knows, eyewitness accounts of events are often wildly inaccurate, even when the eyewitness is certain that their account is 100% accurate.

tl;dr: These shows appeal to people who are already predisposed to believe in ghosts and the supernatural, and are willing to believe that even the most vague evidence is iron-clad proof. I’ve watched a lot of these shows, and I’m not convinced in the least.

Have they shown any ghosts on this show? Have they shown or said anything that does not have a simple non-ghostly explanation? I don’t need to see the show to know the answer is ‘No’.

And when it comes to “What is 2 + 2”, 4 has been overdone.

Sure it did.

Sure it did.

No. You gave the answer. You not wanting that to be the answer doesn’t change the fact that they are either lying to get fame, they are hallucinating, or they are extremely gullible and deluded and make stuff up out of nothing.

How do you calibrate a “ghost hunting” device?

Step 1. Go someplace where there are no ghosts. If the device alerts the presence of a ghost then it is too sensitive. Adjust it until it no longer alerts.

Step 2. Take it someplace where you think there’s a ghost. If the device alerts the presence of a ghost then it is too sensitive. Adjust it until it nor longer alerts.

Step 3. If you think you have found a ghost with the device repeat step 2.

When your device no longer alerts the presence of a ghost then it is properly calibrated.

People misremember, then they fill the gaps with their imagination, then they consider the filler part of the original memory.

Then you get the producers of a “documentary show” involved and there is no longer any reason to believe what they show you bears any resemblance to the original experience.

Faked. Lots of this stuff is faked. They lie to get $ from TV shows like this or just attention.

People also honestly think that saw something, and maybe they did- but totally explainable. Like a UFO 'chasing" your car- and it turns out to be Venus. Reflections have also fooled many honest people.

Coincidence. That explains a lot of “gee, xxx keeps happening in this house” stories. Sure it is unlikely that the first born would comes down with whatever generation after generation, but think of how many houses there are.

Now, I was on a “haunted house” overnight (By that we meant we arrive just before dark, and stay until after midnite. I was the token skeptic. And yes, the house was spooky. And yes there were weird unexplained noises and drafts. You get those in old houses. Some odd lights we found we headlight reflections. So, if you see them go into a old “haunted” house and they say “it feels spooky” they may not be hamming it up for the camera.

Like @kenobi_65…Mrs. L watches them; I often put on headphones to ignore them but sometimes I’ll watch bits to see if I can spot obvious fakes.

I can see where a business might want to cultivate a reputation as haunted. People might patronize a hotel or restaurant for just that reason.

I bet techniques behind “magic” tricks would probably parallel some of it. Maybe there’s sleight of hand, moving doors with monofilament lines…or “strangers” are actually confederates, acting in cahoots…or there’s camera trickery and editing magic, controlling your point of view and perspective. The investigators use gadgets that allegedly detect things but what scientists vetted them?

And then of course you have fortune teller “cold reading” techniques.

If I’m gonna totally waste my time, I can think of activities that are more fun.

I believe the “challenge” sounds like a proper way to procrastinate, but I think I’ll rather watch it tomorrow.


And I saw this TV show where a bunch of folks were flying around the Galaxy in a funny-shaped spaceship, and meeting all sorts of different aliens every week. It all looked really convincing, and why would William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy lie to me?

And the confirmations from independent sources can be counted on the fingers of one foot.

In Search Of was a stupid show. I don’t know if Nimoy was actively lying/stupid/whatever, but to think there was anything to that show, you either had to be gullible or 14. I was a bit of both. I watched a couple as an adult and they were , well, certainly incredible is what I’d say. The X-files was more believable.

Maybe, someday, when everyone is carrying a camera and video recorder everywhere they go, we’ll finally see the evidence of ghosts.

ETA: Relevant xkcd.