Monday, February 6, 2012

Cinematic Research

No one ever said being an investigator wasn't hard work.  There's the hours of on-site investigation, where generally not much happens, followed by the hours of sifting through video footage, voice recordings, etc., again, where not much happens.  Then, there's the hours spent reading up on different theories and locations and learning new technologies.  Often, additional hours of sitting at the computer, poring over historical documents in order to help prove/disprove evidence leads to nothing but disappointment and frustration.

Sometimes, we just need a break from it all!  A little suspension of disbelief offered by popular horror films is one of my personal favorite pasttimes, especially on dark, stormy nights when I can't sleep.  However, the past few days, as I've stayed up all night basking in the warm glow of Netflix...I've tried to somehow justify my perceived lack of productivity.

The answer hit somewhere in the middle of Paranormal Entity.  I realized that although I was lying in bed like a lump, munching on popcorn and drinking Diet Pepsi by the gallon, I WAS being productive!  I was actually engaging in bona fide paranormal research!

For those of you who don't know me, I like to frequent several different paranormal message boards, and it is these message boards where I have really felt the fruits of my labors pay off.  I've noticed trends in the type of problems people are being plagued with, and their questions about certain paranormal activities often coincide directly with what popular horror film is most prevalent at the time!  In order to understand what the HECK they're talking about, one has to be in the know with the latest pop culture!

It goes beyond message boards, however.  Many times, a client will associate what they are experiencing with something they've seen...such as on television or at the movie theater.  Many laypersons' only forays into the supernatural involve movies or television...not hardcore research into folklore and theory.   Again, knowing what is going on in these genres can help provide the best possible understanding of the client, yielding the best possible care.  It also helps to really understand and research the movies that are dubbed "based on a true story," as this "warning" doesn't hold a lot of weight in the paranormal community, but can really be held as gospel by those more gullible.

Movies and television are unique in that they can really illustrate the public's popular views on different paranormal activities, even if those views are NOT based in actual research or have the evidence to back them up.  However,  many movies and television shows DO have at least some research and folklore to back up the story...and its these movies that are the most fun.  They can offer obscure references on which to do further personal research.

There's also an added bonus...about ten years ago, there was a huge online explosion of what was dubbed "TV ghosts." These ghosts were showing up in family photos right and left...directly on the person's TV. In each case, a ghastly figure was seen on the screen, while the submitter of the photo SWORE the television was turned off. It turned out that most of these were quickly explained away by researchers with a vast knowledge of movie monsters!

So go forth and watch as many horror films as you like!  After all, you're just doing a little research!  And...I'll be doing my own research this weekend by watching The Woman in Black.  Be sure to check out Theresa's Haunted History of the Tri-State on FaceBook to hear my thoughts on this much-anticipated film.

Photo above is a movie poster from the Woman in Black

*Here's a list of movies to give you some inspiration!
      Paranormal Investigations, Hollywood Style

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