Image by Herm from Pixabay

There's no such thing as ghosts, right?

Turns out working on a ghost hunting show may not provide any definitive answer to that question either. Ghost hunting shows were/are extremely popular for their production style, engaging hosts (bring back the glasses, Zak!), and haunting questions they'd leave the viewer with after episode ends. Questions like: What did I just watch?

Reddit user, u/Metakwaza, wanted to hear about the horrors behind the scenes when they asked:

People who have worked on those fake ghost hunter TV shows, what goes on behind the scenes?

Ghost hunting shows are about finding the truth, revealing the mysteries as nothing more than the wind. However, what happens when the show's production crew want to create a more overbearing sense of terror?

Turns Out You Can Do Anything With Computers

"I dated a guy who worked on Paranormal State and he told me that 99% of the spooky sounds and whatnot are added in post."


Shot Within The Same Parameters

"I work and live in SE Ohio. I've seen a few episodes of a particular show that investigates monsters. It shows the team going to all kinds of different counties and places. But the actual footage is normally recorded within a 25 miles radius. There are lots of oil tanks in the episodes, they mark the county and township on the safety emergency/ ID tags. So a well trained eye can see that most of the footage is shot in the same area of SE Ohio."


Why Crush A Car That Wasn't The "Haunted" Car?

"I dated a nice girl once who had an ex boyfriend whose ex-con step-father was a guest on a ghost hunter show. It was an episode about a haunted / cursed car in southie MA. At the end of the episode they made it seem like they destroyed the car in a trash compactor, but in reality the car was never destroyed and remains in the guys yard to this day. So, for this reason, I imagine there is a lot of fake situations created on these shows. If I recall, they paid him $10,000 for his story and time."

"The guy turned out to have various personality disorders and believed his car talked to him and prevented him from ever finding work, but honestly I think he just made it up as an excuse not to work, doubled down, and some how he ended up on this show."


All Easily Explained Away

"That Ghost Hunters show did an episode in a large, old building where I work. (Rather not say the name.)"

"I laughed out loud throughout the episode at the idiocy."

'For example, they were taping in a freight elevator. Damn thing is in need of repair and has been for years. When it did a little jolt just before taking off, the hosts insisted that was supernatural in origin. Naah. That's what it does every time it moves."

"And it continued from there. Every single thing they said "proved" ghosts had a perfectly simple explanation."

"The company I work for loved the publicity, even though it was complete nonsense.""


The only people who know what it's like behind the scenes are the people who are there. While they might be presenting themselves as a group of individuals looking for the truth, the real truth is sometimes the creation of something is more interesting than what they've made.

So, They Just Show Up Whenever?

"I hope this fits here. I used to work for a company that had a few different properties/buildings. One of the properties did not get much business, so it was usually just manned by a receptionist. The usual receptionist was this older eccentric gal, who would also smoke a lot of weed on the job, probably due to the boredom/isolation of being there. On numerous occasions, she would tell me about how she was 100% convinced a ghost lived in the building. She even named him 'Matt' or something. Anyway, she got the bright idea to call up a ghost hunter show and invite them up to film, which they jumped at. Mind you she did not ask management for permission."

"Everything was agreed to, but on the date they were to show up, for whatever reason she flaked out and stood them up. Apparently the ghost hunter people showed up and were banging on the doors for a couple hours in the dark with no response. Fast forward a few weeks when I'm talking to the GM when he gets handed a letter. It's a bill for $1600 from some production company. Half of me wanted to get out of that office asap, but half wanted to stay for the lolz. The look on his face when he learned what happened was f-cking priceless."


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Tough Schedule With Shades Of Reality

"I might be too late for this to be seen but I actually did a full season of one of these. I'm a production sound mixer, meaning I record all of the sound on set. For a show like this, I'm wearing a recorder/mixer combo in a big bag attached to a harness, have wireless lav mics on all the cast, and am running around with a boom mic as well."

"I did a less popular (but still legit) show where we traveled around the country for about six months, almost non-stop. Three days at a location, travel, three days at a location, travel MAYBE with a full day off peppered in there somewhere. It was a brutal schedule but a super fun experience with a great crew that I am all still friends with to this day. We definitely became a little family in a way I haven't with many other crews in my career."

"There were about 12 of us in total between the camera team, me, producers, and PAs, plus a cast of I think 5 people, one of which is a very legit person in the paranormal world."

"I went into the whole thing not believing in ghosts at all and I left believing in ghost slightly more, surprisingly, despite some of the BS our crew pulled."

"On our 3rd or 4th location shoot, I realized that there was a person on our crew who I had no idea what their actual job was considering I rarely saw him on shoot days and only on travel days and at meals. I asked one of the camera crew (who had done the previous season) and he told me he was "the magic man."

"Apparently the dude's job was to make things happen while we were filming and doing walkthroughs of buildings. Anything from making lightbulbs explode to creating creepy sounds to causing a bunch of stuff to fall off a table. I'm not gonna lie, he was VERY good at his job because I never saw him and some very creepy stuff would happen without warning and he never told anyone what he was planning for each location."

"I can't say the one thing that really creeped me out on the show without revealing what show it was but I genuinely can't believe one of the things that happened wasn't real. It involved digging up something that there was almost no way he could have buried without making it look like it had recently been buried. There was full undisturbed grass grown over the spot they dug into. To this day, it still creeps me out thinking about it."

"Overall, the only other time I "felt" scared or freaked out was once in a basement of a house in upstate NY. We were toward the end of the run and I was totally burnt out and just ready to get home to LA and see my girlfriend and dog. Ghosts are fake, this show is fake, everyone on the crew was annoyed with everyone else, the content was stupid etc."

"It was probably about -10° F near Ithaca, completely pitch black, and I felt someone come get right in my face, centimeters away, and start breathing for like thirty seconds. The thing is, the equipment I wear is big and heavy and sticks out almost a foot off my stomach when I'm wearing it, so there's no way anyone could have gotten that close. The thing was, I felt like I couldn't do anything about it. I reached out and no one was there but the warm breath and presence was still there. It freaked me the f-ck out and still does thinking about it to this day. It was definitely a human presence and lined up with the "story" we were shooting."

"Best part about the job? Or production manager used to work for Marriott so he was very loyal to that brand and always booked us in Marriott affiliated properties so we all were super platinum elite status for a long time at the end of the show. I ended up with like 10 free nights in nice hotels by the end of the run to use for my girlfriend and I, not to mention loads of airline miles and status upgrades."


At The End Of The Day They're Still A Show Concerned With Ratings

"Used to be on a show. Not a popular one and only a few episodes out there."

"It was a team of 3; an empath, an "undecided", and myself, the skeptic. Well my job was to debunk things on the show that the other two (or occasional medium we had on) were claiming was paranormal. Every time I would debunk something, it never made it on the air. The empath (the owner/producer) didn't want to be proven wrong I guess? For example, that meter they use to measure electro-magnetic force, where the lights go from yellow to red; ours would go off randomly. Well it wasn't random cause every time he power-cycled a handheld camera or his tablet it would go off. I proved it was the burst of electricity or electrical field (idk) from turning their devices on. Nope. Never let that see the light of day; cause it's a very common ghost hunting tool and you can't prove how it really works or else an exciting part of an investigation goes away forever."

"I love spooky stuff and the paranormal is really entertaining to me, but it sucked that he left out of skepticism because he thought it wouldn't draw people."

"I'm a fan of the original Ghost Hunters, where they would continuously prove that ghosts or haunting didn't exist, and present their finding to the homeowners to provide them relief. Even the main guy never admitted to hauntings; that was their thing. Once they got super popular they turned into just a normal ghost hunting show."

"I want a show, or to be a part of one, that does that. They go in, find something, and prove it wrong, but are still open to the idea and have fun with it. Because at that point if you do find something you genuinely can't explain, it has more weight because you're known to debunk nearly everything."

"I miss ghost hunting it was a lot of fun to me =)"


These shows might never be able to really answer the question about whether or not there's spirits lingering around us. What can be proven, without any doubt, is that working on a show that investigates supposed hauntings is never going to not be interesting.

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