Neologism Of The Dead

Uncle AndrewUncle Andrew
Filed under: @ 9:33 pm

As stated previously, I’m a big fan of the Sci Fi (no, I most certainly will not refer to it as “SyFy”; if they want to dumb down their name in a feeble attempt to attract the young, hip, fresh—-and apparently phonetically codependent—Youf-O’-Todayz, that’s their problem, but I’ll have none of it) Channel’s hit series Ghost Hunters. I am somewhat less enamored of the spinoff series Ghost Hunters International, but that doesn’t mean I don’t DVR a nd watch it every week. I continue to watch in the hope that the show will mature into itself and become the compelling program I find its progenitor to be. Hasn’t happened yet, but what the fuck; it’s only the precious and fleeting gift of life, right? 😀

One of the things I find really vexing about GHI is the tendency of the investigators to jump to really ridiculous conclusions with seemingly no evidence whatsoever. Where a member of The Atlantic Paranormal Society (the group around which Ghost Hunters revolves) might describe an experience as “I felt a sensation of pressure against my back”, an investigator from GHI would instead say “I felt a hand on my back”. GHI seems to find “voices” with shocking regularity in their EVP sessions where the viewer at home can only hear faint sibilants or scratching noises, and “shadowy figures” in photographs that resemble nothing so much as crappy photographs. And time after time, the team from Ghost Hunter International will take their rag-tag aggregation of spooky noises, eerie sensations and blurry video and use it as the basis to proclaim that yes, indeed, the place is haunted.

But beyond the seemingly unwarranted presumption of the existence of supernatural beings in certain locales and situations, Ghost Hunters International sometimes displays a ludicrous tendency to claim to understand the feelings and motivations of the spirits they uncover.

This week’s episode was a classic in that vein. A woman who curates a castle in Austria that was allegedly the site of some of the most horrific witch trials in Europe is afraid to be alone at work, and in fact won’t even enter some of the rooms in the castle. GHI comes in to help her find answers and assuage her fears. After wandering around the grounds all night, experiencing knocks, creaks and some other phenomena that might actually be unexplained in a 13th-century building made of stone and wood, they return to let her know their findings. Lead investigator Rob wraps the whole experience up by telling her that the spirits in the castle “just want recognition.” He suggest that she call out a greeting when entering rooms where she feels an otherwordly presence may lie.

Huh. An ancient building that would seem to be imprinted with the negative energy of dozens or even hundreds of torture victims, a presence that is suspected to be the head torturer himself, not to mention the admittedly-minuscule possibility that some of those mordered actually were witches….ya know, he’s right; whatever roams those halls probably just wants a hug. 🙄

Which brings me to this installment’s neologism: parapsychobabble. The practice of assigning touchy-feely psychological motives to paranormal phenomena.

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