Ghosts in the Movies vs. Real Life
Have you ever been in a haunted house or experienced paranormal phenomena in real life? Do you enjoy horror films about ghosts? Although those are two very different questions, most people would only answer yes to the latter. In fact, most people are terrified of haunted houses and ghosts simply because of what they’ve seen in Hollywood, on television or in our media.
Some of my favorite horror films of all time are based on ghosts. From Poltergeist, to Amityville Horror, to The Shining, there are countless tales depicting life from deep in the heart of the most haunted places imaginable. The evil that is exposed within these stories is often-times mind-numbing, shocking, and downright creepy. I for one will forever think twice before I ever touch a Ouija Board after seeing ‘The Exorcist’ (1973). Who would want to become so possessed that their head turns backwards spewing vomit over everyone?!? I’m sure there is someone out there, but it’s not me.
When I first entered a real-life haunted house, I was terrified. The only reality of it I knew was what I consumed through our media from books, television, and in film. The unsurmountable evil that I was about to face almost sent me into a full-blown panic attack the first time I had to spend time alone in a dark, haunted location.
Yes, I asked for it. I decided to produce and direct a feature-length documentary on ghosts and life-after-death and dove straight in! Starting out as a film about haunted Colorado, it soon transformed into a journey around the world into some of the most haunted places I could find. From old hotels, to haunted castles, to cemeteries and places renowned for real poltergeist activity, I was thrusting myself into the unknown. Eventually, after 5 years of production and countless hours editing in a haunted downtown Denver mansion, my documentary, ‘Chasing the Shadows’ was complete.
Within the process of shooting and editing the film, I had numerous unexplainable experiences both on and off camera. I witnessed objects moving on their own, heard unexplainable noises, captured extremely weird audio and video, and even had my hair pulled on one occasion by what I can only describe as an invisible force of some sort.
However, one important takeaway for me personally was that it’s not like it is in the movies. We shot over 500 hours of footage for a film that is only 73 minutes! That means we only included the best of the best in an attempt to make it as compelling as possible. The majority of the time we were shooting, nothing happened! And the things that were happening were not always necessarily paranormal in nature. Sure, I could have easily faked it like so many reality television shows and movies do in order to make their films scarier, but morally I couldn’t do that. I wanted to document my “real-life” journey into this world, not a fake, mirage of misleading phenomena.
The truth is that it’s not like it is in the movies. Sure, ghosts can be scary, especially if all you know is from the movies and our media, but that doesn’t mean that they should be feared. Our media highly fictionalizes the majority of what happens with this phenomena. When you walk into a haunted house, 9 times out of 10, nothing happens. And when things do happen, they are not necessarily things that put you in any sort of danger. Most of the time, ghosts cannot move objects, nor throw you down a staircase like they do in so many films. They also are not in a physical form, so it’s not like they can just talk to you like we can speak with each other.
If you accept the notion that a ghost is real and something that does exist, then you are also accepting that life can continue beyond a physical body. What is so scary about that?
If you accept that this is possible, then it makes sense that a ghost would most likely not be able to talk to you like we can speak to each other. They are not in our dense, human form and this is why experts say that subtle energy is often used to help spirits communicate, such as by manipulating electricity. It may be scary because we can’t fully see or sense a person as clearly as we can living human beings, but that doesn’t mean it’s evil or something to fear.
From the skeptical point of view, this all may sound crazy if you’re not a believer and that’s perfectly fine with me. I’m not here to try and convince anyone and I definitely wouldn’t expect someone to believe in ghosts without actually experiencing something for him or herself.
Whether you’re a believer or not though, you have to admit that some of the best horror films of all time are about ghosts! For all of you believers out there, just be aware that it’s typically not like it is in the movies. However, that doesn’t make it any less fascinating!