I fear no ghosts! When watching TV in the U.S., however, I might easily get an eerie feeling. TV shows like Ghost Adventures make us believe that we’re surrounded by ghosts and that paranormal activities happen anytime anywhere. Even History Channel reports matter-of-factly that aliens have evidently erected many of the world’s finest buildings such as the pyramids of Giza or Machu Pichu.
If these are proven facts (as TV makes us believe) why didn’t anyone in Germany tell me about it? It seems like Sir Simon and his peers have vacated medieval castles in Europe to settle in more modern American homes – and who can blame them. Apparently, Europeans spooked the ghosts, who then fled over the Atlantic. And Americans seem to welcome them with open arms. If the Otis Family isn’t scared – Zak Bagans “didn’t believe in ghosts until [he] came face to face with one.”
But why are Americans more perceptible to hauntings, ghosts, and aliens? To me, there doesn’t seem to be an apparent reason why Americans should be more superstitious than Germans. In a poll executed by CBS in 2005, one in five Americans claims to have seen a ghost themselves and almost half of the people in the study admitted to be believers. According to FOX (2007) one third of Americans believes in ghosts and UFOs. These findings are supported by the large number of blogs that deal with the topic. In Germany, only about 10 % believe in paranormal activities.
What I found most striking though, is that according to CBS, the younger the people are, the more susceptible they are to these beliefs. This made me wonder how much influence the said TV shows like Ghost Adventures and the like have on the results of these polls. Halloween and the media obviously make paranormal appearances pop culture in the US, whereas you hardly have any mentioning of ghosts on German TV. To the uncritical viewer of American TV, it really may seem like ghosts, ghouls, and extra-terrestrials are among us. You may not even be aware of how close they actually might be – the Missouri-based Kindred Moon Paranormal Society has recorded “something unexplained” in MU’s Ellis Library. Now this might be a good excuse for a missed research assignment.
If you want to watch the Ellis Library Episode, follow this link. Then select Kindred Moon Productions, click on Season 1, Episode 3 and you can start the video above.