Paranormal BBC Investigation  The Ghost seen on TV

Paranormal BBC Investigation The Ghost seen on TV

March 13, 2020 5 By William Hollis

I know a few of you guys are real fans of
the paranormal and I found an interesting story that some may remember. An event which, like the time over 80 years
ago now caused mass panic. I am of course Talking about that time Orson
Welles and his troupe of radio actors interrupted the Columbia Broadcasting System’s programming
to “report” that our planet had been invaded. The reenactment of the war of the worlds saw
people grabbing shotguns and heading for the hills! As the old saying goes “fool me once shame
on you, for me twice shame on me “ People were fooled again this time by a program
named Ghost watch So let’s take a look. Welcome to if ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….
This show was promoted as a drama, but many of those whom watched Ghost watch were fooled. Over 11 million people believed the paranormal
investigation to be real, this tragically leading to the death of a teenager. Let’s take a look at the show and why it
was convincing and the problems that this caused, going back to Halloween night in 1992,
British viewers gathered around their Television to watch this event unfold. Aired on a Saturday night a time when TV was
at its peak viewership BBC’s heavily-promoted Ghostwatch, went to what it claimed as a “live”
broadcast and investigation into paranormal activity which was captured at a family home
in north-west London. The family claimed that they were troubled
by a malevolent presence that manifested itself by banging on the water pipes. Back In the studio was the trusted TV presenter
and thought to be sceptic Michael Parkinson, he was accompanied by claimed experts on the
paranormal. They watched camera set up in the house, follow
a mother and two young girls, the family were accompanied by Sarah Greene, Sarah being a
much loved and trusted children TV personality. Her husband, Mike Smith, another UK celebrity
manned a bank of phones a number flashed at the bottom of the screen. This was a number to call if while watching
you spotted something otherworldly thousands of people did, hoping to talk with the real
parapsychologists. The show was the brainchild of the horror
writer Stephen Volk, he had originally come up with the idea as a six-part horror drama,
but was instead asked by producer Ruth Baumgarten to change the format to a 90-minute ghost
story for the BBC to show on all Hallows Eve. Some may say Volk’s idea was visionary, years
ahead of today’s scripted reality TV shows, programs which blur fact and fiction. I think he was just running with the idea
that was first introduced by Wells and his War of the Worlds broadcast, now using the
new medium of television and looking at ghosts and spirits instead of alien invaders. The shows concept and scripting t went through
several rewrites, it seemed that TV executives were confused by the concept of a fake documentary. Eventually the show was green lit and Ghostwatch
aired at 21:25 GMT, resulting in consequences the corporation had not foreseen. 45 minutes in and the show seemed to be rather
sedate but Then things supposedly began to go wrong In “the most haunted house in Britain”
according to the BBC show. Sarah Greene moved around the house following
the paranormal activity, the tension in the air began to rise, the family were increasingly
finding themselves in terrifying situations, the spirit of a dead man even entering the
children. “Pipes” as the spirit was named was not
an adult’s idea of a ghost. Described as stranger: a bald man wearing
a long black dress buttoned up to the neck. The spirt had an obsession with the little
girl (a girl played by a child actor which at the time viewers did not know) and at one
point grabbed Greene pulling her into the cupboard under the stairs to show the presenter
where he “lived”. The show rolled on and this is when that hotline
I mentioned earlier comes into play, fake phone-ins started to flesh out the story of
the house: one of these phony callers revealed that a child molester had lodged there in
the 1960s; and that he had hanged himself under the stairs and his face had been eaten
by the man’s cats. This is when the show got the first inklings
of the panic the show would cause as members of the “public” began to call in and contribute
to the story, the presenters began to flounder as the show began to veer off script. It was chaotic, the presenters didn’t know
what was going on, and this just added to the realism that frightened so many. Then the end of Ghostwatch, the technology
failed as presenters began to realize that they had unwittingly invoked a kind of “national
séance”. The written conclusion to the show being that
the ghost had “seized control” of the TV cameras. At the Early’s house, paramedics and police
were seen arriving, and Greene, who was trying to locate one of the possessed girls, disappeared
into the blackness. The broadcast closing with Parkinson muttering
to himself in the dark as the credits rolled, before fading to silence. Behind the scenes, the Ghostwatch production
team were jumping with joy celebrating with drinks the Programme was a success and aired
to millions. Over 20,000 people had attempted to reach
Parkinson at one point during the shows running. Many of these scared viewers being terrified
children, traumatized by what they thought they had witnessed. It was even claimed that three pregnant women
went into labor that evening as a result of the scare they received from the drama. A concerned priest called in to complain that
even though he realized it wasn’t real he thought the BBC had unintentionally raised
demonic forces. The many calls came from scared people, but
a lot of the complaints were actually more about the fact that the BBC had made them
feel like fools. This after all was a time when the BBC was
a trusted media provider. In November of 1993, a year after the program’s
one-off airing, two doctors from a child psychiatry unit in Coventry, Dawn Simons and Walter Silveira,
submitted an article to the British Medical Journal (BMJ) recording the first cases of
post-traumatic stress disorder caused by a television show. The experts highlighted how Two ten-year-old
boys had been so scared that one of them was admitted to an inpatients unit for eight weeks;
he had been banging his head against a wall in an attempt to free himself from thoughts
of Ghostwatch’s evil spirit, “Pipes”. The BBC’s answer to this was that the children
shouldn’t have been up and should not have been allowed to watch as it was broadcast
after the 9pm watershed. This watershed being a time that marks the
shift to more adult themed content on television in the UK. Today Ghostwatch lingers in the memory like
an urban legend, along with playground rumors of a suicide, which most think could not be
true. So we can be fooled, and with today’s technology
it’s something that is even easier, we must look at events and evidence through a skeptical
lens but also keep an open mind. This Television event and the radio broadcast
by Wells that proceeded it show that people will always be looking to take advantage of
those that have alternative beliefs, these could be the belief in the paranormal or extraterrestrials. Most are looking to make a quick bit of cash,
but others could be more malevolent trying to shape public opinion on an idea and a topic. In an age when we have access to so much information
we must be ever vigilant not to be fooled like the viewers of Ghostwatch. Had you heard of this TV show, did you watch
it, what other famous mass media hoaxes do you know about? Let me know in the comments below