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Searching through some online audio clips recently, which is nowhere near as much fun as it probably sounds, Looking For Ghosts discovered an interesting debate on an American radio show from a few years ago. It featured Most Haunted’s Yvette Fielding, who had agreed to take part in a phone interview with the guys from US TV programme Ghost Hunters.

Fielding was, presumably, entering into what she thought would be an amicable discussion about the paranormal, a mutual interest of both parties. However, despite the two shows having an almost identical format, what followed was an astonishing attack on Fielding and the credibility of her beloved Most Haunted. You can hear it in all its punishing glory here.

Who finds the best ghosts?

Not wishing to take sides, or start an Anglo-American slanging match (after all, both shows are ostensibly bullshit), we couldn’t help but find this exchange a little unfair. As Fielding herself was keen to point out, when she wasn’t busy trying to defend herself from a verbal mauling, both shows share the same problem: they both address a subject matter that most people don’t take seriously. Transatlantic rivals they may be, but rather than squabbling, she reasoned, they should show some solidarity and work together to bring ghost hunting to “the masses”.

Despite making some salient points, Fielding didn’t come out of the debate very well. Clearly frustrated by the hostility shown towards her, she eventually lost her cool and resorted to personal attacks, hilariously retaliating that some of the Ghost Hunters team used to be plumbers. They gave her enough rope and, by rising to the bait, she duly hung herself.

Granted, she was outnumbered by two to one and she evidently came unprepared for such an argument (perhaps highlighting her own naivety), but the result was clear.  In the end, she was a broken woman being mercilessly picked apart by her American counterparts.

But who is the real winner? And, more importantly, is there any value whatsoever in ghost hunting shows like these?

Disrepute

Most Haunted has more than its fair share of critics, with people seemingly queuing up to bring it into disrepute. This won’t have been helped by numerous tabloid reports that some aspects of the show are faked, including revelations by one of the show’s former stars, Dr Ciaran O’Keeffe, that viewers are being misled by “showmanship and dramatics.” He also makes the epoch-shattering claim that the show’s resident medium, Derek Acorah, can’t really talk to dead people. Hold the front page!

Derek Acorah is easily the least convincing medium on the planet. His thick Liverpudlian accent makes any spirits he’s supposed to be “channelling” sound like a deranged Ringo Starr, so he was never fooling anyone anyway. His only real purpose was to act as a comic interlude to break up the monotony of the rest of the show, which consists of some people standing in dark rooms listening very hard. He might as well have dressed up as a hotdog for all of the integrity he added to proceedings.

Derek Acorah, seen here talking to the ghost of his career.

But all of this is irrelevant. No one watches Most Haunted because they believe what they are being shown is real, unless they are criminally stupid. You would have to have had several lobotomies to give any credence at all to the notion that any of the knocks or bangs captured on tape are caused by anything more than shuffling cameramen or warping floorboards.

What Most Haunted is, primarily, is entertainment. The “showmanship and dramatics” that O’Keefe is so eager to lament is actually what draws viewers in. And it obviously works: you don’t get to series number 14 without doing something right.

No Clean Hands

The tabloid negativity that Most Haunted has faced is evidently what fuelled the Ghost Hunters team when launching their assault on Fielding, but they too have been accused of exactly the same thing. Search for “Ghost Hunters fake” on YouTube and you will be shown hours of footage highlighting details of their own embellishments. There are no clean hands here.

They claim to approach the paranormal from a “scientific” angle, even though a ghost hunt is about as far away from a scientific experiment as it’s possible to get without actually living in a different galaxy from one altogether. Watching their team pratting about with scarcely-believable electrical gizmos is almost painfully embarrassing at times and only serves to make them look far too worthy and righteous for their own good. At least Most Haunted doesn’t take itself too seriously.

Ghost Hunters apply one of their many "scientific" techniques to push a wall on a ghost.

But Ghost Hunters also pulls in a big audience, so who cares? The common ground Fielding was alluding to is that both shows are in the business of making good television; whether you choose to use pseudo-science or theatrics in order to achieve this is surely immaterial.

By laying into Most Haunted, Ghost Hunters look like they’ve missed the point entirely. The point being that they are both peddlers of absolute garbage and they should just sit back and enjoy the spoils.

What do you think? Whether you agree or disagree, or even want to leave us some abuse we can masturbate to, we encourage you to leave your comments.

In fact we insist.

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Ta-da! It’s the second installment of our regular perusal through the news for recent paranormal japes. Last time we gave you Jordan and Piers Morgan… but this time the celebrity thermometer is hitting boiling point with the world’s favourite transvestite, a bloated rock corpse, an ex-Blue Peter presenter and a famous film with actors nobody has heard of in it. Enjoy. 

Lady GaGa is great isn’t he/she? No? Oh dear. Well, like it or loathe it, GaGa has seen a bloody ghost, so we have to feature it. According to well-loved British lie machine The Mirror, pop-tart GaGa spent three grand on ghoul catching equipment recently to rid its back-stage area (ohh err!) of bad spirits. 

Aieeee! It's hideous...

GaGa has a history with ghosts. Earlier this year, it claimed the ghost of its dead aunt saved it from coke addiction

In other news, the lizard king himself Jim Morrison apparently haunts the toilet in a Santa Monica restaurant according to this entirely not-made-up report. The bog used to be the recording booth where the ex-Doors frontman recorded he vocals for the band’s hit LA Woman in 1970. Office manager Christine Chilcote steals the show by suggesting: “Funky things happen all the time we can’t explain.” 

In many ways, customers could say they were pissing on the ghost of the Doors, which unfortunately, Ray Manzarek’s “tribute band”, The Doors of the 21st Century, have been doing for some time. 

In news that has shook the ghost-hunting community to its very core, Yvette Fielding left her role as presenter of Most Haunted. Fielding, who also created Most Haunted, presented the “serious” ghost catching programme since 2002 but now, the future of the hilarious show hangs in the balance. We at Looking For Ghosts feel we must start a campaign to keep the programme going because of its monumentally high levels of entertainment. But we won’t. 

Maybe Lady GaGa could replace her. 

Also, good news for fans of scary films… the new trailer for Paranormal Activity 2 has been released into cinemas,earning a prompt ban in Texas for being too scary. Great stuff. Hopefully the film will be as good as the original, which came in at number 6 in our top ten paranormal films of all time.

Looking For Ghosts

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