Liveblogging A Haunting

So, on a whim, I’m finally going to liveblog an episode of “A Haunting” on the Discovery Channel. Then, I’m probably going to throw up a little. Join me, won’t you?

Yes, in this world, there is “real evil.” There’s also “imaginary evil.” Guess which one this is!

Oh man, did I hear that right? A paranormal investigator has to save her son from ghosts? Great!

Nightmares become reality? Or maybe they become nightmares.

“When skepticism blinds the truth…” no, no, it’s finds the truth.

“The Brown Lady of Raynham Hall, the most famous ghost picture of all time. Could it be a fraud?” Sure; it could also be a blurry smudge on a staircase.

“With energy photos such as this one”…what the fuck is an energy photo?

Stacy Jones, paranormal investigator, married to a “true skeptic” (or something along those lines). Their kid says “I guess the paranormal is pretty normal to me.” I guess he’s not truly skeptical enough, or at least not conveying it to the kid. Then again, he’s just a stepdad, so I guess he might not have much say.

And her colleague deals with demons. Fantastic.

Stacy makes these token gestures toward skepticism. One lady tells her that there’s a lot of activity in a local cemetery, and she says “alleged activity.” Yeah, that’s the bit you should have a problem with.

Infrared cameras, digital audio recorders, and dowsing rods! God fucking damn, these people are awesome! “Dowsing is an ancient procedure for finding ionized [something] underground–water, metal. Nothing more, nothing less.” Actually, it’s quite a lot less. Real Stacy expresses doubt

Stacy is skeptical of what people report (such as moving shadows) in these cemeteries and such, because they go in wanting to be scared. That’s pretty reasonable.

The actor playing Jamie (Stacy’s son) is frigging clueless with the dowsing rods. She tells him that, according to her slightly-more-credulous comrades, the rods supposedly can take you to a specific grave. He asks them to point him toward a grave marked Smith. They don’t respond, but eventually they’re responding, and lo and behold, it’s over a grave marked Smith.

Stacy suggests that in a grave this size, there must be hundreds of graves marked Smith, and the rods were probably responding to metal or something in the ground. So close, and yet so very far. Jamie asks didn’t she think it was weird that they were vibrating?

Real Jamie complains that his mom is always downplaying experiences, suggesting that there has to be a scientific explanation for them. It’s a shame she doesn’t know about basic explanations like the ideomotor effect.

“What is the first rule of paranormal investigation?” “Be skeptical.” If that were really true, there’d be far fewer paranormal investigators. And the rest would be Ben Radford and Joe Nickell.

“Stacy fears they have just encountered shadow people”–apparently malevolent ghost-things that dart between trees and tombstones. Stacy knows they aren’t human spirits (of course not, they’re Vashta Nerada), and runs away because she didn’t feel safe and learned to trust that instinct. What was that about people wanting to be scared, Stacy? Remember, she said that about people who reported seeing moving shadows in a graveyard.

Apparently, while feeling like they were surrounded by shadow people, something happens to Jamie that makes him go all double-imagey, and now he’s woozy and doesn’t talk.

Looking at her photos of the cemetery, Stacy laments to her husband that she thinks she needs a better camera. He offers that maybe there’s nothing there. Good for you.

Jamie wakes up to find a star tattooed or carved into his thigh. I guess it’s carved. He shows mom, and she asks him what he did to himself, and tries to bandage it. Jamie is hurt that she doesn’t believe it happened on its own. “What are the chances it would be a perfect star?” Pretty slim, slick; I’m curious as to what it actually looked like. My pareidolia senses are tingling.

Over the next few days, Jamie feels the world begin to change. He’s numb to the people around him as he starts school. He gets taken to the principal’s office by a teacher for “incessant mumbling.” Hey, you know what that sounds like? Like he’s the unpopular kid in high school whose mom is a fucking Ghostbuster.

“Everything’s changing, there’s no happy point…there was nothing for me, all I had to do was sit in my room and listen to music. That’s it.” Yeah, welcome to being fucking sixteen, dipshit. If the posters on his wall before the incident are any indication, then he wasn’t exactly Donny fucking Osmond before the shadow people showed up. He’s a grunge kid with a thing for skateboarding and punk music; I’m sure he’s got no attitude issues at all. Not to stereotype or anything.

A tape dispenser “swipes” across his room, and he questions if it actually happened. “It just seemed fake.” This entry rights itself, you know?

“I thought, maybe my house is haunted.” He goes to tell mom again, but she’s just opened a letter from school about his detentions. She says there’s obviously some sort of problem. He shifts into douche-speak: “I don’t have a problem, Stacy, but if I did, do you think you’d be able to face it?” Stacy thinks he’s going through a phase: “this isn’t Jamie. He doesn’t get in trouble, he’s a good kid.” They keep seeing paranormal, I keep seeing teenager.

As Halloween nears, Stacy’s constantly lecturing, and Jamie feels so very alone. Oh, they meant she was lecturing about ghosts, so she was out of the house a lot. I thought it meant she was nagging the kid.

“I heard a gross frictiony wet noise.” That’s Goosebumps-caliber dialogue right there.

Jamie questions whether he should tell his mom about the strange sound–“like lips smacking, except for louder”–that he heard while all alone in a dark house at night. He thinks she won’t accept his vague feelings that it’s due to malevolent spirits. She suggests that it’s the neighbor’s cat.

I like it when this show, and shows like it, use the nightmares of people who are already anxious as proof that there’s something paranormal happening. You know, most of us use nightmares as evidence that we need to not eat spicy foods before sleeping, or somesuch. In this case, Jamie sits up in his bed to find his mom (?) hanging from the ceiling (as in, via a noose), bloody and beaten, with a sign hanging around her neck that says “you know why.” He then wakes up for real, and expresses the feeling that there’s some impending violence. He’s right; my forehead is going to violently hit the wall. Repeatedly, in fact.

Stacy wonders if there’s more to Jamie’s behavior than a plea for attention. She digs into his dresser drawers and finds that he’s been hiding his report cards, which show that he’s failing everything. She also finds her jewelry. “What is going on with this kid?” I don’t know, but I’ll bet it’s green. Keep digging in that sock drawer, Stacy. This is already halfway to being a Lifetime movie.

Among the things Jamie has in his messy room is a large disembodied porcelain doll’s head with a straw hat on it. If I had that in my bedroom, I’d have nightmares too.

Holy shit, they just did a clip of interview with Real Jamie that was edited like the “Rock Bottom” clip on that Simpsons episode, where they made Homer look like he was admitting to molesting the babysitter. Complete with jerky movement and cutting out in the middle of sentences. It was mostly just stringing together feelings rather than trying to make him look like he was saying something he didn’t actually say, but it still looked sloppy and suspicious.

Stacy begins to think that, since her relationship with her teenage son has changed suddenly, he might be under the influence of pot. Oh, wait, sorry, that’s poltergeist. Well, fuck.

Poltergeists go after teenagers almost without exception, but rarely last longer than a month. I love it when woo-types (or in this case, omniscient narrators) make claims of fact that there’s no way they could know. ‘Well, unicorns are prone to trampling flowerbeds, but thankfully they only go into the suburbs in April.’ What?

Oh, she breaks the news to Jamie, and suddenly he gets mysterious scratches appearing on his chest and back. “Make it stop! Make it stop!” I agree.

Stacy calls her demon-hunter colleague, which promises to make the intelligence quotient of this show just fucking plummet.

Jamie is “the right age” to be haunted by a poltergeist. He’s not a little girl sitting in front of a TV…

“Last night, these scratches just appeared on his chest.”
“That’s no poltergeist.” It’s a space station!

“By playing with the dowsing rods, he opened up the doors so that something could come in and attach to him.” I love woo-convergence!

Hm…those scratches are in different places than they were when they appeared. This show needs a continuity editor.

John the Demonologist suggests that Jamie needs an exorcism, because there’s a demon on him. Jamie refuses to give consent, and Real Jamie talks about how he starts thinking about movies, like the Exorcist. “She’s throwing up, she’s all scarred and stuff, do I really want to do that?”

“Without Jamie’s consent, there can be no exorcism.” Guess they need to relocate to Texas.

They arrange for the exorcism to happen in the home of an “independent priest.” That sounds less like an exorcism, more like the priest is going to have to be relocated. They’re going to use the Roman Method, some ancient exorcism technique, or something. The priest’s wife Debbie has the power of discernment, which allows her to see demons. Oh, she’s Voodoo!

Debbie: “I can also see and hear the demon; I am witness to both sides.” Man, Stacy suddenly looks like the brightest person in the room. Wifey says she feels nauseous when a demonic presence enters the room, but she has to concentrate to discern the demon’s name. Apparently, they don’t wear name tags. Darn those inconvenient demons.

The crew starts singing some retarded songs–in English, which sort of gives the lie to the “ancient Roman method.”

An hour into the exorcism, Jamie gets fidgety, and Debbie almost has a name.

“Debbie psychically steps into Jamie’s head.” She finds out the demon’s name, finally: “This is the name I’m getting. There are two: nothingness, worthlessness, vanity.” Debbie, that’s three names. And they’re really more like random words than names.

Knowing the names, they’re finally able to cast the demons out. I swear, the priest just said “In the name of Our Lord, Satan, Jesus Christ.” I guess it must have been “and saviour,” but that would have been a good twist. After all, he’s an “independent priest.”

Stacy cradles Jamie in her arms, rocking back and forth and crying. It’s done.

“In the months following the exorcism, Jamie’s life returns to normal.” The period had been incredibly depressing, but everything’s normal now. Similarly, this last hour has been incredibly depressing for me. And there’s another episode on…if it weren’t one I’d already seen, I’d totally do that one too. But I just can’t handle this; Tom needs food badly. There’s another episode tomorrow, though…

18 Responses to Liveblogging A Haunting

  1. Akusai says:

    It’s funny; I just ran across “Shadow People” last week and was thinking of writing a post about them. Now I almost have to.

  2. Bronze Dog says:

    Ow. That must have been worse than that thing I did on that Crystal Skulls special.He’s a freakin’ teenager! All that behavior is within the realm of the mundane.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Hi there, I am Stacey Jones from the episode. People…this is a show they have to dramatize for entertainment value…email me if you have questions, or is blogging the only way you can communicate!!!

  4. Anonymous says:

    You people have no concept…it's TV! Get over your feelings of self importance!

  5. …how does this post show us being self-important in any way at all? And what would self-importance have to do with it being TV?

  6. Bronze Dog says:

    More general question: What does that comment have to do with anything at all?How about you try making a constructive effort instead of just tearing everything down like all woos do?

  7. Dunc says:

    You anonymice have no concept… it's some guy's blog! Get over your feelings of self importance!

  8. Doubting Tom says:

    Stacey: It's nice to hear from you, and I appreciate you leaving a comment here. Really, I think it's cool that my little blog post actually attracted some attention. That being said, I understand that this is a TV show, and I understand that it's largely dramatized. My biggest problem is in the credulity of the dramatization. I submit that "A Haunting" would be equally entertaining if the dramatizations made the various investigators out to be fools jumping at shadows, attributing anything even remotely unusual to the paranormal. It wouldn't be any more realistic–well, maybe a little more–and it'd be just as one-sided. Isn't there drama in the unknown? Instead of every episode being a low-budget attempt to shoehorn every interviewee's experience into "The Exorcist" or "Poltergeist," couldn't the dramatizations make it ambiguous whether or not the experiences were ghostly? Instead of assuming that every detail and interpretation of every interviewee's story happened exactly like it does in the movie, couldn't a show about "real" events try to portray them in something that vaguely approaches reality? But all that is pretty well beside the point, isn't it. "It's dramatized" is hardly an excuse for the things I criticized. Did the dramatists invent your use of dowsing rods as if dowsing was a useful process and not just the ideomotor effect? Did the dramatists invent your use of digital audio recording and infrared cameras as if such material devices which record specific material phenomena would be able to detect immaterial ghosts? Did the dramatists invent "shadow people"? Did the dramatists invent the connection between apparently average tropes of teenage angst and rebellion and ghostly possession? Did the dramatists invent the ancient Roman exorcism ritual performed in English? Did the dramatists invent the idea that you would consult a demonologist and an exorcist before a psychologist or counselor? I sincerely doubt that dramatization and entertainment explain away all those faults, Ms. Jones, and I think that they add up to the usual stack of fallacies and pseudoscience that seem to be the bread and butter of so-called ghost hunters. In the episode, you and the actress who portrayed you occasionally put on shows of "skepticism," but it rarely approached real skepticism (except where you pointed out that people go into cemeteries wanting to be scared, which is a valid point). Instead, you and the dramatists used a sort of cargo cult skepticism, offering ad hoc hypotheses and technobabble (dowsing rods finding "ionized" things) in place of critical examination and questioned perceptions. It's entirely possible that the show misrepresented you and the reported phenomenon, but it would have to be a pretty egregious exaggeration, and I don't see you defending any of the points here in your comment. Feel free to do so; I'm more than willing to change my mind based on new information, and I already have no respect for "A Haunting" as a show, so I wouldn't be very surprised to hear that they engage in exaggeration and unscrupulous editing to punch up otherwise mundane stories–in fact, I'm already convinced they do. This thread is open for you to make your case, or I could make a new post for that purpose, if you wish. I'm interested in dialogue, in talking about science and skepticism, and in finding out more about "A Haunting," so feel free to speak your mind. email me if you have questions, or is blogging the only way you can communicate!!!Sadly, it is. Ever since that terrible accident in 2004, blogging is my only means of communication. I'm like Stephen Hawking, except online. In all serious, I will be e-mailing you this response, and I will be more than willing to carry on this discourse through e-mail. It's likely though that I'll also be posting such a discussion here, since I think it'd be of interest to my readers, and I'm sure you wouldn't mind the free publicity.Thanks again for stopping by!

  9. Doubting Tom says:

    Anonymous #2: I'm going to operate on the assumption that you're not Stacey/Anonymous #1. You people have no concept…it's TV! Get over your feelings of self importance!I do have a concept…and I know it's TV. Are you implying that TV isn't a medium for imparting important information? That supposedly educational channels like the Discovery Channel should exercise no quality standards regarding their programming? For better or for worse, more people get more information from TV and the Internet than most other sources these days, and none of that information goes through any kind of fact-checking. When channels like Discovery and History lend their authoritative names and supposed commitment to education behind one-sided pseudoscientific dreck like "A Haunting," they give it a veneer of truthfulness, as though it has undergone some approval process. The wealth of shows on ghosts and alien abductions and cryptids on these networks give the lie to that prestige and authority for people of a skeptical bent, but the average viewer is not so thoughtful. I don't think it's unreasonable to expect higher standards from educational stations, especially when there are plenty of other channels (Chiller and Sci-Fi come to mind immediately) where "A Haunting" would fit in without also being presented as fact. Furthermore, so what if it's just TV? I'm criticizing it. In fact, it seems to me that there is a whole profession of people who are paid to criticize television…if only I could remember what such television criticizers are called.As to my feelings of self-importance, you're right. I'm so self-important that I went on your blog to tell you what you should write about and what particular concepts you lack. Oh, wait…To everyone else: Thanks, as usual. I got to this post a little later than I wanted, so I appreciate the hands.

  10. Stacey Jones says:

    Hi Tom, It is so refreshing to actually have someone respond! Thanks for writing and I apologize for assuming things about you, just as you had done about us. When "A Haunting" approached me to do this episode, I have to admit I was leery. I had already done an episode with them and that episode was dramatic as well. I talked to the producers about this and unfortunately that was their "formula". They want to attract the "average person" as well as the people involved in the paranormal and in my opinion (and mine only) it seems that the media "owns" the paranormal and wants the audience watching these shows to be scared, just like in the movies. Their response was, they had a very short time span to achieve this and had to dramatize the events. I too am frustrated with the caliber of shows out there. I am constantly fighting and fussing with producers that want to perpetuate this "drama" crap. The field is already infinitely mysterious and intriguing and I truly believe that it has it's own merit without the Hollywood drama spin. But, the television networks demand it and they believe that without it, the shows will not be watched and therefore there will be no viewers, which would eventually lead to leading to no revenue. Sad as it is, I personally think that there will be (or is) no show out there,that is true to the field of ghost hunting, because of this backwards thinking . After all-the paranormal is chaotic in nature and it's rare to get truly credible evidence and even then the intriguing evidence caught under our own standards and protocols aren't up to their definition of "compelling" or "intriguing". I wasn't interested at first to participate in the episode because of this reason, but Jamie (my son) expressed his concern, that if doing the show demonstrated to one person that there is dangers in ghost hunting, it would be worth doing the episode. So I agreed.

  11. Stacey Jones says:

    When the incident happened, yes, Jamie was using dowsing rods. I had no faith in them and yes, they did in fact lead us to a "SMITH" tombstone. I am skeptical of most the paranormal evidence out there, but have no doubt the Paranormal (Specifically E.V.P) is intriguing and wish that we could find a scientific explanation as to the origins of them. So when he was using the dowsing rods, I took them with a grain of salt. After all, he was a 14 year old boy in a spooky graveyard. They did not vibrate, by the way. We did see shadow people in the cemetery (there were about 15 people in the cemetery that night) and most of us saw them. We weren't afraid, just intrigued and a little creeped out. We tried in vain to video tape them and came up empty handed. We did however get on on video tape in a different location a few years later. (Vashta Nerada?…No, I doubt it. Would they respond to human commands? Let me know on that one) We did get separated in the cemetery (it is over 25 acres) and interestingly enough, I took the dowsing rods and said "Bring us back to James and Regina". The dowsing rods moved and with the turns of the brass brought us right back to them. I still don't use them or have faith in them, I have seen and researched them in too many ways to debunk it's usage, but admittedly it was cool. As we went back to the group, there were 4 of us that heard the footsteps behind us. We got in our cars and went home. The next day on 8/1/05 is when the star scratch appeared on Jamie's leg. The show did reinforce parts of my skepticism. I thought Jamie did it himself. The scratches weren't that deep as portrayed in the show (my God, I'd have to get stitches for him if they were!) I did clean them up and dismissed it as a "let's see what Mom say's if I do this" . My theory is for any phenomenon is the simplest explanation is preferred.” But a week later, while standing at the stove making him breakfast he started crying in pain. He lifted his shirt and scratches appeared. He had been there for 10 minutes, just talking and they appeared on his back and chest in front of us both. Thin lines of blood appeared as if someone scratched his skin hard. His hands were not near his torso they were on the cabinet's reading the calendar and flipping the pages and the white t-shirt had no blood before this. The scratches (about 15 on his back and front) were very thin. The scratches on his back were situated vertically from between his shoulders to his lower back. The scratches on his chest were the same. They started to bleed about 40 seconds after he lifted his shirt. I downplayed the incident again, cleaned the scratches and assured Jamie it was OK. I admit I was nervous and immediately tried to find an explanation of why this happened and concluded that he had done it to himself.

  12. Stacey Jones says:

    By late August 2005, Jamie's personality began to change. I was enrolled in my last year of College (majoring in Sociology and a minor in Physics …WHAT?) and working full-time, but I still noticed the changes. Jamie would deny this to the end, but he was a "momma's boy". He was chronically ill since he was an infant (when I left my 1st husband) and it took 8 years to finally figure out why he would stop breathing while he slept. We both spent more time in a hospital than we can remember. By the time he was 6, when he would stop breathing at night, it became so easy to recognize on my part by the sounds he made precluding to it, I would be up and administering breathing treatments before he turned blue and packing him in the car and taking him to the ER, before he woke up. By the time he turned 7, he was hospitalized 3-5 days a week. He has always been a good kid. He never acted out, even when he was going through the "terrible two's". I know Mom's are biased, but he never gave me any trouble. He tells me (even to this day) when he messed up. So you see, I knew Jamie and this personality change was very out of character. I did take my husband's advice and accept it as being "teenage angst" (as you stated). My husband regaled me of his teen-age years and I could not forget my then 22 year-old step-son's atrocious behavior when he was 14. But what worried me was his personality changed so drastically in just 3 weeks. But, being the ever so worried mommy, I accepted this explanation, after all, the simplest explanation is usually the right one. By the end of September, Jamie had been given multiple detentions and suspensions from school. He became surly and defiant. I sent him to counseling and fielded the many phone calls from his teachers and administrators from school. One day in October, I received phone calls from every one of his teachers. They all said his grades were OK, he was doing his work, but he constantly muttered throughout the school day. His favorite teacher called me to tell me (while crying) that she dreaded having Jamie in his class. I asked her if he was a behavior problem and she replied "No, I just can't stand him in the same room and I can't tell you why." She then reluctantly said "I hate your son." She apologized for saying it and hung up. I later learned she quit her tenured job the same day.

  13. Stacey JOnes says:

    In October Jamie, was skateboarding in a town about 6 miles from our home. I was in school during the day and working until 3 AM that evening and my husband allowed him to go (believe me, I wouldn't have). My husband works from 9PM to 5AM. When I arrived home around 3AM, all the lights were on in the house. I walked upstairs to his room and asked why the lights were on. He replied "Why don't you ask Lloyd?". I called my husband and asked him and he replied that Jamie fell through a plate glass window at a store in Cazenovia. He had cut his arm, but the window was shattered. I went upstairs and proceeded to read him the riot act. I reiterated over and over again "what a stupid move you could have died". He stood there silent, until I sent him back to bed. The next day the owner of the store called upset and stated she couldn't understand how he wasn't killed. She said she saw something crawl past Jamie, he stopped short and fell through the window. I asked her what crawled past him and she replied she didn't know. It was the size of a black cat, but wasn't a cat. She had no idea what it was, it had no visible features it looked like a black "blob". I assured her that the window would be paid for and Jamie would also be volunteering at the church owned store for the next year. I again asked Jamie what happened, he told the same story, except that before he fell into the window, he saw my grandmother in the reflection. He knew his great-grandmother. She died at the age of 98 in 2002. But as he described her, he described things about her he could not have known. Like her Eastern Star Pin she always wore, her favorite dress and her red hair. You see, she spent the last 8 years in a nursing home, suffering from dementia. She never wore the pin or the dress while Jamie was alive. The pin at the time was in my Dad's safe deposit box. He never knew she had red hair, it was white since the 1960's and we had no color pictures of her with red hair. By the end of November, Jamie started to complain of hearing strange noises. He said he heard what sounded like someone constantly smacking their lips. At this point Jamie's behavior was so bad, he spent the majority of his time in his room. The muttering continued in home and school. He was sarcastic, defiant and aloof. Between the many complaints from school and the abhorrent behavior at home, he spent 90% of the time there. At this point I believed it was a battle of the wills. He wanted my undivided attention and would do anything to get it. He stole my jewelry, hid report cards and acted like a punk. I accepted these noises he heard were just another attention getting tool, until I too heard the noises he talked about. It started after my college semester's end, one night while he was in his room. It sounded like someone wetly smacking their lips. It lasted about 3 minutes and evaded me when I went to investigate it. The sound originated in the kitchen. When I walked towards the kitchen, the sound then moved to the living room and so on. Jamie told me that is what happened to him too. The sound evaded me until I said "Knock it off". Only to come back a few days later.

  14. Stacey Jones says:

    Jamie continued with counseling, community service at the Church and going to school. The phone calls from the school stopped, but the behavior at home got worse. By mid December during his school break he hardly talked. I tested him for drug use. He later said that he felt ignored by me and was tired of trying to tell me something was wrong. He started having regular nightmares where he found me dead and mutilated. Then the paranormal activity started getting worse in our house. At first it was knockings on the walls and unexplained footsteps. This was experienced by all three of us, including my husband who doesn't believe in the paranormal (and John Zaffis who was visiting). Then objects (like the book from my closed bedroom)being thrown down the stairs, a lighter moving from the kitchen to the dining room and the tape dispenser thrown on it's own accord. That's when I thought maybe it was a poltergeist phenomena originating from Jamie. (I have a hard time believing the poltergeist phenomena is real, to this day. I have yet to see convincing evidence that it exists, but it has been documented since the 1300's.) The drug tests came back negative, his counselor couldn't assure me of anything and I began to detest being around Jamie. He wasn't doing anything out of the ordinary (besides his sarcastic, aloof and defiant nature) during this time, he became grating on me. It got so bad, when we took him Christmas shopping, I sent him away from me because (the only way I could describe it) he was "in my head". When he was around me he emitted this grinding or grating energy. When he wasn't around me I was fine. When he came close to me it would start. It got so bad that I could often sense him around me before seeing him. This is the hardest thing to admit (even now), but I began to hate him too. He was so smarmy and grating, he seemed to ooze it. I am an ex-cop and it felt like his personality was that of a hardened criminal. Just my gut feeling, but I still felt that way, about my only son. Our relationship deteriorated so bad, a week later I told him I hated him and that he was moving in with his real father (who hardly knows) all while throwing any object within arms reach at him. That was a few days before Christmas. My husband Lloyd calmed me down and said under no circumstances was he living with his dead beat Dad. John Zaffis and I have been friends for years. He and I have drastically different views on the paranormal. We often argued about it. I am a cold hard facts kind of person and he isn't. We talk several times a week and he knew of all that was going on. He consistently (over that last 3 months)tried to convince me that Jamie needed an exorcism. That was a hard pill to swallow. He knew Jamie well and also had been commenting on his change in personality. I again, chalked it up to teenage behavior, but was desperate for an answer, I agreed to hear him out. He often criticized my strict discipline, and concurred that this behavior seemed out of the ordinary. He has arranged hundreds of exorcisms and a leader in the field. I thought about it and being a Christian decided it would do no harm and might even help. The ritual in itself may have a "placebo" effect and if Jamie was truly looking for "attention" to circumvent strict discipline, the act itself might work. The battle of the wills could be solved, with no winner or loser. So I talked to Jamie and he finally agreed after much persuasion.

  15. Stacey JOnes says:

    So, as you state Tom, the events were dramatic enough on it's own without Discovery Channel putting it's own spin on it. But because of the very limited time to convey this account, they resorted to the typical dramatized version, instead of approaching it in a vague portrayal of reality. We agreed to do the show, with the only intent of conveying that what we experienced can be a danger while pursuing a "hobby". Now I understand that personal stories such as ours can be compelling, but also can be up for conjecture or misleading, that is another Theological Discussion. The end result was Jamie literally returned to normal and being a mother, resorted to any way to achieve that result. My beliefs in the existence of God was a moot point. Whether it be the placebo effect or a result of the ritual and God's will, he changed back to the same old Jamie afterwards. The aftermath of this show has been hard on him. Hundreds of people took that episode as gospel and began a barrage of hate mail towards us. He was teased constantly in High School and we both would cringe every time it aired. I am constantly coming across websites that take this episode and ignore "A Haunting's" dramatic flair and believe that the drama was real. The facts (what was portrayed were real, but not the emotions of it all) are basically true. I have been consistently been called a "bad mother" because I didn't "believe" him, even to the point a Professor from USC Berkley criticized me for "falling back on religion" to cure an unruly son. These criticisms came from people (like him) who had no idea what we do to help our children. I saw my child in need of help and utilized anyway possible to achieve that result. We aren't looking for any publicity. We aren't clear on what transpired on that evening in the cemetery on July 30, 2005. All I know is that we had been there once before and it didn't feel right. I later learned an investigator got an EVP there a few weeks before we were there, that said "Yo faggot get out the Devil practices here". I ignored my own uncomfortable feelings of this place and brought my son there. Do I think the dowsing rods were responsible, no, the production company had to place "blame" somehow. We just don't know why it happened, it's all up for conjecture. But the events leading to the Exorcism and it's aftermath is reality, at least to us. There was too many odd and bizarre things that happened during those 6 months to ignore.

  16. Stacey JOnes says:

    So to conclude this incredibly long email Tom. Contrary to "A Haunting's" dramatic flair, the show served an important purpose (for us anyway). After the episode aired, we have received many emails from people stating they would no longer bring their children ghost hunting (some as young as 6). That is the reason why we agreed to do the show. If we would have waited to agree to share our account in a more realistic manor, we would still be waiting and I felt Jamie was right in wanting to share his account, that maybe there is more to the unknown that what is portrayed or our understanding, and how it is portrayed was the least important part of the big picture. There has never been this many people delving into amateur ghost hunting as a hobby (pseudoscientific as it is) and waiting to tell this story could have caused more problems, there is no way of telling. Do you want to be the one to inform all of mankind that Religion is complete bunk? Do I ignore the scientific theory standard in my approach to investigating the paranormal? No, I employ an empirical observation. It does two things:1. it identifies this set of distinct observations as a class of phenomena, and2. makes assertions about the underlying reality that brings about or affects this class. I do understand the ideomotor effect and do take that into consideration in all of my investigations and beliefs in paranormal phenomena. "It is initiated by the mind independently of volition or emotions. We may not be aware of it, but suggestions can be made to the mind by others or by observations. Those suggestions can influence the mind and affect motor behavior." That explains 99 percent of paranormal phenomena and pseudo science is a poor crutch to verify one's claims. That does explain the majority's of peoples mass or personal experiences…but not all Tom. What about the Placebo effect? EVP to me is compelling evidence, your Skeptic Dictionary (which you utilize often) describes a Sound Engineer as stating that "higher standard recording equipment, built to much higher tolerances". I agree and utilize a Microtrack 24/96 and have achieved unknown EVP. I am not debunking or being a bitter cynic because I don't understand all things, I am researching and trying to draw my own conclusions, and until a theory that is backed by a scientific standard is proven, I am still going to research it, just not take some guy's theory. In October 2007, it was reported that British Scientists "claim they have invented a revolutionary device that seems to 'create' energy from virtually nothing. Their so-called thermal energy cell could soon be fitted into ordinary homes, halving domestic heating bills and making a major contribution towards cutting carbon emissions." Is it real? I don't know…am I going to research it? You bet!

  17. Stacey Jones says:

    Neither do I cast all Paranormal Phenomena into one "pot" and dismiss it as a whole. There are a few aspects of the paranormal that to me has no explanation and feel that with appropriate research could be intriguing or dare I say promising. I am a skeptic, but not a cynic. There is so much out there in our world and the universe that couldn't be explained by even the smartest scholars in the world. I am adamant that every person take the time out to research their world, instead of accepting what's fed to us through the media's narrow outlet. Just like you did by writing me. Bravo Tom. How refreshing you took the time out to question me(even as judgmental as it was) about the events and even after reading this long email, will take what I told you and make your own mind up. I don't need to convince anyone of our experience. All I know is that Jamie now 18, a recent High School graduate and no he wasn't an "unpopular kid in high school whose mom is a fucking Ghost buster. " or " a grunge kid with a thing for skateboarding and punk music" and as you quoted " I'm sure he's got no attitude issues at all. Not to stereotype or anything." He wasn't a stereotypical kid. He worked hard, was respectful and yes his room was messy, but he was always given the freedom to make his own choices, including liking punk music (Johnny Thunders being his favorite at the time) Now he listens to B.B King and next week will probably a new genre of music. He has been tested to have a high IQ and had a college age vocabulary in the 1st grade. He continued counseling up until last year and he doesn't do drugs or alcohol. He still wears multiple crucifixes, religious medals and has collected every imaginable form of religious icons since this event. He goes to church, researches many forms of religions and yes, even has read the The Elementary Forms of Religious Life by Emile Durkheim in it's entirety. He studies Physics (OH MY..Not Physics, not my Christian Baby Boy), history, music and is going to college and major in (hold onto your seats folks!) JOURNALISM! He makes his own mind up, just as you have and your readers have. He researched the 2012 theory on his own and decided that this another way for the media to perpetuate fear and that the supposed experts all have books to sell and that's why they are the "experts" (despite their prestigious PhD's behind their names.) He recounts that 6 month period as being compared to a helpless observer in his own life. He experienced what he did, no one can judge that as no one can judge each person's own belief system, beauty, intelligence or religion by an episode from television. He or I wouldn't dream of blogging and criticizing you and your readers belief systems, that is yours and yours only. How dare anyone blog about someone else's own personal beliefs, even if I watched it on Television. How can I take that 45 minutes and conclude anything from it and especially make personal judgments based upon a small part of a personal experience retold for television in an entertaining fashion…hmmm television for entertainment, what a novel idea! Now would that concept catch on…just maybe! Thanks for writing Tom….I'll be waiting for your response, and yes, I am (obviously) Anonymous #1, not #2. and no I am not a fucking Ghost Buster. There is nothing better than a healthy debate. Right? Let it begin.

  18. Anonymous says:

    This episode was on "Discovery" today. (discovery… you wacky little bastards) So I googled "When skepticism blinds the truth.." cause it's hilarious. That phrase doesn't even make any sense. Anyway, I happened upon your blog, and just wanted to say good work on your live blog. PS. EVER teenager wants a star tattoo. If my kid was acting like a little fucker, I'd wish he was possessed too. I acted like a jerk when I was 16.. If I had an out like my mom being a "paranormal investigator" I'd have taken it. It's win-win. I prove my mom right so she can keep working, and I prove my mom right by making it her fault that I got "possessed." Hilarious.

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