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Volume 4, Issue 2
  • ISSN: 2040-3275
  • E-ISSN: 2040-3283



Contemporary representations of the paranormal are framed both as fiction and reality. Many primetime programmes showcase paranormal phenomena while positing themselves as documentary television. This article looks at one subgenre of paranormal reality shows, ghost hunting, and specifically at its uses of technology as a way of positioning the art of ghost hunting as a scientific endeavour. At the same time, we consider the rhetorical technologies that are put into place, not only in such ghost-hunting programmes, but also in the ghost tourism industry, in order to, as one of the brothers on the show Ghost Lab said defiantly to the invisible specters with whom he was trying to communicate: ‘Make me believe!’ Putting paranormal reality television in dialogue with historical records of the spiritualist movement of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, we explore the differences between the Gothic, Victorian, Modern and (what we might call) Postmodern Fantastic: contemporary paranormal narratives that offer its viewers the ability to sustain the sense of ambivalence produced in the Fantastic indefinitely, by allowing them to believe without being believers.


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  • Article Type: Article
Keyword(s): fantastic; ghost; paranormal; postmodern; spirit; spiritualism; technology; television
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