Wednesday, 10 January 2018

The Caspers: Celebrating the worst of the paranormal in 2017!

It's time for awards season to gradually roll around again, and as others prepare to celebrate the best and brightest in their respective fields let us turn our attention to the slightly less prestigious.

It's time to hand out the Caspers for the worst in paranormal chicanery and hijinks. What can we say about 2017 other than what a fantastic year for the paranormal, especially for the rich and famous.  
No year before has ever seen quite so many skeletons rupture from long since sealed and forgotten closets to claim their vengeance. Hollywood stars and politicians have been scared stiff all year! 

And talking of Hollywood, let's make the world of showbiz the first stop in our tour of paranormal dross. Our first Casper goes to the worst paranormal TV show of 2017!

Worst Paranormal TV show of 2017!

Without a doubt, this is the most hotly contested category of the year. Nick Groff certainly made his presence known in the category, both Paranormal Lockdown and Ghosts of Shepherdstown were strong contenders. Ghosts of Shepherdstown particularly elicited ire from the paranormal community after accusations of fakery were levelled against it. The irony of this should not escape anybody.

Have a lie-down Nick: You're a double runner-up

Also, this year featured a return to prominence of the long-in-the-tooth Most Haunted with a clearly overlaid video propelling Karl and Yvette back from obscurity to the tabloids (and back again). Special amusement comes from this one simply due to the fact that the quote that accompanied MH's return to fame from host Yvette Fielding "'In the 17 years we've been doing Most Haunted we've always wanted to capture a ghost on camera," strongly implies that all the other times they have claimed to capture ghosts on film were well.... bullshit.

Runners-up. Most haunted. There's always next year guys.... and the year after.... and after.... and after.....
Another special mention should go to 'Lowe and Son's Amateur Hour' or as it was eventually named 'The Lowe Files'. Despite garnering lots of attention it's hard to be too critical of this one as it was clear that Lowe and lads clearly didn't have a clue what they were doing and a lot of folks found this quite endearing.

Runners-up: Lowe and Sons Amateur Hour. Don't pout guys, you're runners up!

So with so much hot competition on the television why not hand the award to a show so ham-fisted, amateurish and crappy that it didn't even make it to TV.

Winner of 2017's Worst Paranormal TV show: Haunted Tours with Stephen Erikantano!

Don't do it, Stephen! You won!

Who better to collect this anti-prize than the makers of the Haunted Tours show, who promised their show
 "is unlike any other you’ve seen..." and lived up to the claim by ensuring none of us saw it! The makers, the Jalbert Brothers, also proudly claimed that the show would debut on "Hulu, Netflix and Amazon Prime" in Late October 2017.

Winners of the 2017 Worst Paranormal TV show Haunted Tours. 

A bold claim indeed. Especially considering the show didn't appear on any of the above-mentioned services! I messaged the production team behind Haunted Tours to inquire when we should expect it to make its triumphant debut. Brian Jalbert, one of the show's producers, replied in a totally non-aggressive, non-confrontational way.

Since then, the team have worked hard on turning a negative into a positive, claiming that the lack of a network TV deal actually makes Haunted Tours a superior product.

Yeah. Right. It's a sad state of affairs when a group of committed and deeply irresponsible group of morally bankrupt individuals can't get a break in paranormal TV!

Better luck in 2018 guys and congratulations on this well-deserved award.

Worst Paranormal Team or Group 2017

Winners: Paranormal Den

Winners: Paranormal Den. A terrible bloodsucking creature with some sort of vampire thing.

Unlike the first category, there isn't any real competition here and the reasons for highlighting this group is no laughing matter. I wrote about Paranormal Den back in October of 2017 as a result of their decision to hold an ITC session contacting the victims of the Las Vegas shooting. Clearly, the members of Paranormal Den were following the example of Steve Huff who regularly 'contacts' the spirits of dead celebrities shortly after their deaths. But I suspect even Huff, not a man who displays much respect in the pursuit of attention, would have shied away from this one. After I wrote the post criticising Paranormal Den appeared in the comments section to inform me that the group is not in the field "for the money". Well, I'm pretty sure I can demonstrate they are.

On November 5th Paranormal Den, claimed they had added an antique urn to their collection of haunted objects.

On the same day, it appeared on Ebay sold by 'Hexintentions' at a requested price of $300.

 After this, Paranormal Den began posting ITC sessions with the urn. Unsurprisingly, they were allegedly getting 'amazing results' from the object.

After this Paranormal Den reposted the Urn to Ebay, this time selling at a very reasonable $100. Remarkable, since they purchased it a few days previous for $300 apparently.

They even tell us the object is 'antiquity' worth $300-£600.

The only problem is, they uploaded the urn under the seller name 'hexintentions' again! Meaning they expect us to believe that they bought it from themselves!
Forgive my cynicism, but it appears to me that Paranormal Den attempted to sell this urn, then when they couldn't they produced some EVP sessions with it to drive interest and capitalise on the burgeoning 'haunted object' trade, and reposted it at a markdown price. Well, a markdown price if you believe it's an antique. I spoke to several people who suggested that it isn't even worth $40. The fact that there is relatively well preserved felt on the base implies it is not particularly old.

This isn't the first example of the team using this selling technique. They attempted to sell a 'Haunted doll' named Lucy for $200, at the beginning of November after using it as the central object in a series of EVP recordings.

For this reason, Paranormal Den has 'urned' their second Casper. Get it....'Urned'?

The 2017 Steve Huff award for Internet's Top Enterprising Shills (SHITES). 

Winners: Paranormal Den. 

As you can see guys, that trophy has an antiquity value of one million dollars and a spirit attachment. No selling it on Ebay!

As for 'the Huff', it would be wrong to involve him without handing him some form of award too. Therefore to Steve Huff I present...

The 2017 David Roundtree "You should've stayed gone" award for the most unwelcome return to the paranormal field. 

Winner: Steve Huff. 

Uh... Hi Steve. Go away again please.
The year of 2017 is one that will live in infamy in the minds of Huff fans, as it has been one of tragedy and triumph. In August, Huff announced that he was leaving the paranormal forever. Many cynics speculated on the reason for this; had trading standards finally become aware of Steve's activities as a broken radio salesman... I mean inventor of the "HuffBox (TM)". Was it to do with his other "interests" on the internet (rhymes with 'grape horn bites')?

No! None of the above! Silence cynics. Huff was attacked by demons!

Fortunately, sanity prevailed. Huff realised that it was rather difficult to sell his broken radios... I mean 'WonderBox XXLs' (TM. All rights reserved)... in self-imposed exile. So he bravely returned.... with a new Tee-Shirt for sale (15% Cotton)!

Thanks Steve. You're a true hero. 

Ain't no demon gonna keep Huff from selling shit!
And now for our next award. This goes to the organisation that produced the weakest, the most low-hanging fruit of the year. Got a blur in your picture? This is the company that is going to buy that shit call it a ghost and turn it into sweet, sweet profit.

The 2017 Low-Hanging Fruit award for the most witless, easily debunked Paranormal Dross. 

Winner: The Star.

 All the British tabloids have turned bullshit into an artform, and more importantly revenue. At a time when journalists across the Atlantic are under constant attack by what has become the establishment, the Star, the Mail, the Sun and the Mirror took the title 'fake-news' and wore it as a badge of honour. 

But none more so than the Star.

I can't think of another newspaper that would take an alleged 'ghost story' with associated video footage and purposely attach different, unrelated and very fake footage in order to 'sex up' the article. That's exactly what the Star did on February 28th. In the article "Chilling video of family home so HAUNTED it was evacuated by police" author Peter Truman attached video footage filmed by Facebook user Ashy Murphy in Ireland 2015 and claimed it had been filmed in Chile in 2017. The fact that the soundtrack had been scrubbed and replaced with stock 'spooky' music, implies this wasn't an error but intentional.  It's one thing printing rubbish because you're too lazy and overworked to do a modicum of research, but to intentionally create that rubbish gives the distinct impression that you've never cared if what you print is true or not. It implies you just care whether it will get hits or not.

This leads to an interesting dilemma for sceptics looking to debunk these stories when they are presented in the tabloid press. Is debunking these articles just part of the problem? Sure, we can use 'non-follow' programs, but ultimately we're still raising awareness of them.

Which brings me to the final award.

The 2017 Shameful Attention Seeker award for the most desperate attempt to get in and stay in the public eye.

The winner is... Nope. 

I know you're watching, you know you're watching. No more 'leg ups' from me.

Nope. Nope. Nope.

Happy New Year everyone!

Let's do it all again in January 2019.

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