A Night With The 'Most Haunted' Team
If you're reading this, you'll probably know that my name is Steve and I run this website. I put a lot of work into it and it's a 50/50 mix of writing about current trends and methods of paranormal investigation and reviewing ghost hunting shows - a genre that I call paranormal entertainment.
I tend to focus my efforts on British paranormal shows, because I can watch and review them as they air. Shows like 'Ghost Adventures', although popular, show months later in the UK, so by the time I can write about them, there's already plenty of pages about the episodes online.
Of course if I'm writing about British shows, then I have to cover the show that defined the genre, 'Most Haunted', hosted by Yvette Fielding. The show feels very worthy of my efforts because it is by far the most talked about show of its kind. If the 'Most Haunted' team capture some evidence on camera during a show, it always becomes the most talked about incident in the paranormal community for the next week or so.
As well as being very interested in the paranormal, it's fair to say that I'm quite a harsh skeptic and nothing I see on a television show could convince me that ghosts exists. The only way I could truly be convinced is if I saw something with my own eyes and could genuinely rule out any other causes at the location by being there myself.
In the case of 'Most Haunted', I have been at a location during one of their investigations. I was invited along to help out with the filming of a live Halloween special by Karl Beattie, which has given me quite a unique perspective of 'Most Haunted'.
More From 'Most Haunted'
For more from Yvette and the gang, check out our 'Most Haunted' hub, where you will find up to date news on the show, highlights and evidence from the latest investigations, and a complete 'Most Haunted' episode guide.
I've heard lots of stories about the 'Most Haunted' team when they're on location. Specifically that they insist that staff at the locations they investigate need to sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) prior to filming to stop them talking about what they've seen during the filming, it's implied that this is because the team fake activity. I have to say my experience was very different to this.
I got to spend the day at the location, in fact I arrived before most of the team and had full access to all of the areas they were investigating in. On top of this I had full access to all radio communications between the cast and constant, real-time visibility of the CCTV cameras dotted around the building, and was present at the pre-show team briefing.
Because of my role on the live show, nothing could happen in that building without me knowing about it. I'm not part of the 'Most Haunted' team, I'm not even part of their inner circle. It was the first time I had worked with them and was actually the first time I'd met some of the crew. When Karl asked me to help out, he had no reason to trust me since we hadn't worked together before, and if the team were up to no good he had no reason to think I wouldn't write about it on my website on a page like this one.
Despite this I wasn't under an NDA. In fact quite the opposite. When Karl suggested I came along, he said that in exchange for my help with the broadcast I could write about whatever aspect of the event I wanted. There were no restriction, he was happy for me to write about everything I experienced behind the scenes.
Perhaps in the early days of the show, Living TV insisted on NDAs, but at this time the show was at its prime and if it were the case that NDAs were issued then I'd imagine it was done to avoid spoilers being leaked to the press rather than any sinister reason. However, this is just me speculating, but at one point in the evening during a frank conversation about other paranormal shows, Yvette told to me that she thought it was odd that US shows require property owners to sign NDAs.
One thing that struck me during the live episode I attended was how seriously all of the team took the investigation. Obviously the primary purpose of the event was to create an entertaining live stream, so I assumed that ghost hunting would come second. Having eyes on all the cameras during the broadcast and communication via radio with all of the teams around the building, I knew where everyone was and what they were doing at every point in the evening. I was impressed by the fact that they were all genuinely trying to encourage activity at all times.
While one team were live on the stream, the other didn't just sit there waiting for their cue, they were investigating and hoping to drum up some paranormal activity ready for when I cut to their camera.
Once the live broadcast had finished there was a frantic panic to pack up and go home with the time fast approaching 1am. While most of us were rushing around winding up cables and throwing kit back in flight cases, there were a few members of the team who had less to do and stood around chatting and getting in the way. What surprised me was that they were still talking about their investigations, they were comparing notes and talking about what they'd experienced in their respective teams. They weren't doing this for show, they had no one to impress. I was the only outsider in the room and they had no idea I was even earwigging on their conversation as I was rushing around.
One of the reasons I enjoy watching 'Most Haunted' is because I like their style of investigation. Mainly because they no longer rely on psychic mediums and don't use ghost hunting gadgets, both of which feature heavily in other ghost hunting shows. I don't trust the claims of ghost hunting gadgets, and I am yet to be convinced by the abilities of mediums.
That's not a criticism of the other shows as there are plenty of teams who do like to use paranormal kit and psychics. I myself am very interested in paranormal gadgets, I have a large collection of them which I review and try out. Shows and teams should continue to test the claims made by the inventors and manufacturers of these devices, it is an important part of paranormal research. As is testing the claims of psychics, but 'Most Haunted's' back-to-basics approach of 'watching and waiting' and calling out more closely matches my preferred style of paranormal investigation.
We all have our own methods, and for me it comes down to our own senses. I think the best reports of paranormal activity are those things that people have witnessed feeling, seeing and hearing with their own senses, and this is how the 'Most Haunted' team investigate.
Each member of the 'Most Haunted' team have their own preferred methods of investigation, most notably demonologist Fred Batt. It's fair to say that not everyone on the team is a firm believer in everyone else's methods. Sound guy Darren Hutchinson for example is pretty vocal about how he doesn't appreciate Fred's methods.
What Yvette and the team essentially do is go into an allegedly haunted location in the dark and get freaked out by the activity they encounter with their own senses, and that is very entertaining. Do they over react? Possibly, but I think it's the fact that they're on edge and so aware of the activity around them that builds the energy and results in the phenomenon they experience.
There are plenty of teams who sit calmly and quietly during a ghost hunt and they get no activity at all. This is fine if you're on an investigation in order to advance your knowledge, but it doesn't make very interesting or exciting television.
Is everything as it seems on the show? Probably not. The episodes are made for television and therefore have to be entertaining, so I'm sure there are times when the show is edited in order to create a narrative. For example to help the episode flow, it might be edited in such a way to make it look like two teams are investigating simultaneously in different parts of the location. Whereas in reality one of the teams might have gone back to the base room for a cup of tea, but the episode cuts between the two vigils as if the two are synced and occurring at the same moment.
Perhaps if something incredible happened in the first vigil but the rest of the investigation was quiet, then the order of the vigils might be swapped around in the edit so that the show ends on a climactic high. This is just me speculating though, most of the time, the show does seem true to life and as if events are shown in a linear fashion.
The show in general feels much less edited and cut down than other shows. Of course during my night with the team we were streaming live so every moment of the investigation was seen in realtime and the decisions of when certain members of the team were cut to was mine.
'Most Haunted' gets a lot of stick for alleged fakery, something that I did not see during my night with them... and trust me, if there was any fakery going on I wouldn't miss it. I actually think the show is more honest than some others. There are a lot of paranormal shows on television in which the cast experience a knock, a bang, or hear a garbled voice on their spirit box and they instantly jump to the conclusion that it is a demon or they say for certain that the noise was caused by one of the particular spirits that haunts the building. This categoric labelling of paranormal activity happens in every episode of other shows without fail.
With the exception of the psychic mediums from 'Most Haunted's' early days, I don't recall many moments where the team have said categorically that something they've witnessed is supernatural in nature. At most they'll agree that it's weird, unexplained or possibly paranormal, but often they'll leave it up to the viewer to decide.
If any investigation team catch something on camera, no matter how much I trust them, I can't rule out for certain that it's the result of fakery, someone who's got into the building who shouldn't be there, explainable phenomenon that the team have misdiagnose, an over-reaction, a trick of the light, or something else. During my night with the 'Most Haunted' team I am confident enough to rule out all of these possibilities, although in this broadcast the activity experienced was fairly tame.
People often ask me my opinion on some of the show's more violent moments, things like "how do you explain the moment where the doll at Codnor caught alight?" "How do you think the chair was thrown at The Fleece Inn?" These questions are only usually asked because the people asking them have already formed a non-paranormal explanation for the incident in their head. I could also give a non-paranormal explanation for these incidents. That's true of the alleged activity that I've seen on every single ghost hunting show whether it's objects moving or voices through a spirit box, but that doesn't mean my explanation is the right one and again without being there I can't know for sure.
For me the question of whether the activity seen is real or not is one that could be asked not just of 'Most Haunted' but of any paranormal show on television and even YouTube channels that set out to investigate the paranormal. Therefore, no matter how seriously these teams take themselves, I am only watching for entertainment and not to be convinced about the existence of ghosts.
Working with the 'Most Haunted' team was amazing and fun opportunity. The show's big live Halloween specials of the past were not to be missed and each year I would watch with a group of friends. I never imagined back then that one day I would get the chance to help produce one of those events on Halloween night, admittedly on a small scale, but that did mean I had more creative input, more contact with the team and free-run of the location.
I'm not sure what the future of 'Most Haunted' is, but love them or hate them, it's hard to deny how much influence the show has had over the paranormal world, the success they've had or how much their fans still love the content they create all these years later.
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