THE PARANORMAL MEDIA BLITZ:
GHOST BUSTERS,
PSYCHICS, AND SPIRIT MEDIUMS
EUROPEAN
ENLIGHTENMENT THOUGHT
• European Enlightenment thought
did not necessarily deny the
existence of god, but did situate
science as the proper means of
understanding the natural world.
• This established a division
between science and religion.
• A social evolutionary lineage
developed:
– MAGIC
– RELIGION
– SCIENCE
THEORETICAL
THEMES AND CRITIQUES
• IRRATIONAL
– Pre-modern “West”
– Religion in general
– Folk and indigenous
religions
• RATIONAL
– Modernity
– Positivism
• RATIONALIZE
– Apply positivistic assumptions
• RATIONALIZATION
– Positivistic social organization to
maintain compliance and order.
 MARX
 Repressive Power
 WEBER
 Power for Power’s
Sake
 FOUCAULT
 Productive Power
THE EMIC/ETIC DICHOTOMY
EDITH TURNER
• EMIC: Studying a culture from their
point of view.
• ETIC: Applying theories to cultural
phenomena that might not make sense
to the members of that culture.
• The “NATIVE
ANTHROPOLOGIST” or “GOING
NATIVE”: Can illuminate the false
fixity of the emic/etic dichotomy, but
at the possibility of professional,
academic, and social costs, if—for
example—the anthropologist engages
in trance and channeling rituals, and
writes about it.
SHAKESPEARE
THE GHOST OF
HAMLET’S
FATHER
DICKENS
MARLEY’S
GHOST
FROM
A CHRISTMAS
CAROL
OSCAR WILDE, THE CANTERVILLE GHOST
BASED ON CLAIMS
BY THE LUTZ’S
THAT THEY
LIVED IN A
HAUNTED HOUSE
AND HAD
TROUBLING
PARANORMAL
EXPERIENCES.
BASED ON AN
ACTUAL
PARANORMAL
INVESTIGATION
BY DR. THELMA MOSS
AND HER TEAM
FROM UCLA
“I SEE DEAD PEOPLE.”
ED AND LORRAINE WARREN
www.warrens.net
www.derekacorah.org
JAMES VAN PRAAGH
www.vanpraagh.com
TED DANSON AS VAN PRAAGH
CATEGORIES OF HAUNTINGS
• RESIDUAL HAUNTING: Like a video playback of an
event from the past with no interaction with the human
observer.
• SPIRIT MANIFESTATION: Full or partial bodied
apparition, mists, orbs and light anomalies, odors, voices,
knocks, whistles, footsteps, touches, cold spots. These are
generally attributed to deceased humans who are caught in
this realm, or who return to visit.
• POLTERGIESTS: Playful and at times harmful entities
that cause objects to move or float, hide items, make
noises, etc.
• DEMONS: They rarely interact with humans, but when
they do, can cause great damage.
SEANCES
ATTEMPTS TO MAKE GHOST HUNTING
RATIONAL THROUGH TECHNOLOGY
UCLA PARAPSYCHOLOGIST,
THELMA MOSS
• Moss and her team
investigated a Culver City
haunting in 1974 in which
a woman claimed that
three ghosts repeatedly
sexually assaulted her.
• They documented
poltergeist activity and
manifestations of entities.
35mm PHOTOGRAPH SHOWING
REVERSE ARCS OVER THE SUBJECT’S HEAD
THE ATLANTIC
PARANORMAL
SOCIETY
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ciHf4WXKY4E
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NSo_FWH3iz0
THE PARANORMAL
MEDIA BLITZ
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Most Haunted
Haunted History
Ghost Hunters
The Unexplained
Psychic Detectives
Haunted America
Paranormal
The Ghost Whisperer
Talking With The Dead
Medium
Ghost Adventures
Paranormal State
MARX’S THEORY OF
“REPRESSIVE POWER”
• Power is rooted in economic relations.
• Capitalists coerce workers through top down,
visible and identifiable tactics.
WEBER’S THEORY OF
“POWER FOR POWER’S SAKE”
• Economic and political power
can be the consequence of
power in other social realms.
• For example: bureaucrats
wield power even though they
are not wealthy.
• Bureaucracy is a primary force
in the rationalization of
society.
• Power is valued for its own
sake.
• Or the “charismatic leader” is
often concerned with power
over wealth.
FOUCAULT’S
THEORY OF “PRODUCTIVE POWER”
• Productive power “circulates in the social field and can attache to
strategies of domination as well as…resistance.” This occurs because
bodies and minds are disciplined, normalized, and placed under
surveillance to participate.
• Productive power is perpetuated through discourses that construct what
comes to be regarded as “truths.”
• DISCOURSES ARE: “…ways of constituting knowledge, together with
the social practices, forms of subjectivity and power relations…
Discourses are more than ways of thinking and producing meaning. They
constitute the 'nature' of the body, unconscious and conscious mind and
emotional life of the subjects they seek to govern.”
• IDEOLOGIES: Systems of abstract ideas that foster social compliance
with hegemonic norms.
• Foucault asserts that discourses are interstitial with ideologies.
• A way to think of the relationship between the two is that discourses are
processes that produce and reinforce ideologies as reifying abstractions.
INVISIBLIZED
• This form of power is
“productive” because
it is a network that
circulates amongst us
and that we are
disciplined to
participate in.
• Sources of repressions
become INVISIBLE,
elusive, and hard to
identify.
SURVEILLANCE
• A strategy to maintain social
compliance and order.
• Practiced in many societies
around the globe and throughout
history.
• The spirits of many religions are
believed to be able to observe
humans and monitor their
behavior, generally at all times
and in all places.
• Generates tensions among the
irrational, rational, and
rationalization.
THE PANOPTICON
• Designed in 1781 by
Jeremy Bentham to
maximize prison
efficiency.
• A few guards can watch
hundreds of inmates.
• Because the prisoners
never know when they
are being watched they
discipline themselves to
comply with prison rules.
ATM CAMERAS
TRAFFIC CAMERAS
STORE CAMERAS
LAW ENFORCEMENT AND NEWS
HELICOPTER SURVEILLANCE
SURVEILLANCE IN LONDON
DIGITAL SURVEILLANCE

Much of the personal details of
our individual lives are digitally
stored and accessible to many
unknown others:
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Education
Health
Credit
Finances
Spending habits
Gambling habits
Taxes
DMV records
Legal records
Dating preferences

As people feel a loss of control over
their lives, and find it hard to identify
who or what is responsible for that
loss, are they turning to the
paranormal for answers?

Is the paranormal media blitz a way
of TURNING THE CAMERAS ON
THE ELUSIVE AND THE
INVISIBLE?

Are people turning to the paranormal
for a more personalized and
autonomous system of belief as an
alternative to the rigid ideologies and
authorities of world religions?
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GHOSTS AND THE “WESTERN” WORLD