Paranormal State

Paranormal State – S04E01 – Suicide Possession

After a long break Paranormal State is back again with Ryan at the helm. Really about the only thing different is that Eilfie was missing from the lineup. Maybe she had midterms or something.

For this episode Ryan is called out because Tony and his wife are having problems with spirits in their home. They hear voices telling them to hurt themselves, they see visions of themselves committing suicide, and Tony is being drawn down to the basement to drink his sorrows away. Certainly doesn’t sound good.

During the background check PRS does find out that two deaths have occurred in the home. One, involved a man possibly falling down the stairs while intoxicated. The other involves a girl who may have overdosed on sleeping pills. They certainly ham up the drama by showing the stairs and Lorraine Warren saying she thinks someone fell down them. They do the same effect when speaking of the girl and the pills. This seemed really cheesy to me. It’s the first episode of the new season so you have to build that dramatic tension.

Right before 3am as they’re investigating they begin to hear noises and a door slams on them. Katrina and Heather check the place out but don’t find and real reason for the noises. At least they get up and check out the noise rather than just sitting on the couch wondering what happened.

During the light of day they check out the house and find it has really high EMF readings. And not just in one spot, but throughout the entire house. The place is pretty much off the scale. As I’m sure you’ve read elsewhere, high EMF readings are usually attributed to people feeling nauseous, having a sense of being watched and hallucinations. Basically it makes you think you’re having a paranormal experience. Jay and Grant would use the term "fear cage" to describe the effects. Now, why the investigation didn’t stop here until they got their wiring issue worked out, I’m not sure. I guess that doesn’t make good television. Ryan says the high EMF is just bringing in more spirit activity so they still have a demonic force running around. He and Lorraine then jump to demonic possession and say that Tony needs him some Jesus in his life. They call for an exorcism.

This seems like a really big leap to me. They are really jumping on this exorcism bandwagon these days. It’s becoming their cure-all for unexplained problems. Mental illness sounds way more plausible for this type of behavior, but I guess demonic possession is sexier and gets better ratings. And Lorraine bases some of her demonic ramblings on the look Tony has in his eyes. She says it’s just not human. Funny how frustration, stress and lack of sleep look so similar to demonic possession.

As if on queue Tony begins mumbling about he hears things, has voices telling him to lash out, that he has crazy violent feelings for no reason and that perhaps his dabbling in the occult when he was a teenager has come back to bite him in the ass. Once again, none of these could be mental issues which are going undiagnosed and are aggravated by being bombarded with EMF 24 hours a day. They pretty much disregard any thoughts of mental issues, stress or anything else which might explain his behavior and go right for exorcism.

They do the exorcism and send Tony off to church. There is no mention of sending him off to see a doctor or counselor. There is no checking into his medical history to see if there might be another explanation. There is really no investigation into his current life to see why he might be acting out. Does he hate his job? Is he trying to get away from his wife? Does he have an addiction he doesn’t want to talk about? Jumping on the exorcism bandwagon seems way too over the top with the complete lack of evidence in hand. This show went off the rails pretty quick.

After watching this show for the past three seasons, and especially with the antics of last season (Return of Six), it seems to me that ninety percent of the people Ryan runs into are in the midst of having some sort of breakdown more than anything else. Perhaps saying you have a ghost in the house is better than saying you’re suffering from depression or have mental illness.

It’s interesting that in the first season they were more apt to debunk most of the claims people made, but now they seem to latch onto anything which might say a place is haunted.

Other Articles of Interest:

Paranormal State – Return of Six

Out of the all the episodes I’ve seen over the past three seasons this one really ventured into the absurd and ridiculous. The use of the Shakti Helmet and the Ganzfeld experiment left me feeling that PRS has gone off the deep end or that the show was lacking a dramatic element so they threw this in. As we see from the storming out of the room and flailing of arms using either device can be physically demanding, but of course using them together is ultra dangerous and who knows what the ramifications could be. We need to have Sergey and Chad walking out and the ultimatum of being kicked out of PRS because Ryan is doing something crazy.

Umm, what the hell?

From what I have read of these two devices they have been engineered to provide a mechanism for experiencing the paranormal (and here I thought drinking too much tequila would make you hear voices). The Shakti Helmet bombards the brain with magnetic fields and makes it more receptive to otherworldly activity. The Ganzfeld experiment causes a form of sensory depravation that heightens the ability to sense and experience the paranormal.

I’m sorry, but I have to say this all comes across as a complete load of crap. I cannot for a second believe that either of these gizmos would create any pathway to the paranormal nor do I see either one as actually being dangerous. Stupid yes, dangerous no. If we are to believe anything about high EMF it’s that it causes hallucinations, paranoia, and the feeling of the paranormal even when it isn’t there. So this is basically creating a situation which causes a faux-paranormal experience.  And the Ganzfeld experiment is nothing more than a way to disorient yourself, which can effect everything the body interprets and feels. I don’t really see how this can be considered anything different than someone getting high and saying they had an out of body experience or they touched the paranormal. This is a complete false positive and to say this is paranormal investigation is truly bizarre. After that point, I kind of just gave up, that whole episode was just a farce to me. I can accept the show as entertainment and accepting some of these crazy stories without actually trying to debunk anything, but this was too much. And we thought the K2 meter from the Ghost Hunters was a little suspect?

So after a failed exorcism, and abandoning another family five hours away, Ryan and his team  face the devil himself – or at least something that calls itself by multiple names of the devil. After being knocked around and sticking salad bowls on their heads and ping pong balls over their eyes the PRS group turns to the Internet for prayer. What? That’s it? That’s your big master plan to rid the house of evil? I’m not going to dismiss the power of prayer or get into some debate about it, but come on.

And then the devil disappears. Really? That’s all you have to do? Band some people together on the web and evil is dispelled? Damn, I need to try that on my Ex!

I have to say, I’m not too impressed with this episode for corny antics, this totally suspect equipment and misguided over dramatization.  Most of the episodes haven’t been like this so perhaps they were just trying to expand their horizons and see what the reaction would be.

Shakti Helmet:
Ganzfeld Experiment:

Other Articles of Interest:

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