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Paranormal Activity,” a documentary-style horror film about a couple investigating strange happenings in their new house, may be scaring up big bucks at the box office, but there’s no need to leave your home to experience great thrills and chills.Whether you think them fact or fiction, the following episodes of popular ghost-hunting shows offer up some great small screen spookiness. Get your fill of these frights and share your own favorites:
Destination Truth: Ghosts of Chernobyl/Sal’awa
“Destination Truth’s” searches for Big Foot- or Loch Ness Monster-type cryptozoology specimens usually provides a few jolts, and fewer answers, but when the crew, headed by the wryly jocular Josh Gates, heads to Chernobyl to explore stories of strange sightings, things get downright creepy.
Exploring the abandoned town of Prypiat, which borders the nuclear power plant known for the horrific 1986 disaster, members of the team are cleary extremely anxious about exposure to the radiation that still lingers over twenty years later. Donning protective radiation gear, and consulting their monitors often, the tension surrounding the team’s efforts is palpable, and that’s what makes this episode so thrilling, the psychology of the situation.
Sure, the danger might have been overplayed for the cameras, and its more than likely that outsiders not familiar with the area may have an overblown sense of the dangers of the remaining radiation, but the sheer, uninterrupted desolation of the abandoned city, the ghostly glow of the irradiated Ferris wheel on the heat-sensitive cameras, and the weird technological problems experienced by the team add up to real chills.
The fact that SyFy neighbors Jason and Grant of “Ghost Hunters,” couldn’t completely debunk some of the anomalies caught on tape only serves to make it even spookier. Watch “Destination Truth: Ghosts of Chernobyl” on Hulu


Ghost Hunters: St. Augustine Lighthouse
The granddaddy of the ghost hunting reality show genre serve up some frightening footage when visiting a 19th century Florida lighthouse. Jason Hawes, Grant Wilson and the TAPS team head to the Sunshine State to investigate the historic landmark reportedly haunted by a lighthouse keeper who fell to his death from the original tower in 1859 and three girls who drowned there in 1873. The claustrophobic nature of the tight, vertical, spiral staircased-space sets the scene for an eerie investigation. As usual, the gang sets about debunking some of the lore, but ends up capturing video of shadowy figures darting about and audio of female voices that can’t be explained.
Paranormal State: “The Possession: The Return of Six”
A lot of the experiments they do on “Paranormal State” make the “Ghost Hunters” team look like Nobel Laureates (think the Shakti Helmet) and it seems like nearly everything is put down to demonic forces, but the show is impossible not to watch. The A&E series follows the investigations of the Paranormal Research Society, which started out life as a student club at Penn State (hence, “Paranormal State”). Led by Ryan Buell, whose overly dramatic case file dictations and serious intensity lead one to think that he may not have been the most popular kid on campus but prove oddly alluring all the same, the group is often assisted by professional mediums Lorraine Warren, of Amityville fame, and Chip Coffey who were present for what is one of the group’s creepiest cases ever, “The Possession: The Return of Six.”
While investigating a demonically influenced suicide and haunting in Kentucky, the gang comes to realize that it’s the work of a demon they have encountered before. It seems that this new case is some kind of taunt–a demonic sticking out of the tongue, if you will–as the group discovers that the demon, who identifies himself as six, is once again tormenting his original victim, a girl named Laura. Yes, bits of the show are hokey, and perhaps Laura is simply suffering from a severe mental illness, but see if you are able to rest easily afterward.
If you’re more into funny than fright, check out “Most Haunted” with its Ouija board, table tipping-fueled hysterics and “Ghost Adventures” which answers the question, “What happens when bodybuilding and ghost hunting collide?” Both on Travel Channel.
What are some of your favorite ghost hunting shows?

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