In the near future, some of us at Persephone are going to be sharing our guilty pleasures with you. Why? Well, why not? Since this week has been a little heavy around here (bullying, cancer, evil corn refiners), I thought I’d jump in on this Friday and let you know one of my favorites. It’s called “My Ghost Story,” and it seems to be the only thing the Biography Channel runs other than survival stories of people chewing off their own arms, and overly fawning profiles of celebrities.* Do I suggest that you immediately add it to your DVR? Yes. Yes I do.
“My Ghost Story“ was one of those rare late-night hotel TV discoveries that don’t involve nudity. I’m not sure if it has resulted in more or less shame than hotel porn, but at least this one didn’t show up on my bill at checkout. Point is, there is no way I would have found this show otherwise.
The program has a pretty simple premise; regular people tell first-person accounts of an encounter with a ghost or a haunted place, usually a ship, old house, or creepy-as-balls hotel. Something I really appreciate about this show is they don’t employ the sort of talking head “experts” that the History Channel drags in to lend an air of authority to their more frivolous programs. They let the regular folk do all the talking.
As with most other late night programs, they work under the assumption that you’ve already turned off your brain, and that when night falls your internal Zombie Threat Level elevates from green to yellow. “My Ghost Story” does a commendable job of leading you carefully through each story and manipulating your fleeting credulity.
The best part is that there is always a video or a picture to go with each story. What, do you think a Biography Channel program about ghosts lacks INTEGRITY? Not so! They demanded proof, and they’re going to show it to you.
The “evidence” rarely stands on its own. Photos are often grainy, black and white, and out of focus, but the producers are helpful enough outline the woman’s silhouette or demon face. If it’s a sound clip, there are frequently subtitles that don’t quite match what you’re hearing. “Mherheh*garblegarble*snffrhmph” is CLEARLY Ghost for “My husband left me and I threw myself out that window in a fit of despair. Now, go. Go tell my story to the world!”
Once in a while, when the conditions are just right (usually around the third story of the episode and/or your third cup of whiskey), you see it. You SEE the man in the Civil War garb in the hotel lobby, who awaits the lover that you and I know will never come. By the time the outline is superimposed over the picture, you’re annoyed that it’s getting in your way of looking at a GHOST. And don’t tell me you don’t see that orb in the upper-right corner of the picture which is clearly his soul and not a drop of moisture. And two different people are telling the same story about him, but they’ve never met! They stayed at the hotel six months apart!
And this, friends, is why I love this show. If they can get me to believe in ORBS for crapping out loud, they are clearly doing something right. In the morning, when my DVR queue has been cleared of ghosts, and the sunshine has scared off the zombies, I once again wonder why I watch this show, let alone believe any of its crazy crap. And isn’t that the very definition of a guilty pleasure?
*In a brain-melting development, the internets just told me that the Biography channel has a hybrid show called Celebrity Ghost Stories! This may be the best news ever.