How Haunted? review
I stumbled across this podcast quite by accident recently on twitter. Somebody had complained that despite the early episodes being interesting, they were now too horrible and gratuitously gory. What more reason to subscribe did I need? Much like being young and trawling the Radio Times for horror movies to watch, I quickly realised that the ones that got two and three stars out of five were the best ones. Was I wrong in my assumption though? Read on and I’ll tell you.
So what’s it about?
How Haunted? is a paranormal podcast by Rob Kirkup, a ghost hunter based in Newcastle. That’s Newcastle, England, and not one of the other namesakes scattered across the former colonies. I wouldn’t normally bother with such clarification, but according to Google analytics, the majority of my meager readership is based in the US.
Each week he examines a different location from across the British isles, although owing to his location, there is a higher proportion in the north of England and Scotland. There is a lot of research involved in every episode. Even with well known locations, there is plenty of new information (for me at least) that adds much more depth to the locations rather than just repeating all the well known tales.
Is it any good?
Well, yes and no. I’m a big fan of paranormal podcasts, particularly ones that avoid needless hyperbole. Haunted Road springs immediately to mind as a good comparison to this show. Maybe get in touch with Amy Bruni in the future to swap stories?
Having said that, there are some parts of the stories discussed that really set my Sceptic-o-meter® buzzing. I do believe in ghosts, and I’ve had many strange experiences, but some stuff here has me asking questions about the validity of some claims. Unfortunately some events get glossed over with not much in the way of efforts to debunk, and some of the reports had me thinking, “yeah, but did that really happen?” To be honest, this doesn’t happen with Rob’s stories, but in the interviews with other people.
There are also some episodes that verge on being history lessons, with some ghost information tacked on at the end. In fact, the episode on the Colosseum in Rome doesn’t actually have any ghost story attached if I recall correctly. That’s not to say that it isn’t interesting, it absolutely is, but to say that a building is one of the most haunted in the world and then not offering up any actual paranormal information seems like a bit of a bait and switch.
I really like this show, and because I usually listen to four or five different podcasts a day, I’m not as far through this one as I’d like to be. I really am looking forward to hearing how this develops as it goes on though.
When I was younger, I found a video called Billy Roberts Investigates The Paranormal. It was a low budget affair with Billy traveling to various haunted locations and seeing what was there. The investigations were interspersed with interviews, and despite being very low budget, and not what I was expecting, it was rather interesting. This podcast reminds me a lot of that. Don’t take that the wrong way Rob!
I think that nowadays, there is a real push for paranormal shows, and by extension ghost walks and suchlike to offer some “bang for your buck”. That way lies the path to “creating” a haunted experience. Every paranormal investigator I’ve heard says that a lot of the time absolutely nothing happens. I love that. Especially when they visit somewhere where the walls are supposed to drip blood and your hair will turn white with fear. The contrary part of me loves for the final report to be “absolutely nothing happened”.
If you are into paranormal podcasts though, this is definitely one you should check out very soon, particularly if, like me, you grew up on the Usbourne ghost book and the multitude of similar tomes that filled the libraries of the 70s and 80s.
You can get How Haunted? here:
Or wherever you get your podcasts.
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