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TV Historian Required


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Admin
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Last January this post was placed on our original forum by SPower, but the conversation has stayed popular:)

I am putting together a paranormal invetigation team for TV and need a historian to work on the show, researching the locations we investigate and matching this information with the evidence gained on the investigation. This will be a paid position, although probably not enough for it to be a full-time role; all expenses will be covered. You must be able to commit to between 16 and 20 investigations a year. You will be on TV (assuming the pilot works ) and we have access to the best locations in the UK and abroad.

You need to be very thorough and methodical in your approach, and have the highest levels of professionalism (i.e. not telling anyone on the team about your findings!). You do not necessarily need to have an interest in the paranormal. You will not be undertaking the investigation vigil's etc., but will be on-site during the investigation in the control room.

The show we are creating is different to anything else out there. Most Haunted is our benchmark - whatever they do, we don't is a simple guide. Our approach is from a scientific basis and our investgation methods are implemented to achieve true results. We don't send people into dark rooms by themselves and seem surprised when they are frightened. Neither do we set up control objects without a static camera on them. Nor do we become fascinated by every orb we see. What we do have is a very stong methodical approach, backed up by the best scientific analysis.

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Ian Topham
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TV Historian
Admin wrote:

The show we are creating is different to anything else out there. Most Haunted is our benchmark - whatever they do, we don't is a simple guide. Our approach is from a scientific basis and our investgation methods are implemented to achieve true results. We don't send people into dark rooms by themselves and seem surprised when they are frightened. Neither do we set up control objects without a static camera on them. Nor do we become fascinated by every orb we see. What we do have is a very stong methodical approach, backed up by the best scientific analysis.

Sounds really good Sean . Getting a format for good scientific paranormal TV isn't easy and I am keen to know how you intend to investigate each location. How long do you intend to spend on each investigation. Speaking from experience there is probably very little you can come up with during a vigil over a single night. I feel that is why many programmes bring in psychics because they struggle making the science look interesting. How are you going to overcome this and make it entertaining and hopefully educational? On another note have you got your investigation team together yet?

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Agricola
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Still looking SPower? Former

Still looking SPower? Former archaeologist here...

Mysteryshopper
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I don't see why you need a

I don't see why you need a historian at all. What has history to do with ghosts or hauntings? Ghosts didn't even appear in period costume until the beginning of last century. Before that they appeared in contemporary costume! That tells you a lot about ghosts to start with.

If you're serious about doing a scientific investigation of hauntings you should concentrating solely on explaining what independent witnesses have experienced.

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Ophiel
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I doubt you have access to

I doubt you have access to the best locations - as they don't partake in this nonsense.

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Agricola
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You can't base exploration

You can't base exploration of a haunting purely on eye witness accounts - of course they are vital to an investigation, but historical details can also provide additional information - the archaeology threat demonstrates this. It would be much better to have all the facts and possible facts to hand. There is an argument to be had over the validity of eyewitness accounts, false memory, optical illusion, etc.

As for ghosts appearing in historical costume... it only becomes historical if your looking back on something - to those of the time, the clothing would be classed as every day. But don't forget that it is really only in the past couple of hundred years that clothing worn by the ordinary populaces has become distinctive. Prior to this poorer people wore very similar clothing throughout the different periods, only changing with major cultural influences, i.e. clothing throughout the Anglo Saxon period would have been very similar even thought we're talking about a 300-400 year period. Weaving has changed very since Roman times up until the late Elizabethan era.

Mysteryshopper
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Without primary witness

Without primary witness accounts, there are no ghosts or hauntings! Hauntings are experiences reported by individuals.

The TV ghost hunting shows take their own 'experiences' INTO haunted locations ie. they hold seances, take along mediums, try to record EVP, look for orbs etc. There is no evidence that any of the stuff you see on these shows has any relevance to the reported haunting whatsoever (ie. the reports of prior witnesses). You could equally do the seances. mediumship etc ANYWHERE and get much the same results. There is also very little evidence that anything on these TV shows is paranormal at all. Historians, in this context, are just another part of a 'show', there to add local colour. The show could take place anywhere, haunted or not, whatever its history.

If you want to investigate hauntings you need to explain the specific reports of prior witnesses to haunting phenomena at a particular location.

If you want a 'paranormal circus', like the existing TV shows, why not just do it in a TV studio somewhere.

Regarding period costume: Is it true, then, that a 19th century peasant wore the same clothing as one from the 17th century and 12th century and 8th centuries? And were there no ghosts of people who weren't peasants? For instance, what were the ghosts of Roman soldiers, that some people have reported, doing all that time until they started to appear in the twentieth century?

Matt.H
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Whilst I agree that there's

Whilst I agree that there's problems with quite how far back reports of "historical" hauntings go, my understanding was that the turning point away from reports of fairies and contemporary hauntings was around the time when mass education began to emerge - significantly earlier than the twentieth centuy. This would certainly fit with the possible element of wishful thinking by the witness when they "see" Henry VIII or a Roman Soldier, as they without some form of education the witness would probably not have known what they looked like.

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Agricola
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I don't think you can say

I don't think you can say that all TV programmes work along the lines of Most Haunted. Certainly one of the more interesting paranormal programmes was Arthur C Clarke's World of Strange Powers - the occasional ghost story which wasn't based around people sitting in the dark screaming. At the end of the day you've got to remember that television programmes are products; they're made by people who want to sell them to networks and networks want them to make advertising space look good (or in the case of the BBC to pull in audience figures). Television programmes are not scientific research. They may concentrate on research which has been undertaken by academics, but at the end of the day they don't exist to produce scientific research, they exist for entertainment.

As for costume, I argued that people wear similar clothes throughout periods until major cultural influences change this. This happened, as I said, up until around the Elizabethan period when trade started going global in a big enough way that meant that the poorer classes could afford a range of clothes. If you look at the evidence, clothing does change very little. Some of the work on Viking York demonstrates how weaving techniques in the north east of England changed relatively little between the end of the 11th century and the 18th when mechanisation started to creep in. But the real question is, how would someone without expert knowledge of period costume recognise the differences between 11th and 18th century dress? Whilst we may think we know the difference, this will largely be based on knowledge drawn from tv and films (which are infrequently inaccurate) or from the few surviving examples. But can anyone say that they have ever seen genuine examples of 'working class' clothing - I doubt it as surviving examples are usually from the wealthier classes who could afford better material and storage.

So I would argue that it is extremly easy for people to misidentify the period that a ghost is from purely based on its clothing because they have no proper base line to judge it against, and unless people are seeing 'posh' ghosts, clothing is pretty indistinguishable between earlier periods.

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Ian Topham
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What about the value in

What about the value in knowing a locations history. Walled up doors, changed floor levels etc. This could add some context to accounts of ghosts walking through walls or kne high to the floor.

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Agricola
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Much more concisely put than

Much more concisely put than me, Ian.



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