Reality TV is a phenomenon that came into popularity in the late ’90s and has since been a mainstay in living rooms the world over. Due to the popularity of such found footage pioneers as Ghostwatch (1992), The Last Broadcast (1998), and The Blair Witch Project (1999), it was only a matter of time before the format made its way to the small screen permanently.
Many shows have come and gone since those early days with several featured in our Top Ten Paranormal Reality TV Shows list found HERE. By popular demand, we have compiled a new list, but instead of part two to our first index, we have narrowed our scope to assemble some Spectral Semantics, a Top Ten Spookiest Paranormal Reality TV Show Episodes.
10. Ghost Adventures – Pennhurst State School (Season 3, Episode 2)
Season 3, Episode 2 features Ghost Adventures host Zak Bagans and his team of paranormal investigators as they head to Pennhurst State School in Pennsylvania. The predatory staff there would routinely abuse the school’s residence with many of these desperate creatures passing away within the confines of those terrible walls and now the souls of the abused still roam the halls. Bagans and co. make it their mission to confirm the rumors. They soon find their answer when Zak and the crew are attacked by a coat rack as it’s hurled at them. An exacerbated Bagans calls out, “Who did that?” To which a response is whispered, “The girl did.”
9. Haunted – Cult of Torture (Season 2, Episode 3)
Season 2, Episode 3 of the A&E/Netflix docu-drama Haunted is a departure from the show’s predominantly paranormal focus. Cult of Torture may not deal precisely with the paranormal but it is certainly one of the fledgling series most terrifying. Based on the real-life torment of James Swift as he was raised in a Louisiana Christianity-based doomsday cult that specializes in gay conversion therapy. Swift, who was marked as gay before even knowing the meaning of the word, was subject to a plethora of torture at the hateful hands of the televangelist-led cult. He even suffered sexual abuse from his mother because she believed her advances would rid the “gay demon” inside her son. It is a harrowing episode that delves into the vulnerable psyche of a man wrought with surviving the horrors of the very people who purposed to love him.
8. Ghost Hunters – Hospital Horror (Season 1, Episode 12)
In Ghost Hunters’ Season 12, Episode 12 Halloween episode, Cousins Chelsea and Luke have bought Worley Hospital, a vacant-for-over-forty-years building that happens to be very haunted. It seems a former nurse who, used to work at the hospital and committed suicide there decades earlier, has never really left. The T.A.P.S. team encounters supernatural phenomena on every floor of the building as they investigate the case, but the levels of creepiness are raised when two of the investigators hold a hair-raising conversation with the suicidal nurse herself.
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7. Most Haunted – Standon Hall Part 1 & 2 (Season 19, Episode 8 & 9)
Britain’s longest-running paranormal reality show, Most Haunted has a long history of scary moments committed to videotape. Season 20, Episode 9 features a doozy. The Most Haunted team investigates this built-in-1910 hall where poltergeist activity is rampant. The team learns this the hard way when something hurls a kitchen knife at them… and that’s just part 1. Part 2 picks up where things left off and the team is dealing with the angry entity of Standon Hall. Two brave souls stay in the kitchen where the knife was thrown earlier as the rest of the team follow more noises upstairs. It isn’t long before to find a large metal shelf topples over yet another sharp implement whipped at the pair. You have to watch the rest to see just how zany it gets but don’t go into it in hopes of having all of your questions answered. You’ll have to watch part 3 for that.
6. Destination Fear – Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum (Season 2, Episode 12)
TLC’s Destination Fear’s Season 2, Episode 13 finds the D.F. gang in the dirty South. West Virginia’s Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum to be exact. Crew member Dakota has doubts about the team’s ability to combat the tortured souls hiding in the shadows of the cursed property, but leader Tanner believes they are up for the challenge despite facing a plethora of paranormal poltergeists. Among the many ghosts still roaming the halls of the hospital are a little girl named Lilly who was born in there, a man named Jesse who died of a heart attack in a bathtub, Civil War soldiers, and a patient who was savagely murdered by his roommates. The odds are certainly stacked against this group of ghost hunters and this episode certainly puts the fear in Destination Fear.
5. Buzzfeed Unsolved: Supernatural – Hannah Williams House (Season 5, Episode 6)
The Buzzfeed Unsolved: Supernatural Season 5 finale takes the usually silly premise of believer Ryan Bergara and skeptic Shane Madej investigating famously haunted locations to a decidedly spooky conclusion as they make a house call to Buzzfeed producer Hannah Williams home. Here Hannah and her family have been terrorized by an entity that walks around her attic at night, turns lights on and off, plays with the house’s alarm system. The investigators employ their usual bag of tricks including EVP recorders, a psychic, and even a spirit box. When they fire up the latter, they get some very chilling conversations from somewhere on the other side.
4. Haunted – The Slaughterhouse (Season 1, Episode 2)
Another episode from the creepy A&E/Netflix show Haunted is from Season 1, Episode 2, telling a real-life story of sisters, Terrilyn and Sadie, who were raised in what they nic-named the Slaughterhouse. You see, their father was a serial killer and a Satanist. He would lure lonely travelers to his home for a night’s stay before brutally torturing and murdering them as a sacrifice to the devil. The house, according to Terrilyn, who still lives there, is haunted by the souls her father laid to waste during his reign of terror. This episode is a hair-raiser as well as a hell-raiser.
3. Paranormal State – I Am Six (Season 2, Episode 13)
In Season 2, Episode 13 of the A&E show Paranormal State, Penn State University Paranormal Research Society director, Ryan Burrell, and his student-led club of ghost hunters travel to Quincy, Illinois to investigate a disturbing case involving a young woman tormented by a malicious spirit. 26-year-old Laura and claims she has been possessed by an aggressive entity. She has been beaten, choked, even drowned in the bathtub and if those troubling claims aren’t enough to make your skin crawl, the photographic evidence should do the trick. Laura supplies the Penn State researchers with startling evidence that shows deep scratches on Laura’s skin, spelling out profanities, and the demon’s ominous moniker, Six.
2. Ghost Hunters – Haunted By Heroes (Season 8, Episode 10)
In Season 8, Episode 10, of Ghost Hunters, the T.A.P.S. team returns to investigate the USS Yorktown, an aircraft carrier located in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina. The mighty boat was commissioned on April 15, 1943, and saw three wars before being decommissioned in 1970. Now it is said the sailors and pilots from World War II, Korea, and Vietnam still roam the claustrophobic corridors of the ship, lost and confused. It’s up to the T.A.P.S. team to identify these poor souls so the residing crew can honor their memories and perhaps give their families some closure. Out of the 141 souls lost on the decks of the Yorktown, at the very least one would make themselves known, or would they?
1. Ghost Adventures – Route 666 Parts 1 & 2
The Season 13, Episode 12 Halloween special of Travel Channel’s Ghost Adventures entitled Route 666 is everything the title hints at and more. Part 1 focuses on El Paso, Texas’ De Soto Hotel where Satan himself lives in the basement. Those that have the nerve to actually go into the hotel’s basement have said to experience a sense of dread so strong that it feels paralyzing. The second part finds Bagans and company at the Goatman’s Bridge in Denton, Texas where a demon who attacked three women resides. But is it really a demon or is does this bridge have a more tragic tale? The legend of an African American goat farmer who was murdered on the bridge at the hands of local members of the Ku Klux Klan in 1938 is another possible reason for the strange goings-on out at Goatman’s Bridge.
That brings us to the conclusion of Spectral Semantics: The Top Ten Spookiest Paranormal Reality Show Episodes. What’s your favorite Paranormal Reality show? What are your favorite episodes? Did we include them here or do you have a list of your own? Let us know over on Twitter, Reddit, Facebook, and in the official Nightmare on Film Street Discord. Not a social media fan? Get more horror delivered straight to your inbox by joining the Neighbourhood Watch Newsletter.