My mother got me hooked on the paranormal including ghosts, haunted houses, beasts such as Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster, and aliens with abduction stories as well. As I grew older, I began to get into such variants as the Wendigo, the Men in Black, and the Lake Champlain Monster.
As such I also grew up watching a smorgasbord of shows that revolved around the paranormal.
#5: Leonard Nimoy’s In Search Of…
Air Date: 1977 – 1982
This show, hosted by Star Trek legend himself Leonard Nimoy, was one of the earliest progenitors of exploring the supernatural and paranormal realms. My parents had taped numerous episodes and with the advent of media sites such as Youtube, it’s fairly easy to find most of the episodes still to this day. Nimoy was a solid host and the show did a good job covering all sorts of subject matter without confining itself to certain topics.
#4: Haunted History
Air Date: 1999 – 2001
Narrated by John Glover, the show was a solid piece of fun that managed to combine historical lore and legend with hauntings and ghostly manifestations. It was a good show that had a pretty brief run but its significance can still be felt with the modern day airings of shows with the exact same title. The show itself tended to lean more on the history aspect but some of the reenactments were good and they tended to cover a pretty wide variety of areas and subject matter above and beyond the well known that every show had covered.
#3: Haunted Lives: True Ghost Stories
Air Date: 1991 – 1992, 1995 – 1996
This show actually had two hosts with Leonard Nimoy and then Stacy Keach. Like I said, my mother has always gravitated towards ghosts so that was the predominant “creature” I sought out and this show delivered pretty solidly despite being only 3 specials rather than a long running show but the specials were all really memorable and seared into my brain.
The very first special had several stories I still can practically write out scene by scene but the second special really stayed in my memory, especially the story: Unfinished Business due to a scene in the reenactment that was right out of a horror movie where the son is underneath the porch and suddenly his deceased father appears right next to him. The third special featured the infamous location in Kentucky of Bobby Mackey’s Music World.
Air Date: 1992 – 1997
Hosted by Tim White this series was absolutely pivotal for any child growing up in the 1990s and its best relation to the paranormal realm is to the Sallie House hauntings during the mid-1990s. The show often had more of a professional sheen to it as a result of airing on the Fox Network during the era of The X-Files, which helped set it apart from contemporaries, along with the variety of subjects covered. The fact that the show got itself involved with the Sallie House was very revolutionary for the paranormal show field in general and was a precursor to the modern day Ghost Hunting plethora of shows that have driven themselves onto various networks.
#1: Unsolved Mysteries
Air Date: 1987 – 2002
I’m only focusing on the first run of the series as Robert Stack’s voice was so iconic that it made him a household name just for narrating the clips and the memorable theme song certainly didn’t hurt. While the series primarily focused on real life mysteries including kidnappings, heists, and murders it did sometimes deal with the paranormal. I remember as a kid being terrified upon seeing the reenactments that accompanies the show’s presentation of The Chupacabra when that was just becoming a big deal nationally. The show didn’t do the paranormal often but when it did, there was a greater sense of seriousness to the subject matter, more than most shows often delivered and part of that could be attributed to Stack’s voice.
So those are my top 5 paranormal shows from my childhood but what were yours?
Credit to optionboost.com for feature image