Nearly twenty years ago paranormal reality television became a smash hit thanks to shows like Ghost Hunters and Paranormal State, and since then, there’ve been countless additions to the genre. Hit shows are often a combination of compelling cast members, unique takes on interesting subjects, and spectacular timing, but sometimes, no matter how great a show is, they’re brought to an end far too quickly.
We’ve listed a few of the best paranormal television shows that deserved to stick around a little longer. These five short-lived series will scare you, take you on thrilling adventures, and on top of it all, maybe even teach you a thing or two about what’s waiting for us on the other side.
There’s a lot to say about Destination America’s 2014 series Ghost Stalkers, and it’s all good. Hosted by Supernatural regular Chad Lindberg and veteran paranormal researcher John E. L. Tenney, the intriguing premise of the series had both men spending the night all alone inside some of the most haunted buildings in the country. Because of the duo’s varying levels of experience, Chad having been a brand new ghost hunter at the time, watching them both experience the same place alone differently was one of the most compelling elements of Ghost Stalkers. Tenney’s level-headed approach paired with Chad’s contagious enthusiasm struck a perfect balance, making the series’ six-episode run immensely watchable.
The show was executive produced by Ghost Adventures creator Nick Groff, who is currently starring in Destination America’s Paranormal Lockdown. The success of Lockdown (which has included a guest appearance from John E.L. Tenney), has lead Ghost Stalkers fans to believe that there might be a second season in the works, but according to Tenney, the show was only planned as a six episode event, and even if it were to return, it probably wouldn’t be as effective.
“Ghost Stalkers in it’s original form just wouldn’t work now,” Tenney told us. “One of the original ideas was to show two people with vastly different experience levels of research. Chad originally had no real involvement with paranormal investigation, so he was learning how to control himself. Now years later, he has more experience. We wanted people to watch someone grow into becoming an investigator. So that concept of the show is gone forever.”
There were other ideas which we tried to explore, like near death experiences, gateways to parallel realities, the nature of life after physical death, etc., but the “true” reality is that most viewers want to see a scary story and not have to think about the deeper questions about paranormal phenomena which remain unanswered.”
At least we’ll always have the re-runs.
Aside from being one of the coolest takes on the ghost hunting genre in recent history, Syfy’s Ghost Mine is hands-down one of the most beautifully shot reality shows ever on television. Hosted by paranormal investigators Patrick H.T. Doyle and Kristen Luman, Ghost Mine sends the duo deep into the remote Oregon woods to investigate the insanely haunted – and possibly cursed – Crescent Mine. They join a fantastically entertaining team of superstitious miners hoping to reopen what was once one of America’s richest gold deposits.
Ghost Mine is undeniably immersive and takes great care to carefully unravel a rich and spooky story that unfolds thought its two seasons. Unfortunately, the series ended its run on a pretty massive cliffhanger, meaning we’ll probably never get the answers to the mysteries of the Crescent Mine.
I know what you’re thinking, but trust me, it seems that Jack Osbourne does know his paranormal stuff. Haunted Highway, which debuted on Syfy in 2012, takes hosts Dana Workman, Jael de Pardo, and Devin Marbles on a road trip to investigate not just ghost sightings, but eerie urban legends and cryptozoological creatures as well. Shot entirely by the cast via hand held cameras and GoPros, there’s a very fun adventurous feel to the series that’s easy to get into, and has, on more than one occasion, inspired me to start planning a paranormal road trip of my own.
Despite the found-footage spin and celebrity casting of Jack Osbourne, the heart of Haunted Highway centered around the adventures they chose to seek out. Instead of focusing on big legends, the series stuck to investigating smaller, lesser-known locations like Shades of Death Road or the Arizona Domes (three years before Ghost Adventures popularized the location). In an era of Bigfoot overload, we got adventures in search of the Bear Lake Beast or the Utah Skinwalker.
Unfortunately, the show was cancelled after just two seasons.
Syfy’s 2013 series Stranded was executive produced by Destination Truth and Expedition Unknown’s Josh Gates and horror power-producer Jason Blum, and if you’re a fan of MTV’s Fear or Scariest Places On Earth, you will absolutely love this unfortunately short-run series. Each episode of Stranded follows a group of friends as they visit a different haunted location, where they’re stranded for an entire week. Like Haunted Highway, the show is filmed via hand cams and GoPros, which goes a long way toward immersing us in the experience of being stuck on a haunted island in the middle of nowhere.
I’m a huge fan of shows that cut out the camera crew and let the hosts truly experience their surroundings, and Stranded has done the best job at recreating those early ghost hunting television vibes. After just six nerve-wracking episodes, Syfy pulled the plug on one of their best ghost hunting reality shows.
Psychic Kids managed to respectfully touch on a sensitive topic that, for many, remains taboo: children who believe they may have psychic abilities and the parents who didn’t know how to help them. Hosted by seasoned psychics Chip Coffey, Kim Russo, and Chris Fleming, Psychic Kids spent two seasons bringing a lot of comfort and guidance to families of children who were trying to understand their unique abilities.
Had it been given a few more seasons, it would have been fascinating to see the children featured in the earlier episodes of Psychic Kids a few years down the line for updates on their development. Fortunately, Chip Coffey regularly takes to his Facebook page to update his followers on where the Psychic Kids are now. It’s no third season, but it’s more resolution than most shows get.