And then I watched it some more. In the month or so since I first stumbled upon it, I have deliberately watched 25 to 30 episodes of Celebrity Ghost Stories. It's fabulous. And awful. Its sheer awfulness may well be the most fabulous thing about it.
In each episode, three or four celebrities share their personal paranormal experiences. The show appears to define "celebrity" somewhat broadly, but many of the faces, if not all the names, are instantly recognizable. Just in case, though, each segment is introduced with a white-on-black, all caps Powerpoint-style graphic briefly detailing the storyteller's celeb credentials as well as providing a teaser for the upcoming tale of the supernatural.
These teasers are set to ominous music and make strategic (and melodramatic) use of ellipses. For example:
[Screen One] LORENZO LAMAS, THE SON OF ACTORS FERNANDO LAMAS AND ARLENE DAHL, IS CONSIDERED HOLLYWOOD ROYALTY.
[Screen Two] YEARS BACK, HE AND HIS FAMILY WERE VISITED BY ANOTHER ESTEEMED MEMBER OF THE HOLLYWOOD COMMUNITY...
[Fade in]...WHO HAD ALREADY PASSED.
The stories feature first-person ghostly and spiritual encounters of all kinds and are told in narrative monologues. Threaded through the on-camera shots of the present-day celebrity seated in front of an unadorned green and black backdrop is the dramatic reenactment of the celebrity's ghost story. With few exceptions, the tone the celebrities use to relay these extraordinary happenings is calm and matter-of-fact, which only serves to highlight the over-the-top hysteria of the reenactments.
While I believe paranormal phenomena are possible in the abstract, I do not find most personal experience stories to be especially credible, which is not to say I think people who tell these stories are being deliberately untruthful. Rather, I know that eyewitness testimony of all kinds is notoriously unreliable and then add to that the vast number of these occurrences that take place just upon waking or just before falling asleep or (as in the case of numerous celebrities) in the presence of drugs or alcohol of various quantities, it just seems likely to me that many, many of these specific stories are more likely explained by less otherworldly means.
I think I watch Celebrity Ghost Stories more as a "Whose Going To Turn Up Now?" sort of thing than as a documentary on spooky stuff. A recent episode featured Natalie from Facts of Life, Dr. Spencer Reid from Criminal Minds, Rhoda from The Mary Tyler Moore Show, and Jamie from Charles In Charge. Some of the most surprising guests have been Sugar Ray Leonard, Dick Cavett, and Joan Rivers.
At this point, I'm close to burning out. I'm sure the moment is coming soon when I will shut off an episode mid-way through and never watch the show again, but in the meantime, I'm going to enjoy every awful, fabulous moment.
Masked Mom's One-Word Review: Awfabuloful.
G is for Ghosts
*New episodes of Celebrity Ghost Stories appear at 8 p.m. on bio.