The UK-based satellite TV channel, Living TV, runs a program called 'Most Haunted'. Once in a while they have a live-TV event.
There's one on now, in the days leading up to Halloween. I have mixed feelings about the show: while it stimulates public interest in my subject area, it does encourage a lot of people to do very silly and dangerous things.
I'm not just talking about the paranormal, either. People will wander around allegedly haunted locations without checking the area in daylight first. Holes in the ground, broken floors, loose masonry and so on are not clearly visible at night. I hope most will have the sense to check their location first but I'm certain many won't.
What's possibly worse is that the show's presenters will call out challenges to spirits, sometimes with a cruel or impatient tone. Sometimes they deliberately try to provoke malign spirits into a reaction. That's like going into a Glasgow pub and throwing a beer at the biggest guy. You know the one: the man-mountain with three teeth and a head shaved so as to emphasise the absence of a forehead. Then expecting him to react by tapping the wall. If you want to talk to spirits, don't follow the examples on that show. Ghosts are dead people. They react to tone of voice the same way you do.
If you're watching the show, be aware that any spirits that might be around your house might not be able to tell the difference between a TV voice and someone in the room. That challenge to spirits goes nationwide. Something that needs to be thought about, I'd say.
The show prattles on about orbs far too much. Orbs are bunk. They've had better events on the program, but spoiled a few of them. I mentioned before about the moving object caught on film - but it wasn't all in shot. There was much to-do about a scratching in the walls of an old house. Old houses can be occupied by mice. That's what these noises sounded like. Nonetheless, they have sometimes come up with events that have no obvious explanation.
The current live show will include five locations. The locations have been chosen to form the five points of a star. As the producers take great delight in telling us, they are forming a pentagram of ghostly activity in preparation for Halloween. A pentagram the size of the UK. Possibly the biggest pentagram ever formed. They will provoke and annoy spirits at the points of this star, in the run-up to one of the most highly charged times of the year.
I don't know about you, but my first thought on hearing this was 'You f*%&ing idiots'. My second and third thoughts followed in similar vein.
The spirits are not toys. They are not there for us to play games with. Some of them are unreasonable. A few are downright nasty. All can be empowered by certain shapes, sounds, even (in some cases) just by thinking about them. A pentagram is not just a pretty shape from some past era of thought. Seances aren't parlour tricks. There are many who use these things in a playful or fraudulent manner, but they are like children playing 'cowboys' with real guns.
I don't know what will happen when a pentagram is formed on this scale. It's never been done before. One thing's for sure, I'm very glad I'm currently at the north end of the country, and therefore nowhere near the middle of it. That might not be a pleasant place to be.
Normally, magical practitioners would stand inside their circle and compel spirits into a triangular 'containment area'. In this case, the spirits are being agitated and provoked within the circle itself. That's not good.
With luck, it won't work. With luck, their angles won't be right, the star points won't be set into a true circle, the pentagram will be incorrect and fail. The thing is, I don't know how much tolerance is acceptable in these figures. I don't know how close to perfect they have to be. I don't know the exact locations of their investigations. They're keeping that quiet to avoid drawing crowds.
What happens if it does work? I've no idea. I suspect it won't be good.
It will certainly be interesting to watch. From a safe distance. If there is one.