Editor’s Note: Due to the recent influx of lower IQ readers from the Paranormal State forums, we thought we’d drop a quick note here to save ourselves the trouble of getting any more emails containing some variation of the phrase “LMFAO u moreons i sawed this show last night! lolz”. Those are a hoot to read and all, but this is how a person of normal intelligence would process this article:
Step 1: The date of this article is conveniently located under the title. Compare that to the first airing date of the “Lady Vampire” episode. You’ll see that it was written well before.
Step 2 : Notice the follow-up article titled “A Response From Dawn:” – it’s written by the mother featured in this particular episode and points out (in her own words) why the show was initially pulled, and how it got back on the air.
Step 3 : If you genuinely needed these instructions because you’re too lazy/dumb to look at a date, stop watching Paranormal State. It’s for your own good, and the good of the world as a whole.
To the general public, I apologize for this interruption. To the PS forum tards, thanks for the page views.
I’m not usually the type of person who isn’t willing to give something a second chance to redeem itself. You could call it my Achilles heel. With that being said, I decided to put my extraordinarily good-natured powers of forgiveness to the test against season two of “Paranormal State”. The experiment has led me to these two conclusions: that
B) Ryan Buell has managed the impossible feat of setting the bar for those hoping to be inducted into the creepy douche bag hall of fame.
Congratulations Buell, you’ve succeeded Mr. Buck, my 8th grade science teacher. He wore bow ties and tried to look down girls’ shirts. Way to go, buddy.
The episode in question was entitled ‘Lady Vampire’. Now the interesting thing about this particular episode is that it was originally scheduled as episode five of this particular season, yet after appearing shortly via “On-Demand” cable, it was banished from television, never to be seen from again.. except briefly on YouTube. Paranormal State’s production company and their network A&E have even gone so far as to erase it from the original season two roster. Fortunately for you, and unfortunately for me, I happened to be lucky enough to have wandered across it before it got deleted from YouTube; afterward I was none too surprised by it’s consequent removal.
The episode opens with Buell and his PRS subjects coming to the rescue of Dawn, a single mom whose five year old daughter Lola is reportedly experiencing paranormal phenomena of the “Vampire” kind. The usual suspects in the order of setup are present for the now familiar client interview. Ryan sits looking pensive, bracing for his close-up, while poor Dawn the client demonstrates her obvious hysteria. Between the bouts of sobbing, it’s learned that Dawn has recently moved into a new home, and that prior to the move her five year old daughter Lola had no difficulty sleeping on her own. In fact, there was no reported paranormal contact of any kind. Lola is now having trouble sleeping in her new bedroom, which consequently is located on a completely separate floor from her mother’s. Oh, and we can’t forget to mention that two inches from the foot of Lola’s bed is the door to the attic; the supposed safe haven for “the spirit.” Cue the child psychologist, whose analysis of Lola is so clearly edited to shreds that you can practically hear her adding ‘however’ to each statement before they cut away. It’s important to note that during the case briefing, team member Katrina (who is usually the only PRS associate with a scrap of intelligence and like-ability) explains that Lola has also been given examinations by doctors and counselors who found nothing wrong. I call “bullshit.”
Now, I’m not eluding to the possibility that Lola wasn’t scared out of her mind, but what I am saying is that there is no way a psychologist or doctor failed to deduce that there’s probably a very good chance Lola is upset because…
A) she’s been relocated and
B) that she’s expected to sleep soundly a level away from her mom in a room with a door, that in every child’s imagination, opens at night to expel every monster conceivable: the attic.
No educated doctor or counselor figured that out? I highly, highly doubt that. Malpractice suit or not, that didn’t stop PRS director Ryan Buell from wholeheartedly agreeing with the client by saying, yes, in fact, there probably is a vampire-ghost-lady stalking your little girl.
At this point in the episode, Dawn has rapidly progressed past her already volatile hysteria, understandably worried about the safety of her little girl. I guess from Ryan’s point of view, there’s really no time to establish rationality or reason within a panic-stricken woman’s mind when you’re busy being a ‘warrior’. Most importantly, not when there are ratings at stake. From a production standpoint, it’s a good thing they didn’t sooth Dawn’s fears, because then PRS and their crew would have missed out on the opportunity to show up on scene after a hysterical, three AM phone call from her. The PRS warrior buddies’ knack for sidestepping rationality was just enough to ramp the woman up enough to necessitate a late night rescue mission. If any other investigative team were to handle a ‘client’ with those set of standards, they would be deemed irresponsible and burned on a pyre of public humiliation. Period. Not once in the episode is the location of her bedroom or the locality of the attic door approached as a possible explanation for why Lola wouldn’t want to sleep in her own room at night.
Cut to a day later and the Dawn, daughter, and team are back at their residence composed and ready for ‘Dead Time’. It begins and ends with a sitting Ryan on Lola’s bed dawning a sleeping mask and a Shakti Helmet. What the hell is a Shakti helmet, you ask? It’s this hilarious-looking little contraption you strap to your head that’s meant to emit EMF waves into your brain in the hopes of inducing psychic ability. Yep, it’s a psychic helmet. Where’s Professor X?
With the helmet strapped to his head, Ryan describes the feeling of something touching his leg, hearing a humming sound, and smelling something old. Then he blows chunks. Just in case you’ve forgotten, I’ll take this moment to remind you that there is, in fact, a helmet piping EMF waves directly into his brain while he sits next to an attic door. After that, well, nothing really happens. Dawn the client is happy just knowing someone is able to “feel what Lola is going through.” I am happy just knowing Ryan Buell harfed on national television. At this point it’s clear that the director and producers are scrambling to wrap up the episode as quickly as possible, because really, who needs a genuine conclusion when you’ve got all those awesome shots of your “star” being a hero – minus the vomit of course.
During the last few minutes of the episode Ryan asks Dawn to demand that the “spirit” leave Lola alone. Dawn complies with his demands and, conveniently, at that precise moment, Ryan, and Ryan alone, happens to hear something whisper the word “okay.” Of course, no one else in the goddamn room hears it, much less the viewing audience.
During the follow up interview a day later, conducted outside during daylight in order to generate a sense of closure, we learn that Lola has slept soundly through the whole night, although we aren’t told whose bedroom she slept in. With that, the episode wraps up with another happy ending for the PRS shitheads. High fives all around.
So what the hell just happened? Did they get rid of the entity? Do psychic helmets fix vampire infestations? Why isn’t everyone using these contraptions if they fix the problem so easily? None of these questions are ever answered. In fact, I really have no idea what PRS did besides stoke some woman’s fears and puke in her house.
In all honestly, I think that it’s important to mention that I’m not agreeing or disagreeing with the plausibility of paranormal occurrences that were or were not possibly happening in that house. I’m confident that both the mother and child believed that what they were experiencing was something otherworldly. What I am questioning is a team that states they’re motivated by a desire to “help” people and further explain the existence of paranormal phenomena. I saw nothing during that episode that would lead me to believe their stated objective. In spite of what the paranormal community would regard as irresponsible behavior, I watched a television show that blatantly ignored logical observations that pretty much any schmuck would come to. And what’s worse, ‘Paranormal State’ demands that it’s viewers just accept their far-flung explainations with no apologies. Fitting PS into the category of paranormally-themed television does a huge injustice to this community because that’s not what it’s portraying. At best, it’s a “reality” television bastardization of the distant truth. One where Ryan Buell gets to play the tormented hero, where every investigation gets a stamp of paranormal authenticity, where entertainment is derived from real people’s fears, legitimate or not. Fears that might have be eased by bringing a little common sense into the mix. I, being involved in the paranormal community myself, don’t take part in home investigations for this very reason. I have a difficult time believing anyone of us paranormal enthusiasts have the right to meddle in people’s private lives, but I would hope that those investigators who do would approach situations like this one would do so with extreme sensitivity and logic. Unfortunately that doesn’t always make for “good” television.
Since this episode’s air date, there have been plenty of rumors floating around the internet as to why the episode was even pulled in the first place; everything from a disgruntled parent threatening to sue, to the episode having been just too freakin’ far fetched for even A&E to be comfortable airing. As a viewer, and a person with a long-standing interest in the paranormal, I took offense to the entire 22 minutes; I think anyone in the paranormal community who might have actually watched ‘Lady Vampire’ would probably feel the same way: irritated that they’re being asked to accept this kind of trash as “reality.”