Paranormal State – S04E01 – Suicide Possession

After a long break Paranormal State is back again with Ryan at the helm. Really about the only thing different is that Eilfie was missing from the lineup. Maybe she had midterms or something.

For this episode Ryan is called out because Tony and his wife are having problems with spirits in their home. They hear voices telling them to hurt themselves, they see visions of themselves committing suicide, and Tony is being drawn down to the basement to drink his sorrows away. Certainly doesn’t sound good.

During the background check PRS does find out that two deaths have occurred in the home. One, involved a man possibly falling down the stairs while intoxicated. The other involves a girl who may have overdosed on sleeping pills. They certainly ham up the drama by showing the stairs and Lorraine Warren saying she thinks someone fell down them. They do the same effect when speaking of the girl and the pills. This seemed really cheesy to me. It’s the first episode of the new season so you have to build that dramatic tension.

Right before 3am as they’re investigating they begin to hear noises and a door slams on them. Katrina and Heather check the place out but don’t find and real reason for the noises. At least they get up and check out the noise rather than just sitting on the couch wondering what happened.

During the light of day they check out the house and find it has really high EMF readings. And not just in one spot, but throughout the entire house. The place is pretty much off the scale. As I’m sure you’ve read elsewhere, high EMF readings are usually attributed to people feeling nauseous, having a sense of being watched and hallucinations. Basically it makes you think you’re having a paranormal experience. Jay and Grant would use the term "fear cage" to describe the effects. Now, why the investigation didn’t stop here until they got their wiring issue worked out, I’m not sure. I guess that doesn’t make good television. Ryan says the high EMF is just bringing in more spirit activity so they still have a demonic force running around. He and Lorraine then jump to demonic possession and say that Tony needs him some Jesus in his life. They call for an exorcism.

This seems like a really big leap to me. They are really jumping on this exorcism bandwagon these days. It’s becoming their cure-all for unexplained problems. Mental illness sounds way more plausible for this type of behavior, but I guess demonic possession is sexier and gets better ratings. And Lorraine bases some of her demonic ramblings on the look Tony has in his eyes. She says it’s just not human. Funny how frustration, stress and lack of sleep look so similar to demonic possession.

As if on queue Tony begins mumbling about he hears things, has voices telling him to lash out, that he has crazy violent feelings for no reason and that perhaps his dabbling in the occult when he was a teenager has come back to bite him in the ass. Once again, none of these could be mental issues which are going undiagnosed and are aggravated by being bombarded with EMF 24 hours a day. They pretty much disregard any thoughts of mental issues, stress or anything else which might explain his behavior and go right for exorcism.

They do the exorcism and send Tony off to church. There is no mention of sending him off to see a doctor or counselor. There is no checking into his medical history to see if there might be another explanation. There is really no investigation into his current life to see why he might be acting out. Does he hate his job? Is he trying to get away from his wife? Does he have an addiction he doesn’t want to talk about? Jumping on the exorcism bandwagon seems way too over the top with the complete lack of evidence in hand. This show went off the rails pretty quick.

After watching this show for the past three seasons, and especially with the antics of last season (Return of Six), it seems to me that ninety percent of the people Ryan runs into are in the midst of having some sort of breakdown more than anything else. Perhaps saying you have a ghost in the house is better than saying you’re suffering from depression or have mental illness.

It’s interesting that in the first season they were more apt to debunk most of the claims people made, but now they seem to latch onto anything which might say a place is haunted.

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