A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this sometimes-scary docudrama series tells real people's stories about experiences with the paranormal. Episodes include dramatic re-enactments of ghostly appearances, children being frightened in bed, angry arguments between parents, and occasional injuries as a result of contact with spirits. Stories also sometimes include potentially upsetting family details -- like a father becoming a heavy drinker or a mother becoming seriously ill. Some episodes contain religious elements, such as a priest performing an exorcism and asking Jesus Christ to cleanse a house.
What's the story?
Docudrama series A HAUNTING tells the stories of people affected by paranormal experiences, using dramatic re-enactments and interviews, spooky music, flashes of scary images, and somber narration. For example, one episode documented the childhood experiences of Billy Bean, whose happy family slowly crumbled after they moved to a house filled with strange noises, eerie sensations, and occasional apparitions. As Billy describes it during the show, his father developed a drinking problem, his teenage sister left home, and his mother developed serious health issues as a consequence. The episode features interviews with many of the people involved in the story, including the priest who performed a blessing on the house.
Is it any good?
These first-hand accounts -- along with the accompanying dramatizations -- build a scary tale that will frighten many children and even give some teens the creeps. While the re-enactments are poorly acted, the repetition of certain frightening scenes (along with the other dramatic elements) creates a real sense of foreboding. Creepy music and skittish camera work provide most of each tale's "documentation," but scenes occasionally include real violence. In one episode, for example, a woman wakes to find a ghost with a bloody facial scar strangling her, and in another scene, a family finds themselves under siege in their own home, with books flying off the shelf and furniture slamming against the walls, sometimes hitting and injuring people. In other words, if you don't like scary stories, this one's probably not for you (or your kids!).
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the supernatural. Do you believe in haunted houses, spirits, or paranormal events? What about the possibility of contacting the dead? Has anyone in your family had a brush with the paranormal? Is the idea of a spirit world scary or comforting? What do you know about other cultures' beliefs about the paranormal or spirit worlds? Why are we drawn to ghost stories and other tales of the supernatural? What's their appeal?