Paranormal State

Common Sense Media says

Eerie docuseries explores the spirit world.





What parents need to know

Positive messages

The series is more creepy than educational and focuses heavily on evil and demonic possession. Buell isn't an ordained minister or therapist but considers himself to be a "warrior" against spirits. Team members have various religious backgrounds, but many Christian rituals are shown. One team member is an occultist. PRS members are Caucasian men and women.


Discussions about people being murdered and their spirits coming back. Descriptions of violent acts performed by angry spirits and demons. Very creepy tone overall.

Not applicable

Words like "damn" and "hell" are audible; stronger words are bleeped.

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this eerie reality series explores alleged paranormal activity affecting both children and adults. The discussions about ghosts, demons, and the occult may be frightening for young kids (and those who just get freaked out by that sort of thing). Expect some use of language like "damn" and "hell" (stronger words are bleeped). The show includes footage of Christian rituals like prayer, sprinkling holy water, and exorcisms.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

PARANORMAL STATE is a docuseries that chronicles the research activities of a team of college students who investigate alleged cases of paranormal activity. It centers on Pennsylvania State student Ryan Buell, whose frightening childhood experience with what he believes to be a supernatural entity prompted him to create the Paranormal Research Society (PRS) in order to help people find explanations for strange things happening around them.

Is it any good?


Buell and his senior team members spend hours training students and investigating cases that range from strange noises to alleged demonic possessions. Trained therapists and members of the clergy often join them. The team uses electronic voice phenomena, video cameras, and other technology to monitor visitors from the "beyond." Cleansing rituals -- including the use of holy water, prayer, and exorcisms -- are used to push spirits away and bring peace.

The series attempts to present paranormal research in a way that's both clinical and informative. And Buell tries to sound scientific by keeping a "director's log" (which sounds oddly like something straight out of a Star Trek episode). But the show is more eerie than educational, as viewers watching while the team tries to communicate with the spirit world during "dead time" -- the time of night when paranormal entities are most active. Furthermore, Buell's frequent discussions about fighting evil make this series darker than other shows that deal with "the other side" and might be too frightening for young and/or more sensitive viewers.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the different ways that the media uses the idea of ghosts and spirits to entertain audiences. How do movies like Ghostbusters, The Exorcist, and The Sixth Sense depict the paranormal? Why do people purposely choose to watch things that will frighten them? What's the appeal? And what role does the belief in spirits, ghosts, and the paranormal play in our lives and in our culture?

TV details

Cast:Eilfie Music, Ryan Buell, Sergey Poberezhny
Genre:Reality TV
TV rating:TV-PG
Available on:DVD, Streaming

This review of Paranormal State was written by

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About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Teen, 13 years old Written bycode2264 March 22, 2009


it can be scary only 1 scared me cuz it had an exersiam. (im hard 2 scare too)
Kid, 11 years old July 31, 2013


I watched this show when I was six or seven. Some violence and disturbing imagery. If you or your kids have nightmares easily, this may not be the best show for you :). Ok for mature kids.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Teen, 16 years old Written bynajjahanderson April 26, 2012

Beware it may be true

I believe that this is a great show but it isn't for every body specially if you have a problem with things that you may not believe is real.


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