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Paranormal Witness

TV review by
Matt Springer, Common Sense Media
Paranormal Witness TV Poster Image
Startling viewers is main goal of "documentary" series.

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 5 reviews

Kids say

age 14+
Based on 7 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

Although the show relies on firsthand testimony, there is little attempt to place the supernatural occurrences in any kind of context that might suggest these events are anything but the interference of otherworldly forces.

Positive Role Models & Representations

While it is hard to avoid skepticism when hearing these firsthand accounts of unexplained phenomena, those impacted frequently exhibit a high degree of bravery, understanding, and tolerance for their extreme circumstances.


Little direct physical violence depicted graphically onscreen, but alleged paranormal attacks frequently involve extreme and unusual assaults. For example, one family attacked by a "demon" reports having random objects in their home thrown in their direction and an arson attempt by this "spirit." While there is not a high degree of explicit violence involved, these encounters are filmed with an intensity that creates heavy tension for the viewer, as though a more graphic depiction were presented.


Occasional sexual content related to the paranormal events depicted, but exposure is limited to typical basic cable standards, with no nudity or explicit language of any kind.


Very occasional use of "damn" and "hell."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this "documentary" series uses very intense editing and filmmaking techniques to recreate unexplained events. These sequences are light on explicit violence, but would prove extremely disturbing to children and any particularly sensitive teens. The show relates stories of alleged paranormal activity as told by those who experienced it, including photography and video of the incidents as available. However, there is no attempt to provide any alternate explanations or skepticism toward the events, which creates a highly skewed viewing experience.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bytvconnoisseur May 29, 2015

An Actually Worthwhile Paranormal Reality Show

I really don’t know how to put it. Maybe it’s because of the reenactments, but I think it’s mainly because of an unidentifiable atmospheric element.
Adult Written byTeri L September 16, 2013

Can be scary at times

I'm an adult and a few episodes of this show had me on the edge of my seat--even startled my pet pretty badly! I agree with the writer of this article, the... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written bySamuel M. September 3, 2013

Paranormal Witness: The scariest documentary known to man

"Keep telling yourself it's not real, but it is." The feeling of icy cold breath on the back of your neck, hearing footsteps grimly slithering to... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old December 4, 2012


This was the most terrifying show ever!!! I watched it at a friends house, and the episode "man in the attic" was absolutely petrifying. My friend was... Continue reading

What's the story?

Ghosts, demons, unexplained phenomena -- these are subjects often described with skepticism and treated as quasi-fiction. PARANORMAL WITNESS relies upon direct testimony and documentation, including photos and videos, to attempt to take an unfiltered look at these strange occurrences, utilizing reenactments as well to attempt to bring these stories to life.

Is it any good?

Paranormal Witness is a "documentary" series created with a very specific, if very sizable, audience in mind. This is a show for people who either already believe in the supernatural, or who are inclined to believe given the flimsiest degree of evidence. If you tune into this series waiting for the typical scientist or psychologist to appear with their alternate explanation for events, you'll be waiting a long time.

It's definitely gripping television, and the techniques the series uses in its reenactments to create tension and suspense have an impact. It's also hard to confront the experiences that the interview subjects actually had without wondering if there wasn't something unexplained involved. But without any attempt to examine these experiences from anything but the most accepting and believing viewpoint, Paranormal Witness becomes just another way to tell spooky stories around the glowing LED of your television set, instead of a glowing bonfire in the woods.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the techniques the show utilizes to create its reenactments. Did the editing and filming make an impact on you?

  • Do you think the show makes a convincing argument for the existence of ghosts? Why or why not?

TV details

  • Premiere date: September 7, 2011
  • Network: Syfy
  • Genre: Reality TV
  • TV rating: NR

For kids who love to be scared

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