Paranormal Witness



Startling viewers is main goal of "documentary" series.

What parents need to know

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

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."

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

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.

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.

Families can talk 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

Genre:Reality TV
TV rating:NR

This review of Paranormal Witness was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.


Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

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.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.
Read more

See more about how we rate and review.

About Our Rating System

The age displayed for each title is the minimum one for which it's developmentally appropriate. We recently updated all of our reviews to show only this age, rather than the multi-color "slider." Get more information about our ratings.

Great handpicked alternatives

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

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 towards you in the darkness, the utter sensation that you're not alone. This sense of ominous terror is what fuels Paranormal Witness, a horror documentary series dedicated to the testimonies of ordinary people who have allegedly seen extraordinary things. Ghosts, demons, haunted houses, you name it, it's been covered. That being said, PW does have a very deceptive feel to it, as if we're missing something. It might just be that people on the show are talking for other people. While this does remove a layer of the tensity and the scares, PW is scary as heck and conjures a sense of dread that will easily split up the grown-ups and the kids.
What other families should know
Great role models
Too much violence
Parent 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 editing techniques are intense--the sound effects especially. One episode had scenes that reminded me of the movie the Exorcist. The episode on Big Foot does not belong on the show. Same goes for Werewolves. These phenomenon are not considered supernatural in nature, more like mythology or folklore. The episode on UFO's was interesting, but then again, I don't think it should have been included in the show. Sometimes the way the story was told did not seem cohesive and in some cases it seemed as if the people telling them lacked common sense. Just like a typical slasher film where the characters do things and you ask yourself, "why did they do that"? It's as if their survival instincts betrayed them. Another thing I agree with the writer of this article on: they should bring an outsider onto the show, like a scientist and psychologist, who can ask the story tellers some questions and offer other possible explanations. I think that would definitely improve the quality of the show. I don't think younger kids should watch this--I wouldn't let them. Would probably shake them up pretty badly, keep them up all night or give them nightmares.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Kid, 10 years old June 15, 2013


three words scary, dumb, fake
What other families should know
Too much violence


Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Star Wars Guide