10 Scariest Paranormal Television Shows For Spooky Season – Screen Rant

From Portals to Hell to Ghost Adventures, plenty of spooky paranormal TV shows have given viewers nightmares. Which is the scariest of all?
With Halloween on the horizon, movie theatres are full of horror movies, from Halloween Ends to Smile, but some spooky season fans prefer something a little more grounded, and looking for the perfect TV series to chill them to the bone. Paranormal shows have always been a good source of scares, and the best have even left viewers with a week's worth of nightmares.
Whether they were long-running ghost hunting shows like Ghost Adventures or recollections of true accounts like Haunted, the realm of the paranormal can be scarier than any horror flick. While TV is inundated with countless paranormal programs, only the spookiest of spooky is worth watching for a truly frightening experience.
Of all the people to usher viewers into a descent of paranormal phenomena, Jack Osbourne wouldn't normally be the first person to come to mind, but nevertheless, he hosts Portals to Hell. The series sees Osbourne team up with paranormal investigator Katrina Weidman to look into some of the most haunted locations in the United States.
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Though the format seems overworked, Osbourne makes for a great host, and the show really hones in on the history of the locations they investigate. Aside from simply investigating hauntings, Osbourne and Weidman also try to get to the bottom of why the locations seem to be hotbeds for paranormal activity. The show's title isn't just a gimmick, and the series is extra frightening because of just how concentrated the hauntings seem to be.
Though the show sparked speculation as to its veracity, Netflix's paranormal sensation Haunted left many viewers absolutely chilled. The series interviews real people who recount personal tales of nightmarish horror, many of which deal with the paranormal.
From the ghost of a serial killer's victims to horrific cults, the show had a much grander scale than the usual talking head ghost show. The reenactment sequences were also much more well-made, and they added another layer to the scares. Though they weren't all winners, the scariest stories from Haunted were some of the spookiest in TV history.
Even if the viewer doesn't believe in the paranormal, many of the creepy locations featured on Paranormal Lockdown are enough to give them goosebumps. The show follows a pair of paranormal investigators who shut themselves up in extremely haunted locations for 72 hours in an attempt to capture evidence.
Generally considered one of the best ghost-hunting reality shows, Paranormal Lockdown avoids the pitfalls of its contemporaries by not stretching too far for evidence. The locations are spooky enough on their own, and there is very little of the contrived "proof" that a lot of other ghost shows put forth as evidence of ghosts' existence.
While it wasn't the first ghost hunting show, Ghost Adventures set the standard for what a paranormal TV show could be. A trio of experienced ghost hunters set out to some of the world's most haunted locations to secure proof of ghosts' and demons' existence.
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Host Zak Bagans' over-the-top personality might be grating to some, but he added a certain flair to the show and make it stand out from the pack. With years of episodes and a plethora of one-off specials, the Ghost Adventures crew has seemingly left no stone unturned in the pursuit of spookiness. Nevertheless, they still manage to creep both themselves and the audience out year after year.
Paranormal shows often haunt the halls of old manors and abandoned asylums, but My Haunted House brought the terror to the streets of suburbia for an extra harrowing experience. Done in an interview style with reenactments, the show tells the stories of average people who find that their dream homes have become a nightmare thanks to ghosts.
The mundane nature of the show's environs only serves to make it more terrifying, and the seeming prevalence of ghosts is enough to keep viewers up at night. The biggest takeaway from the show is that hauntings can happen anywhere, even in the house of the average paranormal TV fan.
Ghosts aren't the only paranormal beings that inhabit the United States, and cryptids have been a part of folklore for centuries. Monsters and Mysteries in America aimed to pull back the curtain on some of the strangest and most terrifying beings that lurk in the dark corners of the United States.
Scarier than even the freakiest monster movies, the spooky tales of beasts like Mothman and Bigfoot are made all the more frightening by the real-life recollections of those who saw them. Whether they are paranormal or simply undiscovered animals the show leaves it up to the viewer, but either way, it is a scary concept to contemplate.
Not limited to one country in particular, Scariest Places on Earth is a globetrotting descent into hair-raising locations. The documentary-style series shows off some of the creepiest places around the world and focuses on the people who had the unfortunate honor to experience them in person.
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Without an anchor character like in other paranormal shows, the viewer is almost left alone in the nightmare-inducing places, and there is an eerie loneliness to the experience. Every aspect of the show was meant to induce fear, and if the spooky visuals weren't enough to chill, then the narration from Zelda Rubinstein is truly nightmare fuel.
Not usually known as a destination for paranormal content, MTV served up a truly terrorizing program when they aired Fear. The competition reality show pitted people against one another as they were locked in haunted locations and required to participate in spooky challenges.
While it would have been easy to simply shoot the show on a set, Fear instead opted to use actual haunted locations which were extra spooky. Highly ranked among MTV's best reality shows, the series only lasted a few short seasons, but it often managed to scare the viewer almost as much as the contestants.
Bringing to life so much more than just ghost stories, Paranormal Witness featured interviews and reenactments of harrowing encounters with the unknown.
Ghosts are the show's bread and butter, but there are also a host of stories involving UFOs and other unexplained phenomena. The interviews are so much more in-depth than other shows, and the passion with which the stories are told really helps to add gravity to the personal tales of supernatural terror.
Talking heads and reenactments are quite prevalent in paranormal TV shows, but few got the formula right quite like A Haunting. Featuring testimony from the actual people involved, the show chronicles spine-tingling encounters with the paranormal and brings them to life with spooky reenactments.
Recreating someone's actual experience can sometimes lead to unintentional humor, but A Haunting sticks to the "less is more" approach for maximum terror. The stories are all quite plausible-sounding, and throughout it's long run, the show has remained true to its format and never opted for anything obviously fake.
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Dalton is a freelance writer and novelist from Orlando Florida. He currently lives in Los Angeles and pursues writing full time. He is an avid reader and film buff.


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