There was a time when Most Haunted was quite the very thing with us viewing-wise – both Living TV’s Tuesday series and the long weekend wingdings of Most Haunted Live, with its awkward anchormen and studio experts with a stack of old books by way of research material; laptops and the internet being strangely somehow verboten.
But the point is to my yesterday’s post about ghosts and an obligation (I’m supposing) to have no truck with the trappings of the present – and the provocation too that however much we brand ourselves early-adopters, technophiles and whizzes, should we find we are dead and tasked with mooching about old haunts, as old haunters, would we have it in our weary wherewithal to keep up our interest in invention and innovation that’s progressing in a world we’ve no business to know of?
One of our very most favourite aspects of Most Haunted was when Yvette used to command the resident spirits, or those in visitation, to announce themselves by interacting with the present-day technologies laid on by the crew.
‘If there’s anyone there,’ she’d belt out, ‘make yourselves known by interfering with the channel frequencies on the playback monitor.’
‘Are you there, Mary, love? If so, can you affect the circuitry on the VDU?’
At which request the Jacobean witches would pause and shrug to one another – she wants us to do what, now?; and our Georgian Mary glaze over and out through a door that’s not there anymore; with pre-incident Derek Acorah trying in vain to lure her back with his trademark coo of ‘pretty petal’; Yvette spitting bitches at a witch.
Anachronism, of course, makes for some of the fun of it. Were a 17th century wraith be au fait with the electronic equipment of today, or the 1970s, even – which is to say the naming thereof, or the purpose of the wooden box on wheels with its curved grey window – then we’re faced with another aspect of the spectrals: one that is all about keeping up and getting with the programme. It’s a kind of Darwinism for the Afterlife, requiring that the most informed ghosts are the ones by whom we’ll be most, and most effectively haunted.
© All content. Steve Mitchell, Fisher Lane, 2012