Finding a solid television offering in the summer time is a lot like finding compelling paranormal evidence. You have to wade through a lot of useless stuff, but every once in awhile you find something that’s worth your time. SyFy’s new show, Fact or Faked: Paranormal Files, which made its debut last night, helps take the guesswork out of popular viral videos, using scientific experiments to attempt to recreate filmed events in order to determine if they’re indeed paranormal, or the result of clever filmmaking. The result is a reality show that comes across as part TMZ, part MythBusters, yet still manages to feel entirely fresh and is, I think, more satisfying that anything SyFy has put out in a long time.
The cast is comprised of former FBI investigator Ben Hansen and reporter and Destination Truth star Jael De Pardo, who work alongside a scientist and stunt, photography and effects specialists. They team up to find online videos of alleged paranormal activity, and then they ask the following questions to determine which cases to pursue: Is the footage compelling? Is the witness credible? And, most importantly, can we test it?
From there, the show follows them doing exactly that; this first episode featured footage of a ghost car captured by a police officer in Savannah, Georgia, and a Phoenix lights UFO video that was documented by a photographer/documentary filmmaker. The team splits up to work on each case, where they come up with ways to recreate the video, using a scientific approach, some ingenuity and a healthy dose of skepticism (which is always refreshing, especially considering how we feel that the some of the shows SyFy offers have become perhaps a bit too sensationalistic as of late). We see them test out the experiments, and the results are pretty interesting. I won’t go into too much more detail here about their findings and spoil it for everyone who hasn’t seen it yet, but it’s definitely worth checking out.
You can learn more about the show here; it airs on Thursdays at 9pm on SyFy.