Paranormal Media: Audiences, Spirits and Magic in Popular Culture, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Paranormal Media

Audiences, Spirits and Magic in Popular Culture, 1st Edition

By Annette Hill


224 pages

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pub: 2010-11-03
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The paranormal has gone mainstream.

Beliefs are on the rise, with almost half of the British population, and two thirds of Americans, claiming to believe in extra sensory perceptions and hauntings. Psychic magazines like Spirit and Destiny, television shows such as Fringe, Ghost Whisperer and Most Haunted, ghost-cams and e-poltergeists, bestselling books on mind, body and spirit, and magicians like Derren Brown have moved from the outer limits to the centre of popular culture, turning paranormal beliefs and scepticism into revenue streams.

Paranormal Media offers a unique, timely exploration of the extraordinary, unexplained and supernatural in popular culture, looking in unusual places in order to understand this phenomenon. Early spirit forms such as magic lantern shows or the spirit photograph are re-imagined as a search for extraordinary experiences in reality TV, ghost tourism, and live shows. Through a popular cultural ethnography, and critical analysis in social and cultural theory, this ground-breaking book by Annette Hill presents an original and rigorous examination of people's experiences of spirits and magic. In popular culture, people are players in an orchestral movement about what happens to us when we die. In a very real sense the audience is the show. This book is the story of audiences and their participation in a show about matters of life and death.

Paranormal Media will be a highly interesting read for undergraduate and postgraduate students, as well as academics, on a wide range of television, media, cultural studies, and sociology courses.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1. Ordinary and Extraordinary Chapter 2. Spirit Histories Chapter 3. Paranormal in Popular Culture Chapter 4. Armchair Ghost Hunters Chapter 5. Psychic Tourists Chapter 6. Experiences Chapter 7. Beyond Magic Chapter 8. The Audience is the Show Chapter 9. Transformative Acts

About the Author

Annette Hill is Professor of Media at the Communication and Media Research Institute, University of Westminster, UK. She has authored numerous books and articles on television and popular culture, including Restyling Factual Television (2007) and Reality TV (2005).

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
PERFORMING ARTS / Film & Video / History & Criticism
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Media Studies