It’s only fitting that I finished the first complete draft of my dissertation the same week as this blog celebrates its second anniversary. The “end” (ha, I have months of revision between now and the defense, which should be late May/early June) came at noon on the dot (at least it wasn’t midnight, folks) on Tuesday, January 17. And bizarrely enough, for a dissertation that was written completely out of order (Chapter 2 was first, then 1, then 4, then 3), the last words were actually the last words, the conclusion to Chapter 4. Waiting on comments from my adviser at the moment, which is nice because it lets me step away from the writing/revision process for a few weeks (during which time I owe Diabolique an article on gothic horror and soap operas). At the same time, I am about to get very cozy with the Chicago Manual of Style while I finally get my citations and bibliographical materials under control. Good news is, I appear to be on track to defend and graduate at the end of spring. So happy two year anniversary, “Horror Begins at Home” blog. I am in an infinitely better place now than I was when I started this thing. Horror might begin at home, but it doesn’t have to.
Meanwhile, I am spending my weekend in the snow and the mountains for some much needed R&R. And no, I am not taking my psychic five-year old son nor am I taking my alcoholic, failed writer husband. And I hope there are no frozen Nazi zombies up there (see Dead Snow).
The last little bit of the final chapter:
As a conclusion, it seems entirely appropriate to ask: are these families actually being helped by paranormal reality and the ghost hunters whose counsel they seek? The answer would seem to be, for the most part, yes. Episodes end with tearful and grateful clients, usually mothers, effusively thanking the respective investigative teams for their assistance, even when activity continues to occur after the ghost hunters depart.
Their individual gratitude stems not from the successful “busting” of the ghosts in their home, but from the validation provided through the attention and empathy provided by the investigators, as well as the mental health counseling referrals, improved relationships with family members, and an increased sense of safety and well-being in their home. Something might remain, but the family is now equipped to manage the phenomena and reduce conflict and stress among themselves. Through participating in paranormal reality television, haunted families are able to see themselves as members of a distinguished group, one whose members have experienced traumatic encounters, paranormal and otherwise, and have lived to tell the tale.
P.S. I keep worrying that I am going to open my chapters and see that all they are is this: