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America's Most Haunted Places 

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2004   2003   2001  

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Linda Zimmerman ...
 Herself 1 episode, 2001
...
 Himself 1 episode, 2001
James Caskey ...
 Author / ... 1 episode, 2001
Jenianne Fortney ...
...
 Dam Worker 1 episode, 2001
...
 Naval Officer 1 episode, 2001
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16 August 2001 (USA)  »

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Lacking in many areas, but still worth a look.
8 January 2004 | by See all my reviews

This short-lived series produced for the Travel Channel focuses on a different American city in every episode, and showcases what are supposedly the most haunted tourist attractions in each one. The show looks and feels the way you'd expect it to--that is, it uses the exact same format of every other documentary series on basic cable. Everything, from the goofy reenactments to the overly dramatic host to that trademark "slow-zoom-on-still-photographs-and-illustrations" effect, is completely done by the book.

The series is informative, and entertaining enough to hold one's interest, but it doesn't deliver in those areas where films about the supernatural are expected to. For one thing, the subject matter is presented very matter-of-factly, without any attempt to spook the viewer. This makes all of the genuinely scary stories and situations presented therein seem merely fascinating rather than chilling, and the boring narration and interviewees actually make some of them seem mundane. Secondly, the ridiculous reenactments and sheer lunacy of some of the "witnesses" and "paranormal experts" they choose to interview really put a strain on the show's credibility. True, the locations they visit in the series are supposed to actually be haunted, but on many occasions the validity of such claims is dampened by the eccentric interview subjects. Can't they interview more people, and filter the obvious wackos out during editing?

And lastly, but most importantly: WHERE IS THE GHOST FOOTAGE? In every single hour-long episode of this series, there is not a single photograph or video clip shown to back up their claims. And keep in mind that these are places where such photographic evidence is known to exist, and is actually easily available in books and on the web. Including this type of material would *greatly* improve this series, both by making it more believable and more interesting, and scarier as well. Unfortunately, the poor "dramatizations" that they opted for do the exact opposite.

Still, despite all my nitpicking, AMERICA'S MOST HAUNTED PLACES is worth checking out. Hardcore fans and believers of the paranormal and supernatural will benefit most from the experience, but even many casual viewers will probably take some interest. And the series does do a terrific job of promoting their locations, which should be expected (after all, this is the Travel Channel!). In fact, I may start making notes of some of these locations as future vacation spots. Anybody wanna accompany me to the Winchester Mystery House in San Jose?


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