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Series / A Haunting

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"In this world, there is real evil in the darkest shadows and in the most ordinary places. These are the true stories of the innocent and the unimaginable. Between the world we see and the things we fear, there are doors. When they are opened, nightmares become reality."

A Haunting is a ghost-related Docudrama series airing on the Discovery Channel from October 2005 to November 2007 and resuming October 2012 on Destination America. Each episode features a story that may or may not be grounded in reality. The story is reenacted by actors on camera and interviews with the eyewitnesses are featured in the hour-long program. The locations and intensity of any given haunting varies from episode to episode. Sometimes features Spooky Seances and Spirit Advisers.

The show A Haunting shows examples of the following tropes:

  • Abandoned Laboratory: Featured in several episodes.
  • Big Fancy House: Usually at low, low prices.
  • Cat Scare: In "Demon Child", the older daughter is briefly startled by her pet cat.
  • Christianity is Catholic: Averted. Catholic priests do appear to perform exorcisms, but other types of ministers also help combat the hauntings.
    • We've also seen clergy members from numerous other belief systems. In one rare instance, the victim in question called in a pair of Wiccan priests to perform a cleansing. Unfortunately, it only made things worse.
  • Creepy Basement: This comes with the package if your house was a funeral home, as the family in "The Haunting in Connecticut" learns.
  • Creepy Cemetery
  • Crossover: One of the episodes, "Gateway to Hell," features the location of Bobby Mackey's Music World. This location has been shown in multiple other paranormal investigative features, including Ghost Adventures.
    • The Johnson family in the episode "Echoes of the Past" were also featured in the Ghost Hunters episode "Shadow People".
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Often used as backstory.
  • Cute Ghost Girl: Or at least Cute Young Adult Ghost.
  • Death of a Child: A lot of the ghosts are children, but a more prominent example is in "A Haunting in Ireland" where the ghost in question was a baby that was killed because his mother wasn't married.
  • Demonic Possession: Several of the episodes have some form of this. In the episode "The Exorcism of Cindy Sauer", this happens to the titular Cindy and it gets to the point where her son loses his faith because of it. Unfortunately, while the entity was exorcised, it still keeps coming back.
  • Don't Go in the Woods: In "Dark Forest", the family buys a house located in the New Yorkan countryside, surrounded by forest.
  • Electromagnetic Ghosts: In most of the episodes, ghosts mess with amplifiers, televisions, radios, drills, cars, and toys.
  • Eldritch Abomination: Some of the demons that are shown approach this, if not nearly completely embodying it.
  • Evil-Detecting Dog: Well, they don't always detect evil, but the pets of the haunting victims are always the first to know there's something off. This usually doesn't end well for the animals; in one episode, a horse had to be put down, and in "A Haunting in Georgia", the family dog ran away and the family never found him.
  • Exorcism: Usually, in some form or another. It's easier to count the episodes where one doesn't happen, however, it has varying levels of success. In one episode, they use a smudging instead of an exorcism.
  • Extremely Dusty Home: Or dirty home. This tends to happen when a place sits abandoned for a long time.
  • Footprints of Muck: In one episode, the owner of a haunted house found black footprints going from floor to the walls and to the ceiling.
  • Ghostly Chill: Occasionally.
  • Ghostly Goals: More often than not, the ghosts have something tying them into the living world. However, this played for a bonus when the some of the ghosts remain in the living world to protect the haunted from a much worse entity and, in another episode, even a baby can have one, as he wanted a mother.
  • Ghost Story: The premise of the show.
  • Haunted Heroine: Or Hero.
  • Haunted House: About half the episodes are set in houses, including both of the pilot episodes. The rest are set in a variety of locations, including cemeteries, bars, and even a haunted apartment. On rare occasions, it's the people themselves who are haunted.
  • Haunted House Historian: They pop up in a lot of the episodes.
  • Humanoid Abomination: Some of the ghosts and demons when they make themselves known or seen border if not embody this trope fully.
  • Indian Burial Ground: The cause of a number of hauntings from the show.
  • I See Dead People: Four or five of the episodes feature children who are shown conversing with the Ghost of the Week.
    • Several episodes also deal with people coming to accept their ability to see dead people.
  • Jump Scare: Comes with the nature of the show.
  • Living Shadow: Some of the hauntings feature this, but the eponymous Big Bad in "The Shadowman" embodies this to a T.
  • Mama Bear: Weirdly enough, we get this from a ghost in "Sallie's House" when the ghost of Sallie's mother attacks the husband of the family, not of the mother, because, according to the psychic, the husband wouldn't accept Sallie (he didn't believe in ghosts).
  • Monster Clown: One of the illusions that a haunted house creates to scare its owner's child's friend is a phantom clown.
  • Not-So-Imaginary Friend: The episodes "Demon Child" and "A Haunting in Georgia" have the parents thinking that the entities their kids talk to are imaginary friends. They're dead wrong.
  • Our Ghosts Are Different: In one episode, the haunting didn't come from any passed on, actually, it came from the haunted herself, where the poltergeist came from her unaddressed mental health.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: Man from "Demon Child" looks oddly vampiric with his utterly pale skin and disturbing facial features. He's apparently some sort of ghostly vampire that becomes stronger by corrupting young victims into malice. Whatever he is, it's very clear that the consequences of failing to get rid of him with this trope in mind could be dire indeed.
  • Spooky Photographs: Used to tell what is present in the house.
  • Stringy-Haired Ghost Girl: Several have been shown, usually demonic.