Is Paranormal Activity Real? What the Movie Got Right

Find Out Is Paranormal Activity Real and What It Says About Ghosts

Paranormal Activity
How much of the activity is accurate?. DreamWorks Pictures / Paramount Pictures

The film Paranormal Activity has become a phenomenal sensation around the country, primarily because many viewers found the low-budget movie terrifying. Some thought it did not live up to the hype generated around it, but it made quite a lot of money on a small budget. And with the found-format footage, many wondered if it was real.

​Is Paranormal Activity Real?

While the documentary-type style is convincing, the movie is a work of fiction.

However, events like those portrayed in the movie can happen in real life.

There were many things that the characters did correctly in that situation. On the other hand, there were things that the film did not get quite right. Many areas were exaggerated and the characters did some things that are not recommended by paranormal researchers.

Types of Poltergeist Activity

For the most part, the film accurately depicted the kinds of phenomena that occur with a poltergeist or haunting:

  • Lights and appliances going off and on by themselves.
  • Unexplained noises, such as bangs and raps on the walls, that cannot be accounted for by natural means. Very often, the location of these noises is hard to pinpoint.
  • Mysterious voices and whispering.
  • Covers and sheets being pulled off a sleeping person.

Escalation of Activity

As happens in the film, poltergeist activity most often starts slowly, even with subtlety. It might start with a few mild unexplained noises every once in a while.

Then they become more frequent and louder. Then the peculiarities with the lights, TVs and other appliances might begin.

Paranormal Focus

Paranormal Activity was also correct in indicating that such activity very often centers around an individual rather than a place. She was correct in telling her boyfriend that it probably would not have mattered if they fled their apartment; the activity would have stayed with her.

Activity at Night

Most of the paranormal activity in the movie occurs at night, and essentially this is very often the case. Poltergeist and haunting activity certainly does take place during daylight hours, but it seems to happen more often at night.

Shadow Forms

In the movie, a person-shaped shadow is seen passing across the couple's bedroom door. The sightings of such "shadow people," as they have come to be known, are becoming more and more common. Shadow people are not always connected to poltergeist and haunting activity, but they can be. And, as the film depicts, they can manifest as fleeting shadow forms across a door or wall, but they can also have far scarier shapes. There are reports of these shadow people appearing to be opaque or even solid-looking black masses that stand or move in an open space, such as a hallway or the middle of a room. In other words, in these cases, they don't seem to be shadows cast on a surface, but like solid beings.

Physical Contact

The woman who is the object of the poltergeist or haunting activity in the movie is affected physically by the mysterious force, receiving scratches and a bite mark. Does this kind of violent physical contact really happen?

Yes, it does, but in very rare, extreme cases.

The Paranormal Investigator

The film did a pretty good job in its depiction of a good paranormal investigator and an initial interview. He wasn't some over-the-top "psychic" lunatic. He asks reasonable, careful, intelligent questions, at first attempting to eliminate natural causes for the activity. He isn't alarmist and doesn't scare his clients with proclamations of demon infestations, or that they should vacate their apartment immediately. In general, he gave them good advice.

He is also correct in recommending another investigator when he becomes uncomfortable with the things he was sensing.

What the Film Got Wrong

​While the film got a lot of things right, it also misrepresented some paranormal phenomena.

Physical Contact

In addition to the scratches and bites, the woman also is eventually dragged down a hallway, feet first, by some unseen entity.

While this may not be impossible, such extreme physical contact is unlikely.

Spirit Possession

    In the film, the woman is possessed and attacks her partner.

    While some people have claimed to be possessed after committing murder, the evidence of such an occurrence happening is slim.