Now Streaming: “Haunted” on Netflix

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From the middle of October until the end of the month, a popular pastime is finding ways to celebrate fall. In particular, great numbers of people want to be scared. Haunted houses proliferate, Halloween-themed party stores suddenly occupy previously empty buildings, and the scent of pumpkin spice is everywhere. However, for those who want to partake in the spookiness of the season without leaving home, there is “Haunted” on Netflix.

About “Haunted” on Netflix

For most people, “Haunted” is a different kind of horror series. Begun in 2018, “Haunted” began its second season in 2019. The fact that the show continues illustrates that there are fans. However, the show’s premise and approach is unique.

Instead of showing where the incident(s) occurred, using a narrator and actors to dramatize the horror and interviewing the affected party in a context of contemporary time, “Haunted” places the person who experienced the haunting in a semi-dim room, usually like a large living room, along with people important to them and “confess” that they have experienced paranormal activity.

That was definitely the scenario in season one. With season two, the set up is the same, but some of the people with the speaker have lived through the same experience. Others in attendance have not. Still, re-enactors bring the scenes alive for viewers. When most participants tell their stories, they are not without emotion. There are tears and downcast eyes. Sometimes it is from the terror of recalling the event; sometimes the emotions stem from the stigma associated with paranormal claims. No one wants to be seen as the “crazy” person who had an interaction with a ghost.

Yet, millions of people are tuning into shows with the same theme as “Haunted,” if not the same setup.

At any rate, the stories on “Haunted” are scary. While lately the show has come under fire for possibly fictionalizing one episode that seems to detail the work of a serial killer in a family, mostly the episodes seem like the modern day equivalent of gathering around the fire and listening to a scary story. And, whether or not the stories are real, if they scare audiences, they have succeeded.

“Haunted” shows audiences that whether they have experienced paranormal activity or not, the phenomenon is real for some people. For the show’s participants, the opportunity to work through their emotions and maybe get over the trauma they lived through is an indication of the show’s more serious work.

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Dodie Miller-Gould is a native of Fort Wayne, Indiana who lives in New York City where she studies creative nonfiction at Columbia University. She has BA and MA degrees in English from Indiana University-Purdue University, Fort Wayne, and an MFA in Fiction from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Her research interests include popular music and culture, 1920s jazz, and blues, confessional poetry, and the rhetoric of fiction. She has presented at numerous conferences in rhetoric and composition, and creative writing. Her creative works have appeared in Tenth Muse, Apostrophe, The Flying Island, Scavenger's Newsletter and elsewhere. She has won university-based awards for creative work and literary criticism.

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