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Thursday, October 31, 2013

Sean Kelly

My Thoughts on 30 Ghosts

30ghostsThe documentary 30 Ghosts tells the story of Kim Hadfield, who is a horse farmer in rural Ontario, who moonlights as paranormal investigator.  Hadfield runs the Halton Paranormal Group, with a group of friends, and someday hopes to be an acclaimed paranormal investigator, with her own TV show.  However, it turns out that paranormal investigation is a very expensive passion and Halton Paranormal have to deal with the high costs of their investigations and the fact that they don’t have the best equipment.  Even though there comes times when Hadfield and the others question whether paranormal investigation is field worth continuing in, at the end of day, it’s all about being with friends and doing something that you enjoy.

30 Ghosts caught my attention about a year ago, when the film was featured as part of Hot Docs’ DocIgnite crowd-sourcing program, which I happily donated to.  I was attracted to the fact that 30 Ghosts was a documentary about a group of paranormal investigators, which is a subject that very much interests me.  I have always been intrigued by stories of ghosts and hauntings since I was a kid and, even though most people don’t believe in such things, I like to keep an open mind. Plus, it’s fun to go on ghost walks and learn the macabre history of places, especially in a city like Toronto.  Paranormal investigators have become popular in recent years, through a wave of ghost hunting reality shows, which I admit that I stay away from, due to their somewhat hokey and staged nature.

As it turns out, 30 Ghosts is much more about the investigators than the investigations.  Even though there is some ghost hunting at play in the film, the film is more about Kim Hadfield and why she has decided to make a career out of investigating hauntings.  It is obvious throughout the film that paranormal investigations is a huge passion for Hadfield and she is willing to stick it out, even though she and her team don’t have the proper equipment and often go on investigations, where they find no signs of any paranormal activity.  The film becomes progressively more about Hadfield herself and, towards the end, the film features a very emotional moment for her, which, even though it has nothing to do with paranormal investigations, ends up being one of the key moments of the film.

The film attempts gives skeptics and non-believers a voice by having a representative of the Ontario branch of, skeptical organisation, Centre for Inquiry interview Hadfield about the validity of her investigations.  It’s no real news that paranormal investigations are often dismissed as pseudoscience, especially when much of the group’s findings are based on audio recordings, which can have a much more rational explanation.  However, even though 30 Ghosts does give skeptics a voice, I don’t really believe that the goal of the film is to prove or disprove the validity of paranormal investigations.  All that counts is that these people believe it and are willing to do all that they can gather the evidence to prove it.

The title of 30 Ghosts comes from a quote from Arthur C. Clarke, which says that “behind every man now alive stand thirty ghosts, for that is the ratio by which the dead outnumber the living.”  While this documentary is unlikely to convince you that ghosts are real, it still gives the message that you should persevere and stick with your passions, no matter how weird they may seem.

8 | LIKED IT

P.S. It was actually revealed just last week that Halton Paranormal Group was selected to be the subject of an upcoming reality show, which is scheduled to shoot next April.

Sean Kelly

About Sean Kelly -

Sean Patrick Kelly is a self-described ├╝ber-geek, who has been an avid film lover for all his life. He graduated from York University in 2010 with an honours B.A. in Cinema and Media Studies and he likes to believe he knows what he’s talking about when he writes about film (despite occasionally going on pointless rants).