How realistic was Paranormal Activity 3?

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I saw Paranormal Activity 3 and enjoyed the movie. Most movies dealing with paranormal scares are wildly over-the-top.  Nobody believes in these special effects; CGI doesn’t scare anyone.  The Paranormal Activity movies are effective because they produce the illusion of reality.  A hallway light mysteriously turning on and off can be a more chilling then computer-generated monstrosities.

As reported on Reuters: “Paranormal” is arguable the most profitable film property of all time. The first installment, made for a mere $15,000, grossed $193.35 million worldwide. The second, made for $3 million, grossed $177.51 million worldwide.  And the third, which opened Friday, opened to $54 million — the highest-grossing opening weekend for a horror film ever and the biggest October opening ever. Its budget: $5 million.”

People respond to the paranormal!  These movies succeed because they feel real.  That is their whole premise.  Plus, it is a fairly family friendly movie compared to other horror movies.  Which begs the question: how realistic was the paranormal activity portrayed in the movie?

The movie is about a demonic poltergeist.  Poltergeist activity, as reported in real life, starts out with small knocks and such and may progress towards more significant occurrences such as objects being thrown.  There is a number of convincing documented poltergeist cases.  Skeptics dismiss these events as hoaxes or the result of children’s pranks.  However, when some of these cases are looked at in detail, we discover compelling evidence for the reality of poltergeist activity.

Paranormal Activity 3 shows some realistic activity, such as the manipulation of electronic devices (lights turn on and off), unexplained noises, even objects being pushed or hurled.  Those effects have been reported.  I also like how there is a delay between events.  Paranormal events occur infrequently.

The movie certainly exaggerates what has been described in true poltergeist situations.  An invisible force lifting someone off the ground by the hair makes for a good scare, but is not likely.  For levitation, the energy required to lift something off the ground and remain suspended in the air is much greater then to push or hurl something.  The paranormal is not supernatural.  The laws of nature still apply to a great extent.

SPOILER ALERT!  I will discuss a plot topic.  Don’t read further until you have seen the movie!

One aspect of the movie that struck me as pure Hollywood make-believe is the source of the demonic entity.  Witches!  Not real life Wiccans but the devil-worshipping witches depicted centuries ago.  Such “witches” never even existed.  Broom flying, Sabbath attending, shape-changing witches were a fabrication of Christian superstition.  Today it’s hard to imagine people were once tortured and executed in the name of hunting witches, but it happened.

To revive the evil witch stereotype is an insult to all the people who actually died because of this superstition.  I’d prefer the movie let the nameless entity remain a mysterious force.  The unexplainable is scarier and truer.  If this movie franchise begins to explain everything with typical Hollywood solutions, it will fail.  Keep it real!

5 Responses to “How realistic was Paranormal Activity 3?”

  1. oracle Says:

    1583 P. Stubbes Second Pt. Anat. Abuses sig. I8, The corruptions and abuses of the spiritualtie, or (as some call it) of the ecclesiastical hierarchie.

    1825 Scott Betrothed ii, in Tales Crusaders II. 44 You of the spirituality make us the pack-horses of your own concerns.

    1727 B. Willis Durham in Surv. Cathedrals 232 The Temporalities of Durham are valued at 1233l. 4s. 2d. and the Spiritualities at 494l. 19s. 3d.

    1726 J. Ayliffe Parergon Juris Canonici Anglicani 200 They are Guardians of the Spiritualities during the Vacancy of the Bishoprick.

    1675 J. Owen Nature Indwelling Sin iv. (1732) 35 The more of Spirituality and Holiness is in any Thing, the greater is its Enmity.

    1787 W. Cowper Let. 2 Oct. (1982) III. 37 That spirituality which once enliven’d all our intercourse.

    1883 H. Drummond Nat. Law in Spiritual World (1884) 89 No spiritual man ever claims that his spirituality is his own.

    1651 J. Saint-Amard tr. F. Micanzio Life Father Paul 152 He was never knowne to use any hypocriticall actions,?not to speake with affected Spiritualities.

    1825 J. Neal Brother Jonathan III. 428 The very dogs were lying about?as if they were?a species of new, four-footed spirituality.

    1681–6 J. Scott Christian Life (1718) ii. vii. 543 They who are to be judged being, by reason of their spirituality, in a Condition to attend to every one’s Trial while they are undergoing their own.

  2. oracle Says:

    Who among us is most pure? Are your preferences organic or GM?

    The genetically modified foods controversy is a dispute over the relative advantages and disadvantages of genetically modified (GM) food crops and other uses of genetically-modified organisms in food production. The dispute involves biotechnology companies, governmental regulators, non-governmental organizations and scientists. The dispute is most intense in Japan and Europe, where public concern about GM food is higher than in other parts of the world such as the United States. In the United States GM crops are more widely grown and the introduction of these products has been less controversial.

    The key areas of political controversy related to genetically engineered food are food safety, the effect on natural ecosystems, gene flow into non GE crops and corporate control of the food supply. While it is not possible to make general statements on the safety of all GM foods, to date, no adverse health effects caused by products approved for sale have been documented, although two products failed initial safety testing and were discontinued, due to allergic reactions.[1]

    Most feeding trials have observed no toxic effects and saw that GM foods were equivalent in nutrition to unmodified foods, although a few non-peer-reviewed reports speculate physiological changes to GM food. Although there is now broad scientific consensus that GE crops on the market are safe to eat,[2] some scientists[3] and advocacy groups such as Greenpeace and World Wildlife Fund call for additional and more rigorous testing before marketing genetically engineered food.[4]

  3. Isaac Says:

    I have to disagree with your assessment of there not being demonic witches. To deny such a claim merely because it does not fit into ones views or experiences is superstition. There are records from the ancients which would show otherwise. It is well known that a deity named Molok had many followers who would sacrifice their children to him. There are tales of women priests who were the priestesses of many of the Middle Eastern temples of prostitution and there is no telling what went on there. The Aztecs used strange symbology in their mass sacrifices of thousands of people. Jack the Ripper used occult rituals and symbols. Go look at some of the teachings of the church of Satan, and other such like groups, which followers like Charles Manson represent. And these are just the ones documented and well-known.

    It takes much arrogance to think that you know about everything that has went on in history and what goes on today. Just because some people in the small town of Salem executed 17 witches out of misplaced fear does not invalidate claims of many who have experienced the occult. You obviously haven’t been down in the third world countries where strange things happen fairly often. You should read some of the accounts and experiences with people in Haiti and Jamaica concerning voodoo; and also many tribes in the Brazilian rain forest in their experience with witch doctors and centuries of tribal warfare based on “spirit” guides leading them to continue to slaughter each other.

    Yours is a classic case of reading your own modern experiences into the past and looking at the ancients as if they had no grasp on reality like you do. The movie may have exaggerated some elements, but if you think all witches are white witches you have greatly fooled yourself. And why don’t we stop crying about 17 witches that were killed based on misplaced fear, and stand against the true evil that is out there which would slaughter millions of Jews in Europe and millions of Christians in Russian, and all in the name of the modern mythology of “scientific progress” and “human enlightenment.”

  4. David Says:

    Hi Isaac,
    For sure there are pagan witches. I was referring to witches that worshipped the Christian Satan, the Devil of the bible. There is no evidence that Christian-Devil worshippers historically existed. Books like the Malleus Maleficarum largely invented the whole concept of the devil-worshipping witch.

  5. Shorty Says:

    I definitely agree with David that “Toby” should have been kept as just a force to be reckoned with. The fact that Christian belief really didn’t work on him proves that his character was beyond religion. This is a bad example because its fictional however, in Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles, I can’ recall which book but it speaks of the spirit whom possessed Akasha who then would be the “mother” of the vampires. He spoke to the twins (Maharet and Makare) about being around for so long that some human civilisations did worship him as a deity but he only encouraged them because he was so bored; time meant nothing to him for he almost seemed eternal. The fact that the creator(s) of Paranormal Activity tried to explain such a being in a human sense is almost like the average Joe stumbling across Cthulu and living to tell the tale with clarity!

    As far as the Wiccan/Witchcraft footnote in the movie; that is absurdity and insulting. The fact that they used an inverted pentagram is a classic Hollywood insult to those whom actually practice Wicca because that symbol is more for Santanists who btw are still part of the Christian faith.

    Unfortunately with authors such as Scott Cunningham and “Silver Ravenwolf” or some random so called Priests and Priestesses writing their own views to shove down people’s throats (much like their Christian counter parts), people still believe that there are two sides to the coin when it comes to Wicca/Witchcraft when there is no such thing.

    Being a Witch means to be witty and wise but many Wiccan followers are no such thing because they do not educate themselves on life – for instance a lot of Eastern influence says that there is balance and the only way that balance can exist is through acceptance – accepting that things are the way that they are and leave it at that.

    If a true Witch took that into account then they would understand that “magik” in itself is neither good nor bad; it just is. Its a person’s intention to use magik that makes it “good” or “bad”. But therein lies the problem, yes? Someone believing something is good can be bad in another person’s view; that is where acceptance comes in.

    BTW that Triangle symbol thing is actually a Christian symbol dealing with Solomon..

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