Hidden figures lurking in shadowy corridors, bruises surfacing with no reasonable cause and a screaming child dragged inside a solid wall: True Horror’s tale of the Ghost in the Wall was petrifying.
This week’s goosebump-inducing episode on Channel 4 followed the Bennettses, a family who believed their home was haunted by a ghost attempting to break through the walls.
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But this wasn’t just a normal ghost: the family thought it was the spirit of Jimmy, the troubled late father of dad Jason. And pink-haired mum Sam, who Jimmy never approved of, believed this ghoul was out to steal her children. This conjured up a touching and terrifying tale of a mum fighting this paranormal presence, defending her loved ones from unexplainable hauntings.
But there was an important detail to this story that C4 missed out: mum Sam works as a professional “clairvoyant medium”. Although the show seemingly depicted a fairly normal family, the Bennettses had been invested in the paranormal well before the events portrayed in True Horror.
As Sam Bennetts says on her website, she’s been a “tarot reader since the age of 13” and always “very interested in spirit energies”, and now even has a “certification in Psychic Counselling (Psy.D)”.
And not only has Sam performed live medium shows and written about her paranormal experiences (see book Clairvoyant or Crazy?), she also conducts paranormal investigations at home with her children.
Here’s one of her recent ghost hunts for Jimmy that caused her daughter to shed a few fearful tears…
So, why didn’t True Horror reveal Sam and her family are still actively trying to detect this apparent ghost? Why did the show steer away from her mediumship? After all, although Ofcom lays out very tight regulations on paranormal programming, there was no reason to skip over this fact.
Did Channel 4 simply feel that revealing Sam’s profession made this episode less believable? Would viewers start questioning whether a medium – somebody emotional and financially invested in the paranormal – could really give an objective assessment of a puzzling phenomenon?
That’s not the reason it was cut, say the filmmakers. “We talked a lot about whether to describe [Sam] as a medium. But[in the show] she’s obviously somebody who has a deep spiritual belief,” said True Horror executive producer Joel Wilson. “But at all times we were trying to keep to a streamlined dynamic narrative that drove the story forward and was as compelling a story as possible.”
“We wanted to avoid any deviation from that. Mentioning the medium thing would open up a line of discussion that we would have to pursue. I’m sure some people will feel there was stuff that we should have put in that we didn’t, but you can’t put everything in.”
And he might have a point: if True Horror dedicated more time to explaining Sam’s mediumship, the show wouldn’t have included as many scenes of spine-tingling tension ending with a spit-out-your-cuppa jump scare.
We’ll let you decide whether that’s a good thing or not.
True Horror continues Thursday 3rd May at 10pm