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HOWARD ROSENBERG / TELEVISION

Which Creep Shows Have a Ghost of a Chance?

September 30, 1994|HOWARD ROSENBERG

Yet "Sightings" somehow remains seductive, if only because the exotic claims it chronicles--from alien abductions to disembodied souls acquiring human form--cannot be entirely discounted.

Even though most seem pretty loopy.

*

A couple of weeks ago, "Sightings" checked in on a "frightening entity" that was terrorizing a family somewhere in the Midwest, capturing on videotape its "hours of bizarre ghostly activity." Look, there on the wall, a dark blotch. Was that the shadow of a frightening entity or what?

It turned out that the entity was a long-dead girl named Sally, whose presence could be detected by a "swirling frigid aura," after which, if she really got ticked off, she would inflict deep scratches on the body of the husband in this household.

And look, it was happening right there on the screen. The camera zoomed in on the guy's arm, which bore bloody scratch marks. "Sally, stop it," demanded the man's wife. Then a "Sightings" crew member said, "It's cold in this part of the room." Things got so scary that a psychic had to be summoned. "I feel her," he said. "Hi, Sally. What's goin' on?"

It was a definite crisis. So who do ya call? Showing up at this haunted house in the following week's episode was "Sightings" host Tim White, who not only felt a supernatural coldness but also was horrified by the "mysterious welts" forming on the forehead of one of his crew members.

Weighing in next was "ghost expert" Al Rauber, who suggested that Sally could be a form of energy, even though he wasn't ruling her out as a ghost. In any event, White concluded, "This case merits further investigation."

As do so many others, including the two women claiming in the same episode to have been abducted by aliens and taken aboard their spacecraft. To make things worse, one of them reported, when she was returned, her contact lenses were missing.

But enough of them and on to "Angels Rescue Schoolmates from a Madman." If not angels, then at least "some unseen force was at work," White deduced before moving on to the cattle mutilations linked to "many lights up in the sky."

As for this Sunday's episode, you may want to skip the segment on alien spacecraft ("Suddenly a series of red-orange objects . . . ") and even the psychic animal therapist who learned from a dog that its owner's husband was sleeping with the next-door neighbor. But don't miss "Alien Abductees Receive a Terrifying Message From Their Captors."

That message, controversial Harvard Prof. John Mack says in the segment, could be that these "little gray" abductors are mad at us and consider Earth "a malignancy at a cosmic level." Mack, the author of the book "Abductions," says that "there's no reason to believe they (the alleged abductees) are not telling the truth."

That level of trust also permeates Saturday's campy premiere of "The Extraordinary," whose highlights include Telly Savalas' terrifying account (related in an interview taped shortly before his death) of years ago encountering a dead man with an effeminate voice. Even more chilling is that, in a re-enactment, the voice sounds like Julia Child.

Where are Ghostbusters when you need them?

* "The Blue Boy" airs at 9 p.m. Sunday on KCET-TV Channel 28 and KPBS-TV Channel 15, and at 8 p.m. on KVCR-TV Channel 24. It also airs Tuesday at 8 p.m. on KOCE-TV Channel 50.

* "The X-Files" airs at 9 p.m. Fridays on Fox (Channels 11 and 6). "Sightings" airs at 6 p.m. Sundays on KTTV-TV Channel 11. "The Extraordinary" premieres at 10 p.m. Saturday on KCAL-TV Channel 9.

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