Great Job, Internet!: Read This: The night the BBC’s Halloween stunt went terribly wrong

In 1988, screenwriter Stephen Volk had an idea for a show that would give viewers a good scare while satirizing the television industry at the same time. He proposed to the BBC a fictional series about “a roving paranormal investigation crew that climaxes in a live tour of a supposedly haunted house.” The wary BBC gave the go-ahead for a single, 90-minute broadcast, and the result finally aired on Halloween night in 1992 as Ghostwatch. As Jake Rossen reveals in a grimly fascinating article for Mental Floss, the program was far more effective on the audience than anyone involved could have guessed. Children lost sleep. A woman went into labor from stress. One man soiled himself. And a traumatized 18-year-old was allegedly driven to suicide. Nearly three years later, England’s Broadcasting Standards Council ruled that the BBC had acted irresponsibly in airing the program while not making it clear …

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