Ghost Hunters vs. 'Ghost Hunters' We Created that Show!

12/31/2011 4:50 AM PST

Ghost Hunters vs. 'Ghost Hunters' -- We Created that Show

A real-life parapsychologist and his producing partner claim they turned pale as a ghost when the Syfy channel began airing the show "Ghost Hunters" -- because they say they pitched the idea to the channel years earlier.

Larry Montz and Daena Smoller claim in a lawsuit they filed against NBC Universal -- which owns Syfy -- they hatched the idea for a show about paranormal investigators way back in 1981 and registered their treatment with the Writers Guild and the U.S. Copyright Office.

Montz and Smoller say their idea centered around a team investigating paranormal cases. They claim they pitched the concept to NBC repeatedly, between 1996-2001 ... but were ultimately shot down. 

Alas, Montz and Smoller claim the network then went to an outside production company, Pilgrim Films & Television Inc. -- also a defendant in the lawsuit -- and developed "Ghost Hunters" by ripping off their idea ... and it eventually premiered in 2004.

The suit has bounced around courts for the past few years, with the U.S. Supreme Court denying an appeal by NBC just a few months ago ... allowing Montz and Smoller to re-file. 

We made calls to NBC and Pilgrim. So far, no word back.