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The Ghoul Boys talk spooks, powering up with orbs, and Watcher’s future

The Ghoul Boys talk spooks, powering up with orbs, and Watcher’s future

We sat down with Ryan and Shane to talk about things that go bump in the night, and what Watcher has planned next

In 2016, a couple of fresh-faced men appeared on our screens and changed how we view the supernatural. Ever since then, Ryan Bergara and Shane Madej, aka the Ghoul Boys, have become the best ghost hunters in the business.

Their silly antics may be unconventional, but they get the job done, and they do it in style. Sure, how that looks varies between the two of them; while Shane amuses himself watching dust particles, Ryan tries to prevent a heart attack from cutting his life short.

Two polar opposites, but it makes for highly entertaining footage.

As a long-time fan of the duo since BuzzFeed Unsolved, imagine my fangirl glee of being able to not only attend Watcher Entertainment’s Ghost Files Live UK tour in London, but to also chat to Ryan and Shane about the future. Not of life in general – it wasn’t quite that deep – but for Watcher, Ghost Files, and them as creators.

“Oh man, I'm so excited about it,” Ryan enthusiastically tells me. “We are making some changes to the [Ghost Files] format that I think make the show better.”

“When we made Ghost Files, there were things about the Unsolved format that I was always kind of like, ‘You know, I kind of wish we had done it a little bit differently’.” They succeeded in doing so by introducing audience evidence, making longer episodes, and delivering a more authentic approach to their style of investigating.

But that doesn’t mean either of these now-renowned internet personalities are going to stop putting their all into making Ghost Files better. “I am trying to make every season better than the last,” Ryan adds. “And then we always have a bunch of suggestions from fans. I feel like, because it's our own company now, we're able to be a little bit more nimble.”

How does Ryan make it through investigations, and how doesn't Shane get too bored? Find out from the world's greatest ghost hunters below

One such way Watcher is doing this is by altering the way solo investigations are done. Before anyone worries, Ryan will still be forced to endure 20 minutes of alone time in a space he neither feels safe or at ease in. However, the way in which he keeps himself occupied as he does so has changed.

Having seen a sneak peek from the upcoming season three of Ghost Files, I can confirm that it freshens up the familiar format, while remaining true to the brand we’ve become so attached to.

This is definitely welcome news for Shane, who himself admits that shooting on location can be “very boring”, or sometimes even tiring; we’ve all watched Shane try to get some shuteye while soloing through a location. Despite the looming threat of boredom for the beloved sceptic, even he has to admit that there’s some “exciting” locations coming up in the new series.

But don’t let Shane’s cool demeanour fool you, he’s no braver than Ryan. No, really, he said as much. “There's sort of this misconception that I am braver than Ryan because I go into these places and I'm like, ‘Hey, what's up,’ but in reality, I'm walking into a house where there is no danger to me perceived whatsoever.”

He continues, “To me, there's no risk at all. To Ryan who believes that he may be entering a life-or-death situation, to me that's bravery. He's the bravest ghost hunter there ever was.”

You see, even despite the way in which Shane teases Ryan and “encourages” him to step well out of his comfort zone, there’s a lot of love between the Ghoul boys. Arguably, it’s part of the series’ charm, and what attracts so many fans to the other shows also released by Watcher Entertainment.

Which brings me to what I easily believe is one of the greatest mashups that could happen: Survival Mode on location with Ghost Files. I was so gripped by that idea, in fact, that I suggested it to Ryan and Shane. Come on now, you didn’t think GAMINGbible would travel to London and not ask about video games, did you?

On Survival Mode, our trusty paranormal investigators play the scariest games they can find, to hilarious effect. As a self-professed scream queen when playing horror games, I adore watching other people jumping out of their seats as Bigfoot or some other monster charges at them.

To be able to put the Ghoul Boys into such a situation, similar to what we see in Phasmophobia, has much potential. So, I asked if they would ever consider making a Ghost Files game.

“That would be very fun,” Shane agrees. “Especially if you could pick sceptic or believer, and the believer would see ghosts while the sceptic player would see a car going by outside or something. Like two visions of the same view.”

Although you, the player, would need to determine whether what’s happening is supernatural or not, Ryan reasoned that the game would need to be set in “a world in which there were paranormal things definitively happening”. The stakes become higher, then, because you’d have to use your expertise to determine fact from fiction.

I’m already sold on this idea, but then Shane went and made it even more appealing by suggesting a platformer format. “I think the optimal version for a game for us would be like a side scroller where we're like hopping on ghosts and eating orbs. Yeah, you know, powering up by eating orbs.” Full on Kirby-style.

What about the immediate future, though – are there plans to see fan-favourites like The Professor turn up in Survival Mode or Ghost Files like he recently did in Mystery Files? After Ryan’s betrayal (I know he redeemed himself), seeing Ryan and The Professor play a spooky game together is up there on my list of top 10 scenes I want to see.

But is it possible? “We'd have to get him a really little keyboard,” Shane joked. And while The Professor now has fingers since his return from the grave, the jellybean-loving historian is a bit of a “homebody”; or as Ryan dubbed him, the “Sarah Winchester of Watcher”.

This may be sad news to all of us Puppet History fans, but fear not, for season seven of the show promises to be “weird”, and oh boy, I am here for it. More risqué songs, more intriguing lore, and just more chaotic lectures on the weird and wonderful history we often don’t get to learn in school.

Needless to say, there are a lot of big plans for Watcher Entertainment. However, as we recently witnessed, executing those plans means making tough decisions, decisions which haven’t been easy to announce.

Having revealed they were leaving YouTube for their own streaming service, Watcher came under some heavy fire from its fandom over the move. It was a tense couple of days. Nonetheless, while it can’t have been easy for Watcher to see their fandom reeling, the team behind the brand listened to feedback and made some necessary changes to their original plan.

With those tweaks come questions about Watcher’s future, specifically how having two platforms will improve not only the content we receive as viewers, but also the creativity the team can further explore. “It's kind of the thing that's going to allow us to take bigger swings,” Ryan shares.

“Like we did this season [of Ghost Files], like going international, upgrading some of our kits, and just overall making the show better and more sustainable behind the scenes because it's a really hard show to make.”

Of course, it isn’t just Ghost Files that will benefit from this change of pace but also the other shows Watcher creates too. One such show, Shane reveals, is Weird Wonderful World. “People really enjoy that show. Yet, on YouTube, it doesn't really perform super well. But we love shooting that show.”

"Having the streamer where we can premiere it on there and then eventually move it over to YouTube, makes sense for a show like that. So, we're excited to take more risks, and be able to kind of give a little boost to our shows that might not perform as well.”

Mixing things up when you have millions of subscribers watching your every move isn’t easy. Nor is having to enter a location you feel sure is out to terrify you with unknown bumps in the dark and menacing growls, yet the Ghoul Boys do it because they want to entertain us. This is a journey we’re going on with them, and I have to say, I’m thrilled to be able to join them, while also being quietly thankful I won’t have my panic disorder tested as brutally as Ryan’s.

Featured Image Credit: Watcher Entertainment

Topics: Youtube, Real Life, Interview