We live in a very visual world, with most of our day being spent watching movies, sharing images over social media and reading articles filled with GIFS. This trend is also very common in the horror genre with gore, blood and guts both revolting and intriguing movie-goers. However an emerging trend is taking place that almost takes us back to the time of radio entertainment: listening to horror stories via podcasts.
Easily accessible and perfectly adaptable to modern on-the-go lifestyles, podcasts are the preferred method of many for getting that horror fix.
Today we speak to Tony Brueski, creator of the popular podcast “Real Ghost Stories Online”, on what he makes of this rising phenomenon.
Why did you start Real Ghost Stories Online?
Because I've always had an interest in the paranormal. As a child my "dream job" options were either be a ghost buster or a radio host. This is a nice compromise. The show actually began as a once a year special on Halloween. I started doing the first version of the show in the late 90's on whatever FM broadcast station I happened to be working at that year. Eventually I took the audio from the FM broadcasts and began putting it out there on YouTube, and found that it was getting lots of views. That's what really told me there's a large and very interested audience out there looking for this type of content. It started simply as a once a week or "whenever I have the time" show. And then eventually evolved into what you hear today: a five day a week free podcast, with an extra bonus 6th weekly episode sent out to our Extra Podcast People (EPP's) members who financially support the show for $5 per month.
How many listeners do you get, and is this number growing?
Between YouTube, iTunes, Stitcher and all the other podcast platforms, we have well over 100,000 subscribers. At the time of this interview (April 2015), Real Ghost Stories Online is downloaded around 750,000 times per month, and that number keeps growing quite a bit each month.
Why do you think the public are so interested in listening to real ghost stories?
I think it's because almost everyone has had some sort of experience that they can’t explain. As humans we look for answers to these unexplained occurrences, and I think there may be a morbid curiosity and hope that someone else out there has had the same thing happen to them. It's a way of confirming to ourselves that we are "normal", after experiencing something unexplained.
What do you think is the appeal of horror podcasts in general?
Because we get a rush out of being scared!
It's a captivating subject that has no real right or wrong answers. It's all subjective to one's belief system. I can tell you that by doing the show, my thoughts on how the paranormal "worked" have been completely thrown for a loop. I never doubted the existence, I just didn't realize how many levels and variant types of paranormal experiences people were having. Another reason is because we've never had a medium like this before. With radio there was always broadcast standards that had to be followed. Things had to be "tame" enough to air. With podcasts, there is absolutely no limit as to what can or cannot be said. Stories don't need to get trashy or have excessive swearing to be compelling, but the level of darkness in some of the stories are things that would never fly on FM or AM radio. Plus you can listen to it anytime you want, you don't have to wait till two in the morning to hear from radio show about ghosts.
What is the scariest story you have received on Real Ghost Stories Online?
That's tough, we've had some very interesting stories on the show where paranormal activity was actually occurring during the call from a listener. Strange noises coming through the receiver that were simply unexplained. Those will always haunt me. As far as a story itself goes though, it would have to be one from a listener named Oscar. He told of a story that started with a tragic vehicle accident involving, no joke, a clown car in a parade outside of his home. Shortly thereafter an entity appeared within his home that took the form of one of those clowns. But a very evil, dark version of a clown. I called the episode "zombie ghost clown". It basically combines all of my worst fears into one horrific story. A couple of months after we read Oscar's letter on the air, we had them on the show to have a one-on-one discussion about what occurred and he also shared several other supernatural experiences that happened to him in his life.
You look lost and scared...Follow me: @blogwitchprojct