Queer Ghost Hunters: Staying Spookgay!

Last year was the debut of the Queer Ghost Hunters, a rag-tag group of queer people from Ohio, who seek to find fellow LGBTQ spirits and tell their stories. We interviewed several of the team members around their season one premiere and decided to do a season two check-in!

With their busy schedules we were only able to get a hold of two of the team members (both who were previously interviewed as well), but that doesn’t mean these two don’t have a lot to say about how the past year has gone for them and the team!

GT: How have you grown and changed over the year working with your team and meeting some of these deceased folk?

Shane: The last year has been crazy. As a team we’ve had ups and downs, but we’ve also grown closer. It’s really strange looking back. A year ago we were working on our Kickstarter, we were doing events and interviews just trying to get attention for the series (and hopefully get the project funded). Then everything fell into place and we launched episode 1, and folks loved it. Since then we’ve done more investigations, more filming, more interviews, we were selected for a plethora of film festivals, we traveled to San Francisco, and we’ll be heading to Seattle in October. It’s been a bit of a whirlwind.

For me personally, it’s just been exceptionally fun. I love the paranormal, and I love the history that our series collects. But the best part is getting to interact with folks who watch our show – whether it’s in the comments on YouTube, or Facebook, or Twitter – it’s fun getting to connect with folks over a shared interest.

As for the deceased, this season of Queer Ghost Hunters is crazy. I can’t say too much unfortunately, because the season has just started. But, we make some exceptionally, unexpected contact. And, what you begin to see in the early episodes this season, is us making contact with an entity and then verifying his identity with information he gave us! Which, is mind blowing. We’ve used these tools plenty of times, and it’s always hard for the communication to occur clearly. But, this entity wanted us to know who he was, and to be able to share his story.

Kai: I can definitely say I used to be a little more afraid when we ghost hunt. One of the reasons being, I used to think that if we went to a notoriously haunted place that there was an increased risk to the team. Even moreso because we are a group full of queers, I automatically hold that reserved anticipation of automatically being judged. I feel like this experience has helped me come out of my own shell more, being around people who will not judge us—living or dead! This is combined with the fact that I am nervous around people in general being a Transman on the Autism Spectrum. With the departed, they already know what you are and don’t have to deal with the physical awkwardness.

I am more convinced than ever that “hunting” has been worked up into a hype. It is literally talking to someone you’d meet any day. As long as you are respectful, you will in turn receive that. I’ve noticed the difference with our approach that spirits seem more comfortable talking us and the same can now be said the other way for me. It’s actually come to the point I am more comfortable around spirits than I am around people that I can actually see!

GT: What did you never expect to happen within a year that did?

Shane: We could each probably write a book on this. I think overall the most shocking thing that has happened is Queer Ghost Hunters inspiring other folks to ghost hunt/ghost hunt the Queer Ghost Hunters way. That is to say: being respectful, being open to everything, doing your research, and knowing your history. Mashable just did a story where they went on a Queer Ghost Hunters inspired investigation of Donald Trump’s childhood home.

Close runners up on this subject: all of the media interviews, the channel having so many subscribers, film festivals showing our work, etc.

Kai: This project surely keeps me on my toes more than anything I have been a part of. For one, I also got to travel and learn so much rich history that gets buried behind our current lives. I am surprised we are finding queer spirits almost everywhere. They are more common than you think, but had to survive brutal in times where they had to deeply bury their feelings. It’s teaching me why this project is important to make sure they are not forgotten and thrown away.

Secondly, I never expected the explosion of articles that happened during our premiere last year. I was initially worried that there would be a terrible backlash. I never thought that we would get the reception that we did. It was actually embarrassing sometimes because people in my area recognized me from the Columbus Alive article. It really showed to me that people do love this idea. I loved that we could reach so many people and help represent a genre no one ever thought of to associate with the LGBTQ community.

GT: Plans for the future? Where do you want to be in a year?

Shane: I have personal and series plans/goals for the future, but really they all align.

I would like for us to continue with the series and find more compelling stories to share. I would like for us to participate in some paracons – I think they look fun, we haven’t ever done one as a group. I think it’d be really cool for more Queer Ghost Hunter style groups to pop up and maybe we could investigate with them. I would like our YouTube subscriber count to get into the 10s of thousands.

But really, my biggest hope is to get the series in front of a much larger audience. I think the stories and history we share deserve a broad dissemination – these are the stories of oppressed people, and now is the time for us to be listening to those stories and learning from them.

Kai: I wish that in a year from now that we will be completing our third season for YouTube. I can only hope that with this series, we can help bridge this gap between communities by helping to tell stories no one’s heard of before. The other hope is to help give courage to those who are struggling themselves currently. With what we are learning it not only just touches on queer history, but on history that eventually affects everyone. In this way, maybe we can start a new movement of the LGBTQ community and its’ allies collectively by searching for the complete truth as far back as we can go.

Queer Ghost Hunters will be having new episodes throughout the month of October as well as new episodes monthly! Make sure to check them out on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and most importantly, YouTube!

Editor’s Note: You can blame Shane for the word Spookgay and how much it will now invade my vocabulary.

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