The current landscape of paranormal investigation shows is a crowded field, as various programs attempt to uncover all manner of otherworldly phenomena to prove there is a life after death. Back in the 2000s, however, Ghost Hunters became one of the first programs to focus solely on debunking claims of hauntings in hopes of giving homeowners peace of mind. The success of the SYFY series led to a number of imitators, all while multiple Ghost Hunters spinoffs entertained and educated viewers. A new reboot of the series sees the return of original cast member Grant Wilson, who is joined by Daryl Marston and Kristen Luman. Additional investigators include Brandon Alvis, Mustafa Gatollari, Brian Murray, and Richel Stratt.
15 years after introducing the world to the field of authentic paranormal investigation, Ghost Hunters returns to television on Wednesday, August 21st at 9 p.m. ET. The series that terrified and captivated fans for 11 seasons will follow one of the original team leaders, Grant Wilson, and his handpicked group of professional ghost hunters as they use their decades of field experience to investigate hauntings across the country. Engaging forensic experts, historical records and the most innovative technology available, the new squad will help everyday people who are struggling with unexplained supernatural phenomena.
ComicBook.com caught up with Wilson, Marston, and Luman to discuss what's new about the series, what's familiar, and the destinations they are dying to investigate.
ComicBook.com: First things first, Grant, some fans have been wondering this since the original Ghost Hunters, and this might be a personal question, but what are the origins of you saying, "What the fetch?"
Grant Wilson: I will not answer that question. That's a huge question. (laughs)
So I went to college out in Utah and a lot of the population of Utah doesn't like to swear much. And that's the phrase they use instead of the much more vulgar version. And it just stuck with me. And, of course, "fetch" is an old English word for a doppelganger or an entity, and so it just stuck and I would say it because I didn't want to swear on TV. So I say "What the fetch," and "What the frig," and somehow it stuck.
Anytime viewers heard you say, "What the fetch," we knew things were pretty serious.
Wilson: Yeah, that's the barometer there. I had a YouTube channel for a little while, I did a show called "What the Fetch."
What familiar elements of the original series can fans expect to see and what are the new twists you'll be bringing?
Wilson: So they're going to feel very comfortable watching this show. They're going to feel a sense of familiarity. I'm there, and all the standards and techniques are still being used, but we're taking it a step further. You saw on the original Ghost Hunters that we help people, but here you really see how that works.
The goal of the original was, is it haunted or not? And the goal of this one is more of helping people. How do we use the information we get from these experiences to help the client and help the entities?
People will see a black shadow or they'll hear an [electronic voice phenomenon] and they'll be like, "This is amazing," and stop. While we're listening to an EVP, we're hearing what it says, we're also trying to get the gender, the emotional state, nationality sometimes. So really digging for information to help the entity and help the client.
And as far as the team goes, we've got a brand-new team and they're not new to the paranormal, they have a lot of experience. They have real-world knowledge. Like Daryl here, he's a contractor. Kristen is a therapist. So all that comes into play when you're helping people find out what's really going on in their house. And most importantly, everyone's really, really nice. Because ultimately the goal is to help people feel comfortable.
Everyone has their own reasons for watching the show, but what are your reasons for conducting investigations, personally? Is it because you're seeking answers about the afterlife or because you know you have these skills and are compelled to use them for good?
Wilson: I got into this because I had my own experiences and I had to figure out what they were. And in that process of figuring out what those experiences were, I realized there are a lot of people struggling and needed help and didn't know where to turn. And so I became that help.
And once you've been doing this for a while, you realize that there's still people who need help and you have the tools to help them. And so you feel obligated to do it, and we just love doing it.
Daryl Marston: I was always interested in the paranormal and when the shows came out in the early 2000s, I really got interested in it. I got invited to an actual investigation and I fell in love with it from there. And then with the death of my father in 2006, I started getting more interested in trying to find out what the truth is and see if I can make some contact with the paranormal.
And then in 2016, I lost my son, and that really gave me an about-face, and I really got serious about this whole thing and started really delving into it and really trying to find out more and trying to surround myself with people who are smarter than me when it comes to the paranormal, and with things of that nature, so I can make myself better. And that's where I am today.
Kristen Luman: For me, it's for personal interest and for helping others. My fascination goes along with the mind. And so going into any investigation, thinking about always believing that the paranormal witness did indeed see something or experience something or hear something, and solving the mystery as if it's not paranormal. Why is the mind manifesting this for the paranormal witness? And therefore helping the paranormal witness with that experience and explanation of what they went through.
Shortly after the original series debuted, a number of imitators launched and now it feels like you have entire channels devoted to paranormal investigation series. Do you think the saturation of the premise has hurt your series or has it opened up new opportunities as supernatural events have been normalized?
Wilson: I think it's easy. While there is a lot of paranormal television, everyone's doing their own little niche. And honestly, I feel like it makes it easy for us because we're bringing the heart back to it. We're bringing a lot of focus on helping people and the humanity of what we're doing. And I think that's what people are thirsty for. You can only do jump scares and creaky places for so long before people burn out, or they start to go too far into it and say everything's a demon now because they're trying to step it up a level and you can only do that so much when it comes to paranormal activity. But when it comes to helping people, it's always a unique story. It's always a unique situation and you never get tired of helping people.
So when you make your goal the truth, you won't ever burn out. But if you make it finding a ghost, yeah, you're eventually going to burn out, because if you don't find it now, you're going to start to lie to yourself because your desire to experience it is so strong.
Marston: Like Grant always says, we go there to help people, not to find ghosts, that's the main directive of this show is to head that direction.
Wilson: And I think that's why A&E is such a good fit. You look at the programming, it's people-centric, and it's really about the human condition and I think this was a unique side of the human condition, both the alive people and the dead people. And so that's why we're on that network, and that's why we've got such great support from them.
Not only did a number of TV shows use an investigation approach as their premise, but a lot of horror movies also took that approach. Since a lot of viewers have probably seen many haunted house movies, are there any ghost movies that you think are somewhat accurate or you just enjoy a lot?
Wilson: Almost none of it is accurate at all. Because my favorite movies would be like, What Lies Beneath, because it looks scary at first, but then when she's reaching out for help in a way that's misunderstood. But I love The Others because you see it from the ghosts' points of view, and that's the way this whole team thinks.
Luman: Yeah, The Others is good.
What are your bucket list locations to explore, whether or not it's for the series?
Marston: I'll go first on that one. Tombstone, Arizona.
Wilson: Done it. I've done Tombstone, Arizona.
Marston: I can't even keep up with him.
Wilson: No, you'd love it there.
Marston: Yeah, I can't wait.
Luman: After hearing all of Grant's stories about Ireland, I've never investigated in Ireland, and I think you could pretty much pick any place, any castle. I would love to because I just think that Ireland has a different sort of magic to it. Perhaps not just dealing with certain entities, but also elementals. Just really, I think that that would be really awesome.
Wilson: Yeah, that's a good call. I still want to investigate the claims about the Disney parks.
I'm a big fan of Disney. I love all that stuff. I wanted to be an Imagineer when I was a kid, and just because this is an amusement park doesn't mean that there aren't entities there that are having a hard time, or something like that. I know I'm going to go there when I die. I'll have the fastest pass, you know. But that, to me, is a big one, and I've always thought it'd be fun to investigate the White House.
Well, as a tip, there's a place called the "Haunted Mansion" that reportedly has a lot of spirits in it.
Wilson: I debunked that, yes. It's all mirrors and animatronics. There are real claims, man, check out my videos online.
Tune in to the return of Ghost Hunters on August 21st on A&E.
Are you excited to see the series return? Let us know in the comments below or hit up @TheWolfman on Twitter to talk all things horror and Star Wars!