Fans of paranormal investigations first met Steve Gonsalves and Dave Tango in SYFY's Ghost Hunters, with the pair regularly offering their unique input on investigations to try to find real-world causes for claims of supernatural experiences. Their on-screen dynamic, which was rooted in their real-life friendship, resulted in some of the series' more light-hearted moments, yet never at the expense of uncovering the truth behind paranormal events. In the wake of that series coming to an end, fans have had to settle for attending events at which Gonsalves and Tango appeared, hearing stories of their personal encounters with possible spirits from beyond the grave.
Fans of the pair are in luck, as they both return to the small screen with their new series Ghost Nation, in which they are joined by co-founder of The Atlantic Paranormal Society and Ghost Hunters co-creator Jason Hawes. While their former series and its popularity allowed the investigators to seek out evidence in asylums, mansions, and castles, the upcoming series gets back to basics by exploring private homes all across the country to quell the fears of homeowners who feel they're being targeted by otherworldly figures.
ComicBook.com recently spoke with Gonsalves and Tango to discuss how they enjoyed their time away from TV, what to expect from Ghost Nation, and the film that comes closest to depicting an investigation.
ComicBook.com: When Ghost Hunters ended in 2016, you went from having this regular, weekly series and a spinoff show to no longer having that obligation. Did you feel like the time had come for the series to end or were you sad to say goodbye? How did you end up spending your free time?
Dave Tango: It was kind of bittersweet, but I got to play a lot of video games between the shows.
Steve Gonsalves: They did try to go for a little bit more and we decided, for whatever reason, that it was probably best to move on and we did that. We did have three years away from filming and two years away from being on air. There was a learning curve, for me anyway. People could say, "Hey, I'm going to see this concert, I'm going to New York for two days, do you want to come?" and I could say, "Yes." That took a little bit of getting used to, but I stayed very busy, made a documentary, wrote a book, did a lot of that kind of stuff.
We had to navigate the contract worlds properly. That took a few years to make sure that we can all stay together on paranormal TV and we did. We held out with that and now that our contracts are all expired and, in terms of our previous show and that sort of thing, we were able to all work together again. It didn't seem very long, two years. It didn't seem that long to me, it went by pretty quickly. It didn't feel like two or three years, it feels like a few months. It was a nice break from traveling as much.
Tango: Exactly. We get to see our families a little bit more, I get to see them. Like Steve said, you can make these commitments with people that you weren't able to before. Especially for Steve, because he doesn't fly. The last couple of seasons of Ghost Hunters, they were able to have me fly a bit more, but I was able to get home for the weekends, though it's still tough being away from your family.
Gonsalves: Some people don't quite realize, and I mean, why should they, they're not involved in television. I think for the last one, Season 11 of Ghost Hunters, I think I was at my house for maybe a total of four weeks the whole year. To have those two years was like, "Oh man," because that's how I lived for 15 years. I was home for two months a year, maybe. It was nice.
You're probably discovering rooms in your house that you forgot were there.
Gonsalves: That's actually true. I spend a little more time in the drum room and different things.
As you started getting ready to return with a series, how did you know that the time was right for Ghost Nation?
Gonsalves: When Ghost Hunters ended, we were very, very fortunate in the respect that there were other avenues for us if we wanted to pursue. We had to navigate the contract worlds appropriately, in terms of me being able to do a show and Jay [Hawes], obviously, could have done his own show. Tango and I had TV show opportunities together. We wanted to make sure that, when all was said and done, the three of us would still be together doing this. We definitely had opportunities that all three of us had turned down separately and different things like that to make sure that we could come back around at the end of it and still work together. We basically had to get that so we could continue to work together, the three of us.
I don't know if anybody is that fortunate that you can just walk in [and get a series], this is the world of television and entertainment. We're very, very fortunate that we could even get those years of interested networks. I'm confident that we would have been able to land something if we had to.
When we met with Travel Channel and we did have some other networks lined up and had some meetings prior and whatnot, but when we went to Travel Channel and Discovery there was an immediate, "Oh gosh, we're home." They are so sweet and gracious. It was crazy just to see what they are doing with the paranormal field and how they are embracing it and saying, "We want to be the platform for everybody in the field to let people see what is happening and where it's going."
They're not just people in suits barking orders and they are fans of the paranormal. They were fans of our work, fans of other shows. That speaks a lot to the network.
Tango: That makes us want to work with them. Like you said, it's a big family. You just feel welcomed with the Travel Channel. It was great.
Gonsalves: Absolutely. We literally canceled other meetings. We were like, 'We don't need to go anywhere else, if they'll have us."
Tango: They understand us very well. The president himself, he was like, "I know what you guys are doing, you guys are educating the public, you guys are doing this and doing that." I'm like, "Oh my God, this guy knows exactly what we're about." He said it exactly the way we wanted hear it and, that was it right there.
What makes this new series so different from Ghost Hunters?
Gonsalves: We do a tremendous amount of research and I know in the cuts, it isn't showcased, at least not as in-depth that as we did it. We really got to the bottom of things. If someone has heard for 50 years that somebody died in their front yard and we really found that out and told them the truth, like, "No, this person actually died 700 miles away in a hospital, you're completely wrong."
Tango: There's so much misinformation, it's crazy, how much misinformation people have of legends and things. "Oh, this person jumped off a bridge, this, that." It's like, "Actually no, you're completely wrong." That's one of my favorite parts, is just trying to educate these people. We're not sticking it in their face, we're just like, "Hey, this is what it really is, don't believe everything that you hear."
Gonsalves: Yeah, and it's not to say, "We're right, you're wrong." It's just so that we get the truth, and that has actually helped us get some amazing evidence. Other teams aren't having any success because they're running around chasing Fred Johnson when we know that Samantha Thomas is really who's here, that sort of thing. It's just really able to help people.
On Ghost Hunters, we all were cast members, and although we never did anything that we didn't feel was ethically appropriate, it was still that we were cast members. On this show, being creators and executive producers on it, we can watch the cuts and say what doesn't feel quite right, reapproach it, or finesse it. What I mean by that is, "Maybe we should use the part where we learned that Fred Thomas is the name." Whereas before, they could cut all that out and we would have no say in that sort of thing.
It's been awesome in that regard because the paranormal needs that. You can't have a network or a production company saying, "Well, you're going to find something in this case or you just can't have it." As executive producers, we don't have any of that because we'd be the ones that would be saying it and, what, are we going to tell ourselves, "You better find something today, Steve,"?
Ghost Hunters definitely leaned into editing to make you more like characters, such as you two being "goofballs" while Jay was portrayed as the gruff leader.
Gonsalves: We definitely focus heavily on, obviously, investigating, but Tango and I, that's how we are. You will, not to disappoint you, but you will see that in the show.
Are there any horror movies that you think come even close to capturing what ghost hunting or hauntings are really like?
Gonsalves: There is no paranormal movie that shows how it's done at all. There's not one aspect of any of them that is anywhere near close to what it's like for real. The closest would maybe be The Innkeepers, are you familiar with that movie?
From Ti West about hotel employees investigating a haunting.
Gonsalves: I think that movie would maybe be the closest in terms of, they're just grabbing their digital recorders and saying, "Let's go hang out in this hallway in the dark for a couple of hours." There are aspects to it, I mean it's silly, but also the movie Poltergeist.
The way they approach it is very realistic. Not what happens, but the way the investigators themselves approach it, how they set up their center command, and that's based off Dr. William G. Roll, someone I was very fortunate enough to study with, and that is similar, but what is happening is so far fetched, it's laughable, but what the investigators do, how they're approaching it, their demeanor is pretty accurate.
Ghostbusters, some of that terminology, all that stuff, that's all real. The PK meter is just their version of EMF detector, that sort of thing.
Tango: What Steve said, it's pretty much the same across the board. I've never seen The Innkeepers, so I have to watch that.
And that's based on the Yankee Pedlar Inn in Torrington, Connecticut.
Gonsalves: We've been together there. Season three of Ghost Hunters, I think, Two or Three.
Tango: That's awesome, I have to definitely watch that now.
Gonsalves: May have been Season One, actually.
Tango: Oh then I wasn't there.
One scene in that movie, an investigator freaks out because they walk through a spider web, which was inspired by ghost hunting shows where they freak out thinking they walked through a spirit.
Tango: Oh my God.
Gonsalves: That's awesome. That's really cool.
Tango: If you don't mind, I have one question. Since you're ComicBook.com, who's your favorite superhero?
I'm a big Daredevil fan, so he'd be one of mine. I appreciate that he doesn't have intense superpowers and just aims to protect Hell's Kitchen.
Tango: Kind of like friendly neighborhood Spider-Man.
Speaking of comics, have you guys ever encountered Ghost Rider?
Gonsalves: Yes, actually. Tango, do you remember that, they didn't put it in the show, probably because I said "ghost rider," but there is that apparition supposedly of, I think it was a woman, though, that was on a motorcycle and her head was on fire? And I was like, "Just like Ghost Rider?"
Tango: Oh, I do remember this. This was a claim. We didn't see it.
Gonsalves: If we saw that? Jesus Christ. Of course we didn't see it. No, that was a claim.
Check out the series premiere of Ghost Nation on Friday, October 11th at 9 p.m. ET on the Travel Channel.
Are you looking forward to the new series? Let us know in the comments below or hit up @TheWolfman on Twitter to talk all things horror and Star Wars!