For the last 5 years, Shane Madej and Ryan Bergara, the presenting duo better known as the “The Ghoul Boys”, have bore the intense strain of hoisting the spurious digital media outlet Buzzfeed, from the languid obscurity of arbitrary top 10’s and asinine Instagram compilations, deciding instead to end their involvement with the site’s “Unsolved” derivative. After 8 seasons of investigating “True Crime” cases and navigating Haunted asylums, Ryan and Shane are filing away their case reports and powering down the spirit box, to concentrate their efforts on their own YouTube channel “The Watcher”.
Whether it was bringing recognition to some esoteric mysterious many general audiences would be unaware of, or inciting demons – such as evicting the infamous “Goatman” from his own bridge – Shane and Ryan always did so with a wit and whimsy absent from their more fallacious contemporaries.
As a keen adherent to True Crime, in particular the unsolved variety, discovering something genuinely original amongst the retinue of stylised Netflix documentaries, indistinguishable from other similarly ubiquitous formats was rare. What made Shane & Ryan’s incarnate so interesting was their succinct, yet detailed insight into the cases.
Often no more than 30 minutes long, the case’s examined are focused on the most pertinent information, with the evidence submitted always pertaining to the incident being discussed. Without padding out the run-time with interviews or elaborate and dramatic reconstructions. Just providing the facts as they are, rather than trying to solve the case. Before positing various theories and discussing the potential validity of these suppositions. Some credible, others – such as the theories noted in the “Roanoke Colony disappearance” – less so.
Despite my preferential fascination for unsolved murders and my sceptical predilection for the paranormal, “Buzzfeed: Supernatural” is probably my favourite of the two shows. Ryan’s erstwhile enthusiasm for the paranormal, tempered by the sneering incredulity of Shane is what makes this kind of spurious ghost hunting so compelling. To me “Ghost Hunting” is a specialised vocation, as legitimate as a professional Candy Crush player or unicorn breeder. It’s Superstitious nonsense devised to placate the irrational psychological fear people have when entering old, dilapidated structures, that may have troubling history attached. Yet despite the pseudo science exhibited, Ryan’s keen desire to interpret every stifled clatter as an indication of spiritual communication, the show has no compunction in presenting the evidence as it is. Like their search for Bigfoot that resulted in them finding *gasp* nothing.
At the heart of all this is an authentic chemistry between the Ryan & Shane, that elevates both of these shows above their contemporaries. Two friends that can look beyond their very different perspectives on Ghosts and demons, come to a mutual concession that doesn’t invalidate one another’s personal opinions, nor compromise their friendship. Though probably more like siblings that deliberately rile one another up!
Whether you were a “Shaniac” or a “Boogara”, there was always intrigue, fun and involuntary (wheezing). Whatever happens I wish Ryan & Shane the best. And hope that perhaps the “Goulagans” will continue a series adjacent to this on their own channel. Though, for the time being at least, that question may remain “Unsolved”.
What is your favourite episode of “Unsolved”? Let me know in the comments below. Cheers.