As Halloween approaches, many people’s thoughts turn to ghouls, ghosts and goblins - but for some people, it’s a year-round vocation. For Kit Grier Mulvenna and Rory Powers, co-hosts of This Paranormal Life, tales of the weird and inexplicable are their bread and butter, and they’ve allowed the pair to launch their second live tour this year.
Covering both US and UK dates, the tour reflects the podcast’s international audience, and Grier Mulvenna and Powers sat down with Rhianna Dhillon and Adam Shepherd to discuss how the podcast has organically developed this audience, how a robust subscription strategy has allowed them to invest in the podcast’s growth, and why the Irish podcast market is set for big things.
Work with your fans
“When you see these things that fans make, whether it's artwork or animations or anything, it blows you away and just gives you a little insight into how your art is connecting with people,” Powers said, “and there’s genuinely no better feeling in the world.”
“It's something that we try and do all the time, whether we're making artwork for tour posters or merchandise for the store. We always look first at the community and try and work with people who enjoy the show and know what we're talking about, and give them a chance to be involved in the creativity.”
Remember your roots
“In secondary school. because this was in Northern Ireland, we had a class that was, on paper, I believe supposed to be Irish class,” Grier Mulvenna explained. “They would teach us Irish, but they would maybe weave in a bit of context, like, oh, this is why this place is called this thing. Our teacher took it upon herself to derail that class fully into the paranormal.”
“We were studying where Leprechauns came from, how to hunt down a leprechaun, how to protect yourself from a dullahan, a banshee… I don't know if the statute of limitations is up; I hope she's still teaching. But the seed might've been planted that these things were real very early on.”
Be sensitive to wider context of topics
“We know that there are paranormal podcasts out there with similar themes that do cover conspiracies and things like that,” said Powers. “But we're very sensitive towards that, and I think it's a very complex situation to be in.”
“I mean, even if you look at the genre of true crime in podcasting… There's still a lot of, I think, moral ambiguity when it comes to covering murders that took place years ago, where the family members who were affected are still alive - and I don't think that's always treated with the amount of professionalism or respect that it deserves.”