Erin Ryder, Holding Her Own in the Paranormal World
In a male dominated field, Erin Ryder proves to hold her own as a strong, bad ass woman that doesn’t succumb to some sexualized stereotype but instead proves to be a mentor to young women in the paranormal field.
Ryder is an adventurer, researcher, producer, paranormal investigator and world traveler. She is only in her 30s and has already traveled to 48 countries. Ryder is most well known for her world adventures on Destination Truth which aired on the SyFy Channel from 2007 to 2013. Ryder was called to help produce the show but after she got there, she was asked to be part of the investigation team as well. The team, led by Josh Gates, traveled the world hunting monster legends and investigating strange paranormal phenomena.
As audiences tuned in they soon realized Ryder could hold her own despite harsh and sometimes dangerous climates and frightening situations that would have most people running the other way.
An athlete by nature, it wasn’t a world she was used to but once it got under her skin, it stuck. “I love the mystery behind it,” says Ryder, “It has become a new passion of mine.”
Although she often comes off tough as nails, there are still some adventures that she doesn’t feel worth repeating.
“We’ve been to some really terrifying places. One of the ones that have really stuck with me that we shot in Season 2 was at the Suicide Woods in Japan at the base of Mt. Fuji.
They’ve got these amazing trees that cover the skyline so it’s pitch black. We just started seeing and feeling amazing things that I’d never experienced before.
“I go into these things open minded but it was one of those things where I started feeling like I wasn’t alone. Like something was there, it was really negative, it was really sad and deep and dark. It didn’t leave me for quite some time. I had some really bad nightmares from that place. It was just haunting and chilling. It was one of those places where I’d never go back to,” she said.
But they didn’t leave that adventure empty handed. “What we caught on camera was unreal it was this entity looking thing that came creeping out of the ground and it looked like it got sucked back down.”
Her experience with the DT team led her into all aspects of the paranormal field including investigating UFOs on the show, Chasing UFOs on the National Geographic Channel in 2012. Curiously, Ryder was more familiar about the subject of UFOs.
“I grew up in the Hudson Valley during the 80s when there was this time called the Night Siege where these triangular-shaped crafts were taking over the air space of this one area,” she said.
Between 1985 and 1995 more than 7,000 people reported seeing these strange unidentified objects which put the lower Hudson Valley on the map as one of the top three major UFO vortexes in the world.
“My grandfather and uncle swore they saw them. Every night I would go out and try to see them. I was so fascinated. When I was working on Chasing UFos, when I was in Stephenville, Texas I caught on film this array of lights and that really sold it for me. I caught something that hasn’t been defined by knowledge of science yet. It’s ignorant for us to think we are alone.”
Ryder currently attends paranormal events, and still works behind the scenes on various projects including Ghost Asylum, but don’t be surprised to see her in front of the camera again soon, although she can’t reveal any details.
“It will still be in the crypto-paranormal world,” she said.
Her focus in any new projects is to keep the integrity of the Destination Truth series. Although, popular paranormal teams on television are male dominated, she sees the world changing in it’s portrayal of female investigators.
“What the paranormal world is seeing is this younger male ego-driven way to interview and investigate that I think can work in some places but when it’s over abused it comes off really aggressive. There are ways to provoke without insulting someone or tarnishing a location or reputation. You want to be able to go back to these places.
We would go to locations and a lot of times they would say we don’t allow people to investigate here anymore because we had a bad experience,” said Ryder, further stating the people wouldn’t reveal what happened or who it happened with.
“When you’re going into someone’s home or place of business and they are telling you their deepest darkest secrets there’s a level of respect that has to be there. It’s not about showmanship and not about getting the best interview bite and pushing these people to cry. I get there’s a level of entertainment that has to be there. Josh and I know that and we have a lot of fun and joke around with each other. But we would never push someone farther than they were willing to go.
Everyone wants to be bigger, badder and bolder and it sets a bad precedence.”
“It’s definitely changing. What Amy Bruni, Kris Williams, Samantha Hawes and some of the women in the field are doing is really setting this amazing example for women. You can be in this and you can do it just as well as a man. But at the same time, yes, the market is saturated with men. The main audience is women who watch these shows. So it’s still strange to me when they have an all male cast. People want to see really good investigations happening and that can happen with woman behind the flashlight just as well a man.”