I’m really quite excited to write this intro. I recently talked about the YouTuber known as ReignBot on the blog, and she was kind enough to grant me an interview. As a quick recap, ReignBot makes videos about the creepy and mysterious side of the internet and its online anomalies. She investigates, debunks, and just plain digs for answers to all of the creepyness out there. Since discovering her videos, it’s as though a portal in my mind has been opened. I was reminded to look deeper. To seek out the strange. To always ask questions. Her soothing, sardonic voice hints at her channel being both an outlet as well as a form of entertainment. She isn’t an actress or a rockstar, she’s just Reignbot. Someone as perplexed and interested by the unexplained as you or I. Here’s what she had to say.
Where are you from and what inspired you to start your channel?
I’m originally from Hawaii which is where I’ve spent most of my life, but I also lived in the Philippines during my childhood since that’s where my father is from. As for why I started the channel, there isn’t one solid reason—it’s really a combination of things. I found my love for horror films at a very young age, probably around four years old. This was also around the point where I had visited Disneyland for the first time and fell in love with the Haunted Mansion ride, and I also began to pick up on things like Tim Burton movies and Courage the Cowardly dog. Scooby Doo was also a childhood favorite of mine. Once I was in my teens my interests branched out to true crime as well. My mother, just like many other parents, liked shooting home videos on a camcorder that she later handed down to me when I was roughly eight years old. The thing was absolutely magical, and soon I was making my own short horror films with my little brother. Living in the Philippines gave us a ton of inspiration because of how superstitious people there tend to be. I put down the camera for a couple years and once I got to high school I started taking video/photography classes and took part in a number of contests that I did pretty well in. The camera was retired once again as I made the transition out of high school, and before I knew it I had that itch to dabble in the medium once more. By 2014 I had started writing down my thoughts and ideas in a notebook, and this notebook eventually became my channel. I knew for a long time that I wanted to give the YouTube thing a try, but I wasn’t sure of what kind of channel I wanted to have exactly. A friend of mine wanted us to do more of a vlog/fun sort of thing, but it just felt a little unnatural to me. I decided to settle with a horror based theme since I knew it was something I’m deeply passionate about and have been for my entire life. I could talk about it forever and not get bored.
Along with the mysterious and macabre, you have a strong interest in horror as a genre as well. What are your favorite horror movies/books/etc?
It’s always terribly difficult to pick favorites when it comes to horror films, so I usually settle with the ones that had the most impact on me both creatively and as a person in general. The Child’s Play movies were some of my favorites as a kid despite the last two (Seed/Bride of Chucky) being more horror-comedy or parody. I lost a lot of sleep in those days because of those films and the fear that a killer doll may show up out of nowhere and try to kill me. The Ring is also a movie that’s quite dear to me. I know people endlessly debate over the American version, but I thoroughly enjoyed both in those days. Even as an adult I have an extremely difficult time sitting through the cursed tape sequence. I also found The Exorcist rather fantastic since I spent my childhood in a Catholic country and there was so much about the film that was taboo. As for books, I’m unfortunately not all that into reading horror as my taste sways more towards true crime when it comes to that sort of thing.
It seems that you do a ton of research in preparing to make your videos. Which one of your videos led you down the deepest rabbit hole?
It’s actually a little difficult to say given the fact that that each topic has a ton of different factors to it. Some things on my channel are debunked while others are left a mystery or most likely nothing more than people having fun creeping the internet out. My video covering Christine Chubbuck’s suicide tape was interesting. The incident occurred way back in the 70’s and no one had been able to find the footage of it until it magically surfaced in 2017. Many jumped on this, assuming it was real right from the get go, but the director who was present that day confirmed it was a hoax. Ok, so the footage is fake—but who faked it, and why? The quality of the fabrication was also rather impressive. It didn’t appear to be a modern video with a simple filter slapped over it. When these things come up I always try to dig for the root source of the media, and in this case it traced back to another horror YouTuber. I asked him where he had found the footage, and he said he was unable to tell me. If he faked it then he has some real talent, but it just doesn’t seem to add up given the style of his channel. We’ve hit a dead end there unless someone decides to speak up.
Which of your videos do you personally find the most unnerving?
Maybe I’ve been into horror for too long since my videos barely tend to make me feel uneasy. Back in 2015 I made a video covering 11bx-1371, and while I never did suspect it was anything sinister there was something very creepy about the plague doctor. Maybe it was the way he stared at the camera or something to that effect. I also covered another video called Sei Mei Time where all you see is a recording of someone’s computer screen as they watch a Japanese game show. At first glance you may not notice anything since you’re distracted by the show, but in the bottom left corner you can see a kid cutting himself. The thing is, the show is opened in a window that’s over the footage of the boy so it may catch you off guard. Of course, it is very likely that this is fake, but it doesn’t make it any less unnerving.
What has changed for you since you’ve become internet famous, so to speak?
Not as much as people think, actually. I’m still exactly the same person as I was, but now strangers on the internet treat me a little differently. It is a bit odd for me that whenever I go to concerts or conventions there are always a handful of people who say they were there and wish they could have met me. Back when my channel was first blowing up this did cause me a lot of stress. I’m generally a very private person in real life, and I wasn’t used to so many people having an opinion on every little move I made. At this point in time I’ve learned how to embrace it, but it was definitely jarring at first. Of course, there is also a lot of good to this as well. Since people know who I am now it’s way easier to meet fellow creators and to set up opportunities I wouldn’t have otherwise.
You definitely have your niche, and you touch upon this lightly in a post on your blog titled “Pieces of Me”, but do you plan to continue this well into the future? Do you have a sort of career plan that keeps the focus on the spooky side of life?
I mentioned in that blog post that when I was asked as a child what I wanted to be when I grew up, my answer was that I wanted to be an artist. I knew from the very beginning of my life that I was destined to be in some kind of creative field—anything else just wouldn’t be honest of me. I never did expect the YouTube thing to take off, but I’m glad it did. In April I had decided to quit YouTube for various personal reasons, one of the most prominent being that I was no longer inspired. Many think that I left due to the ad boycott, but if you look on my channel you’ll notice that by the time I quit I hadn’t made a video in over a month. I also expressed this in the blog post you mentioned, and that was posted about a week before I decided to leave. One thing I’ve learned from being an artist is that if you do the same thing the same way for too long then you’re only going to burn yourself out. Taking a step back every once in a while is crucial if you want to be able to enjoy what you do. After stepping away from the channel I quickly realized that I still had more to say and my passion for the subject matter never faded—it was simply my attitude and approach to things that was wrong. With that being said, I don’t plan on quitting any time soon. I’m going to keep the channel alive as long as it’s enjoyable to me, however long that may be. These days I’m taking a much more relaxed approach to things. Instead of stressing myself out over the channel I’m making videos whenever I feel like it and using my free time to make art or write. The stuff I paint and draw is usually horror themed as well, actually. Like I said, horror (both fiction and in real life) is something that I can talk about forever, so it seems that no matter the medium the themes will remain generally the same. I’ve been invited to appear at conventions, but I’ve never actually attended one yet, so by the time I do I’m hoping to be there as both a YouTuber and artist. As for a career plan, I prefer to just go with the flow and see how things turn out depending on how my interests evolve.
In your blog you admit to having impostor syndrome. You aren’t sure how or why what you do entertains or helps people, and don’t really feel deserving of the praise you get (some praise as high as people getting your logo tattooed on them). Why do you think this is? Do you create mainly as a means of catharsis and find that the responses of others is just a positive byproduct of what you do?
I suppose this has a connection with transitioning from being unknown to “famous” –even on a small scale. The thing is, there’s a huge disconnection between what I see and what my fans see. They see a YouTuber with millions of views on their channel, while I see a rather boring individual who barely leaves the house. I’m not by any means trying to put myself down by saying that, but at the end of the day I really am just some girl sitting in her room making videos. Being told that I did a good job at something is always nice, but I don’t think I’ll get over how weird it is when people ask for my autograph. Don’t get me wrong, it’s extremely flattering but at the same time I can’t help but think “Umm, are you sure? I’m not an actress or rock star, or anything like that.” On top of that, I’m not even that big of a YouTuber compared to many others on the site. As I mentioned earlier, I make videos about things I find interesting. To me, my videos are like a record of the inner conversations I have with myself that then get pushed out into the world for everyone to see. My videos don’t come with any special message or cause—they’re just my thoughts. I can see why these videos entertain people, sure. If the topics are interesting to me then they must be interesting to others as well, right? That makes sense to me, but there are quite a few fans who claim that I had helped them somehow, or made them feel better when they weren’t doing so great. This part of things has always been the hardest for me to process. I feel very, very happy about the fact that these fans were able to overcome whatever it was they were dealing with, but it almost feels wrong when they give me credit for it. The way I see it, these people accomplished this themselves out of their own hard work. At the same time, however, I can completely relate to this in the sense that everyone has a favorite artist or figure who inspires them. I’ve personally used art and music as a way to cope with things throughout my life, so I understand that inspiration can come from pretty much anywhere or anyone. If I had to guess, I don’t think it’s my videos themselves that actually help people. I think it has more to do with how open I’ve been about my life and the fact that people can relate to it. On my end it just feels like I’m rambling and talking about myself way too much, but I’m glad people have been able to get something more out of it.
Is there a topic you’ve been meaning to tackle but haven’t been able to?
Nothing specific, no. I have a huge idea list for things I could cover in the future, and some of them are easier to work with than others, but there really aren’t any that I’ve been dying to talk about but just couldn’t. The only thing that came close was my Childhood Trauma video where I talked about shows and movies that frightened me as a child. That was actually one of my first ideas way back in 2014, but given how things played out it just never felt like the right time to cover it. A review channel called YourMovieSucks started a tag for the concept late last year and a number of big names made their own versions so I decided to hop on board as well.
Finally, a silly one. You’re a new addition to the crayon box, what color would you be and why?
Glow in the dark—a white one specifically if that exists. Why? Because no one ever uses the white crayon and giving it some magical special ability sounds like fun. I know there’s the debate over white not being a color, but I’m going with it anyway.
Thanks again to ReignBot for spending some time with us! check out her
and her blog: https://reignbot.wordpress.com/