Happy New Year, readers! 2014 is here, and it’s time once again to look back at the previous year. I first did a “Year in Review” series back in 2012 (for 2011), but wasn’t able to do one last year. The demands of my job at the time were too great, and I was bogged down with the flu. Running back and forth almost daily (or twice daily) from Brooklyn to the Bronx took its toll on me. But this year I’m in a new position and have a lot more time on my hands, so I’m happy to be able to do a look back at 2013.
I’ll follow the same basic format I had back in 2012. So here in Part 3 (our final part), I’ll list our most popular stories from 2013, but only stories from 2013. Some older stories are filling up high spots this year, including Thoughts on Grant Wilson Leaving TAPS/”ghost Hunters” and Cropsey: Staten Island’s Boogeyman?, which are two of our most popular stories ever. So what were the top stories from 2013?
1. Brian Harnois of “Ghost Hunters” Accused of Stealing from Fans: This dude really did run this year. With multiple warrants our for his arrest, he went into hiding and ran from the law after being accused of stealing from his fans. Word is that he took thousands of dollars from people who bought his t-shirts online and then never delivered said t-shirts (and still hasn’t, as far as I know). Plus he no-showed a lot of events and conventions he was supposed to be at, but still took the money for the “appearance.” Though I really feel like if you’re paying money to see this guy, you got what you deserved. It’s no secret that Brian isn’t the most reliable fellow in the world. I mean the guy hoaxed people into believing he committed suicide. Who is giving this guy money to do anything?
2. Giant Crystal Pyramids Discovered in the Bermuda Triangle?: A big story this year that went nowhere, mainly I suppose because it sounded like it could be true. Giant crystal pyramids under the Bermuda Triangle! That must be what’s causing all of those disappearances! The disappearances that really haven’t happened lately, and are no more statistically significant than disappearances elsewhere in the world’s oceans! But with no evidence, just outlandish claims, what’s there to believe? Much like the Baltic Sea UFO, this story fizzled out. At least the Baltic Sea UFO had some intriguing evidence to support it before it was, you know, proven to be nothing.
3. Giant Ghost Claimed to be Captured in Google Earth Image: People always seem to be finding unusual things in Google Maps and Google Earth images: UFOs, homes of serial killers, etc. But someone claimed to havefound the image of a giant ghost hovering over a town. Now, I’m not sure why the ghost would be the size of Godzilla, but people looking for ghosts will find them in all sorts of wacky places. Nevermind the fact that the “ghost” in this picture is barely noticeable until one draws the dreaded “red circle of paranormal proof!” around it.
4. Corey Taylor of Slipknot and Stone Sour Talks Ghosts and Hauntings: I saw Slipknot live at one of the OzzFest shows I went to back in the day, and frankly, I wasn’t impressed. Lots of screaming and bland metal riffs is mainly what I remember. Then again, there were lots of girls walking around topless and in body paint, so my attention wasn’t really focused on a band I wasn’t there to see to begin with. But I do always find it interesting when celebrities discuss their interest in the paranormal. It’s fun to try to decipher whether they are true believers, trying to jumpstart their careers, or are just too dumb to understand the non-paranormal thing that happened to them. In this case, the jury is still out.
5. Man’s ‘Ghost Camera’ Films His Girlfriend and Son Having Sex: Every ghost hunter and paranormal enthusiast hopes to one day capture some really creepy evidence. And one Australian man got some very creepy evidence indeed when one of his “ghost cameras” caught his 16-year old son banging his girlfriend. The woman’s defense? She thought the age of consent in Australia was 16, not 17. Because that makes it better. One paranormal investigator tried to blame her behavior on the ghost that her boyfriend was initially trying to capture on film. I’m sure things totally aren’t awkward in that family now.
6. New Website Tells You If Someone Died In Your Home: Ghost hunters (the good ones, anyway) love to do research on a location before investigating, and one of the big things that is looked for is if anyone died at a location. Well, now there’s a website that can tell you who died in your home. Not sure the site was really created for ghost hunters (it was probably made more just so people can find out if some crazy murder suicide occurred in the home they are thinking of purchasing), but I suppose it’s a useful tool for ghost hunters as well. The only catch? You have to pay a fee for each address you look up.
7. Miley Cyrus Stalked by Ghosts in London: Long before she was twerking and ruffling the feathers of parents everywhere who are too naive to think that their kids can watch the MTV Music Awards without being traumatized, Miley was talking about being stalked by ghosts. But telling ghost stories is apparently far less controversial than wiggling one’s butt while one’s tongue sticks out. And probably less fun.
8. Tragic Accident Blamed on Ghost Hunting: Journalists all seem to need a hook these days. And with the popularity of ghost hunting shows, and the paranormal in general, I’m not surprised we keep seeing stories like this, where teens do something stupid (as teens tend to do), and then the tragic outcome is not blamed on stupidity, but rather on the pop culture interest du jour. These kids were in a tragic accident, and while the story suggests ghost hunting was to blame, the real culprit was a mixture of drugs an alcohol.
9. Rat Spotted in NASA Mars Photo: Ever since NASA sent their Curiosity rover to Mars, UFO enthusiasts have been scrutinizing every photo that is sent back, and (of course) finding objects in the photos that PROVE that we are not alone in the universe. Apparently Mars is crawling with rats, lizards, and sheep-men. Of course, the red circle of paranormal proof surrounding each rat-shaped rock helps.
10. Alien-like Creature Found in New Jersey (Not a Joke): This was probably a hoax (it looks completely PhotoShopped), but if you were to ever find a creature as hideous as this one, my first guess would be that it would be found in New Jersey. Still, it’s more attractive than Snooki.