Well, 2012 has finally arrived, but 2011 was a great year for The Occult Section. We averaged about 15,000 hits per month, added some writers, added some advertising, and of course, stirred some pots. But in going through our stats, we’ve come across some interesting, funny, and sometimes perplexing trends for the year, which tells us a lot about how some of our readers find us.
Here in this third and final part, I’ll list our most popular stories of 2011, starting with the most popular (according to hits) and working our way down.
1. Finding Bigfoot on Animal Planet June 5th: This being our most popular post for the year is really no surprise, especially if you’ve read Part 1 or Part 2 of our Year in Review series. Bigfoot enthusiasts clamored for it, controversy surrounded it, and it’s now in its second season. Love it or hate it, Finding Bigfoot is a very popular show.
2. Zak Bagans to Host Paranormal Game Show: We actually get most of our hits for this post directly from the official Zak Bagans website. He has a following bigger than most boy bands, so it’s not surprising to see lots of searches for him. Once again, love him or hate him, Zak Bagans is a very popular fellow in the field of paranormal investigating.
3. FBI Unveils ‘The Vault,’ Including Unseen 9/11 Records and UFOs: This was huge news when it broke, and I think a lot of people expected some major secrets to be revealed with the FBI finally opening its “vault.” But, like all the other times the government has promised big revelations, conspiracy theorists were left with pretty much nothing. A few little interesting tidbits came out, but nothing earth-shattering. A few UFO stories that were marginally exciting at best was all they could hope for. It is interesting to note that we get lots of hits from government sites here at The Occult Section, including the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI itself. Welcome FBI and DHS! If you ever feel like telling us any of your secrets, we’d like, be cool with that, and never tell anyone. Pinky swear.
4. Indonesian Crop Circles: Evidence of UFOs?: Ok, this one I don’t quite understand. Before the Finding Bigfoot stories started coming out, this was by far our most popular post, and it wasn’t really a huge story. Maybe locally it was, but I’m still surprised by the amount of hits it got. I’m also not a fan of crop circles, but I guess others are. Haha.
5. New Bigfoot show on Animal Planet: The Finding Bigfoot juggernaut continues. Yes folks, it’s got two spots in our top ten posts for 2011. This is the first post about it, before many details were known.
6. Cropsey: Staten Island’s Boogeyman?: By far our most popular post and subject in 2010, the documentary “Cropsey” still holds a respectable spot on our list in 6th place. The haunting, disturbing yet awesome documentary about the Staten Island child murders is not really paranormal, but the mythos surrounding it almost feels that way sometimes, and the documentary really captures that. Plus, it takes place right in our stomping grounds. See this movie if you can.
7. Ghost hunters denied request to investigate haunted house: A quirky little post about some ghost hunters being denied access to a haunted house comes in at number 7 on our list, but gave us our Number 1 keyword for finding our site with “denied.”
8. “Most Convincing Evidence of Bigfoot” Yet?: This story was a firestorm, not so much on our blog (though it was out 8th most popular post) but around the cryptozoology community in general. In a nutshell, a group of paranormal investigators claimed to have stunning proof of the existence of Bigfoot, called a press conference to announce it, and went on the defensive to anyone who questioned what they actually had. It really got the Bigfoot world all riled up, with people on both sides of the fence, those screaming for the release of the evidence, and those who were blind believers in what these yahoos were proclaiming. Ultimately, the press conference revelaed that all they had were some smudges on the windows of a truck, and they were asking for handouts to the tune of $5,000 so they could do some DNA tests on said smudges. So once again, a big Bigfoot story fizzled out, and these knuckleheads made a mockery of themselves and the field of cryptozoology got another black eye. The only ones who really got hurt here were the serious researchers.
9. El Chupacabra Mystery Solved?: I don’t really believe there’s much evidence for the existence of the chupacabra, but even I felt that the explanation put forth by Benjamin Radford was a little too neat and tidy, and seemed more about selling books than doing any actual debunking. I feel like he had a valid point, and that his explanation probably contributed in a big way to the mythology of the creaturea, but it’s not the complete story.
10: New Bigfoot Movie from “Blair Witch” Director: This definitely seemed like the year for Bigfoot, and the big guy got 4 spots on our top 10 most popular posts. News that Eduardo Sanchez, director of “The Blair Witch Project,” was doing a horror movie about Bigfoot got me excited, and apparently other people as well. The movie, which will be called “Exists,” doesn’t have a release date, or many other details yet, but I am definitely looking forward to this one. Been way too long since we had a good movie about Sasquatch, and one that wasn’t made for the SyFy Channel.
Most Liked on Facebook - Amateur Ghost Hunters Think Devices are ‘Ghost Finders’: Even though this post didn’t get enough hits to make it into our Top 10, it got the most Facebook likes of any of our posts in 2011. With a nice, even 100 Facebook likes, it was the clear winner. Which makes me happy, since the post was really about the stupidity of people who think their devices are “ghost finders,” which they are not. And iPhone apps that you buy for 99 cents will also not detect ghosts. Which brings us to…
Most Controversial Post - Harsh Truths the Paranormal Community Needs to Hear: Ok, we’ve done these semi-serious, semi-joking “guides” before, and people usually just think they are funny. Most people have enough of a sense of humor and humility to know what’s a joke and what’s something we’re all guilty of sometimes and need to improve upon. But this post caused quite a commotion. Of course, all of the people who had something to say did so cowardly and behind our backs, which is a bit ironic (thanks to our friends who have connections who informed us of these misdeeds). But whatever, we roll with the punches, and most people who we reached out to were very apologetic and just didn’t get the humor, and all is well now. There were a couple of others who just didn’t find it funny, and what can we say? We’re sorry we hit a nerve, but if we did, and you can’t laugh about it a little, then we don’t want to be associated with you anyways.
And that’s it for the year in review. I may be publishing some “repeats” over the next few months, some of our favorite posts from the past year, just so people who missed them the first time have a chance to read them. Have a happy and healthy new year, everyone!