The Year in Review: 2018

Happy New Year and welcome to 2019! I’m proud to say that I stuck to my resolution from last year to blog more. Thankfully, there was more to talk about this year, as there has really been an uptick in quality paranormal TV and documentary offerings. But there were also more quirky stories this past year, and those are my favorites, after all. I had some issues with the site being hacked, twice, and GoDaddy now has a lot more of my money than they used to, but they were awesome about making sure the site was restored completely, with no data loss, and we were only offline for a little over 24 hours. I was quite worried for a while there that my 8 years of hard work PhotoShopping Muppets into alleged paranormal photos would be lost.

Anyway, let’s look back on 2018, shall we?

The Year in Review - 2018

Hell Must Be Freezing Over…

Bray Road Beast by Seth BreedloveI wrote last year about how shocked I was to actually come across a paranormal television show that I truly enjoyed, the wonderful Terror in the Woods, which was re-branded as These Woods Are Haunted when it moved from Destination America to the Travel Channel. Not to be outdone, 2018 had some great offerings of its own.

Firstly, the History Channel rebooted the classic series In Search Of…, originally hosted by Leonard Nimoy, Mr. Spock of Star Trek fame. The reboot starred (and was produced by) Zachary Quinto, who ironically played Spock in the rebooted Star Trek movies. The In Search Of… reboot was very solid in my opinion, presenting a different paranormal or supernatural phenomenon each week, and taking a very open-minded look at the subject, without shying away from less-than-sensational results. Whereas most paranormal shows either skew their evidence to lean towards the paranormal, or just outright fake things for ratings, In Search Of… seemed content with simply presenting the actual results of their investigations, no matter what the outcome was.

The second great surprise of the year for me was the discovery of the documentaries from Small Town Monsters, the production team headed up by Seth Breedlove. I had been aware of Small Town Monsters prior to 2018, but this was the year I truly discovered them. For the past few years, I have been turned off to paranormal TV shows and other “documentaries” of that ilk. But then I watched Invasion on Chestnut Ridge one night and loved it, not even realizing it was a STM production until it was over. So at that point, I started watching more, like Minerva Monster, Beast of Whitehall, and The Mothman of Point Pleasant. I even reviewed a few, like Boggy Creek Monster, The Flatwoods Monster, and The Bray Road Beast. And mind you, these are not just good documentaries; they are bar-raising. From the amazing cinematography, to the suitably spooky soundtracks, and even the smooth narration of cryptozoologist Lyle Blackburn on many of the titles, these films make most of what is being put out on TV and other streaming services look like freshman year AV club stuff. Netflix, Amazon, or Hulu would be smart to offer these guys a series.

Our Biggest Story

Strange wolf-like animal killed in Montana
What do you think this is?

I’m always curious as to what story in a particular year was our most popular, garnering the most hits. For example, last year, it was Ghost Hunters Update! But Not Really, wherein Jason Hawes updated fans of Ghost Hunters by basically not giving any updates at all about if, when, or where the show might be returning. Fascinating stuff. Anyway, this year’s most popular post? Last year’s Year in Review. Haha. And here I was, thinking nobody ever even read these bloody Year in Review posts.

Next up was Strange Wolf-like Creature Killed in Montana, which was about a strange wolf-like creature that was killed in Montana. I am great at title-writing, by the way. Speculation ran wild that this might be a werewolf, a dogman, a chupacabra, or some other paranormal creature or cryptid. But, to the surprise of no one with half a brain, the strange wolf-like creature ended up just being a wolf. Imagine that?

Rounding out the Top 3 for 2018 was When Ghost Hunting Crosses a Line. This story was a bit more serious than our usual goofy, sarcastic fare, and really asks the question of how soon is too soon when it comes to investigating the paranormal? 2018 saw some tragic yet high-profile murders, with jogger Mollie Tibbetts being killed by a farm hand and Shanann Watts and her daughters being killed by her husband. And while most of the nation was horrified and in mourning, a couple of douche-canoe ghost hunters thought it would be a great idea to not only conduct EVP sessions trying to contact the recently-deceased, but to make obnoxious YouTube videos documenting their attempts. Paranormal investigators always walk a fine line when it comes to showing respect for the dead, but these folks definitely crossed that line.

Top Search Keywords

Keeping it real.

1. “ghost hunters”: Back on top after losing the past few years to “mountain monsters,” the TAPS crew are getting lots of hits as of late. They’ve been off of TV for a while now, and despite speculation and assurances of how, when, and where they will return, there is still no news regarding the future of the Ghost Hunters franchise. At this point, the ship may have already sailed, but if they wait 20 years and do a reboot, they may actually have a chance.

2. “mountain monsters”: Not number 1 this year, but a very close second. The popularity and staying power of this show is truly something to behold. Initially presented as a weekly hunt for Bigfoot and other cryptids of the Appalachian Mountains, the show seems to have embraced its campiness and has now gone full-on “monster hunting soap opera,” complete with a seasons-long story arc about a mysterious rogue group of monster hunters who are competing with the Mountain Monsters crew. The show has gone from eye-rollingly bad to so-bad-it’s-funny. Touché, Destination America.

3. “terror in the woods weste erickson”: Apparently I wasn’t the only one who loved Terror in the Woods. The first episode is actually dedicated to the memory of one of the show’s first subjects, Weste Erickson. Many people, including yours truly, were saddened to see that he had passed, and went searching for information to see how he died. I never did find any information in his obituaries, which never listed a cause of death. No matter how he died, he was way too young, but he definitely left a legacy in the paranormal world.

4. “brian harnois death”: I guess he still owes people money for t-shirts, huh?

5. “amazon”: They are taking over the world, so I’m not really surprised by this. I have some Amazon links to books or movies I’ve reviewed, but good to know I’m getting some of Amazon’s traffic, at least.

People Actually Used These Keyword Searches To Find Our Site

1. “female bigfoot porn”: The real impact of the Patterson-Gimlin film, I guess. First you see a pair of bare Bigfoot boobs, but then you need even more hardcore Sasquatch sex just to feel anything anymore. To be fair, Bigfoot erotica garnered some media attention this year as well.

2. “bono naked”: Don’t even know where to start with this one. I’m a die-hard U2 fan, and yet have only mentioned Bono once, in a story about Tom DeLonge of Blink 182 hunting UFOs for the government. I did do a story about Sonny Bono’s ghost haunting Cher, but that’s a different Bono. So, sorry, no naked Bono here.

3. “ghost sex”: Finally, someone normal visiting our blog! Plain, vanilla, ol’ fashioned ghost sex.

4. “find women satanic in staten island”: This one is amusing and yet at the same time, a bit disturbing. I mean, on the one hand, if you’re a Satanist and want to sacrifice cute animals and babies to the Dark Lord, it’s probably tough finding a girlfriend. On the other hand, Staten Island (where I currently live) has a long history of Satanic cult activity, which I believe most residents feel has subsided. But perhaps not…

5. “zak bagans penis”: Yes, he is. Though I suspect that this is not what the 15-year old girl who Googled this term was asking.

Zak Bagans - The Year in Review

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