Happy New Year everyone! Let’s hope 2021 holds better things in store for all of us. It’s time for another Year in Review, and what a year it was. Indeed, 2020 was difficult for all of us, but it’s important to focus on the positives. So hopefully you enjoy this lighthearted look back on the year that was. At least in the paranormal world…
A Year of Adventure and Isolation
I started the year off doing something I love to do: camping in the Adirondacks. My buddy Josh and I were excited to head into John Pond, in the Siamese Ponds Wilderness, for some winter camping. It was late January. The weather was cold, the trails were snowy, and everyone thought we were nuts. But we dragged our gear 2.5 miles in to the lean to and enjoyed an amazing trip. Good friends, good beer, and some ghost hunting at a nearby graveyard. And then I lost my wedding ring.
A mere two days after returning home, my wife and I headed back to John Pond, armed with a metal detector. A five hour drive, an hour hike in, and 12 minutes of searching the campsite yielded my lost ring. We made a fire, took in the scenery, and did some ghost hunting of our own before hiking back out. It was a magical few days: the original trip with Josh, returning with my wife, the pure adventure of it all. This was normal life for us, ironically. But normalcy would change a mere 6 weeks later.
March roared in like a lion, but that lion was COVID-19. I was informed at work that I had been exposed to someone who had tested positive, and had to quarantine for two weeks. But a week into my quarantine, the city, and much of the world, went into lockdown. I was never able to get tested, as I had no symptoms, and never (to my knowledge) actually got coronavirus. Others were not so lucky. I’ve been working remotely from home since.
The world changed. Lives changed. It was terrifying at times, sad and frustrating at others. But we adapted. By August, we had flattened the curve here in New York, so Josh and I planned another trip deep into the wilderness. Deeper than we’d ever been before.
It was strange meeting up with him, the first non-family member I had even seen since this all started. We couldn’t shake hands. We had to wear masks unless we were outside in the woods, socially distant enough to be safe. But it was good to be camping again. This time was a 3-mile hike into Ross Pond, and it was a hike that almost broke us. Way too much gear, way too hot, and we underestimated the terrain. The campsite was gorgeous, secluded, right on picturesque Ross Pond. But we were sore, dehydrated, and exhausted. And the toughest parts were yet to come.
On our second night, something came into our camp. Something big. We initially assumed it was a bear. But something about that assumption seemed off. For one, it didn’t seem scared of us. Most black bear in the Adirondacks will flee if you get big and make noise, as Josh and I did. This thing didn’t budge. Secondly, it was too tall. I knew that if it was where it was, it would have to be between 8 and 9 feet tall, minimum. Way too tall for a black bear. Eventually it lumbered off, but on its own terms. Josh and I stayed up for another five hours, too shaken to sleep.
The next morning, we awoke to find a large, human-like footprint in the mud near our tents. Of course we freaked out. What exactly had visited us the night before? Sadly, we had no time to stick around and investigate further. A storm was moving in, and we had to hike out. The trail was just as bad as before, except this time, it wasn’t the heat, but the pouring rain that did us in. Once home, we did a little detective work from some videos we took, and determined the footprint to be a mix of bear print and my boot print from 2 days prior.
So the footprint wasn’t left by Bigfoot. But what was the 9-foot tall creature that visited us the night before? We may never know. I just truly hope this pandemic wanes soon, so that Josh and I can resume our adventures…
But for now, back to the blog.
Our Biggest Story
This result was a bit shocking to me. In previous years, our most popular stories are mainly items that have made the news: encounters with strange creatures, new paranormal shows coming to TV, stuff like that. But 2020 was dominated by movie reviews. And I suppose that’s not as shocking as it first appears. The Small Town Monsters crew alone released a number of amazing documentaries this year, and all of our reviews got tons of hits. On the Trail of UFOs. The Mothman Legacy. The Mark of the Bell Witch. Each one tackled their specific subject matter in a serious, objective manner, with a quality the competing television programs could only dream of. It gives me hope that more and more people are rejecting the “fast food” garbage of paranormal TV, and are craving something more substantial.
The most popular documentary review (and post) here for 2020 was not a Small Town Monsters film, however. That title goes to The Hat Man: Documented Cases of Pure Evil. This is a film I accidentally stumbled upon, but which shocked me with a personal connection I had to it. And apparently, many other people have that same personal connection to this shadowy, enigmatic figure.
Assquatch and Other Taxidermy Oddities was also an extremely popular post this year. I guess people just really love the idea of creative taxidermy? If you’d like to know how a deer butt can be made into a sasquatch face, give that link a click. And prepare to be simultaneously horrified and amused.
Some paranormal news that was very popular this year on the blog? A simple question: is Brian Harnois of ‘Ghost Hunters’ Starting New Paranormal Group? Yes, he’s a polarizing figure, but love him or hate him, people always want to read about him. I’ve had the pleasure of speaking with Brian, and found him to be a very nice, sincere guy. I can’t speak for everyone, and I know some have had issues with him, but I still maintain he was dealt a bad hand from the start. Hoping he, along with the rest of us, has a much better 2021.
Top Search Keywords
1. “brian harnois”: Not too surprising, since as I mentioned above, people love reading about Brian. But this year, searches for him displaced previous top contenders like “mountain monsters,” “ghost hunters,” and “terror in the woods.” I guess at the end of the day, he’s the most popular of the Ghost Hunters.
2. “amazon”: I honestly don’t know why this was bringing people here. I used to add Amazon links at the end of my book and movie reviews, in hopes of generating some revenue, but nobody ever purchased through my links, so I stopped doing it.
3. “really good bigfoot costume adult”: I use a LOT of images on here of Bigfoot costumes, but never tag them as such. But I guess I talk enough about Bigfoot to rank in the search keywords.
4. “missing 411”: As I said, documentary reviews were huge here this year, and Missing 411 gained a lot of momentum late in the year. Not sure why, but people really seemed intrigued by hikers/campers mysteriously vanishing in America’s national parks, and if there might possibly be a paranormal component to the disappearances.
5. bigfoot sightings in the adirondacks”: Tied pretty directly to the Missing 411 searches, I suppose, and perhaps because I blogged so much about Bigfoot hunting in the Adirondacks this year. Most people only think of Whitehall when it comes to Bigfoot in New York state. But the Adirondack Park is huge, and home to many sightings of the elusive sasquatch.
I even discovered an awesome Adirondacks podcast if you have an interest in the region: The 46 of 46 Podcast.
People Actually Used These Keyword Searches To Find Our Site
1. “occult meaning of frog kermit”: Really? This was the most popular of the “weird” keyword searches for 2020. Not sure why people would think Kermit the Frog, the lovable Muppet, would have anything to do with the occult. But here we are.
2. “missing hunters in the adirondacks”: Again, I’m aware of the “Missing: 411” books and films. But seeing this is just a reminder of the harshness of nature. I’ve been on a number of camping trips into the Adirondacks. Deep into the Adirondacks. I’ve had some frightening encounters, as mentioned above. But these strange disappearances are always on my mind. Adirondack Park is majestic. But it also holds many mysteries. And many dangers.
3. “is george clooney in the occult”: Probably? Better ask Kermit the Frog. I bet he would know.
4. “sex with a ghost”: I really try to keep the blog family-friendly, for the most part. Sure, sometimes there’s a curse word. Or a topic like Bigfoot erotica, or other posts that touch on sexuality. But year in and year out, there are searches about ghost sex that bring people here.
5. “bigfoot farms marijuana”: What were people searching for here? Is it someone being interested in a marijuana farm run by Bigfoot? Or are they inquiring if Bigfoot actively collects marijuana for his/her own personal use? Who knows, but I suppose it’s better than Bigfoot sex.