Well, here we are in 2017. Donald Trump is now officially the President of the United States of America. I don’t care which side of the political coin you are on, that’s a little surreal. But as bizarre, scary, and inexplicable as this all may be, it’s not paranormal, and politics is not really my forte. So it’s time once again to look back on the year that was, and to move forward and focus on strange phenomena that do not have terrific orange tans.
For me personally, 2016 was a year of change. I moved from my beloved Brooklyn to the forgotten (but subtly fascinating) borough of Staten Island. We moved into a home that was 99 years old, and we were not alone. Unfortunately, our houseguests were not of the paranormal variety, but rodents – squirrels, to be exact. We finally managed to evict them safely, due to the ingenuity of my father, but the house had many, many other issues to fix, and we are still not done. Though the house is comfortable now, and is finally starting to feel like home. As a family, we’ve had to make some course corrections and sacrifices to adapt to our new status as homeowners. It’s been a roller coaster year, full of joy, heartbreak, optimism, disappointment, and a lot of laughing, mainly because we had no other real option. I really slowed down in my blogging, mostly because my time was either completely occupied with work and repairs, or because I had no energy at all to expend on it. I did manage to venture into podcasting with my son, and that’s something I hope to pick up again this year, once the dust has finally settled. But for now, it’s time to get back into the paranormal. So without further ado, here is the Year in Review for 2016.
Just as in years past, I’ll list our most popular stories from 2016, but only stories from 2016. Some older stories are still filling up high spots, including Mountain Monsters: Fakest of the Fake Paranormal Shows?, Thoughts on Grant Wilson Leaving TAPS/”Ghost Hunters” and Cropsey: Staten Island’s Boogeyman?, which are pretty much our most popular stories of all time. So what were the top stories from 2016?
1. Destination America to Air “Ghost Brothers”: This was honestly a surprise to me, as I truly figured one of the stories about Ghost Hunters or Ryan Buell would be in the top spot. Ghost Brothers does have a uniqueness, in that it’s a ghost hunting show featuring an all-black cast, in a landscape of shows that hardly ever feature minorities. Unfortunately, Destination America decided to go the comic relief route with the show, even down to the name. One step forward, two steps back.
2. Ryan Buell of Paranormal State Arrested for Felony Theft: Coming in a close second is the sad story of Ryan Buell. No stranger to controversy, Buell’s life took a decidedly downward turn in 2016, when he was arrested on felony charges, and his mother revealed on Facebook that he faked his pancreatic cancer and was battling drug addiction.
3. Ghost Hunters Leaving the SyFy Channel: This is the story I thought was a sure bet to be the runaway juggernaut of the year. Jason Hawes announced via Facebook that Ghost Hunters, the granddaddy of modern-era ghost hunting shows, would not be returning to the SyFy Channel after its 11th season. No explanation was given for the split, and it still remains a mystery. Hawes has told his fans to “stay tuned” numerous times, but as of yet, no announcement has been made as to whether or not Ghost Hunters is returning at all, and if so, where.
4. Where will Ghost Hunters end up?: Now this makes sense. The follow-up article regarding the
cancellation non-renewal of Ghost Hunters, where Jason Hawes assures fans that the show will pop up again somewhere…someplace…sometime…but catch his new radio show!
5. Amy Bruni and Adam Berry to Star in New Ghost Hunting Show: Ok, so Ghost Hunters didn’t end up in the top spot, but the show (and its alumni) did get 3 out of the 5 top slots. Amy Bruni and Adam Berry star in Kindred Spirits, a show that they left Ghost Hunters for so they can be, you know, ghost hunters. Expanding horizons and all that. Of course, it’s on Destination America, where terrible paranormal shows rule the land (it joins Ghost Brothers and Mountain Monsters, among a variety of others whose titles escape me). Good luck to them, I guess?
These are just some of the stories I had the most fun with this year, or was the most proud of.
1. Review: Bigfoot Research Kit: Written by my 9-year old son, Jake. The boy is just like his old man, into all things paranormal, especially Bigfoot. And he was very interested in becoming a blogger. For a few minutes. Gotta love that age. I’m sure he’ll be back again, though.
2. Loveland Frogman Found by Pokémon Go Players: I just really, really dig the Photoshop job I did on this one (which was a pretty poorly hoaxed photo to begin with). I am my own best audience, sometimes. But the Loveland Frogman is a very cool little legend in its own right.
3. UFO Over Staten Island is Against Hillary Clinton: UFOs, funny Photoshopping, Staten Island, and politics? Yeah I enjoyed doing this one. Might be less funny a year from now during the nuclear winter, but…yeah.
4. CNN Interview: Laura Pennace on “Ghostbusters” and Sexism in The Paranormal: My fiancee on CNN? Of course this is a proud one for me. Women are not often treated well in the paranormal field, but Laura talks about her positive experiences in our group, where everyone is treated equally.
5. Mystery Sound in Staten Island: It’s rare that I get to blog about a story in which I was also an experiencer, but Laura and I were awoken in the early hours of the morning by these creepy sounds. They were eventually explained as being caused by a steam pipe valve in New Jersey (of course, New Jersey), but it was still fun to be a part of the speculation before the explanation.
Top Search Keywords
1. “mountain monsters”: Still reigning champion, searches for the show Mountain Monsters (or some variation on it, including the cast or regarding whether it’s fake or not) leads the top keyword search list for 2016. I had no idea when I first wrote that article that it would become our most popular article, easily eclipsing any article we’ve ever done on Ghost Hunters. Speaking of which…
2. “why is ghost hunters leaving syfy”: Jason Hawes announced earlier in 2016 that Ghost Hunters would not be returning to the SyFy Channel. Was it canceled? Did TAPS just refuse to sign a new contract? We still don’t know, but people are obviously curious. Jason keeps telling us to stay tuned, while no new news comes out, and he continues his radio show.
3. “brian harnois”: I haven’t heard much about Brian over the past few years, but I’m guessing he still owes lots of people money. And besides, Brian has always been a controversial figure in the paranormal world, and is pretty much the poster boy for what paracelebs should not become. So he moves up to our #3 spot this year. I’m sure he would be proud, if that was an emotion he was capable of experiencing.
4. “best bigfoot movies”: This one moves up from the #9 spot from last year. I’m a little surprised, because 2015 seemed to be a much more Bigfoot movie-saturated year than 2016, but I guess people love their movies about the big guy.
5. “amy bruni new show”: Yes, there are cast members of Ghost Hunters who are not controversial jerks. Amy Bruni and Adam Berry apparently got a new show on Destination America called Kindred Spirits. I haven’t heard much about it, but I guess it’s another option for people who are missing Ghost Hunters and enjoy watching Destination America on the one hour per week when Mountain Monsters isn’t playing.
6. “ghost brothers tv show”: And speaking of Destination America, I guess they wanted to branch out with their stereotyping, so instead of just hillbillies running around and shouting 24/7 on the network, they greenlit Ghost Brothers, a ghost hunting show with an all black cast, and of course, it’s a comedy. Because when someone is investigating the paranormal, you can’t take them seriously unless they say “git ‘er done” 72 times every 44 minutes.
7. “paranormal state”: Not wanting to be outdone by Brian Harnois, Ryan Buell of Paranormal State got himself into a heap of trouble this year when he was arrested for felony theft and possession of stolen property. Oh, and it also came out (via a Facebook post from his mother) that he faked that whole “I have pancreatic cancer” thing. And has a pretty serious drug problem.
The rest of the top keywords, for a long way down the list, is some combination of questions on Mountain Monsters, Ghost Hunters, Brian Harnois and Ryan Buell. But then we get to some really esoteric searches…
Yes, People Actually Used These Keywords To Find Our Site
1. “sex girlfriend son films”: I really hope this was just someone familiar with the story and not looking for a specific type of porn movie.
2. “what year did joe lott of mountain monsters graduate”: Kindergarten, I’m assuming.
3. “are huckleberry and buck related on mountain monsters”: I’m guessing everyone on Mountain Monsters is related in some way.
4. “wikileaks supernatural humans”: Or “Wikileaks Hillary Clinton.” Same Google results, I’m guessing.
5: “jenner and chemtrails”: Definitely a correlation. Or perhaps they just wanted to know what Kylie was tweeting about?