It seems like just last month I was staring at this blog preparing to write about all the incredible adventures we’d been on in 2015, a year that was the biggest and most eventful that Dana and I have ever had since we started chasing monsters together ten years ago. Well, we topped it. Big time.
2016 was a bigger, crazier, and far weirder year than we ever could have anticipated. We began the year nervous and unsure of the future, leaving behind regular gigs as travel writers to focus on being full-time weirdos, and we quickly discovered that high strangeness has a way of taking hold when you dedicate your life to it.
We started off the year with a bang, hosting a special 2-hour episode of Finding Bigfoot, the first in the series to specifically tackle paranormal Sasquatch sightings. As their resident paranormal experts, we spent a couple weeks cruising around the mountains of California in a crazy van chasing down strange creatures, interviewing Sasquatch-channeling psychics, explaining the sad reality of tin-foil hats, and introducing the world to our theory that Bigfoot is a ghost. It’s catching on.
The Traveling Museum of the Paranormal & the Occult grew by leaps and bounds as people from all over the country donated dozens of haunted, cursed, and paranormally significant artifacts, some of which have proven themselves to be more active than others. One piece has shown itself to be so dangerous that we’ve encountered a first in our career as curators of the unexplained: a quest to return the object to the Appalachian cave it was stolen from.
In fact, our Traveling Museum of the Paranormal & Occult has grown at such a rate that we had install a whole new rack of shelving at WeirdHQ last month.
We even launched the first 24/7 live video-feed in a paranormal museum, beginning regular live experiments with the artifacts in the collection. We even conducted an EVP session with people from Australia, Japan, and Sweden at the same time! Ain’t technology great?
Greg Newkirk and Dana Matthews with Paranormal Lockdown’s Nick Groff and haunted objects from the Traveling Museum | Via Nick Groff Tour
While curating the world’s only mobile haunted object museum, we resurrected ghosts of the Amityville Horror, watched a girl get possessed by a cursed sword, and learned why you should always have a target in mind when using the Ouija board..
Speaking of paranormal possessions, we had the great pleasure of helping our good friends Amy Bruni and Adam Berry with a haunted object case on TLC’s Kindred Spirits, witnessing some of the coolest and most direct spirit communication ever. Fortunately, it was all captured on film in real-time.
We were honored to be included in the very last group to ever hold a paranormal investigation event at the legendary Stanley Hotel, where Stephen King was inspired to write The Shining. We visited the infamous Stull Cemetery in rural Kansas, a bucket list moment since we’d first started hunting ghosts as kids. We continued our groundbreaking spirit communication experiment with John E.L. Tenney, and we discovered that The Idol of Nightmares, a cursed African statue with a habit of causing bad dreams, preferred to be called “Billy” and learned to talk.
Greg and Dana with John E.L. Tenney | Via Karl Pfieffer Photography
We got some fantastic press, including the number two slot on The Independent’s list of Five Weirdest Museums to see in 2017, a pretty funny write-up of how Dana and I met and another about how we became the “Paranormal Power Couple”. We returned to Coast to Coast AM, appeared on Art Bell’s Midnight in the Desert, and even swung by WGN’s Halloween show.
Dana and I were nearly murdered by a crazed – possibly possessed – preacher and his gang of strange-looking passengers after they ran us off the road in rural Maryland. Fittingly, it was the chest full of haunted objects stowed in the back of our car which saved our lives.
Week in Weird, our daily paranormal news website, entered its eighth year in operation! What was once a little MySpace blog dedicated to being a real pain in the ass (sorry Chip, Amy, Grant, etc.) has grown into something we’re really proud of. This year, we consistently crushed traffic record after traffic record, forcing us to upgrade our server space twice after climbing to over two million unique readers a month. Not bad for a couple monster hunters with a keyboard.
Much to Dana’s dismay, in 2016 Amazon Prime added a true Canadian treasure to their streaming video selection: The Girly Ghosthunters. Way back in 2004, Dana led the cast of this television series, which followed her team – the world’s first all-female paranormal investigation group – as they chased ghosts all over Canada. It’s adorable, especially considering that it premiered at the same as Syfy’s Ghost Hunters.
One of our favorite accomplishments of 2016, though, was utterly nailing our Halloween costumes as 1970s-era Ed and Lorraine Warren at the Strange Escapes Halloween Ball. Hey, New Line Cinema, feel free to cast us when Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson get too expensive.
We started a few new experiments that scared the pants off of us, including one that resulted in getting bitten by a pair of unseen jaws, and another that gave us even more insight into why and how people have paranormal experiences, but more importantly, who – or what – is causing them. More on that this year.
While we can’t totally spill the beans yet, 2016 also saw Dana and I film some fun, spooky, and downright amazing guest appearances for three of our favorite television shows, all of which should air early this year. We even got to lend our insight as professional weirdos to a few other tv projects as “paranormal consultants”, which is about the coolest title ever. We’ll keep you posted on the air dates.
We put over 40,000 miles on the Adventure-Mobile, spent more than a collective month living in hotels, changed four tires, consumed around 35 gallons of truck stop/late-night diner coffee, and one day drove nearly twenty-hours straight in a paranormal emergency. That one was rough.
But the best part of 2016 was getting to meet thousands of the most awesome, interesting, and supportive weirdos from all over the country. Whether you attended one of our lectures, visited the Traveling Museum of the Paranormal & the Occult, invited us to investigate high-strangeness in your hometown, or just dropped us a line on social media, you were the reason we loved 2016 so much. Thank you for being part of our paranormal adventures.
Wait until you see what we’ve got planned for 2017..
- John E.L. Tenney, for making our lives so much weirder just by being in it. Thanks for being our Paranormal Dad.
- Sean Mantooth, Chad Hammel, Animal Planet, and the cast and crew of Finding Bigfoot for tackling a weird topic and taking us on an awesome adventure.
- Amy Bruni and Sara Coombs-Vajgrt for consistently killing it with Strange Escapes events, and inviting us to be part of the Strange Escapes family.
- Amy Bruni, Adam Berry, and TLC for bringing us on Kindred Spirits, and for producing one of the best paranormal shows on television.
- Nick Groff, Lee & Jen Kirkland, Jeff Waldridge, Donnie Irvin, and the rest of the Nick Groff Tour crew. #Warriors
- Chip Coffey, for always being a phone call away and feeding Dana’s intense scarf addiction. #TeamDana
- Ty Gowen, Katie Webb, Ashley Brooks, Carol Cleveland and the Haunt ME crew for inspiration, adventure, and one of the strangest cases ever.
- Brad Blair, Tim Ellis, and the rest of the Michigan Paracon gang. Thanks for letting us be part of your amazing event.
- Karl Pfieffer for the eye candy. Also the photos. Can’t wait to see what you tackle next.
- Heather Wade and Midnight in the Desert for leaving the door open for us to talk weird. #DMTalk, thanks for being nice to us.
- Patrick H.T. Doyle for letting us investigate the Ghost Mine artifacts and giving us someone else to cringe at the “dark days” with.
- Mike Moore, for helping us think differently about research equipment, and the first tele-seance!
- Ryan Golembeske and Reggie Byrd, the Supernatural Bigfoot Crew. Squatch on, guys. We miss you.
- James ‘Bobo’ Fay, for hooking us up with cool people doing cool stuff, saying nice things about us, and telling the best stories.
- Cliff Barackman, for donating an Orang Pendek cast to the museum and being one of the nicest, most knowledgable dudes in cryptozoology.
- Jim Perry / Euphomet, Patrick Keller / Big Seance Podcast, Jim Harold / Paranormal Podcast, Eric Olsen / America’s Most Haunted
- Allison, Mike, and Wendy from See You on the Other Side Podcast. You guys are the best.
- Ryan Sprague, Shannon LeGro, and Sam Shearon from Into the Fray. Thanks for being as weird as we are.
- The Anomalist for including Week in Weird in their updates and curating the wide world of the unexplained every single damn day.
- Tim Binnall for keeping us relevant, constantly stirring up the skeptics, and being generally awesome.
- And you. Seriously. If you made it this far, there’s a good chance we love you, and you already know it. Thanks for being weird with us.