I decided to create a Haunt Jaunts “Best of” 2009 Award as I was taking stock of this past year and all the highlights. One of the tops has been creating Haunt Jaunts. If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you might know Haunt Jaunts became my “get off the couch” project while I recovered from cancer. (Check out the the About page for more on that if you don’t know and you’re interested.)
However, something I was not expecting when I started this venture was to find so many neat blogs, meet so many amazing people, or exchange so many interesting ideas. I’ve been inspired and have felt like I not only found my niche but also my “people.” I wanted to find a way to let all those who’ve had such a positive impact on my life and this Haunt Jaunts project of mine this past year know about it.
What better way than with an award? And what better day to do it than today. Not only is it New Year’s Eve and the last day of 2009, it’s also my year anniversary! (Yep, on this date in ’08 I learned I had cancer. Which is ultimately what set the HJ ball rolling so…time to celebrate the good that came of it!)
I split up the awards into two categories: (1) Ghosts, Travel, and All Things Paranormal (basically blogs, people and sites you’d expect HJ to follow), and (2) Other (blogs, people and sites that aren’t necessarily Haunt Jaunts-related but which appeal to my Haunt Jaunting sensibilities nonetheless!)
So, without further ado, (drum roll, please) let me announce the Haunt Jaunts “Best of” 2009 Award Winners!
CATEGORY 1: GHOSTS, TRAVEL, AND ALL THINGS PARANORMAL
BEST BLOG/PODCAST COMBINATION – HOLLOW HILL
I love Fiona Broome. Her views on the paranormal world are ones I really relate to. But what I really like about her is her sincerity. She truly cares about the paranormal community and helping those with questions discover and understand the truth.
BEST COLLECTION OF PARANORMAL SOURCES – THE PARANORMAL CASEBOOK, THE PARANORMAL CASEBOOK: PARANORMAL NEWS THE LAST 24 HOURS, ALIEN CASEBOOK
Their tag best sums up what these sites will give you when it comes to info and entertainment relating to the paranormal, UFOs, wiccan, psychics, hauntings and more : “If it hit the Internet today, you’ll find it here each day.” This is a SUPER way to stay abreast of all sorts of posts. It’s like getting a RSS feed within a RSS feed!
- HONORABLE MENTION BEST COLLECTION OF PARANORMAL SOURCES – ABOUT.COM’S PARANORMAL PHENOMENA They also present a run down of interesting stories they’ve collected from different sites, but not every day. Still, I felt it deserved an HM.
- HONORABLE MENTION BEST COLLECTION OF PARANORMAL SOURCES –PARANOMINAL They also collect quite the stories on all topics from all across the web. Between that and their site design, I figured it was also worthy of a HM.
BEST GHOST HUNTING TRAVELS BOOK SERIES – AMERICA’S HAUNTED ROAD TRIP
They have seven books out right now (Ohio, New Jersey, Virginia, Illinois, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Texas). If they do all 50 states, there’s still more books coming. However, for the books they do have out, they’d make a heck of an addition to any Haunt Jaunters travel guide collection.
BEST GIVEAWAY DONOR – PUBLISHINGWORKS
Carol at PublishingWorks actually contacted me in relation to my “Haunts with Heart” article. However, when she mentioned they published Haunted Hikes of New Hampshire and Haunted Cemeteries of New England, I thought what great giveaway prizes those would make. I took a chance asking her and she didn’t hesitate to ship them right out. I thought that was very cool, because I was right. Those were two of the more popular giveaway prizes!
BEST GUEST BLOGGER – SUSAN FROM CAPER COMPANY TOURS
Not that my other guest bloggers haven’t been great. I don’t want to diminish them at all. However, Susan’s been so wonderful about regularly stopping by and sharing posts also related on her Haunt Spots Tours blog. What fun that’s been to have her do that! And, really, her business just melds so nicely with Haunt Jaunts, doesn’t it? She’s what this blog is all about!
BEST HAUNT JAUNTS HOOKER UPPER – PATTY CERAN
Patty from A Haunting We Will Go not only suggested I should join the IPAA (I’ll get to it below), but she passed along a bunch of tips for places I should join/check out this year. Such as suggesting I become a fan of groups on Facebook like Lovers of Ghost Stories, International Ghost Hunters Society, and Haunted Houses & Places, as well as the Spooky Hollow Folk Art page. (I’m pretty sure you turned me on to all of these, Patty. If I’m mistaken, just say so.) And if I am mistaken, then I don’t know which ones she sent me, but she’s sent me a lot of good suggestions I’ve looked into. In short, she was trying to hook Haunt Jaunts up with some interesting paranormal-related places and that’s why she gets this “Best of” award!
BEST HORROR & PARANORMAL ENTERTAINMENT BLOG – SCREAMSTRESS
Oh, you know I like me my Haunt Jaunts to the movies! The scarier the better. I love this blog because in addition to horror and paranormal movies, they cover TV and books too. There’s a lot of info here you won’t find elsewhere. (Well, in time you will, but they’re pretty on top of breaking things first.) They also hold cool giveaways. Lost of movie paraphernalia and such.
BEST NEWS AND REPORTING – GHOST THEORY
I would be highly remiss if I left Javier Ortega’s EXCELLENT blog out of my awards. Him and his team not only compile great stories, but also strive to do real reporting. I’m talking about what reporting used to be: truth and fairness. Now, all of the subjects he covers might not be on the up and up, but if they’re hoaxes you can count on Javier uncovering that.
BEST PARANORMAL AWARDS – INTERNATIONAL PARANORMAL ACKNOWLEDGMENT AWARDS (IPAA)
This is one I’m positive Patty turned me on to. It recently announced its award winners. All the usual suspects (Ghost Hunter, Chris Moon, Zak Bagans, etc) were nominated for various things. But so were a lot of others. I learned of a TON of new-to-me people doing really neat things in the paranormal world thanks to the IPAA.
BEST RECAPS – ABOVE THE NORM
Julie does an amazing job of recapping shows like Ghost Hunters, Ghost Adventures, Destination Truth, etc. (Which she also posts on Ghost Hunters Investigations.) Whenever I’d miss a show (or my DVR would cut off the end of a show), I knew I could count on Julie to fill me in on what I’d missed!
BEST RESOURCE – LOYD AUERBACH
Mr. Auerbach has been INSANELY generous chatting back and forth and sharing info with me ever since we became acquainted when I started in on my “Haunted or Hype?” research. What an awesome guy. He’s turned me on to new leads and has sparked countless new blog ideas. And talk about an open door accessible any ol’ time I have a question. I can’t thank him enough for all his time. I hope this award will help show some of my appreciation.
BEST THEORIES – GHOST HUNTING THEORIES
Bet you never saw that one coming, did you? Is there anyone else who compares to Autumnforest? I haven’t found them. Her theories are thoughtful, fresh, and exciting. Not to mention prolific. (Not only in her blogs, but also in comments. Again, not just on her blogs, but all across the Net. I shouldn’t be, but I’m always surprised when I go to leave a comment somewhere and, guess what? She’s already been there leaving an in-depth analysis of her thoughts on the matter. She’s incredible!) I really enjoyed her Haunted Formula series that she did this past year. I look forward to the concepts she’ll present in 2010.
Back when I entered the Twittersphere in September, I had set a goal to get to 500 followers. I didn’t set a time frame. I figured it’d take me at least six months. (If not more. Likely more.) That’s why I was stunned when before I knew it I was at 400, then 500. Now I’m topping 750+. 1,000 doesn’t seem such a stretch anymore. But I didn’t get there randomly. I had a lot of help, though that’s what’s so cool. I didn’t even ask for it! Fellow Tweeters like those listed above helped me via Follow Fridays, RTs, or sharing my links as they found them. And there were also the DM exchanges. I love interacting with others so when I got DMs, many times from those listed above, wow. Made my day! These folks definitely deserve this “Best of” award with my utmost gratitude!
BEST YARD HAUNTING BLOG – FROG ON THE PUMPKIN
This blog’s name caught my eye right away, but then when I discovered the subject matter? Fascinating! Do you have anyone in your city or neighborhood that does an elaborate Halloween display in their yard? I’m talking one so big people come from miles around, it makes the news, etc? That is “The Frog Queen’s” passion (in addition to frogs), and she shares it on her blog. I’d love to make a Haunt Jaunt to see her haunted yard at Halloween sometime. From the pictures and anecdotes she shared on her blog it appears incredible! (It’s even won awards!)
CATEGORY 2: OTHER
I have an artist’s heart but no artistic talent. However, I appreciate those who do. But then there are the people who create art for the web, via graphics, blog backgrounds, etc. And they even offer some of it for FREE! Like these three. MarZel creates backgrounds good for Blogger users. Samantha’s are WordPress compatible. And if you want to jazz up your words with some wicked fonts, Chad’s got you covered.
BEST GIVEAWAYS – CONFESSIONS OF A PAGAN SOCCER MOM: MUTTERINGS OF A DOMESTIC WITCH (A.K.A. MRS. B)
Holy guacamole, I don’t know how she did it. I just did a humble little giveaway for Halloween. She did an EXTRAVAGANZA! She gave away multiple things each of the 31 days of October. She had quite the variety of prizes too, everything from books and arts and crafts. It was really impressive. However, she doesn’t limit herself to Halloween. She holds giveaways throughout the year. But besides giving away neat stuff, she also writes a highly entertaining blog. She’s one worth adding to your RSS if you haven’t already.
BEST HALLOWEEN BLOG PARTY HOSTESS – FIBERDOODLES: WHIMSICAL BY DESIGN
Mrs. B’s and A Fanciful Twist (addressed above and below) also threw Halloween Blog parties, but I’m giving the “Best of” award to Sharon from fiberdoodles because I ended up making a new friend, getting new readers myself, and finding a bunch of new blogs to follow when I participated in her party. It made this past October definitely one to remember!
BEST PHOTOS – A FANCIFUL TWIST
As I stated in the Free Graphics “Best of” section, I really appreciate artists. Certain ones grab me and won’t let go. I love the way I feel when I stop by Vanessa’s blog. The images she posts just speak to my soul. I feel so calm and centered, energized and hopeful after visiting her spot on the web. She’s an artist who lives in one of my old stomping grounds, Tucson. I hope one day on one of my visits back there I can actually stop in her studio and experience her magical creations in person. I’m afraid I’d be tempted to buy out the whole place though!
SPECIAL NOTE TO THE WINNERS
Feel free to copy the image at the top of this post and put it on your site or blog. If you want to resize it and and post it on your sidebar, feel free to do that too! A link back to this post would be appreciated but is not required. I can also email you a copy of the image if you’d like as well. (See the Contact page for my email info.)
Again, congratulations! Thanks for being a highlight in my 2009!
Wishing you all a Happy New Year!