It was an event 400 years in the making, or about one “baktun” cycle, in jaguar priest lingo. It seemed everyone was dancing the Apocalypso in 2012 leading up to the end of the nonrepeating Mayan long count calendar on Dec. 21. But the big day came and went without a big finale -- even though enough people were freaked out that NASA and other organizations sought to quell concerns. But a major solar flare didn’t crash the electrical grid, civilization didn’t collapse, there wasn’t a global spiritual awakening and the planet managed to turn for another day. So even though this was the biggest potential paranormal event of the year, you still have to pay off those Christmas gifts on your credit card.
Bigfoot DNA Discovery
Is Sasquatch a man or monkey? In late November, Texas veterinarian Melba Ketchum said he’s both, according to DNA she says proves the cryptid’s existence. A specialist in animal DNA testing, Ketchum began analyzing more than 100 samples collected by Bigfoot hunters about 5 years ago, and says the hairy guy is a “human hybrid.” Ketchum’s work is currently undergoing “peer review,” so the scientific community has not signed off on it.
Serbian Vampire on the Loose
It sucks to lose your home, and vampire Sava Savanovic is taking it out on Serbian villagers in the town of Zarozje. News broke in March when local legend Sava’s supposed old mill home collapsed and the town council warned residents to stock up on garlic, crosses or stakes because the homeless vamp was angry and looking for blood (and new digs). The public health warning resulted in booming garlic sales.
Zombie Apocalypse Begins
The zombie apocalypse unofficially began last June when a man’s face was chewed off in a gruesome Miami attack. The event sparked coverage of a series of similar zombie-like attacks, which caused the Centers for Disease Control to issue an official statement that zombies don’t exist. On a lighter note, Homeland Security Department warned “zombies are coming” in September, and urged preparation for the Zombocalypse. The Homeland Security “zombie alert” occurred about a month before a massive zombie-themed counterterrorism summit took place in San Diego, which staged a walking dead attack as an emergency simulation.
After 8 years searching for ghosts on Syfy’s Ghost Hunters, co-lead investigator Grant Wilson announced his retirement from the show in February. When the show began in 2004, it was among the first of the modern paranormal reality programs, and Wilson’s involvement earned him a spot in mainstream pop culture.
Nessie Poses for Pic
The Loch Ness Monster picked up a lot of press in August when a sailor released what he called the “most convincing” photo of the Scottish cryptid yet. A Nessie hunter of 26 years, George Edwards takes tourists out daily for expeditions on the loch, and was on such a trip in November 2011 when he took the photo of a hump in the water.
Death of a Ghost Hunter
In a sad case highlighting the very real-world dangers of paranormal investigation, a woman died in November after inhaling something on a residential ghost hunt. Sara Harris’ lungs became infected following an investigation at a vacant location with rodent and bat droppings, and she passed away after being on life support for 2 and a half weeks. Sara’s widower Shane has since taken up the cause to inform ghost hunters on the importance of field safety on investigations.
The sighting goes back to November 2010, but videos of objects at an air show in Santiago, Chile, became the focus of a government investigation this March. Largely reported by author Leslie Kean, the objects moved rapidly and unusually around performing planes; they were captured by cellphones and digital cameras belonging to 7 spectators at different locations. Two separate studies of the footage produced conflicting results, but the case has been closed and left unsolved.
Vatican Releases Supernatural Guide
In May, the ruling body of the Catholic Church released the internal 1978 document detailing procedures for validating “phenomena of presumed supernatural origin.” Previously available only in Latin, the Church translated them into 5 languages after unauthorized versions leaked to the public over the past 3 decades. The document offers guidance to bishops on authenticating through examining criteria such as moral certitude, mental health, doctrinal errors and pursuit of profit or gain.
Life (Not) Found on Mars
When the Mars rover Curiosity landed on the red planet in August, we hoped for big things. And we got them – sort of. Although NASA teased a major discovery for the history books in late November, the wild speculation about Martian life began, but ended a week later when the undisclosed finding tuned out to be signs of carbon-containing molecules. While consistent with the building blocks of life, it didn’t mean there was life. Yet the finding did prove how excited people still get over outer space news.
The final Twilight movie became the 4th-highest grossing movie of 2012 only a month after opening. The Walking Dead picked up about 10.5 million viewers for its finale, and averaged higher ratings than top network shows. And Ke$ha said she had sex with a ghost. But the biggest paranormal pop culture news of the year was the continued talk about Ghostbusters 3. Dan Aykroyd remained cheerleader for the franchise (and announced scripts for further sequels), while Bill Murray quotes and rumors alternately suggested he would and wouldn’t be on board. Shooting was to begin in Summer 2013, but then fizzled – and director Ivan Reitman suggested a remake. So one of the most-talked about movie sequels is still just a specter.
It’s paranormal because, well, who can explain this phenomenon?