The big day has finally arrived! On this day, August 20th last year, Urban Ghosts Media was born. It’s been a fun and eventful year, not to mention a vertical learning curve. But what began as a small hobby blog has somehow grown into an almost-daily publication enjoyed by (usually) between 1,000 and 2,000 readers each day. It seems fitting at this point to recap 10 of the most popular articles from the 2009 – 2010 season, but before I do that I’d like to thank a few people who have helped set Urban Ghosts Media on its way.
First and foremost, I’d like to thank the readers, especially those who have taken the time to return to the website after that all-important first visit, and offer feedback – both positive and (constructively) critical. None of this would be possible without you, so thank you very much indeed! Secondly my appreciation goes out to all those who’ve found the time in your busy schedules to answer my many questions about this somewhat cathartic medium called blogging!
Thanks to Darren Rowse from Problogger for creating probably the best resource you’ll ever find on blogging. Thanks also to Avi Abrams from Dark Roasted Blend for taking the time to share some wisdom and knowledge. Big thumbs up to the awesome staff at Dreamhost for fixing UGM whenever something went wrong, or whenever I messed around with the coding and brought down the entire website in the process! Thanks to Igor from 2leep (as well as all the webmasters who’ve lent their support) and Angelina from Marketgid. Finally, a massive thank you to all the photographers who have either granted permission to use their work, or licensed it under Creative Commons. A more fitting tribute is coming soon!
In the meantime, I’d like to highlight 10 of the most popular articles from the last year:
Great Carrier Reef: Chronology of a Sunken Supercarrier – This was one of the first articles written where I’d figured out how to use the good old Paint application on my PC for basic image editing. So I decided to celebrate my new found ability by telling the story of this awesome ship chronologically through a combination of pics and text. The result led to UGM’s debut on Digg.com, which was exciting. But I should probably admit that, alliteration aside, one of the Digg contributors pointed out that Oriskany was not technically a “supercarrier”, and that I ought to research more thoroughly. All I can say is I completely agree, and lesson learned!
Ghostly Boeing 747 Captured on Google Earth – I’m including this post because it was meant to be a bit of fun and although short and sweet, managed to spur a discussion that lasted for some time. The “ghostly” aircraft is at Dulles Airport in Washington DC. While one reader labeled it a “fake” and showed his appreciation with the word “yawn”, it seems to be a fault in the way the satellite imagery has been edited together (?). Either way, the discussion continues although I do admit another mistake in that the outline is not in fact a 747. We live and learn!
10 Amazing “Above-Water Shipwrecks” – Shipwrecks are fascinating and mysterious features of the deep, especially iconic lost ships like the Titanic. But the simple fact is that, without submersibles or serious diving qualifications, wrecks are off limits to most of us. The wrecks in this article are all above the water line, so all you need to do is stroll over and take a look.
Abandoned Mansions, Farms and Ghost Towns – Old houses, especially grand mansions, are fascinating places in their own right, but when houses still contain the belongings of their long-gone owners, they become even more mysterious. It’s as if their occupants simply vanished into thin air. Ghost towns also hold a fascination for many people, often thanks to their role in pop culture and history, such as the Wild West.
Rust Belt Road Trip: 75 Urban Decay Pics – Few places display so many glaring contradictions as America’s Rust Belt. In this sprawling post-industrial landscape, some of the most grand, gilded cities of the most powerful country on Earth are literally crumbling into the ground. But it’s a fascinating place to explore, and some argue that there is a melancholy beauty in the extensive urban decay.
6 Abandoned Hospitals and Asylums in Pictures – When it comes to urban abandonments, former hospitals and asylums are some of the most eerie. Quite a few remain in existence, many of them derelict. The fact that many patients back in the days of rudimentary medicine never again walked out through their doors bestows an extra sense of creepiness that makes such places popular with ghost hunters and urban explorers.
Isolated and Abandoned Military Airbase: Johnston Atoll – Some of the most popular posts on Urban Ghosts Media so far have featured military hardware and installations. Johnston Atoll is a tiny island, little more than a long runway and associated airfield. Most of the buildings have now been demolished, although the runway and hard standings are intact. There have also been rumours of involvement in top secret aircraft programmes, which brings me on to:
Top Secret Aircraft That Officially Do Not Exist – This article is a personal favourite due to my own interest in aircraft and, particularly, black budget development. It’s meant as an entertaining overview of various hypothesised programmes rather than an indepth scientific investigation documenting evidence for hypersonic aircraft, and I leave readers to draw your own conclusions.
Abandoned Migs: Former Soviet Hardware From Iraq to Russia – Some of us would quietly admit to liking planes, especially fast jets. But it seems many people who aren’t big aviation enthusiasts have enjoyed UGM’s articles on abandoned aircraft and airfields. For whatever reason, from the symbolism associated with yesterday’s cutting-edge technology confined to today’s scrap heap to just seeing these awesome machines up close, the viewing stats prove it’s hard not to find planes impressive.
(Image and licensing here)
But despite our approval at seeing fast jets tearing through the sky, or even rusting away in a corner of a rundown airfield, the most popular post so far brings us back down to earth, to the mysterious and often romantic setting of abandoned mansions:
Exploring Mysterious Abandoned Mansions – This is an early article and came before my very basic photo editing initiation, although the plan is to overhaul older articles at some stage to make the format consistent. Abandoned mansions could be considered the “bread and butter” content of Urban Ghosts Media, and there’ll certainly be more like this to come over the coming year. But also prepare yourselves for more varied content, original articles and consistent posting. Thanks again for stopping by, and please join us again in the year ahead!