Dear readers, thank you for making 2014 our best year by far–with over 1,370,000 visits and counting. On June 19th we set a new record for number of views in one day, with 77,764. None of this would have been possible without your dedication to our little corner of the Internet. Those of you who have been with us for a while know how long I have been working to improve this site, all the way back when it was home to the Legends and Lore of Illinois. I’m very happy to see that hard work has paid off.
This year has been particularly challenging for me because I have been away from home for so long. In April, I decided to pursue a longtime goal and joined the Army. I spent May and June at Basic Training at Ft. Jackson in Columbia, South Carolina. Then I spent several months in Pensacola, Florida before being transferred to Ft. Huachuca in Arizona. All the while, I was able to sporadically update this website, either through scheduling posts ahead of time or using what little free time I had while I was at AIT.
Over the summer, Thunder Bay Press released the third edition of my book Haunting Illinois: A Tourist’s Guide to the Weird & Wild Places of the Prairie State. Sales of the new edition have been great, and I am thrilled to announce that I have contracts signed for two new books this year–one about the ghostlore of Illinois colleges and universities, and one exploring the cultural history of witchcraft in Illinois. These two books are the best examples of my writing to date, and I can’t wait to announce their release later this coming spring and summer.
I have many exciting things planned for this website in the coming year. Our ever-popular top 10 lists will be posted nearly every Monday, for as long as I can continue to find interesting topics. An article about a different haunted location will be posted every Wednesday. Since joining the military, I’ve had the opportunity to travel across the US and visit a lot of interesting places, so expect to see a lot of posts about places from the Gulf Coast and the Southwest. Every Friday in January, February, and March will feature an installment of a series of articles about Archer Avenue, Chicagoland’s most haunted road. Last but not least, I plan to feature a new interview every Tuesday.
Of course, Mysterious Heartland will still run guest posts, reviews, breaking news stories, Bumps in the Night!!!, occasional commentary, polls, creepy quotes, and all that weird stuff you’ve come to expect from us. As always, your feedback and contributions are welcome. Contact me with ideas at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks again for your readership, and I’m looking forward to continuing this journey with you into the New Year!
Michael Kleen, Editor