Not Dead Yet
This site started largely as a personal project of one person, me. In trying to research possible local locations with hauntings I found myself having to search and view various websites and forums. Even then, when I would talk to people, they would share haunted stories that I did not find anywhere online. So I thought to myself, what if there were a single website that would allow anyone and everyone to pull up an address and add their story. A single site which could consolidate all haunted locations. With no judgement, no requirement to prove or disprove, so that anyone could be free to share their experiences. I could even kick things off by using my skills to datacrawl and consolidate all the stories and locations already reported across so many websites and forums.
Then things got tricky. You cannot simply steal someone else’s “content”, that is just wrong. It also gets you banned in search engines and potentially litigated. So you have all these wonderful stories but then you have to rewrite each one. You cannot automate it because you need to ensure the end result tells the same experience as the original. You also need to plug addresses and GPS locations into Google Maps API. Then, for those locations with no street view it would be helpful to have a picture. But then you have to search for pictures without copyrights. All this times +/- 6,000 locations.
While trying to do all this myself, my wife and I had our daughter. The youngest of five kiddos. I also took on more responsibilities and projects at work. What are minor updates on a personal website project compared to ensuring programs stay on target and thousands of people keep their jobs.
Then Google Maps changes it’s payment structure. A couple months I wasn’t paying attention racked up $300 in fees because traffic exceeded the “free credit” amount. So I had to restructure which locations included street view and which did not. I had spent months to prepare another 1,600 pictures and locations, ready to push a mass update, only to find it might push my current webhosting package over capacity. I mean it is only $35 a month, but $420 a year is a bit much for a personal project.
To be honest, the spark that started this whole thing was a smoking ember. But… I have found myself coming back to this site more and more the past few months. Keeping things up to date so it all stays secure and doesn’t crash. Finding that I have a bit more free time in the evenings now that the kids are all in school and a bit older. There is still so much to do and so much that this could be.
I want to add specific filters. Map out locations of bigfoot, sasquatch, Moth Man, and so much more. Have help articles on what to do with the supernatural, such as how to you close a gateway and properly dispose of a ouiji board. Explore the origins of demons versus mental illness. Links to professionals that could help with clense or exorcise. Even as I type I feel my adrenaline start to pump a little bit more and the passion I once felt for this project start to stir in the darkness I left it in.
I doubt it will happen this year but hopefully next year I can get back into the swing of things and really pump some life back into Map Spirits, afterall, it is not dead yet.