Archive for the ‘cryptozoology’ category

Mountain Monsters: Secrets of the Dark Forest

April 26, 2017

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There’s a lot of repetition and drawing out of story lines in this bargain basement reality show, and if you were hoping to see “the Black Wolf” or “The Woman of the Woods” in this episode, you were likely to be disappointed…

Team researcher Jeff had been acting vaguely as if possessed recently, showing the others a video with a creepy voice recording, and relating how he had awoken in the Dark Forest alone with his clothes beside him.  The team in response followed GPS coordinates to the Dark Forest in Lee County, Virginia.  There they found Bigfoot signs such as broken branches, and ran across a reticent man they questioned who denied knowledge of anything but advised them not to go into the woods.  Of course they did (at night, no less), finding a deer head hung in the woods and perceiving something to run past them.  At that point, Jeff inexplicably got a nosebleed, and the evening’s festivities were called off.

Meanwhile, team members Willy and Wild Bill had been building a base camp shelter.  In the daytime, the team heard a high-pitched squeal, and pursuing it found what appeared to be wolf tracks by a river.  A tree-structure sign marker (pictured) was found near their camp, with Jeff later collapsing and being termed a security risk by team security member Huckleberry.  

Looking in the woods for additional marker-type signs, the team found sharpened branches and multiple trip lines.  Headlights were seen, causing the team to hunker down, at which point Jeff wigged out further, running off and leading them on a merry chase.  They found him in a trance-like state being pointed at by a small girl, who then conveniently ran off.  Jeff became combative when they tried to bring him around, but eventually came to himself.  Another strange noise was heard, and the team headed back to their base camp, finding someone sitting there who said that the noise they had heard was the Black Wolf.  The episode ended on this note, presumably with more to follow on the big bad wolf in the upcoming installment…

“Mountain Monsters; The Rogue Team Rises, Part I”

April 9, 2017

 

I’m not crazy about reviewing episodes of the Mountain Monsters series, but having gotten over two thousand views of my old reviews the day that the new season opened, will bow to the undeniable popularity of the series and continue to chronicle it, at least for a time.  The season opener featured not a single monster hunt, but rather picked up with the mysterious rivalry between the two teams of Bigfoot chasers that increasingly dominated and closed the previous season.  The mood was kind of like a low budget Spy vs. Spy mystery rather than a serious or directed cryptozoology show, but if you have interest in this strange series, read on.  If you’re not a follower of the series, the following will make little sense and may best be skipped.

With that disclaimer, the fourth season left us with a number of unanswered questions; would the AIMS team members ever lose weight, visit a barber, or catch up with their arch-rivals, the Rogue Team? – – Well, after a nine month hiatus, Episode 1 of the fifth season found the AIMS team reconvening minus team member Buck, who Huckleberry located and then went with to locate the truck that poachers had used to destroy one of their traps in a previous episode.  The suspicion was that the poachers were in league with their nemesis, The Rogue Team. They eventually located the truck, which had been stolen a year previously, but was now back in possession of its rightful owner, who gave Buck and Huck the name of a farm where the poachers were believed to hang out.  

Going to the referred Miller farm, Huck and Buck were given directions to the poachers’ camp.  Jeff  had by then united with them, and called team leader Trapper, who wasn’t happy that Buck had acted independently.  Team members Willy and Wild Bill then united with their associates, and they located the camp of the poachers, who said that they were hired to tear down the trap of the AIMS team, but had no connection with the Rogue Team.  

The production crew team had caught an image of the Rogue Team vehicle, indicating that they were still being watched.  A message was received to meet the Rogue Team at designated coordinates, which they elected to do despite being unable to reach Trapper.  At an after-dark meeting, the Rogue Team appeared, wearing hooded jackets and halloween-type masks.  With Willy and Wild Bill watching from concealed positions at some distance, the team members who directly met with the Rogue Team representatives had their hands zip tied, hoods placed over their heads, and were hustled into a truck to be taken to an undisclosed location.  Part II to be aired in a week will presumably detail their fate, together with that of team member Trapper, whom previews suggest went off to a meeting with the Rogue Team independently…

“Werewolves in America…”

November 5, 2016

 

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A recent episode of Werewolves in America airing on the Destination America network covered several classic werewolf tales, most of which we’ve heard and seen packaged elsewhere.  The Beast of Bray Road in Wisconsin has been seen more than 100 times, with a flurry of sightings in 1989 of upright wolf creatures.  In fall of 1989, for example, a local bar manager when driving home saw an animal on the road holding road kill.  It locked eyes with her, and she barely got her car restarted in time to escape the creature.  Animals have been reported found suspiciously dead and dismembered by the creature.  A sanitation worker reporting a sighting in 2006 described the creature as standing about 7′ tall, and looking like a wolf on top of a bear’s body.  

Slidell, Louisiana features the Cajun Werewolf, perceived as a person who’s been cursed.  Such creatures may be set forth by the swamp as a warning.  In Chauvin, Louisiana a 13-year-old boy went hunting on All Saint’s Day despite admonitions not to, encountering what he described as a dog shaped in human form which chased him. Werewolves have also been reported in Montegut, Louisiana where they are also seen as cursed souls.

The town of Holly near Detroit, Michigan reports “the Man-Dog of Holly,” also known as the Michigan Dogman. Described as a spirit-based creature rather than one of flesh and blood, over 500 sightings of the Dogman have been reported, including one reported in 2005 by a repo man seeking out a vehicle late one night.

Whether sighted in the old or new world, werewolves and their legends continue to fascinate and intrigue us…

 

 

“Chupacabra” on “Monsters and Mysteries Unsolved”

September 6, 2016

 

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A number of series have previously dealt with the subject of the Chupacabra, and Monsters and Mysteries Unsolved in their S1/Ep07 episode also gave the topic a go.   Attacks of the “goat sucker” reportedly first started in Puerto Rico in the mid-1990’s.  Since that time, reports of the creature have come from Cuero, Texas where rancher Phyllis Canion found exsanguinated chickens and reported sighting a hairless animal with a long snout and a strange gait.  An area sheriff in August of 2008 also recorded a strange creature on his dash cam that matched that description.  Other ranchers have found dead cattle on their ranches, and one had a video of a canid-like animal with short front legs, a long snout, and gray hairless skin.

Cryptozoologist Ken Gerhard has interviewed eyewitnesses of the creature, and examined the rotting remains of an unidentified animal hit by a car; some people seem to have all of the fun at their jobs!  This corpse was taken to Texas Tech, where it was examined by anthropologist Eileen Johnson, who pronounced it neither a wolf nor a dog, and found it to be more like a coyote.  

In that a living specimen can yield better and more complete information, a group assisted by a vet was covered in their efforts to hunt and trap a Chupacabra at night.  They set up motion camera traps baited with rotted deer meat and a hapless living chicken.  The motion detector camera detected nothing unknown, and even the chicken survived to see the morning.  

Now a neighbor of the previously mentioned rancher Phyllis Canion conveniently had another carcass of an unidentified canid, and part of its tongue was sent in for DNA testing while the bulk of the carcass was taken to a vet.  The biologist who tested the sample’s DNA found that the animal was a coyote/wolf hybrid.  

Other far out theories were also touched on, including the legend as mentioned by writer Nick Redfern that the Chupacabra was some kind of alien creature.  A supposed connection between the Chupacabra and UFO sightings was brought up.  A more mundane explanation was also offered that the Chupacabra was actually a case of mistaken identify, with a Rhesus monkey on the lam thought to be the cryptid.  Dr. Robert Baker, a wildlife geneticist, seemed skeptical of the notion that the Chupacabra was capable of living on blood, saying that they would have to have specialized organs to accomplish this.  

As with other unidentified and sought after but elusive creatures, people want to believe in them.  For some, the mystery lives on…

 

 

“Monsters of the Deep” on Monsters and Mysteries Unsolved

August 30, 2016

 

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The S1/Ep06 episode of Monsters and Mysteries Unsolved focused on unidentified and unconfirmed aquatic cryptids reported in Loch Ness, Scotland; Lake Champlain, Vermont; and Vancouver Island, Canada.  Reports of creatures in all three locations were largely based on eyewitness observations, occasionally accompanied by a blurry photograph taken at some distance.  

Sightings of the celebrated Loch Ness Monster date back to the 6th century, and the series touched upon two recent observations reported in 2003 and 2010.  Both were of course inconclusive, with one recent image discounted by experts as likely light reflections on the water.  The notion that the Loch Ness creature was a plesiosaur was also briefly considered, but dismissed by experts as being very unlikely.

Acoustics were used by a vessel profiled in the Lake Champlain segments that hoped to capture echolocation sounds.  While a couple of rapping sounds were heard, they were not thought to be bioacoustic in origin.  Likewise no confirming evidence was found of the creature reported to frequent the waters off Vancouver Island, Canada. 

As it was pointed out, any reported site of a water monster would not be comprised of a single individual, but rather have to have a breeding population of perhaps fifty or more specimens for a population to be viable and capable of continuing its existence.  Investigations will continue at all three sites profiled, likely for the foreseeable future…

“Sasquatch Planet” on Monsters & Mysteries Unsolved

July 26, 2016

 

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The subject of Bigfoot is well-worn terrain on most paranormal shows, and the third episode of the Monsters and Mysteries Unsolved series sought to take us there yet again by examining Sasquatch evidence and encounters, and wound up taking a rather skeptical overall tone.  Steven Kulls, a former private investigator, had his own personal encounter with a supposed Bigfoot in 2011.  Returning to the location of his sighting in the Adirondack Mountains of New York with thermal cameras, a “bionic ear,” and a digital video recording system, Kulls and his team established a security perimeter but failed to discover anything.  They were quick to point out that their failure to discover Bigfoot didn’t mean that he wasn’t out there…

In Pocatello, Idaho a group of high school students saw what they thought to be a Bigfoot at a distance, taking video footage of the same as well as a photo of a footprint.  Their footage was examined by biological anthropologist Dr. Kathy Gonder, who thought that the creature filmed was massive and reflected fluid body movement, although she rather thought that the thing filmed was a bear.  One of the students in the group claimed familiarity with bears, however, and disputed that the sighting was that of a black bear.

Another sighting briefly covered was that of a Canadian woman who in 2007 heard a screaming creature off a deer trail, hearing it running and breaking branches.  She fled to her vehicle following this uncomfortably close encounter.  A mammalogist and anatomist pointed to such aggressive behaviors as being typical of the great apes.

Dr. Joe Nickell, an author and investigator, felt that Sasquatch and Bigfoot are basically major myths that show analogues in other cultures, and have basically migrated between cultures.  Mammalogist and anatomist Dr. Sarmiento echoed this, feeling that belief in Bigfoot fills a void, a need to believe.  In summation, most of the experts presented felt that available evidence for Bigfoot’s existence falls far short of the standard of proof required.  Needed are bones, a carcass, or clear and convincing camera trap evidence…

AIMS versus the Rogue Team…

April 20, 2016

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The S4/Ep13 installment of Mountain Monsters had little of monsters in it, but rather more of a backwoods feud atmosphere as the clash between the AIMS and the “Rogue Team” further spun out.  Having returned to the “Little Red Shed” of the Cherokee Devil encounter in Ashe County, North Carolina our protagonists (?) discovered that six envelopes had been placed within there that bore the real names of each of the AIMS team members.  More disturbingly, within each of the envelopes was found pictures of the individual named, together with confidential information on details of their private lives, such as their real life addresses, credit histories, military records, etc. Each folder also contained a cryptic card with a letter and number on it.

As this was a bit on the creepy side, the AIMS team members returned to West Virginia to see convalescing team leader Trapper, and it was determined that the letters on the cards spelled “shot by,” a reference to the supposed shooting of the Stonish Giant by the Rogue Team in a previous episode.  Other picture clues within the envelopes were thought to reference an older Wildman episode, so the team then headed to eastern Kentucky where that encounter had taken place.  At the “Tool Shed” location where that encounter had taken place, the team found more cards pinned to a dart board.  Car lights were then discerned surrounding the shed, and storming out of the shed with weapons drawn the team found that the vehicles were empty, but belonged to themselves and had been stolen and driven to that location by the “Rogue Team!”  Thinking that a distraction, the AIMS  team hurried to where Buck’s truck had been parked.  The photo trap camera battery in the truck bed constructed by team member Willy and housed in a box that resembled an old crate had captured partial photo images, presumably of the rascally Rogues.  A phone left in the truck then rang, and when answered played an audio loop with a recorded conversation captured of AIMS team members from the supposed shooting of the Stonish Giant Bigfoot by the Rogue Team, who were thought to have absconded with the creature’s body at that time.

Returning again to their West Virginia base and Trapper, the team discerned that the newest cards picked up in Kentucky spelled CQUAD, which was thought to be the name of the Rogue Team.  It was admitted that this group was pretty slick and had high tech skills which they were using to shadow and mock the AIMS team in kind of a cat-and-mouse game.  The intent and purpose of this was essentially to exploit the tracking skills of the AIMS team by following them stealthily at a distance and then essentially claiming their prize.  When the letters collected thus far were arranged yet a different way, they spelled “Squatch body.”  Using the numbers in order on each of the cards that spelled such, it was deduced that they represented a phone number.  Calling that number on the cell phone left in Buck’s truck resulted in a guttural, electronically-altered voice answering,  “Hello Trapper, we’ve been waiting for you.  Are you ready to make a deal?”

The plot thickens, and I’m sure we’ll be hearing more developments in upcoming episodes…