Friday, November 14, 2008
Peraibas. A catfish wrangler, Lee McFarland, is interviewed about his techniques for capturing fish bare-handed. A record fish caught in Oklahoma was 9 feet long and 546 pounds. The Mekong Catfish in Cambodia is 5 times larger than the largest one found in the U.S. In 2002, McFarland encountered a large fish in The Sooner State which threatened to pull him under so he let it go. In the Amazon, the research team is having to catch bait to catch giant catfish, this consisting of Piranha and Barracuda. Fisherman Mike Knee is presented with quite a challenge down there. The catfish stories are compared to the fictional film Jaws and also the Mattawan Creek, New Jersey shark attacks of 1916. Shark expert Ralph Collier is interviewed for this part of the program. Barracuda and Alligator Gar are also examined. I will not give away too much more, but it makes for interesting television. Next week, Hajicek delves back into Bigfoot territory by examining Swamp Beasts, Skunk Ape-like creatures found in the swamplands of the U.S. The show begins at 10:00 EST/9:00 Central on the History Channel, and make sure to check your local listings for time and channel.
(Editor's note: My grandfather's friend who owns a store down the street from us caught a 40-pound catfish about three weeks ago, and we still have meat from that large fish in our deep freeze. The fish measured at least 2 1/2-3 feet long.)
A fellow named Eric Atkison walks his fence line every night with a large spotlight and rifle with hollow-point bullets. He had a 250-pound Llama killed by an alleged large black cat. Eric finds a large cat track while out on his nightly walk. It is believed that the black cats might be black leopards. A professor at Johns Hopkins University believes large black cats are in people's heads. A farmer close to Atkison, Dale Smith, is also losing livestock to a large black "mountain lion". Smith and Atkison band together to try to hunt down the cat. A videotape taken in West Virginia of an alleged black cat is examined and determined to be inconclusive but interesting. There is some DNA found and sent to the mohawked Todd Disotell, who examines the evidence and finds-well, watch the encore for yourself to see. It was a fairly good episode. The next Monsterquest will deal with Giant Fish, next Wednesday at 10:00 EST/9:00 Central on the History Channel. Check local listings for time and channel.
Monsterquest continues to be very well-done and well-researched for the most part. Next week examines Lions In The Suburbs, at 10:00 EST/9:00 Central on the History Channel. Again, check your local listings for time and channel.
Bigfoot. Again, check local listings for time and channel.
Monsterquest examines the elusive Giant Squid, at 10:00 EST/9:00 Central on the History Channel. Check your local listings for time and channel.
Monsterquest featured a look at the resident lake monster of Lake Champlain on the New York/Vermont border known as "Champ." The show examined the sightings (and showed several recreations of sightings, including one of two such creatures on land), as well as the famous photograph of the creature taken in 1977 by Sandra Mansi. Investigators John Kirk and Scott Mardis are interviewed for their impressions on the creature as well, and several professors and paleontologists are interviewed as well. One lady and her team got some interesting echoes from an echolocator in 2002 on the lake, and a team of photographers scours the lake looking for signs of the creature with underwater cameras as well as cameras set up on the shore. The Mansi photograph is put under scrutiny by Skeptical Inquirer Managing Editor Benjamin Radford, who comes up with a rather plausible explanation for the photograph and what is in it. It was a very well-done program. The next program next Wednesday night on the History Channel will be titled Sasquatch Attack and will look into the hirsute legend of our neighbors to the north. That program airs at 10:00 EST/9:00 Central, so check your local listings for showtimes and channel.
Review: Monsterquest 12-26-07
This episode focused on the Swamp Beast, or Skunk Ape, in Florida and Louisiana. The main focus is the swamps of Louisiana, where Gregory Bambenek and Scott Kessler of the Texas Bigfoot Research Conservancy investigate reports of sightings and also set up game cams and a triggered biopsy gun to take samples. Some interesting things are found, but nothing conclusive. Dan Jackson of Florida's encounter with a Swamp Ape in a dumpster is recounted, as is Kessler's sighting on a camping trip in Louisiana. A pretty good but not great episode.
Review: Monsterquest 1-16-08
This episode was about the real Hobbit, parallelling the stories of the Orang Pendek in Sumatra with the Homo Floresiensis, with Debbie Martyr helping out Adam Davies and one other researcher/photographer in the jungles of Sumatra searching for the "Short Man of the Forest." Game cams are set up but do not get anything except native animals. A few strange-looking footprints are found and cast, and taken to Dr. Jeff Meldrum to examnine, but he determines them to be regular animals, most likely a bear in the area. A pretty fair to good episode.
Joedy does a bit of an experiment building a shelter similar to the one he and others found in 1995. It was one of the better episodes for sure, very well-done, and a big hand goes to History and the producers of the show, as well as the participants. Next week, the focus is on Giant Snakes, beginning at 9:00 EST/8:00 Central on History. Check local listings for time and channel.
Monsterquest examines the Ohio Grassman, the Buckeye State's version of Sasquatch or Bigfoot, which will include Ohio's own Don Keating, beginning at 9:00 EST/8:00 Central on History. Check your local listings for time and channel.
The Monsterquest crew returns to Snelgrove Lake to investigate the attacks on a remote cabin. Doug Hajicek and Jeff Meldrum are part of the crew. The Sasquatch is 7-10 feet tall, the size of a Kodiak bear, with 17-Inch feet and long arms. There is a short recap of the initial episode from last year. The first segment seems to be recapping the previous Sasquatch Attack episode, leaving the viewer wishing they would get to the new material. Apparently further DNA samples from the last trip to Snelgrove were sent to another lab. Dr. Gregory Bambenek is also along to investigate, as is Dr. Esteban Sarmiento. Doug Hajicek's son Blaine is also along, as they set up a camera system-infrared, camera traps and cameras inside the cabin. They also set up a blind to make observations and use camera systems. The infrared cameras are installed on the eaves of the cabin so as to not alert an animal to their presence. The blind is set up inside the cabin. The attacks apparently continued into 2007 on the cabin. Dave Regel was a member of the fishing party staying at the cabin, and they were the target of things being thrown against the cabin. Apparently, a hair was found on Regel's rod case, and it has been sent for analysis. Microscopist Jason Beckert is commissioned to examine and identify the hair. The first night at the cabin reveals nothing. Bambenek has put out radio transmitters contained in between pheromone chips. Sarmiento determines that there is a good deal of food sources in the surrounding area of the cabin. One technique being utilized is gorilla scent. More extensive DNA testing is being done on the Snelgrove Lake samples. A molecular biologist is doing the examination, and says even DNA a century old can be examined and amplified.The Dr. is using a different technique than that used by Dr. Curt Nelson. A local bush pilot brings news of a sighting nearby to the cabin, 115 miles away. The creature may be following a blueberry supply. The WIlliam Roe story is recreated very well by the MQ team. After 8 days, the float plane pilot gives the team information about the sighting at the location 115 miles away at Grassy Narrows. The team decides to move there. The hair collected at Snelgrove is being examined by Dr. Beckert at Microtrace, while the team at the cabin heads to Grassy Narrows to interview the witness (the place is an Ojibwa reservation). Helen Pahpasay and her mother see a large black hairy creature walking down the road, 8 feet tall, close to a blueberry patch. Helens mother refuses to ever return to that area. Randy Fobister, Helen's brother, examines the area and finds where sticks are broken off. Footprints were also found in the area, but the cast shows six toes, which Meldrum believes may have been made by a bear. However, after examining a bear paw print compared to the print, it is difficult for Meldrum to determine if the print is of a bear or of something else. There appears to be a flattened area made by a large animal of some sort, but no determination as to what made it. The hair found at the cabin is deternined to be a human head hair, bleached,
and the DNA samples are determined to be fungi and bacteria, with no animal or primate DNA. It could also mean the sample is too degraded to amplify DNA positively.
This was a fairly interesting episode, about sharks being seen in freshwater settings such as rivers, including the Atchafalaya River in Louisiana and the Mississippi River as far as Illinois. Apparently some witnesses in the Sportsman's Paradise caught a bull shark in 2007-actually, more than one. Apparently, they also witnessed a larger shark, about 10 feet long. Some bull sharks live in Lake Nicaragua in Central America. Marine biologist and author Richard Ellis also describes the aggressiveness of bull sharks. The MQ crew heads to Louisiana to search for the 10-foot shark witnessed in 2007. Local wildlife expert Lee Hales leads the expedition, joined by local fisherman Jacob Seagrave. They are using the Didson Sonar system to search for shark activity in Atchafalaya. Dean Fessler, a shark expert, is also interviewed on his expertise. He mentions that a bull shark will take and kill a deer in a river. In Canada's St. Lawrence River, the Greenland Shark, the size of a Great White, lurks. Chris Harvey-Clark is also interviewed (he is a Greenland Shark expert). He and diver and author Jeffrey Gallant get together north of Boston to dive in the river, in cold, dark water. The expedition in Louisiana does get some possible sonar bounces of bull sharks, and the expedition in Canada runs across the Greenland, which of course means there is the possibility of sharks in freshwater. This was a fairly interesting, but not quite as satisfying, episode. Next week, Real Dragons, namely the Komodo Dragon, are profiled, beginning at 9:00 EST/8:00 Central on the History Channel. Check local listings for time and channel.
This very interesting episode is about Monster Spiders, including a reported species up to 5 feet across!!! The search takes us into the Amazon Rain Forest with Arachnologist Rick West. Other places around the world have giant spider sightings, such as the Congo, where one the size of a small dog was allegedly spotted in the 1930s. The leg span of this alleged giant was 4 to 5 feet. A very large sea scorpion reported from millions of years ago was 8 feet in length which suggested arachnids grew very large. A giant claw was found in 2007 of the scorpion. In Venezuela, the expedition with West continues. A shaman claims that he saw a large spider kill a small dog, one which was alleged to be absolutely huge, bigger than a basketball. The possibility of mistaken identification is also examined, with monkeys or three-toed sloths as culprits. Another species, known as a camel spider, is also profiled, from Iraq, which are alleged to eat camels and are well-known to the soldiers over there. A species of camel spider is also found in Texas, where another expedition is underway. An underground camera is placed in Venezuela because spiders are known to burrow underground. Soldiers are interviewed regarding the camel spider in Iraq. The expeditions find...well, watch and see for yourself. Next week is about Jaws in Illinois, where bull sharks swim up the Mississippi River into the Land of Lincoln, beginning at 9:00 EST/8:00 Central. Check local listings for time and channel.