Friday, November 14, 2008

Retro Reviews Monsterquest Season 1

Review: Monsterquest 1-23-08

This was a great way to cap off the first season of the newest hit on the History Channel, with journalist/author Linda Godfrey, who discusses several sightings in Wisconsin of something called "Dogman." The beast is described in three ways-either as a large dog, a creature with a wolf-like head or a Bigfoot. Dr. Gregory Bambenek believes it may be psychological, however, and a disease known as St. Martin's Fire is seen as possibly being responsible. Dt. Bambenek and a hunting guide are searching in the Dairy State for evidence of the Dogman. The hunting guide, Don Young, has had at least a couple of sightings. They want a live capture, and are using a tranquilizer gun to that effect. A group of witnesses described seeing a group of these creatures in 2004 drinking from a creek in Rock County, Wisconsin. One of those witnesses has agreed to undergo a polygraph test. One man believes it may be a shape-shifter, a David Walks-As-Bear. This is apparently a Native American belief. Werewolf legends are also discussed and the origins of such, from Europe. The witness who took the polygraph passed it. One of Don Young's encounters is also recounted. He describes a much more Bigfoot-like creature then a wolf-like one. One of the most common explanations for the sightings is, of course, misidentification. Godfrey also has an unidentified piece of hair or fur, and it is sent to Dr. Lynn Rogers, who examines it and determines it to be a domestic cat. A second encounter is also recounted by Young, which could also be a Bigfoot sighting. Bambenek and Young find some sort of bedding area for something, but of course it is not determined exactly what could be using the bedding area. All in all, a really great way to cap off the first season of Monsterquest. Will there be a second season? I will ask Doug Hajicek that very question on February 17th on The Sasquatch Experience.

Review: Monsterquest 1-9-08

This was a fair-to-good episode about something known as "Rods" which appear to be some sort of cylindrical flying "creature" of some sort. Apparently these things are not seen with the human eye, but only with a camera and in still images. Several astrophysicists are interviewed on their impressions, as well as a study at Iowa State University which is attempting to determine what these things could be and whether there is a perfectly reasonable explanation for it. They do appear to be cylindrical objects with "wings" which are seen all over the world apparently and seem to be alive. There are seemingly logical explanations also given for this phenomena, but it does not explain every Rod image. Next Wednesday examines the Real Hobbit, beginning at 10:00 EST/9:00 Central on the History Channel. Check local listings for time and channel.

Review: Monsterquest 1-2-08

The first new Monsterquest episode of 2008 examines a diabolical plan by Joseph Stalin to cross-breed Humans and Apes, and examines also the Almasty, and interviews Igor Bourtsev about Zana. Zana was used for manual labor, and had several offspring with human men and killed these children by washing them in a cold river until a local farmer's wife saved the children, including Khwit. A tooth from Khwit's skull is examined by Curt Nelson (who was also on the Sasquatch Attack episode) for DNA to see how human it might be. Ilya Ivanov was the man who was commissioned to create this army of super-soldiers. Dr. Esteban Sarmiento is also interviewed about his impressions. Apparently, Stalin wanted to use chimpanzees because of their propensity to war with each other. A hairy-faced Spanish acrobat named Danny Gomez is also interviewed who probably suffers more from hypertrichosis than being a hybrid. Kathy Strain and Russ Mittermeier are also interviewed about their impressions of mystery apes. Gigantopithecus is also examined. Hybridizations between different animals are examined as well. All in all, not a bad episode, but not as good as some of the previous ones. Next week examines the case of Rods, creatures from the fourth dimension. That airs next Wednesday at 10:00 EST/9:00 Central on the History Channel.

Review: Monsterquest 12-19-07

This was a rather interesting episode, examining giant fish. An expedition is taken to the Amazon River in Brazil, where giant catfish are seen and are said to suck children under and eat them. A reenactment takes place from 1975 in which a canoe is bumped severely and a child is knocked overboard and is never seen again, and reports have been taken of children being found inside giant red-tailed 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.)

Review: Monsterquest 12-12-07

This show examined melanistic big cats similar to mountain lions, only black in color. An Emil McCain is interviewed about his impressions on it, and a fellow named David Johnson shows his photos of a large black cat. Scott Lope, a director for a Big Cat preserve in Florida, examines the photos and believes it to be a domestic. Heidi Bailey, a biologist from Texas, agrees with Lope's findings. Several eyewitnesses are interviewed, from Oklahoma, Texas and Minnesota. A farmer in Choctaw, Oklahoma is interviewed regarding losing several livestock items on his farm due to a large black cat. A wildlife expert from the Sooner State is of the opinion that the cats are not black.
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.

Review: Monsterquest 12-5-07

This was a rather interesting episode, about mutant canines which have been killing family pets and other animals, which may be timber wolves, possibly, in Minnesota. The famous Turner Beast case is examined, with Loren Coleman giving his expertise on it, in his home state of Maine. The Turner Road Beast remains are in a garage, but some of its remains have been sent to NYU for further analysis. Reports of these strange beasts go back many hundreds of years. A local newspaper writer for the Lewiston Sun-Journal in Maine, Mark LaFlamme is also interviewed about his impressions on these mystery beasts. It is speculated that hybridization of dogs and wolves is responsible possibly for the sightings of strange beasts such as the Turner Beast. The Wolverine is also speculated to be possibly a candidate for the mystery beast. Several witnesses are interviewed about their sightings and also their finding of their family pets dying from unknown wounds. In Minnesota, a wildlife expert, Craig Enervold is doing an investigation on the mystery beast in the Gopher State, setting out camera traps to see if there is something worth capturing on them regarding a mystery beast. The mangy coyote or dog theory is also examined as a possibility for mystery dog/wolf beasts. It was a fair and even-handed episode, and 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.

Review: Monsterquest 11-28-07

This was a pretty even-handed and scientific look at Bigfoot, including the old chestnut of the Patterson/Gimlin Movie which was examined under digital microscopes with interesting results by Rick Noll, Owen Caddy and Dr. Daris Swindler. Chris Murphy, John Kirk and Esteban Sarmiento are also interviewed on their impressions on hairy bipeds in the U.S. The other focuses of the show were the Skookum Cast, and two expeditions in Washington State, one led by Dr. Briggs Hall, the other an all-female expedition with some familiar faces and names in the Bigfoot field, such as Melissa Hovey, Kathy Strain, Monica Rawlins, Tracy Hegristad and Kristine Walls in the Skookum Meadows area, where they were camped out looking for evidence, setting up camera traps and doing experiments such as singing Christmas Carols to attract the attention of 'Squatches. Not very much new information from the P/G Movie or the Skookum Cast, but it was great to see the two expeditions, especially the ladies. I would give this one about a 4 out of 5 stars. The next program will have a focus on Mutant Canines, next Wednesday night at 10:00 EST/9:00 Central on the History Channel. Check your local listings for time and channel.

Review: Monsterquest 11-21-07

This was a pretty good episode, about giant birds such as Thunderbirds, spotted in Alaska, Texas and Illinois, including one that was filmed in the Land Of Lincoln in 1977. An ancient species of bird, the teratorn is also examined by paleontologist Kenneth Campbell. Native American legends are also examined of the Thunderbirds, with visual representations in the form of totem poles. Several witnesses, cryptozoologists and scientists such as Ken Gerhard and David Hancock are interviewed about their thoughts on the giant birds, including Marlon Lowe, who claimed to have been picked up by a giant bird briefly and dropped in 1977 in Lawndale, Illinois. Several scientific experiments are conducted to see if it is possible for there to even be these giant birds with large wingspans and large bodies. It was a very good episode. Next week will follow an all-female expedition to Skookum Meadows in search of Bigfoot. Again, check local listings for time and channel.

Review: Monsterquest 11-07-07

This show focused on the Canadian Sasquatch, more particularly a series of strange attacks on a cabin at Snow Grove Lake in Ontario, Canada, 250 miles north of Ottawa which have occurred for several years. The inhabitants of that cabin set out a screwboard which something stepped on and left a large bloody footprint of some sort which left blood and tissue which was scraped off the screws and the board by visiting Dr. Jeff Meldrum and Dr. Curt Nelson from the University of Minnesota. Several people who have used the cabin are also interviewed about their experiences (no actual sightings, but some encounters with something destroying the cabin from the outside and in). Video of the aftermath of one attack is shown and examined by bear expert Dr. Lynn Rogers, who does not believe it was done by a bear. Thomas Steenburg is also interviewed about his research and impressions of different sightings in the Great White North. John Green is brought in to discuss the Albert Ostman story, which is re-enacted for the first time in ANY documentary that I am aware of, with narration from a recording of Ostman overlaying the re-enactment. Close to the end, the DNA tests are done on the blood and tissue samples by several DNA scientists including Dr. Nelson and some very interesting results are found. All in all, it was one of the better programs on the subject of hairy bipeds I have seen in quite a while, and so far this series gets a 4.8 out of 5 stars. Next Wednesday night 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.

Review: Monsterquest 11-14-07

This episode took us to the Sea of Cortez in Mexico in search of the Giant Squid. Apparently the native Pangueros have had a fear of what they call the El Domonio Rojo, the Red Devil, also known as the Humboldt Squid, which can get as big as a school bus. It is thought to be a man-killer. Richard Ellis is interviewed on the show, as well as researchers Scott Cassell and Roger Hanlon of the Marine Biological Laboratory. Cassell shares an experience in which a 5-foot long Humboldt Squid pulled his shoulder out of its socket, and he also ruptured his right eardrum. Doug Hajicek hopes to put a camera down in the depths of the sea to film one of the giant squid. The giant squid may be the inspiration for the legendary Kraken as well. Ellis dismisses quite a few of the attack stories as far as the Kraken taking sailors off the decks of ships or pulling people off shore. Jeff Zernov of Nature Vision, Incorporated is rather skeptical of the cameras working to get a giant squid on film. Dale Pearson is interviewed as well as the lead diver of the team. All in all, a wonderful episode of this new series. Next week, the subject is giant birds, Known as Birdzilla. The show begins at 10:00 EST/9:00 Central on the History Channel, so check your local listings for time and channel.

Review: Monsterquest 10-31-07/Sasquatch Triangle Tonight...

The premiere episode of 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.

1 comment:

hugh said...

I made a film about a primatologist searching for orang pendek in Sumatra. It's got got interviews with Debbie Martyr and Jeremy Holden who have both seen the ape. You can get the DVD here if your interested: http://www.banyak.co.uk/shop-forest.php