As I believe I’ve said before, I love cryptozoology. Or rather, I should say that I like the idea of cryptozoology–the search for and study of animals unknown to science. Although I don’t have any particularly strong beliefs and tend to err strongly on the side of skepticism, I love the thought that maybe there are large bipedal primates lurking in the deep forests of Washington, or huge octopuses in the deep waters of the ocean.
Recently I’ve been watching this show called Monster Quest. It’s all about searching for unknown creatures such as lake monsters, Thunderbirds, and giant squids (which, by the way, actually DO exist–no idea what they were doing on this show.) They even managed to do an episode about “rods”, a supposed cryptid longtime readers will remember from a previous post. It’s not a bad show, as these things go. In fact, they pretty thoroughly debunked “rods” by using high speed cameras, but of course none of the true believers could be swayed.
My main gripe with the show is that every other goddamn episode is about bigfoot. And not the monster truck, either–that’d be awesome. No, they spend the majority of their time showing guys tramping around in the woods, putting up camera traps and hoping a bigfoot will wander by one. Of course, one never does, but that doesn’t dissuade anybody. Two episodes down the line they’ll be back hunting for him–except now he’s in China! And that’s where the creativity comes in, I suppose. If they just flat out said that half the episodes of the show were about bigfoot, people might stop watching. I mean, they sort of promise a variety of different monsters being quested for, and instead mainly quest for bigfoot. But they try to fool you by calling him something different every time! In China he’s called the Yeren, in Canada he’s the Sasquatch, in Australia he’s the Yowie, and in the southern US, they got a thing called a skunk ape that, you know, sort of looks a lot like bigfoot!
It gets pretty annoying after a few repetitions. It wouldn’t be bad if the show wasn’t exactly the same every fucking time though. Some guys go out, set camera traps, camp in the woods for awhile, don’t see anything, and come back. Meanwhile, some actual scientists are tasked with doing DNA testing on some blood or hair samples, and always either find nothing at all or find that the DNA is a match for humans, or monkeys, or some other known primate. But they keep teasing you that maybe this is the time they’re going to find something!
But apparently there’s so much interest in finding bigfoot, there’s actually a whole show dedicated to that now. It’s called, oddly enough, Finding Bigfoot and it airs on Animal Planet for some reason (probably because there isn’t a network called “Imaginary Animal Planet.” Although there sure should be!) I’ll admit I’ve only seen a few episodes of this show. But it seems to be filled with the same sorts of stuff–camping out, camera traps, thermal cameras, and breathless, whispered questions in the spoooooky darkness. And of course, a distinct lack of any tangible evidence for bigfoot.
The real thing with shows like this is that you know going into it that they didn’t find anything. How do I know this? Am I psychic? Shit no. I know they didn’t find anything because if they had, it would have been all over the news. I wouldn’t have to hunt through my channel lineup to find Animal Planet and watch the damn show to find out about it–I could just turn on any network station or go to any internet news site and hey, there it’d be. Bigfoot found! Actual carcass/hair sample/scat from a large, unknown primate discovered! Cryptozoologists vindicated! But if they were honest and called the show “Not Finding Bigfoot,” nobody would watch.