Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Destination Truth - 07-11-2007

Now, I know Destination Truth has had a few early critics, who noted that few of the episodes have turned up any real... Truth, but I tend to disagree (the ghostly evidence collected in the mausoleum or whatever it was was particularly strong). As something of an armchair authority on all things Odd, you have to understand that this is very largely the case in nearly all cryptozoological outings - hell, Supernatural hunts, as well. The simple fact of the matter is that cryptozoology is not a well-funded field; the vast majority of those envoys foot their own expeditions, which results in extremely short amounts of time for doing research. Once you track down eyewitnesses you can depend on (or at least give them the benefit of the doubt), you have to listen to their accounts, talk them into taking you to where they saw the phenomena (or get them to lead you to someone who will), so on and so forth. Most of the time, no matter what kind of guide you find, they’re usually full of shit and you lose your money, time, and a lot of the cryptozoologists lose their patience - still, even if they persevere, they rarely have enough ample equipment and time to undertake any major operation. A night, or maybe a week, at best to actually do their hunting.

Most pictures, eyewitness accounts (not good “evidence”) and encounters have occurred spontaneously, on the spur of the moment. This accounts for the bad camerawork and blurry photos, as well as those which show only quick glimpses of vague shapes making (admittedly, in many case, large or unusual) ripples and waves. Entire undertakings - very systematic, scientifically-based undertakings - have occurred on Loch Ness with little to no evidence being collected.

So Josh and company went in search of the African lake monster, the Mamlambo. The interesting thing about this creature is that it is said to be a maneater - perhaps only the Mokele Mbembe of the Congo possesses this same trait. It is undeniable that as many as five victims have washed ashore, mutilated and half-eaten. Fear of the creature so seized the villagers that at least one hunter was hired to seek it out and destroy it - without luck. The other interesting thing is that it follows one of the classic, and most oft-reported descriptions of many lake and river monsters: it has the head of a horse and the body of a fish.

Unfortunately, the team found no conclusive evidence of anything, other than a possible crocodile. Crocodiles also eat and mutilate people in rivers in South Africa. While an exciting hunt, still basically a bust.

The second case was far more intriguing, though I have one trick I can tell you about that questions some of the “evidence” they collected:

The Tokeloshe is some sort of creature said to be “like the wind.” Even though some renderings of the supposed creature exist, which portray it as being akin to a small monkey and reminds you of many of the pictures and renditions you have seen of the Chupacabra. While thought to be flesh and blood, it is said to be able to assume incorporeal form and prefer sour milk.

They baited it with curdled milk and - on film - one bottle did seem to tip slightly once, then tip even farther shortly afterward. Moments after the bottle’s second movement, a truly bizarre image appeared around the bottle just for a split-second. It appeared to have both, small arms and hands thrown to stage left (right on the TV) as thought it were throwing a discus or perhaps trying to throw the bottle.

Professional film analysis could not explain the misty image which appeared only momentarily, and the bottle definitely moved, but here’s a stage trick (and sometimes bar con):

You can “tip” an egg by placing salt beneath it. I won’t get into the exact details, but it’s a well-known con-game. The egg will list to one side without actually falling over. That was the very first thing I thought of when I saw the bottle list the way it did - as though someone had placed salt beneath a sheet on which the bottle set, then ever so slightly tugged at it from off-camera so that it listed on its own without ever falling.

I believe - 100% - in what these guys are doing and what this show is trying to accomplish and bring into the mainstream, but I would be remiss not to inform you of this old “magic” trick.

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