Posted by: Craig Woolheater on February 22nd, 2011
The National Geographic Channel, or Nat Geo, has a new cryptozoology based television series premiering next month.
Beast Hunter premieres on March 4th at 8 PM CST directly followed by a second episode, with both repeating three hours later.
Beast Hunter is hosted by Pat Spain, a biologist and explorer who travels the globe in search of mythical creatures, immersing himself amongst the tribes, people and cultures on his quest to find the truth between fact and fiction.
It’s interesting. I didn’t know Charles Fort was my relative until long after I had developed a love for the unknown and for science in general. It’s almost like it was in my DNA.
My parents tell stories about me collecting bees while I was still in diapers despite getting stung over and over, or bringing me to the New England Aquarium and having to physically move me from exhibit to exhibit because I would stand at one all day. Once I discovered Fort was my great uncle, I wanted to know everything about him. I re-read his works (having read bits of them before this revelation) and found I was most impressed with his sense of awe for the world; he marveled at the mysteries of it and encouraged everyone to do the same. Fort never let ridicule or concern about what others would think stand in the way of something that he loved.
Jim Steinmeyer, Fort’s biographer, summed up my feelings on Fort and my hopes to continue his legacy incredibly well in a letter to me a year ago: “There’s always a place for us to be intrigued, mystified, and fascinated by the world that surrounds us. It’s a genuine emotion that deserves to be celebrated. It can be done responsibly, and scientifically, and with a real sense of fun. It’s something that Fort did, with his limited education and experience, and I hope that you’re able to continue that tradition, in your own way and with your own expertise.” I try to live up to that on every shoot.
Einstein said, “The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion that stands at the cradle of true art and true science. Whoever does not know it and can no longer wonder, no longer marvel, is as good as dead, and his eyes are dimmed.”Pat Spain
Man Ape of Sumatra
Friday March 4 8P CST, Repeats at 11P CST
In the vast jungles of mystical Sumatra, locals have reported seeing a creature that looks something like an ape, yet it walks just like us. They’ve named it “Orang Pendek” – the little man of the forest. A recent scientific discovery proposes that another species of humans – nicknamed ‘hobbits’ – did once live in Indonesia. So could there be a new great ape waiting to be discovered? Or is it possible we’re not the only human species living on earth? Biologist and beast hunter Pat Spain investigates.
Nightmare of the Amazon
Friday March 4 8P CST, Repeats at 12A CST
Deep in the Brazilian Amazon lurk tales of a massive one-eyed monster. With slashing claws, savage howl, noxious stench and a gaping mouth in its body, the locals tremble to repeat its name: mapinguari. To gather concrete information on the creature, Spain must gain the confidence of the local tribes. He takes part in an extreme initiation ritual: wearing gloves lined with venomous bullet ants. The insects’ stings send Pat into a hallucinatory world of pain.
Swamp Monster of the Congo
Friday March 11 8P CST, Repeats at 11P CST
Ever since the earliest missionaries and explorers returned from Africa, stories have been told of strange water-dwelling monsters living in the Congo Basin. The native Pygmy tribes speak of the Mokele-mbembe, an animal with a long, thin neck and a body the size of an elephant that seems to resemble a sauropod dinosaur. Could there be a population of dinosaurs living in the remote jungle?
Sea Serpent of the North
Friday March 18 8P CST, Repeats at 11P CST
For generations, fishermen have told tales of sea monsters. One of the world’s most legendary monsters is a sea serpent known as Cadborosaurus, or “Caddy,” which has been reported off the coast of British Columbia for more than a century. But to science, it doesn’t officially exist. Now Pat travels to Vancouver Island to track it down. He questions eyewitnesses, explores the myths of the coastal people who have occupied the area for more than 5,000 years and confers with top oceanographers.
Mongolian Death Worm
The Mongolian death worm is rumored to live in the Gobi Desert, one of the most inhospitable regions of the planet. This freakish creature is said to spray acid, send out electric shocks and explode when threatened. After traveling to the vast, empty wilderness, Spain dives in with the locals to garner some leads. To impress them, he finds himself in over his head- literally – fighting one of Mongolia’s top wrestlers.
Where will Beast Hunters rank among the modern crop of cryptozoology television shows? Will it compare with the science of MonsterQuest, the humor of Destination Truth, or the uhh, uhh, whatever of The Legend Hunters?