Posted by: Loren Coleman on December 2nd, 2007
Face Time: Doug Hajicek of MonsterQuest
Doug Hajicek is creator of the History Channel’s MonsterQuest, a 13-part weekly series that “reveals the truth of legendary monster sightings around the world.” It’s his quest to explain the unexplained.
Hajicek is known for his productions of “The Man Who Walks with Bears” for Animal Planet, Discovery Channel’s “Legend Meets Science” and the History Channel’s “Giganto: The Real King Kong.”
This Wednesday, Hajicek’s MonsterQuest comes to central Maine. The show will examine the mystery of mutant canines, with a special focus on the Turner Beast found in August 2006. Producers also examine a rash of killings attributed to canids across the nation, and prepare for winter expeditions to trap other dog killers believed out there.
The Turner Beast episode will be broadcast at 10 p.m. on the History Channel. For more on the show, go to www.history.com. For more on Hajicek’s quest, read on.
Name: Doug Hajicek (pronounced high-check)
Hometown: Minneapolis, Minn.
Occupation: Television producer with Whitewolf Entertainment
What is MonsterQuest? It’s one-third history, one-third forensics and one-third adventure, although there’s some episodes that have more adventure.
Why focus on monsters? I started as a natural history producer and am very interested in wildlife. On a trip in the arctic looking for giant lake trout, trying to get footage of these big lake trout in their natural environment, we stopped on the 70-mile-long lake we were on and came upon some very large footprints that were not bear. I was pretty much an expert on bear tracks at that point. They were not human because they were too big (and what human walks around the tundra in bare feet). There was a very large stride and the footprints were very deep, and I was very intrigued. It wasn’t a hoax because of the desolate area we were in. Here I’m looking at something real. It was a true mystery. It changed my life and the direction that I went and the types of programs I was producing.
Were you able to identify those tracks? I could see the tracks going across the tundra in a straight line. We were out there with a float plane operator in this kind of open area. We asked him to take us up so we could follow the tracks to a resolve and he actually lost his temper. There was no way he was following those tracks. That’s kind of sad. This topic of mystery animals is so polarized.
Why is that? Nobody is really investigating the mysteries. There is very little science going on. There are a lot of noisy negatives, a lot of gray area, a lot of hoaxes. The whole topic becomes so crowded. There’s also the chuckle factor. But there are a lot more witnesses than people realize. There are many credible people telling incredible stories of creatures they have seen.
Why are people so prone to believe in monsters? I think we all want to believe there are things out there that we don’t know and understand, because it gives us hope that the world isn’t wrecked, the wilderness isn’t wrecked. The more we get worried about the environment, the more we want to believe there are undiscovered animals out there. The fact is, there are. We know of about 1.8 million animals that we’ve roughly cataloged. Scientists estimate there are 30 to 40 million more to go. A lot of those animals are in the ocean. There is a lot of unexplored wilderness.
Your series profiles Birdzilla, giant fish and a swamp beast. What made you want to include the Turner Beast in that monstrous group? It’s because it’s not exclusive to Maine. It’s happening all over. Some kind of mystery dogs are occurring all over and there needs to be some type of answer. (These mystery dogs) are not unique to Maine, but the Turner Beast happened to be publicized. Most are not publicized. I took a report just literally weeks ago of two people who had witnessed a very strange canid with stripes on it in northern Minnesota. They watched it for four or five minutes. There’s a mystery there.
Do you own a dog? I did.
What kind? A big white Husky name Lobo, which is Latin for “wolf.”
What are you afraid of? Everybody’s afraid of being bitten by an animal, so I’m always a little on edge of the unknown. It’s really the unknown that scares me. It’s the lack of knowledge of what’s out there.
Of all the beasts you have profiled, which one would you most like to scientifically prove exists? I don’t think that I have a want to have something exist, but I would like to have answers. The biggest mystery and the most common, the most witnesses accounts on a very consistent level, is the Bigfoot mystery in North America. It is constantly fueled and that is interesting to me. How can something not exist but be so constantly fueled in geographic areas where there are hills, wilderness, forests and lots of water. There’s so many sightings. Researchers estimate there are about 4,000 credible sightings a year in North America. That’s a lot. That’s a mystery.
Have there been Bigfoot sightings in Maine? Yes. Maine is an area with a lot of wilderness, and most of the sightings are going to occur in the most wilderness where you have an intersection of people in the area.
Which beast is best left to myth? Obviously, things like werewolves with backward legs. They don’t make sense to me as a real biologic creature. In most of the public’s mind, most of these creatures are myth, but I remember when the giant squid was myth. “The mythical giant squid.” Now we have video, we have bodies, so that (creature) has been elevated to a higher level.
What’s your next project? Season two of MonsterQuest. It’s a little early to say whether that will happen for sure, but that is the tentative plan. MonsterQuest will give people new information about things that were already interesting. We’ll look at the evidence in new ways because evidence is an ever-changing thing. There is something from the 1800s that has just been found, a real deal body that we can get our hands on. A wolf-like animal that has several features that aren’t from a wolf. It will be very interesting to look at the DNA and see what’s going on. (Go to http://www.cryptomundo.com/cryptozoo-news/shunka-found/ and read about it.) - By Judith Meyer, managing editor/days – Sunday, December 2, 2007, Lewiston Sun Journal, Lewiston, Maine.