werewolves on MonsterQuest

March 25, 2010

Last night, I caught the MonsterQuest episode where they searched for werewolves in the upper midwest.  I was just going to write a sentence about it with a bunch of other stuff, but I discovered I had a lot to say.  First off, MonsterQuest is kind of ridiculous.  You know they haven’t proven the existence of anything because there’d be news about it on CNN.  Or at the very least National Geographic.  I love how they try to make you think they’re going to find something awesome when they’re not.  I’ve caught a couple of other episodes, including the one on mokele-mbembe, which featured Professor Prothero, my geology prof from Occidental, as the expert “skeptic” on the topic.  That was way cool.  And he’s right, you know.

But back to the werewolf episode.  I knew we were in trouble when the cryptozoologist on the team started talking about creatures from parallel dimensions.  I’ve actually heard this version of werewolves before.  I was on a werewolf panel at DragonCon with L.A. Banks and a non-fiction paranormal writer whose name I can’t remember.  This person offered the parallel dimensions hypothesis.  Leslie and I kept blathering on about mythology and metaphor and all that boring stuff.  Apparently, this other writer stared daggers at us the whole time.

But back to the werewolf episode.  (You see how much I have to say about this topic?  I had no idea I had so much!)  As is usual with MonsterQuest, they found absolutely nothing.  They found wolf scat and wolf paw prints.  Normal wolf scat and wolf paw prints.  Oh — and they also had this home video that had been making the rounds on the Internet.  It had apparently been filmed on a Super 8 camera in the 1970’s, and showed the camera person being charged by a very unusual, unidentified creature.  Could it be a werewolf or some such creature?

The period details of the film are excellent, right down to one of the people in the film drinking Coke from a glass bottle.  It looks just like an old home movie.  This fooled a lot of people into thinking the film was real.  Except that the creature looks really, really fake.  Seriously.  Check it out. (Here’s the whole film, with period details.)

This brings us to the very best part of the MonsterQuest episode, which was the nice lady historian who asked some very pointed questions and rather quickly uncovered the person who made the film.  That’s right, it’s a hoax, top to bottom.  Filmed in 2007.  It’s a brilliant hoax, because it really does look like a 1970’s home movie — the guy has a vintage snowmobile collection.  And the creature?  It’s him in a ghillie suit that he bought off eBay.  He built up the whole context so well that many people were absolutely convinced that the film had to be real.  (He also filmed a sequel, purportedly showing the crime scene investigation by police who discovered the body of the cameraman who’d been killed at the end of the first film.  And the guy showed how he made the dead body. He made guts out of spray foam insulation!  It’s awesome!  I’d rather watch the two Gable films over and over again for two hours than ever see The Blair Witch Project again.)

By the way, just for the record, I believe the famous Patterson-Gimlin sasquatch film was totally faked too.  It’s because of experiments like this.  That film is too easy to replicate.  (I saw a very good, Mythbusters-style recreation of the film awhile back, but YouTube is failing me right now.)

And yet, like Fox Mulder, people really want to believe.  Here’s an analysis of the Gable films by someone who is absolutely convinced that the creature couldn’t possibly be a guy in a suit, and is very disturbed by the crime scene footage in the second film.  In several places the author even talks himself out of thinking this is a hoax.  And how good is his cryptozoological analysis?  This person is certain that the main figure in the film — the one with the long hair whose body is shown in the second film — is a woman.  In fact, it’s the long-haired man who made the film, who was interviewed on MonsterQuest.  Now, I can understand making that error.  But if you can make that mistake, are you then going to tell me that the creature couldn’t possibly be a guy in a suit?

I love this stuff.

14 Responses to “werewolves on MonsterQuest”

  1. moishemoose Says:

    I caught part of that last night & thought the “creature” looked like a big bear to me. Since I was much more interested in finishing a book I’m reading (so I can start on Voices of Dragons, which just arrived today – YIPPEEE), I did hit record on my DVR for the last half hour of it. Haven’t watched it yet, but it looked soooo hokey that I figured it’d be worth a good giggle!!

  2. Marissa Says:

    I’d seen that one before, and thought that the “ceature” was really a rhino the guy pissed off enough to make it charge him.

  3. Marissa Says:

    Creature even.

  4. ArcLight Says:

    I always thought it looked a bit like a Chow, myself. At least in grainy, lo-def YouTube vids of the grainly, lo-def original. Thought the guy did the run really well, tho. They should’ve hired him for THE WOLFMAN instead of using the goofy CGI.

    DESTINATION TRUTH is still my fave of all those kind of shows. It’s got a lot of humor in it.

  5. carriev Says:

    Yeah, to be honest the first time I saw the clip I thought “bear.” But if you watch it without any expectations, you start to see the guy in a suit (the hind legs gave it away for me).

    And yes, he did a very good job with making the running look animalistic. Like I said, I’m in great admiration of the film as a hoax film. Very well done.

  6. Todd W Says:

    Hmm, interesting, almost makes me wish I had cable… but then I’d was valuable book reading time watching tv instead 🙂

    Anyways, just for fun sometime you should read the books by Linda S. Godfrey: “The Brey Road Beast” and “Hunting the American Werewolf”.

  7. Doruk Says:

    Yeah, the hind legs do give it away a bit, although I thought ‘gorilla’ rather than ‘bear’ from the way it was moving until I noticed the hind legs.

  8. carriev Says:

    I caught the last bit of the movie version of “The Beast of Brey Road.” It kind of rocked a little bit.

  9. Markysan Says:

    I liked that film. They did a lot with no budget. I still prefer Bad Moon though… an entire werewolf film from a dog’s POV… another one that did a lot with very little.

  10. Rubymoon Says:

    I just watched the first Gable clip, and my thought was “ape”, not dog. Canine backs and pelvises (pelvii?) are shaped and connected far differently than ours so between that and gait, it was a dead giveaway. The other thing that shrieked ‘not canine’ (to me) was the slope of the shoulders and the position of the head. Granted, he sure tried to keep his hind end so it was hidden by his shoulders and arms, but there were many subtle differences that didn’t require a lot of detail and close shots to notice the not-quite-right-isms.

  11. Doruk Says:

    Of course, it could always be some sort of ape/canine hybrid monster… thing…

  12. bob Says:

    “…ape/canine hybrid monster.”?? It’s ridiculous statements like that that divert focus from the REAL
    menace: man/bear/pig.

  13. to tell you something crazy; its the aliens that droped off these monsters; and thats why they keep coming back to look on how they are doing on this planet just goes to show you how out of place the things we dont understand can be understood

  14. Todd W Says:

    @Melissa: I’m worried that you’ve been watching way too much classic television. That sounds way too much like an old episode of The Six Million Dollar Man… lol!

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