MonsterQuest, "America's Wolfman"

You know, I love to bitch about MonsterQuest.  But if you've noticed, that never keeps me from watching it.  As irksome as the show can be, it's a lot of fun.  So I'm sad to announce that the show has been canceled, halfway through its fourth season.  From what info I can find online, this episode about a wolf-man-like creature in the Upper Midwest, will be the show's last.

I apparently am going to have to content myself by digging into the back catalog of MonsterQuest episodes.  I have only watched about half of them, having missed (for example) an episode with the exquisitely promising title "Hillbilly Beast."

At any rate, this last episode of MonsterQuest tackles the subject of a creature "long thought to be imaginary."  The werewolf has a long and storied legacy in legend, and is such a fixture in the popular imagination that it has spawned an entire mental illness called Clinical Lycanthropy.

Meanwhile, there are numerous reports of a strange and fearsome beast in the upper Midwest.  Although none of these reports has anything to distinguish it between a large dog, a wolf, a coyote, or a bear - all of which are animals which are known to inhabit the areas where these sightings took place.

In one case, an animal control officer was scraping a dead deer off the road when a beast contested the prize.  Looking like a "cross between a bear and a wolf" (I don't know what that means), the animal reared onto its hind legs and yanked the carcass out of the back of the guy's truck.

Just an aside, here: my neighbor raises purebred Newfoundland dogs.  At many points during this episode I thought, "That could be one of her Newfs."  A big black Newf wandering around in the woods, possibly feral, possibly deranged or rabid or just hungry and lonely, would give a person quite a fright, believe me.  And their tracks are quite impressive.

Anyway, back to the episode.  MonsterQuest sends a tracker, a cryptozoologist, and a member of the local Native American tribe to go hunting this monster.  They set up shop in Michigan's remote UP, and start blaring recordings of wolf howls.  Unsurprisingly, they get a response.

Wolves have been gradually creeping back into Michigan's wilderness.  Coyotes, bears, and feral dogs are all known to be there already.  In fact, the team's trap cameras catch some nice footage of a coyote, a bear, and of course a deer (rats of the woods, I calls 'em).

Despite this perfectly obvious, rational, and expected conclusion, the cryptozoologist speculates that the creature may be "interdimensional."  The Native American guy seems shaken, and asserts that there are more things on heaven and Earth, so to speak.  In other words, just because they encounter regular animals, that doesn't keep these kooks from freaking out.

There's a lesson in that.

Then there is the matter of "The Gable Film."  Reportedly, this film is a Super 8 of family life in the 1970s, which happens to end with a clip of what looks uncannily like a man in a bear suit running towards the camera.  MonsterQuest spends a lot of time dicking around before they finally, at literally the last minute, reveal that the Gable film is a complete deliberate hoax.  

Classic cheese.  Classic kooks.  Classic MonsterQuest.  I'll miss you!

Creative Commons-licensed image courtesy of Flickr user Kevin Lawver

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