History Channel - Original Air Date: January 30, 2008
From a seemingly absurd premise -- that there are wolf-like humanoids haunting the Midwestern US -- this show becomes one of the most interesting and compelling of the Monster Quest series. (And I'm not just saying this because author Linda Godfrey is a friend of mine.) Despite an unfortunate lack of physical evidence (the supposed werewolf fur turns out to be from well-known animal), the show brings together a number of eyewitnesses who tell fantastic stories of seeing the "manwolf" -- or, as the show sometimes describes it, the "dogman." Witnesses come from several walks of life and represent a range of ages. As they speak, one is struck both by their apparent sincerity, and the utter strangeness of their reports. But, just when one thinks they're all batty, they start taking polygraph tests. When the first one passed, I thought, "Well, that's interesting." But when the rest passed, too, it was downright amazing. I don't think I've ever seen a monster hunting show that put so many eyewitnesses to the test. And I've never seen a show where all the participants passed the polygraph. The monster hunting world is fraught with fakers and attention seekers -- but the people in this show don't seem to fall into those categories. The science on the show is quite good, with a bit of hypnotic regression being the only really dodgy bit. Usually, when I'm done watching a "true" monster show, there's always a spot where I think, "Why didn't they check this part out?" But here, the only thing they could have done more than they did was polygraph the multiple-sighting hunter. Of course, he may have been too busy beating the bushes for the scientist with the trank gun. And having a hunter with a trank gun on the trail of the beast was such a good move, that one of my friends called after the show and asked, "Why didn't they do that on the other shows?" Why, indeed? As the last show for this season, hopefully American Werewolf points the way for high-quality Monster Quests to come. And for the record, neither Linda nor I have ever seen the manwolf in person. But we'll keep looking.