Thursday, September 10, 2009

MONSTERQUEST: Terror from the Sky

History Channel - Original Air Date: 7/29/09

Is something strange soaring the North American skies?  Witness describe strange, flying humanlike creatures -- Unidentified Flying Humanoids.  Are they natural, manmade, or something more mysterious.  A Monterrey (Mexico) police officer reports a strange, haglike floating woman, and claims to have been knocked unconscious by the creature.  Later another officer found him and woke him up.  (This sounds like some strange dream encounter to me -- but MQ seems to seek out no corroborating evidence.)  MQ claims a video backs up his claim, but the video isn't from his police car, it's from other locations.  And some experts, including Joe Nickell doubt the videos are real -- either SFX or perhaps a balloon or balloon cluster.  (It reminds me of the recent UFOs Over Earth show set in Mexico.)  Though the show claims US sightings, most of the reports seem to come from Mexico (which has a long history of UFO sightings and belief in magic, too).  One "researcher" suggests the creatures may be from another dimension, though obviously there is no evidence for such conjecture.  Or, as also conjectured, that local legends could be interpretations of extra-terrestrial creatures, though, again, there is no evidence for this.  (It's an amusing tale, though.)

The MQ search team goes to Mexico and starts poking around in caves, suggesting the sightings could be some unknown animal - bat, pterosaur, etc.  The cavers turn up nothing though, save for more speculation.  Jamie Maussan (renowned and credulous Mexican UFO expert) claims to have the body of a strange creature caught on a ranch.  Photos show the creature when it was supposedly alive, and witnesses say it was like a cross between a rat and a monkey -- though no one mentions if it could fly, so I'm not sure of the connection to the theme of the show.  They take some samples from the tiny corpse for DNA testing.  (I'm betting it turns out to be a hairless monkey, which is what the pictures look like.)  I'm not impressed with the supposed experts analyzing it; they seem to be looking for strange rather than rational explanations.  The team concludes that the corpse has distinct differences from any known species, and the DNA test fails as well.  (I wonder what other labs -- out of Maussan's considerable sphere of influence -- might have found.)  Computer analysis of footage proves inconclusive, though the expert suggests a suspended object (like a gondola) for one and a cluster of balloons for another.  Joke Nickell suggests that Mexican celebrations often release clusters of balloons, and that these could be misidentified.  He conducts several experiments (again, like UFOs Over Earth) -- including one with a cluster of balloons in a plastic bag.  As he tightens his clusters, the figures look more and more humanoid -- especially in freeze frames.

But these flying things (I've seen these referred to as flying witches on the net), like many subjects of MQ, seem to have more to do with myth than with science.  (I think I'll preview the new season of Destination Truth to go to bed with a better "taste" in my mouth.)

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