Tuesday, December 14, 2010

FACT OR FAKED: Bayou Beast - River Ghost

Syfy - Original Air Date: 12/9/10

The finale of their first season takes the FF crew further down the road of serious science and skepticism.  The cases they do not look at in depth are: Christmas Ghost, which seems to show a ghostly image at a Christmas party.  But Chi-Lan correctly points out that it's just lens flare.  Ice Vortex shows a very strange circular vortex, which was observed for 12 hours, in the middle of an icy river.  But it's merely the result of a methane gas uprising and the Coriolis effect; strange but not paranormal.  Ghost Girl seems to show a ghostly girl in a deserted house.  But it turns out this was a fake, a publicity put up to promote an internet site.  Good job on exposing those, guys.  Which leaves the 2 cases for investigation.  Honey Island Swamp Monster seems to show a bigfoot-like creature skulking through the swamp near New Orleans.  Ghost Light shows a mysterious light flying near a bridge on the Willamette River in Portland, Oregon.

Heading to Louisiana, Ben, Chi-Lan, and Larry trek into the swamp, check out the area seen in the super-8 film, and interview witnesses. Then they go to see if the thing in the film could be a Louisiana Black Bear.  The bears are very large, and can stand on their hind legs, but they don't walk very well, unlike the thing on film.  Next test: a hunter (Ben) in a camouflage ghillie suit and stalking make-up.  (Shades of the Michigan Dogman!)  The resulting footage looks just like the original film.  Of course, that doesn't mean it couldn't be bigfoot, so they set some nighttime traps for the monster, just in case.  While they don't catch a monster, they do catch some strange and disturbing howls on their equipment.  Conclusion: The film shows a man in camo, and the howls are identified by an expert as wild boar fighting.  Also, the film is a short roll--indicating some of it's footage is missing, perhaps deliberately.  While this film was "fake," there could still be a monster out there somewhere.

On to Oregon, where Bill, Austin, and Jael talk to the people who shot the flying light film; they seem sincere.  At night, the team goes to the bridge and conducts some experiments.  First, they throw Frisbees bedecked with lights off the bridge; they don't stay aloft long enough to replicate the flight pattern.  Next, they pull a lighted balloon from a speedboat to try and replicate the object.  This looks closer, but the flight pattern isn't smooth and regular when the boat turns.  Finally, they outfit an RC plane with LED lights; though the object was described as "silent," it's impossible to hear the plane over local traffic.  The plane is a dead-on match.  Conclusion: The object is an RC plane, though the witnesses didn't know that; they were just fluke observers to a nighttime RC plane flight.  It was merely a case of mistaken identity. Fake.

Over the past few weeks, this show has gone from a flabby "We want to believe" show to a harder-hitting "What's the most reasonable explanation" show.  As they've improved, they've gained me as a loyal viewer and supporter, and I suspect many other fans as well.  Since they've deservedly been renewed for next season, I hope they'll be able to cast off the EVP sessions and other remnants of pseudo science and stick solely to the facts in the season to come. They seem well on their way to becoming SyFy's equivalent of Mythbusters. I look forward to next season.

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