Skeptophilia (skep-to-fil-i-a) (n.) - the love of logical thought, skepticism, and thinking critically. Being an exploration of the applications of skeptical thinking to the world at large, with periodic excursions into linguistics, music, politics, cryptozoology, and why people keep seeing the face of Jesus on grilled cheese sandwiches.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Pay troll ahead

We have Syfy's Ghost Hunters and Destination: Truth.  We have The History Channel's MonsterQuest.  The Travel Channel has Ghost AdventuresA&E has Paranormal State.

You'd think that'd be enough, given that they never find anything.  They wander about risking their lives, all alone in the dark except for the 38 people on the film crew, making alarmed noises whenever they think they see or hear anything suspicious, and then amazingly enough. it always turns out not to be a ghost, or Bigfoot, or an alien, or whatever.  As an example, let's take a look at this actual dialogue from an episode of Ghost Hunters I watched when I was stuck in a hotel in Tucson with nothing better to do:

Scene:  the attic of an abandoned courthouse building at night

First Dude:  What's this over here?

Second Dude (waving flashlight around):  Where?


*break for a commercial*

[after commercial break, they have to repeat the sequence, in case watching a Listerine commercial excited the listeners so much that they've forgotten what just happened]

First Dude:  What's this over here?

Second Dude (waving flashlight around):  Where?

First Dude:  AAAAAUUUUGGGGHHH!  That is one big-ass yellowjacket!

So, other than big-ass yellowjackets, they seldom seem to find anything, although from the way they high-five each other at the end of every episode, you'd think they'd just gotten first-hand evidence of the existence of god, or something.  But anyway, my point is, as much as I enjoy watching these shows, for the comic relief value if for nothing else, we've reached a point of diminishing returns.

I say this in light of a new movie from Norway that is being released in the US starting at the Space Gallery in Portland, Maine, and looks like it's going to be the next big thing.  It's called The Troll Hunter and is about some dudes in Norway who wander around trying to find trolls.  (See some stunning posters and stills from the movie here.)  So look for it showing up soon at a cinema near you.

When I found out about this, I thought, troll hunting?  Really?  Like in The Three Billy Goats Gruff?  They are really scraping the bottom of the barrel.  Then, I thought:  maybe I'm being too hasty, here.  There is a lot of fertile ground left.  So, after some consideration, I present for your perusal a few ideas for feature-length movies or television series that I'd be happy to host:

Seeking Centaurs.  In which I go and wander around Greece, eating lots of souvlaki with tzatziki and trying to prove that the legendary half-man, half-horse creatures still exist.

On the Trail of Mermaids.  In which I go scuba diving on the coral reefs in the South Pacific trying to find evidence that the legends about beautiful ocean-dwelling, half-naked females are true.

In the Home of the Bunyip.  In which I visit Australia to work on my tan and look for the Aussies' answer to the Loch Ness Monster.

Looking for Silkies.  In which I tour Scotland, sampling scotch and seeking the reality of the mythical seal-folk of the Isles.

Finding Quetzalcoatl.  In which I wander about in Central America, looking for evidence of the feathered serpent god.

I'm sure I could come up with others.  But I think we have a good start, here.  All of them would take a close look at the legends surrounding these creatures, by going around and talking to insane people who actually believe they're real.  We'd visit museums to see artifacts depicting the creature in question, and play really dramatic music.  Then the film crew would film me wandering about (or swimming about, as the case may be).  At dramatic moments, I'd strike a pose looking off into the distance, the wind ruffling my hair, the sunlight silhouetting my rugged profile.  In the end, I wouldn't find anything conclusive, but it would still afford us an in-depth look at the Reality Behind Myths.

And, more importantly, it would afford me a chance to travel all over the place for free.  I think it's an awesome idea.  Now, if I can only get a network to back me...


  1. These are some great ideas! I have a few of my own:

    Transylvanian Road Trip: A small camera crew make their way to the Carpathian mountains in search of Vlad the Impaler.

    Walking With Wendigos: Documentary that takes in the stunning landscape of the American heartland whilst seeking the flesh-eating giant.

    The Hills Have Eyes (And They're Crying): A film-maker lives with a family of misunderstood, inbred freaks for a month and learns of their plight - they just want to be accepted.

  2. One part you say "to prove that the legendary half-man, half-horse creatures still exist."
    I don't think they ever existed