Thursday, May 22, 2008

IS IT REAL? Monsters of the Deep

National Geographic Channel - Original Air Date: 2005-6

This show looks at sea and lake monsters from the Pacific shores to Nessie.  As usual, the show has a good survey of the evidence, including famous photos and the controversial Rines Loch Ness shots.  It also includes a complete (and convincing) explanation of the "Surgeon's Photo" hoax.  From there, they go to Lake Okanagan, home of the mythical Ogopogo.  There are plenty of reports, but scientific evidence is thin, and skeptics are unconvinced.  The editor of Skeptical Inquirer leads a team of Okanagan to investigate.  "Phantom waves," called seiches, seem a likely explanation -- both here and elsewhere; they're rare and they can look like a serpentine, living creature.  Divers and sonar turn up nothing, and a past sonar hit is suggested to be rotting tree.  But, Ogopogo has been captured on film many times, unlike most lake monsters.  Are any of the images proof positive, though?  They look at three strong examples, and recreate one using a thirty foot boat, which proves that the supposed creature was closer to the shore than estimated and, thus, neither so large nor as fast as supposed.  (This is a common problem with witness sightings in cases of uncanny events.)  An FBI film analyst looks at the films.  He suggests one is a fish, another movement of debris in the water, and a third waves.  But, what about sea monsters?  Most prove to be pieces of known creatures, like whale blubber.  Cadborasaurus--a water-breathing reptile--is believed to be a sea monster living off of the North American west coast.  Bill & Bob Clark claim to have seen the monster several times in San Francisco bay.  Unfortunately, their best footage looks like a flock of birds.  The film expert advises to look at evidence, not passionate witnesses.  Sadly, sea and lake monsters are a long way from being proven to exist.

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