Wednesday, October 22, 2008

DESTINATION TRUTH - Ninki Nanka; Kikiyaon

SciFi Channel - Original Air Date: 10/15/2008

Josh and the crew go to Gambia to look for two mythical monsters: one dragon-like river  beast, and the other a gigantic owl.  Their first problem is that the Gambians, fearing spies, refuse to let the team use their Fleer thermal imager and their state-of-the-art night vision equipment.  (The virtues of which I've extolled many times.)  That refusal haunts the data collection on this expedition.  After the usual talks with locals, the team travels upriver to find the Ninki Nanka, a trip that includes running out of gas and having to wait until night for their captain to return.  They locate a witness who has some of the creature's scales, and they obtain one for analysis.  Avoiding dangerous hippos and chimps, they take to the river again and head to the center of the sightings.  Without their best gear, poking around in the dark on the river is even more dangerous than usual, and Josh and company fear crocks and hippos as well as unknown creatures.  Something tries to eat and run off with their underwater camera -- but only disconnects it and bites through the camera housing.  On their way back to base, the weather turns bad and the boats fills with water, only the rest of the team holding lights allows Josh and his guide to find their landing.  The crew moves on to the next search.

Before leaving Gambia, the team goes looking for the kikiyaon, a five foot tall cross between owl and man.  After consulting an ornithologist, they head out to find the monster.  Naturally, their rented vehicle breaks down, and Ryder teaches the local kids athletics until the repairs are done.  When they arrive at the village near the recent sightings, the villagers -- much afraid of the creature -- do an elaborate dance to ward off the kikiyaon.  Josh hears some strange calls near dusk, and Ryder and Casey see a large shape in a tree which then flies away.  But, lacking their usual equipment, the crew doesn't get pictures.  Rain drives them to seek shelter before they can investigate further, but they go back afterh the storm breaks.  They hear more strange noises and see more flying shapes before storms again end the hunt.

Back home, an expet and DNA testing prove the Ninki Nanka scales come from a fish; the strange cries come from an ordinary owl, not a giant.  The expert ornothologist opines that normal, local birds can take on huge aspect (a four-foot crane becoming a nine-foot monster) in the dark.  Josh declares that both creatures are a testament to the power of folklore.  Since this is the final show of the season, he also declares his renewed faith in hearing people's stories and looking for strange monsters.  The quest for the truth will continue.

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