Thursday, November 20, 2008

Unexplained: Legends & Lore

SciFi Channel - Original Air Date: 11/20/08

In this episode, George Noory looks into stories from "the greatest storyteller ever born," Lionel Fanthorpe -- whom the caption claims is the author of more than 250 books (Wikipedia says author or co-author).  They start with Springheel Jack, who began attacing people in 1837 and was a thin creature which breathed blue fire before leaping away, cackling.  Fanthorpe says that strange beings may be half-forgotten memories of races that once inhabited a land before it was invaded by modern humans.  The next story deals with Time Travel.  In Roxom (sp) Broad (a lake) two 17th century swimmers were crossing the lake when the water vanished and all at once they were surrounded by Roman soldiers. They followed the procession for several minutes, until they faded back into the water.  Fanthorpe says this is the first evidence of a timeslip at the Broad.  Later, a yatch saw the same thing.  Noory relates a story of a cab driver who hit an apparent 18th century man who appeared out of nowhere before being struck and killed.  He also mentions a pilot who entered a cloud to emerge in a WWII dogfight and returned to the present with bullet holes in his plane.  Fanthorpe tells of a 1932 flyer who flew over an abandoned Edinburgh airfield and saw it alive with activity from WWI.

Next they turn to vampires and a blood-curdling vampire attack story.  (With elements from Langella's Dracula -- or the other way around.)  Fanthorpe explains to a caller that drinking someone's blood would, traditionally, give you their strength.  Asked what a ghost is, Fanthorpe says three or four theories should be considered. Some apparitions are psychic recordings of emotional events.  He says the scariest story ever told would be the tale of the Barbados coffins -- which mysteriously rearranged themselves, repeatedly, in a sealed crypt.  What could move such large, lead coffins in a sealed room?  A caller asks how we can know whether a strange feeling we have is a ghost.  Fanthorpe replies that a vivid dream is hard to tell from reality, but we should apply the same tests to a strange situation that we would to determine whether we were dreaming.

While I enjoyed the stories in this show, they strike me as being more myth than history -- and some seem to be combinations of elements from several other stories.  Fun to listen to, but not to be mistake for fact.  After watching three of these shows, Unexplained with George Noory seems a mile wide, but not very deep.  How it may develop is hard to tell.  My guess would be that it will remain more about stories -- like this episode -- rather than becoming more critical.  So far, though, UwGN has been a fun diversion.

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