Beast Hunter

Beast Hunter – Mongolian Death Worm – S01E05


Mongolian Death Worm

The Mongolian death worm is rumored to live in the Gobi Desert, one of the most inhospitable regions of the planet. This freakish creature is said to spray acid, send out electric shocks and explode when threatened. After traveling to the vast, empty wilderness, Spain dives in with the locals to garner some leads. To impress them, he finds himself in over his head- literally – fighting one of Mongolia’s top wrestlers.

For this adventure Pat is trying to track down the creature known as the Mongolian Death Worm. A huge worm that is said to shoot acid, electrocutes its victims, is toxic to the touch and might exploded when people try to capture it. It’s one of the oddest creatures out there and if the rumors are to be believed, the most dangerous.

Mongolia is not for the faint of heart. It’s a vast desert where only those who know what they’re doing will survive. To try and gain the friendship of the locals Pat indulges in some Mongolian wrestling. As you expect this goes very badly. Not only is the outfit not something you want to look directly at, but Pat is a really crappy wrestler and gets tossed to the ground with relative ease. But he takes it all in good stride and does gain some favor with the natives. Perhaps they take pity on the skinny, pale foreigner.

They tell him many stories of the Death Worm. A witness says he and some others came across the beast and when trying to kill it, it exploded. Keep in mind they were trying to kill it with gasoline so who knows what kind of explosion they were setting up for themselves. Gasoline and the heat of the desert, what could go wrong there?

Another witness claims to have seen the worm as well. She describes it as a big sausage and stayed away. She’d heard too many stories about how deadly it was to get close. Pat shows her several pictures of animals and she says she knows the difference between the local snakes and the Death Worm.

To figure out what people might be seeing, Pat consults with a local scientist. He believes there could be something like the Death Worm, but he also feels that people could be seeing local snakes. Giant earthworms do exist that grow to be several feet long and several inches around. However, they don’t have the deadly killing powers people attribute to the Death Worm.

To understand why the Death Worm may be toxic to the touch, Pat heads out with a guide to search for a plant called the goya. This is a native plant and could be a food source for the worm. It is in fact toxic, but ironically both Pat and the guide eat some. I agree with Pat, the idea of eating and swallowing a toxic plant doesn’t really sound like a good idea. Death would be on my mind as well.

His guides take Pat to a Mongolian BBQ where the men tell stories of the deadly worm. It should also be mentioned they ladle out the homemade vodka. Homemade hooch and storytelling, what could possibly go wrong?

The men claim the death worm can spit acid as well as blood. It also has an electrical charge that kills people. As they keep drinking the Death Worm is pretty much capable of anything and everything.

The next day Pat heads out into the desert to where sightings have occurred. He sets up trap cameras and when night falls he heads out with a thermal imager. There is no shortage of wildlife with lizards, rabbits and plenty of snakes. He starts to play with a cricket and swears he can feel an electrical charge on his skin.

As an experiment he tries to build up a static charge like the Death Worm. He proves it is possible. Is it enough to kill someone? Perhaps not, but it might be able to give them a pretty big jolt. And there is the electric eel which produces its own electrical charge so obviously such a thing does exist in nature.

After the sweep of the area at night Pat heads back to check his trap cameras. They have been knocked over and one is completely broken. There are numerous new holes in the dirt as well. Taking it at face value it might be possible to conclude the Death Worm ruined the camera and then buried itself back in the desert. But Pat looks deeper and does have some unusual footage on one of the cameras. At first it looks quite shocking and unusual. But as it plays he realizes that it is nothing more than a cow knocking over the camera. It does make the point that seen from a different angle even the most ordinary things look completely alien.

As a final experiment Pat is taken to a shed where some men have caught a rat snake. It has many tinges of red so it can blend in with the red earth of the area. It has similar markings to what people claim for the Death Worm. Could a fat rat snake be the culprit?

In the end Pat doesn’t get any hard evidence to support the claim of the Death Worm. But, if you take the traits individually there are animals in nature that it could be. There are frogs that shoot blood from the eyes. The electric eel which packs a mighty punch. Plenty of toads and frogs are toxic to the touch. And earthworms that could actually be the right size. Oddities like this are out there, they just aren’t there in one package.

Other Articles of Interest:

Beast Hunter – Sea Serpent of the North – S01E04


Sea Serpent of the North

For generations, fishermen have told tales of sea monsters. One of the world’s most legendary monsters is a sea serpent known as Cadborosaurus, or “Caddy,” which has been reported off the coast of British Columbia for more than a century. But to science, it doesn’t officially exist. Now Pat travels to Vancouver Island to track it down. He questions eyewitnesses, explores the myths of the coastal people who have occupied the area for more than 5,000 years and confers with top oceanographers.

Pat is on the trail of a sea serpent that supposedly lives off the coast of British Columbia. The locals tell of a creature that sounds similar to "Nessie" of Loch Ness fame. A serpent that glides along the water and then disappears leaving a large wake behind. But does such a thing exist? Could a Cadborosaurus actually live in the waters off Vancouver?

Pat talks with several eyewitnesses who tell a very similar story. They see a snake like animal moving along the surface of the water. It has three distinct humps and what looks to be a snake like head. The details are somewhat sketchy since it’s usually spotted quite a distance from the shore and doesn’t show much more than the humps of its back. All of the witnesses are firmly convinced it’s not a whale or dolphins or tires or any of the other standard aquatic life of the area. To them, it’s something completely new and different.

To get more information Pat hooks up with a fishing vessel and asks them about the animals they’ve seen. They’ve been trolling the waters for years so if something unusual is out there they would have a better idea of what it is. The men of the boat have seen some odd things and they while they haven’t seen "Caddy" they do believe there are plenty of unexplored animals deep in the ocean. We’ve barely explored what’s down there so it would be easy to avoid man and have an abundant food source.

The Native American culture also believes in the "Caddy" creature. They’ve been handing down the story for years. It’s even in their drawings and oral tradition. Pat is shown a rock carving where a serpent like creature is drawn. The tribe believes in the animal, but they don’t believe it’s a good omen. It’s appearance usually means trouble.

For the ultimate exploration, Pat heads down in a mini-sub into the depths. It would take a vessel like this to really explore the ocean, but the cost of building and actually using such subs is extremely expensive. Once you get down a few feet under the crushing power of the water renders most machinery useless.

While there is no real evidence to support the claim of "Caddy" could such a thing exist and be thriving? There is certainly plenty of space and food. It could easily nestle down deep and stay undiscovered. But could this also be a case of mistaken identity? Are people seeing dolphins? Are they just seeing junk floating on the water? Does someone want their own tourist attraction to bring in people and money?

It’s hard to say that a throwback aquatic dinosaur is swimming freely off the coast of Vancouver, but considering out limited understanding of the depths of the ocean it’s surprisingly possible.

I’m starting to like this show quite a bit. It presents a lot of interesting information and plenty of alternatives for what people are seeing. Something seen from a distance or from a certain point of view can entirely different than we expect. It’s also proving that science has discovered a lot, but there is still more to learn.

Other Articles of Interest:

Beast Hunter – Swamp Monster of the Congo – S01E03

Pat is on the hunt for the Swamp Monster of the Congo. Perhaps it could be described as another version of Nessie, but this time it’s in the dense jungle. Could there be a creature hiding in the jungle that’s responsible for several deaths and striking fear into the villagers? Pat talks with several eyewitnesses to find out. Its name is Mokele-mbembe.

He talks to a man who says he saw the footprint and even caught a glimpse of the animal. Another takes him to the location where he saw Mokele-mbembe. As he gives details Pat thinks the animal could have been a very large crocodile. The villager seems almost offended by the insinuation. He knows the difference between a crocodile and Mokele-mbembe. While scouting this location he sets up trap cameras to see if he gets pictures of anything crossing the river where the sighting took place.

Another witness tells the story of his grandfather being killed by the creature while he was out fishing. The boat was broken in half and his grandfather died. The details are sketchy and the story seems a little hard to believe. All the stories up to this point lack detail and have no real evidence to support them. It’s really coming across as the stuff of legend and stories that have been handed down.

But the men of the village are going to prove they know the jungle and the creatures in it so they set up a hunting party and take Pat out to show him the animals. They want him to know this isn’t a case of mistaken identity.

They leave little doubt about their animal prowess so Pat takes out his iPad and goes through a picture lineup. They are very familiar with the animals he shows, but it’s the dinosaur that gets the most reaction. The villagers say that’s Mokele-mbembe and it’s what they’ve been seeing.

Just to give it a try, Pat heads out into the jungle with a thermal imager to see what he can find. There are lots of animals noises but nothing that would suggest Mokele-mbembe. At the end of the night he goes to check his trap cameras and find that elephants use this path to cross the river. Then the idea dawns on him, if villagers were to see an elephant crossing the river with just its back and trunk showing, would that be Mokele-mbembe? It would have many characteristics that people describe. And in the dark, making all that noise, perhaps covered in mud and hidden by trees would it look more dinosaur like?

In the end it could simply be a case of mistaken identity. Villagers are seeing elephants either in the river or walking through the jungle and become frightened. If they aren’t expecting it, it could be mistaken for a dinosaur. And the footprints could be distorted enough to appear different than an elephant.

But the jungle has hidden many packs of animals. Gorillas hid from many quite happily for decades until very recently so it is possible something much bigger is still waiting in the jungle to be discovered.

Other Articles of Interest:

Beast Hunter – Nightmare of the Amazon – S01E02

For this adventure Pat heads to the Amazon to investigate the "Nightmare of the Amazon" or the Mapinguari. It’s a huge animal with powerful arms, big claws, a horrible stench and a mouth that may actually be in its chest. Over the years it has become a fixed part of the culture for many. And for some it has changed their lives.

Pat starts off the hunt by talking with locals who believe they actually shot the animal. It was lurking around their village and when they thought it was out to eat their livestock they shot at it. Right after that the villagers moved away and relocated to what they thought was a safer place by the river. It isn’t clear if this was their first sighting or perhaps one of many.

As Pat talks with more natives he understands that outsiders aren’t to be trusted. He doesn’t have the time it would take to develop a relationship over weeks or months so he decides to participate in the initiation ritual of men who will become hunters. This involves hunting for the Bullet Ant which has a potent sting. And not just one ant, but hundreds. Those ants are then woven into a set of gloves the initiate will wear for five minutes. Then the initiate will endure the pain.

Things don’t go fantastically well for Pat. He goes through with the initiation, but the pain is to the point of being overwhelming. He can’t think straight, he’s not entirely sure where he is and doesn’t know what to do to endure the suffering. He seems a little delusional. He might even be hallucinating. Whatever is going on, he’s having a rough time with it.

We catch back up with Pat quite a bit later after the pain the delusions have worn off. What happened during that time we don’t know. I’m sure they weren’t planning for him to stick his hands in a bucket full of venom so who knows if they had any sort of antidote.

But Pat presses on and meets a man who says he was attacked by the Mapinguari. He claims it grabbed him around the throat and broke his jaw. He feels certain it could have killed him and that he would have died if people hadn’t found him quickly. The details of the attack are pretty light. And there is nothing from the people who found him. However, he has never been back in the forest and left his job. Something seems to have changed him.

Pat begins to think that maybe a giant anteater is the cause of the problems. It can attack, it is able to emit a stench and has some of the other reported characteristics. But is the entire country mistaking an anteater for all their attacks?

Pat finds a professor who believes it exists. He’s taken eyewitness statements from nearly 90 people. Some even claim to have killed it. David Orem believes it might be a giant Ground Sloth, a beast that is 10 feet tall with huge claws and massive teeth. The Sloth lived in the area and only died out recently, and by recently he means 10,000 years ago.

Pat meets with another tribe that tells story of the Mapinguari. People firmly believe it exists and people only go into the forest with a silver bullet which is said to kill the beast.

When with the tribe, Pat heads into the forest with thermal imager and megaphone. His plan is to play sounds of animals and see if he can get a response. He even has what he believes is the call of the Mapinguari. As they play the calls there is a response that sounds similar to what they are sending out. Are they getting a true response or just stirring up the forest?

As a final experiment he shows a witness a series of photos on his iPad. The witness is unfamiliar with some animals, since they aren’t native to his area but recognizes some of the others. Even the anteater is recognized but he doesn’t think too much of it. But when it comes to the giant sloth he gets a positive reaction from his witness. He says something that is very similar to the animal in the picture is what attacked him. He believes something very similar is out there.

So what does Pat come away with? There are dozens of stories of people who’ve had experiences and belief in the creature is very strong. Is there a Giant Sloth still lurking out in the forest? Has it managed to survived? Is a relative still calling the forest a home? It lends a lot of credibility to the idea that the Mapinguari is a real creature. Since so much of the area is actually unexplored it is possible that a descendent is alive and well.

Other Articles of Interest:

Recent Comments