Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Destination Truth or Destination Fraud?

Destination Truth is one of the newer shows on the network. Hubby and I began watching it at the beginning of this season. The host, Josh Gates, and his crew go all over the world in search of monsters and really weird creatures of legend. Although Gates is ruggedly handsome and seems brave and really exciting, both Hubby and I can't help but wonder if this show is nothing but a big hoax, a fraud in the "reality TV" genre.
Instead of actually giving the crew time to find information about the creatures of legend they are supposedly hunting, Gates and the show only have 24 hours to search, explore, and find proof whether or not the creature might exist. Twenty-four hours isn't a long time to look for anything in my humble opinion. And, whether or not there is proof really doesn't seem to matter to Gates because he has already made up his mind that the locals are basically just primitive twits who are stuck in some lost area of time and space.

In the Sea Monster & Bat Demon episode, Destination Truth traveled to Vietnam to find the Tarasque, a sea monster that had been attacking local fishing boats for, well, generations, including recently. There wasn't any set pattern to the attacks, but most of the fishermen agreed it attacked during the day - Gates went looking for it at night because he reckoned it was a "nocturnal" creature. There were giant splashing in a cave that Gates had gone into looking for the creature. He went alone with a night vision camera.

I cannot say the man isn't brave, but if he even remotely figured he might run upon something big and scary why did he go alone with so little equipment to capture information?

When Gates and crew went looking for the Popobawa in Zanzibar. According to the locals, the Popobawa is a large "bird" with bat-like wings and has been known to attack people. The attacks have usually all happened during the day, but, again, Gates went looking for the creature at night in a jungle he had never been to before armed only with a machete. Somehow the man was able to find his way deeply into the jungle and out again to his crew without any problems.

I grew up in the Appalachians and the first thing I was taught was that if you ended up in a part of the forest you didn't know try and retrace your steps, and if you couldn't do that, just sit still in one place and eventually help would find you. Many of the boys who I grew up with would roam the hills during the day and always made certain they could find their way back home during the day-light hours so they wouldn't be caught in the forest at night. As they grew and learned the mountains, they could go many places during night as well, but they were always careful. Rarely did any of them end up lost. However, many people who did not know the mountains would go into the mountains and get lost, then the boys would have to be called on to go and find the people. Even if these experienced men were set down in the middle of an unknown forest or jungle they couldn't just run wherever in the middle of the night and genuinely expect to find their way back to a relatively unknown camp before day-break. How does Josh Gates do it then? And why would he look for it at night having never gone to the areas to where the creature supposedly made the attacks? I am willing to suspend belief for many things, but not for something that is supposed to be searching for answers to a question.

Another thing Hubby noticed was that Gates' interview with eye-witnesses and victims of attacks, he always acted as if he didn't believe them from the very beginning. The people he interviewed were really just uneducated, superstitious backwards people who couldn't make a determination between a giant bird and a pterodactyl-like creature.

In a "journal entry" from the site regarding the episode about the Tarasque, Gates says:

Vietnam's history is laden with rich and imaginative folklore, part of which is the elegant notion that a dragon descended from the heavens, his tail splitting the earth to form the jagged towers in the waters of Halong Bay. ("Halong" means "Where the dragon meets the sea.") An alternative version of the story says the dragon spat out jewels that formed the many islands here. Either way, these people have serpents on the brain, and with eyewitnesses predisposed to seeing creatures. Vietnam's history is laden with rich and imaginative folklore, part of which is the elegant notion that a dragon descended from the heavens, his tail splitting the earth to form the jagged towers in the waters of Halong Bay. ("Halong" means "Where the dragon meets the sea.") An alternative version of the story says the dragon spat out jewels that formed the many islands here. Either way, these people have serpents on the brain, and with eyewitnesses predisposed to seeing creatures out of a Tolkein epic, reliable accounts will be hard to come by.
Did he ever intend to find something?

From beginning to end the entire show seems staged and Gates knows exactly where he is going at all times. He supposedly can defend himself against anything with a machete and he is afraid of nothing, which reminds me something of what my Daddy and many older men and women have often said, "A man who isn't afraid of anything is stupid and just looking to die." Another little piece of wisdom they would also impart was, "If a man thinks he is a bad ass, there is always somebody badder out there, and one day they will run up on one another and the bad ass may just lose a battle." Having lived as long as I have, I can honestly say I have seen several young bad asses out there, and they usually always run upon someone tougher than they are, and it never ends up nice for the young one. He lives after the confrontation if he is lucky. Every time I have watched this show I have ended up thinking about this and wondering if he is actually going to run upon someone tougher than him on the show, and, quite frankly, I don't want to witness it, although, to be honest, I doubt they would view the leader getting his ass kicked in some third-world, third-rate country.


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

While watching the same episode as a repeat I googled "Destination Truth Fraud" and caught your blog. Regarding the cave...if he really wanted to see what was in the cave...where was his high powered beam to pan the cave? That is where I lost interest and took it off series record on my dvr. Why bother? It is patently a big fake. Another ghost hunt led me to think they were all psyching each other out and not one of them considered or mentioned that possibility. I think that some of these things may be out there but they don't take the timej to investigate. Leave those cameras in the jungle a little longer; a week would be better. They misuse their equipment to deliberately capture piss poor images that do not conclude squat. I'm not even in the business and I could give them pointers...remind you of anything? Yeah, horror films. The girl who is always entering the dark cemetery alone despite her misgivings? And these people make the same (unacknowledged) mistakes every week. Therefore, I conclude they are scheisters not interested in doing anything but piquing our curiosity in the vain hope they'll one day strike gold. By never striking one find on target they lose viewers who might trail along for weeks of useless bunk to see at least one good catch. If a reward is never given - the dogs stop salivating and the rats won't push the bar any longer.

Anonymous said...

DT is indeed a half baked farce.
What annoys me is that, they go into jungles at night and start screaming and making a racket. Any half witted creature will hear this noise and stay hidden.
Monsterquest is far more professional and the team behave like they are taking it seriously.

Anonymous said...

I agree. They consistently "find" evidence to analyze later and don't even tell the viewers the results. I can't believe that they went looking for werewolves without going on a night with a full moon. There are so many discrepancies in each episode I just get annoyed watching it now. The show would be much better if they would just act more professionally and present the information more thoroughly to the viewers.

JadedTLC said...

>>How does Josh Gates do it then? And why would he look for it at night having never gone to the areas to where the creature supposedly made the attacks? I am willing to suspend belief for many things, but not for something that is supposed to be searching for answers to a question.

My answer to your question: GPS (Global Positioning Satellite receivers). All they need to do is mark down where the base camp is, where the cameras are, etc. And simply use the gps to map a way back. I actually think this show is the least "fraudulent" because Josh Gates is way more skeptical. Perhaps that is because he's only in a few seasons... only time will tell.

He can hope that he keeps it closer to a national geographic show with humor, rather than a paranormal show, or else he could run into "Jacketgate" as Grant Wilson has already found.

These are good people doing what they think is good work, they enter a road to hell (hollywood) and can't seem to find their ethics back. Ratings and pressures from TV - I would NEVER want to be famous on someone else's promotion. Period.

Anyway, nice blog.

Nara Tairov said...

I agree with most of all these comments. Like... seriously. This show annoys the hell out of me. He seems lazy, and uninterested. And all I can surmise from his shoddy work, and retarded tactics is a free ticket and excuse to travel cheap.

Anonymous said...

Rather than being put off by his questioning and/or mocking the local myths and folklore, I see this as simply injecting some good humor and healthy skepticism. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, and I think Gates appears to do a pretty good job of balancing the realms of reality vs pure superstition. Personally, I much prefer this approach over watching a credulous person who believes anything and everything without question.

I do agree that the missions could be of longer duration, but I imagine this is simply the limitations placed on the show by the studio executives who are writing the checks. As a filmmaker, I'm well aware that such decisions are often well out of the hands of the actual talent. In the end, the primary mission of a television show is to entertain people and generate revenue.

Anonymous said...

Lets be honest about ONE THING..

D.T. is entertainment only.. its geared toward bored viewers who cannot go the places they are filming in, and frakly do not have much of anything else to do..

No one is going to stay home from important plans to watch D.T.- they are watching it because they are bored and its a novetly compared to their other choices at that moment.

that all said.. its a real wast of time- When in a cave on Easter Island claiming to be calling out to the ancient divinities of this almost wiped-out population (''is anyone here''..''do you have anything to tell us'')

Gates and crew call-out in modern english, which has never been the language of the Island, and suggest the ancient ''god'' of the Islanders (who would have spoken some sort of archaic polynesian) replied back to them on tape IN MODERN ENGLISH..

even if I were inclined to believe such things were remotely valid (im not) I would not be convincible that some polynesian deity is going to reply back to Josh Gates in english..

GATES above all is a ACTOR. PROFESSIONALLY A ACTOR- he has no scientific or techniccal background.. this stuff makes him money and the various SCI-FI personalities that no one ever heard of go on each others shows to cross-promote, get fame+money..

moral of story, you (we) all need to find something purposeful to do with out time instead of wasting valuable hours on this garbage

Anonymous said...

Badly acted show, especially by Josh crew. With noticeable intent to scare and suspense.
No scientific value. All evidence can be easily staged.
Night time action is for one purpose: I just heard, saw.
Look at it as entertainment.
Josh hooks up TAPS to learn some paranormal investigation techniques.
Yes if he really wanted to find things, do it day time.
Occasionally he forgets it is not night time and says i just saw something. Where is you camera, body i would like to see what you see.

luna_Vk said...

well you all have to take into account that it is a limited timed show about 1hour so of course it has to be edited to fit that time frame plus it is for entertaimet purposes hey i like this show y not because i dont have a life but for 1 hour i get to see what they see and feel a smig frighten so please dont take this to heart but its just a show

David said...

the only thing i learned from this article is that it's extremely annoying when people call their husbands "hubby".

i agree with you about the night shoots however & i'm sure they do that to make the episode more intense and because they know they're not going to find anything.

Robert said...

Thank you for writing as you have about D.T. program. I find so much of it to be fraud and built around their own fun to travel around the World for their own thrills. There is never any close encounters-as those who are interviewed tell of their close encounters, But, D.T. crew never even comes close to any encounters with each quick journey they take. And, they always speak English to the ghosts anywhere they go in the World! I guess ghosts can denote other languages.
And, as pointed out all the yelling at night-would scare any ghost away. Written on Oct. 21.2010
Bob, Florida

Anonymous said...

Josh Gates is a silly ego. The show is all about him. Even if they found "evicence" (some episodes are quite good, so are some interviews with witnessess) Mr. Superman Gates would not share "real" evidence with the public. It's all about trust. Do you trust the DT crew? Believe everything they "find out". Lokk at it from a neutral point of view: TD is one bog scam. Everything can be staged, all images, flir-images, probes (what else do they got? Nothing!) can be faked.

It's all staged, the shows are cut together, they want to make it look like they investigate. But all they do is making a tv show with no hard evidence. In the end Mr. Gates draws conclusions out of nothing. Its sad, not scientific and so not worth watching. And yes, i don't like how this shmock makes fun of everyone he's meeting around the world. Maybe karma strikes back some day.

Anonymous said...

I have watched D.T. many times and yes, some of the episodes do seemed faked but in general, the show is pretty good. I think they do it during the nighttime because if they did it during the day, they could get shots of people that do work around that time, especially if they're near a village. As for when the person stated that they wanted josh to use a beam (I would assume a beam of light) to pan for the bat..thing, I think that wouldnt have been wise since you would most likely stir whatever other animals were there. e.g. bats. But, im getting off topic. Point is D.T. is, in my opinion, soley for the thrill of suspense and the belief that something does exsist. And it is pretty comical too.

M Waddington said...

I really don't understand the venom towards Gates and his crew. Nobody tunes into DT expecting Royal Society standards - it's an entertainment show so should be judged on whether it entertains and in my view it does. Fabulous locations, adventure, mystery and intrugue. You take it for what it is. Having said that I don't think they set out to dupe anyone but of course certain things have to be "set up" to make it entertaining - hence the night shoots. Makes things more "edgy". And to the individual complaining about them seeking werewolves but not going out on a full moon - seriously? Oh dear, have a word with yourself.

Great blog though - just take DT for what it is, an entertaining adventure show!

Anonymous said...

I quite enjoy this show, and watch it for entertainment purposes only. I know they artificially put suspense into the show, and half the noises they hear are probably created by other members of the crew, but it's still quite fun. I think Josh is a really funny guy, and Ryder is hot! The only thing that annoys me is that they film all their investigations at night. It seems a shame to go to such interesting destinations and then film it in the darkness.

Anonymous said...

i would just like to say to one of the comments earlier josh gates is not an actor he actually has degrees in arceology had you bothered to check,so hes an arceologist not an actor and not a cryptozologist. most of the show may be ludicrus but the only thing ive been able to pick up on them actually faking is the bermuda triangle episode and the japanese suicide forest at the base of mount fuji is the compasess going nuts, if you re watch the episodes you will observe he holds the compass over his wrist on which he is wearing a wrist band or a watch large enough to hide a magnet this is an old street magicians trick however both these areas actually do have weird electromagnetic frequencys and other scientists can attest to this but the crew were obviosly not getting these results and had to fake it for themselves, i agree that sometimes he gets it wrong and goes ooo its a nocturnal creature even though attacks happen during the day put i can but that down to either stupidity or hes just chicken. how ever i still think this is a damn good series based on the fact most of thier imformation is correct, and just a note on the ghosts talking back in english, other ghost hunters have gotten these same results(not at easter island but other places around the world) some times even get responses in foreign tongue, they put down the ghosts or spirits being able to understand english if its an intelligent haunting where if its residual it ,might understand english but can not speak it you need to remember "ghosts" are from another realm and are made up of energy and that energy can manifest and do some interesting things (call me a loon if you like i dont care i investigate paranormal stuff so what)