Destination Truth was a show I watched occasionally in college. Like a hybrid between reality TV (which I typically despise) and documentary, the show follows TV personality Josh Gates and his team as they travel to often remote places, searching for one cryptid and one ghost per episode. Destination Truth is, of course, criticized as fake, made by people who never expect to actually find anything. But while the cyptids are often too ridiculous to swallow, the ghost hunting often gives pause and the show is often coloured with humour, giving definite entertainment value.
After not seeing the show for years, I revisited Josh after hearing of the Hoia Forest in Romania, purportedly the most haunted forest in the world and fittingly found outside Transylvania. It contains not vampires but female voices, UFO sightings, faces turning up in photos (probably explainable via anthropomorphism, the tendency to see human faces where there are none) and a circle where nothing mysteriously grows. Well, it turns out Josh had been there in one of Destination Truth's highest rated episodes.
Haunted Forest/Alux is indeed a strong episode, starting off with some funny moments as the team jokes about their rented car being very dirty and very small. Josh sees a photo of a Hoia UFO and jokes it's the top hat in Monopoly, and compares the ill side effects people are said to feel in the forest to prom night. Once in the forest, they get mysterious lights on video and soil samples from the circle (it can't be said why nothing grows there). You do have to take their word for it about feeling sick and getting scratched. But what's really striking is their audio, using equipment that picks up the often inaudible. We hear a female moan and a female giggle, and it is genuinely creepy.
The second half of the episode is set in the Yucatan in Mexico, searching for a cryptid called the Alux that is part of Mayan mythology and modern-day stories. As usual with the monster hunting, they turn up noting ("Alux bones" turn out to be goat bones), but this is still of educational value for its exploration of foreign mythology and culture.
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