Last night History channel debuted a new program called Cryptid: The Swamp Beast. I watched along with many others with great excitement. Over the years I had heard many strange and inexplicable accounts of creatures in the swamps of the deep South so I’m very interested to see if they can find any definitive proof of the existence of some of these beasts.
The program takes place in southern Louisiana. If you’ve never been there, let me assure you, despite the tourist hot spots and good cooking, most of the area is a swampy, spongey, muck-filled, life-threatening nightmare. If you venture into the wilds you had better be sure you know what you’re doing or else have Les Stroud (Discovery Channel’s Survivorman program)with you.
But it’s a great place for a cryptid to live. (Unknown artist’s rendering of a Rougarou below left.)
As much as I enjoyed it, I had a strange feeling that there was something scripted about the show. Sure some of the locals seemed genuine and their body language as they told their stories supported the truth of their tales. But there was something that reminded me of the debacle over on Animal Planet with their movie Mermaids: The Body Found. (See my Mermaid articles for more about that – check the Articles by Topic field to the right.)
So I decided I had better investigate.
Sure enough, plain as day, the History Channel reveals the show is scripted. However, they are replaying accounts told by real eyewitnesses, so it’s not a total fiction. Here’s how they put it:
“The plot of Cryptid: The Swamp Beast is fiction based on real sightings and weird events, but it’s a story nonetheless. Some of the people are actors, others are local people who help carry the narrative. But the show also features actual eyewitness interviews and experts weighing in throughout the dramatization that give the series real-world context.
What is the program’s intent?
This program is a legend brought to life. Down in Louisiana, there are a lot of strange legends. One concerns the Rougarou, a kind of shape shifter and boogieman. While not widespread, there are certain regions where the belief in this creature is strong. This series brings that legend to life and tells a horror story by weaving in reported sightings, Bigfoot legends and folklore. It’s an entertaining fictional story, however, it is filled with real history, information, and fascinating context.” (Unknown artist’s rendering of a wolfman/rougarou above right and below left.)
They’ve stated their intent clearly. I can live with that. It reminds me of the format of that paranormal show, The Haunted, where they act-out accounts that happened to real people while interjecting interviews with the witnesses between scenes.
It’s not a live-action show like Ghost Hunters and Finding Bigfoot, but given how elusive these great apes (or werewolves/rougarou) are proving to be, this is a nice way to get the stories told. It may also help raise awareness so folks living in the area are better prepared to capture some real evidence.
What did you think about the show?
UPDATE: Who is Tammany played by? I’ve been asked this so much lately and people are searching my website for this information, so to the best of my knowledge, here is the info some of you want to know:
I ***think*** Tammany is played by Rachel G. Whittle. You can look her up on imdb.com.
3rd UPDATE 7.19.14: Yes, by now we know for sure Rachel is portraying Tammany in the show. By this time she is well integrated into social media. However, at the time I wrote this article, there was little to nothing about her out there. Now let’s stop talking about Tammany and go back to looking for cryptids.
2nd UPDATE: Some people insist that Cagin Beasts is a real company because they have a website with a “home” page.
I’m a little suspicious that that might just be a “dummy front cover” to lend some credibility to that show. The reason is, that’s an awfully slick and fancy website page for a pest removal company. And if they paid someone to do it, that would cost a lot of money – most likely more than pest removers living in a poor area of the country (which is what Louisiana is) have to spend.
Look on imdb.com and look up Rachel G. Whittle – see if she doesn’t look 100% like Tammany.
I checked out 3 business finding websites for Louisiana and Cagin Beasts wasn’t listed in any way shape or form. Their website doesn’t list a town or city that they’re near, and they conveniently don’t include a phone number.
Most businesses want to grow and expand. So if they’re so busy filming, why don’t they hire more employees to handle the everyday calls?
None of this adds up for me. I’m not trying to change your mind, I’m just telling it as I see it.
To see the Cagin Beasts “website”, go to www.caginbeasts.com