Destination Truth: "Haunted Mining Town/The Taniwha"

Destination Truth: "Haunted Mining Town/The Taniwha"

This was a fantastic week for ghosts on television, with both Destination Truth and Ghost Hunters hitting it out of the park.  I prefer Destination Truth as a cryptozoology show, but with episodes as creepy as this one, who cares?

In the first half of this week's Destination Truth episode, the team plus guest star Allison Scagliotti from fellow Syfy Channel show Warehouse 13 hoof it all the way out to the remote corners of northern Chile.  My interest is always piqued when these shows do a crossover thing, because there's always the potential for the guest stars having the bejeezus scared out of them.

Allison Scagliotti's presence proved somewhat distracting because she is so very tiny.  The camera crew obviously had trouble getting her and Josh Gates in the same shot.  Scagliotti is so little, she made Ryder look beefy by comparison.  That's an accomplishment, people.

The team scouts out the location, the abandoned mining town of La Noria, by parasail or some nonsense.  What?  I don't know.  It was wacky.  

La Noria is one of two abandoned mining towns in northern Chile.  Entire families lived and died in La Noria, a fact poignantly brought home when a crewmember stumbles across a tiny child's handmade leather shoe.  Needless to say, the mine workers were treated terribly by the mine's owners.  You get the idea that La Noria is a town which was built on human suffering.

Then the sun went down.  And suddenly things were not so wacky.  For example, the town's cemetery workers apparently never bothered to fill things in, because all the graves are open, with skeletons just lying there in the desert sand.  

Later, at the schoolhouse, Gates caught some amazing FLIR footage of a human figure's heat signature behind a window.  For those who think the show is faked, I don't think Gates is that good an actor.  Or that he would risk such expensive equipment by freaking out and flailing around in surprise like that.

Also, major props to anyone who sees what looks like an empty grave in the floor of a building and says "I'm going to go down there.  Drop this piece of wood like a door behind me, okay?"  I start feeling panicky just thinking about it.  WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT WHY.  It was an effective moment, let's just say that.

Destination Truth's ghost episodes specialize in plunking various crew members out in the dark and making them sit there for half an hour or so.  And this episode is no exception.  It always strikes me as being kind of like a psychological experiment or fraternity hazing, I mean, who wouldn't start getting freaked out?  This slightly sadistic (but entertaining) tactic is one thing which differentiates Destination Truth from Ghost Hunters, which always sends out its team members in pairs.

For once, I ended up feeling genuinely bad for a guest visitor.  Scags definitely gets the short end of the terror stick in this episode, from being one of the first people to stumble across the open graves, to her experience during the aforementioned "EVP session."  I won't spoil it for you, I'll just say that this is definitely a "must watch" episode!

Oh yeah, I almost forgot about the second half, where they go hunting the Taniwha.  They tape some interesting footage of an eel, and scare the living crap out of what's probably some poor platypus.  Meh.