Some children in white night-robes run, panicked, into their mother. A hunter encounters a mysterious figure. Nimoy assures us that these people were abducted by aliens. And season three hits the ground running.

I see a little silhouetto of an... alien?

Alien abductees. It's hard to imagine a modern day In Search Of like series leaving this one until the third season, the idea having become almost synonymous with the UFO phenomenon itself. I guess in the 1970s, sightings were still the big deal, with abductions coming in a distant second. ...continue reading "In Search Of… S03E01 UFO Captives"

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We start with some very 1970sy models playing Adam and Eve. We don’t see them much below the neck, so the nudity is only implied. Still, I felt very uncomfortable watching this on my laptop on a train. Even the music has a 70s softcore sort of vibe. It's all a bit silly, and it really detracts from Nimoy's retelling of the story of the Fall. Anyway, blah blah blah, we're going looking for where the Garden really was.

From this episode I learned that the Assyrian Empire was once ruled by a pantomime genie.

How are we going to find it? Well, we're looking for the four rivers that ran through Eden. Two of them are the Tigris and the Euphrates, and we all know where they are. But there are another two mentioned – Pishon and Gihon. Presumably find these rivers, find the garden? I guess that's what we're getting at.

So we go to Egypt, to see the Nile, sometimes associated with the Gihon. It's quite a long way from Mesopotamia and the Tigris and Euphrates. Anyway, travelogue of Egypt now. So many quaint ethnic folkways, etc. ...continue reading "In Search Of… S02E24 The Garden of Eden"

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A figure in cold weather gear staggers through a blizzard. Nimoy's stentorian voice cuts across the soft whoosh of the wind to tell us that 1977 marked coldest winter North America felt in a century. We see frost-bound cars stranded on the highway. Nimoy explains that nine people froze to death during this particular storm. An eyewitness tells of being stuck on the road during the blizzard and concludes that if she had to face another cold snap like that, she'd have to move.

But the blizzard only came to a rolling stop and was ticketed and fined by local authorities.

"Move where?" Nimoy asks. He claims that experts are predicting an Ice Age.

So… yeah. Some serious minded experts in the 1970s were predicting just that. Climate Change denialists still bring this up ad nauseum because – well, mostly because they're clueless jackasses, I guess. Anyway, point is, the ice age didn't eventuate, and thirty years later global temperatures are headed up, not down. ...continue reading "In Search Of… 2.23 The Coming Ice Age"

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Cold open on… ants. A bunch of ants. Leonard Nimoy talks about ants over footage of ants killing larger insects. It could be the introduction to any nature film on ants, except that the creepy electronic music is minor-keying it. A particularly deadly form of ant threatens to take over the USA, we're told.

The original Anthill Mob

This is probably going to be one of those mostly factual, slightly sensationalised episodes. They're not so bad, in small doses. ...continue reading "In Search Of… S02E22 Deadly Ants"

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We open – to my surprise – on a few seconds of footage from the film Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Wouldn't have thought this series would have the budget. Leonard Nimoy says that according to the movie, Cassidy died in South America. (Cut to an old-timey car on a desert highway.) But if so, who was the 'mysterious stranger' who turned up in in Wyoming fifteen years later?

Cue sound of gunshot. Population number drops to 143.

Huh? Who? Don't know, do you? Huh?

So anyway, there's the thesis of the show. Did Butch Cassidy die when history supposes him to have died, or did he live on like Anastasia, Dillinger, Earhart, Hitler, Morrison, Elvis and Tupac? Is anyone, in fact, dead? Is 'death' just a big con? Maybe the people who 'die' really just go off to live on a big farm upstate with a nice family and lots of room to run around? ...continue reading "In Search Of… S02E21 Butch Cassidy"

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WhoooOOOooo!

Open on a moustachioed 1970s-y, who's playing with a film camera. He's investigator Francis Hitchins, and Nimoy tells us he may have recorded the last remnants of a seventeenth century ghost. A wailing noise rises and creepy electronic music plays.

Oh, yeah. This is going to be good. I can feel it. Haunted castles. Leonard Nimoy telling ghost stories! I don't believe in ghosts now. I'd be willing to bet good money that when this episode has finished twenty minutes from now, I still won't believe. But you know what? These next twenty minutes are going to be awesome. ...continue reading "In Search Of… S02E20 Haunted Castles"

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4

Witch Doctors. So the title makes me cringe, but let's check out the episode. Could go either of two ways.

Witch doctor? Why this doctor!
Well you try to come up with a funny caption every week.

We open on a Mayan Ritual, in which a patient's 'evil spirits' are lifted by an old woman using a cloud of smoke. In another room a man waves a guinea pig at a woman to help her become fertile. Nimoy states that these rituals seem weird to us, but reminds us that many people around the world seek the help of 'Witch Doctors'.

We cut away to some old black and white jungle movie, but we're told that the stereotype of the witchdoctor promoted in these types of movies differs from actual tribal healers. In the studio, Nimoy lists a bunch of different types of tribal healer, and points out that the term 'witch doctor' was imposed by Europeans onto cultures they did not understand. ...continue reading "In Search Of… S02E19 Witch Doctors"

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A woman in a white robe walks on the beach while Nimoy narrates the basics of the Illiad. Helen, stolen away, the Greek army comes after, besieges Troy, wooden horse. True story or not?

Man in pith helmet looking into hole = archaeology

Interesting question. There's an archaeological site in Turkey that is called 'Troy', and which matches some elements of the Homeric description of Troy in terms of location, size and shape. Is that enough to say that the Iliad is a true story? Is it even enough to claim that it is based on a real story? Let's watch.

Majestic shot of Ionian mountains, mellow electronic music. Nimoy tells us that 'relatively few Westerners to Turkey, these days." What? Seriously? Okay, if this is the level of scholarship we're looking at here, perhaps we won't get a satisfactory answer to our question. ...continue reading "In Search Of… S02E8: Troy"

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Remember.

Damn I love this series. Last episode: swamp monsters. Next episode: Troy. This episode: hypnosis. The modern successors of In Search Of… are multiple season shows, looking at a single subject -- 'aliens', 'ghosts', 'bigfoot', whatever. In Search Of… flits around between weird ideas between episodes, and weird theories within the episodes. Just that way it piles ideas upon ideas is so impressive, I'm more than prepared to forgive the fact that so many of these ideas are pure nonsense.

Anyway, hypnosis. Got to be honest, I don't know much about the subject. I know medical research into hypnosis has been on-again off-again for ages, but it really took a hit in the '80s with all of that questionable 'recovered memory' stuff. My research for this review consisted of asking a doctor about hypnosis and being answered with a confused glance. I think that says it all ...continue reading "In Search Of… S02E17 Hypnosis"

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A sighting episode! Yay!

We open on footage of trees reflected in swamp water. Nimoy waxes lyrical about the terrors to be found in a swamp. We're told that an 'experience guide' went into the swamp in '73. "His outing became the stuff that nightmares are made of".

The monster's afoot!

Oh, I think we're in for a good one! ...continue reading "In Search Of… S02E16: Swamp Monster"

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