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In Search of... (TV series)

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In Search of… was a 1977 to 1982 television series inspired by three one-hour TV documentaries: In Search of Ancient Astronauts,[1] In Search of Ancient Mysteries and The Outer Space Connection[2]. The show was originally broadcast on commercial television in the United States, inspired a 2002 revival on the the Sci-Fi Channel, with the original later rebroadcast on A&E Network and History Channel.

The lead in to each episode of the original series had In search of… Extraterrestrials, Magic and Witchcraft, Missing Persons, Myths & Monsters, Lost Civilizations, and Strange Phenomena. It also had a verbal disclaimer of "This series presents information based on theory and conjecture. The producer's purpose is to suggest some possible explanations[3] but not necessarily not the only ones to the mysteries we will examine."

Funny how "wild speculation" later became "history", isn't it?

It spoke conspiracy theories, science fiction, wild speculation investigated mysterious things.

The 2002 revival was very short lived, lasting 8 episodes with each episode covering 3 to 4 "mysteries".

As of 2018 the History Channel is planning another revival with Zachary Quinto as host this time. From the promotional material it is going to be more woo[4] Why, Zachary??

The rational and the irrational[edit]

As expected from its woo origins In Search of… more often than not suggested incredible solutions for its mysteries. Thankfully for the skeptical viewer, it did go into more rational and plausible explanations for some of the mysteries it looked at.

Some of the better episodes in this regard were:

  • Nazi Plunder
  • Amelia Earhart
  • Dracula
  • The Lost Dutchman Mine
  • Michael Rockefeller
  • Troy: The story of Heinrich Schliemann's search and discovery of Troy.
  • Bermuda Triangle Pirates: one of the more rational reasons for some of the smaller disappearances.
  • Sherlock Holmes: A look at how much of Sir Arthur Conan-Doyle was in his literary creation.
  • Lost Vikings: The Viking Discovery of America.
  • The Lost Colony of Roanoke
  • Sodom & Gomorrah: Suggested that an earthquake was what really destroyed these cities.
  • King Tut: natural death… or assassination?
  • D.B. Cooper
  • The San Andreas Fault
  • Jimmy Hoffa
  • Jim Jones
  • Hiroshima Survivors
  • The Titanic
  • The Walls of Jericho: was it disease, an earthquake, or did it even happen?

Overview[edit]

Of the 144 episodes, the majority went off in woo woo land with not even 15% (22) in anything approaching rational land. Even with mundane topics like Jack the Ripper wild speculation (that it was a Masonic plot) rather then anything rational (1880s police simply didn't have the tools to capture a serial killer) was the rule. The original show is more useful as a snapshot of 1970's woo then it is for any information it may provide.

The 2002 revival is in some regards worse as when it does go into rational explanations it tries to explain popular views rather then what actually existed. For example the section on vampires used the porphyriaWikipedia's W.svg explanation which at best only explains a small subset of vampire myths. So small in fact that the idea is generally thrown out on suggestion.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. A variation of Erich von Däniken's Chariots of the Gods? woo.
  2. More of Erich von Däniken's Chariots of the Gods? woo.
  3. The wilder the better
  4. Zachary Quinto investigates the paranormal on History’s revival of In Search Of