We return with another romp into the unknown with Syfy’s Destination Truth. Episode Four brings us two cases – unidentified flying objects in Kazakhstan and a sea creature in Sweden.
Before continuing, please enjoy my interview with Josh Gates from Comic-Con 2011 before reading my review of “Spirits of Tikal/Creature from the Black Lagoon” courtesy of Syfy.
Alien Invaders/Swedish Lake Monster:
Our team is at the Los Angeles office, where host Josh Gates reviews what they will be traveling to investigate: lights in the sky, flying saucers, fallen objects from above the Earth, and other odd happenings in Kazakhstan, a country spanning Eastern Europe and Central Asia.
I know what you are thinking, and no, there will be no “Borat” jokes told on this episode. According to many interviews Josh has taken part in prior to this Season airing, making cracks about the Sacha Baron Cohen film that painted the country in a very unflattering light is NOT a good idea.
The supposed pilots of these crafts, according to eye witnesses, appear via an on-screen animation as lanky, dark figures who lurk in the woods and are said to have “milky, translucent skin”.
With these details, Team Truth including Erin Ryder researcher, Kyle Wheeler cameraman, David D’Angelo cameraman, Katy Murakami field investigator, Adam Butler audio tech, Tristant Icaza equip tech, and Richie Fung the medic, is heading out.
After traveling from Los Angeles in the United States to Almaty Kazakhstan, the group takes in the sights of the city, where pieces of the military Soviet past remain as part of the architecture. After Josh avoids a surely fatal accident when a small child in a battery powered tank nearly runs him over, we further see the artistic side of the city and head out for the first interview.
Josh takes an old but reliable mountain lift to meet with Victor Kochetrov who explains his bizarre experience with a UFO. He says he and his wife were on top of the mountain where the interview was taking place and they saw something strange, so he took a photo of it. The end result being a wavy, multicolor path of light followed behind a very bright, white orb looking to be traveling rapidly. Victor was convinced after seeing this erratically moving objects that it was of alien origin.
With the interview complete, we get to go along with Team Truth to explore the top of this mountain, where there happens to be a mini amusement park complete with games for trinkets. We are treated to a game of strength where Tristant challenges Ryder to see who gets a higher score on the High Striker AKA the game where you whack the hell out of the a lever with a mallet to see if the puck on the other end flies up and hits the bell.
Ryder, or “Thor” as her Rugby team used to call her, takes a mighty swing and is rewarded with the dinging of the bell. Tristant is up, makes the swing, hits the lever hard, but unfortunately the mallet bounces back, hitting himself in the face. His glasses mostly take the blow since they sit askew on him, so the crew has a good laugh since they have confirmation Tristant does not have a broken nose or missing teeth.
Team Truth heads down the mountain and loads their gear onto a train heading West to Uralsk where not only most witness accounts come from, but coincidentally is the direction the unidentified lights from Victor’s witness photo was pointing towards. The crew is none too pleased with Josh when he casually states the train ride will take 3 days, but they amuse themselves and eventually arrive at their destination.
It would not be Destination Truth without an awful vehicle, so when Josh heads towards a nice looking, green SUV, he stands corrected when we are instead lead to a junky looking bus which looks to have been used either for public transit or similar to a large shuttle you would take to get a rental car after a flight. While riding, a local woman hops on by mistake and Josh jokingly says “Welcome to the Team!” when he finds she does not understand English after trying to let her know this was not a public bus.
Josh meets up with his next interview subject Sachatbek Sarsenbayev, who through a female translator speaks of seeing creepy lights in the woods while hunting. Following the appearance of lights, he also saw a creature that upon quick glance was a human or something bipedal, but had an “alien” appearance when looked upon closer.
The crew drives out further to meet Sergey Reznichenko, who says (again, with the aid of a translator) that he saw a large metallic sphere fall from the sky. Sergey found them when they crash landed, but they were immediately seized by the local government, who “somehow” found out about the incident.
Off to the Department of Emergency Services where Josh takes a risky chance of setting up a meeting to request government information about these spheres. It is a tense meeting, with two of the men at the table wearing military garb and our translator sitting by. Evanoff Alexander, the Director of this Department, states that they had no idea what these objects were, but immediately assumed they were from outer space. After some delegating with help from Ilena Arefina, a senior specialist at the Department, Josh is taken out back to their warehouse to see the evidence.
A metallic circular object is pulled out and placed on the ground with a loud THUNK. It has burn marks and is clearly partially melted in parts, even though it is made out of a heavy metal material. The government allows Josh to take a piece of the sphere that was shedding off so the metal can be analyzed and he takes several close photos of it to research later.
The group splits up to head out to the wilderness where a lot of sightings are reported. They take two tanks, but Josh becomes stuck in a marsh, needing a tow to get them up and moving again. They arrive at the location where they feel it is best to set up base camp, then head out into the dark in teams to investigate.
While Josh is having a conversation with Richie the medic, he jokes that if they encounter extraterrestrial life, he hopes they come across a Wall-E type creature – y’know, that cute little Pixar fella with the girlfriend who looks like an Apple product? In the midst of light hearted conversation, a loud noise in the distance interrupts. After listening, our tech savvy team members say it sounds like a metal roar that instantly disappears. Immediately upon the silence coming, Josh scans the field and gets a hit on his thermal imager.
They head in the direction where Josh states he saw someone standing in the distance, but the group picks up nothing else on their equipment, agreeing they are in the middle of nowhere, where one merely does not come across locals walking around. Meanwhile, the other team looks for evidence and come across technical issues when Ryder’s camera light goes out. When it comes back on, team member Kyle is gone and out of ear shot within an impossibly short instant. Josh’s team is called on the radio to state he is gone, so they all meet up to search for him, paging him on his radio and checking in at base camp, where he is not.
After a few scary moments of combing the woods, we hear Kyle call out from the woods that his headlamp died. When found, he states that he momentarily was disoriented, which he claims is unusual for his normal sense of direction. Josh recalls that locals say there is an odd magnetic energy in the forrest and to stick together, but not before asking Kyle if he was anally probed, assuming he was abducted. “I don’t wanna talk about it,” Kyle says humorously.
Back on the hunt and Kyle, who seems to be very attached to strange activity this nights, spots what looks like something coming from the sky at a rapid pace and falling to the ground while filming. Tristant confirms he sees the same thing from base camp, so the group all heads in the direction of the fallen object to detect for whatever it is with their equipment plus a metal detector. Josh’s group comes across a huge hit in the ground and when they scan the piece of metal found, the surface looks to be as hot as human skin when the night temperature was quite cold.
Eventually, one of the most monumental events in DT history plays out. When looking up at the sky, Richie points out to Josh a moving light in the atmosphere. The boys are in shock, observing the flight pattern of the object that is moving around in circles at a rapid pace. He radios over to Ryder’s group, and they confirm they see the same phenomena, except that there are now two dancing objects in the sky! A pretty accurate statement from Josh, who points his glazed eyes upward with a big grin on his face, mirrors just what the viewer is thinking: “What the [expletive] am I LOOKING at?!”
The team is dumb founded, trying to analyze the event as it is happening. Adam confirms he hears no noise coming from the direction of the flying objects, even with amplified audio equipment. Josh also states it is too bright and moves too rapidly to be an air craft, with Richie also saying it cannot be a flying star, fighter jet or the space station either. Once the flying objects vanish, everyone has a grin on their face and think they may have gone crazy for what they have just witnessed. They laugh like little kids on Christmas, with the group reducing Josh to giggles when he states his group will go observe in the direction of the night sky where the flying objects went and they refuse to go.
Back home in Los Angeles, the metal from the sphere and a piece of the shard found in the field after testing both turned out to be Titanium subjected to massive heat indexes to the point of melting. Josh believes that this could support the theory that they flew through the Earth’s atmosphere.
Our host pays a visit to Steve Murillo, part of the Mutual UFO Network, who reviews photos of the flying objects above Kazakhstan. Steve states that what we see are actually missiles that are experimentally launched via a space facility, which Josh confirms one was in the nearby area where they investigated. He also concludes the metallic spheres are Russian satellites that fell from the sky.
The next review is for the flying objects the crew caught on film. Steve states the falling object must have been a meteorite, but when he is shown the two circling objects in the sky, the expert gets a wondrous look in his eyes. He giggles a bit, too, and states these are indeed UFO’s – unidentified flying objects. “They’re out there,” Steve says. “You just have to keep your eyes to the skies.” Josh concludes that it is very possible that there is an existence of aliens, that this could make a believer of him, and that they just may have caught a glimpse that night of life outside of this planet.
Moving onto the next case – a government protected creature in Sweden that the team calls The Swedish Lake Monster (the Swedish name for it is the Storsjoodjuret), which has been accounted for during the last 300-plus years from witness reports. Our on-screen animation shows a long, green, serpent creature with a dinosaur characteristic head and two massive fins towards the front of the body. The scariest parts of this cryptid include the sharp teeth, it’s speed in the water, and of course the intimidatingly cold water it lives in, which will make this another challenge for Team Truth.
We go from Los Angeles and arrive in Ostersund Sweden, the sight of an old Viking stone showing how truly far back reports of this sea monster have gone. The group finds the local festival to get some food, with Ryder chomping into a moose burger and Josh savoring some licorice. Of course, he does not see Kyle on the other end mowing his way through it. They make eye contact, realizing they are sharing the same piece and are about to have a “Lady and the Tramp” moment, but shrug and continue eating.
At the risk of sounding like I’m writing fan fiction, I will leave it at Josh calling his team member’s bluff and Kyle stops chewing, lest his accidentally kiss his boss. Cue the irrational homophobic letters to the Syfy Channel from people who need a new hobby! I will just leave it at a lot of Twitter DT fans really enjoyed that moment. A LOT. Ahem. Josh and Ryder also joke around a bit, but it is soon time to get to work.
The JAMTLI Museum is visited, which has extensive artifacts and history regarding this sea monster. Anna Engman, the curator of the establishment, speaks of the archived materials which include newspaper articles, journal entries and photos amounting up to nearly a thousand chronicling the cryptic. The group hops in their car and takes a drive south to Svenstavik to investigate recent disturbances.
Bo Palsson, who owns a property near the water, speaks to Josh through translator Nicklas Peyron about an experience he had while watching TV with his wife. Something caught his eye out the window that was breaking the surface of the lake, so he ran out to his porch with a camera. He pulls a print out of the photo evidence from a manilla folder showing a large object causing ripples in the water with a few visible bumps protruding out of the water.
The Storsjoodjuret Observation Center is visited, where many monitors in the water and on land including a radar system are impressive to Josh. We are shown some underwater footage of floating objects, as well as an exclusive video of two protrusions moving in sync in the water breaking the surface, which could be our creature. The team heads to the lake, where some stand guard on land, with others in jet skis and Josh with the last chunk of the team in a sea plane.
The group monitors the large body of water and Josh spots something large with the thermal in a Northern direction, so everyone heads for the spot in question but whatever it was has retreated beneath the surface. Everybody comes back on land to operate an underwater ROV camera while Josh along with Dave and Richie SCUBA dive to scope for evidence.
There is very little visibility in the murky, freezing water, but Josh sees in his peripheral something swim by. Vigilant of the amount of air they have in the frigid waters, Josh pages his team mates to see if they are okay, but he receives no answer. The team on land radios the guys as well, with five minutes estimated of air left in their tanks. The situation is getting grim with Josh demanding an emergency ascend out of the water, but both Dave and Richie eventually show up and are doing fine.
Everyone is now back on land with base camp set up, and Josh reviews their plan of attack in looking for this creature. Richie, Adam, Dave and Josh will be manning one boat, while Ryder will be teamed up with Tristant and Kyle in another boar with Katy watching over base camp and the equipment.
Josh‘s group ribs each other about the lovely weather, AKA the temperature in the 30’s while riding a fast boat on the open air, before settling on a spot to drop the Hydrophone to listen beneath the water. Our audio man soon states he hears a large object swimming through the water that does not sound like water slapping against the bottom of the boat, but it soon moves away.
Ryder’s team settles on their own spot to monitor an Underwater Camera as well as a Sonar. The camera does not pick up much until a fish is sighted, then the camera from behind is moved violently, spins, kicks up particles, and they note shadows in the water. Josh gets all the details over radio and heads out to their direction.
Richie says there is a lot of choppiness to the water and soon, Josh excitedly yells out that there is a large object in the water via a thermal reading. They head towards where the reading was made out while Ryder states they also see a large object in the water via the Sonar. After trying to chase after whatever this was, the sun is starting to rise in the distance, so Team Truth packs it up and heads home to scour over evidence.
Doctor Lee Kats, a Biology Professor at Pepperdine University, is visited for his opinion on what Josh brought back from their Sweden research. He states the photo from witness Bo is a living organism in the water, however it could just be a Pike (a fish that can grow up to 4 feet long).
He shows the Professor the two pieces of footage from the Storsjoodjuret researchers and he dismisses them both as algae strands and drifting debris. Ryder’s footage is inconclusive, but when Josh shows Lee the several thermal hits in the water from that night, the Professor states that it would not be a reptile or fish giving off that heat.
He calls the footage “interesting” because life forms in that water should not give off heat signatures. Obviously, we have another mystery on our hands, but Josh is confident that the government run research office they visited will someday catch something if they continue their 24/7 surveillance.
By far, the humor and chemistry of the team members was my favorite part of this episode. With the rough travels this group goes through, it is so important that spirits be held up not only for Team Truth, but for the viewer who has come to love the funny moments on the program. Obviously, the evidence from the UFO case is astounding, so if Destination Truth fans are interested in more about visitors from other worlds, catch Ryder on her own show “Chasing UFO’s” on the NatGeo Channel Friday nights, as well as OnDemand.
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