Second only to paranormal programming on cable television, “reality-based” quests for cryptids and monsters have become much more common than actual sightings of the elusive creatures.
With the popularity of these types of television series, it was only a matter of time before one took the deep dive into an embedded nature experience in search of the most famous cryptid of them all: Bigfoot. Travel Channel’s Expedition Bigfoot offers viewers the chance to see one investigation unfold over the course of eight adventure-filled episodes using cutting-edge methodology and experts in the field.
Two of those experts, host Bryce Johnson and survivalist Russel Acord, sat down to speak about the new series and revealed just enough to whet any Bigfoot fan’s appetite in this exclusive interview.
Horror News Network: How did each of you get involved with Expedition Bigfoot?
Bryce Johnson: I spoke to my friend Tim Healy, who is a TV producer known for Death Valley, The Hunt, American Daredevils, and many others, about wanting to get into the Bigfoot game with a new documentary series. He knew I had a big interest in Bigfoot through my film Willow Creek and my podcast, Bigfoot Collector’s Club.
Russell Acord: I was into Bigfoot ever since I first saw the Patterson film. I’ve written a few books on the subject and organized The International Bigfoot Conference and I’ve always wanted to do more active research in the wild.
HNN: There are many Bigfoot series on the air right now, so what makes Expedition Bigfoot unique?
Johnson: It is an extremely exciting time for Bigfoot research. It seems like every day there are new stories about Bigfoot; there were two recent articles about two teenage kids recording some very convincing howls and another about a dogman/Bigfoot sighting. It’s never been a better time and it feels like a sighting will occur at any time.
With other programs about Bigfoot, the researchers show up to the sighting location after the fact . On Expedition Bigfoot, we use a complex algorithm that analyzes where and when sightings are likely to occur and get there before Bigfoot. The team spent three weeks in habitation in the same location so the wildlife and Bigfoot could get used to the the people. It was a way to get ahead of the sighting and be a part of it.
Acord: It’s a unique idea to stay in the same location for the entire season and really dig in. You’re not only spending a weekend on location; we get to show everything we do, and get down and dirty.
Johnson: The team are no strangers to spending time in the wilderness and this is a location where no one would want to trek, and one with a very small human population.
HNN: What was the experience like?
Acord: It was wonderful. You can’t go wrong when you are seeing nature up-close and personal. When you are one with it and up against rocks and trees, it was really amazing.
Johnson: When you see the show, there is a real level of excitement associated with it. To be in that environment in the here and now, it really did exceed expectations. And when the fans see what we uncovered, all I can say is that the fans will not be disappointed.
HNN: It seems like you took a very scientific approach to Expedition Bigfoot?
Johnson: We tried hard not to avoid science, and bring it to the ground. Another member of the team, Doctor Mireya Mayor brings a great deal of science to the investigation. She is a world-famous primatologist and is also known as the female Indiana Jones for her work in the field. She also discovered the world’s smallest primate and we thought it would be great to offer her the opportunity to find the world’s largest primate.
Mireya considers herself an agnostic skeptic, but one willing to look at all of the evidence, and use her knowledge of folklore and mythology and indigenous tribes to remain open-minded on the subject.
For the believer and the skeptic, we do address why this creature hasn’t been seen or caught.
HNN: What can you tell us about the algorithm that you use on the show?
Johnson: Without giving too much away, we amassed a collection of all of the Bigfoot sightings and then narrowed them down to a number of hot spots in North America; key places where one is likely to encounter a Bigfoot.
Acord: With all episodes being filmed in one great, large piece of land, a trace of land, it offered a great opportunity to capture footage and experiences.
HNN: So you were able to capture some significant experiences?
Johnson: We were confronted with something flesh and blood, but also something else. I can’t say any more than that, but Expedition Bigfoot will appeal to horror fans, paranormal fans, and the passion of the team bleeds through on the screen.
Expedition Bigfoot debuts on The Travel Network on Sunday, December 8 at 10:00 p.m.