Mountain Monsters is one of the most speculated nonfiction reality series out there. The doubt is because it deals with reports of things lurking in one of the connected mountain ranges, “hollers,” and forests of the Appalachia.
Appalachia is home to many rural folks. These people are content to live in remote areas where lore and storytelling are how information is handed down and disseminated.
To an outsider, it may feel unverified and fictitious. But make no mistake, outsiders have seen inexplicable things and had run-ins with “monsters.” These include feral hogs like Hogzilla, which was real and likely another large wild pig is roaming about out there, somewhere. Other “monsters” include giant bears and killer cats like oversized mountain cougars.
Mothman? Well, there are people who believe strongly in UFO’s, Ancient Alien Theory, and Nessie swimming about in Loch Ness too. It’s all about blind faith, and people practice that daily with regards to religion as well.
Let’s take a hard look at the series, now on Travel Channel in its fourth season.
Who are the men of AIMS?
A group of self-described “real Appalachian Americans.” Jeff Headlee, Joseph “Huckleberry” Lott, John “Trapper” Tice, Jacob “Buck” Lowe, William “Wild Bill” Neff and Willy McQuillian are who comprise the AIMS team for Travel Channel’s Mountain Monsters. AIMS stands for Appalachian Investigators of Mysterious Sightings.
Did Mountain Men jump networks?
Yes. After a two-year hiatus, the show migrated from Destination America to Travel Channel in season three. Both networks are owned by Discovery, Inc., which also includes Discovery Channel, HGTV, Animal Planet, Science Channel, Destination America, Food Network, TLC, Investigation Discovery, American Heroes Channel and OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network.
Is it scripted?
All productions for television follow a script of some sort for time frame adherence and continuity. A script gives the on-air talent and storytellers behind the scenes a framework to piece together a coherent story. Producers for Mountain Monsters let the team be their natural selves on camera, and the team and producers determine which legendary “monster” is the focus of each episodic shoot.
Is it scripted like a sitcom or drama? No. But with any reality or nonfiction production, there is absolutely a script framework and coordination of scenes carefully timed to tell the entire story for the viewer within the allotted time frame of the show. So technically Mountain Monsters is scripted, but nobody writes lines for Wild Bill and the gang.
What Monster is coming up next for AIMS?
The Silver Giant, a bear so large it tops any man at near ten feet tall when reared up on its hind legs. The AIMS team is in pursuit of this massive bear creature which purportedly has a silver streak running down its back.
Due to his love of bears, Wild Bill takes the lead on this one and will mimic Jeff as the team researcher.
Travel Channel says: “Obsessed with science and “scat samples,” Wild Bill is in full researcher mode as the team creates its largest trap to date.”
This episode throws you a curveball as the Silver Giant isn’t the only creature freaking out the residents of Boone County. The episode premieres on September 11 at 9 p.m. ET/PT
The 10-episode season sees AIMS search for seven different monsters, whose tales all lead to the understanding of the legendary Spearfinger. The legend’s roots are also deeply embedded in folklore, namely the Waya Woman, the Cherokee Devil, the Raven Mocker, the Silver Giant, the Cherokee Death Cat, and the Coyote King.
Spearfinger is part of a Cherokee legend. This female monster has a taste for human liver and is allegedly made of stone, bearing a spear-like finger on her right hand.
The Waya Woman
According to Reddit followers of the show, this is a highly dubious “monster.”
The show posited that the Jackson County, West Virginia’s Waya Woman aka Queen of the Bloodwolfs, was a seven-foot-tall humanoid female who screamed and shrieked and howled in the forest. She did this so loudly that she drew wolves.
Also known as Tsul ‘Kalu, this Indian legend has some real weight. A rumored giant humanoid monster, Tsul ‘Kalu appeared in the season finale of Mountain Monsters third season and is the second monster of the new season to be a subject in three episodes.
The Raven Mocker, aka Kâ’lanû Ahkyeli’skï, is described as an evil spirit, the most terrifying of all legendary Cherokee witches. According to Cherokee mythology, this monster steals the hearts from the sick and dying.
Cherokee Death Cat
The Cherokee death cat is allegedly enormous, around 500 pounds, and a rumored four feet between the shoulders, with a six-foot-long body minus the tail measurement and has a shaggy coat. Livestock dies, and people blame this creature more often than not.
Many Native American cultures have tales of supernatural coyotes, and the Coyote King fits perfectly with the theme of the series. A humanoid creature not unlike a Sasquatch but with coyote canid features on an unnaturally large human upright figure.
Mountain Monsters airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Travel Channel
Ignoring the blatantly obvious CGI in the footage of the Pocahontas County Fire Dragon (or whatever it was called), the first two seasons were more or less believable as a semi-legit monster-hunting tag-along. But after the “rogue team” came into play in season 3 and then all the bizarre happenings throughout season 4 that were simply too weird to be belived (I haven’t watched season 5 yet since the question of “cutting the cord” came up and left me outvoted as the only one who still wanted live TV, but now that we have Discovery+ I’m working on catching up), I’m convinced the show’s mostly fiction. But that’s honestly fine with me, since I don’t watch shows like this really expecting them to end with Bigfoot or whatever other sought after cryptid ending up captured. The most entertaining aspects of the show to me are the AIMS team members’ larger-than-life personalities, humor, and watching Willy and Wild Bill build traps.
In any case, the Waya Woman being made up doesn’t surprise me, since some of the cryptids featured on the show have seemed pretty dubious to me. The aforementioned fire dragon is another, since any Internet search I do for info on it always brings up something MM-related. But it’s not unheard of for local legends in rural communities to go relatively undocumented online. I used to live in an area of the Sierra Nevada Mountains in California where there was a local legend of 20-foot catfish capable of swallowing a man whole living in a local reservoir that I can find nothing about on the Internet, but yet every resident I talked to about it knew all about them and swore on children’s lives and parents’ graves that it was true.
Please bring Mountain Monters back we were late comers to the show but truly enjoyed the shows we saw. We keep searching for the show. Thank you for your time.