Date of publishing: 23rd
Destination Truth (Six 1-hour episodes) is a weekly
adventure series that invites viewers along on one
man’s search for the truth while investigating
stories of the unexplained across the globe. Every
week, Josh Gates, a world adventurer and eager truth-seeker,
and his small crew of production buddies visits a
different destination around the world that is home
to notorious, supernatural and mysterious stories,
such as the Chilean Chupacabra, as well as some lesser-known
phenomena like the dinosaur-like creatures reported
in the skies over Papua, New Guinea, a haunted village
in Thailand and the wolfman of Argentina. Josh searches
for evidence to either prove or debunk these stories
by talking to witnesses and experts and immersing
himself in the local culture. The series, executive
produced by Neil and Michael Mandt for their Mandt
Brothers Productions, is slated to premiere June 6,
2007 @ 10 PM, following all-new episodes of the hit
reality series Ghost Hunters. The Scifi World had
the opportunity to speak with Neil Mandt & Josh
Gates about the show.
this an expanded version of Matt Lauer’s ‘Where
in the World is…’? To a degree where in
the world is Josh Gates? And why do people find this
Josh Gates: I think that the reason
people find these kinds of stories so fascinating
is that they’re really exotic stories. And they’re
things that we hear about often in the news and this
show is an opportunity to come along with me and in
a sense just kind of see what’s behind these
stories -- see if there’s any truth to them,
see if those truths can be brought to light. And so
I think what we really do on this show is we invite
the viewer to come along with me and to go to some
really exotic and really dynamic places to look at
these really, really interesting stories.
Have some of these places
that have long fascinated you, also surprised you?
You’re an avid scuba diver and you’ve
been off the coast of Israel, have any of these expeditions
really shaken you up?
Josh Gates: Yeah -- I think that
what’s really surprised me in a lot of cases
is that some of these stories are so fantastical and
there is in some ways it’s difficult not to
have preconceptions and say well this sounds like
a pretty out there story. And I’m not sure if
this is going to bear out. And really what’s
most surprising in a lot of these cases are the people
that we’ve met. And we met some very credible
people, educated professional people who had had experiences
that really shook them up – and to bear witness
to their stories and to come in contact with them
made for really interesting investigations. Because
what we came across in a lot of cases was people who
had a really legitimate experience. People who were
very scared or very frightened by coming up against
something that they couldn’t explain.
you give an example?
Josh Gates: Certainly we –
one of the episodes takes place in Papua New Guinea
and there are reports in Papua New Guinea of a couple
of different dinosaur-type creatures. Papua New Guinea
is a largely unexplored country. Huge sections of
its rainforests have not been scientifically cataloged.
But you hear these stories…
that the Iguanadon?
Josh Gates: The Iguanadon and there’s
also a Pterodactyl type creature there. And you hear
these stories about lost worlds and dinosaurs roaming
the Earth. And they sound very much like fiction but
some of the people that we met in Papua New Guinea
as I said were educated, professional people who had
these very vivid descriptions. And interviewing them
and talking to them there is a real sort of fear associated
with their stories and a real kind of concern and
confusion about what they saw. So that really propelled
us forward in a way that was unexpected because there
was a real legitimacy to the experiences that the
people were having.
Are there certain parts of
the world which are more apt to fascinate an adventurer
like you than others? The Mideast, parts of the Pacific?
Josh Gates: For sure, for me I’ve
always been a big fan of Southeast Asia and of the
Pacific. And in fact I think any place that has not
been widely explored or widely exposed is always a
more interesting place to do investigations. Because
you are more apt to come across things that have not
been fully laid down in record. But yes so for me
I think the corners of the globe that still have a
lot of exploration to do are the most interesting.
the project has started? How did you get the idea
to explore all these supernatural stories around the
globe and to create a show of it?
Neil Mandt: I work as a television
producer and a while back I was meeting with the Sci-Fi
channel about this show, about bringing these things
to life. And as we were developing the project we
were trying to find somebody who would be the right
host. And I’d known Josh for a while and I’ve
known about his travels. And he shares the same kind
of passion for this project that I do and so we developed
it with him in mind. And that’s how it began.
is the most out there claim that you guys are investigating
as part of ‘Destination Truth’?
Josh Gates: That’s a tough
one, and I think one of the reasons it’s tough
is because, something being out there or being really
wacky is certainly we learned on this show definitely
in the eyes of the beholder. Even the kind of most
out there story that we come up against there are
fervent advocates in these countries for these stories.
I think often what was the wackiest kind of stuff
we came up across – came up against excuse me
was really versions of each of the stories. We went
and looked at the Chupacabra in South America which
is a very widely, publicized story of this creature
that attacks livestock and in certain cases has, purportedly
attacked people. And some of the instances of Chupacabra
attacks seem relatively straightforward. You have
a bunch of livestock that’s been mutilated and
killed and it’s very easy to document. And there
is legitimately something going on. There’s
some sort of obviously a slaughtering going on. But
we met with one individual who had a very kind of
outlandish idea that these Chupacabras were aliens.
And that they were – they had these backpacks
that they wore. He had this very, very intricate mythology
worked out as to the origin of these creatures and
where they came from and what they were doing. And
so I think that’s kind of the wacky stuff that
you run up against is that these stories are so juicy
if you will that certain people really run with them
and really make really kind of wild mythlogies out
And are you guys doing any
kind of like ghost-related inquiries?
Josh Gates: Yes we do only one on
the show and that’s in Thailand. There was a
lot of the ways in which we came to find each of these
stories was by looking for things that were relevant
that were in the news recently. We didn’t want
to go after a creature that hadn’t been sighted
in 100 years. So we looked for things that were kind
of hot button issues in the cryptozoological world.
And there was this village in Thailand that kind of
kept coming on our radar which had numerous reports
of hauntings and of even people dying in this village.
And it was a little bit outside the realm of the creature
investigations we were doing but it was so prevalent
in various news outlets that we kind of did a little
detour in Thailand and did an investigation of that
what do you think has been the most scary or will
be the scariest one to do?
Neil Mandt: Going back to Papua
New Guinea again, like Josh said they’re all
unique. It’s like somebody asked me they said
what’s your favorite country to travel to? I’ve
been to 71 countries and it’s impossible to
say I have a favorite because they’re all very
different and unique in their own way. And to say
what’s the scariest moment out of this it’s
tough to say because they all had moments for us on
a personal level. But there was one time when we were
in Papua New Guinea and we were looking for this Pterodactyl
that had been sighted. And we were in a very, very
remote area. I mean I wish I could tell you that these
things happened at the Four Seasons but they don’t.
I mean they are deep in the jungles far away from
everything. And we were in a place that had kind of
it’s own remoteness to it. And we were camping
out. And at night we were setting up our night stakeout
and we saw something that really kind of rocked all
of us. We couldn’t figure out what it was. And
we had our night vision equipment and our thermal
imaging equipment all working properly. It was all
tested. And we just really came across something that
really kind of caught all of us off guard and I don’t
want to tell you what it is. You have to check out
the show. It’s one of the episodes but it really
blew us away. To this day I talk to people about it.
And when we took it back and we showed it to some
experts and they were shaken by it. They were like
we just don’t know what that is. So that moment
I think with the Pterodactyl -- they call it a Ropen
there -- for me, I think and most of the crew was
the moment where we were really kind of rocked. And
then also again in Papua New Guinea when we were looking
for the Iguanadon I know for Josh that was –
I mean a very scary close encounter. I’ll let
Josh tell about that.
Gates: Yes, as Neil was saying, Papua New
Guinea is a really remote place. And I think that
a lot of times the encounters on this show that are
the scariest are the ones that are farthest from safety
and civilization. And we did a night investigation
for this Iguanadon which is a dinosaur. And we came
across something in the jungle and a dinosaur or not
if you’re alone out in the jungle in the middle
of Papua New Guinea which is a pretty rough place
to be and you come across something that’s ripping
trees apart in front of you. It’s certainly
cause for alarm. So we all as a crew had a very close
encounter with some sort of creature out in the jungles.
And certainly that’s really scary stuff.
you were young what brought about your interest in
Neil Mandt: For me the show ‘In
Search Of’ -- I mean it was a big influence
in my life when it came to certainly sci-fi and also
travel. And it made me really want to travel and again
this goes back to the first question about how this
show came to be. There’s no doubt that that
show influenced myself as well as Josh and my brother
who has been my producing partner on this show, Michael.
And I mean while I wouldn’t say this is that
much like that show other than we are traveling the
world looking for things. It’s very different
the way it’s produced. The spirit of that show
is certainly living well within us as we produce this
show. And when Josh and I were talking about how we
would make the show that we kept talking about that
and our experiences in watching that as a kid. So
I mean for me that show certainly was a big influence.
Josh Gates: Yes. For sure that’s
true and I’ve always had a real love of both
travel and of science fiction. My mother’s British
and we did a lot of traveling when I was a kid across
the Atlantic. And so from a very young age I was interested
in travel. And from a very young age I was reading
Ray Bradbury who was a big influence on my life and
so I think the combination of really seeing the world
at a young age and also reading some of the great
sci-fi masters like Asimov and Bradbury and stuff
really instilled a real love for adventure and for
science fiction in me.
any of the stories that you’ve heard about since
you were a child ever been proven or debunked and
is there something that really stands out in your
Josh Gates: That’s a really
good question. I think I’ve always had a fascination
with extraterrestrial stuff. And I think from a young
age I was always interested in Bigfoot stories and
things like that that I would hear about. And I think
the funny thing is that those stories have really
neither been – well again it really depends
on who you talk to. I mean a lot of people would consider
those stories to be debunked and a lot of people would
really aggressively argue that they’ve never
been debunked. And so I think there’s still
a lot of gray area which is why a show like this is
really a terrific opportunity to go out and visit
a lot of these stories that are still in the news
and that people are still having experiences with
and to be able to go out there and see if we can either
debunk or confirm some of these stories.
And what about you Neil?
Neil Mandt: Yes I would kind of
echo Josh’s thoughts. I mean as to whether or
not things have been debunked it’s the same
thing. I would say it really depends on who you talk
to. I mean there are people who say the Loch Ness
Monster the initial photo was faked and that there’s
never been any Nessie. But then there’s so many
other people who have other sightings on their own.
And the same thing with the Bigfoot people are like
"oh well its own footage may be faked".
But then other people have – we’ve met
with lots of people who have footprints and handprints
I mean all kinds of other evidence that these creatures
exist. And it’s not just here in this country
-- in other countries. I mean that’s the thing
that’s interesting to me is that there tends
to be in some creatures there tends to be a similarity
around the world. And the same thing with aliens I
mean everybody in history can’t be drawing the
same pictures of the same guys and be wrong, I mean
in my mind. That’s how I feel -- it just doesn’t
make any sense that all these people have a similar
shared experience but yet have never met each other.
And in some of these cases we’re talking again
we go to some places where people they don’t
have the internet. They don’t have cell phones.
They don’t have electricity. So they’re
not getting the same information that they could be
yet they’re saying exactly the same thing.
Neil Mandt: Yes. I find that to
be very, very surprising and very interesting. And
so that is one of the things that propels us on this
fact – everything that you’ve found out
or you’ve discovered along the way, has that
changed your mind about how the world began or religion?
Josh Gates: No it hasn’t changed
my mind about anything. But I do think that one of
the great things that came out of this show was looking
at a lot of different religions. And we certainly
went to enough countries that we came up against some
of the world’s, major religions. And so seeing
how different people integrate their religion with
mythology. And how they integrate religion with these
kind of experiences is really varied and really different.
And so I think, in some ways, that was a great education.
But no it hasn’t changed my world view. My world
view has always been that there’s just an enormous
amount of cultural and religious diversity out there,
all of which is really worth taking in. And certainly
I think this show helps to foster an appreciation
of a lot of different cultures in the world.
Does this popularity or the
feasibility of the program like this making it big
reflect well on today’s kids? Because it’s
often been said that children today just have no interest
in science or the unexplained.
Josh Gates: I think that what this
show is primarily is an adventure show. It’s
a travel show. And it’s looking at the unexplained.
And so I think to whatever degree that people are
interested in learning about things that are beyond
their daily experiences, I think that this show reflects
well on them. I think that this is a show which encourages
curiosity. It’s a show which encourages open-mindedness.
And so I think that to the extent that we’re
making shows about reaching out into areas that we
don’t understand and trying to shed some light
on some mysteries. I think that it is a show that’s
really worthwhile in that sense.
did you find the topics for the show? How did you
find the things that you used in the show? And how
did you eliminate the ones that you decided not to
Neil Mandt: That just comes out
of basic journalism to start with. And that’s
my background and so as a team – obviously,
Josh included -- we all sat down and just started
doing research through phone calls to people on the
ground in different countries. Obviously the internet
was very important for us. I mean just any way we
could find out through newspaper articles what has
been topical. That was the key thing for us is to
find – okay, somebody’s seen something
but have they seen it recently? So we wanted –
because we wanted to talk to witnesses and hear their
stories first hand. And that’s how we would
decide whether or not we thought something was worth
going after. And there were some things that sounded
really exciting to begin with. But the more we dug
the more we decided all right well that’s not
– it’s not going to hold up. And if we
feel like we can end the project right on a phone
call then there’s no point in us flying halfway
around the world. So that’s really kind of what
got us started with everything. And then as we would
go through it that we would dig deeper and deeper
and ultimately try and set up an investigation to
find out some answers.
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