Podcast of the Week: Wild Thing
A surreal yet sincere journey into the world of scientists and conspiracy theorists searching for Bigfoot
Laura Krantz herself gets out into the wilderness to look at places Bigfoot allegedly lives
Given the month we’re in, with the days getting colder and Halloween crawling towards us, iTunes feels like it is simply pulsing with horror podcasts. This week I listened to bi-aural stories about dying and to a hard-hitting documentary about Isis radicalisation in the spirit of seasonally terrifying myself – but the podcast I’d sincerely recommend this week is less scary. It is, however, about a monster. A big one.
Laura Krantz presents us with a documentary series about the year she spent immersed in the community of scientists and conspiracy theorists, out in the woods and in a laboratory, seeking the truth about Bigfoot. What initially sounds like it might be a tongue in cheek mockery of the passionate, offbeat fringe of enthusiasts is actually incredibly sincere.
This first episode tells us the story of why exactly Krantz was brought to the pursuit of the Sasquatch, which I won’t summarize here because it is a truly lovely tale in itself. It focuses on the life of a man who was an expert in the field, and what made him so dedicated to his quest.
The narrative structure of the podcast feels like an excellent essay – Krantz is a master storyteller who manages to bring us into a quite surreal landscape by way of cynicism, but never cruelty. There’s something so sincere about this podcast that I’m almost taken aback. It’s not a freakshow but a kind exploration of a culture around the uncovering of a mystery.
Krantz herself gets out into the wilderness to look at places the creature allegedly lives, and her interview subjects are fascinating individuals.
This podcast paints the seekers of Bigfoot as passionate people, hooked on a mystery. The bigger question at the heart of the series is why do people want to believe? What makes these dreamers so passionate? What is it to live in a natural world that still has unknown creatures?
Incredibly good natured without being shallow or uncritical, this is an exploration of the psychology of belief, as well as a look at those who search for the creature. Perfect autumnal listening.