Laura Krantz paints a sin­cere por­trait of pas­sion­ate peo­ple, hooked on a mys­tery

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - AUDIO REVIEWS - SARAH MARIA GRIFFIN

Wild Thing Episode1:Grover

Given the month we’re in, with the days get­ting colder and Hal­loween crawl­ing to­wards us, iTunes is puls­ing with hor­ror pod­casts. This week, in the spirit of sea­son­ally ter­ri­fy­ing my­self, I lis­tened to bi-au­ral sto­ries about dy­ing and a hard-hit­ting doc­u­men­tary about Isis rad­i­cal­i­sa­tion – 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 off­beat fringe of en­thu­si­asts is ac­tu­ally in­cred­i­bly sin­cere.

This first episode re­veals why ex­actly Krantz was brought to the pur­suit of the Sasquatch, a truly lovely tale which 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 feels like an ex­cel­lent es­say – Krantz is a master sto­ry­teller who brings us into a quite sur­real land­scape by way of cyn­i­cism, but never cru­elty. It’s not a freak­show but a kind ex­plo­ration of a cul­ture around the un­cov­er­ing of a mys­tery.

Krantz gets out into the wilder­ness to look at places the crea­ture al­legedly lives, and her in­ter­view sub­jects are fas­ci­nat­ing in­di­vid­u­als – 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.


Wild Thing writer and pre­sen­ter, jour­nal­ist Laura Krantz.

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