The host and Executive Producer go to some very dangerous places to prove or debunk various stories
Destination Truth which premieres on June 6 at 10:00 p.m. on Sci Fi, 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. Josh Gates, the host of the show and a world adventurer, visits a different destination around the world each week that is home to notorious, supernatural and mysterious stories and searches for evidence to either prove or debunk these stories.
Recently Gates and Destination Truth Executive Producer Neil Mandt sat down for a conference call to discuss this show.
Josh, would you say this is an expanded version of "Where in the World is Matt Lauer?" Why do you think people find this show so fascinating?
Josh Gates: I think the reason why people find these kind of stories so fascinating is that they're really exotic stories, and they're things that we hear about often in the news. This show is an opportunity to come along with me and see what's behind these stories. See if there's any truth to them? See if those truths can be brought to light? I think what we 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.
How did this show come about?
Neil Mandt: A while back, I work as a television producer, and a while back I was talking to the Sci Fi Channel about this show, about bringing these things to light. As we were developing the project we were trying to find somebody who would be the right host. I've known Josh for awhile and I've known about his travels and he shares the same kind of passion for this project that I do, so we developed it with him in mind.
What do you think was the scariest show to do?
Neil Mandt: Wow, what has been the scariest? Going back to Papua, New Guinea, like Josh said, they're all unique. Somebody asked me, "What's your favorite country to travel to?" I've been to 71 countries and its impossible to say I have a favorite because they're all very different and unique in their own way. To say what's the scariest moment out of this? Its tough to say because they all had moments for us on a personal level. There was one time when we were in Papau, New Guinea and we we were looking for this pterodactyl that was sited. We were in a very, very remote area. I wish I could tell you that these things happened at the Four Seasons but they don't. They are deep in the jungles, far away from everything.
We were in a place that had kind of its own remoteness to it and we were camping out and at night, we were setting up our nightstick, and we saw something that really rocked all of us. We couldn't figure out what it was. Then we had our night vision and thermal imaging equipment all working properly, and it was all tested, and we came across something that caught all of us off guard. To this day I talk to people about it. I took it home and we show it to some experts and they were shaken by it.
Josh Gates: As Neil was saying, Papau, New Guinea is a really remote place and I think that a lot of times the encounters on the show that are scariest are the ones that are the farthest from safety and civilization. We did a night investigation for this iguanodon, which is a dinosaur, and we came across something in the jungle. Dinosaur or not, if you're alone in the jungle in the middle of Papau, New Guinea, which is a pretty rough place to be, and you come across something that's ripping trees apart in front of you its certainly cause for alarm. We all, as a crew, had a very close encounter with some sort of creature out of the jungles.
Due to what you guys have found out 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. 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. 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. I think in some ways that was a great education. 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.
How did you find the topics for the show?
Neil Mandt: I guess it comes down to basic journalism to start with. That's my background. As a team, we all sat down and just started doing research through phone calls to people in different countries, the internet was very important for us. Just any way we could find out through newspaper articles what has been topical? That was the key thing for us, somebody's seen something but have they seen it recently? We wanted to talk to witnesses and hear their stories first hand. That's how we would decide whether something was worth going after.
There were some things that sounded really exciting to begin with but the more we dug, the more we decided, well that's not gonna hold up. If we feel we can end the project right on a phone call, than there's no point in us flying halfway around the world. That's really what kind of got us started with everything and as we would go through it, we would dig deeper and deeper, and ultimately try and set up an investigation to find out some answers.
Destination Truth premieres on June 6 at 10:00 p.m. on the Sci Fi channel.
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