Mountain Monsters: A Real TV Show That Actually, Really Exists

Solomon Kenworthy

     You know that moment when you hear about something when your eyes widen and time stops for a moment because you’re not sure if what you heard is real? Now, imagine that feeling for 40 minutes, and that’s what it’s like to watch an episode of the reality TV show, Mountain Monsters

Jeff (Far Left), Huckleberry, Trapper, Buck, Wild Bill, and Willy
Jeff (Far Left), Huckleberry, Trapper, Buck, Wild Bill, and Willy. Photo courtesy of IMDB

     The show aired on Destination America in 2013 and follows the A.I.M.S. (Appalachian Investigators of Mysterious Sightings) Team. A “Band of hardcore hunters and trappers,” as they set out to make the unknown, known. Seems simple enough of a concept, at least for reality TV, but there’s so much more to this show you wouldn’t believe unless you watch it. 

     After a truly extravagant theme song, each episode begins with four of the six-team members in a truck. Buck, Huckleberry, Jeff, and team leader Trapper. They always get incredibly excited when whomever driving simply says the name of whatever cryptic creature they’re hunting. Jeff goes off about the history of the creature and the area they’re in. One of my favorite lines Jeff says during this segment is, “The more I do research into the Native Americans, I keep finding Bigfoot evidence.”

     The boys don’t just go after Bigfoot. No, no, no. Only during seasons 3 & 4 do they specifically pursue Bigfoot. Before that, they go after some crazy stuff I guarantee you’ve never heard of, like the Snallygaster. 

     The Snallygaster is a giant lizard bird-like reptile that’s, “…800lbs, a 20ft wingspan,” according to Trapper. On the first night investigation, they encounter the reptile in flight. Even though they have loaded guns and could defend themselves easily, they decide the best course of action is to hide underneath a pile of logs and Huckleberry goes, “We got the devil in the sky boys!” This quote being a great example of how the crew treats any small situation as if they’re in the middle of a war.

     Then, the trap builders, Willy, and Wild Bill decide to build a, “Reverse catapult trap.” Which fails, so they make a massive Box trap instead. They abandoned the final night hunt halfway through because (even though you never see one) there are multiple Snallygaster and the team is outnumbered. During the daring escape, Huckleberry yells, “We need a tank!”

     I could go on forever about the different non-Bigfoot creatures they go after. Just to name a few, there’s the Fire Dragon, Mothman, Sheepsquatch, Hogzilla, and the Shadow Creature. Trapper ultimately determines that the Shadow Creature could possibly be, “…out of this world.”  

     If you thought any of that was insane, they go on their quest for Bigfoot, and it gets pretty out there. But before I cover their next investigation, I want to make sure you understand that the A.I.M.S. team is not the biggest fan of the scientific method. 

     Some pretty bold claims are made as they just immediately assume that any tracks are from whatever they’re hunting. In several episodes, they deduce bent over trees, trees that are crossed with one another, and rock cairns are ‘clear’ signs of Bigfoot. If this is true, then there are Bigfoot in the Blackfoot because I have all these signs where I live.

     The best way to help you better understand this is a quote said by Trapper when he explains the reason for starting the hunt to prove Bigfoot is real in Central Kentucky, “As long as there’s been man in Central Kentucky, there’s been sightings of Bigfoot.” Now let’s talk about when they go after a mind-controlling Bigfoot.

     The finale for season 3 is two parts and consists of the team’s investigation of a Bigfoot known as the Cherokee Devil. On the way to North Carolina, Buck and Trapper remark how a Bigfoot that can read your thoughts is too preposterous for even them. During the first night investigation, Buck gets lost. Eventually, the rest of the team find him cross-legged in an abandoned shed. He then runs out of the shed, trips, and Jeff jumps on top of him saying, “Somethings got a hold of his mind! I don’t know what it is!” The next day when they ask Buck what happened, he discusses how the Cherokee Devil told him to, “Follow me,” and that he didn’t want to, but, “Had to.”

     Jeff, Huckleberry, and Trapper then decide to do a day time investigation in the same location as the night previous. When they reach the shed again, Jeff suggests, “What if he just grabbed up Buck, got his mind, got him in there, hid him from us,” he then points in an opposite direction from the shed, “To keep us away from over there, Trapper?” Why did Jeff point in that random direction? No idea.

     That’s only halfway through the first part of the two-part finale, and I think you get the idea. Everyone has their own version of Mountain Monsters. That moment, show, movie, trip that when you describe, isn’t the same as the actual experience. My generation owes shows like Mountain Monsters a standing ovation. We all want to have unforgettable memories, lasting as long as we live. The A.I.M.S. team saw this goal and achieved it.