I watched Destination America’s HELLTOWN special the other night. It was entertaining. While I took great umbrage when Discovery Channel went the route of creating fake documentaries for their SHARK WEEK a couple’a years ago, and it ruffled my feathers when the much hyped Animal Planet special about mermaids ended up being as phony as a politician’s promises, here it didn’t bother me. Yes, HELLTOWN is a fake-umentary. It’s just fun, though. With the others, especially the SHARK WEEK specials, where they got real scientists to pretend to be involved in the pretend hunt for pretend megalodons or some such, it felt like there was a deliberate attempt to deceive. With HELLTOWN, the only goal seemed to be entertainment. Maybe it’s because Destination America is known for being less scientifically-rounded than its sister station. Maybe it’s because the show aired around Halloween, when supernatural-themed programming is everywhere. Maybe I’ve just gotten soft.
Nah. I’d still raise hell if they did more fake-umentaries with SHARK WEEK.
Anyway, “Helltown” Ohio was formed when the guv’ment seized the land where the town sits to create the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. There were until recently a lot of abandoned buildings. That’s the reality. The reality of the TV special, however, is that the town was so polluted because of illegal dumping of toxic chemicals that they had to move all the citizens. Either that, or in addition to it, there was a cult that operated there in olden times, and the cult succeeded in summoning a Wendigo, and the Wendigo is still there, and it isn’t safe for people, so they relocated the town. Or maybe the “Wendigo” is some kind of mutant created by all the illegal dumping of toxins. Either explanation works.
Hey, never let the facts get in the way of a good story.