Posted by: Craig Woolheater on August 4th, 2013
INTERVIEW: Searching for Mothman, Grassman, Devil Dog on ‘Mountain Monsters’
John ‘Trapper’ Tice of ‘Mountain Monsters’ on Destination America — Photo courtesy of Destination America
His name is John Tice, but people call him Trapper. He’s a backwoods West Virginian who prefers hill people or mountain people over that other term people sometimes use. With his closest friends, Tice travels around the Appalachian region looking for evidence of mysterious, mythical creatures that have lived in the public’s consciousness for generations. His group, called the Appalachian Investigators of Mysterious Sightings (AIMS), is the subject of Mountain Monsters, the new reality series on Destination America.
“I think the show was very exciting,” Tice said recently during a phone interview. “You know, some family and friends were over, and we all really, really enjoyed it.”
Tice’s interest in these mysterious beasts, which include the Mothman, Grassman and Wampus Beast, has been with him for a number of years. He remembered when more than a decade ago his nephew documented evidence of some men in Ohio who had taken a casting of an enormous footprint. Tice’s son also wrote an article for Goldenseal magazine, a West Virginia publication, that explored the legend of Ike’s Tomb.
“Everybody’s been visiting Ike’s tomb and this part of the country for years, so we did a lot of research on Ike’s tomb,” he said. “And that got published in Goldenseal magazine, and so then people would just call me, you know, people that knew me would call me. And if you know hill people, word spreads pretty fast.”
Tice said that many people are still apprehensive about their sightings and don’t come forward to the AIMS group. “They see something and they don’t really know what it is,” he said. “Well, they just don’t want to say anything about it, so I believe my goal personally is to give them a little peace of mind that this does exist or don’t exist. We’re not out there to kill anything. And we arm ourselves because we are out there, and you don’t know what’s going to happen. The last thing we want to do is to harm one of these creatures.”
The members of the Appalachian Investigators of Mysterious Sightings (AIMS) — Photo courtesy of Destination America
Many times Tice’s team confirms that the beast is nothing more than a black angus cow on a ridge somewhere. It’s not always an exciting creature at the end of the investigation. But isn’t believing more fun? Aren’t there lessons to be learned?
“That’s what’s wrong with America now. When I was a child, everyone sat on the front porch and talked all night. Usually that would lead to ghost stories or beast stories, and those stories got passed on from generation to generation. And even in the hill people anymore, it seems like they’re always watching television or going to do this or going to do that. And that’s kind of a thing of the past. … There was always all kinds of scary stories being told when I was a pup.”
On the inaugural season of Mountain Monsters, the team explores such legends as the Mothman, Wolfman and Devil Dog. The Mothman, in particular, is one mystery that Tice said is absolutely true. “Oh, yeah, I definitely believe in the Mothman,” he said. “No ands or buts about it.”
At a recent get-together of local folk singers, a man went up to Tice and told him about three pipe-fitters located near Point Pleasant, W.V., where the legend of the Mothman has its strongest connections, who said they saw the creature land on top of a tower.
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Co-founder of Cryptomundo in 2005. I have appeared in or contributed to the following TV programs, documentaries and films: OLN's Mysterious Encounters: "Caddo Critter", Southern Fried Bigfoot, Travel Channel's Weird Travels: "Bigfoot", History Channel's MonsterQuest: "Swamp Stalker", The Wild Man of the Navidad, Destination America's Monsters and Mysteries in America: Texas Terror - Lake Worth Monster, Animal Planet's Finding Bigfoot: Return to Boggy Creek and Beast of the Bayou.