DT Trips Over Aluxob

Posted by: Loren Coleman on September 21st, 2009

Malaysia Bigfoot Cast
Host Josh Gates takes in the sights of all the destinations to which he travels.

But how can your “destination” be “truth,” if so many mistakes are made along the way?

“The program seriously corrupted the description, falsely portraying Aluxob as hairy all over their bodies…with ‘carnivorous teeth,’ which is not accurate,” reports one reviewer who was a consultant to the show.

The segment is apparently visible here.

Dan Gannon, who has studied reports of Proto-Pygmies for several years and assisted the program “Destination Truth” with their recent Alux shoot, critiques that recently screened episode. He shares the following with Cryptomundo. (The opinions are Mr. Gannon’s and not necessarily those held by the owners, administrators, or bloggers at Cryptomundo.):

I have mixed feelings about the Destination Truth investigation. On the one hand, I applaud their willingness to investigate the subject — it’s the first time I’ve seen the Aluxob discussed or investigated on TV. Also, it was appropriate that they went off the beaten path, for this.

On the other hand, I was disappointed in certain aspects of the program. Specifically:

1. They incorrectly translated the Spanish phrase juguetones, which correctly means “they are tricksters/jokers,” to, “they are afraid of them.” It can also be translated to mean “playful ones.” It is not as if there is a lack of competent Spanish-English translators. I had even referred them to a guide who is competently trilingual (Spanish, Maya, and English.)

2. Despite the fact that the Aluxob have been extensively and consistently documented and described, in Spanish-Mexican culture for more than 500 years, the program seriously corrupted the description, falsely portraying Aluxob as hairy all over their bodies, and with big fangs, and “carnivorous teeth,” which is not accurate, at all. Did they demonize the Aluxob for the sake of sensationalism? How much background research did they do? These mistakes are like saying Bigfoot is hairless and has a dragon’s head.

3. Ugly spiders in a cave were called “scorpions.” A competent guide/translator could have easily corrected this misidentification.

4. Also in a cave, (apparently, the same one) a kind of black bee that does possess a nasty sting, was called “flies,” despite the obvious bee hive with honeycomb-like structures very visible on the underside of it. A guide/translator could have set this straight. They are called, in Spanish, by the locals, “avispas.”

5. Aluxob are believed to be nocturnal, and to generally be quite good at preventing larger people from seeing them, unless they want to be seen, which is rarely. Generally residing in caves during the day, and (sometimes?) coming out at night, a carefully planned and executed effort would be called for. Instead, the team trudged loudly around in the woods, and in a cave, at night… with lights glaring all over the place. Good way to scare them off. Also, why search a cave at the wrong time? It would be more appropriate to search it during the daytime, when the Aluxob are more likely to be in the caves.

6. Why were appropriately covert methods, including trail cams and “black” (invisible to the human eye) infrared illumination, not used?

7. On what basis did Josh Gates say, at the end of the program, that he believes the Alux is only a successful old legend, as oppossed to a real creature? Is he so confident that this seriously flawed and brief investigation would have captured an Alux on video, therefore they are now disproven? Please. The Aluxob may be one of the best documented cryptids on Earth, reported independently by multiple cultures, over a very long stretch of time, with remarkable coonsistency of the reports, and with ancient Maya paintings, carvings, and statues, depicting them realistically. Foreign archaeologists have even seen and reported them in detail. And Josh just dismisses them. What is that about?

Let’s hope a much better program about the Aluxob will come from other investigators. As for myself, I may work together with the Mayas to produce a multi-lingual documentary, of sorts. I also plan to continue with my work there with trail cams.

Dan Gannon

Josh Gates (of DT) and Amanda Tapping (Samantha Carter) at the Sci Fi Channel 2008 upfront party in New York. Promotional Photo: Mark Wilson/About.com


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10 Responses to “DT Trips Over Aluxob”

  1. fallohide responds:

    TV programs like this are always real toss-ups because they are done more for brief interest about strange things, rather than as serious (or even semi-serious) inquiries into unusual events and creatures. As pointed out at length, the program’s host couldn’t be bothered to undertake a serious hunt for the creature. The production team couldn’t even find a competent Spanish translator with familiarity with Latin American dialects. So the level of capability was already determined offscreen… Unfortunately, its sounds like the episode producers were interested in a cute “chupacabra” type of story, didn’t have the time or budget on doing a real investigation, and just decided to let the host play around for a bit, and then call it quits. Not very professional, but then, they weren’t interested in going that directin in the first place.

  2. crackheadcheesecake responds:

    I share views with the comment above mine. Adding to my own extended thoughts on this subject, I feel most of this is being taking out of context. I totally agree that if they didn’t hunt down a good interpreter it’s their own fault for wrong information. I think most people can’t argue this was a poor job in selecting someone. However everything else such as Josh calling cave spiders scorpions is completely taking what he said out of context. I remember this episode well as they have it on Demand with Comcast. Most people, no matter if their a show host or not, don’t know what you or I may know. Without getting his side of the story no one can say why he said what he did. Often when people don’t know what they are looking at they just call it what they think best fits the bill.

    As far as the comment at the end about it being a legend…What’s wrong with what he said? A creature is found or it isn’t and with the evidence you have collected and using your best judgment you have to call it how you see it. I also didn’t see much proof of anything for that matter being out of place or cause for alarm in that episode. So, it’s a legend until you or someone else can show us otherwise. Evidence is evidence, no matter how large or small. They tried. It’s more evidence than sitting on a computer telling us this creature is real because you think it is with no evidence.

  3. Jeremy_Wells responds:

    I sometimes get a little annoyed with the flippant, tongue-in-cheek (sometimes bordering on arrogantly elitist) attitude Gates and crew display on these little treks. That said, I really enjoy the show, and I feel like, so far this season, they’ve done a little better. They are trying to follow the Ghost Hunters formula of two investigations per show, and so at times it really feels like we barely get a taste before they move on (whereas something like MonsterQuest, for all of its faults too, has a little more room to “stretch their legs out” so to speak and focus on a single cryptid or phenomenon per episode). But, even with all that, if Destination Truth gets another person interested in the Alux (or Aluxob? They call it Alux throughout the DT show, but lots of so-called professional news folks still give us reports of Chupacabra, without the “s,” so I’m curious about the name), and one more person starts digging and learning and putting together old stories, well… that is a good thing.

  4. cryptidsrus responds:

    Jeremy_Wells basically sums up my attitude.

    Although I must say—

    What happened is not surprising. DT and other programs like that (even MQ at times) tend to emphasize “shock value” and what I call “Ooohh” over accuracy. At least they cover the subject. 🙂

  5. Fhqwhgads responds:

    When they (surprise surprise!) don’t find anything, I think it’s a subtle point as to whether the creatures they don’t find are small hairy bipeds, large hairy bipeds, small hairless bipeds, large reptilian bipeds, or winged bipeds that look like angels.

  6. DNS responds:

    That photo at the top creeps me out whenever I see it.

    Fhqwhgads, the problem is that these shows do more harm than good by distorting or blatantly misrepresenting stories, legends, or descriptions of something seen by actual people who made no money off the experience. It’s hard to hold the ethics of such productions in anything but low regard, no matter what you may think of the original report. If you are going to capitalize on local lore, then at least be ethical enough not to twist it to your own venal purposes. It can have far reaching consequences. Saying “Oh, it’s just entertainment” is a cop out.

  7. Kronprinz_adam responds:

    Central american folklore is plenty of stories about “duendes” (goblins), many of them very similar to irish leprechauns or german kobolds (some of the stories are scary!), so they seem to be (or simulate to be) somewhat “paranormal”. In many of these stories, the beings are just seen by just a few people (e.g. children) and they harass them.

    But mayas and other native tribes also have stories about “aluxes” or “chaneques”, which usually live in caves or streams, are rarely seen and are traditionally described as having children bodies but faces of very old people. We have to point out, that it seems that maya beliefs (similar to other native americans) are based in accepting the existence of 2 worlds, the physical one, and the spiritual one (there are some proof, that hallucinogen mushrooms were worshipped, remember amanitas in european fairy tales).

    Another cryptid legend in central american folklore is the “Sisimite”, a giant bigfoot-like creature. Was there also a small hairy hominid which gave origin to the alux legend?.

  8. Dan Gannon responds:


    To clarify, the Aluxob, (plural for Alux, though Spanish speakers often say “Aluxes,”) aren’t hairy hominids. They are almost universally reported to have visibly hairless bodies and faces (as most Mayas and Native Americans normally have, unless they acquired greater hairiness through interbreeding with, for instance, people of European descent.) The depiction in the DT program, of the Aluxob being hairy all over their bodies, was one of the misrepresentations that I objected to, in my review.

  9. PeterOtoole responds:

    Although I did not see this episode, I feel compelled to continue my ‘optimistic trollism’ on entertainment television shows posing as ‘infotainment.’ I believe this is related to the topic, though editorial.

    ‘Any attention’ is not ‘good attention.’ The ends do not justify the means. I fully support Loren holding this show up to skepticism, but the community as a whole must unite to lobby for something new all-together, based on documenting and funding authentic scientific investigation.

    As I’ve said before, let DT and MQ finally split off into spooky Saturday morning children’s programming, and let there be new crypto-documentaries created purely for the sake of scientific curiosity–bolstered by the aggressive support and advertising dollars of the burgeoning Crypto market-share, whom Loren has repeatedly surveyed and documented.

    There is a ‘need to fill’ for quality crypto documentation. The collective will of just a few loyal cryotomundians banding together could simply conquer most of the children’s shows spotlight and aim it where it rightfully should be, on the endlessly amazing and exciting realities of Cryptozoology as it exists today. These shows attempt to split-the-gap between the large groups of viewers. As the market continues to grow, eventually a clean cut must be made. There is no reason to delay, the power is with us now.

    The internet has greatly transformed media. Still, we struggle to fully realize the power of a ‘fully armed and operational online community.’ This vast community has the power to shift the market, to unionize, so to speak.

    I don’t just complain about the work of others. I am currently preparing to shoot my own mystery related documentary. Perhaps I will not profit one dollar, but I know for a fact that by fully utilizing today’s mass communication and target marketing systems, it will only get easier with time. Soon there won’t be much point in covering sorry things like Destination Truth.

  10. Kronprinz_adam responds:

    Dear Dan:
    Thank you very much for the information. I think now that Aluxob are more similar to legendary “Chaneques”, little people with faces like very old persons. (Do you have a more complete description? What does the maya people say about him?)

    I have read some of them carry clothes or tools.

    People from neighbour Belice have described “dwendis” (spanish “duendes”), and some researchers think, there are tiny, hairy humanoids. But, where is the evidence?

    Folklore in the area is rich in ghost stories, there are banshee-like apparitions (lloronas and ciguanabas) and duendes are feared. In many stories, the main character is “el duende” or “el sombrerón” (the big hat one), which is some kind of kobold with pointy boots, black dress and a giant black mariachi hat which covers his face. In these fiolk tales, the “duende” is visible only to few people, it was feared because it could attack men with tremendous strenght, or hit a children. He harassed long-haired women also, with “love” proposals, which remind of european incubus. These legends depict a paranormal being, considered dangerous.

    Foklore tales tell about “duendes” which appeared at night in ranchs (fincas) or coffee plantations, so workers were very scared about them. (Once, a friend told me a scary story about a duende who seems to have made his “home” under a tree in the garden of an old house, so people were afraid from him. But these legends are similar to old european ones: tiny people belonging to a fairy world).

    So if you ask central american people about “duendes”, they will probably tell you a similar scary ghost story, which does not describe a physical creature.

    If you ask also the people about “sisimites”, they will tell you about some kind of forest devil with backward feet, which brings very bad luck to people (in the tales, he attacked or kidnapped people, or people got sick just by looking at him). But some reports consider the “Sisimite” as a hairy humanoid cryptid, gorilla-like.

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