My team and I had a meeting with Discovery Channel network Executive, Herschel “Shel” Braunstein. This was our presentation for the Third Season of our show. There would be a format change and title re-work which would now be called: “Secret Hunters: In Search Of…” A part of the new format change would be having a celebrity narrator. Shel went over the ideas submitted and randomly decided that he was interested in number twelve which was: The Lizard Man of Scape Ore Swampland in and around Lee County, South Carolina.
Doing some research we learned quite a bit about Lee County, South Carolina and the town of Bishopville. We contacted the Major Ennis Bryant to inform him of our plans to visit his municipality. Mayor Bryant informed us that he just wanted our show not to make his community look bad. Eliza Hidalgo, our outstanding line producer, setup all of our travelling arrangements and had our team in great shape before we were ready to leave. Our trip to Lee County was a three day trek on our bus. We were able to do some more research on the local myth and did a small amount of footage regarding the trip to South Carolina.
Once we arrived there in Lee County, we went to speak with the mayor and had a very pleasant interview with him. From there, the crew went to a café that was the local hot spot for everything relating to the Lizard Man of Scape Ore Swamp. It was there that we met Rick, a local man that told us that he had an encounter with the Lizard Man. He said that about a week or two ago, it ran out in front of his truck and caused him to crash into a tree. It then tried to break into his vehicle. We asked Rick if he could take us to the site and he agreed to do so as long as we brought him some beer.
We got Rick his beer and he guided us to the scene of his crash on an old forest road. Following an extensive examination of the area, Virgil Goode, our tech and hardware guy, found a footprint of something that gave the impression of being a cross between a human and a reptile. It had one large claw like a velociraptor and we made a plaster cast of it. Continuing with our assessment of the vicinity, it was Virgil once again who found a tree that appeared to be marked by a large creature with talons similar to those from the foot imprint that we found earlier. We built a casting box around that tree to make another impression. We really started getting the feeling that for once we weren’t chasing a hoax.
Now we were all very excited about our findings so far and we were determined to find out more, so we decided to try our luck by setting up an overnight observation post to see if we could learn more. We were video journaling remotely in this area of the forest as well as our own activity inside the bus and the production van. Also, our own Marisa Romero used our network of video cameras and laser grids to set up her own security surveillance in our van. Several hours later we were suddenly rattled as we could hear a series of thunderous booming sounds coming somewhere outside the range of our cameras.
So Samuel Washington, our main camera operator, Eliza, Marisa and I formed a search party to look for the source of the now banging and cracking sounds. I made sure to grab my HD Camcorder with full spectrum video light, night-vision goggles, UV LED flashlight blacklight, Mag-Lite LED Flashlight and all of us were wearing our communication headsets. Try as we might we could not detect the source of the noise. Then suddenly a huge tree came crashing down into our campsite, crushing all the tents and most of our network of cameras as well as nearly crushing our van and bus. In the aftermath we found out than Rick, who insisted on camping out was killed by the tree that devastated our circle of tents.
We called the local sheriff’s office to report the accident, while we filmed and studied the site ourselves before the officials arrived. We gave one of the deputies our statements. Once we had completed that, he informed us that we should be on our way. He also said that we could come by the sheriff’s department tomorrow for a follow-up interview with him and we retired the hotel for an uneventful night of sleep. In the morning we had breakfast the café and tourist trap for the local myth, where we had met Rick. No one else seemed to have any recent encounters with the Lizard Man of Scape Ore Swamp or seemed to have any interesting leads for us to follow.
We then went to speak with the deputy from the night before and after a small wait, he returned to Sheriff Daniel Simon’s office. We didn’t gather much in the way of additional info from our visit with him, except that the site was still considered under investigation and we were not allowed back there. We hung around for a while to wait for the return of our cameras and other equipment from the sheriff department evidence unit. We weren’t satisfied with this dead-end and so we deliberated about going back to the Scape Ore Swamp to see what we could learn ourselves.
Virgil set Samuel up with some high-magnification HD camera lenses so we could do some long range observations of the tree and the surrounding area where it fell. After only a few moments of scrutinizing the environment I could clearly see that someone or something very strong used a stone axe to chop down that tree. Now we very much wanted to gather additional evidence on this creature. Without hesitation Virgil volunteered to draw up a search grid and each of us took a section to sweep. As twilight began to arrive, we all came back to base except Samuel.
We went as a group to investigate Samuel’s sector of the grid, first we found his camera as if he stopped filming, put the lens cap back on and then set it on the ground. Later as it started to grow dark I found almost a thread of cloth that perfectly matched the shirt he was wearing today. Then a bit later as the shadows grew long we saw a flickering light in the woods and we cautiously made for it. We found an opening it the trees, a huge campfire and much to my horror, my very close friend of slightly more the three years, Samuel’s half-eaten corpse roasting over it!
Eliza Journal # 1
It all started as business as usual we were headed off to south Carolina to look for lizard men… It was my usual mundane call the mayor to inform him we were headed there. But well what I found I refuse to put into words. I refuse to acknowledge its reality. We went hunting for our own survival amidst death threats.
Riz’s perspective“We’re off to the land of alligators and assholes? Great. I’ve always been a fan of the rednecks.” I couldn’t keep the sarcasm under control if I was paid to. Every time they went south of Kentucky, it was the same story. Talk to the crazies and the drunks, get no real proof of anything, and make a fast buck. Someone or something always killed farm animals, kidnapped people, and anally probed someone.
This time, it was apparently a lizard man. Who knew? Maybe they’d get lucky this time, and someone didn’t get the world’s worst camera out in time for a blurry shot of nothing interesting.
I’m ex-SWAT. I originally wanted to try to be security for this gig, mostly out of boredom than anything else, but when I signed on, there wasn’t really a place for it. So I’m a roadie. Granted, I’m a roadie that can put grown men on the ground faster than they can pat my ass, but a roadie nonetheless. I drive the production van, I pick stuff up and put stuff down. Between this and singing, though, I make a pretty good living for myself, and I get to go all over the place.
It just sucked when ‘all over the place’ took them to places like bubblefuck nowhere – otherwise known as Lee County, South Carolina.
But a job’s a job, so I do what I’ve gotta do. Like load up on bug spray because I’ll be damned if I get West Nile. That’s still a thing.
The trip down was mostly uneventful. They usually were. Unless there’s a special reason, I usually drive alone. It’s a nice change of pace – don’t get me wrong, I like the crew well enough, I consider them all friends now after a couple of years. But there’s something to be said about being able to chill with your own thoughts for a while.
Lee County, the apparent home to twenty-thousand some-odd people ( honestly, how much money did a [i]county[/i] spend on those cheesy little tourist signs? ) wasn’t particularly impressive by any measure. The road in was paved, but several offshoots were gravelly and unkempt. The smell of the swamp cut cleanly through the little dangling air freshener, only further making me wonder if this place was actually the seat of hell.
Time would tell.
The crew met up – and I use the term ‘crew’ loosely, because we’re small in comparison to some other setups – and we pretty much dove straight in. It might just be my imagination, but it seemed that everyone wanted to get out of this place as quickly as possible.
Now, let me just say that we didn’t always used to be this jaded. The produce, Zoey, she’s got a big brain, and science is her schtick. Apparently that somehow translated into cryptozoology or something. Combine smarts with a pretty face, and she’s a hit. She used to have this fire that we all kind of shared. We were interested in seeing new things. On the idea of actually finding something supernatural.
After doing this for three years, it’s hard to say we’ve all got the same gusto we started with. Now we show up to get some footage, do a few interesting interviews, and go about our business.
Because we attract the town nutcases ( and because we often go looking for them ) we met up with this guy named Rick. I couldn’t really tell if he was a natural drunk, but in exchange for beer, he gave us a little ‘gem’ – the dude crashed because the ‘Lizard Man’ jumped out in front of him and tried to carjack him or something. Zoey, generous as ever, totally agreed.
Apparently, though, it was a good thing. The gem was apparently a little bit legit – Virgil, the do-it-yourself guru who can apparently make hardware stores his bitch, made a plaster mold of a footprint that wasn’t really human, but also not like any lizard that Zoey could think of. Eliza, who in my experience, is so nice that sometimes I want to strangle her, was hopeful.
I hate it when we get hopeful. When we find things we can’t exactly explain. Because when we do that, we all get excited, then we get let down. It makes for good television, I guess, but if I had a dollar for every beer –I- drank because of that shit… well. I’d probably be as drunk as Rick.
“It’s always a hoax.” I pointed out. Virgil was on my side for this one. We obviously didn’t say that in front of Rick, but I hate it when we break our spirits. Still, apparently we had enough to camp out – Virgil and I set up a grid of goodies so that if anything interesting happened we’d capture it.
We were all woken up by things going nuts, apparently. There were sounds – too deep to be gunshots, too precise to be explosions – that were outside our field of vision. Our grid wasn’t big enough, which was weird, since we basically covered every square inch. Later, when we looked over the footage, we didn’t find anything at all.
“So, we’re doing the ghost hunter thing?” I teased, though inside, I was a bit worried. Animals don’t make sounds like that. We geared up for night vision, as we usually do for an episode, so we could run around at night and scare ourselves silly. “Yeap. Ghost hunter thing.” I managed. I stopped at the production van before we headed out and made sure I had a gun with me.
I may not be paid to be security, but I like my guns. They make me feel better, and so long as I’ve got one, we’re going to be fine.
Unfortunately – and I mean that – the sound was apparently doing what it was supposed to. We went out to look around, and we didn’t find anything remotely interesting, though the sound moved. So whatever it was, it was smart enough to avoid us, and smart enough to set up a trap. Back at the camp, all of our surveillance stuff, and Rick, had pretty much been screwed up by a tree. Not just a branch or whatever. The whole –tree.- Rick bit the bullet. At least he went quick.
Footage and a phone call later, the police showed up and things went downhill from there. We were ushered away, because it was a crime scene until they found a reason to release it. Made sense to me – at least they weren’t trying to pin anything on us.
The next day was the kind of day you’d like to sleep in on. We’d all been up way too late, but that wasn’t the way we worked. We went back out to the place, but found it was still pretty much blocked off. With some of our remaining gear, Sam did the long-range shots to get some pictures and footage. Apparently, it was good enough that Zoey was able to see the thing had been brought down intentionally. The tree’d been cut down – ‘cut’ being a really bad word in this case – and smashed to bits with what amounted to a big rock if I understood right.
Someone made the decision to spread out, and considering we didn’t have any firm proof that it was murder, we apparently all thought it was a good idea.
Sam probably thought otherwise, before he got eaten. I’m not exaggerating. He’d been spitted, roasted, and half eaten. The shock was palpable, because this had been –routine.- Nothing unusual. Until now, no one had been seriously injured on this project. Yeah, we’d all had minor mishaps, but nothing like this.
Any thoughts that last night hadn’t been a murder? Gone.
Virgil’s Itemized Expense List
S03E01 (Part 1):
1. Basic Pup Tent ($25)
Used as a shelter on site while investigating possible Lizardman of Scape Ore Swamp in South Carolina. The tent was destroyed by a falling tree
that killed a local named Rick by a trap set by the crazy wild man god entity named Woden. Even if it could be recovered, it might be considered evidence by the incompetent local police.
2. Professional Quality Ceramic Casting ($35)
Used to take foot prints off trees during our investigation. The lizard man was not found
but Woden’s later command to hunt a dragon leads me to believe the prints are of a smaller dragon of some sort. Regardless, the casting are not reusable other than as another prop for the production van.