Let me go out on a limb here and guess that the experts seen in the History Channel series called “Hunting Hitler” will never find the proof they seek that Adolf Hitler escaped from Berlin at the end of World War II and found sanctuary in Argentina.
By the same token, I don't expect that the protagonists in Animal Planet's “Finding Bigfoot” will ever find Bigfoot. And if they do, I doubt he will even answer to that name. That's someone else's creation, not his. My advice to the Bigfoot searchers: It’s probably unwise to shout, “Hey, Bigfoot!” when you finally lay eyes on him. Try and contain your excitement. He -- or it -- might be sensitive about his big feet.
Suffice it to say that Bigfoot remains elusive to the Bigfoot hunters on “Finding Bigfoot,” who have been searching for him on this show since 2011. They are starting a new season of Bigfoot searches, starting Jan. 10, that will take the team -- pictured above examining a footprint in the woods somewhere -- to Maine, New Hampshire, Georgia and Oregon.
This begs the question: If Bigfoot specimens (known in the trade as sasquatches) range so widely, then why hasn't anyone ever seen one for long enough to snap a clear photo, particularly in the present day, when we all have very advanced smartphones capable of taking terrific pictures in seconds?
In a way, not finding Bigfoot is really what propels a show like this. If a sasquatch was to actually be found, then that particular episode would be one for the history books, but the series would be over. So the search for Bigfoot continues.
So too does the search for Hitler, apparently. I have a dim memory of some sort of public opinion poll taken back when I was in journalism school in which people were asked to name a story that, to them, would be the most fascinating story of its era -- if it were to actually occur.
The top-ranked story that came out of this exercise was one that did not happen, but that those surveyed felt would surely be the era’s top story if it had. It was: The discovery that Hitler was still alive and living in South America. Since this was in the late ’70s, it was at least biologically possible -- from a lifespan perspective -- that Hitler, who was born in 1889, could have still been alive (had he not committed suicide in a Berlin bunker in 1945).
Here in 2015, the Hitler hunters in “Hunting Hitler” certainly don't expect to find Hitler alive at 126 years old. But they’re trying to prove that he did not kill himself in Berlin, that he escaped, and that he may have successfully traveled halfway around the world to live out the rest of his life in some sort of safehouse in South America.
This belief that Hitler did not die in Berlin as the Russians closed in has persisted ever since the war. I'm no expert on this, but I do watch a lot of World War II programming on TV. And according to more than one documentary series that I have seen about Hitler's final days, it seems pretty clear that he did indeed commit suicide. These documentaries have even included testimony from at least one elderly former Nazi -- one of Hitler's personal bodyguards -- who insists he witnessed it, or at the very least was positioned nearby when it happened.
In addition, since the fall of the Soviet Union, Russian documents about Hitler's death and the disposal of his remains have been declassified, according to these TV shows. And these too would seem to provide convincing evidence that he died in that bunker.
But since these documents are drawn from Soviet-era files, some people feel they're suspect. As a result, conspiracy theorists won’t let go of this Hitler-escape story. And so, we're hunting Hitler and trying to find Bigfoot on TV.
The discovery of either of them would be big news, but I have an idea for an even bigger show: “Finding Elvis,” anyone?
Thank you very much.