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Is It Real?
Is it real.jpg
Genre Documentary
Paranormal
Mystery
History
Country of origin United States
Language(s) English
No. of episodes >27
Production
Camera setup Multiple
Running time 45 minutes
Production company(s) National Geographic Society
Distributor National Geographic Channel
Broadcast
Original channel National Geographic Channel
Original run April 25, 2005 (2005-04-25) – 2007 (2007)
External links
Official website

Is It Real? is an American documentary television series that originally aired from April 25, 2005 to 2007 on the National Geographic Channel. The program examines popular or persistent mysteries in order to determine whether the featured cryptozoological creature (cryptid) or supernatural phenomenon is real or not. Typically, the show includes interviews with believers or proponents of the paranormal claims, and then with scientists and skeptics who attempt to find rational explanations for such phenomena using a scientific approach.

Because the program usually concludes debunking the claims and finding mundane explanations for the phenomena, it has been criticized as being heavily biased towards the skeptical perspective.[1]

Contents

Episodes

This television-related list is incomplete; you can help by expanding it.
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Season 1 (2005)

Episode # Episode Title Original U.S. Airdate
1.01 (1) "Spontaneous Human Combustion" April 25, 2005 (2005-04-25)
The episode examines the various theories regarding spontaneous human combustion (SPH), a case where a human body appears to have been completely burnt to ash from the inside out. Theories like the existence of pyrotrons in the body, poltergeists, ball lighting in the atmosphere, and the wick effect are examined. 
1.02 (2) "UFOs" April 25, 2005 (2005-04-25)
This episode presents footage and anecdotal evidence of UFOs from people who claim to have had close encounters of the first, second, third, and even the fourth kind. Scientists and astronomers provide scientific reasons to rebuke these claims. 
1.03 (3) "Ghosts" April 25, 2005 (2005-04-25)
The Lemp Mansion is considered to be the most haunted house in the world. It is closely examined in this episode. Also scrutinized are film and photographic footages of alleged ghosts (spirit photography). Learn of the results from a human psychological test conducted in Edinburgh Vaults, Scotland’s most haunted underground chambers. And find out how well a ghost chaser did when tasked to find a ghost. 
1.04 (4) "Bigfoot" June 23, 2005 (2005-06-23)
Listen to various accounts of Sasquatch sightings reported by residents and visitors in the town of Willow Creek, California. Re-examine the famous 1967 Patterson-Gimlin film of Bigfoot. Also follow investigators as they go on stake-out in the forest of Eastern Texas. And discover how some or most of this Bigfoot evidence may have been fabricated. 
1.05 (5) "Lake Monsters (Monsters of the Deep)" August 1, 2005 (2005-08-01)
There have been numerous reports of sightings of lake monsters in the waters of the San Francisco Bay, Scotland's Loch Ness (the Loch Ness Monster), and British Columbia's Lake Okanagan (Ogopogo). In this episode, photographs and film footage of these sea monsters are re-examined to reveal the truth behind their existence. 
1.06 (6) "Animal Oracles (Psychic Animals)" August 14, 2005 (2005-08-14)
Animals have been observed to exhibit odd behavior prior to a disaster, from becoming agitated to making a quick dash for safety. This was clearly demonstrated during the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami when local wildlife generally escaped harm. Some scientists believe that the animals are sensing physical changes that we simply aren't sensitive enough to detect. Others, however, believe they have psychic powers of prediction. 
1.07 (7) "Superhuman Powers (X-Men)" August 20, 2005 (2005-08-20)
This episode examines the truth behind the claims made by people who express having attained superhuman powers. These include self-mutilation, levitation, and so on. 
1.08 (8) "Exorcism" August 29, 2005 (2005-08-29)
Discover the real story behind the 1973 horror film The Exorcist. Meet some of the people who claim to have exorcised evil spirits from people, objects, places, and animals. The episode also reveals the likely explanations for the behavior of those suspected of being possessed
1.09 (9) "Crop Circles" September 1, 2005 (2005-09-01)
In 1978, a crop circle first appeared on a farm in England's West Country. Since then crop circles have appeared with larger frequency and complexity. The episode reveals some of the theories that explains its existence, and provides behind the scenes look at some of the footages of balls of light that appear to make this crop circles. A group of artist called the "Circle Makers," are also tasked to create a crop circle within 5 hours. 
1.10 (10) "Police Psychics (Psychic Detectives)" September 12, 2005 (2005-09-12)
The episode introduces various cases in which people have claimed to have made successful psychic predictions. Skeptics however disagree. A test is done to compare the effectiveness between cold readings, geographical profiling, and calculated guesses. A self proclaimed psychic is also given a task to find a mother and child gone missing 28 years ago. 

Season 2 (2005–2007)

Episode # Episode Title Original U.S. Airdate
2.01 (11) "Chupacabra" November 14, 2005 (2005-11-14)
Following the reports of mutilated farm animals in Puerto Rico, eyewitnesses began coming forward to describe the predator. Said to have glowing red eyes, the face of a gargoyle and the wings of a vampire bat, the culprit was named El Chupacabras, "the Goat Sucker," by the press. Quickly, the creature made the leap to parts of the U.S. and Latin America. Some say it's simply the public's imagination running amuck. Others say the creature is a genetic experiment that escaped, a space alien, or a supernatural being. 
2.02 (12) "Extreme Sleepwalking" November 21, 2005 (2005-11-21)
This episode explores the world of the parasomnia, investigating the legitimacy of that of "murders committed while sleepwalking" as a valid murder defense. Sleepwalkers are known to do some bizarre and often complex activities while sleeping, but generally these amount to little more than interesting stories to tell friends. But a few claim to have been asleep and totally unaware that they were killing someone. Is this even possible? Some juries have bought the controversial defense. Sleep experts and lawyers give their insight into several high-profile murder cases allegedly committed by sleepwalkers. 
2.03 (13) "Stigmata" January 4, 2006 (2006-01-04)
Throughout the centuries, a few rare souls have claimed to experience stigmata, the act of spontaneously developing bleeding wounds on their bodies. The location of these wounds correspond to the spots where Jesus suffered injuries on the cross: the forehead, hands, feet or sides. Believers feel that stigmata is a divinely inspired miracle. Skeptics claim it to be a fraud designed to attract attention or inspire the faithful. Several famous cases are profiled, including a priest who suffered with it for fifty years, and a young girl in a coma who currently attracts throngs of pilgrims. 
2.04 (14) "Ape-Man" February 27, 2006 (2006-02-27)
A small ape-like man is said to inhabit the mountains of Sumatra. Orang Pendek, Indonesian for "short person" or "little man," has been reportedly sighted for centuries, but so far, proof has been elusive. Researchers are placing cameras throughout the forests hoping for photographic evidence, while purported hairs and footprints from the creatures are analyzed by experts. The story of the British "Pilkdown man", perhaps the greatest missing link fraud ever perpetrated, is also told. 
2.05 (15) "The Nostradamus Effect" April 17, 2006 (2006-04-17)
The followers of 16th century prophet Michel de Nostredame say he accurately foresaw events like the rise of Hitler and the 9/11 attacks. Skeptics say his writings are so vague that we can make them fit any event we want them to fit. Besides, on any coin toss, you're bound to be right some of the time. 
2.06 (16) "Da Vinci Code" April 24, 2006 (2006-04-24)
This episode explores Dan Brown’s controversial book The Da Vinci Code. The best selling fiction novel has sold over 30 million copies, but it has raised huge controversy because the novel had made at least a couple of damaging claims that the author insist to be fact. The book claims that there exist a European Secret Society known as the Priory of Scion, whose members included Sir Isaac Newton, Victor Hugo and Leonardo Da Vinci. The book also claims that the Vatican prelature known as the Opus Dei was under suspicions of involvement in conducting of brainwashing, coercion and other practices on its members. The documentary seeks to uncover the truth behind these claims including claims of whether Mary Magdalene may have been the wife of Jesus. The episode includes interviews with Father William Stetson, a member of Opus Dei who wishes to have the novel banned, and various authors of books like Holy Blood, Holy Grail, which theorize on such similar possibilities. 
2.07 (17) "Atlantis" June 26, 2006 (2006-06-26)
Plato was the first to write about the advanced island civilization that suddenly disappeared from the surface of the planet. While the philosopher provided some very specific details about Atlantis' design and life of the people who live there, the mystery of the city's fate and location has endured. The leading potential sites for the remains of the city stretch around the world: ancient Egypt, where famed psychic Edgar Cayce claimed the island's "hall of records" was buried under the Sphynx, in the Caribbean near the underwater rock formations known as the Bimini Road, on the Yucatan peninsula amid the Mayan remains, or the Greek island Santorini, home of a long-active volcano. 
2.08 (18) "Bermuda Triangle" September 25, 2006 (2006-09-25)
Beginning with the publishing of Charles Berlitz's book The Bermuda Triangle in 1974, it became popular to blame the disappearance of planes and ships on supernatural events, but this episode takes a more skeptical look at the infamous patch of water. Dangerous storms can pop up suddenly, sinking vessels with no warning; dense clouds can easily disorient pilots causing them to doubt their instrument readings. More unusual theories are discusssed, including the possibility of a magnetic vortex that renders navigation tools useless. 
2.09 (19) "Miracle Cures" October 9, 2006 (2006-10-09)
Out of desperation, people go in search of a miracle to cure their chronic or deadly health problems. Their journey take them in many directions. Some attend miracle crusades conducted by TV evangelists like Rev. Leroy Jenkins. Millions flock to Lourdes, France for the curative spring waters, even though there have been very few verifiable "miracles." Still others travel to Brazil for the spiritual surgery practiced by a man known as John of God. The questions are many and obvious: Does faith and prayer actually cure? Can the human mind heal the body? Can simply hearing the words "you're healed" be enough to encourage recovery? 
2.10 (20) "Vampires" October 23, 2006 (2006-10-23)
With the 1897 publication of Bram Stoker's novel Dracula, vampires entered mainstream consciousness. Prior to that, however, these supposedly undead blood-drinkers had been alive in folklore. For centuries, frightened people have been digging up their dead and destroying their hearts in an effort to kill these creatures. In fact, this activity still persists in modern-day Romania. But, is there a legitimate medical condition that could explain a person's need to consume human blood? Don Henrie, a man who identifies as a vampire, agrees to medical tests to see if doctors can pinpoint a physical reason for his blood need. 
2.11 (21) "Jack the Ripper" October 30, 2006 (2006-10-30)
The seemingly unsolvable 1888 crimes of Jack the Ripper continue to fascinate. Even today, over a dozen new books on the subject are published each year. One such book makes the case for Walter Sickert, an artist with a dark side, being the actual Whitechapel killer. Even though many experts dismiss Sickert, claiming he was in France at the time of the murders, those claims are put to the test using handwriting analysis and modern DNA analysis. 
2.12 (22) "Hauntings" November 13, 2006 (2006-11-13)
Hauntings are often attributed to paranormal activity, ranging from bothersome poltergeists to possessive demons. How much of this activity is truly supernatural and how much exists only in our minds? An examination of the infamous Amityville, New York case shows that, outside of the horrific murders, the rest was clearly a fabrication. The eerie stories from Bobby Mackey's Music World in Kentucky and the Lancaster Castle in England may have more natural causes. High carbon monoxide levels can cause people to feel queasy and uneasy while strong magnetic fields are known to cause hallucinations
2.13 (23) "Russian Bigfoot" November 20, 2006 (2006-11-20)
Neanderthals are known to have died out some 30,000 years ago, yet stories persist of a relic population, called the Almas, still surviving in the mountains of Mongolia. Two investigators travel throughout the country hoping to gather clues from the locals about the rumored creatures. This leads to a stake-out of a rumored Almas cave dwelling. At the New York University lab, DNA samples are analyzed from two skulls said to be of Almases captured during the 1850s. 
2.14 (24) "Ancient Astronauts" November 27, 2006 (2006-11-27)
With the 1968 publication of Erich von Daniken's book Chariot of the Gods, the flood gates were opened for some "experts" to declare that Earth was visited long ago by extraterrestrials. Some of the claims are quite outrageous (cavemen were used as slaves to mine gold for their ET captors) while others seem more reasonable (the design of pyramids employed a surprising knowledge of astronomy). The Starchild skull, a misshapen human skull found in Mexico in 1930, is exhibited as proof of cross-breeding between aliens and humans. That cranium is subjected to DNA tests to hopefully put that claim to rest. 
2.15 (25) "Life on Mars" January 24, 2007 (2007-01-24)
Mankind has been fascinated with our red planetary neighbor since the dawn of time. Years after the scare caused by Orson Welles' War of the Worlds radio broadcast, we've dismissed the idea that Mars is inhabited by "little green men." Some imaginative Mars enthusiasts, however, point to the infamous photograph of the "Face" on Cydonia (region of Mars) as proof that an advanced race once prospered. Scientists do hold out hope that study of Martian meteorites and probes sent to the planet may uncover evidence of simpler life forms. 
2.16 (26) "Feral Children" March 19, 2007 (2007-03-19)
While stories of children being "raised by wolves" are exaggerated, there have been a few documented cases of a child having grow up alone in the wild. Whether abandoned by parents or runaways from abusive households, feral children often find reintegration into human society difficult. A common thread is their inability to learn language; having not been exposed to speech during a crucial time in their development, their brains have lost the ability to learn this most human of skills. 
2.17 (27) "King Arthur" May 7, 2007 (2007-05-07)
The legend of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table is well known, having been told for centuries and immortalized in films and books. The questions, however, remain about the reality of the man; did he ever actually exist? There are scant mentions of him in historical documents and those references that do exist were written down centuries after he supposedly lived. In the quest to verify facts about his life, archeological remains are examined and historians give their theories about his would-be life. 
2.18 (28) "Ghost Ships" August 14, 2007 (2007-08-14)
The episode looks at ocean-going vessels mysteriously missing their crews; ships long ago sunk doomed to eternally sail the seas with the dead at the helm. Stories of ghost ships have been told by superstious sailors for centuries, but is there any truth to them? Modern science attempts to explain some of the more baffling cases like that of the Mary Celeste which was found without her crew and no signs of fowl play. 

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References

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