'The UnXplained': William Shatner's History Channel series tackles the deepest mysteries of the world
Boston Legal star William Shatner has brought to us a brand new nonfiction series 'The UnXplained' hosted by the History Channel and premiering Friday, July 19 at 10 pm ET/PT.
The eight-part anthology series tackles topics that have mystified mankind for ages, including cursed ancient cities, mysterious structures, bizarre rituals, and extraterrestrial sightings.
“I’m thrilled to be hosting and producing the new HISTORY series ‘The UnXplained',” Shatner said in a press release. “It’s an intriguing show that will offer viewers credible answers to questions about mysterious phenomena, while also leaving other theories left unexplained.”
Apart from Shatner's brilliant narration, the series features several top scientists, engineers, historians, and researchers attempting to explore the possibilities of the seemingly impossible.
The new show delves deep into an 'unexplained' story each week, and attempts to solve mysteries that have perplexed communities around the world for years.
In a conversation with Hollywood Soapbox, executive producer Kevin Burns promised "eight really compelling hours" covering subjects ranging from evil places to strange rituals. "A good number of the stories talk about humans who have accomplished amazing things that are even now — several decades after the fact — virtually impossible to explain," he told the outlet.
Aside from the incredible research into intricate details surrounding each case, Shatner brings a stunning sense of credibility and elicits curiosity in every episode.
One of the most compelling cases covered in the first installment digs deep into the Aokigahara forest, located on the north-western foothills of Japan's famous Mount Fuji.
While thousands of people have entered the forest over the centuries, very few have come out alive -- the woodland is notorious for being one of the most popular places in the world to commit suicide.
The forest made global headlines in 2017 when YouTube star Logan Paul filmed an episode of his online series there, showing a suicide victim at the site
Per statistics, Aokigahara is only second to Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco when it comes to the number of people ending their lives at a particular place.
Volunteers who patrol the deadly "suicide forest" have reported that at least 70 corpses of suicide victims are discovered each year. That said, the actual number of those ending their lives is presumably much higher, as several bodies are never found.
Meanwhile, the bodies that are found are taken to a local station and placed in a room built specifically to house suicide victims. There, in keeping with ancient tradition, a person is assigned to stay with the corpses during the night. Locals believe that if the bodies are left alone, their spirits would be dissatisfied and harm others. Several rumors claim the spirits of these victims are often heard wailing and screaming through the night, and that their bodies sometimes move on their own.
That said, Japanese spiritualists have concluded the Aokigahara is haunted, especially after so many deaths in the forest. Many believe the spirits of the dead enter trees, are hostile towards visitors, and prevent them from leaving the forest.
In its first episode, 'The UnXplained' points out that the area's fresh volcanic soil is rich in magnetic iron deposits -- causing compasses to malfunction and giving the illusion of some form of paranormal activity taking place. Tourists are thereby strongly recommended to stay on the trails or risk getting lost. Furthermore, many visitors leave a trail of tape looped around trees to help them find their way back.
Nonetheless, the depressing stories surrounding Aokigahara do not mean it is irrevocably doomed. Many shopkeepers at the site confront those entering the forest with the intention of ending their lives and talk them out of it.
One Hideo Watanabe, who owns a lakeside cafe on the way to the forest, has reportedly saved around 160 lives over the past 30 years.
Meanwhile, a number of volunteer anti-suicide squads patrol the forest day and night, hoping to save as many lives as possible.