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10 Most Awesome “In Search Of…” Episodes

“In Search Of…”, the old standby for understanding the cosmic truth of the universe (and beyond), is given the Top10 treatment courtesy of Topless Robot. Sit back, relax, and open up your awareness.

With those words ended each episode of In Search of…, the 1976-1982 documentary series in which Leonard Nimoy tried his hardest to solve the world’s most baffling mysteries. Presenting “information based in part on theory and conjecture,” the show tackled subjects ranging from alien abduction to the disappearance of Glenn Miller during its six-year run. Other than Nimoy’s occasional porn stache and an amazing moog-heavy soundtrack–the album of which is begging for a re-release–the most memorable thing about the series is how it covered its subject matter with the utmost respect and seriousness. (This was no small task given how the series once featured an episode devoted to communicating with plants). Tragically unavailable on DVD, In Search of… is a journey into the bizarre that paved the way for Ripley’s Believe It or Not, Unsolved Mysteries, The X-Files and Ghost Hunters. Since most episodes can be easily tracked down online, the time seems right for a look at the series’ greatest installments. Throw on a tin foil hat, and let’s get things started.

10. The Abominable Snowman

What exactly is being sought? The Abominable Snowman (or, if you prefer, Yeti), a hairy hominid rumored to live in Nepal and Tibet. They could be misunderstood creatures who just want to be left alone or they could be murderous bastards who can’t wait to rip off your head and feast on your innards. Yetis love innards, they’re like Snickers bars to them.

What is found? For starters, this episode features awesome footage of “Yetis” walking around the snowy wilderness. Okay, the shots are really just of interns from the show who were forced to wear tight Abominable Snowman suits, but they look really cool and ultimately that’s all that counts. There’s also a memorable interview with Peter Byrne, a former big game hunter/Abominable Snowman expert who gained notoriety in cryptozoology circles for stealing a purported Yeti hand from a Buddhist monastery. (Just to make the story stranger, he was rumored to have Jimmy Stewart’s help in smuggling the bones out of Nepal). As for offering definitive proof as to whether or not the snow-loving creatures exist, well, Nimoy leaves things deliciously ambiguous.

Memorable quote: “Byrne had caught the Snowman fever, and has devoted his life to the search.”

9. The End of the World

What exactly is being sought? The various ways in which life on Earth will come to a sudden, painful and terrifying end.

What is found? A variety of scenarios that prove that we are all pretty much fucked. It’s just a matter of time before a comet, an asteroid or a meteorite wipes us out, and since Ben Affleck and Bruce Willis will be unable to help we have no choice but to sit back and take it. Michael Bay screws us again!

Memorable quote:

“Doomsday, apocalypse, Armageddon. Deep within the soul of humanity lies a primal fear — a fear of the total destruction of the Earth as we know it.”

8. Animal ESP

What exactly is being sought? The answers to whether or not humans can psychically communicate with members of the animal kingdom.

What is found? Unlike most episodes of In Search of…, this installment does offer some definitive proof. Although in this case, it’s definitive proof that some schmucks will believe anything. I know Nimoy was Spock and all, but does he really think floating the idea of a possible mind meld between man and beast is at all logical? This episode’s greatest finding is the simple reminder of how much pets enrich our lives. Also, the look on the animal talker’s face as she works her magic at 4:45 in the above clip is pretty damn amazing too.

Memorable quote: “From the romping days of childhood to the quieter hours of later years, our animals are there as companions, comforters and confidants.”

The Top 7 Most Awesome “In Search Of…” Episodes at Topless Robot.