When I was an impressionable youth, one of my favorite pastimes was to watch reality shows such as “Rescue 911” and “Unsolved Mysteries” (this was before the days of “Survivor” and “American Idol’). These reality shows dealt with situations that happened to real people and then were dramatized to show us what happened during these incidents. “Rescue 911” did have its share of frightening moments. One episode that stands out in my mind was one in which a young girl is trying to help out her mother by bathing her baby brother. She has asked her mother if she can do this, but the mother is washing dishes, and she tells the girl to wait until she is done. The girl doesn’t listen. Unfortunately the little girl only filled the tub up with scalding hot water (she checks the water when its filling up and it’s too hot, but she turns the knob the wrong way and it only gets hotter), and puts the baby in without checking the temperature of the water, thereby burning the child!!! Watch the episode here! As far as “Rescue 911” goes though, these were unfortunate accidents that are in most cases preventable.
“Unsolved Mysteries” on the other hand, involved cases of the unexplained and unsolved sort (thus the title of the show), and every week on the show mysteries such as kidnappings, and murders, and conspiracy theories would be explored. But my favorite episodes of all were when they explored the supernatural. Of course, these were also the ones that gave me the willies. The episode that stands out the most in my mind, and left me sleepless many a night, concerned UFOs. It was about a UFO sighting in Texas that left 2 women with radiation burns, and cancer, and it terrified me to think that this could actually have happened. I was already afraid of getting cancer (too many St. Jude specials I guess), so this episode just compounded my fear. For the longest time I was petrified that I would see a UFO, and I would regularly scan the skies apprehensively.
This long running series was hosted by Robert Stack from 1987 until 2003 (his death), and then ran again briefly on Spike TV, hosted by Dennis Farina. The spooky content, the x-filesish theme music, and the narration of the real witnesses of these events make “Unsolved Mysteries” one of the scariest television series I have ever seen!