Another week, another TV show about unexplained phenomena in Latin America, right? For the benefit of those of you who don’t habla, I’m going to illuminate you on the Mexican show ExtraNormal, a perfect example of the Latin American phenomenon of paranormal news shows that are actually framed as something like a paranormal version of 20-20 while still maintaining their glorious ridiculousness intact.
This particular segment deals with what can best be translated as “intraterrestrials.” Right from the start, the audience is treated to a soundtrack comprised of the music one would hear during the lead-up to an epic battle scene in a fantasy movie, except all we’re looking at are maps and pictures of “strange beings.” Our story begins in Tecate, Baja California, where there may be intraterrestrial beings living in underground caves, and resident Katy Uribe’s got the dirt. She explains how the intraterrestrials are very advanced creatures: They take advantage of the natural resources at their disposition while still keeping themselves pure of spirit. Other than her medicine-woman garb, it’s not clear exactly why she’s an expert.
We’re bombarded with images of potential aliens that look nothing like each other, and it’s never explained where exactly these pictures are coming from. Katy gives a pretty vague description of what people have seen, but based on these verbal sketches, the ExtraNormal team makes the connection with a theory that there are direct descendants of the Mayans living underground in Yucatán. I believe the footage that accompanies this “discovery” is from the film Apocalypto.
Down to Mérida, Yucatán they go. Our host (who we haven’t seen until now and won’t ever see again) ventures into a sacred pool where stories of the Aluxes, guardians of nature, abound. Various locals are interviewed, and one of them explains that these mysterious beings could have come from the genetic mutations caused by the coupling of siblings in the ancient cultures. Incest! ExtraNormal is really tackling all the taboos.
Then danger comes into the mix. The Aluxes are creatures of great knowledge, but they can’t just keep it to themselves. Every once in a while, they “pick a young boy of of Indian caste to take with them to the entrails of the Earth,” all so they can teach him a thing or two and give him some spiritual guidance. Years later, this boy’s parents will find him a fully-grown Mayan shaman. And of course, ExtraNormal has the story of a boy who recently disappeared near some Mayan ruins to prove it. While interviewing his mother, something freaky happens. She says her son’s name, and at that very moment, a candle goes out. After a voice-over wonders whether this is indeed a sign that her boy is in fact coming back to her, the segment ends, and we are left with no further explanation or conclusion.
Obviously, this show isn’t meant to be a legitimate source of real information, but rather a semi-exploitative, fantastic piece of entertainment. What I find interesting about this segment (and a lot of the Latin American coverage of the paranormal) is that sure, there are always locals willing to talk to TV shows about how they believe in whatever that week’s subject is, but here, the disappeared boy’s mother has also been seeking help from shamans in finding him. In other words, although she seems slightly skeptical in their assurances that her son will eventually be released from the Aluxes’ underground spiritual retreat, she also believes enough that she has contacted them in the first place. To her, and to many Latin Americans, the unexplained can also be a realistic and supplementary way to deal with life’s problems, and it isn’t immediately shrugged off.
Unfortunately, this idea gets lost in the shuffle of ExtraNormal‘s lack of any credible evidence, seeing as no one with any sort of credentials is ever interviewed, and the images that accompany the piece are all photos and videos from unnamed sources. Ultimately, it’s just another “shocking” TV show, but hey, it’s a good way to spend eight minutes of your day.