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Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

Feb 2, 2021



‘UNSOLVED MYSTERIES’ started as a short docu series about unsolved crimes and supernatural happenings like ghosts, UFO’s and alien abduction in 1987. 

In 1988, it became a full series hosted by actor Robert Stack and it was such a hit that it went on for 9 years on NBC and for 2 more years on CBS. 

Obviously, there’s a big audience who find comfort in watching horrendous crimes that happen to other people, not to them.

It was revived in 2001 on cable but aired only for one year when host Robert Stack got sick and passed. It was revived again in 2007, hosted by Dennis Farina, and it went on until 2010. 

Then it became available on youtube, including old but digitally restored past episodes. Last year, the series was revived again, this time by Netflix.

This new reboot has 12 all new episodes but, this time, there is no more host. The stories, though, remain compelling and certainly worth watching. 

The first episode, “Mystery on the Rooftop”, is about a newly married couple where the husband, Rey Rivera, a Hispanic athlete and writer, suddenly goes missing in Baltimore and is found dead in a hotel after several days. 

The insinuation is that he fell from the hotel’s roof and the cops rule it as a case of suicide, but there are many factors that disprove this and it remains to be a puzzle how he got there in the first place. The crime remains unsolved up to now. 

So is the case of a hairdresser, Patrice Endres, who suddenly vanishes from her hair salon one morning and was found dead several days later in the woods. 

This story is spiced up by the family drama Patrice left behind. Her son from another man thinks it’s her new husband who did her in, but his stepdad, of course, denies it. There is very palpable animosity between the two. 

Most of the episodes actually deal with missing persons and the evil that men are capable of doing. The most disturbing for us is “House of Terror”, the case of Xavier Dupont de Ligonnes in France. 

His whole family goes missing but after several days, his wife and four kids were found dead and buried under their home, shot in the head. 

Xavier used to be a member of a noble, aristocratic French family and everyone says he’s harmless. But he went bankrupt when all his businesses lost money, so the belief is he chose to just kill his whole family rather than they all face extreme humiliation and poverty. 

His actions suggest that he has a deranged, but brilliant mind. There was an extensive search for him but he has yet to be found. 

One episode deals with a series of UFO sightings and alien abductions in the Berkshires, a mountainous area in Massachussetts, in September, 1969.  

Several of the survivors are still alive and they all vividly recount their personal experience about the incident. But the cops do not have any official record of any one making a formal complaint about it and it remains a mystery up to now. 

Some of the episodes drag and you can see the padding to fill up the one-hour running time of each episode. The advantage of having a regular host is that he acts as some sort of a bridge to help fill in the blanks with out the help of unnecessary graphics or redundant re-enactments. 

Also, the show now faces more competition with the current availability of other crime shows like “CSI” (which had several versions set in various cities), “Forensic Files”, “Cold Case” and other crime stories like “True Crime” and “Tiger King”. 

But the truth that this series demonstrates is that there is really an enormous number of unresolved stories out there. 

Now, this is certainly most frightening as we watch the victims guide us through the heart wrenching pain they experience in losing their loved ones. 

We can watch all the fantasy shows we want about superheroes and stranger things, but true crime stories continue to warn us about the existence of truly bad, evil people who might be just lurking around the corner in real life.