Mystery. Drama. That really ugly photo of a dead animal.

The Turner beast is back.

And it’s coming to a TV near you.

“MonsterQuest,” a 13-week documentary series that delves into the evidence surrounding Bigfoot, Birdzilla and other legendary monsters, will profile the Turner beast – and the international hysteria that fueled the mystery – in an episode called “Mutant Canines.” The show will air Wednesday on the History Channel.

The series was created by Whitewolf Entertainment, a Minnesota-based production company. Producer Doug Hajicek learned about the Turner beast after the Sun Journal ran a story about a strange animal found dead beside some Turner powerlines in August 2006.

Many people thought the grotesque body was that of a mystery beast believed to have killed dogs in Greene and Wales, a long-rumored creature with glowing eyes, a chilling cry and the features of a wolverine, hyena and Tasmanian devil.

News of the beast, as well as photographs of the body, spread fast and far, appearing on TV news broadcasts, cryptozoology Web sites and news pages.

Hajicek read about it on the Internet and grabbed the case for his mutant canine episode.

“It is an interesting story because a lot of people don’t realize it’s not really unique, what’s going on in Maine. It’s happening all over,” Hajicek said.

Although Sun Journal-sponsored DNA tests ultimately confirmed the body was that of a dog – not, as many believed, a Chupacabra, werewolf, extraterrestrial or mythological bogeyman from American Indian folklore – Whitewolf Entertainment came to Maine last winter to film a segment on the Turner beast maelstrom and the local legend that fed it.

It helped that there was a body.

“Turner is the hub of the (Mutant Canines) show. The reason is it’s one of the cases we can apply science to, and that’s why it’s important,” Hajicek said.

During the weeklong shoot in Turner, crews talked with area believers, skeptics and scientists. Sun Journal reporter Mark LaFlamme, who wrote the Turner beast stories, and Animal Control Officer Wendell Strout were also interviewed.

“I simply told them it was nothing more than a dog,” Strout said. “That’s what I’ve been saying from the beginning: It was a dog.”

LaFlamme and Strout were also filmed lugging bait and trudging through the woods in an attempt to trap a real mutant canine for the show.

“I wasn’t worried so much about encountering the beast out there in the deep dark woods,” LaFlamme said. “I was mostly concerned about getting mauled by a descending vulture or something attracted to my buckets of beast bait.”

So did MonsterQuest find the mutant canine responsible for the local legend? Hajicek is mum.

“You’ll have to watch the show,” he said.

The Turner beast’s History Channel debut hasn’t escaped the attention of at least one Lewiston business. Mulligan’s Indoor Golf & Pub will show the Mutant Canines episode on all nine of its big screen HD TVs.

MonsterQuest airs at 10 p.m. Wednesday on the History Channel.

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