Rise of Skinwalker: Mountain Monsters Team Stalks the Cherokee Death Cat

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Mountain Monsters 605 Cherokee Death Cat

They're called the yee naaldooshii. It's a Navajo phrase for "skinwalkers" -- witches who would go about on all fours while dressed in the skins of animals. Basically furries before they had conventions to attend.

And they're the overarching subject of this season of MOUNTAIN MONSTERS, as tne AIMS Team takes on a quest that will ultimately lead them to the mystery of Spearfinger.

Tonight, the team returns to Cherokee County, where they have once before hunted the Cherokee Death Cat. But before we proceed, there's unfinished business from last episode, when the team saw a skinwalker circle and runes painted onto a tree. Team member Buck is descended from Cherokee, and he sent photos of the runes to his uncle for translation. The term comes back "Bear Man." This confirms to them that the Silver Giant -- the bear-like creature they were hunting previously -- is a skinwalker, just like the Waya Woman. He also says that the circle had been there a long time, based on its size, as they grow as a skinwalker resides in a region.

But back to the Cherokee Death Cat. The team stops to meet with an eyewitness to get his story of an encounter. The man, Bubba, was out hunting with his father when his father saw an 8-foot-long cat that lept nearly fifty feet up into a tree. Buck believes this must be the Cherokee Death Cat, and the team plan a night investigation on the spot.

That night, Jeff gets something on the thermal. It's cat pee on a tree, and there are claw marks seven feet up. Then Jeff finds more claw marks higher up, but neither Buck nor Huckleberry notice, as they have wandered off after a noise, leaving Jeff talking to nobody. It's not until they are farther away they realize they have left Jeff. Jeff needs to wear a GPS tracker, as he tends to get lost in the woods a lot these days.

When they find Jeff, he's wandering in a daze, and just wants to get back to the truck and be left alone. As they lead him back, he's stumbling, he's walking into trees -- he's visibly shook up. It turns out those claw marks Jeff was talking about went all the way up the tree -- all the way up to the cat that was sitting up there, staring down at him with huge fangs, which leapt at him (and, apparently, missed).

The next morning, Huck and Buck meet with Jeff and he's still not feeling well, having gone without sleep. He felt abandoned by the team, and the guys apologize, promising this will not happen again. And to make sure, Huck ties a rope around Jeff's waist so they never lose him.


Meanwhile, Willie and Wild Bill are getting started on the trap. The last time they went after the Cherokee Death Cat, the beast went around the trap. Since that trap failed, Willie is... going to use the exact same design again. And as he builds the hexagon cage with trap door and lid, he notices Wild Bill is going heavy on the snacks. Nope, Bill's not possessed by any hunger demons, he's just eating to eat, and Willie makes cracks about his paunch starting to show it.


Then we meet Eyewitness #2: Farmer Bob heard a roar at two in the morning and thought it was a jet. But the next afternoon, he heard it again, and traced it to a holler, where there wa a barn. The roar was coming from inside the barn, leading the team to wonder why, if a beast is in hiding, it would roar. But they can plainly hear it on the video Farmer Bob took, which didn't sound overdubbed at all. "Sounds like it's coming right from that barn," Buck says. To me it sounded like it was coming from the phone, but I guess Buck's got a better directional-sense of hearing when it comes to video replays.

So it's time to track down that barn. Now, they could have asked Farmer Bob for directions, but it's more fun to tramp into the woods and look for landmarks, like a big rock that was in the video. On their way to it, they find a mud wallow, where a large creature has been cooling off recently. Then they find the rock, and from that vantage point they can look into the valley and see the barn.

That's when Buck realizes: they've seen that barn before. But not from the previous expedition. This barn was part of the film they were shown in the first episode, when they were tasked by the man in the scarecrow mask to learn the mysteries behind the set of creatures they're tracking this season.

Speaking of the masked man, I think I saw him recently at Spirit Halloween.

Rather than go into the barn, the team decides to seek out the property owner and get permission. That's a good idea. But they don't locate him until the middle of the night, and they take a meandering path around his property rather than going from the driveway to the door. They see buckshot peppering a barn door, which they take as a sign that maybe the owner doesn't want to talk to people -- especially in the middle of the night. They decide to take their flashlights and head back to the truck, when they are found by the landowner, shining a spotlight of his own.

Buck explains the concept of the show to the farmer, and the urgency to talk to him about the barn. He's okay with them going to look in it, but he doesn't know how they will get down there. A flood has blocked the road. But the team is determined to find a way, so they gear up to rappel down a rock wall. But Jeff has a problem. While they're packing up, he's lost his cross. (God, I hope it's not up his nose!) He gets emotional about the cross his wife gave him, and he had promised her he would not go out without it.


And then the roaring begins, and the team goes on alert. They look about and find a dozen trees, each with limbs leaning against them. It's much like a bigfoot sign, a warning to stay away. When they hear noises to their left and right, Jeff realizes there are two different creatures in the woods.

Huckleberry stayed with Willie and Wild Bill as they prepared to rappel down to the barn, but left them to follow Buck and Jeff. Looks like Huck should have held onto his own rope, because now he's on his own, and has been separated from the team for nearly an hour, with something stalking him. "There's something out here, and it's not the Death Cat," he realizes.

When Buck and Jeff leave the marked area, they see something glinting on a low-hanging branch: it's Jeff's crucifix. Oh thank goodness, it's not up his nose after all! But with the realization that Huckleberry is missing, the team has a new problem. There's a noise coming from the barn, which is now glowing from the inside. Someone has lit a fire in it -- and the noise they heard gradually increases until it turns into a roar.

Sounds like a skinwalker just put on its cat suit.