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Series / Mystery Hunters

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Our intrepid Mystery Hunters and Doubting Dave.
"Remember, things aren't always what they seem!"

Mystery Hunters is a Discovery Kids and YTV program starring Araya Mengesha and Christina Broccolini, two teens who investigate mysteries of things that go bump in the night and try to find both the rational scientific explanation and the mysterious explanations of the unknown. Their investigations have included ghosts, aliens, vampires, werewolves and so on.

In between their investigations, David Acer AKA Doubting Dave provides his own segments. V-files has him explain weird and potentially supernatural situations scientifically based on viewers' questions while Mystery Labs has him show you how to create your own experiments and craft projects based on the mystery of the week.

The series ran for four seasons between 2002 to 2009, airing a total of 78 episodes. It has an Indian counterpart called, naturally, "Mystery Hunters India." It aired in 2012, a few years after the original ended. Unlike the original series where the show explore mysteries around the world, this version is more local, looking at Indian myths.

Tropes used by Mystery Hunters:

  • Agent Scully: Doubting Dave, Araya, and Christina all have this as their default mode.
    • Doubting Dave in particular is this. His V-File segments aimed to provide logical explanations or theories regarding strange activity that fans have encountered. Also while Araya and Christina might still slightly entertain the idea of supernatural or extratessial activity could have occured, Dave will point out that there was insufficient evidence that it did. For example, as noted in the season one Best of Mystery Hunters special, while Christina still believed ghosts exist, Dave points out that they have yet to prove one exists.
  • Alien Abduction: A frequent subject.
  • Ancient Tomb: Tutankhamun's tomb is featured in one episode with one of the mysteries being investigated was whether it was cursed.
  • Area 51: In one episode, Christina heads near the area to investigate reports of captured ufo.
  • The Bermuda Triangle: One episode investigates the disappearance of boats and planes within this area.
  • Bigfoot, Sasquatch, and Yeti: The first episode sees Araya trying to find out if Bigfoot, who has been allegedly sighted in Oregon, is real or not.
    • One v-file segment dealt with a viewer who heard that a Yeti, which was frozen, was supposedly found in Siberia and was being thawed out by scientists. Dave though pointed out that what they actually found was a frozen mammoth and that there isn't any proof that Yetis have ever existed.
  • Bigger on the Inside: In the christmas episode, Doubting Dave shows how to make an igloo. He notes that it looks small from the outside but seems like an ice hotel lobby on the inside (perhaps like the one he tried to get into earlier).
  • Big "NO!": During a Mystery Lab segment, Doubting Dave, after showing how to make a homemade metal detector, drops the key for his chest of gold coins down a drain grate and then accidently closes the chest. He then proceeds to give a Big No when can't open the chest again.
  • The Black Death: Mentioned for the background of the Edinburgh Vaults that Araya visits. The location was once a street where it's inhabitants were killed by the plague and, once empty, a new street built over it. Araya investigates reports that ghosts of the inhabitants, including a little girl named Annie, now roam in the vaults.
  • The Cameo
    • A young Nicholas Hoult makes a brief appearance in the episode dealing with the Macbeth curse where he shows Araya what to do to avert the curse if someone says Macbeth before doing the play.
    • Steve Irwin makes a brief appearance when Doubting Dave starts a mystery lab segment by trying to impressionate Irwin's accent. He calls Dave to tell him to stop since his impressions are so bad.
  • Cat Scare: One episode featured a viewer ask about a plane he saw go into a cloud and not come back out; an annoying news crew interrupts Dave before he can answer, instead sending Captain Ben Bishop (who spoke with an inexplicable Sean Connery accent) into the cloud. He reports something coming right for him as static engulfs the radio...only for it to turn out to be a Bee in the cockpit.
  • Christmas Episode The fourth season had a christmas special where the hunters see if reindeer can fly and whether Santa's workshop can be found.
  • Chupacabra: In one episode, both Araya and Christina investigate suppose evidence where Chupacabras exist with Araya going to Puerto Rico, the allege origin of the creature, while Christina goes to Texas to examine a potential chupacabra skeleton.
  • Circle of Standing Stones: There is an episode where both Araya and Christina try to investigate who built the Stonehenge and what it's purpose might have been.
  • Clip Show: The finales from each season has the team discussing their favorite moments from the mysteries, alongside some bloopers. Some later ones though had a bit more of a plot in between clips.
  • Crop Circles: Araya investigates what has been causing some of these to be formed in England and whether aliens have anything to do with them though it is shown that it isn't hard for humans to make one. Araya even assists in making one.
  • Curse: A couple of episodes investigate alleged curses such as the curse of the play Macbeth and an allege curse that occurs if one enters Tutankhamun's tomb. Subverted though as it seems that incidents that are allegedly caused by the curses seem to be coincidences.
  • Curse of the Pharaoh: Subverted. One episode explores the alleged curse of Tutankhamun's tomb, noting how many of the explorers who discovered the tomb, along with some other people who later visited his tomb, seem to have ended up dying not long afterwards. It is pointed out though that some of deaths were not related to the tomb (one visitor was sick before coming to egypt while another died from a shaving related incident) not to mention that one explorer who discovered it, Howard Carter, lived quite a while after finding the tomb. Other egyptian curses are briefly mentioned but are dismissed as being more like "do not trespass" signs rather than being actual curses.
  • Death by Falling Over: Doubting Dave fell over a case of stairs in a V-File talking about ghosts, briefly leaving his body. He gets better when he gets back into his body.
  • Demythification: The series offers an explanation for the Minotaur and the Labyrinth. The Labyrinth was born from Knossos and its storeroom, which was located beneath the palace and had narrow twisting corridors that could have discouraged robbers. The Minotaur would have come from all of the bull imagery and the labyrinth-like architecture, with the possibility that it had just been made-up to keep robbers away.
  • Did Anastasia Survive?: One of the pre-2007 episodes saw the mystery hunters looking into the mystery of what happened to Princess Anastasia. Specifically, they tried to figure out if she escaped Russia and whether Anna Anderson, who claimed she was the princess before immigrating to the United States, was telling the truth.
  • Doppelgangers: Investigated.
  • Edutainment Show: The show aims to provide potential rational explanations for supposedly supernatural events.
  • Faking the Dead: One episode explores alleged claims that the outlaw Jesse James faked his assassination in order to escape law enforcement. DNA evidence though suggests Jesse James was indeed assassinated.
  • Fanservice: Yes, even in this show. As Christina Broccolini matured physically, her outfits went from casual t-shirts and regular jeans to painted-on pants and tight tank tops that hugged every curve.
  • Flying Saucer: One of Doubting Dave's Mystery Lab segments shows how to make photographs that make it seemed like you took a photo of a flying saucer in order to trick others.
  • Foregone Conclusion: Everything has a rational explanation. There are never any supernatural events without a mundane explanation. No matter how afraid the hosts act while it's happening.
  • Giant Flyer: One episode has Araya investigate stories regarding cryptozoological Thunderbirds.
  • Haunted Castle: Some of the places that the hunters investigated were castles that were believed by some to be haunted.
  • Hilarious Outtakes: Bloopers were featured in their Best of Mystery Hunters specials that were featured at the end of each season.
  • Historical Villain Upgrade: Discussed as a possibility in the episode looking at the disappearance of Richard III's nephews, Edward V and Richard of Shrewsbury. The Yeoman Warder that Araya interviews at the start of the investigation suggests that Richard had them murdered so that he could claim the throne of England for himself. The writing on the Prince's tomb also suggests that the princes were killed on Richard's orders. However, one of other people Araya's interviews though claims that Richard was a good family man who was framed for crimes he didn't commit and that his current reputation is the result of the Tudor dynasty attempts to discredit Richard to make up for their weak claim to the throne.
  • Human Sacrifice: In a few of the episodes that dealt with a non-egyptian mummy, it seemed the mummies were likely killed as part of a human sacrifice on the belief it would help the community by pleasing their gods.
  • Identical Stranger: Doubting Dave discussed this in a V-File that there would be someone else that might look like you. He brings an example of him looking like Weird Al.
  • Living Dinosaurs: One episode sees Araya investigating whether a supposed living dinosaur is roaming around Colorado with one interviewee claiming she saw one while driving down a road. The possibility they were Right for the Wrong Reasons and actually saw an actual living dinosaur, an emu, in low light that had gotten out of its ranch is brought up.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: Sometimes, the hosts would be unable to conclusively explain everything rationally, leaving the possibility of the supernatural.
  • Midas Touch: Christina investigates whether King Midas' suppose ability to turn everything he touched into gold was true.
  • The Mothman: Araya travels to West Virginia in one episode to investigate the alleged existence of this creature.
  • Near-Death Experience: Dave went into some pretty good detail describing how this works.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: The lead up to the Tom Thomson segment started off talking about his ghost...only for the vast majority of it being an investigation into Thomson's death, the ghost hardly being brought up.
  • No Ending: Most of the investigations are often left unsolved due to insufficient evidence for any of the theories presented.
  • One We Prepared Earlier: If a Mystery Lab segment activity would require an object to be stored for a certain period of time, there will usually be a second prepared one available.
  • Ouija Board: One of the Mystery Lab segments features Doubting Dave showing the viewers how to make their own and how to use it though he points out that people who use them might be unconsciously moving the planchette since our muscles have a tendency to twitch on their own rather than being influenced by ghosts.
  • Our Fairies Are Different: In the V-Files where Doubting Dave discusses about fairy rings, he states that there are different kinds of fairies, some that are good, evil, mischievous and can give you various types of luck.
  • Paranormal Investigation: Many of the investigations on this show are based around alleged paranormal activity.
  • The Prankster: All of the presenters seem to be this. It is common for at least one of them to try to pull a prank on another during the last part of the episode. Dave also sometimes shows viewers how to conduct paranormal type pranks in his "Mystery Lab" segments.
  • Pungeon Master: Dave and Araya both get groans.
  • Rake Take: Doubting Dave hits himself with a rake a few times when discussing about fairies.
  • Scare Chord: Added to personal accounts
  • Science Show: The show often notes how many anomalies could potentially be explained by science or at least provide a logical theory for why a strange event occurred or is occuring.
  • The Scottish Trope: One episode covered the alleged curse where it is bad luck to say Macbeth before doing a performance of that play.
  • Sewer Gator: One episode featured Christina heading to New York City to investigate reports of alligators supposedly living in the sewers.
  • Shout-Out:
    • One episode dealing with the power of suggestion featured a fictional serial killer named Eduard Delacroix.
    • In episode 13's V-File has a viewer asking if time travel is possible after watching Back to the Future. When the kid talks about going back and forth through time, Marty McFly travels between Family Ties and Spin City (This is a reference towards Michael J. Fox).
  • Signing-Off Catchphrase: Episodes often end with one of the Mystery Hunters saying some variation of "Remember, things aren't always what they seem".
  • Spooky Photographs: Christina explores a cave allegedly full of ghosts where photographers have taken photos that seem to show ghosts when they are otherwise invisible. Downplayed though as Doubting Dave points out the equipment the photographers had with them may have been what was responsible for the ghost like imagery.
  • Spoon Bending: Discussed and potentially subverted in one episode. Araya investigates whether it is possible to bend spoons using the mind and attends a workshop dedicated to learning on how to bend forks, spoons and knives. While Araya is able to bend a fork and his classmates get very noticeable bends with their objects after getting instructions from the teacher (such as telling them to think of a frivolous animal while trying to bend), it is noted that they were bending the objects with their hands and that suggestions from other, as well as what the individual wants, can influence the mind to move the muscles. Thus, psychic powers might not have had any role in it.
  • Stock Ness Monster: One of Araya's investigations sees him going to Scotland and see whether there is evidence that the Loch Ness Monster exists.
  • Two Lines, No Waiting: Most of the mysteries Christina and Araya investigate are separate ones that don't connect, though some might be related to a certain topic.
  • Unnaturally Blue Lighting: Used for a "creepy" effect with personal accounts.
  • You Look Like You've Seen a Ghost!: This occurs in some recreations when one of the hunters is talking to person who claims they saw a ghost or some other horrifying encounter.