Why Is Chris Jericho Hunting Louisiana’s Legendary Monsters?
The wrestling icon says you make time for what you love, and this month he’s making time for a swamp creature and a voodoo priestess on Travel Channel.
Chris Jericho makes a habit of showing up unexpectedly. Whether that’s barnstorming New Japan Pro Wrestling in the midst of a surefire hall of fame career at WWE, or breaking through the ceiling of rock radio with a hit single (“Judas”) that put his band Fozzy in the mainstream spotlight. In doing so, Jericho has created a cult status this year as a man who can do anything.
In September, he showed up at the biggest independent wrestling show of all time, shocking 11,000 people in Chicago hours before headlining at a Fozzy gig outside of Kansas City. And this October, he’s adding another notch to his belt with a return to the Travel Channel in a Halloween special called Chris Jericho: Hunting Monsters.
The show pits Jericho as a detective on the trail of the mysterious. And after a successful one-off in last year’s Travel Channel special, Jericho is headed to the heart of Louisiana in pursuit of some of the country’s most terrifying myths and legends. I sat down with the man of 1,004 legends to find out why he’s perpetually chasing the unknown and what scared him senseless in Louisiana.
Joe Sills: Tell us about the location of the show. You’re in Louisiana, which is already legendary for its paranormal history. What can we expect to see?
Chris Jericho: There’s a couple of phenomena we explore. There’s a Bigfoot-type creature called the Honey Island Swamp Monster. There’s the Rougarou. And since we’re in New Orleans, there’s a lot of voodoo involvement along with ordinary creepy stuff like haunted houses and ghosts.
We did a lot. It’s all kind of part of the investigation that takes place and it makes a really interesting story. We saw some very strange things that weren’t showbiz-y at all.
Joe Sills: So you approach this like a documentary-style investigation?
Chris Jericho: Kind of. It was basically me looking around, talking to different people who had experienced things like the Honey Island Swamp Monster and the Rougarou. I talked to a voodoo priestess as well. Just like last year, when I went looking for Butch Cassidy’s gold, it wasn’t me and a group of treasure hunters. It was me interviewing people with first-hand knowledge. You talk to one person, they direct you over here. You talk to another person, they direct you somewhere else.
I talked to a lot of people who believed what they experienced. When you’re in that part of the country, these things are no joke.
Joe Sills: Did you come across anything down there that really scared you to the bone, or are you beyond that now?
Chris Jericho: Part of our research led us to an area in New Orleans where dozens of people had died in a flood. The burial grounds were in the middle of the swamps, and we went out there with a lot of paranormal apparatuses—EMF directors and that type of stuff. Mine was beeping all over the place. Whatever was causing that was focused and fixated around me. It made me feel like I had been on a rollercoaster. My insides felt shaken up. It was a very creepy, scary feeling, and it was not cool. It’s the type of thing that could make you say, “I don’t want to do this anymore.”
I mean, this wasn’t TV programming kind of stuff. This thing—I don't know what it was—was attached to me. I could feel it with my instincts as an animal, my instincts as a mammal, my primal instinct, and it was telling me to escape right now.
All it took was walking five feet in another direction and I was fine. But that was not cool.
Joe Sills: Wow. Uh…so is this going to be your last special, or do you plan to film more shows?
Chris Jericho: I’d love to do more. It’s right up my alley, and I think that Travel Channel and I have a great relationship. In fact, they came back and wanted to do another special with me. Now, we have two under our belts, and once you make a name for yourself with a brand and a franchise it becomes easier to do more.
Joe Sills: You’ve got wrestling. You’ve got rock ‘n’ roll. You’ve got a podcast. How do you make time for TV, too?
Chris Jericho: I was always interested in monsters and ghosts, along with UFOs and that sort of thing. Honestly, I find it very interesting and very strange when people say they aren’t, because whether people believe it or not, it’s a big universe out there. It’s a huge world. That’s why I like to research and get into these issues to see if I can understand it. Is there really a Honey Island Swamp Monster? I don’t know, but I do know there was some very serious paranormal activity going on when we were in those swamps and bayous.
The bottom line is it’s something I enjoy doing. That’s it. It’s something I want to do, so I make time for it. I have to turn down a lot of projects, because I don’t have time. But something like this is very interesting to me and I’m very excited to be involved with it and make it work.
Chris Jericho: Hunting Monsters airs on Travel Channel on October 23 at 10|9c.