Posted by: John Kirk on October 12th, 2006
This is the second part of our series on how law enforcement techniques can help in cryptid investigations.
Preparing Yourself for the Investigation
You have received a report of an encounter with a sasquatch by an eyewitness. Optimally, you will have your team assembled, if not and you are just a single individual you can still apply these techniques to your investigation by being willing to carry out all aspects of the investigation. Before you even step out of your house you need to have certain items packed in your car and ready to assist you in your investigation.
I suggest you have the following.
a) A still camera, extra batteries and film.
b) A 16mm fim camera. this is the medium Roger Patterson used and look at what we have been able to learn about the anatomy of a female sasquatch from the detail 16mm filmis able to capture. If a 16mm camera is not available then use a video camera to record eyewitness interviews. This is better than a tape recorder as you will be able to analyze the body language of the witness as well as their testimony if you need to do so at a future time.
c) A tape recorder if you do not have a video camera to create a permanent record of your interview.
d) Ziploc bags for collecting evidence. The bags used by a number of law enforcement agencies I work with are no different from simple Ziploc bags that you buy from the supermarket. I would suggest you stick a decent size label on the bag so that you can record contents, location where the contents were collected, date and time and name of collector.
e) Glassine envelopes, paper bags and envelopes for DNA collection
f) Rubber gloves and tools such as tweezers, brushes and cotton swabs to collect tissue, hair and other bodily material.
g) Shoe covers to avoid bringing potential contaminants into the area.
h) Yellow caution tape. You have scene the type of caution tape that says: “Caution: Police Line Do Not Cross”. There are rolls of tape that you can buy that you can use to secure the area and the best is the type that says: Do not enter area may be hazardous. That will keep lookey-loos out of the area.
i) Track casting material. Many investigators use Plaster of Paris, but I would caution anyone who wants to use this medium to get proper training in this area as there are hazards associated with using this material. Consult with someone in the medical realm before using this. There are a number of alternatives that can be used for track casting purposes including products used in the dentistry business which are more expensive, but less dangerous than plaster of Paris.
j) Tape measures – at least two.
k) Adhesive tapes, duct, scotch, and masking tape. Good for picking up items.
l) Talcum powder.
m) Wooden pegs, string, marker flags, and plastic sheeting to cover the ground and protect it from rain and wind erosion.
n) Note pad, pen.
o) GPS unit
p) Filter mask for protection from germs and odours.
The Eyewitness Interview.
When interviewing the witness it is important to ascertain whether there is any sort of case at all. Unfortunately, we will live with the possibility of hoaxing and it is incumbent on us to realize this is a real possibility. There are self-serving, malicious, attention seeking, deluded and just plain devious people out there and we will have to ascertain whether the witness deserves attention.
One area overlooked by investigators is the witness preparation. Be up front and honest that you are investigating this as if this was a police investigation and that you will be thorough, painstaking and diligent about obtaining information from the witness. Make them feel at ease with you, but do not let them be too relaxed as witnesses who continue to have adrenalin flowing in their systems tend to have better senses of recall.
Every attempt should be made to reach an interviewee as soon as possible after the incident has occurred. Long delays may result in the witness failing to recall important details that could help your investigation. Every effort should be made to meet the potential interviewee as soon as possible. Also suggest to them that they not read anything on the subject of sasquatch until after you have talked to them so that they are not tainted by other people’s descriptions of the animal or try to make their sighting conform to the experiences of others.
There are six principles every investigator has to abide by in questioning a witness and they are:
For the sake of simplicity we will call sasquatch a “Who” not a what for our purposes.
1) Who – In this line of questioning it is imperative to ask the witness to describe the physical attributes of what they saw to the best of their recollection. A general appearance description should be solicited. This would involve height, colouring, weight, any unusual physical attributes, gender and odour.
The witness needs to estimate the distance between themselves and the sasquatch. There are tell-tale signs that things are not what they seem when a witness in a daylight sighting can tell you the colour of the sasquatch’s eyes and that it had teeth when they were 300 feet from the object. We must use logic and common sense in applying our investigation in an unbiased fashion. An objective investigator goes to a site with an open mind, but without the expectation that he will find anything. If one goes to a site with the expectation of finding something this may result in a lack of objectivity, so we must not be tainted by our own desires to solve the sasquatch enigma by projecting our own wants, expectations and desires on the scene. In reality we ought to be highly skeptical and allow real evidence to present itself to us and persuade us because it is self-evident.
If possible ask in grinding detail if the sasquatch had attributes you would expect of a human. No detail is too small to investigate. In many cases, sightings are brief and distant, but one must attempt to extract from the witness every ounce of recall.
Details to ask about include:
3) Breadth at shoulders.
4) Arm to leg length ratios.
5) How much of the body was hair covered?
6) Could skin be seen anywhere?
7) Hair length on head and other parts of the body.
9) Nails on fingers and toes.
10) Opposability of the thumb.
11) Eye colour.
12) Hair colour.
14) Presence/Absence of features.
15) Gait. Normal or limp.
16) Any other movement observed.
To be continued.
Part I is available here on Cryptomundo.
One of the founders of the BCSCC, John Kirk has enjoyed a varied and exciting career path. Both a print and broadcast journalist, John Kirk has in recent years been at the forefront of much of the BCSCC’s expeditions, investigations and publishing. John has been particularly interested in the phenomenon of unknown aquatic cryptids around the world and is the author of In the Domain of the Lake Monsters (Key Porter Books, 1998). In addition to his interest in freshwater cryptids, John has been keenly interested in investigating the possible existence of sasquatch and other bipedal hominids of the world, and in particular, the Yeren of China. John is also chairman of the Crypto Safari organization, which specializes in sending teams of investigators to remote parts of the world to search for animals as yet unidentified by science. John travelled with a Crypto Safari team to Cameroon and northern Republic of Congo to interview witnesses among the Baka pygmies and Bantu bushmen who have sighted a large unknown animal that bears more than a superficial resemblance to a dinosaur. Since 1996, John Kirk has been editor and publisher of the BCSCC Quarterly which is the flagship publication of the BCSCC. In demand at conferences, seminars, lectures and on television and radio programs, John has spoken all over North America and has appeared in programs on NBC, ABC, CBS, PBS, TLC, Discovery, CBC, CTV and the BBC. In his personal life John spends much time studying the histories of Scottish Clans and is himself the president of the Clan Kirk Society. John is also an avid soccer enthusiast and player.