Alternativia’s list of rigorous, upright researchers continues to shrink, rather than grow, but David Paulides‘s name remains at or near the top. He was on Coast to Coast recently which means I had him in my ears under London this morning. The segment was reasonably timely as it dovetails with some of Chris Knowles‘s and my email discussions about my textbook childhood hag attacks.
Paulides probably needs no introduction, but after more than two decades in law enforcement, he became the go-to guy for mysterious human vanishings in national parks; initially in the US, then Canada, UK, Australia and New Zealand… really anywhere with the English language and a broadly similar national park system.
His strict methodology befits a former law enforcement officer:
- Any case that might be suicide or ‘going off grid’ is discarded.
- Any case that involves someone with mental illness is also discarded.
- Obviously any cases that could be animal attacks, as evidenced by blood, drag marks, etc, are discarded.
- Only cases that occur inside national parks are considered.
Such rigorousness personally relaxes me. You end up with a data set that can actually yield supportable hypotheses. Now, regular readers of this blog -or really just non-idiots- will be aware that ‘abduction’ has been behaviourally associated with mankind more or less as far back as we can remember. Demons, faeries, trolls, spirits, greys… people get mysteriously vanished all the time. From their beds, from their homes, from their vehicles or with their vehicles (MH370, Bermuda Triangle,), etc.
This means that you will be aware that the best, or at least the most famous, ‘example’ of an ‘extradimensional explanation’ that broadly matches a Rune Soup interpretation of Paulides’s research is that of Travis Walton… who Paulides mentions on C2C, as they both know each other. We’ll return to Walton.
But this is not really an ‘explanation’ that we can do very much with. It’s really more of a trajectory of research. For instance, there are some interesting data about sleep/dream states, brain waves and the various neurochemicals that trigger them which might tell us something interesting about how many of the bed-based encounters might ‘work’. Nick Redfern speculated that certain consciousness states may trigger holographic projections… that sort of thing.
There is probably a lot of value in pursuing these lines of hypothesis but they simply cannot help us when, for instance, a three year old boy vanishes in seconds from under the eyes of his parents, only to have his remains found three quarters of a mile up what is effectively a cliff, four years later. Paulides was on C2C to promote a kickstarter for his Missing 411 film. (If it comes off, I get a t-shirt! Contribute.)
You can read the full story of Jaryd Atadero -referenced in the trailer- on David’s website. I want to expand on a number of its aspects:
- The initial Search and Rescue operation appears to have been deliberately scuttled: The SAR officers used Jaryd’s father’s clothing rather than Jaryd’s to give the dogs the scent. They then threatened Mr Atadero when he became angry over this. Key information -such as the three fisherman who were the last to see Jaryd alive- was kept from the parents for days.
- Midway through the second week, Mr Atadero got a mysterious phone call from inside the Sheriff’s Office saying that he wasn’t being told everything and the caller hoped he would one day find out the truth. (You can hear that piece in the trailer.)
- When Jaryd’s remains -such as they were- were found four years later, they were two miles away and 500 feet up from the last evidence of the kid being alive. From the website:
Four long years dragged on until hikers were 500+ feet above the Big South Trail, over two miles from the trailhead when they found scattered clothing. Larimer County Sheriff was notified and deputies went to the scene and found remains that were consistent with Jaryd. Allyn was called and this time they escorted him down the trail to the point just below the remains. Allyn said that it was a very, very steep and rocky incline where two SAR workers helped him up the mountain. Allyn stated he was taken to an area where they showed him the area where is sweatpants were found, but the clothing was already removed from the mountain. He was taken to another location where Jaryd’s shoes were found. Allyn made it a point to say that it didn’t appear to him that the shoes had been through the elements for four winters. The shoes were clean and the colors were vibrant. Searchers also found the sweater Jaryd was wearing that had some unusual hairs around the neckline Crime scene technicians found the top of his skull and one tooth in the general area. No other bones were found…
Days after finding Jaryd’s remains, the sheriff had a press conference. They had the clothing and shoes up on display boards covered with plastic. Allyn noticed that someone had (pulled the pants to display them right-side out), straightened out one of the legs to the sweatpants and asked the sheriff why they did that. The sheriff asked him what he meant. Allyn told them that when they were found, they were inside out. The sheriff asked him how he knew that. Allyn stated that he was at the scene. The sheriff claimed ignorance to the pant issue and left the displays as they were. Let me state right here, finding a young boys pants turned inside out on the side of a mountain is highly unusual. The sheriff had to have known this, thus straightening them out. One of Jaryd’s tooth was located sitting on top of a bed of needles in plain view, a very, very unusual sight. After four winters, you’d expect the tooth to be under the needles and buried by debris.
At the press conference, the sheriff stated he wasn’t positive what happened to Jaryd. He thought it was possible that a mountain lion killed him, but there wasn’t significant evidence to support that.
The sheriff sent the tooth and the top of the cranium to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation for DNA analysis. They also sent all of the clothing to the bureau to locate blood. They didn’t find any blood on any of the clothing. The CBI stated that the cranium had degraded DNA, causing the 85% return, but a DNA expert from Ohio told Allyn at a later date that the tooth was contaminated with more than one persons DNA. Personally, I have no idea what they mean. All DNA experts know that you cleanse the item prior to testing to eliminate any contamination. The sheriff also sent the hair they collected off Jaryd’s collar to the lab. They told Allyn that the hairs were non-human and not Mountain lion and not to worry about it. They never gave Allyn the hair report and never told him what the hairs belonged to. Think this through clearly. You are the investigator and you are attempting to understand what killed a small boy. Wouldn’t you want to know what those hairs belonged to? Hair and fiber experts know what every animal hair looks like. They have a guide to every hair in the wilderness and it’s their job to match them. Why wasn’t this completed? Why wasn’t Allyn given a copy of the hair report? He was given the DNA report and every other imaginable report, but that one. He still doesn’t have it.
- Jaryd’s skullcap was found sitting on a log and his single tooth was found sitting on a pile of pine needles… which is about as unusual as finding pristine shoes after four Colorado winters.
Whatever this is, it’s not sleep paralysis/holographically projected, interdimensional ‘portals’. And -here is where Paulides’s rigorous methodology is so helpful- it happens with considerable more frequency inside national parks than any other ‘wilderness’ or ‘urban’ or ‘rural’ area. A ‘standard’ extradimensional explanation would not allow for politically-created map lines to impact their overall spread. Neither would the explanation that the cases increase in areas of increased isolation… as most national parks are significantly more crowded in peak season than other ‘wilderness areas’. (From memory, fully half of Paulides’s cases come from Yosemite alone.)
Here’s a graph of the thinking process when encounters the Missing 411 dataset:
What are the under-reported ‘known unknowns’? They’re similar to how Jacques Vallée describes the uneven dataset of UFO encounters in UFOs: The Psychic Solution.
A Missing 411 ‘known unknown’ would be the amount of people who have encountered a presence or a UAP or something in a national park… just like the truly terrifying call from a woman describing being chased-yet-compelled by a dark presence in the final hour of the C2C interview. (Actually, you should probably sign up for a free month of Coast Insider to hear the whole show.) It is very possible I have my own ‘known unknown’ experience that could fall into a related dataset to Paulides’s.
So while we (hopefully!) have the impossibility of not reporting a missing child, it takes a late-night AM talkback show to extract an encounter that is relevant but does not show up easily in Paulides’s numbers… just like in Vallée’s graph. Thus we do not know if these classes of encounters have a higher occurrence inside national parks than outside them, but we may surmise that they do for reasons that will become clear.
Why national parks, then?
One thought is that they often encompass what John Keel called ‘window areas’. Certainly most of New Zealand’s national parks encompass tapu land. The problem with this as a singular explanation is that more tapu locations fall outside national parks than inside them. Also, there are plenty of window areas -the Mothman in Point Pleasant, for instance- that aren’t national parks. But it is certainly valuable to check indigenous mythology as they may indicate relevant historic patterns. However, the overlay of ‘national parks’ and ‘sacred sites’ maps is too noisy to be a satisfactory explanation. (Plus, I’m the first to admit my American history is not up to scratch but I am pretty sure there are no First Nations stories describing Yosemite as the hellmouth.)
In the interview, Paulides notes that national parks are “controlled areas”, typically under federal jurisdiction, the implication being that there may be shadow state involvement with the vanishings. There is certainly historical precedent for using national parks as a cover for deep start or secret military shenanigans. And the gods know David has actual proof of deliberate obfuscation and lying on the part of the FBI in many of the cases he has examined.
Yes, they are ‘controlled areas’, but it strains credulity to think this cover-up spans Australia, New Zealand, the UK and Canada. They are all ‘Five Eyes’ countries, to be sure, but I will bet actual money the reason David’s data falls more into these countries than say, China or Brazil, is down to language. And a globe-spanning national park cover-up doesn’t really work, if you ask me.
What if he’s right that national parks’ ‘controlled’ status -their arbitrary map marks- is the determining factor, but for reasons that are… ickier?
Sharks, like all predators, are a heady mix of laziness and opportunism. When we would go diving in the Solomons at Uepi Island -which was at the mouth of a tidal lagoon- on the outtide, they would effectively hang in the channel with their mouths open, feeding on whatever detritus floated fast. If you were to dig a channel closer to the village, they would show up there. More food, less swimming. Change the rules of the biosphere and you change predation patterns.
What if, as Chris recently explored, we actually are, in some way, property… or food?
In tribal societies, if people vanish in a particular valley, it is declared off limits. So if you are the entity doing the vanishing -like any other predator- you change your hunting grounds. Let’s say you snatch a kid or two from a national park. People keep coming. So you do it again. And then the FBI/Parks Service omerta sets in; because they don’t want to panic people or simply cannot admit these phenomena exist; and so more people come.
Returning to Walton, whatever happened to him happened outside a national park. And he was returned. In fact, when you consider the ‘famous’ UFO cases of abduction or serious encounters, they all tend to come back. This may be a factor, this may be a variant of the ‘known unknowns’.
Habitat changes have unpredictable effects on predation. You only need to look at London’s urban fox phenomenon or its parrots to see how the rules of extradimensional engagement might be inadvertently changed. Those signs at the beach that read “Do Not Feed The Seagulls” exist for a good reason. What if that’s what we are doing?
Watch the trailer again and you tell me.