Saturday, April 27, 2013
Statement Analysis of Anonymous Letters
Using the SCAN technique, we are often able to take anonymous letters and learn much information regarding the identity of the writer.
Often, the identity is found within the letter, itself.
We are also able to determine if a threat is real or not, though caution is always to be exercised just the same, as well as learn the motive of the letter.
Going word by word, we ask:
1. Does this indicate gender?
This means that in order to do this type of work, one that is 'politically correct' and insists upon gender neutral language will fail. We have to ask ourselves:
Is a man or a woman more likely to use this particular phrase? This takes time to develop.
We often date ourselves by our reference point. Said the heavyweight champion to Rocky Balboa:
"It ain't over till it's over? Where's that from, the '80s?"
"Uh, I think that's from the '70's" said Rocky.
Age is one of the easier things to pinpoint, unless the subject comes from a large family of older siblings, and then will often have references that appear to date him a bit, but even this is somewhat rare.
Some young people love old movies but when one says he is "smarter than the average bear" I am thinking that he did not grow up on Sponge Bob.
2. What is the education level?
There are those of high intelligence who may have been under-educated, while there are those who receive advance degrees but leave us wondering how they ever passed anything.
Is the subject deliberately dumbing things down to appear to be someone else?
3. What is the emotional intelligence level?
This is a hot-button point for some, but it does a wonderful work in identification.
Businesses are fond of attempting to identify those who solid-working intellects. Having someone, for example, in a business who has a high IQ, but is socially awkward to the point of turning away business, is something necessary for productivity. In most government agencies where no profit must be turned, this person is ripe for promotion, as he or she poses little threat to upper management, but will never bring productivity to fruition.
What is this person like?
What do they understand about their own selves, and about the world around them?
Does he possess self awareness?
Does she have any familiarity with the language of humility?
Is it likely that an above average intelligent woman with a BA degree is going to listen to a heavy metal rock band screeching about rape? Not likely.
There is always an exception to a rule, but remind yourself:
Norms, or principles, are not built on exceptions.
Somewhere out there is a woman who is going to bench press more than me. I will not, however, bet a cup of coffee on it. We must be flexible and not bring our pre-conceived notions into analysis, whenever possible.
4. Marital status
There is language that indicates one being married (or, today, in a long-term relationship) versus the language of someone single, though we must be on our guard because a married person who uses 'single' language may be indicating a bad relationship headed for a divorce. As society shifts, we may eventually make slight changes to "committed relationship" rather than "marriage" but we will not change our pronoun usage, as humans are possessive creatures.
Does the statement contain any regional wording?
Is it "wicked hot"? Is it that "good Southern sense" that one might have?
Is there any references that may indicate geographical location?
6. Likes, Dislikes
I like to joke about what a friend said to me, years ago, before he got married about his bride, "One owner, clean, in and out, no major accidents, no body work, good tires..." Of course, he was in the car business but it is that our world view is often shaped by what we do to pay the bills.
I use this same principle when accepting "friend" requests on Facebook during times when agitators wish to have access so they can seethe or threaten, under several different facebook names. Like the woman walking down the dark alley instinctively "profiling" the man dressed in a tuxedo walking towards her...well, you get the idea that thought must be given.
Our language reveals who we are, even when we attempt to masquerade ourselves, and like any analysis, the more sample we have to work with, the greater the accuracy. Learning Statement Analysis will not teach someone how to be a good liar, as we all are exposed when we enter the Free Editing Process.
Objection: But what if one avoids the Free Editing Process and stays to script?
Answer: We will note that the subject has a need to avoid freely speaking for himself, and his need to stay to script as sensitive.
Today, people will reveal themselves, for example, with musical references. If someone references a love of all things Bing Crosby, methinks we are not dealing with a trendy 16 year old.
Of course, at any point, we have to be flexible.
What makes it exciting is the twists and turns of the journey and it sometimes goes like this:
a. This really sounds like a female.
b. This sounds like a female.
c. This sounds like a male.
d. Oh, but now this sounds like a female...and back and forth it can go, demanding an open mind.
We have 3 sentences that really sound like a female, but this one sounds like a male, so we are leaning towards female, but remain open...OK? Next sentence suggests that this person is, in the least, educated to the high school level, but notice this word. "Attache." Hmm. Not many foreigners call themselves foreigners and kidnappers using the word "attache" is causing me to think...
and off we go on the obvious references to Patsy Ramsey and the ransom note. Back and forth, to and fro, seeking truth while trying to enter the statement and let it guide us.
Or the one who wrote about having "visitation" with his own child...revealing that, perhaps, it is a court supervised issue and there is tension. Or the man who proposed, not marriage, but a "merger"...it is sometimes humorous, but it can be revealing.
Recall the "truck driver wheels on the road" observation regarding Baby Ayla?
It is exciting work but not for the hard-hearted, nor the politically correct, nor for one who is easily offended. There is, statistically, a correlation between anonymous threatening letters and those who have sexual confusion. If that offends you, even though it is not a moral statement, you can't do this work. If you insist that men wear pink, refuse to take out the garbage, and always rush home to see Oprah and eat bon-bons, you are going to struggle with trying to discern gender, from the very beginning.
It must be that the analyst remains open, willing to change his or her mind, and open to being wrong.
I have worked on several anonymous letters and it can be challenging to uncover the author's identity. It's made even more challenging when more than one person created the letter.
When I work on an anonymous letter and begin to suspect more than one person was involved in its creation, I try to discern the "voices" of the authors. What voice is the voice of the one who is doing the actual physical writing of the letter and what is the voice of the one who is doing the "dictating". After all, they both can't sit and write it at the same time. Generally one person does the physical recording of the words.
The mental process of recording one's own thoughts would be different from recording an other person's thoughts. I look for where the voice seems to come from an internal source and where the voice seems to come from an external source.
If the writer is recording what is coming directly from his/her own thoughts, then the process is a direct one--the words are generated in his/her brain and are transferred directly to the paper. Whereas, when the writer is recording what someone else is saying, the words are coming from an exterior source. they are not being generated inside the writer's own brain. The words must pass through the writer's brain before they are transferred to the paper.
Depending upon the level of collaboration between the creators, discerning the voices can be either very easy or very difficult.
For example, if the two work on each and every sentence together, writing it, re-writing it and fine-tuning each an every word, this makes it very difficult to separate the voices. However, if one person is basically "dictating" to the one recording the words, then frequently the dictation perspective leaks through. it only takes one word to reveal there is another voice present inside the letter.
In instances where there are multiple letters sent over a period of time, I compare the language and structures inside each letter and between all letters to discover patterns, similarities and differences in order to discern if a different voice is present from one letter to the next.
Recently, I said to Peter, when I work on an anonymous letter, I feel as if I work my way into the writer's "skin" through his/her language. I know, sounds gross--something out of "The Silence Of The Lambs"--but this is how I work to discover both the writer's linguistic code and how to decipher it.