George Knapp: Dave, let’s start with broad strokes. How long have you been working on this? How many books now and how many cases?
David Paulides: I’ve been on it for about nine years, eight books, 1,200 cases. But I’ve probably looked at over 5,000 or 6,000 cases to dwindle it down to 1,200.
Knapp: It’s really struck a nerve with the public, though. You get information and inquiries and responses every day.
Paulides: All the time. And it’s exponential. I mean, as the years have gone on, I’ve gotten contacts enough from throughout the world about similar things happening in other countries.
- Strange disappearances in national parks and forests: the ‘Missing 411’ phenomena
- Kidnapped children report strange encounters, found in ‘impossible’ locations
- Is someone using ‘chameleo’ technology to abduct victims?
- It feels like a harvest’ … what Native Americans know
- A government coverup? Where are the records on missing people?
- Aviator Steve Fossett, the Nevada Triangle, the public’s right to know
- A Nevada disappearance … what experts say about ‘Missing 411’ thesis
Knapp: There’s a learning curve for it, though. You have to get over the hump to explain that it’s not just people wandering off into the woods and getting lost. It goes beyond that.
Paulides: Absolutely. And when I talk about it, I explain that there’s 15,000, 20,000 missing person cases throughout the world that I’ve looked at and just breezed over, but they don’t fit the profile really of what we’re looking at. And when you read a report, nothing maybe hits you right in the face as being unusual about something. But when you look at 500, then you look at 5,000, certain elements start to show themselves. And after those cases have been filtered through, you come up with certain “profile points” I call. And it’s similar to what the FBI does in profiling a criminal case. We’re profiling missing persons cases to find those common elements that are unusual, that seem to fit the specific category we’ve refined.
Knapp: People go missing in areas like this all the time. They wander out into a national forest, into a park. Of course. It’s wilderness. It’s natural for people to get disoriented, get lost. That’s not what you’re talking about. You weed those cases out. You weed out bear attacks, lion attacks, drug dealers in the forest, that kind of stuff.
Paulides: Exactly. There are certain elements that are eliminators. Namely, voluntary disappearance, mental health issues, animal predation. Those kind of things, once we see them, they’re eliminated. So it’s those easy answers to the cases that aren’t there in these cases. And in these cases, there’s certain elements that show themselves. The most common one is they bring in tracking dogs, bloodhounds, and they can’t pick up a scent. And that’s evident in 99% of the cases I’ve written about. And that is unusual.
Knapp: Also unusual are the ones that they find. I mean, some they never find it all, but the ones that they find. Some — very few — who are alive, and can’t exactly remember where they were, but some are found in areas that are searched over and over again. It’s as if they’re taken away and brought back, a lot of times.
Paulides: You hit the nail on the head there. And I want to make it clear that this is not dissing on the searchers, because they do a phenomenal job. They’re volunteers. Thank God we have them. But there’s a number of cases, hundreds of cases where the the victim is found in a place that’s been previously searched. And not once, not twice … maybe 20 times.