David Paulides & Missing 411

Endlessly Amazed

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I have only read through one of the 411 Missing books - there are now seven books by him with 411 in the title. Good grief! This person has created a cottage industry out of salacious vagueness in three main areas: responsibility, magnitude, and possible cause. He never states clearly what he thinks is going on or how to achieve better results.

(He follows the same pattern as another least favorite author: Robert Kiyosaki of Rich Dad/Poor Dad infamy. Hints, long stories, vagueness, lack of criteria for disprovability. This pattern is also found in many new age self-help books. Perhaps all these lame authors attend the same kind of workshop to learn how to promote obfuscation and anxiety while relieving the public of their money.)

Responsibility: In the book I read, he never specifically states the different responsibilities of the agencies involved: the state level Game and Fish, Federal level US Forest Service, local police, state troopers, Indian reservations, etc. The varying responsibilities means that some agencies are responsible for keeping track of missing people, and others are not. He misleads the readers in implying that the Forest Service deliberately does not track the missing in order to minimize the public's awareness of the vast number of people missing.

Magnitude: he never gives any information about the number of missing who are later found, alive or dead from mundane causes.

Possible causes: he promotes the case that many of the missing are mysterious cases with no conventional cause. He never stated that Bigfoot was the cause; he only hints at this and in doing so creates a vague sense of unease.

I think Paulides has come to believe his own inventions because his livelihood depends on it. In his Amazon author biography, he states, "In June 2012 Mr. Paulides was an invited speaker at the 2012 National Association of Search and Rescue (NASAR) annual conference in South Lake Tahoe." Apparently the search and rescue professionals were so underwhelmed, they never invited him back.

Plus, I really dislike his moustache. :)
 
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JahaRa

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I met Paulides once and he talked about a case I was familiar with in a way to make it fit his criteria as a mysterious disappearance, which it wasn't. There was another in the group that also knew details about the case that he omitted. I asked him about it and he got very rude/ugly in his response. It is all about selling books to him, not investigation. Maybe the first book was but his subsequent books are not.
 

Paul_Exeter

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I enjoyed the two Missing 411 documentaries more for the scenery of the Crazies and the everyday people they interviewed. As for the missing people, one was sadly hypothermia after taking a wrong turn, another a possible hunting accident cover-up and the last one a migraine affecting her vision. Oh and the little boy was, it would seem, unfortunately dinner for a mountain lion
 

marhawkman

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I mentioned one of Paulides' books " A sobering coincidence " in a previous post. To quote myself :roll:

"One of the books that I found interesting deals with people found drowned, often in urban environments, something that happens in the UK and often gets on local and national news. The reason given is that they’ve gone out, got bladdered and fallen in the river. However some of the circumstances are odd and as Paulides points out, these cities often have a pretty high population of drug addicts and alcoholics who aren’t being fished out of the rivers. Given the spiked drinks and needle panics it does make one wonder about serial killers who have not been traced or even suspected."

These aren't wilderness cases and happen in the UK. These are often picked up by local or national press but rarely is there much detail other than when they go missing or when or if a body is recovered. IIRC the last one I read about before lockdown involved a fireman somewhere in the West Country on a night out, went missing and was assumed to have fallen in a river (Not sure why) the only follow up I saw was that a body had been recovered; and a later report saying that the body wasn't his!

How common is it for young, physically fit, men to go on a bender - often in Winter - leave their friends, wander off alone and end up falling or jumping into a river or body of water?

I know there is a culture of drinking/drugging oneself into oblivion and maybe doing something stupid for a dare but most of these guys had left their friends and have sometimes had to make an effort to get to the water.

There may be some good reason why this happens, some strange mental state, but it does seem odd and I wondered what others thought about this.
This is one of those cases where asking "what is causing this phenomenon" is missing the trees because all you see is a forest.

you need to evaluate every case on it's own merits. Trying to lump unexplained disappearances into categories THEN solve them is a recipe for rampant speculation that leads nowhere.

Which admittedly is totally in the Misssing411 MO, but.. not what I'd consider good investigative work.
 

marhawkman

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I met Paulides once and he talked about a case I was familiar with in a way to make it fit his criteria as a mysterious disappearance, which it wasn't. There was another in the group that also knew details about the case that he omitted. I asked him about it and he got very rude/ugly in his response. It is all about selling books to him, not investigation. Maybe the first book was but his subsequent books are not.
Yeah, investigating his personal history.... he was forced into early retirement for abusing his position as a police officer. this is a matter of public record. That he hides because he knows it's a black mark on his credibility. Especially since the specific nature of it involved lying to celebrities to get autographs.

also, Paulides didn't start books with Missing411... he started with Bigfoot. Which is an interesting twist on his Missing411. It's like the ancient aliens guy.... "I'm not saying it was bigfoot, but....."
 

Sharon Hill

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He's an entirely disreputable dude. It's a shame he is still hosted by paranormal events and kept in business. The idea was genius, but I think he just got lucky to pick up on it. However, he seems quite paranoid, now, thinking people are out to get him. Maybe he'll disappear too.
 

Tunn11

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I don’t want to be an apologist for Paulides, IMO he’s fallen into the trap of many authors tackling subjects like this of trying to shoehorn as many cases as he can into the pattern that fits with his theory/theories.

I was given the set of books as a birthday gift. Normally with books like this I’d buy the first one then progress to others if I thought it was worth it but shipping costs etc. meant buying the set was more economic. Again IMO there is a steady fall in the quality of the cases being presented. I did buy the last book separately which is a real rip off large font size lots of spaces some dubious cases etc.

He has a dodgy past and some of his recent comments ( I haven’t bothered with them) seem pretty weird, as I’ve said before I think the suicide of his son may have affected him more than even he realises.

There is a problem with not knowing what percentage of disappearances in wilderness areas fit his model. E.g. how many are found, alive or dead and what percentage of these constitute the “missing 411”? However if no stats are kept by whatever authorities we’ll never know. Add to that the people who get lost for an hour or so, are found by their friends and never reported.

I also wonder about the search teams. In many cases they rely on volunteers, (and who wouldn’t volunteer if they were on or near the disappearance) but what training are they given and how reliable are they in difficult terrain?

There is a manual on search strategies with statements like 90% of children under eight will walk downhill when lost (Not a direct quote) but search teams don’t seem to send 10% of searchers uphill which is where some kids are found; or do they and we don’t hear about it?

I quite like the fact that he doesn’t come to a conclusion, he hints pretty heavily in some cases about bigfoot but also vortices, conspiracies, etc possibly because some of these cases, if as reported, can’t be bigfoot if bigfoot isn’t a paranormal creature. I’d agree @marhawkman that each case should be evaluated on its own merits but sometimes seeing a pattern does help in finding an answer particularly in investigating potentially criminal behaviour. It has to be done professionally to avoid a very human fault in finding patterns where none exist.

There may be some people who want to disappear and think it would be fun to make it as mysterious as possible. There was an episode of the comedy “Green Wing” where two characters make a suicide pact and decide to walk into the sea. Before they do one gives the other one of two toy soldiers and says that they must both swallow them. He wants to baffle everyone as to why they both swallowed toy soldiers.

Paulides doesn't do himself any favours by not reporting on cases which have been solved - at least one I know of where the person had wanted to vanish although there were no markers like debt, depression etc. as far as I'm aware at the time.

I do think however that there may be a core, possibly small, of genuinely odd cases that may point to something as yet not properly understood; disorientation in familiar circumstances, sudden panics, some other strange effect of being in the wild that we don’t understand; as well as feral people, criminals etc. Maybe in the book I was citing some combination of drink and drugs that induces certain people to believe they can walk on water. It would be a shame if having drawn attention to these cases they now get discarded or forgotten because of all the increasingly dubious cases and research that are packed with them.

It perhaps needs someone to do for missing 411 what Lawrence Kusche did for the Bermuda triangle?
 

Endlessly Amazed

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I don’t want to be an apologist for Paulides, IMO he’s fallen into the trap of many authors tackling subjects like this of trying to shoehorn as many cases as he can into the pattern that fits with his theory/theories.

I was given the set of books as a birthday gift. Normally with books like this I’d buy the first one then progress to others if I thought it was worth it but shipping costs etc. meant buying the set was more economic. Again IMO there is a steady fall in the quality of the cases being presented. I did buy the last book separately which is a real rip off large font size lots of spaces some dubious cases etc.

He has a dodgy past and some of his recent comments ( I haven’t bothered with them) seem pretty weird, as I’ve said before I think the suicide of his son may have affected him more than even he realises.

There is a problem with not knowing what percentage of disappearances in wilderness areas fit his model. E.g. how many are found, alive or dead and what percentage of these constitute the “missing 411”? However if no stats are kept by whatever authorities we’ll never know. Add to that the people who get lost for an hour or so, are found by their friends and never reported.

I also wonder about the search teams. In many cases they rely on volunteers, (and who wouldn’t volunteer if they were on or near the disappearance) but what training are they given and how reliable are they in difficult terrain?

There is a manual on search strategies with statements like 90% of children under eight will walk downhill when lost (Not a direct quote) but search teams don’t seem to send 10% of searchers uphill which is where some kids are found; or do they and we don’t hear about it?

I quite like the fact that he doesn’t come to a conclusion, he hints pretty heavily in some cases about bigfoot but also vortices, conspiracies, etc possibly because some of these cases, if as reported, can’t be bigfoot if bigfoot isn’t a paranormal creature. I’d agree @marhawkman that each case should be evaluated on its own merits but sometimes seeing a pattern does help in finding an answer particularly in investigating potentially criminal behaviour. It has to be done professionally to avoid a very human fault in finding patterns where none exist.

There may be some people who want to disappear and think it would be fun to make it as mysterious as possible. There was an episode of the comedy “Green Wing” where two characters make a suicide pact and decide to walk into the sea. Before they do one gives the other one of two toy soldiers and says that they must both swallow them. He wants to baffle everyone as to why they both swallowed toy soldiers.

Paulides doesn't do himself any favours by not reporting on cases which have been solved - at least one I know of where the person had wanted to vanish although there were no markers like debt, depression etc. as far as I'm aware at the time.

I do think however that there may be a core, possibly small, of genuinely odd cases that may point to something as yet not properly understood; disorientation in familiar circumstances, sudden panics, some other strange effect of being in the wild that we don’t understand; as well as feral people, criminals etc. Maybe in the book I was citing some combination of drink and drugs that induces certain people to believe they can walk on water. It would be a shame if having drawn attention to these cases they now get discarded or forgotten because of all the increasingly dubious cases and research that are packed with them.

It perhaps needs someone to do for missing 411 what Lawrence Kusche did for the Bermuda triangle?
Searching for missing persons in the wilderness seems to be quite well-organized and use intelligent strategies. This does not mean that all searches will be organized and smart! I assume that searches in national wilderness areas in the US which call in Search and Rescue (SAR) teams are done well. These SAR teams are trained and have a strategy of looking in most likely places to looking in least likely places.

I once participated in a search for a child only because I happened to be hiking in that area at the time the child was missing. I was untrained. I was told where to look and who to report back to. I saw nothing – except for lots of poison ivy. If I recall correctly, the child was found the next day.

SAR Field Search Methods.pdf (ky.gov)
Search Techniques and Theory | Pierce County Explorer Search and Rescue (pcesar.org)
How Backcountry Search and Rescue Works - Outside Online

I agree about the genuinely mysterious cases getting discounted because of the sensationalism. I like to think that professional SAR folks keep track of these.
 

Tunn11

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Searching for missing persons in the wilderness seems to be quite well-organized and use intelligent strategies. This does not mean that all searches will be organized and smart! I assume that searches in national wilderness areas in the US which call in Search and Rescue (SAR) teams are done well. These SAR teams are trained and have a strategy of looking in most likely places to looking in least likely places.

I once participated in a search for a child only because I happened to be hiking in that area at the time the child was missing. I was untrained. I was told where to look and who to report back to. I saw nothing – except for lots of poison ivy. If I recall correctly, the child was found the next day.

SAR Field Search Methods.pdf (ky.gov)
Search Techniques and Theory | Pierce County Explorer Search and Rescue (pcesar.org)
How Backcountry Search and Rescue Works - Outside Online

I agree about the genuinely mysterious cases getting discounted because of the sensationalism. I like to think that professional SAR folks keep track of these.
That's good to know and I'm sure the SAR teams are very professional. Paulides does not criticise them at all, to his credit.

In some cases, particularly older ones the initial searches seem to have been carried out by local law enforcement, who may or not be experienced; and well meaning volunteers. I just wondered if, in some circumstances, they could have missed a clue or a person which was subsequently found in an "area that had already been searched", as finding someone in an area already searched is often given as part of the mystery.

We don't get poison ivy over here but I gather it isn't nice!!
 

Endlessly Amazed

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That's good to know and I'm sure the SAR teams are very professional. Paulides does not criticise them at all, to his credit.

In some cases, particularly older ones the initial searches seem to have been carried out by local law enforcement, who may or not be experienced; and well meaning volunteers. I just wondered if, in some circumstances, they could have missed a clue or a person which was subsequently found in an "area that had already been searched", as finding someone in an area already searched is often given as part of the mystery.

We don't get poison ivy over here but I gather it isn't nice!!
"finding someone in an area already searched is often given as part of the mystery." This is Paulides' ignorant nonsense, as lost persons will regularly go back into an area which has already been searched because they are lost and are wandering around. This is the reason SAR folks say that if you are really lost, stay still.

Poison ivy is horrible. I am personally acquainted with it. :) I now smear myself with poison ivy preventative barrier creme before sallying forth. I wish that anti-rattlesnake creme were available as well.
 

Paul_Exeter

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One of the strangest things about Paulides is that his books evidently sold well, he is a well-known author and two documentaries have been released on iMovies and elsewhere, yet his 411 back catalogue isn’t available on Amazon here in the U.K., not even on Kindle. Yet US-based paranormal author Nick Redfern has all books books available with most on Kindle and also audiobook. Why…?

Oh, there are some £100+ ‘rare’ copies of his books on Amazon, hmmm, it’s almost like someone has a stash of them…
 

gordonrutter

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One of the strangest things about Paulides is that his books evidently sold well, he is a well-known author and two documentaries have been released on iMovies and elsewhere, yet his 411 back catalogue isn’t available on Amazon here in the U.K., not even on Kindle. Yet US-based paranormal author Nick Redfern has all books books available with most on Kindle and also audiobook. Why…?

Oh, there are some £100+ ‘rare’ copies of his books on Amazon, hmmm, it’s almost like someone has a stash of them…
David Paulides refuses to let his books be sold by anyone but his own website. He has a minimum order of three books. Anyone he suspects of reselling the books will have their order cancelled.
 

marhawkman

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David Paulides refuses to let his books be sold by anyone but his own website. He has a minimum order of three books. Anyone he suspects of reselling the books will have their order cancelled.
He also doesn't like how Amazon refuses to let him delete bad reviews. Some of them are multiple pages too. You could probably make a book out of them.

oooohhh this one is a good one: https://www.amazon.com/review/R17M0...ad=Tx25GXIYGHL42A9&store=books#wasThisHelpful

It's not the only one though.... https://www.amazon.com/product-revi...r&reviewerType=all_reviews#reviews-filter-bar

I have to agree with what Tunn11 said though. some of the cases Paulides brings up are genuinely unsolved and worthy of solving... but he isn't helping solve them. :/ Well, I don't think he knows how. He's not SaR. He clearly doesn't even know what he's talking about when he tries to discuss it.
 
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Paul_Exeter

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David Paulides refuses to let his books be sold by anyone but his own website. He has a minimum order of three books. Anyone he suspects of reselling the books will have their order cancelled.
Wow.

Doesn‘t seem like the actions of someone who only wants to solve the mystery

Just found his website, once you click on a book it takes you to a page with neon red and blue script that I haven’t seen on the internet since the 1990s. I don’t expect an author to give their work away but they are pricey and that’s without shipping to the UK. C’mon David, release them on Kindle or another ebook platform.
 
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uair01

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He also doesn't like how Amazon refuses to let him delete bad reviews. Some of them are multiple pages too. You could probably make a book out of them.

oooohhh this one is a good one: https://www.amazon.com/review/R17M0...ad=Tx25GXIYGHL42A9&store=books#wasThisHelpful

It's not the only one though.... https://www.amazon.com/product-revi...r&reviewerType=all_reviews#reviews-filter-bar

I have to agree with what Tunn11 said though. some of the cases Paulides brings up are genuinely unsolved and worthy of solving... but he isn't helping solve them. :/ Well, I don't think he knows how. He's not SaR. He clearly doesn't even know what he's talking about when he tries to discuss it.
I has a similar experience with another "missing" book. This one looked interesting:

The Cold Vanish: Seeking the Missing in North America's Wildlands
by Jon Billman
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show...h?ac=1&from_search=true&qid=4g3kkqqGEN&rank=2

Through Jacob Gray's disappearance in Olympic National Park, and his father Randy Gray who left his life to search for him, we will learn about what happens when someone goes missing.

But there are some quite disturbing comments:
https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/3508323142

Or:
https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/3504260958
 

marhawkman

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I has a similar experience with another "missing" book. This one looked interesting:

The Cold Vanish: Seeking the Missing in North America's Wildlands
by Jon Billman
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show...h?ac=1&from_search=true&qid=4g3kkqqGEN&rank=2

Through Jacob Gray's disappearance in Olympic National Park, and his father Randy Gray who left his life to search for him, we will learn about what happens when someone goes missing.

But there are some quite disturbing comments:
https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/3508323142

Or:
https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/3504260958
ooohh..... a book where he pretended he'd interviewed people in the book? ooohh... wow, that's something worthy of being classified as deliberate falsehood. If it wasn't being passed off as "non-fiction" it might be ok... but it claims to be 100% true.... and apparently never actually talked to the people he wrote the book about.
 

Yithian

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Coast To Coast A.M. has just uploaded a long compilation of assorted interviews with David Paulides, presumably in consonance with the new 411 documentary. The first section is from his 2017 appearance, at which time he had just published 411: Off The Grid.

So far it's a compilation of (then) more recent cases and a discussion of what Paulides thinks makes them remarkable enough to add to his case files—some convincing, some much less som

 

Yithian

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tried listening and the guy starts going on about "normal disappearances"..... nope.

I assume that's shorthand for readily explained or explicable: subject was suicidal, a victim of crime, lost in a flood etc.

Why does that in particular put you off?
 

marhawkman

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I assume that's shorthand for readily explained or explicable: subject was suicidal, a victim of crime, lost in a flood etc.

Why does that in particular put you off?
the way it's used. the person using it was trying to say that if it's a mundane disappearance then it has X, Y, and Z... with the implication that to not have X, Y, and Z makes a case supernatural or something.

But some famous disappearances were found to be very mundane, and the reason it was a mystery... was that people simply didn't know where to look.

There was one famous case of a girl who disappeared while her parents went on vacation in some tropical jungle area. It took days to find her, but... that was because the initial search efforts were too close to the location she had last been seen. If not for some of the locals helping expand the search area she might never have been found.

how did she get so far away? Enh.. child or not, she had HOURS. Sure, it's not EASY, but totally doable to walk that far in several hours.

Part of what made it weird is she seemingly opened a window and crawled out the window in the middle of the night to explore the forest.... and died doing it.
 

Yithian

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the way it's used. the person using it was trying to say that if it's a mundane disappearance then it has X, Y, and Z... with the implication that to not have X, Y, and Z makes a case supernatural or something.

But some famous disappearances were found to be very mundane, and the reason it was a mystery... was that people simply didn't know where to look.

There was one famous case of a girl who disappeared while her parents went on vacation in some tropical jungle area. It took days to find her, but... that was because the initial search efforts were too close to the location she had last been seen. If not for some of the locals helping expand the search area she might never have been found.

how did she get so far away? Enh.. child or not, she had HOURS. Sure, it's not EASY, but totally doable to walk that far in several hours.

Part of what made it weird is she seemingly opened a window and crawled out the window in the middle of the night to explore the forest.... and died doing it.

I understand your point now.

Mundane cases often appear weird 'from the outside'.

My inner contrarian asks whether perhaps many genuinely weird cases present as outwardly mundane?
 

Eponastill

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perhaps many genuinely weird cases present as outwardly mundane?
Now that's crazy talk. Where will that all end up? Will I be able to believe my eyes and ears about anything any more?! Are those people over there even solid or just a projection of my imagination? Just because it looks like someone fell in a river, perhaps actually they were nudged in by a flying saucer. I think you've just invented some sort of Extreme Forteanism where everything must be doubted. Where do I sign up. You may well be right. I think we might all get a bit exhausted though.
 

EnolaGaia

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... Mundane cases often appear weird 'from the outside'.
My inner contrarian asks whether perhaps many genuinely weird cases present as outwardly mundane?

I think it can work both ways (mundane appearing extraordinary; extraordinary appearing mundane). If interested parties can't readily accept the possibility of a simple / mundane disappearance they'll start wondering whether something extraordinary happened. Unless there are obvious anomalies in evidence whenever the missing person is eventually found, there will be pressure to close the case and be done with it. Sometimes both viewpoints remain in play forever after ...
 
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