The second video provides a useful view of the approach to the front of the house, the driveway, the garage, the shadows playing right to left and the view of the neighbor’s house.
The second video provides a useful view of the approach to the front of the house, the driveway, the garage, the shadows playing right to left and the view of the neighbor’s house.
The mainstream media, and most [but not all] covering the Chris Watts case on YouTube are referring to big chunks of Watts’ Second Confession as if it’s fact. When CNN’s headline [on Google Search] reads Chris Watts’ 4-year-old pleaded for her life, attorney says it reads as fact.
When People report on Bella’s “last words” – ‘Daddy, No!’: Chris Watts Hears Daughter’s Haunting Last Words ‘Every Day’ in Prison – and Dr. Phil does a show PREMISED on these last words [words Watts’ tells us are her last words – and enough in media and on social media recycle this premise, then it begins to appear as fact.
Is it fact?
We must remember this hasn’t been tested, examined, argued or verified in court. A judge and jury haven’t ruled on it, or even thought about it. Evidence hasn’t been led in the proper forum in support or to contradict it. And let’s be clear, a Dr. Phil show or a confession from a man who murdered his family, lied to that family, lied to his witness, lied to the media, lied on a polygraph test [about everything], and lied throughout his first “confession” including to his own father, this hardly constitutes evidence. It’s testimony. It’s a version. That’s all it is.
But what if it is true? And what if there is convincing evidence to prove that it is?
Isn’t there convincing evidence in the “living shadows” conspiracy? Was the conspiracy never a conspiracy at all, instead civilians and armchair detectives stumbled on a game changer that law enforcement [and everyone else] missed?
If this is the case why hasn’t the mainstream media reported on the shadow theories? If it’s such a game changer, why hasn’t the media said anything about it? Why hasn’t law enforcement released a statement?
On the one hand, Weld County District Attorney Michael Rourke has referred to this as part of his contention, his assumption, that Watts’ confession is legitimate, or mostly truthful. According to USAToday:
Rourke said some pieces of evidence match Watts’ most recent confession, including footage from a neighbor’s security camera that shows another shadow aside from Watts’ by his truck when he was loading Shanann’s body into the back seat.
In the video released by the Weld County District Attorney’s Office, Watts is seen standing by his work truck when another shadow appears to be moving toward him, and Watts leans down to pick something up, likely one of the girls.
That video “would be consistent with his statements that the girls were alive when they left the house and walked out to the truck,” Rourke said.
What Rourke is saying is that Watts’ statement is consistent with the “appearance” of a shadow which doesn’t seem to be Watts’ moving towards him. Separately Rourke says, “I’m assuming what he is telling is truthful”, which suggests he believes the shadow theory as well. But he doesn’t say that. He says the scenario is consistent with the appearance of the shadows.
The article goes on to emphasize that Watts has never testified under oath, with the threat of perjury. In other words, whenever he’s spoken – other than the polygraph test where he had to authorize it – there haven’t been legal consequences – arguably, attached to his spoken words, as crazy as that sounds. And Rourke has maintained, even after the Second Confession Watts’ consistency in another area – his lack of real remorse:
“I don’t think that everything that came out of his mouth during those interviews was the truth because I honestly don’t believe that this monster has the ability to have remorse at all.”
None of the bold text [referring to the commission of the murders of Shan’ann and the children respectively] resonated with me, although certain aspects certainly stood out [such as Shan’ann feet thudding on the stairs]. What did stand out for me was this, and it comes at very end of the marathon interview. When I heard Watts’ answer, for the first time I considered the scenario of the children alive and taken to CERVI 319 as a real possibility.
The area circle in red can be heard at 1:05:39 in the last half hour of the five-and-a-half-hour interview [Part 2 of the Enhanced Audio Clip].
LEE: So do you think if we would have said…what do you think…?
Lee is asking what should they have said to him that would have gotten Watts to tell the truth, or do so sooner.
WATTS [Long pause]: If you would have said…if…the video had showed them in the truck…you probably would have had to have lied…You said you saw the kids in the truck…I mean, you’d have to lie to get me to say it…but, it might have been that.
EVIDENCE IN SUPPORT OF “LIVING” SHADOW/S
The best evidence in support of “living” shadows is at exactly 1:00 in the clip below. In order to get the full effect, it’s better to view the video in real time, as it were, but to hover the cursor over the 1:00 mark and click repeatedly back to it.
When viewed again and again it does seem convincing. It does appear as if a shadow is approaching Watts and he bends down to pick it up. I won’t do a complete analysis of that here, that deserves a complete chapter in a separate narrative [TWO FACE: ANNIHILATION], but I will spend a little more time dealing with the evidence against it.
EVIDENCE AGAINST “LIVING” SHADOWS
Those who claim the surveillance video is “clear”, “convincing” and “unambiguous” are looking through a tiny keyhole, fuzzing out the background, and making the case that tiny shapes within the fuzzy keyhole area are absolutely clear evidence of an extraordinary game changer.
If a UFO and an alien is ever positively identified and confirmed, that will be a massive game changer for our understanding of the universe, the existence of God and our place in the cosmos.
The shadows are a little like that. A single moment that could be something that changes everything. And this is the size of the viewfinder.
Seeing frozen images doesn’t do justice to the claim and most important, one doesn’t see the shadow advancing from the left of the frame, while Watts moves in and bends down from the right.
What I want to emphasize here is just how blown up that little circle [above] is in these screengrabs. It’s so big Watts is almost reduced to stickman, and his body becomes jagged and irregular.
This is the original view. When I first viewed this footage I mistake a “tail” under the right rear wheel of the truck as a cat flicking its tail. I only connected the tail to the idly flapping flag after watching it several times, and especially when the lighting increases as the dawn breaks.
In one of the videos, even the shadows are ascribed identities. One shadow is Bella, and the other is Ceecee because it’s “shorter”.
it’s interesting that the shadows “move” towards Watts in both instances when he’s bending down. This suggests the possibility that the two elements are contingent; in other words if he wasn’t bending down there would be no shadow moving towards him.
Again, I don’t wish to explain or elaborate on this in more detail right here, right now, but I will do so in ANNIHILATION.
Is Watts “settling” his children, who are both alive, inside the truck? If one of the children was murdered with a blanket, why don’t we see this blanket? Doesn’t it have a shadow too? Or was Ceecee “wearing it”, but it was so titled wrapped around her it had no cape to throw a shadow?
Let’s face it, settling living children and settling dead bodies could take a similar amount of time. While the one scenario would involve making the children comfortable in sleeping quarters without their car seats, and arguably in a vehicle they’ve never been in before, the other scenario would involve making dead bodies not visible, concealing them from casual view.
We also have some useful footage to examine, in terms of how the shadows spool and watercolor, when Watts pulls the truck away and walks back. We can see the shadows splaying out on his approach as well as on his return to the truck.
In the image below Watts shadow moves outward in a triangular shape, with the narrow point of the pyramid ending under his heel.
As he moves right beside the light source, his shadow whips around to the side. It’s not completely clear in the screengrab, so have a look at the shadow dance in the video as well at 4:53 and again at 5:09.
This is Watts stepping back out onto the driveway for the last time. Notice the shadows are dragging to his right, towards the surveillance camera, and there appears to be a double-effect. Also the shadow isn’t long but kind of a squat, puddle-shape.
Just one short step later and one shadow already swoops around and begins to stretch out ahead of him. Meanwhile a second shadow [is there someone else floating in the air?] smudges vaguely to his right.
Watts went to a lot of trouble to hide three bodies at CERVI 319. In theory he could have dumped the bodies on the side of the road somewhere, and it would have been much more difficult to connect them to him, except for the problem that doing so would let the world know immediately that a triple homicide had just happened.
The effort Watts made to move his wife so far from the scene of the crime, and the cleaning effort in the aftermath, and the many lies, these are all a mismatch to the glib suggestion that Watts casually took his children along for the ride, had no idea what he intended, and casually killed both of them, allowing one to witness the death of the other. There also just happened to be two oil tanks, one for each child, a thought that apparently didn’t occur to Watts on his way there, and apparently not when he was planning to go there first thing early on Sunday evening [and arguably the machinations for that plan was set in motion as early as Friday midday].
We know Watts changed his clothing, possibly not once but twice, before returning home, and we also know Watts used “plausible deniability” to stage this crime. The staging of the wedding ring is a good example inside the home, the claim that he was “loading tools” and that’s why he backed into the driveway was his plausible account for that scenario and Watts work detail at CERVI 319 was a cover for what he was actually doing out there early on Monday morning.
He uses plausible deniability to suggest things that aren’t true, and in this case it includes many technical things, such as the Vivint evidence, GPS data, cell phone logs including calls and texts to Shan’ann after she was dead.
None of this data proves Watts did anything. Instead it tends to prove he didn’t. Now we can apparently add the technical addition of discombobulated shadows in the surveillance video that “proves” the children were alive. This is “proof” that Watts didn’t kill them in the home, and supposedly casts doubt on the premeditated nature of the murder.
What can we extrapolate from the psychology of this approach? What sort of criminal psychology may be at work here? Well, it’s quite simple.
If the shadow/s isn’t Bella or Ceecee, and if they weren’t alive, then the entire scenario about a murder at CERVI 319 is just another fiction in a long list of lies. Make no mistake, an awful lot hinges on what we’re seeing [or not seeing] in those shadows on the driveway. So the #1 Reason Watts may be telling the truth may also be the #1 Reason he’s lying.
Cognitive Bias. That’s what it’s called when people see things in the dark. Let me illustrate it with an example.
My wallet is on a desk right in front of me and in a moment, it’s going to be stolen. I think I hear someone behind the door. The next thing the lights go out, I feel a slight brush and a thud, and when I turn the light on and open the door, my wallet’s gone and so is whoever took it.
The cognitive bias here is through the non-neutral word “stolen”, and that there is a someone, and that that someone came into the room when I couldn’t see and stole the wallet in the dark, and then disappeared.
The bias is there because the wallet’s disappearance is connected with the idea of someone in the dark before you’re lead into that scenario. So you start to fill in the blanks ahead of time.
Here’s the same thing without cognitive bias.
My wallet is on a desk right in front of me. I hear a noise and turn towards it. The lights go out. I feel something and hear a thud. When I turn on the light the wallet is gone.
It turns out the wallet is on floor. It never left the room. When I turned in my seat, and was momentarily blinded by the power going off, I happened to knock it off myself. When I turned the light on and didn’t see it, I first assumed [through cognitive bias] that someone took it.
The missing key to unraveling this micro-mystery is the sound and light of the door opening and closing behind the imputed thief. There is no sound and there is no opening and closing of the door. But we don’t think that far because we’re trying to connect the wallet to the imagined someone.
Now let’s apply this to the shadows moving and coming to life on the Watts driveway.
Cognitive Bias on the Watts Driveway
I’m certain law enforcement were made aware of the hysteria over shadows and mark my words, they probably asked Watts about it. Perhaps they showed him pictures of the shadows as well and asked him to explain when he was loading who, where, and when. This was them offering Watts essentially the somewhat plausible possibility that his children were still alive, just as they once offered him the possibility that Shan’ann did something.
True to form he took that baton [I suspect] and ran with it this time as well.
The first time I heard about the surveillance footage I assumed it was from the dashcam of a car directly opposite the Watts home, and I assumed it was essentially “smoking gun” evidence. In other words, I assumed the footage clearly showed Watts backing up his truck, loading three bodies and driving off. As it turns out, the backing up is fairly clear and the driving off is clear. The middle part with dead bodies isn’t.
The second reference to the surveillance footage came from Frank Rzucek on November 19th at the sentencing hearing.
“You take them out like trash” is a clear reference to Frank imagining not only dead bodies, but dead bodies in garbage bags or bins. Frank’s description seems authentic because I don’t believe he saw anything, he simply assumed from what he did see and what he’d been told that dead bodies were loaded into the truck, and trash bags were recovered at the dumping site.
The third reference came from District Attorney Michael Rourke a few minutes later.
Rourke described Watts going back into the house and to the truck “three times”. I remember this very clearly, and the message was very clear. Three trips to the truck equals three bodies.
At 04:54 Rourke describes that moment in the clip below.
ROURKE: The defendant then methodologically and calmly loaded their bodies into his work truck. Not in a hasty, or disorganized way. He was seen from the neighbor’s doorbell camera backing his truck into the driveway, going back and forth into the house and back out to the truck three different times. One time for each of their bodies.
And that sketched a particular picture as well. Quite a clear picture, one should say.
When the surveillance video was released, I was shocked by not only the poor quality of it, but also that it was so difficult to make out anything. It was also abundantly clear that at no time could you distinctly or even indistinctly see anything being loaded besides – in one instance – a red gas can. What I was suffering from, when I saw this disappointingly bad footage, is known in psychology as cognitive dissonance.
It’s similar to watching an incredible movie trailer only to find all the best scenes are in the trailer, or being led to believe some product is fabulous, but then it turns out to be a mediocre con job.
It should be noted that Rourke’s statement was factually incorrect in several respects.
1. It wasn’t the neighbor’s doorbell camera that made the recording [although there is a doorbell camera and recording in this story]. After an incredible amount of searching I eventually located a decent shot of the Trinastich camera. It’s a kind of motion detecting camera positioned just under the eave of the porch, and directed towards and over his own driveway [and coincidentally, towards Watts’ driveway].
2. Watts didn’t go three times to the truck, each time carrying a different body. It’s difficult to say how many times Watts did go back and forth, but one thing is clear, he sometimes approached the truck with nothing in his hands, and on one occasion he loaded a red gas can on the neighbor’s side.
In the strict interpretation of Rourke’s words, if Watts went back and forth three times, each time to load a body, then it means each time Watts came out of the garage he had to have been carrying/loading a body, right?
But that’s not what happens.
3. In Rourke’s description it seems pretty cut and dried. Watts came out, methodically loaded bodies, made three trips, then drove off. In fact it was a lot more disorganized than that.
After backing up his truck Watts later moved the truck forward in the driveway [behind the tree] and then made another trip back and forth, again with nothing in his hands.
Although Rourke’s point is mostly accurate that Watts was fairly methodical in how he executed the crime and disposal, it wasn’t quite as seamless and neat as this impression suggests.
So, what all these scenarios did to most of us was sketch an idea in our imaginations, while at the same time indirectly muddying it and leaving some room for error and interpretation. And so that’s what we did – we interpreted.
When the surveillance video came out it was virtually useless, but that didn’t stop many out there – because one could see whatever one wanted to, and that’s cognitive bias.
A cognitive bias is a systematic pattern of deviation from norm or rationality in judgment. Individuals create their own “subjective social reality” from their perception of the input.
Now I want to deal with the public’s response to the video, especially in light of the second confession, and then I’ll deal [briefly] with the lights and shadows themselves.
Public Perception and Cognitive Bias
Yesterday I received this tweet.
For a split second I assumed what this meant was that new video surveillance had just been released proving/showing the girls were alive. One possibility I considered was that Watts went through a drive-through or something similar on the way to work, and CCTV footage showed his daughters sitting next to him.
In fact this is precisely what happened in the Patrick Frazee case, except the CCTV footage in that case proved [or strongly suggested] Kelsey Berreth was dead [and inside the black tote].
I’m not the first person to assume…was there some additional surveillance footage floating around about the Watts case? Is there a second video?
When someone says “video evidence proving” it sounds pretty solid, doesn’t it? So when I asked to see this new evidence, it turned out to be [surprise, surprise] the very same Trinastich footage, this time with social media’s spin on it. Now a shadow is a child running around, or a shadow is a dead body being dragged or loaded etc. etc.
This is the dictionary definition of evidence.
Evidence means something is irrefutably, definitely true. Evidence is not “I believe this very strongly, it looks accurate and also thousands agree with me…”
Evidence is absolutely clear and demonstrably, self-evidently, scientifically authentic and accurate. It’s fact versus fiction.
But that’s cognitive bias for you. The world today feels like a war between what’s real and what’s not. Today enough people campaigning for something that’s not real seems to make it real, and that’s good enough for them.
Cognitive bias blown up by legions of social media dullards all echoing the same mindless fucking nonsense is a force to be reckoned with.
I’ve been fairly strident in the past to say TCRS doesn’t entertain or discuss conspiracy theories, especially not moronic conspiracies unless it’s to debunk them.
Unfortunately, because of the import of the Second Confession, it becomes unavoidable to not acknowledge this “kids were alive in the driveway” theory. And by acknowledging it it gains credibility it really doesn’t deserve.
TCRS cannot disprove the ghosts in the driveway conspiracy, but…
The bad news is TSRS can’t disprove the theory of bodies rising from the dead and running around the driveway leaving behind a shadow here and there. What we can do is what any good defense team does in a difficult, and frankly untenable situation, as regards an imputed reality: raise reasonable doubt.
So let’s get practical and go to the driveway at night, and make the case not for why the conspiracy is objectively false, but why other reasonable possibilities exist. We will then argue that these other possibilities are more reasonable than the conspiracy. Worth playing for?
Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, in the image above we see the Watts driveway at night. I believe this photo was taken on Tuesday night [August 14th], when the house was vacant. Watts was interrogated by the FBI and then spent the night with the Thayers. The following day his father arrived, and he was interrogated again, he failed a polygraph and was later arrested. Hours after his arrest the body pf his wife was exhumed at a well site.
Now, in the nocturnal image of the driveway [below] note the three primary light sources on the pillars of the garage. For our purposes, the most important light sources are the two in the middle and on the right respectively.
When looking through the Trinastich camera only the light source on the far left, on the wall on the outside of the Watts’ garage is visible. But this light source isn’t the operative light source for the shadows, because the truck itself is blocking the left-hand hand light source.
It’s also not the small light on the ground on the other neighbor’s side that’s flaring directly into the Trinastich camera.
What we can say with certainty is that at least two bright, elevated light sources are the primary illuminating agents. Both shine towards Watts and the truck from different angles. Is that a fair statement? I think it is.
Now, as soon as there are two light sources and different angles, then an object moving between them will cast two sets of shadows. Depending on the movement and the angle vis-a-vis each light source, these respective shadows will naturally vary. Is that a fair statement?
So, for example if one approaches a light source directly from the front, then the shadow will be thrown directly behind the object, and this angle will remain directly behind as long as the trajectory to the light source remains the same. Is that a fair statement? But if the angle to one light source is consistent, and the object is moving, it means the angle to the other is not only different but also changing at the same time.
We don’t need to refer to hypothetical examples, however, because we see these same distortions in ordinary photos of the Watts driveway at night.
We also see these double light distortions when Shan’ann approaches the doorbell camera. When she’s almost right in front of the camera her shadow strengthens then swoops around her as she passes the light source on her left. [You can watch that here].
In photos of Watts on the driveway there are some in which there appear to be no shadows at all. This is a combination of the shadows being diluted by multiple light sources.
It’s also very easy to reproduce the effect. Simply visit the property, turn on the lights, and study the impact, effects and distortions and how they are represented on camera.
In conclusion, it’s not necessary to prove that the shadows weren’t children, or whether they were alive, because no proof exists that the shadows were children, or that they weren’t dead. In effect, reasonable doubt exists as to what the shadows are either way, or to put it even more plainly:
Reasonable Doubt Exists.
I hope this will be the last word on this nonsense, but if this case has proved anything, it’s that saner heads have not prevailed. Given the enormous numbers of views [and support] for the conspiracies [Armchair Detective’s “Shadow” videos have been viewed 200 000 times, far more than his other content], it’s clear that people prefer to believe what they want to believe, whatever titillates them, as opposed to thinking for themselves.
Before signing off on this area of analysis, there’s a final aspect to address in terms of the notion that the children were in the cabin of the truth with Watts, and Bella supposedly had her seat belt on. This is what the interior of Watts work truck looks like – the front seat.
In a scenario where they’re “taking Mommy to the hospital”, one’s cognitive bias sketches the family sitting together in the front, or at least Mommy is in the front where Daddy can keep an eye on her. But there’s virtually no room for anyone, especially not on the floor of the front passenger seat.
Then there’s the issue of car seats. If the children were alive and going to hospital, or anywhere else and their safety was a concern, where are the car seats?
If Watts didn’t intend to go to the well site with the children, and sort of made it up as he went along [it wasn’t premeditated] then why did he put three people [dead or alive] in his work truck, and go to the effort to back up his truck, rather than go in the Lexus which had the car seats? Had Watts ever driven with his entire family to a work site [or anywhere else] before this date?
Why would Watts need to make several trips back to load living people if at least one of his children was running out to him?
And why would he need extra tough garbage bags?
Why were two garbage bags found on the well site?
“You took them out like garbage” is exactly right.
One of the impressions and cognitive bias I’ve tried to emphasize over the course of six book covers, is no matter how the text, colors or distracting mosaics surrounding the central character of Watts changes or distort, the central image – of a TWO FACE – remains.
This central pillar premise is thus a lot like two light sources shining on an object, throwing up different, deception shadows. The message of the TWO FACE series is this: We are fools if we look to the trick of the shadows for answers, rather than the man responsible for throwing them. Look to the man to find out why, when, how and why.
The TWO FACE 6-part series is available exclusively on Amazon Kindle at this link.