I could not be Captain Cook. There was no new island to discover. No lee shore to step upon for the first time. No “Giants of Patagonia” to entice the adventurous to a mythic land in which one might discover Professor Challenger’s “Lost World” and find dinosaurs on an isolated escarpment. But world mysteries abounded. They captured the minds of generations. Yet none were ever solved. Hype and Hyperbole had obscured them for decades. What was the truth behind them? Who were the villains of famous crime sprees who had outwitted their pursuers? The principles of investigative inquiry could be seriously directed beyond biographies of Napoleon and the great events of the march of history. I unintentionally became an ‘investigative historian’ of the world’s most popular mysteries and unsolved crime cases.
We are intrigued with exotic and tantalizing mysteries. When in the early 20th century mass media was finally able to take us around the world, we added to the dossier. We heard of Yeti and speculated he was the missing link. We heard of a monster in Loch Ness. More mysteries were added: a hairy “animal human” called Bigfoot in the Pacific Northwest of the United States and Canada. The Bermuda Triangle– a place in the North Atlantic where ships and planes mysteriously vanish. In the mid 20th century there came the exciting possibility our planet was being visited by intelligences from other planets. We wondered about Ancient Astronauts and past super-civilizations. There was no denying that the appetite for mystery was strong in human kind.
It is also healthy. Curiosity is how we learn. A mystery tells us there is something we do not know. It is an invitation to come and look. Therefore a mystery is an invitation to learn. It is not something to recoil from, nor upon which to build fantasies in lieu of inquiring.
Mystery is not a closed universe. They are born frequently. Some are born from a dark world– Jack the Ripper, The Black Dahlia, ZODIAC, EAR/ONS. So many exist, in fact, they are divided into genres.
Like many people I love mystery. But I do not love mystery for mystery’s sake. I love to crack them! Otherwise we simply stew in our own chills and thrills and go nowhere. The topic becomes, as a friend put it, “an ouroboros feeding in a shallow pool of data.” In all subjects I am neither eager believer nor scornful debunker. Many recoil at the thought of being associated with investigating topics that are sometimes (and erroneously) labeled “paranormal” or, at the least, sensationalistic. In the popular forum they are only covered by an extreme pro and con world. Investigating doesn’t occur. They are presented only by a protagonist/antagonist formula that examines popular discourse on the subjects. But I waded into them to see just what was behind them.
In 1990 I got proactive. I began with the Bermuda Triangle. I uncovered over a 100 disappearances no one had heard of before. I could document with official reports bizarre circumstances, even locating the audio mayday call of a pilot panicking over a “weird object” harassing his aircraft just before he vanished. Despite a 30 page bibliography in my book Into The Bermuda Triangle, I presented the subject with a pious determination to be the compiler and commentator, studiously if not painfully avoiding any reference to myself and the first person pronoun.
The amount of information overwhelmed people. Ironically, I was labeled as one of those who spreads mystery rather than one who wanted to solve them. In successive books, I ripped from the enigma of the Triangle two of its most famous cases– Flight 19 and the USS Cyclops. No one knew what to make of me. New York Times bestseller Randy Wayne White even had to warn readers: “The danger of Gian J. Quasar’s fascination with mysteries often assigned to ‘paranormal causes’ is that readers will assume his writing is tainted with secret advocacy and bias— like the majority of hacks who litter this field. Readers, rest easy. Quasar is a superb writer and researcher, and stands alone at the top of this unusual field. Through Quasar, the genre is elevated (finally!) to equal, even exceeds, the highest standards of investigative journalism . . .”
In Recasting Bigfoot I took on the issues of, naturally, Sasquatch. My Bermuda Triangle bibliography had shown how I was capable of finding any report. Bigfooters thought my book would be the book of books of Bigfoot stories. I had to forewarn it was not. By this time I was squarely in investigative mode. Evidence, in fact, pointed to humans having been involved and a native American anthropoid. I changed the image of Bigfoot and became the center of a schism that took hundreds quietly to my side. I became the most hated man in Bigfootery. Yet the point of my thesis is not contentiously pushed by either side lest the smoldering fire burst into flame.
The closest I had come to solving one of these weighty world mysteries is Flight 19, and indeed a number of media and military historians believe I have logically solved the case. Short of that, however, it cannot be denied that my work inspired NBC to lobby Congress through Podesta Matoon and Ed Rothschild to inspire a resolution honoring the men. Congressman E. Clay Shaw sponsored it and it passed overwhelmingly at 420-2. This was not something ever seen before for a topic previously at home in tabloids. As I moved on to other mysteries, there were those who wanted to follow my steps on Flight 19 to unequivocal solution, according to my thesis, and insist The Okefenokee Swamp allow a detailed investigation of its contents.
I had pressed on into Cold Case. I followed the doctrinaire approach and began with Jack the Ripper. Like the Triangle, I set out to document, to vividly and factually recreate the crimes and seasons of Jack the Ripper and London 1888. Scarlet Autumn was the result. The difference is I was not the aloof commentator but the investigative historian and crime scene investigator. Like so many of my other books, it had to fight its way through the cottage industry of folklore.
I never understood why I was greeted by such opposition or silence. I didn’t debunk. I didn’t write in capital letters and imply people were stupid. There was no tambourine to beat. I discovered some very intriguing things behind many of these topics, and I thought others would be glad to find that kernel of truth. But finally a friend pointed out on a radio show that many of these topics I investigate have become “real life comic strips.” The fandom that surrounds them are little different in attitude than those who follow a DC or Marvel comics. They delight in new issues being released, but you cannot rewrite the franchise. I was viewed as doing that. It was like I was saying Superman was real, but he is not from Krypton. I was hated. “Let him have the Triangle,” it was said. “No one will challenge him there. But he has no business in our subject.”
I found the folklore in True Crime and Cold Case more disturbing than that which haunts the sensational cases of UFOs and Bigfoot. It is a serious subject, with many people left in the wake of brutal carnage. Yet I never found real investigative theses. I found the hurried desire to promote suspects and claim solutions that were so thin they were practically transparent. It was a genre choked with “Bitter with Daddy” books or pointless conspiracies.
Yet these cases are far more solvable than the sensational genres of UFOs and Yeti.
With Cold Case I started pushing the point. These were solvable, not just marketable. I started rewriting cases with the facts according to the crime scene investigation, context of all clues and evidence, inquest proceedings, and context of the times in which the crimes happened.
Of the most famous cases, ZODIAC was the case that was still historically reachable. I could revisit each crime scene. I could examine each letter he wrote. I made a laborious display of it online. The information was considered “a very different take” rather than definitive. Still the “bitter with daddy” books were churned out, none of the daddies bearing any resemblance to ZODIAC. The reenactment of the crimes was grossly in error. Authors used economic rehash. . .yet again.
The ability to educate and influence via the internet seemed lost. For Cold Case anyway, the web seemed an unvetted display equal to cheap pulp publishing– a world of suspects and folklore, a real life comic strip in which new installments were welcomed but no attempt to rewrite a franchise with the facts was acceptable.
I pushed the point all the way with EAR/ONS. Few had heard of this super-villain. I intended the section of my new website The Quester Files would be the definitive investigative work. One purpose. Solve the case. Push the point that these cases can be solved. They do not need to forever wallow in a perpetual franchise of pulp fantasy.
This is where we are as of this writing, January 10, 2016. It is working. Two jurisdictions have reopened the case. I have been contacted for input. Aside from my suspect there are 2 others. This will be pushed to solution.
Websites and books can be made respectable again.
I became The Quester, the Q Man, Qolchak with a Q, both hated and loved. We all love mysteries, but it is time to start solving some of them. There shall be many more to take the place of those that get solved. So this is what I have become. I could not be Captain Cook. I cannot get to another planet. I didn’t want to spend a lifetime on the respectable mysteries of science. I wanted to solve some of the fantastic mysteries of our time, probe into some of the most exotic claims to see what could be learned, and hunt some of the worst villains in history.