Landscapes with a corpse (2003), Izima Kaoru

“An unidentified corpse is the Blanche DuBois of the forensic world: completely dependent on the kindness of strangers,” says Deborah Halber in her book about amateur Web sleuths who solve cold cases. According to a 2004 survey—the first and only of its kind—there are at least 13,486 Blanches nationwide, with about a thousand more added to the rolls each year. Amateur sleuths congregate online, swapping information and theories, looking for details or connections, poring over facial reconstructions, dental records, and serial numbers on breast implants and artificial joints. Halber says these forums have “propelled a remarkable shift in the number of cases solved, and in the relationship between the public and law enforcement.” -Peter C. Baker

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a story or scene about an amateur sleuth using the web to solve crimes.

Journaling Prompt: Write about the most unusual thing you do on the web.

Art Prompt: Online crime solving

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Talk about unusual crowdsourcing applications and tell your audience how they can get involved in a cause of their choice.

Photo Credit: Marco Derksen on Flickr

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge