Appalachian Trail Incident

Concord, New Hampshire
Police Department
Consulting Psychologist

April 15, 2009

Report on the April 11th incident from the Appalachian Trail.

Overview: Police report states that a group of 8th grade students were hiking a portion of the Appalachian Trail as part of a school field trip. During the afternoon of April 11th the group was apparently stalked by an unknown assailant. After the group of students and their teacher chaperons bedded down for the night, the assailant apparently entered the trailside shelter and abducted one of the students.

The details are confused as to exactly what occurred, but this much is clear. Several of the students noticed “A strange person” at different points throughout the day. Shortly before the group stopped for the day, it began to rain. Once the group was in the shelter the rain increased. A few students reported seeing “Something, maybe a person or an animal” skulking near the shelter, just out of clear visual range.

After the students were asleep, they were awakened by a scream. Most of the students reported seeing nothing, while others reported seeing someone or something carrying away the abducted student.

Reports as to who or what took the missing student are confused. Most of the witnesses stated that the kidnapper resembled the “strange person” seen earlier. This person was originally reported to be a very tall, thin man, bald, wearing a black business suit, white shirt and black tie. The witnesses stated that this man was the kidnapper, but that he now appeared different, nonhuman. Students stated the human had the aspect of an insect, or had tentacles sprouting from his body.

It is my surmise that the students misinterpreted the appearance of the assailant through a combination of suddenly being awakened late at night, the rainy conditions and more than a little bit of “creative thinking” brought on by the reported bout of ghost stories told by the students earlier in the evening.

The witnesses were presented with paper and asked to draw their impression of the assailant. All the results showed a person with a black suit, but all of them showed wildly different, inhuman features.

Subject 1:


Subject 2:


Subject 3:


Subject 4:


Subject 5:


Subject 6:


Subject 7:


Subject 8:


Subject 9:


Subject 10:


Subject 11:


Subject 12:


Conclusion: There is no useful data here. No distinguishing features of the assailant can be gleaned from the eyewitness reports. These reports are also particularly colored by mass hysteria brought on by the nighttime telling of ghost stories and the “creepy” conditions present during the night. All that can be concluded is that the assailant wore a black suit when he kidnapped the victim. All the student were deeply traumatized by the assault. However, Subject 12 was particularly affected. He refused to handle the plain paper I provided for the students to draw on, stating “It looks like his shirt; It’s the color of his face.” He then pulled out a sheet of lined notebook paper and stated “It has lines, it’s not like him.” Recommendations: These students will require extensive counseling. Given enough time, they may be able recall more accurately the events of that night, but for the time being, they are providing little useful information.

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