Consistency in Eyewitness Reports of Aquatic “Monsters”

Charles Paxton

Abstract


Little work has been undertaken on the consistency/repeatability of reports of natural historical anomalies. Such information is useful in understanding the reporting process associated with such accounts and distinguishing any underlying biological signal. Here we used intraclass correlation as a measure of consistency in descriptions of a variety of quantitative features from a large collection of firsthand accounts of apparently unknown aquatic animals (hereafter "monsters") in each of two different cases. In the first case, same observer, same encounter sose, the correlation was estimated from two different accounts of the same event from the same witness. In the second case, the correlation was between two different observers of the same event (dose). Overall levels of consistency were surprisingly high, with length of monster, distance of monster to the witness and duration of encounter varying between 0.63 and 1. Interestingly, there was no evidence that sose accounts generally had higher consistency than dose accounts


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