Oh, Deer

It’s a fascinating story: human bones discovered in the crawlspace of an old house — bones that may be tied to the disappearance of a woman more than 70 years ago. And on top of everything is a plot element that makes every tale more intriguing: Nazi Germany.

Yes, quite a story. Too bad it wasn’t true.

Could be human, right? From my collection of things I probably don’t need.

Area media this week went apesh*t over the macabre discovery of these “human remains” in East Greenbush — until it was revealed Thursday that they were deer bones, not human. Ooops.

Yes, the cops bear much of the responsibility here. They were the ones who declared the bones to be human. They also cited a 1938 document as a key bit of evidence, possibly linking the bones to the disappearance of a woman whose husband later returned to his native Germany. That document was a school report written by a 9th grader.

This leaves a few questions, like where is the healthy skepticism we count on from reporters and editors? Did no one bother to ask the police about the process for identifying bones? And seriously, a 9th grader’s school report? Really?

To their credit, the Times Union did a great job of tracking down details about the real German family who returned home before the war — but not before they swallowed the whole story, hook, line and sinker.

Oh, yes: one of the “clues” police found near the bones was woman’s shoe. Maybe someone could do a story on why a deer would be wearing a shoe. That would be more interesting.

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