ADVENTURES IN THE SPY BIZ : A PARANOID WORLD

It’s sad you know. The world where I lived in makes so many people paranoid for the stupidest reasons. And when they’re that paranoid, you really have no idea what to expect.

So to make a change of things, I’ve decided to talk about some of the past cases I’ve been in, that a psychologist was better warranted.

First, I’d like you to understand that many of these people genuinely need to have treatment. Of all of the cases I’ve been personally involved in with people I call paranoid, in only 1 case out of 6 YEARS actually panned out as a genuine situation… and even then that went sideways.

Next, if you’re wondering why I even took the cases in the first place, there’s 2 reasons. One, there’s the old saying, when there’s smoke there’s fire. For my “normal” clients, I’ve found that to be accurate. But in the realm of madness, it’s so much harder to tell. I had to give them the benefit of the doubt. Second, sometimes just having my presence and involvement was enough to give a little peace of mind. Either way, here are a few memorable clients or would be clients.

1- Killer lasers from above.

C-130 Hercules armed with the Advanced Tactical Laser

C-130 Hercules armed with the Advanced Tactical Laser

Around 2008 or so, a gentleman came in saying that the US army was after him, even trying to kill him. I admittedly went instantly into “look serious but try not to sigh” mode for obvious reasons. He barely looked like he had $100 total to his name, but I calmly stood by and listened. As for that plane you’re seeing, that’s a C-130 Hercules. It costs thousands to keep in the air. It costs hundreds of thousands to maintain. Inside of its belly is a 100-kilowatt laser capable of knocking hole through a 3’x3′ piece of metal from 20 km an hour, and costs tens of thousands of dollars to fire. But according to the would-be client, it wasn’t flying around New Mexico test grounds or somewhere in Afghanistan. Somehow, it was circling Calgary around and around, for the sole purpose of striking him.

2- Radiation girl

Radiation Warning

Radiation Warning

In 2009, this poor girl came into my store and gave me a pretty harrowing take of how an international conglomerate has been purposely trying to kill her. No matter where she would move to, this secret Illuminati was going to send a would be assassin to move into a nearby apartment or house or wherever she was and would dose her with radioactive isotopes. That’s when she requested I find out who was this international group, and to see if I could obtain a lead-lined suit of some sort.

For months, she would come in asking for one bizarre thing after another, but for the most part it was harmless. It was around the time that she started to ask for enough copper to make a Faraday cage and enough lead to line her home against plutonium is when I started to stall. Basically put, she was asking me to procure her tens of thousands of dollars of metal, to combat a supposed beam of radiation or a stick of plutonium that just happens to be lying around that was sent by secret illuminati killers. I couldn’t in all conscience take advantage of this. In the end (well so far at least), she still has her money, doesn’t appear to have been radiation poisoned the last 6 years, and I can sleep at night.

3- From the Tabloid Pages

Ninjas in Trees

Ninjas in Trees

Now this is something that’s unique. This client, I had honestly thought she was a paranoid schizophrenic. She walked into my office, and told me a story about how things were missing all the time.

Buuut, I hooked her up with a hidden camera, and then had it watch her living room. And wouldn’t you know, she really DID have someone coming into her place. The super of her building was later convicted for breaking and entering and theft, as she was one of many victims in that building while the super padded his income. Mission solved, and that was that… or so I thought.

The following week, she came back, with a video that she stated was conclusive proof that a team of ninjas with camcorders were filming her 24/7 for some secret website. Needless to say, I hate it when my initial thoughts of a person is later confirmed in such a surprising manner. As I couldn’t convince her otherwise, I ended up watching a 30 min video of trees swaying in the wind where apparently there are invisible ninjas. I have to admit, those ninjas were good. Never saw a thing.

4- The Purse Whisperer

Cameras catching thieves in women's wear

Cameras catching thieves in women’s wear

This lady came in all perturbed and upset in a manner that was almost worrying. As she tried to describe her problem through her tears and her fear, she described how someone was trying to gaslight her by moving her purse every day a few inches here and there. Please note… I said MOVE, not steal, damage, break or hide… just move.

Well, I tried to reason with her, but there are just some cases that you can’t talk any sense to, so I just gave up and my boss designed a hidden wireless cameras system that did nothing but watch her purse all day long. Being a custom job, it wasn’t cheap, so I hope she found what she was looking for.

That’s enough for now, as there’s plenty of memories of my 6 1/2 years as a Spy/Investigator. In the meantime, I close off this entry with my farewell interview as I walked off into the sunset last month.

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Adventures in the Spy Biz: Reflection on the Final Days

Seven years. I’ve been involved in the Spy business for 7 years, and it comes to a relative end in 2 weeks.

Image

Always watching through the windows when you least expect it

In 7 years, I’ve been involved in at least 4-5 police investigations involving murder, assault or kidnappings. I’ve assisted in a number of child abuse cases, or at least made it possible for the parent to do the work themselves. I’ve helped prevent at least 2 child abductions, and helped family members find out if their son or daughter was into drugs, planning secret parties or being cyber-bullied. As for infidelity or other stuff, I can’t even begin to count the number of cases I’ve either directly or indirectly been involved in.

In the end, as my time here comes to an end (not 100% immediately, I’ll still do the odd case or two or assist with my successor to complete existing contracts that started in my time), I wonder what did I learn?

Well, the first thing is… unless you work for a corporation or contracted to one, it’s not exactly the most glamorous job in the world. For every interesting case involving police work, there are 10 jobs involving husbands or wives cheating. It’s not so much James Bond as it’s the cheekier side of Magnum PI. In my last entry under “Adventures”, there tended to be a lot of times that would involve long hours watching a hotel or sneaking around a place in the middle of the night to plant tracking devices, cameras and the like.

Next, you find out that Hollywood has completely misconstrued everything to be a world where there are tracking devices the size of sugar cubes that work around the world and need absolutely zero power. For example, those wireless portable cameras that Lisbeth uses in “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo”. How the hell did those cameras operate? Battery power on wireless cameras work for a matter of HOURS, not days, not weeks as suggested. If they applied the real rules, then the cameras would have run out of power long ago and her journalist friend would have been murdered. There’s Hollywood, and the laws of physics. I would bet on those laws every day. One special note though, the tools and the gear has improved a lot though, even from when I first started my work.

Finally, there’s always an anterior motive. It doesn’t matter who and what case, there always is one. I won’t comment on the Police ones out of respect to the inspectors who have a hard enough time as it is, but there have been too many cases from other Private Investigators and the public at large to not have seen this. I’ve found that without knowing that motive, a client’s case would linger for weeks, even months. I’ve had cases go for over 5 years because I was directed to look in one direction without knowing the other. Sure they pay well, but you just want to have the closure eventually.

So, as my time comes soon to an end, I wonder, was it worth it? I know that a huge chunk of my soul has been bruised in ways that I can never describe. The look of horror of that woman when she found out how her child was being drugged. The knowledge that no matter what I do, often the client refuses to help themselves and endure unspeakable abuse. The regular disappointments by occasional clients that despite retrieving what they needed, they lack the courage to take it that last step. But in the end, I think yes. Despite what my family and friends who disapproved of the job, in the end, I can honestly say that I was in a position to help far more than most. That’ll be the thought that will follow me.

But if I’m so melancholy of the time I spent as a spy of sorts, how did I manage for so long? People in Calgary know me as a social media person, a regarded foodie and Calgary booster. That description probably fits me well, but little do people know that all of this wasn’t just me being a particularly involved with things, it was my life line. While the infidelity stuff can be funny, more often than not, it was simply tragic. It’s a world where there are legions of broken hearts, misplaced anger and residual damage in the lives any children involved. I needed the social media world, a dynamic arena of minds and spirits the world over to keep me engaged with the brighter parts of life. I needed to be a foodie, not simply because I truly enjoy good food and the passions involved with cooking, but to give me a means to brighten the horizons of others through the simple communion of a shared meal. As for being a Calgary booster, that was easy. For every one case I dealt with, there were 100 Calgarians making the lives of one another a better place. If anything, the people of Calgary bring me hope that there are happy families out there, lovers enjoying the simple joys and artists creating art and music. To this incredible city, thank you, and I promise to continue to serve.

From Terry’s PI Files – The Digital Love Affair

[Back in January 2014, I left the security and investigations business to pursue new ventures. But, I’ve been recapping my old cases in recent times… here’s one of the funniest I’ve ever been involved in. This was written in 2013]

In Calgary, I wear a number of hats. I’m best known as a foodie and avid twitter fiend (@calgarydreamer), but those who know me also know me as the guy to go to when you need help… in an espionage kind of way.  I used to run and operate Spy City in Calgary from 2007-Jan 2014 years.  Needless to say, I’ve encountered some pretty funny and some pretty tragic events.

Priiiivate eyes...they're waaatching you... they're seeing your every moooove...

Priiiivate eyes…they’re waaatching you… they’re seeing your every moooove…

As cool as my job sounded, a lot of the work deals with some of the nastier stuff of human nature… that is, betrayal, hatred, lust and fear.  Think more Magnum PI than James Bond a lot of the times, and you have some pretty negative situations all around.

But every so often, you get a pretty funny surprise that blindsides you in it’s hilarity and even genuine sense of love and redemption.  There’s the client who had me follow her husband and his “mistress” for a few days, only to find out that the “mistress” was a party planner and my client was about to have a kick-ass surprise birthday party.  There’s the guy who found out he was just too suspicious and discovered that his girlfriend was about to surprise him with the announcement of their first child (they’re a great couple btw). And then there was this case…

My client was technologically inept in pretty much every sense of the word.  A charming lady, she brought meaning and true embodiment to the term, “more jittery than a jitterbug.”  She couldn’t believe it had come to the point that she needed my help.  But at the same time, she didn’t know what to expect as well.

Every night, her husband would leave their bed, and he would go on the net every night to do god knows what, and then return to bed a few hours later.  It went on like clockwork for weeks, and it was an obsessive sort of action.  But the last straw was when she went down to try to see what he was doing online, and he snapped back at her.

Burning the midnight oil or something nefarious?

Burning the midnight oil or something nefarious?

When she came to me, she was at her rope’s end.  Her husband had always been a good person, but now with these late night online events, he would sleep less and less and go to work an utter zombie.  He refused to talk to her about what was going on, and would not let her near him when he was online.  And in a time when online affairs was rampant, you can only imagine what she was going through.

After she explained the whole situation, my own first impression was that he was probably having an online affair.  I didn’t really know the man, but this sort of behavior was common among the cheaters I’ve caught in the past.  So after a few more minutes to gather initial impressions, we were both convinced that some sort of monitoring software was needed.

Later that day, with her permission of course, I installed a useful piece of software that records every single action, keystroke, website and more into a secret database.  It’s been a pretty handy tool for someone in my line of work, since I can honestly say that I’ve assisted in stopping at least a few adult stalkers, cheaters, prevented 3 child abductions (way cool…) and stopped a planned assault that could only go worse.  Once installed, I let it work it’s magic, and waited for him to do his.

About 2 days later, my client was waiting at the front door anxiously for my arrival.  She had to know if she had lost her husband to another woman or online porn or worse, and I was her only hope.  So I sat down before the keyboard, and hitting a secret combo of keys and passwords, I called up the hidden logs.

At first, I noticed that she was right.  In the last 2 nights alone since the installation, someone had been using the computer for hours between 10pm and 2am.  But that was pretty much all that she was right about.  My attention turned to the keystrokes, and I noticed that there were far too many keystrokes for a normal chat.  Over and over, the letters A, W, S, D and SPACE were being hammered on every second of every minute of every hour.  There was very little actual chats being made as well, except terms like “cover me” and “eat my unholy axe”.  It was with the last words, that everything came into view… he wasn’t having an online affair at all.  Heck,. he wasn’t even looking at porn.  He was addicted to WORLD OF WARCRAFT.

Screenshot of World of Warcraft

Screenshot of World of Warcraft

It was a bit difficult to explain to her that her hubby wasn’t cheating on her with another woman, but instead with 2000 orcs and goblins, but eventually I got through.  She was so incredibly relieved, and had me take the software off the computer. Needless to say, it was probably the best few hundred she ever spent.

This was one of the best results I ever had in a case, that led to happy (relatively) results.  I still look back at that and smile.  But as I think about it, one little thing concerns me.. how does a real life mortal wife compete with 2000 digital Orcs and dragons?