Perhaps, maybe for the first time in this site’s ten month history, I rushed a post. “Debunking Claims Made About The Child Victims Of Sandy Hook”, to be specific. While it still took me a handful of days to get everything just the way I wanted it (larger entries – such as the full chapter debunks – can take me weeks), the end result would have been significantly better had I waited just a little while longer.
Unlike the willfully ignorant clowns that populate the Sandy Hook denialist cult, I like to know what I’m talking about before I run my mouth. Because that’s how it’s supposed to work. What that translates to is days or weeks spent researching a claim before addressing it. Of course, in that time, ten new claims have entered the fray since they’re almost always made out of total ignorance, but there isn’t a whole hell of a lot I can do about that. So when it came time to finally drop trou and shit all over the absurd notion that the child victims of Sandy Hook not only faked their participation in the attack, but magically changed appearance, aged three years, and then performed at Super Bowl Super Bowl XLVII two months later. This unbridled insanity has resulted in the coordinated stalking of one young girl in particular, led by Wolfgang Halbig and Tony Mead of Absolute Moving in Plantation, Florida, and I needed to be sure that I had an actual understanding of anthropometry (defined as “the scientific study of the measurements and proportions of the human body”) and facial analysis to debunk it, since that’s what this goofball claim is based upon. Next to going back to school for an extended period of time and spending gobs of money in the process, I figured the best way to do that would be to pick up a book on the subject, the most relevant and comprehensive of which I found to be “Face To Face: Analysis and Comparison of Facial Features to Authenticate Identities of People in Photographs” by Joelle Steele, released in 2013, and based on her more than thirty years experience in the field.
Admittedly, I did not finish the book. At least not yet. Not because it wasn’t good or interesting (I found it to be both), but because after reading just a small chunk of it, I felt comfortable enough with the concepts presented therein to move forward with the post, confirming what most of us have known for years now: that these were absolutely, positively not the same children. And here’s where some patience would have paid off.
Shortly after I hit the Publish button, I reached out to Joelle, who offers a facial comparison service through her website, which is used primarily to authenticate old family photos, etc. Even though I have never asked for or accepted donations (let alone rake in six figures, like Wolfgang Halbig has done in the past), or so much as earned a single red cent from this website, I was willing to pay Joelle out of my own pocket for her expert opinion on whether or not Sandy Hook victim Avielle Richman and the aforementioned young girl who performed as part of the Super Bowl choir were one in the same. After all, I couldn’t find anyone more qualified than the woman who quite literally wrote the book on the subject.
When I contacted Joelle, I introduced myself as a blogger who spent a lot of time researching the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre. I wasn’t sure if she was aware that the shooting was the subject of a number of conspiracy theories (most people aren’t), so I explained the situation, and the Super Bowl angle in particular, to her. This was done in order to avoid any legal and/or ethical issues. And while I made it clear as to where I stood on the subject, I told her that I wanted her honest, unbiased opinion, and that I would gladly pay her for it up front. Joelle wrote back and said that she was willing to do the work, but would need at least three high-quality photographs of each subject so that she can enlarge them for analysis, as is her standard procedure. In return, I sent over the absolute best photographs that I could find, for her approval. Shortly thereafter, Joelle wrote back. This is her reply, in its entirety:
From: Face Comparisons
Subject: RE: Hi, Joelle. Some questions…
This is a real no-brainer. I don’t even have to measure anything to tell you these are not the same girl. I can see at a glance how far off they are in terms of appearance. And age has nothing to do with this comparison at all. The face lengthens and teeth can change with age, but those are irrelevant in this comparison. Here’s what I immediately see:
Ears don’t match in shape, pattern, and placement on head.
Jaws don’t match, most evident in smiling views.
Chins don’t match and don’t look alike either.
Eyes don’t match in orbits and lids.
Pupil distance proportions don’t match.
Forehead proportions don’t match.
Nose length and width proportions don’t match.
Brow ridges don’t match.
With the exception of the ears, these are all based on the bones, the infrastructure of the face. If they don’t match, it’s not the same person. Period. And I would rule out a match based on ears alone, but the overwhelming number of non-matches back that up.
And that about says it all, doesn’t it? Here we have a true, verifiable expert on the subject of facial analysis and comparison (unlike Jim Appleton, whose specialty is video production), who took one look at these girls and immediately saw that the difference between the two was so crystal clear, she wouldn’t even take my money. She turned down an easy payday.
I thanked Joelle for her time and honesty and asked her if it would be okay for me to publish our correspondence here, which she approved. Joelle is a true professional, and I would certainly encourage anyone looking for an expert facial analysis and comparison to get in touch with her via her website, facecomparisons.com. I would also encourage anyone with an interest in the subject of anthropometry to pick up her book, “Face To Face: Analysis and Comparison of Facial Features to Authenticate Identities of People in Photographs”, which is available in paperback, as well as for the Kindle. I would even encourage Wolfgang Halbig to reach out to Joelle with any requests for facial comparisons; I would just ask that he not stiff her, much like he did with me.