How good a witness would you be?

Harry Hall, author and public speaker extraordinaire

Our minds play tricks on us. We swear we saw or heard something, but further investigation proves otherwise.

I sat in the jury pool with skepticism.

A man had been charged with sexual misconduct against a minor.

The case rested with one witness.

Basically, it would be a “he said, she said,” situation, and he likely wouldn’t testify.

We were all asked, “Could you make a conviction based on the testimony of one person?”

I was one of the first questioned. “No,” I said, “I need a higher standard.”

As more potential jurors cited similar opinions, we were eventually all released.

I hate to admit it, but recounting what we see, hear or read isn’t the most reliable source.

To help make my point, read out loud, or have someone read to you, the following twelve words once; then, without looking again, write down all the words you remember.

Find results at the end of the post:

Bed

Rest

Awake

Tired

Dream

Wake

Night

Eat

Comfort

Sound

Slumber

Snore

Our minds play tricks on us. We swear we saw or heard something, but further investigation proves otherwise.

VFTL readers who are familiar with such events will “recall” the decades-old story about children’s radio personality, “Uncle Don,” who after signing off without realizing his microphone was still hot, made a derogatory remark about children.

However, it didn’t happen. Yes, there’s a recording of it, but the perpetrator wasn’t radio’s Uncle Don Carney, it was Kermit Schaefer, faking the incident to help sell an album, “Pardon My Blooper.”

I’m not suggesting our minds deliberately create fake scenarios, resulting in inaccurate and maybe even tragic conclusions.

People have been sent to prison based on eyewitness testimony. Today, DNA evidence can help correct these injustices, but if eyewitness testimony is all you have, you go with it.

The point is that we should always check sources, whether writing or quoting, even if we saw it with our own eyes.

Next time, we’ll discuss the conflicting eyewitness accounts of the Titanic sinking.

Test results: 

Between 6-7 is average. Most people remember “bed,” since it’s the first word on the list; fewer say, “comfort,” since it’s buried at number nine.

Most interesting is that about 70% of all test takers say, “sleep.”

But sleep isn’t on the list.

(Don’t let that bother you, I took it three times before I quit listing, “sleep.”)

About Harry Hall:

Harry Hall’s background as a track coach and distance-runner (he’s completed two Boston Marathons) led him to write, The Pedestriennes, America’s Forgotten Superstars. From
1876-1881, this handful of women endurance walkers captivated America and became national heroes, earning small fortunes for one walk.

Although only popular for a few years, they set the foundation for modern sports, the revival of the Olympic Games, and the suffragist movement. The book has won a Mayborn Prize, Writer’s Digest and an Independent Publisher’s (IPPY) Award. Harry is a charter inductee into the Mayborn Author’s Guild.

Additionally, Harry is a long-time adjunct professor, teaching public speaking at the University of Dallas. Harry lives in North Texas with his wife, Susie, their teenage son Zane, and Zane’s new best friend, Scamp (Pooch) Hall.

Find out more at: www.pedestriennes.com

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