Recently, Alleged Sierra Kill Shooter, Justin Smeja took a Polygraph exam in passed. Even though he passed some skeptics and even some within the Bigfoot research community state that “lie detectors” are easy to fool.


Shown here, is the polygraph used to interview witnesses in the NatGeo Special, The Truth Behind the Loch Ness Monster. (Photo Credit: Steve Kulls)

In reality, polygraph exams are very difficult to fool, more matter to the fact, that is why intelligence have to undergo intensive training to  “beat” the machines and even then, they are often not successful.

Beating the machine is a product of Hollywood. In reality,more matter to the fact, there are more “lie” results that are inaccurate than “true” results being accurate. And it is for that reason why so many states in the US find them inadmissible. Only about 20 accept them into evidence.

A search of the web will show very few sites discussing the guilty passing, more to the point; the innocent failing. The reason for that is easy, that the test (control) questions used to meter the truthful reactions, could be misinterpreted. Computer technology which is used in many of the newer polygraph units, assist in filtering out these misinterpretations.

Just merely believing you are telling the truth, does not trump the knowledge you are telling a lie either. It is that basis to which so many forensic investigators work upon, and in a face to face interview, a person can deny, deny, deny, but there facial and body language often can give that away.

There is one other major “X Factor” here, as in all polygraphs exams, the interviewer.


IMG_20110219_045641David and Mikko

(Left) Polygrapher David Bird, prepares for the interviewing of Loch Ness Monster witnesses. (Right) Scene of Bird interviewing LNM witness/researcher Mikko Takala, whom passed the exam. (Photo credits on left: Steve Kulls)

I had the opportunity to interview David Bird, in February of 2011, while filming the “Truth Behind the Loch Ness Monster.”  David’s credentials are impeccable and can be found here to see his vast amount of experience, in not only polygraphy, but in forensic interviewing as well.

“You can beat the machine, but it’s hard to beat the interviewer,” David began, “but if you interview them properly before the test, making sure there aware of what the machine can and cannot do, it’s near impossible to beat.”

I watched David throughout his polygraph exams, and his pre-interviews would make anyone squirm. He even made me feel uneasy, when he was playfully hitting me up with a mock pre-interview to demonstrate how he does his pre-interviews. I wouldn’t be too comfortable sitting there if I had something to hide, with David across the table.

David’s approach was genius, and it was truly a pleasure, having a background in forensic interviewing myself, watching David integrate that into the polygraph exam.

That being said, I do not know the qualifications or know the examiner involved in the Smeja interview. I know David did warn me that outstanding polygraphers,  continue their education and their experiences, should not be just on taking a school on polygraphy itself, but should have some interviewing schools as well, such as a forensic interviewing school, neurolinguistic  training, etc. 

All in all, it is very interesting that Justin passed the exam, and it just deepens this mystery of what happened in the fall of 2010.

Till next time….