Citizen Investigator

It always kills me the length people will go to, online, to stay across information. On one of my forums, about 4 or 5 years ago (when it was harder to do) a member ran a cache/proxy so that he could monitor every delete and edit. God forbid you should put something up and then go back in and edit it for spelling errors etc. These Type A members of your community often get called Forum Nazis. They just can’t let it go…

Portuguese barn houses 180 cars, all covered with decades of dust

Portuguese barn houses 180 cars, all covered with decades of dust

Talking of investigating something online, and not being able to let it go, read down for Tom Cotters investigative work on the cars-in-barn Legend:
Original Urban Myth says:

“Imagine moving into an old farmhouse in the Portuguese countryside, and, while walking around “the lower 40” of your new investment, you come across an old building. Curious as to what may be inside, you pry open the rusted door and for the first time in decades, one of the largest hordes of old cars ever discovered is exposed to sunlight.”

I got an email from Cheryll, about a barn in Portugal that was locked up tight for years and years. When finally a new owner from New York decided to unlock the doors, he found a barn full of cars. Similar story. But I went to check out the photos on a private site. And from there, found a link to Tom Cotter who did some REAL investigative work, including finding a Portugese translator who then helped him find the photographer.

Through a Cobra buddy, Don Silawski of Washington, DC, I contracted with a Portuguese translator, Clara Dixon. Clara would be my tour guide and try to unearth some of the naked truth regarding this huge stash. Clara also checked the Internet for news stories that may have been written in Portuguese newspapers about the cars. I was beginning to feel like a CIA sleuth… (continued)

And it paid off, he found the owner and the photographer:

Manuel Menezes Morais shot the photos, but he was sworn to secrecy about the cars’ location and the owner’s name. However, he was able to obtain permission from the elusive owner to give me the following information:

The owner of the cars was a car dealer in the 1970s and 1980s, and decided to save the more interesting cars that came through his doors. When the barn was full, he padlocked and “soldered” the doors shut. (Perhaps welding was too permanent.)

Web sites varied on the number of cars: 58, 100, and 180 were speculated. According to Morais, there are 180 cars in the barn.

And, aw shucks, none of the cars is for sale.

Clara was able to determine that the cars are located somewhere in the area of Sintra, near Lisbon. I asked Morais if he could ask the owner if he had a favorite car. “He has lots of good cars in very good condition,” he says, “but he loves the Lancia Aurelia B24. He has two.”

Here’s the link for the photos. Nothing, nothing, nothing is immune from investigation. Whether you find a barn full of secret cars, or you are The Fake Steve Jobs or you are LonelyGirl15, someone somewhere will eventually track you down and make transparent whatever you are hoping will devolve into Urban Mythdom. The Long Tail of Information is infinite…

I think Cat dreams of breaking open the doors of a barn one day and finding it filled with shoes. 😛

Talking of shoes – that was “investigator” Spencer Guam’s reasoning behind Britney’s atrocious performance at VMA. (Hat Tip (or is that Shoe Trip?) to Icy, Individual Chic)

Laurel Papworth

Named by Forbes™ Magazine in the Top 50 Social Media Influencers globally, named Head of Industry, Social Media (Marketing Magazine™) and in the Power150 Media bloggers (AdAge™). CERT IV Training and Assessment certified trainer (Diplomas and Certificates etc) Adult Education. Laurel has manager Facebook Pages for Junior Masterchef, Idol, Big Brother etc. and have consulted on private online communities for banks Westpac, not for profits UNHCR & governments in SE Asia. Lecturer, social media, University of Sydney for 10 years and Laurel has 11,000 online students. Laurel Papworth personally connects to 6 million followers online and has taught around 100,000 people in the last 10 years how to be social media managers.

2 thoughts on “Citizen Investigator

  1. CSI: SilkCharm Sydney.
    tag: on-line there is no-where to hide your cookies.

    hey, I do have a barn full of shoes! it’s at the back of the shop!

  2. CSI: SilkCharm Virtual World
    tag: online no-one hears your avatar scream

    *screams* ewwwww.

    PS You are supposed to sell the shoes, not hoard them! 😛

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