For some strange reason a rumor circulated that the ski masks shown in the evidence photo released by the FBI last week RE: the EAR/ONS case were not real. For those who follow my update page on The Quester Files, you know that I called Gina Swankie at the FBI and got confirmation that they are, of course, real. They were not staged for presentation purposes.
Let’s discuss the masks now.
The snowflake mask was a readily available ski mask of the time, a snowflake pattern being a common one.
The other is quite unique. It appears to be a military balaclava, olive drab, but it is one that has been personally modified by an eye visor piece. The stitching around the eye is by hand, quite noticeable comparted to the professional serge at the bottom hem of the mask and the center seam. The piece that has been sewed on is rounded at one corner and square at the bottom corner, at least from that which is visible in the picture.
Why would EAR modify a mask like this, and rather crudely done as well, for his night stalking? There is no answer. The obvious answer is that it was modified for more above board and acceptable uses. What would these be?
I suggested the padding implied goggles were used.
Others agreed. The suggestions made by others were “Speed Skiing.” Ray noted that this may explain EAR’s summer absences– as skiers head north to Mount Hood. This would indicate EAR was an avid skier or worked as ski instruction. This is a piquing theory, but I would think that EAR would have professional equipment. However, an avid skier would also need to modify where needed. Ben noted that fogging of the goggles could occur far too easily if there was no padding around the eye. Otherwise the breath would simply come back up from the mask and into the eye area. Another suggestion was that it was done to narrow the visor width, to protect EAR’s identity better.
The slit in the front of the olive drab mask is curious too. It may indicate the desire not to have a tight fitting mask. What would this indicate? Well, bikers also use masks and wear goggles. Was this modified for long distance cruising on a chopper?
The material used appeared to be military surplus. It is hard to say what piece was used around the eye. A seam is not noticeable on the outer edge. It almost looks like a sock. The material must be wool, since moth holes can be seen chewed in it at the nose bridge area.
So we have a military olive drab balaclava, modified with gray wool, and a couple of possible reasons why it was adapted for regular rather than diabolical use.
There is also another, suggested by more than one– welding. A mobile welder, such as my theory about car parts and auto wrecking, would need a quick and handy mask to cut up parts while visiting wrecking yards, etc. A heavy leather mask would be unnecessary and cumbersome for the minor work. Just slip on this easy mask and put on the goggles. The welder would by no means want a tight fitting mask, thus explaining the cut in front.
Recall, that in the attack on Victim 9 EAR wore what was described as a welder’s mask.
The clues mount. . . .
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Since 1990 Gian J. Quasar has investigated a broad range of mysterious subjects, from strange disappearances to serial murders, earning in that time the unique distinction of being likened to “the real life Kolchak.” However, he is much more at home with being called The Quester. “He’s bloody eccentric, an historian with no qualifications who sticks his nose into affairs and gets results.” He is the author of several books, one of which inspired a Resolution in Congress.