(Image courtesy of Jonathan Hall)
Entertainment “rooms” set up to represent a particular scenario have, increasingly, become popular; the “escape room” is a recent, especially successful form of the concept. However, there are other games that can be played using themed rooms; the Criminal Justice Club recently demonstrated what could be called an “evidence room” in their Crime Scene Investigation Competition, which I attended on November 1st in the Proctor Hall West staff lounge.
When the Crime Scene Investigation Competition started, my teammate and I entered the lounge, which was designed to look like a typical family’s dining room—despite the bloody report card (which, I believe, was actually covered in ketchup), the tipped chair, and the bullet casings on the floor. We were given an incident report and a form in which we were to explain our conclusions about the death we were investigating.
We then read the incident report. Apparently, a woman was found dead in the “dining room” by her younger child’s nanny, who promptly called 911. The nanny had spoken to the woman earlier that day while she was still alive, and had discussed the problems that the woman’s older child was having with his mother.
After we read the report, we looked around the room for clues. We quickly noticed a few interesting facts—that the arrangement of the bottles and cups at the dining room table indicated that the woman who was killed had been drinking, that the report card showing her older child’s grades had almost entirely negative things to say about him except for one positive note, and that the positions of the shotgun shells, the tipped chair, and the report card indicated that she was attacked from the side.
We then went to another room to analyze the evidence we had seen, but were allowed to return to the evidence room shortly afterwards, as no other teams were in it. We began to formulate, from the evidence, a theory of what happened.
We believed that the older child, who was supposed to come to the house at the time the woman was killed, entered the dining room where his mother was drinking and dropped his backpack (which we noticed under the table) near one of the chairs at her right. He gave her his report card, and the mother’s drunken, angry reaction caused him to approach her and shoot her. They struggled for the gun, so she was hit in two different places. This sequence of events is the version that we thought occurred.
After we put this information on the incident report, I left to go to a class. The organizers promised to tell us how we did after they waited to see whether or not anyone else would come through (we were the only group or one of the only groups to participate). I went on my way, and after that class I came across the organizers of the event while walking to the library. They informed me that while we did not correctly ascertain the nature of the murder (the woman was stabbed, not shot), as a member of the only team I still won a Chipotle gift card and a T-shirt. As the event was only $2, I consider it to have been a good investment indeed.
This article was written by Joshua Fitzgerald.