On the northern outskirts of Chicago, a blogger enjoys a nightly ritual of watching true crime television — maybe “48 Hours” or “The First 48.” Like a composer with perfect pitch catching an out-of-tune melodic phrase, her senses catch lies.
While writing under the pseudonym Eyes for Lies for the self-managed deception-detection site of the same name, this blogger works with many of the same tools used by Tim Roth’s “Lie to Me” character, Dr. Cal Lightman. She is not a psychic, nor a homicide detective, nor a kook. Rather, she is a certified Truth Wizard, and she knows when you’re lying.
In 2006, University of San Francisco professor Maureen O’Sullivan tested Eyes for Lies’ skills and certified her as a Truth Wizard.
As an expert in deception detection, O’Sullivan has tested almost 20,000 people on their ability to see if someone is lying, and only 50 have scored high enough to be called Truth Wizards. Eyes for Lies is the only certified Wizard in the Chicago area.
“Eyes for Lies is quite unusual because most Truth Wizards are professionals; they’re profilers, arbitrators, federal judges. She is one of four people who seem to have an interesting ability to understand people [naturally, without training],” O’Sullivan said.
Eyes for Lies asks that her true identity and occupation remain private (she has received death threats for comments she has made on her blog), but she works in a field unrelated to law enforcement.
The blog, eyesforlies.blogspot.com, features material on many of the high-profile criminal cases of the last decade, from Drew Peterson (deemed dishonest) to John and Patsy Ramsey (suspicious) to the students suspected in the Duke University rape case (sincere). In the last four years, Eyes for Lies has never been wrong about a case that was ultimately solved.
In a classic example, the case of Mary Winkler — arrested in the killing her husband — a microexpression displayed on an ABC News special gave Eyes for Lies all the information she needed to conclude that the defendant was lying.
The blogger points out that Winkler’s face lights up with a smile for an incredibly brief moment, precisely when the prosecution asks her if she intentionally shot her husband.
“Mary Winkler makes what some call Duper’s Delight, an expression of joy, a delight out of being deceptive,” Eyes for Lies said. “Why is she feeling joy or glee in a moment when she should be devastated? If I didn’t kill my husband, there is going to be deep pain there.”
Winkler was convicted of manslaughter in 2007.
The blogger has also been in communication with two homicide detectives regarding her opinions on their respective cases.
“I thought I was good at reading people after 27 years as a cop, but she goes way beyond that,” said Daren Matteson, a homicide detective in central California. “I have only met one other person with a similar talent, and she’s on the FBI payroll and is equally talented.”