Reflections and Realizations: How I Became a Private Investigator

photo by Ryan McGuire

photo by Ryan McGuire

Hear the Beard: When an Otherwise Ordinary Moment Changes Everything

Every now and then, a thing just smacks you in the face. It’s been there all along, lurking in your subconscious, leering at you, mocking you. Then one day it just up and clocks you, hard.

I’d been a research specialist for decades: Real estate research, appraisals, feasibility studies, that kind of thing. I dipped a toe into the cold waters of journalism several years ago, mostly out of a love of words, language, and storytelling. I also happen to be somewhat of a gear hound.

Then I got a call several years ago from a lawyer friend. Knowing my ability to find things (identify connections between property, people, assets, transactions, etc.), he asked if I could help him track down some business dealings that a client’s soon-to-be-ex had “hidden” prior to filing for divorce. After a couple of days pawing through obscure public records in the basement of a rural courthouse (There was a sign on the wall that read, “please do not spit in the ash tray.”), I had not only found the records, but had identified links between soon-to-be-ex and some other businesses about which the client didn’t have a clue.

This led to the question of whether or not I could testify in court to what I had found. My lawyer buddy said (in jest), “If only you were a private investigator.”

There it was. That moment of clarity when you see all these connections, when suddenly, everything makes sense. That afternoon I began the process of becoming Thomas H. Humphreys, Private Investigator.

This article originally appeared on the [FIND] Investigations blog.