How science is done: The case of the bear and the purse

A July 4, 2013 report in the Manchester [New Hampshire] Union-Leader illustrates how to begin a scientific investigation. The report begins:

Epping woman suspects a bear stole her purse
By JASON SCHREIBER, Union Leader Correspondent

EPPING — Isobel Parke has no proof, but she has a hunch that a purse-snatching black bear may be on the loose in her neighborhood.

Several bear sightings have been reported in town in recent weeks, including in the area of the 699 blueberry bushes at her farm on Blake Road. When her purse turned up missing Sunday night after she accidentally left it sitting on the steps in front of the door at her house, Parke began to suspect that a bear may be to blame.

She was so convinced, that she reported her suspicion to police this week. “I have no proof that a bear took it, but there’s no other explanation that I can think of,” Parke said.

Parke is following in at least the first of the footsteps described by Sherlock Holmes: “How often have I said to you that when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth?”

(Thanks to investigator Adam Olson for bringing this to our attention.)

BONUS: More about investigating bears