Do you know Josephine Shih of Richmond?

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First, my apologies for intruding on your message board.

My name is Chad Skelton and I’m a reporter with The Vancouver Sun newspaper in British Columbia, Canada. I’m working on a story about a 16-year-old, Josephine Shih, who left her home on Jan. 25 and hasn’t been in contact with her family since. According to local police, she was a regular visitor to Goth/Satanic message boards and websites. If anyone on this site remembers chatting with Josephine, I’d appreciate it if you could get in contact with me. My email address is and my phone number is 604-605-2892. If you e-mail me, please leave a numer where I can reach you.

I am just trying to find out more information about Josephine and am not working with the police. If it helps to jog your memory, there is a photo of Josephine at this website:

I look forward to hearing from you.


Chad Skelton

Actually, when I read that she had been playing "satanic video games" diablo was the first thing to come to mind.  That and Heratic, but I doubt people are still playing heratic.  Kind of funny considering that in the game Diablo, the lead character is a champion of Heaven, fighting against the Devil and his minions.  Oh well.

At his point I'd be curious to hear Josephine's take on all of this. I can't help but wonder what "evidence" they found on the computer leading them to believe she had run off to join a satanic cult. Which of course isn't to say that she didn't, since she very well may have. Who knows? (well okay, she does, her parents likely do, the police and media probably know now as well....)

But if that's not the case, I'd love to hear her story now that she's been found. Just out of sick curiosity.

From my point of view, "satanic cult" is a code word for just about anything that bad parents can come up with...

Now I seem to remember the picture of her wearing a black shirt with some really stylized writing on it.  She could be a Metalhead, and that 'tabloid writer' is really asking the wrong group.  But by the standards of certain parents any group of people who dress mainly in black or do weird things that mainstream society doesn't like is labelled a "satanic cult", so she could have fallen in with a group of Neo-Pagans, Metalheads, Role-Players, Beatniks, Emo Kids, Punks, Ravers, SCAers, Lesbians, Art Critics, Film Students or whatever. 

But the point is she was found alone, so she really didn't join that "satanic cult" or have some friends to hang out with, now did she?

And note that I'm writing this with about the same ammount of research as "journalists" at canwest global media have...

Which is pretty well none at all.

Ok, so I've done a little bit of searchin, and...

CTV, Global, and the Vancouver Sun make the Goth - Satanism connection.

News1130, and the Globe and Mail do not. 

I guess I know who is more likely to be accurate when reporting the news in the future.

True, they are only qouting an ignorant law-man, but it's interesting to see which reporters bother to sift through the rubbish.

Wow, that article didn't say anything about Goths.  What must have Mr. Skelton been thinking to have so ham handedly lumped Goths and Satanists into the same group?

Missing B.C. teen found at Vancouver restaurant

VANCOUVER (CP) - A teenager missing for more than a week was reunited with her parents after she was found at a Vancouver restaurant by a security guard, the RCMP said Friday.

Josephine Shih, 16, vanished Jan. 25 with nothing but the clothes on her back and $1,200 cash from her parents home. Her father Steven made an emotional appeal for help in finding her on Thursday as police feared she may have been lured away from home over the Internet by a satanic cult.

RCMP Cpl. Peter Thiessen said an examination of the family computer showed Josephine frequented Internet sites about satanic cults and corresponded in chat rooms.

Her father said Josephine was a good student, but after the winter break at school her attitude changed and she wasn't studying.

"My wife, she can't sleep, we're very worried about her," he said.

The Shih family moved to Canada from Taiwan seven years ago and also have a four-year-old daughter.

Thiessen said there was some indication the girl may have tried to cross into the United States, but she had no identification.

A condensed version of the letter I sent to Mr. Skelton:

Dear Mr. Skelton,

      I'm going to make a wild assumption here in that your post was an attempt at locating the poor unfortunate girl so that you might reunite her with her family, and not that you were simply hoping to get some juicy sound bites to pepper your next column.  I'm going to see if I can help you out with some things here, in relation to Goths and the Forum.

In general, most folks use on-line aliases, or "handles" as they used to call them on the CB radio.  So asking the readers about Josephine Shih isn't likely to be very productive, as few if any would recognize that name from here. 


Next, it does not serve your purpose (whatever it may be) to insult or antagonize those you wish to garner information from.  Unless insulting and antagonizing a small community was your purpose, though I like to doubt that.  Goths are not generally Satanists.  To closely link the two with a "/" is not likely to be appreciated.  I don't know many lawyers, dentists, teachers, or office managers who would appreciate being linked with Satanism.  Oddly enough, I do happen to know a number of lawyers, dentists, teachers and office managers who are Goths.  I also know a number of devout Christians and Jews who are Goths.  They too would likely take offence at being likened to a Satanist.  If your research has suggested otherwise, perhaps you haven't been getting enough first person reports.  Back in University we used to call them Primary Sources.  We had to include them when we submitted papers, because a paper based on too many secondary sources was likely to have errors in it.  I would hope your journalism instructors might have suggested something along those lines.  That being said, here is a link to some writings by a fellow who has done a bit of research on what "Goth" is. PLEASE read it.  It's not an overly complex read, but it may take up some of your time.  After you read it, please be sure that anything you attempt to publish in the future takes such things into consideration.


I would suggest that if you are genuinely interested in the well being of this young lady that you question her school friends and those she socialized with in-person, as they are more likely to know the inner workings of her mind than a collective of anonymous posters on a special interest forum.


I hope this has been somewhat helpful if not a little bit informative to you.  If you still have questions about what Goth is after reading the whole of the link provided, please feel free to enquire further on the Forum, or to myself directly.

While I appreciate your efforts toward finding this girl I strongly resent the libelous implication of a necessary relationship between goth and Satanism. The ignorance, poor journalism and gross sensationalism of Canwest's media properties is utterly appalling. I would have hoped Canwest Global Media might have learned a little something from the mistakes made late last year, but apparently that isn't the case. I suggest you work considerably harder at getting your facts straight.