Since the advent of easy Internet accessibility for all, the opportunity has presented itself for people to commit fraud, theft and mass deception on an unprecedented scale.
Forget about the mainstream media, who have been lying to people since the invention of the printing press by Johannes Gutenberg in 1440, the Internet has now lent itself to a whole new method of spreading disinformation.
Just think about the speed at which electronic media can circumnavigate the globe for a moment.
So, with that in mind, it is worthwhile remembering the words accredited to the author Mark Twain, “A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.”
The Internet, which is numbered among mankind’s greatest inventions, could also be his greatest adversary, inasmuch as it has become the perfect vehicle for propagandist’s and criminals, as well as the mouthpiece of many Government’s around the world.
There is a very much darker side of the Internet though, one which is inhabited by the sorts of people who cannot function as normal members of society, who have now been given free and unlimited access to your homes, your workplaces and most disturbingly, to your children.
The kind of people who were sending anonymous ‘poison pen’ letters to their neighbours and total strangers before technology gave them a worldwide platform.
Anonymity is king on the net, and there are ever increasing numbers of virtual monsters that lurk in every corner, infesting and infecting almost everything they are given free access to.
And nothing and nobody it seems, is immune from their manipulations.
One of the lesser-known methods used to deceive people on a large scale is something that I like to refer to as ‘Münchausen by Internet’.
“Kaycee Nicole was a fictitious persona invented by an American woman named Debbie Swenson, in one of the earliest recorded cases. Between 1999 and when the hoax was discovered in 2001, Swenson, playing the role of Kaycee, had represented herself on numerous websites as a teenager suffering from terminal leukaemia. Kaycee was reported to have died on May the 14th 2001 and her death was publicised on May the 16th shortly after. Members of the online communities that initially supported her, had soon unraveled the story and discovered that Kaycee had never actually existed.”
Debbie Swenson did however confess on her blog to creating the hoax on May 20th 2001.
So why would anybody want to fake the death of a fictitious creation?
There could be many reasons.
A need for adoration?
A shot at Internet Infamy?
Or, to escape from a situation that has got so out of control, that the creator of a carefully crafted storyline wants to rid him/herself of the possibility of detection and the possible legal implications?
After all, you cannot punish a corpse can you?
Or speak ill of the dead these days, so it’s a win-win situation.
It may even be that the plans for this had been in place for many years, ready to be rolled out if ever a particularly damaging story was about to break in the media for instance, which needed the sting removed by means of a suitable distraction…
A car crash or a fatal accident for example, are usually reported somewhere, so can be easily traced with a minimum of effort using the Internet or the local media outlets in any specific area.
A fake terminal illness however, gives one the chance to remain very much alive while receiving the sympathy that usually accompanies such predicaments.
It also has the advantage of medical confidentiality, therefore no answers can be obtained, even by family members, to any enquiries if suspicion is raised as to the validity of the story.
If you have done your homework, you will see your username suffixed alongside comments like “so and so is such a strong person,” “so incredibly brave,” and will find that perfect strangers will begin to fall over themselves with offers of help.
Your inbox will soon fill up with reassuring messages of support and most importantly, you will become almost totally insulated from any criticism that has been levelled at you, as your ‘new best friends’ on the forum or media platform would of course rally around in defence.
There are no limits to this deception, because even if people start to become bored with your situation, you can always rekindle their interest by relating any number of near-death experiences you have bravely endured throughout your ‘illness’.
With the correct amount of research, it is entirely possible to arm yourself with any number of medically accurate symptoms, as well as the clinically accurate procedures that would be used to treat your carefully selected ailment.
The more research you are able to do will benefit you greatly, as it may be critical to stage the progression of your chosen disease carefully, with considerations made for details to be readily on hand should any awkward questions arise.
The forum, or social networking site which you select is crucial to the whole process, as an obscure, or rarely visited site will not attract enough interest and that shot at Internet stardom, (if that is the intention) may prove impossible to achieve.
One of the larger Forums or Social Networks would be an ideal place, one which has large numbers of visitors on a daily basis, ideally one of the well visited ‘Conspiracy’ sites, or the constantly moving and ever-changing world of Twitter and Facebook would be the perfect arenas.
Accompanied by any number of carefully-crafted equally false accounts already waiting in the wings.