DrewDad
 
Reply Thu 18 Jun, 2009 08:04 am
Reports of my death

Quote:
...

Many online tales of death and suffering are works of complete fiction, "pseuicides" dressed up as real-life catastrophes. Some are contrived to titillate or garner attention, some result from something more serious, and some are the result of a uniquely modern psychiatric disorder known as Munchausen by internet.

"I think the explanations are broader than simply seeking attention," said Dr Marc Feldman, a psychiatrist who has studied thousands of cases of factitious disorders, and watched as the internet has propagated an increase in such frauds. "In some situations, the deceptions are so engaging and heart-rending that I believe there is an undeniable element of sadism."

In two investigations between 2007 and 2009, I encountered countless examples of fake deaths in all corners of the online world. A contributor to a knitting forum, for instance, faked her death rather than provide patterns she had been commissioned to design. A member of an online art gallery discovered that the 18-year-old, gay, male, lead-singer of a rock band, with whom she had developed a close friendship before he was killed in a car crash, was actually the work of two 14-year-old girls, who had entirely invented his life. A teenage British boy broke up with his real-life girlfriend to marry a 16-year-old online friend, later discovering (on her "death") that his deceased wife-to-be was a 12-year-old fantasist who had been sending photos of her older cousin and inventing graphic details of incest and rape.

...


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Type: Discussion • Score: 4 • Views: 2,499 • Replies: 13
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dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Thu 18 Jun, 2009 08:29 am
@DrewDad,
Not surprising...except it's nt really likely to qualify as Munchausen's...just tacky attention seeking.

we sure get a few here!!!!

wandeljw
 
  1  
Reply Thu 18 Jun, 2009 08:53 am
This is actually a topic that I find very interesting, Drewdad. I have also been following strange news stories about internet culture.
0 Replies
 
panzade
 
  1  
Reply Thu 18 Jun, 2009 09:22 am
@DrewDad,
very interesting...as it pertains to this forum. Have we ever had any such characters?
DrewDad
 
  1  
Reply Thu 18 Jun, 2009 09:31 am
@panzade,
I am not personally aware of any.
0 Replies
 
DrewDad
 
  1  
Reply Thu 18 Jun, 2009 09:32 am
@dlowan,
dlowan wrote:
except it's nt really likely to qualify as Munchausen's

Probably not.
0 Replies
 
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Thu 18 Jun, 2009 10:01 am
@dlowan,
I'm no expert on Munchausen but the latest hoax I read about seems to fit in with the idea a bit:

Quote:
Illinois blogger apologizes for pregnancy hoax, says she's struggling with 'unresolved pain'
By Associated Press
8:04 PM CDT, June 15, 2009

MOKENA, Ill. (AP) " A suburban Chicago blogger says she's sorry for duping Internet readers with a hoax in which she claimed to be pregnant with a terminally ill child.

Twenty-six-year-old Beccah Beushausen of Mokena posted a lengthy apology on her blog Sunday.

She's admitted concocting a story about carrying her child to term rather than having an abortion because of her Christian faith. Her Web site attracted nearly a million hits, and people offered to pray for her.

Last week, she said she'd given birth and posted photos. But a follower recognized the infant as a doll.

Beushausen says she started lying because she's struggling with unresolved pain, but offered few specifics.

A woman who answered the phone at a number listed for Beushausen's mother declined comment Monday.
DrewDad
 
  1  
Reply Thu 18 Jun, 2009 10:06 am
@boomerang,
Perhaps they'll get the attention they seek without actually harming a child, they way it happens in Munchhausen by proxy.
0 Replies
 
dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Thu 18 Jun, 2009 01:31 pm
@panzade,
Well, it's a bit awkward without naming names.

But a poster who went on at great length about her father's sad death (and still posts there from time to time) was later heard to say that the worst thing about people being mean to her here was that her father was a member of the forum and was reading this material.

I could comment much further, and about mor efolk who have posted here, but it's not very salutory, I think.

panzade
 
  1  
Reply Thu 18 Jun, 2009 01:35 pm
@dlowan,
yeah...it was sort of a baited question because I think I've seen some instances here...we'll leave it at that.
0 Replies
 
wandeljw
 
  1  
Reply Mon 22 Jun, 2009 09:01 am
The news article referenced by Drewdad highlights the work of Dr. Marc Feldman. Dr. Feldman is probably the world's leading expert on Munchausen syndrome and has testified as an expert witness in court cases involving fabrication of illness. Munchausen is an extreme form of the disorders classified under "factitious disorders." The internet cases investigated by Dr. Feldman are basically examples of factitious disorder. Individuals with this disorder fabricate extreme stories about themselves in order to get attention. Dr. Feldman's concern is that these internet cases have disrupted online communities intended for the support of patients and families. However, Dr. Feldman also believes that individuals exhibiting factitious disorder can be treated and cured.
0 Replies
 
sullyfish6
 
  1  
Reply Mon 22 Jun, 2009 09:12 am
I see a LOT of people living fantasy lives.
0 Replies
 
wandeljw
 
  1  
Reply Thu 25 Jun, 2009 08:59 am
Quote:
Münchausen Syndrome and Factitious Disorders
(Peter S. Kahrmann, The Kahrmann Blog, June 11, 2009)

During a class on crisis intervention nearly 25 years ago the question of how to response to someone threatening suicide when, it turns out, they don't mean it, came up. The answer rings true to this day. If someone is threatening suicide and they don't mean it, then the heartbreaking tragedy rests in the person's belief that unless they come up with a lie that big, no one will care about or pay attention to the pain they are in.

I believe it is the same with Münchausen Syndrome or Factitious Disorders, where a person will feign some kind of illness or malady to draw attention to themselves and, in the sphere of Münchausen Syndrome, a person will exaggerate or create symptoms in their children, Münchausen's by proxy. What reading I have done shows that those with Münchausen's (or a Factitious Disorder) are often highly knowledgeable on the medical front, well versed in medical terminology, medications, treatments.

In some cases persons with Münchausen's will intentionally bring about the symptoms of a disease or inflict medical harm to themselves so they actually need medical treatment, hospitalization.

Antecedents for this syndrome are often found in trauma, being raised in a home where affection was in short supply, if present at all, and more, suffering abuse.

While encountering someone who is faking a disease or medical condition can at first provoke anger, the anger, while understandable, is misplaced. Consider this, on some level this person believes that if they do not convince the world there is something terribly wrong with them, no one will care about them and no one will love them.

The task then is to guide the person to a professional counselor, and help them discover that all they have to do to be cared about and loved, is be themselves. They have several hurdles(he wrote, practicing the art of understatement), one of them is to openly admit they have been misleading people about their condition. This takes time, patience, love and support and, I would think, does not happen all at once.

While they may not have the conditions they claim to have, they have a very real disorder, and deserve love, support, and professional help. All of us deserve to discover that simply being who we are, one day a time, is more than enough reason for others to care about us.
0 Replies
 
North101
 
  1  
Reply Thu 22 Oct, 2009 09:45 am
@DrewDad,
I have personally been a victim of MBI, wherein a woman I was involved with "had a house fall on her, killing her friend and breaking her sternum, ribs, and several vertebrae", which postponed our meeting. 2 months later, we met and she was in physically impeccable condition, and seemed like a normal, and very sweet person. Upon her return home, she informed me she was scheduled for chemo. We maintained regular contact throughout her "heartrending" battle with liver cancer, chemo, and several liver surgery, and met again 2 months later, and again, she was in physically impeccable condition, including her long hair and lack of scars. She left for home telling me she had 2 months to live. We maintained regular contact for the next 5 months as her "cancer" spread into her pancreas, she was in and out of "diabetic comas", had stomach surgery for cists. Several of her planned visits to me were cancelled due to various emergencies, including a visit to S.Dakota to meet with the bank (where her "$43 million" was invested). Her "relapses" usually coincided with my requests to visit her, followed by miraculous recoveries. Eventually, other members of the internet community set me wise, and I started adding up the facts and cross-checking things. Each individual story, taken on its own was quite plausible, but when viewed as a whole form a picture of a very disturbed pathalogical liar. This had a very polarizing effect on the internet community in which we were involved, as sympathizers were shocked at my callousness.

There are several things to look for: One is a series of dramatic emergencies and miraculous recoveries. Another is that the person will often have multiple careers or degrees. A third is communication from their "friends" often have the same writing, grammar, syntax, and spelling patterns as the person themselves.

I no longer maintain contact with this person. I still feel quite sorry for her....not because of her cancer, but because she is obviously a sad, lonely, and mentally ill person.
0 Replies
 
 

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