Monday, October 6, 2008

Who Is Penn Mommy?

Written by Guinevere

When “Penn Mommy” first appeared in the Gosselin blogosphere, some of us were skeptical. Speaking for myself, even in my short time (beginning around the end of May) chatting (read: arguing) online about the Gosselin family, I’d already run into a few people who claimed to be insiders but whose stories were absurd and who ran away when questioned. So I certainly took the whole saga, “yoghurt” and all, with a grain of salt.


As time went on, though, I began to believe that PM might have some legitimacy. Even though I’m on record as not being Bitter Julie’s biggest fan, I took her seeming endorsement of PM into account (in a recent post, dated October 1, on her blog, Julie states, “For anyone who may be questioning her credibility, let me assure you that she is who she says she is” in reference to PM). Julie has always, it seems to me, tried to maintain a facade of dignified distance from the crazier corners of the Gosselin-haters world, and while I thought the facade slipped from time to time, I figured she would vet someone fairly carefully before vouching for her online.

So while I didn’t necessarily believe every word that PM wrote, I entertained the idea that she did live in the same area as the Gosselins and perhaps had some insider info.

Nina called my attention to some interesting stuff she was capturing on our sitemeter, however. She began to notice a visitor from Bakersfield, CA was showing up – Bakersfield is the same location that “etown mom” - who had previously posted a ridiculous story about living near the Gosselins and how Kate had “screamed” at her daughter when said daughter invited Mady and Cara over for ice cream - had been traced to. At the time, “etown mom” tried to claim that she was on vacation to explain the discrepancy in her location, but she did not post on this blog anymore, at least not under that name.

Over time, Nina began to suspect that the visitor from Bakersfield was Penn Mommy. One thing she noticed was that Bakersfield’s visits to our site often coincided with PM updating or posting to her own blog – on one occasion, Penn Mommy’s absence from her blog for several days corresponded exactly with “Bakersfield’s” absence from this blog. Within an hour of Penn Mommy posting an update on her blog, Bakersfield popped up again here.

I don’t recall if I thought much about it when PM first started blogging about her son’s illness. I do know that as the illness escalated, alarm bells went off in my head. First of all, some of the details – for instance, her claim that rail-crash victims were at the same hospital and the public being urged not to come into the emergency room unless absolutely necessary - struck me as a bit off. Also, call me suspicious, but I’ve heard too many stories of people making wild online claims about being deathly ill or having a deathly ill relative. It’s a way to get attention and sympathy, and in a case like PM’s it’s helpful in deflecting criticism. It occurred to me that she was aware that people might be able to trace her to California, and wanted an excuse to be there (that she had flown out to be with her sick son). Of course, Bakersfield isn’t terribly close to LA (90 minutes to two hours by car), but still, it’s a lot closer than Pennsylvania.

I got a lot of criticism for suggesting that it was strange that PM would continue to rush to her blog and post when her son’s health was supposedly deteriorating. While different people react to stress differently, I would still argue that her behavior was not ordinary – even if you have “down time”, why would you spend even a moment of it contacting people who you barely know and have just recently “met” online, on a blog that is devoted to the criticism of a family on a television show? I would have thought any downtime could be amply filled staying in contact with close friends and relatives, or doing something other than wallowing in the negativity that marks the anti-Gosselin blogs.

But that is just personal opinion, and not proof of anything, of course.

As “Jason’s” status continued to degrade, PM continued to post vociferously about the Gosselins, at one point comparing them (while claiming that she was not comparing them) to a man who kidnapped, raped and murdered a child. In response to the stir that statement caused, and to the squabbling she was engaging in with the poster who goes by “Fiona”, PM posted a statement on her blog on September 26, claiming that she had sent it to GDNNOP (she had not; at least, no moderator here ever saw it). It stated, in part:

“CPS has been notified (MULTIPLE TIMES by MULTIPLE PEOPLE). That doesn't entitle any of you to know why or when or how or the actions taken/not taken.”

…this lead to further drama, and PM then “clarified” on her own blog, on September 27, that she at some point in the past had called CPS on the Gosselins herself. This in spite of the fact that she had previously claimed not to have seen anything actionable in the Gosselin home.

Rather understandably, this only added fuel to the fire. Sometime in the late evening hours of September 27, PM took down her blog. The following day, she made a statement that appeared on the blog of “Bohemian Moon” (and possibly other sites). In her “farewell”, she blames people who “twisted and misconstrued” her words for forcing her to reveal something that she “regret(s) talking about” – presumably, her supposed contact with CPS.

Penn Mommy then largely disappeared from the internet (with the exception of one post, that I’m aware of) for the next six days; the Gosselin blogosphere was kept updated on the condition of “Jason” by “William”, ostensibly PM’s twentysomething middle son. William’s writing style resembled PM’s much more than that of any young man that I’ve ever met. Would a young man barely out of his teens really write the following sentences: “Friends and family work themselves into the fabric of our lives. Where's the Gosselin tapestry?”’

I had several issues with William besides his fondness for unlikely and flowery turns of phrase – he quickly, in the midst of his daily updates about Jason, began beating the same Gosselin-bashing drum that his “mother” had. Again, I was also suspicious of his priorities - this contact with strangers – not just strangers to him, but virtual strangers to his mother – at such a stressful and painful time in his family’s life seemed exceedingly odd to me.

Most of us know and have read the various updates that William regaled the internet with last week regarding his brother’s condition; I won’t rehash all the indignities that poor Jason was subjected to. Suffice to say, he shuffled off this mortal coil on Friday, October 3. One might think that this would be the end of the Penn Mommy saga, at least at it relates to Gosselin blogs, but as of late in the day on October 3, PM had a new blog up: http://willsjonah.blogspot.com/.

But let me back up a bit. The same day that PM claimed to have posted a message to this blog, a message that was mysteriously never received, another poster made the same claim – a poster going by the handle “Jhawksgirl1”. This poster’s location was traced to, you guessed it, Bakersfield, CA. The Bakersfield IP address has also posted as anonymous, Karen (a name Jhawksgirl does admit to having used in the past in one of her posts) and Becky.
There are a few significant things about the “Becky” alias – first of all, at one point, a poster by that name claimed to know PM personally, and said that PM had helped her a great deal many years ago when “Becky” lost her young daughter to meningitis. At another point, Becky posted using a last name; the same last name that William used when he first posted (the last name has, I believe, since been redacted from the various blogs it was posted to).

Last Sunday, I inadvertently let through two posts that mentioned trying to contact “the hospital” where “Jason” was a patient, in an effort to get information about him or disprove his existence. I’m sure some people will disbelieve me, but this was a genuine mistake on my part – I was cooking dinner at the same time that I told Nina I’d monitor posts, and I wasn’t looking at what was posted carefully enough before approving the posts. Luckily, nomoredrama was on at the same time and quickly deleted the posts.

Still, nasty messages poured in and various other blogs slammed us as “heartless”. I was also singled out for criticism because I posted the same night that I did not believe PM’s story. I was aware when I posted that what I was saying would piss people off, but I was sure enough that I was right to feel okay with posting it. If I had had any reasonable doubt, I would not have posted it and thus risked contributing to a grieving family’s sorrow.

Still, “William” felt the need to post to other blogs, claiming that within the previous “two hours, the hospital operator has received no less than twelve phone calls inquiring about Jason. One caller even tried to claim they were family! They hung up when the operator asked them for a name and phone number to give my parents. At the moment, my parents are in a waiting room at hour 3 of surgery. Do people have any idea what it's like to be there and have a charge nurse come in to say the call center is being bombarded by prank calls looking for Jason?”

This blog and its regulars were blamed for these “calls”, in spite of the fact that there is no record I’ve seen that indicates what hospital “Jason” was at; there are numerous hospitals in the greater LA area, and I believe even the number of hospitals that rail-crash victims were brought to was 12 or 14. Furthermore, it seems unlikely to me that a nurse would come in and tell the family that “the call center” was being deluged with calls (unless it is an extremely small podunk hospital, it seems unlikely to me that anyone would even inform the nurse, or that a call center would consider a dozen calls a bombardment).

Nevertheless, many people believed this story, and redoubled their efforts to condemn us. By the middle of last week, the moderators here were tired of being pilloried for a story that we were all quite sure was a load of bs. We started to do some investigating.

We were pretty sure that the poster from Bakersfield was responsible for all of this. “William’s” first post, which he posted as a comment this blog on September 28 (earlier in the evening, before the calling-the-hospital drama), coincided with the appearance of “Bakersfield” on our site meter.

Various bits of evidence were collected by Anya, Nina, Mom, nomoredrama, and myself. We did a little googling, and quickly found an interesting blog by a woman with the same user name as one of the ones that “Bakersfield” has used on this blog. The owner of this blog does say that she lives in Bakersfield. The blog itself revealed a number of startling coincidences:

1) The blog owner details the recent illness and appendectomy of her five-year-old daughter. Rather oddly, in an email to certain “insiders”, “William” mentions that he has a five-year-old second cousin who has also just had an appendectomy. The girl’s name is the same in both cases. But lest one think that this blogger with the sick daughter and Penn Mommy are related but not the same person, please consider the following: this blogger mentions her own daughter's appendicitis on her blog, but never mentions having a sick (and now dead) nephew. She posted as recently as October 3 and said not one word about Jason. This is significant to me because it is proof against claims that PM and/or William having been staying with her in Bakersfield (again, a lengthy car trip from LA), which might explain the Bakersfield IP addresses that coincide with times PM and William have been on and/or posted.


2) The blog owner seems to have had recent drama with a couple (possibly fictional, although I have not really dug far enough into her blog to say one way or another) on whom she says she CALLED CPS, claiming that the father was abusing the children.

3) The blog owner has a recent entry regarding a spat between a friend and another individual; she claims that the other individual had an attorney send a “cease and desist” letter to her friend. This post coincided almost exactly with PM’s claim on her blog that she received a similar letter (which she later determined was a fake and not from an attorney) in regard to her blogging about the Gosselins.


Reading through this woman’s blog, she appears at times to be fairly normal. The subject of the blog, incidentally, is one that is certainly incongruous with the persona that Penn Mommy presented – this blogger is a fervent atheist (which made me a bit queasy, considering how many times PM and “William” entreated posters to pray for “Jason”). She appears to have issues with certain choices the Gosselins have made - possibly their religious devotion and the fact that they chose to have multiples. This may explain how she became involved in the Gosselin blogosphere and made the decision to create Penn Mommy.

As far as we can tell, this person is who she says she is on her blog. She does appear to be accurately identifying her husband and children, though we do not know if her daughter in fact had an appendectomy. My guess, considering that her daughter’s attack of appendicitis occurred, according to her blog, AFTER Jason’s, is that this too is fabricated. She appears to have a number of other blogs and web pages where she may or may not be representing herself truthfully (on livejournal, among the groups she belongs to are groups devoted to ljers who fake their deaths on and ljers who create elaborate online lies).

The blogger seems to have a preoccupation with illness and with sick and dying children. She claims numerous illnesses on her blog, both herself and her children’s’. In addition to the burst appendix in one child, another supposedly has heart problems and has had heart surgery and yet another purportedly had a kidney removed. The blogger herself claims to have lupus, and at one point states that she does not have long to live.

We cannot say for sure, obviously, what her motivations are. I would not guess that her main motivation is to scam money from people, but I will say that at the request of people who commented on her blog or e-mailed her, she “reluctantly” posted a link to her daughter’s Amazon wish list after reporting the girl’s illness.

Additionally, earlier this year a friend on her blog apparently collected money from online friends and sent a check for several thousand dollars to the blogger to purchase window shades that will ameliorate the lupus-related light sensitivity she claims to suffer from.

On October 4, we found the same photo that is identified as being of “Jason” on PM’s new blog (at http://willsjonah.blogspot.com/) on an online photo album belonging to the blogger. He is not identified in the photo.

Doubtlessly, we will be accused of being no better than those who have stalked and harassed the Gosselins. I would point out an essential difference (beyond my basic belief that the Gosselins have not lied to or defrauded anyone): PM perpetrated this fraud on us directly. We did not choose to have her come into our lives, via a TV show. She made her presence known and proceeded to lie over and over about who she was and what she knew. She then knowingly and maliciously created and killed off “Jason”, an action that I believe caused innocent people real grief. Her behavior is abhorrent, and it deserves to be exposed.

35 comments:

Lancelots said...

Great sleuthing.

Now can you figure out if Fiona has other aliases and if she is really from Utah?

SamanthaNC said...

I'm shocked. I do not want to believe that anyone could create such an intricate web of lies with such malice. I don't want to be gullible on either side of the Penn Mommy coin. I have not doubted that she was who she claimed to be until now- it does seem impossible that everything could be a coincidence, and why in the world start a new blog just days after closing the old one? Ugh. I'm not sure what to think.

MakingCents2 said...

I am not as web savvy as you, but have known others who can find out the same information pretty easy. This information is pretty compelling, and really only available to blog owners, so excuse us if we, without the same info, got suckered into the Penn Mommy story. Guinever, you said yourself that for a while it even took you in.

I believe this site has now been taken down, http://willsjonah.blogspot.com/, (is this the tribute site) but I would like to point out one interesting thing William said. (I do wish I know how to do a screen shot or check the archives for old blogs.)

William claimed that on the day his brother died, the coroner received phone calls from people wanting to get information on his brother's death? Dude, you took the story too far. Not all dead bodies go to the coroner (especially if you donated Jason's organs already) - what reason do you have for your brother to go there? And why would the coroner let you know about it? Wouldn't you be planning Jason's wake and/or leaving California to go back home? Do you even know the name of the coroner?

I hope you will keep us posted on any new news from William.

Guinevere said...

I think she's pretty disturbed. I am trying to access my compassion (sorry for the crunchy-granola phrase - I'm from California), but when I think that she actually had people crying for her, remembering their own losses, praying for her (!), I guess I'm having a hard time of it right now. I'm more in the "disgusted" camp at the moment.

cali-mom said...

There are people wanting an address so they can send money to this family, on another site.
WOW! I'm stil in shock. I am impressed that you ladies were able to keep so quiet about this for so long.

Nina Bell said...

Which site is that?

Anya said...

Good point, MakingCents2 about the coroner.

Just be prepared everyone: she is going to claim to be a distant relative. I ask that everyone use our brains and not be taken in by her again.

I know I have learned a lot from this process and believe me it was a process. Each of the four moderators here second guessed themselves at each turn. They triple checked information whenever possible. If there was even an ounce of doubt, they would not have published what they did.

It wasn't easy or enjoyable, but it had to be done.

cali-mom said...

GWOP site.

Here's the link...
https://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=6454349132986954975&postID=710084268902172773

MonicaW42 said...

Thank you!!!!! I knew I was not crazy in seeing and thinking the same thing. I am so tired of seeing this site bashed on the other websites that "we" are sick for attacking PM. Oh there is a sickness alright and its not here. I really wanted to give her the benefit of the doubt but too much did not add up. Also it was reported "Jason" passed away on October 2nd and then on the tribute log on October 5th they are having a funeral. Now Im putting myself out there to be called names but in my OWN experience with my first husband who passed away out of the state we resided in, it took us 2 days alone just to get the preparations to send his body home. He died in the hospital so there was NO autopsy or coroner involved. The doctor pronounced him and that was the end of it. With all the preparations to be done being on a blog would be the last of my worries. I'm not looking for an "Im sorry for your loss" this was 16 years ago. I just wanted to state getting a body home is not an "overnight" job. Call me heartless that is fine but as PT Barnum said "there's a sucker born every minute". Again thank you for finally speaking out on an issue a lot of us were scared to bring up out of respect and wanting to be wrong. And for all the IHOP to the GWOP don't put all of us in the same category for having doubts. Not all of us our Jon and Kate devotees and rabid fans that you like to make us out to be. Thats not why we questioned the whole PM thing.

Kelley said...

I feel ill. I prayed for someone who doesn't exist. Does she realize she's perpetrated a fraud against God? I'd hate to be her on judgement day!

SamanthaNC said...

Havent you heard Kelley? She's an atheist- She'll get a shock one day wont she? As upset as we all are with her, she really does need our prayers, for SO many reasons.

cali-mom said...

Ha! You beat me to it Samantha. I read on someones post she was an Athiest. But thats funny because on one of Williams posts to the "other" site he stated his mom first found out about J&K and the pregnancy at church and began taking notes right away about all she was going to do to start helping. Hmmm........

Kuromi said...

PennMommy isn't AT ALL what she portrayed herself to be. Not just a bereaved mother--she's not a parent at all, nor a Christian, nor perhaps even an athiest, nor perhaps even female.

She is a TROLL. I detailed all the reasons why in my comment a few minutes ago on Nina Bell's "In support of the real truth" post, so I won't bore everyone.

I'm guessing he/she was taking the high emotions related to the Gosselins on a wild ride, trying to see how far people who'd never met her would go to stand up for her. And, I suspect, trying to see how long it would take for the skeptics to catch up.

Well played, PennMommy/PossumMomma. Now apologize to the people who truely meant you well, concede to everyone who's onto your game, and bow out.

merryway said...

Kelley said...

I feel ill. I prayed for someone who doesn't exist. Does she realize she's perpetrated a fraud against God? I'd hate to be her on judgement day!
..........

The way I see it, you sent out good energy, that's a nice thing to do.

FIONA said...

Why don't you invite this person to post the obituary, or death certificate.

MoreCowbell said...

Posting as "mcb," (which you can now see is short for "more cowbell"), I was also pounced on when I questioned why someone who had a son that was supposedly so deathly ill, was spending so much time bashing the Gosselins on the Internet. Of course, I was jumped on. How could I be so heartless? I just assumed it was a GWoP thing. Someone so consumed with hate that they were making crap up to simply pile on. It never dawned on me that the whole thing was even more elaborate and sinister than that, and that this person may be scamming for money.

I peeked at GWoP once when "William" posted his updates after Penn Mommy shut her blog down. I remember laughing and shaking my head at the replies. "We'll pray for your family," and "We'll add you to our prayer chain," and thinking "these people wouldn't walk across the street to piss on Kate if she were on fire, yet they have prayer chains for someone they've never met?" I was thinking how un-Christian (or selective) their sympathy was.

It didn't dawn on me how dangerous or FRAUDULENT this all could be. Money never even entered my mind. Scamming people for money didn't even pop up on my radar. I thought it was all just more of the same Gosselin bashing. Now I see that it has gone beyond that. This proves that not every basher than comes out of the woodwork is who they say they are. Also, that Julie is NOT always right and the end all, beat all, bastion of truth when it comes to the Gosselins. She basically just vouched for a scam artist.

Thanks for all your hard work, mods. I know you didn't want to just accuse anyone before having compelling evidence.

tintin said...

I feel so naive. No warning bells went off. I never thought to myself, why would this woman, whose son is dying, have time to blog? Maybe because I was blogging day 2 after my C-Section? I feel so angry and stupid. I wrote sympathetic words on bohemian moon's blog, and now I just feel pathetic.

I really need to take everything with a grain of salt.

I'm (or was) anti-gosselin, but this has really made me rethink my position. Part of my disgust was due from what I read in PM's blog! I still don't feel right about the gosselins, but I don't know anymore whether they have, like said in this post, defrauded or lied to anyone.

Guinevere said...

tintin, you shouldn't feel stupid or pathetic. You should feel angry. It's not your fault that you were taken advantage of by someone with a twisted mind.

I think some of us, by nature or nurture, just tend to be more suspicious of others. At a certain point, I found it hard to understand why PM wasn't setting off alarm bells for others, but at that point, I already knew more than those people were privy to. We would not have waited so long to come out with this if it hadn't been so important that we be completely sure that we knew what we were talking about.

I blame Julie to a degree for giving people the impression that she had vetted PM more than she had. It's pretty clear to me that she cared more about having someone in her pocket who was an "insider" than she did about the truth. As I mentioned in my piece, I felt that Julie gave PM legitimacy that she otherwise would not have had.

Of course, the lion's share of the blame goes to PM, who I really think is in need of serious help. I don't know that hurting people the way she has was her goal, but it was a pretty predictable by-product of her little game.

5monkeys said...

I can't even find the words to describe how I am feeling at this moment.

Whoever "Pennmommy" really is needs serious mental help. To create a story like that, and lie about a dying child is just reprehensible. I believe in karma, and this person has very bad karma. IMO, lying about ill/dead children is one of the worst things you can do, and it will come back and bite you at some point. Naturally, people believed her, because who in their right mind would lie about such a thing? I think it's sickening.

Kikibee said...

I pretty much skipped over the stuff about her sick son. The coma and CPS stuff at the same time made me think something was off. I wondered if she would
"kill" him, because people would find that there were no real news stories or obituaries.

I wonder how much Jodi knows about all this. She unleashed Julie on the world, she should at least keep an eye on her.

Markiesnana said...

I wonder if there are any nice, normal people in cyber world?

MoreCowbell said...

Lost in all this is the fact that if someone on "Team Gosselin" has been keeping track of the blogosphere and particularly what is said about the family at hate blogs, then the fact that there's a whack job running around making up stories and scamming other people has to raise red flags. PLUS, add that to the fact that this liar has gotten a little too close for comfort. She had gotten the approval and trust of the sister of Kate's brother's wife! Who knows what personal information Julie passed on to PM regarding the Gosselins, someone that she publicly approved of, seemed to trust and vouched for.

If Jon and Kate haven't employed a security company before this, they seriously need to consider it, now.

nomoredrama said...

I love the spin by some people that this was all cooked up for an elaborate defense of Kate Gosselin. This actually has nothing to do with the Gosselins or defending them.

It has everything to do with a defense of human decency. It has to do with "protecting" those who were about to make a donation under false pretenses. Who, out of the goodness of their hearts, offered help.

I'm not sure what their "defense" of this despicable act is grounded in but if I had to guess I'd say it's grounded in an agenda.

Truly sick. Let others suffer for the sake of advancing a cause.

Linda said...

I really wonder how Julie will spin this.

She's aligned herself to strangers on GwoP who will stoop to name-calling little kids for the supposed purpose of advocating for those same kids. She defends them and her affiliation with them by saying those comments were taken out of context or for the sake of humor.

She aligned herself to another stranger PennMommy. Penn Mommy was willing to conjure up a story about her son's illness and death all to feed Julie's and GwoPs over-the-top hatred of the Gosselins.

I've always thought that this blogosphere mess about the Gosselins was almost ripe for a fraud to come in and play on people's emotions.

I think it goes back to how GwoP and Julie celebrated and praised people who crossed small lines.

Remember when GwoP posted the pictures of the front yard sign? That person was celebrated and praised all over that blog. It was a kind of blue ribbon for GwoP.

Remember when GwoP started posting the locations and dates of the Gosselin speaking engagements? Those persons who wrote or called the venue/hosts were praised for their bravery and their courage.

Insiders go the National Enquirer who publishes 2 articles and then AOL picks up the piece. Those insiders are praised for the courage for speaking out.

With each step, the lines are crossed further and the trophy returned to the GwoP community is bigger. The trophy getters get a sense of power and the GwoP community establishes what they value ...

They value dirt and with PennMommy they got it.

PennMommy was GwoPs and Julie's Olympic Athlete. She got cyber hugs, cyber prayers, cyber praise, and possibly real money.

Except she was a fraud. GwoP fell for it. Julie fell for it.

Kind of like the Meganhaditcoming blog?

Bicoastal said...

Greetings from San Diego (really):

I've posted on GWOP many times because I agree with the premise that Kate and Jon Gosselin are grifters. One of them needs to get an outside job if for no other reason than it's good modeling behavior for children. I no longer watch the show but I do enjoy the often hilarious recaps at GWOP.

That said, I've never doubted that the parents love their kids; I find the idea that TV viewers need to "protect" the Gosselin kids to be a non-starter. I think the six kids support the family for sure, but they are not in any danger worthy of CPS. (And I've posted that sentiment on GWOP, as have a few others.)

But --- wow-oh-wow, this Penn Mommy stuff is right out of Armistead Maupin's " The Night Listener." Anybody read the book or remember The New Yorker's brilliant 2006 expose on the crazy woman (and I mean crazy) behind the scam?

Oprah Winfrey was sucked in as were many well-known people who offered money and fame to "Tony," an alleged abused child dying of AIDS. "Tony" was a complete fabrication of an unglued woman (I think she was a social worker, maybe fired from her job).

"Tony" got a a book deal (Oprah featured it on her show). "Tony" would call famous people at night (hence the title); the celebrities always took his calls because his "history" was so tragic. It was a farce, through and through.

This Penn Mommy thing sounds very similar to Maupin's Night Listener. I read her messages at GWOP and I found her credible. I assumed she pulled her blog because she stated she called CPS on the parents and might have been concerned about filing a false report.

How weird is it that a person would invent a scam (Penn Mommy) to criticize what others consider to be a scam (J&K)? This is wild!

My hat is off to all of you here! Great job researching this fraud. I hope some of the mods over at GWOP will acknowledge the ruse. I have emailed Serena Bell in the past and I have always found her to be very intelligent and well-spoken. I suspect none of these blogs can do anything about nut jobs who invent phantom people.

I am confused about Julie (Aunt Jodi's sister). Did she say she "met" Penn Mommy or that she could "vouch" for her story? I don't remember; I do find Julie credible and certainly Jodi as well.

Anyways, thanks again for the reveal. There is an odd post over at GWOP about Penn Mommy. I plan to ask over there for a response to your findings here.

I hope both GWOP and GDNNOP mods can find some common ground, perhaps no more than sharing information about weirdos posting on both sites.

Best regards,
Bicoastal

Lorrah said...

bicostal - Julie said something to the effect of (I don't remember her exact words - but noted them as PM being credible as being vouched by Julie)

- PM and I share some of the same experiences and after having spoekn with her a few times, I am convinced that she is who she says she is -

Julie never said they "met" - just that she had "spoken" with PM - whether in email or phone, was not stated.

ThirtyWhat said...

I'm just heartbroken. I'm one of those saps that was offended when people questioned her dying son ... but after looking at the evidence, I really do believe it was a hoax.

To whomever wrote about the Night Listener, I was JUST telling a CafeMom member that same thing last week ... that there was an incident about a women "inventing" a son with a horrible disease and everyone from Oprah to Keith Olbermann falling for it.

It breaks my heart that there are people like that in this world.

Anya said...

Hi Bicoastal.

Thanks for the interesting information on the Night Listener. I am a regular New Yorker reader, but don't remember that particular article (I am lucky if I manage to get to 1 or 2 articles in each issue. Blogging is taking up too much time, I guess!)

A Wikipedia search on Anthony Godby Johnson reveals fascinating information, however.

For all of you who have said that you feel "dumb" for being taken in by PM, please realize you are not the first (or unfortuantely the last) who will be taken by manipulative and sick con artists. Poor Mr. Rogers wrote an afterword for Anthony's "memoir" for pete's sake....

Daisy said...

Markiesnana said "I wonder if there are any nice, normal people in cyber world?"

Um, yes there are plenty of normal people in the cyber world. The mods and most of the posters on this blog for one. We just get lost in the crowd because the whackadoos stand out so much more.

ThirtyWhat said...

I know you're right, Anya ... and really, I did not invest anything in this situation other than the time it took to read her blog. But I still feel sad and foolish for having believed her.

I watched "The Night Listener" about a year ago after Keith Olbermann talked about the situation on his nightly show. I read the novel and researched the story behind it. It is really facinating that someone could create such an ELABORATE hoax.

Worse yet ... it looks like this may be a similar situation. It really makes you question your faith in humanity.

ThirtyWhat said...

PS ... for everyone who hasn't read about Anthony Godby Johnson, check out this site:

http://swallowingthecamel.blogspot.com/2006/08/boy-wonder-tony-johnson-was.html

It has a detailed account of what happened. A second link on the left hand side goes into the "mother's" side of the hoax and what became of her.

Robert said...

I must say that personally, I'm never amazed at the things people do. However... this is getting pretty close.

My 8yo son is terminally ill, and facing major spinal surgery in two weeks, so stories of families with sick kids really hit home.

It's hard to believe the things people will do or say because of this television show.

I get that there are going to be people that either love the show or hate the show. Personally, I fall somewhere in the middle. The show was somewhat cute at first to me, but recently it has seemed to go off the rails... so to speak.

I've always thought the kids spend too much time on camera, snd should have a little more "space". I've always thought there were things that we were lead to believe that weren't 100% true.

But.... so what, it's a TV show - it's not "reality". Am I a fan of the Gosselins - no not really, but some people really take it too far.

I can see people not liking them. In all honesty they have done nothing in life to deserve the wealth they have other than have kids. It kind of sucks for those of us that have to go to work for a living, but if the show went off the air it wouldn't put any money in MY pocket.

Is it cool for them to be going around with their hands out for donations they really don't need? No, but you know what? I'm too busy worrying about my own finances to take on the responsibility for stopping anyone who wants to give to the Gosselins. A fool and his money as they say...

Are the kids being exploited? Well, in my opinion to an extent they are. I don't agree with many of the things J&K do as parents, but you know what? There are a whole bunch of parents out there that I don't agree with, but unless I want them telling me how to raise my children, I tend to keep my mouth shut.

(Yes, I would speak up if they were physically abusing their child... no need to take my statement as an absolute.)

As for CPS getting involved... I'm sure they have televisions and can see just as much as I can. If there is something actionable going on, I'm sure they have been made well aware of it by now.

I guess what this whole statement boils down to is that maybe EVERYBODY needs to take a step back and think about just how much energy they expend in the defense or hatred of this television show.

For someone to put so much energy into creating this "fictional" death drama is pretty damn pitiful. A cyber Munchausen's by Proxy I guess.

Personally, I guess you could consider me an Agnostic. However if there really is a hell, I hope there is an extra special place for those who would prey on the emotions of people by creating a "sick" child.

I deal with my son's illness every day. I wouldn't wish this kind of pain on anyone, however in this case, PennMommy or whoever the hell you are, I'd consider making an exception.

Anya said...

Robert, thanks for a well-thought post. I think you will find that quite a few people on this board agree with you on your main points.

Best to you.

Markiesnana said...

moreCow --
It looks like many people prayed for the well-being of a stranger, although the stranger was lying to them.
I think it's very wrong to laugh at the fact that people have prayed to God about any circumstance.
No matter how you feel about a person, if they offer prayers to another, they should not be laughed at.

Mom said...

Thanks everyone for your input. As you can imagine, we'd like to get back to business and move forward.