Right now I’m damn impressed. Damn DAMN impressed. I hang out a lot on the Metafilter site to read interesting news articles and readers’ comments, occasionally posting some of my own as well – it’s an excellent group of people. Over the last few days an amazing story broke, and thanks to internet sleuthing by tons of clever MeFi’s, a terribly intricate hoax was uncovered from tiny clues in photoshopped images, cached web pages, odd links, individuals in contact over email, chat, and phone calls. It’s about a weblogger named Kaycee who was a 19 year old girl with leukemia, and DIED just recently, causing all sorts of outpourings, and a courageous first post (on MeFi) wondering if she actually existed IN PHYSICAL REALITY at all. (I’d link her website, but it’s been taken down now.) At first there was outrage at the mere thought, and some sleuthing, and then MORE sleuthing. And the “truth” started to come out that she WAS, in fact, a fabrication. And people were shocked and dismayed, particularly those who had email/phone contact with said Kaycee, people who had set up the websites that “Kaycee” was posting her writing on, people who had actually sent GIFTS and CARDS, etc.

There have been probably close to *900*+ comments posted on various Kaycee threads on Metafilter as the story has unfolded, which you can still catch by using the link above, as it’s still unfolding. Since the Metafilter site was getting overloaded, someone started a yahoo group which has public archives, and about 40 links to check out in their links section, and is ALSO still ‘unfolding’. Apparently, local reporters are now onto the story and local authorities are also checking out the possibility of mail fraud, etc. I won’t go into the sordid details here, and I only heard about this whole thing through the first metafilter post saying that Kaycee had just died, so I’m not emotionally involved with the “being duped” part of it. What fascinates me is that, as an internet “hoax”, all the clues to uncovering the mystery were found by internet people, through the internet, and on Metafilter, the whole thing was, by and large, handled with objectivity (and amazement). Overall, this is one of the most engaging dramas I’ve watched unfold in a long time. Way to go, MeFi’s!

On another level, yes, the emotional outpouring that people felt was valid, even if the object of it was not “real”. Does it matter that she wasn’t real? I think so. To me, it doesn’t invalidate the emotions people felt, but it was overt manipulation, a victim-perpetrator drama. There was someone who manipulated people to get attention and energy, and people who were willing to be manipulated emotionally because of, perhaps, their lack of discernment on some level. (As a “conscious creator” I can see how this was created by the beliefs of all involved, which is ALSO fascinating.)

When I read Kaycee’s blog before it went away, it was the last two or three posts, and although it was VERY emotionally engaging, it went way off my “smarm” meter and seemed just a BIT, to borrow a term on MeFi, “engineered”, and not “real”, according to my own standards. It was akin to the kind of urban legend spams that get passed around “if you care, you’ll pass this on” kind of stuff that’s based in emotional manipulation, plain and simple. What I’d like to add to this aspect of the drama is that just because your bullshit alarm goes off does NOT mean you are “not a compassionate person” – it just means your intuition’s trying to tell you something. More often than not, emotional manipulations play on the belief in victims and the pity you should have towards someone who is “less fortunate”. This isn’t to say that there AREN’T people with difficult challenges out there in every walk of life and that you shouldn’t offer your energy where you feel it can do its best, but… things can be designed (and very formulated) to tug on heartstrings (movies do it all the time, but we know what we’re getting into upfront, and pay to do it even! *grin*) just to grab your energy. As with anything, use your WHOLE self to decide what to do – heart, brains, and intuition – be in conscious charge of where your energy goes.

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