Monday, October 14, 2013

Deception on a Massive Scale

I watched this video numerous times after seeing it initially and learned new things each time I viewed it. I was so shocked by this woman's story that I immediately bought the book and read it in one day. I wanted to know more about the other survivors and their WTC story. This was an amazing story and what I found out later, is that the director was an actual friend of this woman while this fabrication unfurled. So many people involved with the 9/11 community were affected by this shocking revelation. Other reviewers gave it a lower review because they fault the director for not answering "why" she did this. This man was her friend initially and even he could not get an apology or an explanation why. Sometimes in life we never know the "why", the only thing we can control is how we react to it. You realize after watching, why she probably did this. Tania was looking for intrinsic validation after the drama in her immediate family broke her heart and destroyed her life. A prime example of how a small lie can grow to something way bigger than we can ever control.
                                             Deception on a Massive Scale...

In the aftermath of the tragic terrorist demolition of the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center, many survivors of the massacre connected with one another in a way that only fellow sufferers can understand. As those who lived through the historic day forged friendships with and drew strength from one another, one woman and her amazing story emerged as a survival superstar.

Tania Head, who recounted the tragic loss of her fiancé, Dave, in the collapse of the North Tower, told of her terrifying fight to emerge alive from the Merrill Lynch offices on the 96th floor of the South Tower and bore the physical scars that touched the hearts of Americans in New York City and across the nation. She also recounted the story of a man who came to her rescue during the ordeal. According to her, Welles Crowthers was the very reason she was alive. She even met his family, congratulating them on the heroism of their son and commiserating with them on his loss.

Not only did Tania join forces with the other survivors, she became their leader when she helped them gain access to Ground Zero for a private visit, a privilege previously granted only to the families of the dead. After working tirelessly as a member of the World Trade Center Survivors' Network, Tania was elected president of the organization. In that position, she enjoyed the honor of escorting Mayor Bloomberg, Mayor Giuliani and Governor Pataki on the initial tour of the site at Ground Zero.

Lauded as an inspiration and a dynamo by her peers, Tania fought her own demons and helped others face theirs. So imagine the shock they experienced when they discovered that not only was their fearless leader nowhere near the Twin Towers on September 11, 2001, she wasn't even in the country. Furthermore, family and friends of her supposed fiancé insist that they had never even heard the name Tania Head and that she couldn't have been his intended. Everything Tania told the press, the public and her friends was a fabrication.

When Tania connected with Angelo J. Guglielmo, Jr. in the hopes of creating a documentary about the survivors of 9/11, his research signaled the beginning of the end of her charade. As Guglielmo uncovered one deception after another, Tania's tale of woe and triumph unraveled completely.

THE WOMAN WHO WASN'T THERE is the fascinating tale of an individual with a sick need to be part of something she never even experienced. For reasons no one can fathom, she inserted herself into the midst of a group of people trying to recover from what undoubtedly was the great tragedy of their lives and became their leader.
 Tania Head created a fictional life that put her first and foremost at the center of the greatest American tragedy to date. Even after the book is finished, you will be left to wonder, as we all are, why she created the enormous falsehood and what, if anything, she hoped to gain from it.


As you can tell I am trying to take in as many documentaries as I can...
it is my one weakness.


"Je suis reconnaissant pour mes bénédictions." 
 "I am thankful for my blessings."

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Joyce Carol Vincent


This story reminds me of  the movie "Schindler's List".  
It was not a pleasant story, however, it is something we should all see and digest in our own way.

In 2006 Joyce Carol Vincent was found dead in her London flat.  The cause of death was not determined due to the advanced state of decomposition of her body.  Joyce was 38 years old when she died.  Her body had lain undisturbed in her flat for nearly three years.  The story of Joyce, what there is to know and tell has been documented in the film "Dreams of a Life".   I was able to see this documentary on Amazon Prime. 

Joyce was not a shut-in, had no history of mental illness or drug abuse, and had three living sisters.  She was widely described as beautiful, vibrant, and successful.  By all accounts from those that knew her, it is as though the Joyce they knew simply slipped away; they seemed unable to reconcile the woman in the flat with the person they had known.  Contrary to the image of a recluse she was found surrounded by freshly wrapped Christmas presents; there must have been people in her life.

While there is something morbidly compelling about the unresolved cause of her death and the grim tableau of how she was found, the more disturbing element of this story is the three year wait before her discovery.  Where were family, friends, and coworkers?  Where were the neighbors or the mailman? Where, even, were the bill collectors? In the end, it took even the landlords three years to come and clear her out for unpaid rent.  

I think that the we learn more about ourselves in Joyce's story than we learn about her.  When she died in 2003 we were pre-Facebook and post nuclear-family.  2003 was right in the transition point between the constant connections of the social media age and the isolation and lack of community of the end of the 20th Century.  Three years? How can this be? It is not hard for me to imagine friends of mine disappearing and not being noticed for three or four months.  The free spirits, wanderers, or troubled souls, but three years? There is no one I know or have ever known that was in any way functional that could disappear from all things for three years and not have someone ring the bell.  

What are we to think of this?   Is Joyce some kind of social canary warning us of the dangers of our modernity? Is it an isolated case; one sad woman's quiet decline?  Is it possible that we have reached a place where people can live out their lives with no real connections?  How acceptable is distance between family members?  How important is the building of community? How long do you want to wait before someone finds you? 

This terrifies me.  Joyce's story tapped into some deeply rooted fears about mortality and loneliness.  I think that we all have these fears.  It's why we bother to call up old friends, love and lose and love again, and hassle our way through the holidays to spend time with family; so that when things go awry, someone is there to help us.  Somewhere along the line either Joyce stopped bothering, or everyone else did.  Probably a little of both.  I think a consequence of contemporary culture may be the devaluing of substantive connections with other people.  I think that we are all not so far away from being Joyce as we might like to believe.

Very sad ...this is someone I never want to forget....


"Je suis reconnaissant pour mes bénédictions." 
 "I am thankful for my blessings."