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Old 27 September 2007, 07:16 PM
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Tsk, Tsk In a Sept. 11 survival tale, the pieces just don't fit

Quote:
Tania Head's story, as shared over the years with reporters, students, friends and hundreds of visitors to ground zero, was a remarkable account of both life and death.

She had, she said, survived the terror attack on the World Trade Center despite having been badly burned when the plane crashed into the upper floors of the south tower.

Crawling through the chaos and carnage on the 78th floor that morning, she said, she encountered a dying man who handed her his inscribed wedding ring, which she later returned to his widow.

Her own life was saved, she said, by a selfless volunteer who stanched the flames on her burning clothes before she was helped down the stairs. It was a journey she said she had the strength to make because she kept thinking of a beautiful white dress she was to wear at her coming marriage ceremony to a man named Dave.

She would discover, she said, that Dave, her fiancÚ, and in some versions her husband, had perished in the north tower.

But no part of her story, it turns out, has been verified.

The family and friends of the man to whom she claimed to be engaged say they have never heard of Tania Head and view the relationship she describes with the man, who truly died in the north tower, as an impossibility.
http://www.iht.com/articles/2007/09/...27survivor.php
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Old 28 September 2007, 12:59 AM
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New York Times article with pictures.


Link to CBS video.

- P
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  #3  
Old 28 September 2007, 01:05 AM
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I just finished reading the Times article. Very interesting. One would assume that perhaps someone would fake being a survivor for financial gain, but she didn't claim any victims' fund money, and she wasn't paid for any of her volunteer positions. Short of a future book deal, it appears she was just doing it for attention...sort of a Munschausen's syndrome-type thing, maybe.

I think it's somewhat normal to want to have a personal connection to a widespread tragedy...like, I know someone that worked there, or I was just at the Pentagon the week before...we tell our friends and families things like that. Maybe it makes us feel important, as if just feeling the communal grief is not enough. I remember in high school one of the cheerleaders died in a car wreck, and I overstated how well I knew her when I was talking to friends or telling my family what happened. I'm not sure why, though...I'm just theorizing.
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Old 28 September 2007, 03:31 AM
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If her claims are indeed fabricated, it seems pretty foolish to make them on such a grand scale. Did she honestly believe that she could go on national TV and make such specific claims (saying the specific company she supposedly worked for and the name of her supposed fiancee/husband) and she wouldn't be found out?
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Old 28 September 2007, 03:48 AM
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Originally Posted by Class Bravo View Post
If her claims are indeed fabricated, it seems pretty foolish to make them on such a grand scale. Did she honestly believe that she could go on national TV and make such specific claims (saying the specific company she supposedly worked for and the name of her supposed fiancee/husband) and she wouldn't be found out?
Well, obviously it's not such an outlandish thing to attempt, because she got away with it for over three years. Like the article says, no one wanted to pry and prod her for details when she was seemingly in such grief and trauma.

And I think that once one credible person buys your story, then others kind of piggyback on...e.g., "This is that lady that was on Oprah...I'm sure that Oprah's people did their fact-checking, and obviously she's telling the truth because who would lie about that?"

So, it's a combination of 1) assuming that other people fact-checked it; and 2) wanting to believe such a perfectly tragic and heroic story.
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Old 28 September 2007, 04:03 AM
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That actually sounds like true Munschausen's syndrome, a psychiatric disorder where people make up fantastic stories for attention, rather than any tangible gain. The disorders where people make themselves or their children sick isn't all that Munschausen's is-- in fact that subset is also known as FDS-- Facitious Disorder Syndrome.

I have a feeling that she probably made up a story one day not realizing things would get out of hand.

Not that there are no repercussions, however-- I have an aunt by marriage who survived the Holocaust in hiding, and has done some work for Holocaust Survivor Organisations. They check people's stories out for two reasons: the first is that if individuals are lying, it would feed the Holocaust deniers. The second is more generally applicable: if in any way a person's story is used to elicit sympathy that somewhere down the line results in financial contributions or in-kind contributions to any group, the contributors could withdraw or lodge complaints of fraud.

So even though Tania Head might not have sought any personal gain, if someone who visited the site, met her, and was moved to contribute to a survivors' fund, and is reading today's NYT now, well, the fallout is yet to come.
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  #7  
Old 28 September 2007, 04:14 AM
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Why does this sound like a Sandra Bullock movie idea?
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Old 28 September 2007, 04:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RivkahChaya View Post
So even though Tania Head might not have sought any personal gain, if someone who visited the site, met her, and was moved to contribute to a survivors' fund, and is reading today's NYT now, well, the fallout is yet to come.
Also, surely there might have been some sort of financial gain, even if it were indirect. For example, was she ever paid a fee to appear on any of those talk shows? Maybe someone decided to hire her for a paying job because of her credentials as a board officer for the victims' group? And even if her story were untrue, she could still do a book deal (Why I Did It, by Tania Head! Reserve your copy now on amazon.com!).
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  #9  
Old 28 September 2007, 07:15 PM
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This could be akin to some military phonies. It all goes back to something my mother used to tell me...

Wipe your damned face!

No, wait, it was, "If you tell a lie enough times, you will end up believing it."

Some phony vets end up telling such extravagant tales with such grandiose details that they end up believing that they actually did the deeds and lived the lies. She may actually believe that she lost her fiance'/hubby in the incident.

I know that I had a close female friend when I went to Army Basic Training, and with everybody talking about their girlfriends/wives, I called her my girlfriend. Within a couple weeks, she became my fiancee', and twelve weeks later, by the time I actually saw her again, I KNEW that we were supposed to be married soon. It came as quite a surprise to her, though, as I hadn't talked to her in over three months...
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Old 28 September 2007, 08:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RivkahChaya View Post
That actually sounds like true Munschausen's syndrome, a psychiatric disorder where people make up fantastic stories for attention, rather than any tangible gain. The disorders where people make themselves or their children sick isn't all that Munschausen's is-- in fact that subset is also known as FDS-- Facitious Disorder Syndrome.
.

[hijack] Do you have any info on this ? When I googled Munchausens , it was specifically related to illness. My sister is like this, she tells the most outragous lies, it's unreal. Everything from Discovery channel wanted to interview her for some such show to dad molested her, none of which are true. Course, she does fake illnesses also, she has cancer of some sort or another numerous times, MS, Fibromyalgia, the list is very long. [/hijack]
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  #11  
Old 28 September 2007, 09:32 PM
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You're right-- I'm not having any luck coming up with references googling. Maybe the term "Munschausen's" (also: Munchausen's) is now reserved for lying about medical conditions, but it may be just what's on the internet, too, because most of the references were for Munschausen's Syndrome by Proxy, which is extremely rare, wheras facitious illness is fairly common (at least within the arena of emotional disorders). I'll have to look for a DSM-III or something.

Anyway, the disorder is named for Baron von Munschausen, who fabricated stories of fantastic adventures, not illnesses.

I did run across another name for what may ail Ms. Head, however: Mythomania.

Compulsive lying can be part of a number of emotional disorders, though, from Oppositional Defiance Disorder (yes, it's real; it's on the autism spectrum, no; most disobedient kids don't have it) to Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

IIRC, Munschausen's Syndrome is a primary disgnosis, but mythomania, apparently what used to be called "pathological lying," is a symptom of a larger syndrome.

I used to work in mental health (actually, in the broader field of disabilities), but it's been a few years, and I'm out of date.
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Old 28 September 2007, 09:35 PM
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I found it sick that she wanted to put a piece of her burned clothing on a plaque to give to the deceased fireman's parents, because it was supposedly one of the last things he'd touched. Sick and nervy of her to manipulate their emotions that way, if she wasn't even there.
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  #13  
Old 01 October 2007, 03:13 AM
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Tsk, Tsk Barcelona paper casts new doubt on Tania Head's Sept. 11 account

A woman who was removed as the president of a Sept. 11 survivors' group after questions emerged about her dramatic account of escaping the twin towers came from a wealthy family in Barcelona, where she worked as a secretary and told a colleague that she had been badly injured in a car accident, a Spanish newspaper has reported.

http://www.iht.com/articles/2007/09/...ca/survive.php
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  #14  
Old 01 October 2007, 05:47 AM
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From the article:

Quote:
La Vanguardia quoted an unidentified former colleague as saying that Head said the scars were from a high-speed crash in a Ferrari.

"She used to say that they had to look for the arm and reattach it," the colleague is quoted as saying in the article.

Jeez, and I thought the one-uppers that I always see in the sports bar I go to had some ridiculous claims.
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  #15  
Old 24 November 2007, 11:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Class Bravo View Post
If her claims are indeed fabricated, it seems pretty foolish to make them on such a grand scale. Did she honestly believe that she could go on national TV and make such specific claims (saying the specific company she supposedly worked for and the name of her supposed fiancee/husband) and she wouldn't be found out?
She wouldn't be the only one.
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  #16  
Old 22 October 2010, 02:12 AM
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Slightly off topic, but I love the scene in "Curb your Enthusiasm" where a guy elicits much sympathy from people because his brother died
"on September 11th."

Larry later finds out (and busts him on) the fact that the guy's brother DID die on that date, but nothing to do with the tragedy. He was on the Lower East side and was hit by a bike messenger.

The guy insists to Larry, "Well, he STILL died on September 11th!"

OK, like I can capture a Larry David scene. But just reminded me...
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Old 22 October 2010, 03:57 PM
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Seems to be a recurring theme. Larry hired a cook for his restaurant because he saw the guy had numbers on his arm and Larry thought he was a Holocaust survivor. Turns out the cook had just written his lottery numbers on his arm.

Then Larry invited his uncle who was a Holocaust survivor to a party because he was told that there would be another survivor there. Turns out it was Ethan from the TV show Survivor. Bonus laughs when Ethan's character and the Holocaust survivor engage in a game of one-upmanship.
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  #18  
Old 18 February 2011, 12:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cactus Wren View Post
That "Stop Kaz" site is awesome! I read about Kaz on it years ago, and I am truly stunned by the woman's dishonesty.
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  #19  
Old 25 February 2011, 08:35 AM
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These stories me of Jean-Claude Romand, who successfully pretended to be a medical doctor and researcher at the WHO for 18 years, all while living on scams and forgeries.

As his money ran out and he felt he would be exposed soon, he killed his whole family in 1993. He then tried to commit suicide, but was rescued, arrested and sentenced to life in prison.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jean-Claude_Romand

He was diganosed with a narcissistic personality disorder - a condition different from mythomania or Munchhausen - though pathological lying is also a part of it.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Narciss...ality_disorder
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  #20  
Old 25 February 2011, 10:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Buckle Up View Post
And I think that once one credible person buys your story, then others kind of piggyback on...e.g., "This is that lady that was on Oprah...I'm sure that Oprah's people did their fact-checking, and obviously she's telling the truth because who would lie about that?"
Considering some of the quacks that appear on Oprah, I doubt they care much for facts over ratings.
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