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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Not very magical, still... » » Fraud? Yes! (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

MagicSanta
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Back in the early to mid 70s one of the books we had to read in school (yes kids, they use to make us read....ewwwww) was Go Ask Alice. It was purported to be the diary of a teenage girl who got into drugs and was found in a closet dead and the diary followed her downward struggle ending just before her death. I'm sure many of you read this book, if not it is still in print I believe. I read it and it struck me that it was a phoney, a fraud, that it was written by someone and sold as a diary. Why did I think this? Because it read to well and as the girl goes from nice girl to raving drug fiend who isn't even sure she is a girl the writing stays amazingly consistant. The whole thing just stunk to high heaven to me and I said so in my book report and was thus failed on that report! An F!

Well I was reading some posts about the oil spill and thought about fiction being presented as fact and I looked it up and guess what? They changed the standing of the book from non fiction to fiction! That is right, it was written by a youth leader out of Utah or something as an anti drug book and it was a scam that it was a diary. It is too late to get my grade improved, the teacher being dead and all, but I told her! I've been iritated by that book for 35 plus years and now, finally, I feel better. Go Ask Alice....you fraud!
rossmacrae
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READ?

What is "read?"

Oh, yeah - that was before DVDs.

Dude...yer old!
stoneunhinged
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It's always cool to be vindicated.

The story is interesting, and I had never heard of it. The "editor"--a woman named Beatrice Sparks--has made a whole career out of editing "diaries". From the Wikipedia article on her:

Quote:
Since Jay's Journal, Sparks has produced many more 'real diaries,' including It Happened to Nancy: By an Anonymous Teenager (dealing with AIDS), Almost lost: the true story of an anonymous teenager's life on the streets (gang violence), Annie's baby: the diary of Anonymous, a pregnant teenager, Treacherous love: the diary of an anonymous teenager (pupil seduced by teacher), Kim: empty inside: the diary of an anonymous teenager (eating disorders) and Finding Katie: The Diary of Anonymous, A Teenager in Foster Care. None of these has achieved the success or notoriety of her first two 'diaries,' and none appears to have been received by critics or readers as anything other than fiction.


It reminds of when I was in high school, and all my religious friends raved about a guy named Mike Warnke. The guy was a so-called "Christian comedian" who had once been a Satanist. So I read the book they all found so terrific, called "The Satan Seller", and I--like Santa with "Go Ask Alice"--smelled a bunch of made-up fantasy content. I didn't have to wait so long for vindication: his story was thoroughly debunked by a Christian magazine in 1991.

But get this: not only is his book still sold, but there is an entire industry of "I used to be a Satanist" books--replete with stories of ritually sacrificing babies--which has flourished in spite of repeated debunking.

Michelle Smith, Lauren Stratford, Judith Spencer, Johanna Michaelson...and yes, I could go on...are just the tip of an iceberg of marketing Warnke-like stories to the gullible. (At least one on this list--Lauren Stratford--has had her story debunked by the same publication that debunked Warnke.)

People love cautionary tales so much that it doesn't seem to matter if the stories are complete fiction being sold as non-fiction.

*sigh*
MagicSanta
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The Go Ask Alice writer wrote other ones huh? I never knew that, thank you.

Satan Seller! One of my favorite book and being in California at the time I pretty much knew it was a made up story as well. Mike Warnke was a good guy, still likely is, very funny and a good story teller. He's kind of, last I heard, gone a bit South. I will say that Warnke got a raw deal because he did stand up and in my opinion he had a bit of artistic license. Since it was known he was a story teller I thought it very unfair that he had every aspect of his life looked into by that magazine. I just deleted a comment that wasn't mean but lets say that there are a lot, say 100 percent of a certain job type, that are story tellers in front of an audience on, say, Sunday usually. Nothing wrong with that it is getting the job done ya know, kind of like journalist, if they didn't sex it up the news would be boring and limited. Excellent reference though, The Satan Seller was indeed clearly a fraud. Stone gets points for bringing up the book!

Note: I met Warnke in the 70s when I was, believe it or not, a gospel puppeteer and I have emailed him back and forth a bit and I do like him and have told him pretty much the same thing I've stated about his being full of BS but it being okay with me. He tries to save me but avoids responding to statements like that....he's a wacko guy but at least he's an interesting one. I should email him again, been a while and he can tell me to leave the dark side...he has his own church now I think.
MagicSanta
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I should say if you like Christian comedians Mike Warnkes work, if available, is the funniest I've ever heard. Hey Stone, did your highschool pals listen to Larry Norman too? He's passed away but he was another talented guy around the time Warnke was well known.
stoneunhinged
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Sure, I remember Larry Norman. I even used to play a couple of his songs on the guitar at campfires at the beach. They got tired of my playing Beatles and my own stuff, and would ask for some "Christian" music, so I had "I Wish We'd All Been Ready" and "Identified Flying Object" memorized for the right moment.

Girls LOVE guys who play guitar around campfires. That alone is worth learning a few chords.

Anyway, back on topic: you're right that people in Warnke's business can be expected to embellish a little (or even a lot). But poor Lauren Stratford (real name Laurel Wilson) was dealing with some serious psychological issues, and her dark and twisted fantasies helped to feed a lot of flames about so-called "Satanic Ritual Abuse"--and that ended up harming a lot of innocent people.

Warnke didn't really hurt anybody (outside his own personal relationships, that is).
MagicSanta
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I don't know who this Stratford is. I think they did research on both those thinking UFOs took them and those that thought Satanic Cults got 'em and they found they usually had the same 'doctor' in common and that, obviously, they were imagining the entire thing. They might well believe it but belief doesn't equate to facts. When I was a kid in the 60s we were scared because in the Santa Cruz mountains they said Satanist were all around. We'd run into hippies who had no issues taking money from kids all the time. Then there was a double murder with in a week of the Manson murders that at that time they thought were connected at the end of my street and that made us see Satanist behind every rock. Turned out it wasn't Manson but a serial killer instead. They also thought it might be the Zodiac but here is an article on it. When they were killed we were just over the hill from them, about 100 yards away but out of site, the sheriffs grabbed us and took us home. My wife was friends with both girls, I didn't know them.

http://www.maebrussell.com/1960s%20Terro......cre.html
Scott Cram
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"Go Ask Alice" reminds me of Janet Cooke's Pulitzer Prize-winning story about Jimmy, a drug-addicted 8 year old who didn't actually exist.
MagicSanta
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Wow....another great example.
crestfallenLyric
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Go Ask Alice was a pretty terrible book. In fact most of the cautionary tales book with some "moral obligation" are pretty poorly written and just overall not fun to read.

I remember that and many of the "required readings" they made us do in school were also pretty bad. I made a few exceptions, especially with Catcher in the Rye only because I find it hilarious that people thought it was "controversial".
"It is better for a man to honor his profession, than to be honored by it." - Robert-Houdin
Destiny
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There was also Laura Albert who even appeared in media interviews as J T LeRoy, the drug addicted cross dressing child prostitute whose shocking true story she'd made up.

Here in Australia we had Helen Demidenko who won a major literary award for her book The Hand That Signed The Paper about her family's history in the Holocaust where they were both victim and perpetrator. The book caused controversy because it was thought the 'Jewish' author was a little too sympathetic to the oppressors. Turned out she wasn't Jewish, her name was not Demidenko and she'd made up the whole thing. She is now a successful lawyer. Smile
Destiny
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I'd almost forgotten Marlo Morgan, the American woman who wrote a book (Mutant Message Downunder) and gives lectures about her totally fabricated experience trekking across inland Australia with desert Aborigines.
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