Oh, I wish I didn't have to write this page. It's almost a waste of time that I could be spending on more productive pursuits. However, since the woman I describe below has used "the F word" (fraud), I figure I better respond sooner than later. With any luck, it'll deter other maliciously-intended communications with me!
I suspect that as an attempt to discredit me simply because what I write about psychopathy has apparently hurt her feelings, this lady brain stormed a transparent little trap for me.
I was pleased to receive a letter from England one day; I thought it might be from an ex-roommate of mine. But no! It was a foreign inquiry into syntheory dot com. By the end of my first read through of the letter, my suspicions were piqued that this was somehow a set up. Since I wasn't entirely sure this wasn't an actual inquiry, I went ahead and played along to see what would develop. As you should be able to see for yourself, it didn't take long to find out the truth.
To begin with, here's the actual letter from an Erica Clancy, I retyped it in full below for clarity. (I wonder where she got the name "Clancy" from. The Simpsons?)
This is no longer my true mailing address!!!
Dear Mr. Windish:
In preparing to research legal aspects of psychopathy for my thesis, I came across your website. I seek anecdotes from real lif to illustrate some of my main points. Basically, it's about how so much evil behaviour among our fellowes goes undetected by the authorities, even right under their noses! My thesis proposes several reasons for these states of affairs, and suggests practical means to mitigate the impact of below-the-radar offenders.
Its my fantasy that my veiws will somehow spark action in the right people. I know I can't change the world, but I agree with you: we can do our bit. My contribution is enclosed. Please send by email what you think might be useful.
Regards, Erica Clancy
P.S. You will understand why I have taken the precaution to omit my home address. Warmest.
OK. Now comes the fun part -- the analysis of the letter. Wherever shall I begin?! First off, for an "educated" person there are some striking spelling and grammatical errors in such a short letter. Note that "life" is spelled "lif", "views" is spelled "veiws" (dyslexia is common among psychopaths), "fellows" is spelled "fellowes", "basically" has a letter inserted after the fact, and she apparently had no idea how to spell "mitigate"! Also, she writes "Its..." instead of "It's...". At least she got "behaviour" right. When she writes "...right under their noses!", it gives me the impression of her own childlike glee she experiences while getting away with all that she probably does in her life.
Aside from those observations, the fact that it is a female writing me is supposed to put me at ease. After all, it is an established cultural perception that women tend to be more social and less threatening than men. It has also been shown that she is statistically much less likely to be a psychopath, based on her gender. Next, she attempts to present herself as my peer -- she's working on her thesis. She's not working on an undergraduate level term paper or anything, but a (Master's?) Thesis! Her utter lack of familiarity with the world of academia just screams through this letter.
Again, the psychopath plays the notes while being totally oblivious to the music. She throws around the word "thesis", but fails to tell me her thesis title, or even a good definition of her goals for it. The presence of "...several reasons..." and "...practical means..." are just vague flower proses. Nothing is elaborated there, either. Furthermore, unlike what a real student would do, she doesn't mention the name of her educational institution or even the names of any of her professors. She doesn't use a legitimate ".edu" email account. Instead, she uses a free Yahoo! account which anyone could get with no problem at all. Even the envelope shows a deception: the return address is in London, while the postmark is from Kent!
Also a quick comment on the handwriting: You'll notice that as she changes topics from her deceptive intro to supposedly talking about herself and her work ("...some of my main points."), the horizontal arrangement of the lines gets all funny. Then as she goes back to the deception ("Its my fantasy..."), the lines get all straight again.
Finally, the P.S.: Yes Erica -- if that is your real name -- I do understand why you have omitted your home address. You don't wish to be found! This point is further shown in the emails below. Please note that the email messages below were edited by omission; the ads and email account links, etc, were trimmed away. The navy blue text color was added.
After receiving her letter and thinking about it for a while, I sent her the following email, dated Wed, 16 Jul 2003 12:04:02 -0700 (PDT):
I'm sorry to tell you that I must return your donation. I wish you good luck on your psychopathy research project, but I am entirely too busy these days to put forth the extensive effort my helping you would require.
If you like, I will still send you the essays I mention on http://www.syntheory.com/realdeal.html. Otherwise, I need to know if the Ascot Ct. address you wrote on the envelope is the correct address to send your donation back to.
Please let me know. Again, thank you for your interest in syntheory.com and I hope to hear from you soon.
To which she replied:
From Erica Clancy Sat Jul 19 12:10:13 2003:
Dear Ken:You cannot be expected to contribute your time and expertise in exchange for such a small sum. A simple peek at your papers was offered and requested, and any references to your work will be properly credited.The address on my letter's envelope is contrived. One cannot be too careful, especially when the topic is the dark side of human behaviour. You may keep the donation, even if you choose not to deliver on your advert.My academic work may bear fruit: I am considering creating a web site that offers testing to identify personality defects, a service built upon my studies and experience. Employers will direct applicants to complete the on line test and pay a small fee to recover the results. The resulting database will also be useful in other areas of research.You are too busy to assist, fair enough; however if you are acquainted with anyone having a background in psychology and an interest in web-site development, please pass my name along.Yours, Erica
Ken Windish <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:Dear Erica:I'm sorry to tell you that I must return your donation. I wish you good luck on your psychopathy research project, but I am entirely too busy these days to put forth the extensive effort my helping you would require.If you like, I will still send you the essays I mention on http://www.syntheory.com/realdeal.html. Otherwise, I need to know if the Ascot Ct. address you wrote on the envelope is the correct address to send your donation back to.Please let me know. Again, thank you for your interest in syntheory.com and I hope to hear from you soon.Sincerely,Ken Windish
So, I felt that the ball was in my court. She admits that the return address on the letter was contrived, she continues to present herself as similar to me (her academic work will lead to a website), and finally, she even says that I "...may keep the donation, even if..." I don't send her anything! Note she even uses the word "donation". A donation is given with no strings attached...by normal people, that is.
To finish up with this page and move on to bigger and better things, I went a few weeks recently without checking my email. I checked it today (Aug-30-03) and found this little ditty:
From Erica Clancy Thu Jul 31 08:05:14 2003
From: "Erica Clancy" <email@example.com>
Subject: Syntheory fraud
To: "Ken Windish" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Dear Mr Windish:I just want to let you know that I have reported the fraudulent activity to your government authorities. The information posted on your website http://www.syntheory.com is designed to deceive people into sending you money. I sent you money and you did not send what was promised, so now I am a victim with a cause of action.Very disappointing. I had a suspicion that you were the very psychopath you were writing about. May God have mercy on your soul.Erica
Just some quick observations to sum up: The psychopath does indeed show his or her true colors, eventually. They always start out nice and friendly but end up hostile and blaming you for something. They are also famous for projection -- ie, accusing you of what they themselves are guilty of. In this case, I am being called a deceptive psychopath! She also adopts the victim stance. Too bad she doesn't have a course of action; her cause of action is perhaps a Freudian slip. I guess she forgot what she wrote just two short weeks before! Erica, may God have mercy on your soul...if He or She can find it! Finally, the email address to complain about fraud isn't even right. If you wish to complain about fraud to the federal trade commission, you do not send an email at all. Instead, you go to this web page and fill out a form: Click here.
Note: Incidentally, as of today's writing (Jan. 2004), I have not heard anything more about these communications. She never wrote back to refute these allegations of mine. Warmest.
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