Secrets and Lies, Part Six: The Ruth Chronicles

We have come to the end of the “Secrets and Lies” entries, and this one is a shorter one, but if I have left out anything strange that you noticed, hopefully you will share those lies in the comments.  If you missed the first five “Secrets and Lies” installments, you can read them here:  Part One, Part Two, Part Three, Part Four and Part Five

I know that the average person isn’t as near-lunatic in their desire to crunch on details as I am, but even the most laid-back approach to truth should find appalling the number of weird situations, errors, inconsistencies and lies in Razing Ruth.  But I hope this look at all the lies shows how easy it is for an unscrupulous person to trick people.  Lies spread out over time combined with a pitiful and compelling narrative almost force decent people to overlook the obvious.  And while I don’t recommend that we all begin tearing apart every blog entry we read for signs of lying (because it’s an exhausting way to go through life, mainly), once a person learns the basics of how those engaged in Munchausen by Internet operate, it becomes so much easier to see one coming and avoid it.

So let’s finish this up.  Let’s get to the last lies of Ruth.

Hands up!  Who’s met Ruth?

Anyone?  Anywhere?  Nope.

I have done nothing but eat, breathe and sleep Chris Izer-B* and Razing Ruth for a while now.  I have not had anyone who met Ruth contact me.  I come across a comment from anyone who both exists and could verify her identity.  Ruth insisted frequently that she had revealed her identity to a handful of people.  No one has ever revealed that they know who she is, even just to verify that Ruth was telling the truth about confiding in someone.

When Ruth solicited help throughout her blog, she never accepted help that was not cash.  No hand-me-down clothes for her or Rachel, no furniture, no goods, no food, not even direct legal help.  Every single person who offered help that was not money was turned down or ignored.  She was offered legal help when Rachel was thinking about adoption and it appears e-mails were exchanged with some of her readers, but no one can say for sure Ruth used any of the contacts offered to her.

No one knew who she was.  No one.  Except maybe Vyckie Garrison and she isn’t talking, and given the vicious and senseless push-back I have seen in regards to the Razing Ruth situation, I don’t know if I blame her.  Still wish she’d talk, though.

Chris liked to pepper Ruth’s story with comments that supposedly proved her connection to ATI and Gothard without spelling anything out.  All of the comments were vague and were left by people whose identity could not be proven.  Remember “Hannah” who said Ruth’s father was using her as a cautionary tale via an e-mail Ruth posted part of on her blog?  Well, she helped a bit, but she didn’t help as much as “Gretchen.”  Gretchen may be real, though I don’t think she is.  If she was, she presented Ruth with verisimilitude on a golden platter.

On 3/14/12, Gretchen left this comment:

Did you know there’s a picture of your family in the Duggar home slideshow? It looks like an older picture but you’re not in it so it can’t be too old. Go look.

Gretchen clarifies where to look.  She directs people to a slide show on the TLC Duggar page and says she saw Ruth’s family’s picture on the 22nd slide (tlc.howstuffworks.com/home/duggar-home-pictures.htm). No way to prove Gretchen is a sock puppet but Gretchen’s comment has no information linked to it and the comment does two things: first, it makes it seem as if there is someone out there who knows Ruth’s family and therefore gives credence to Ruth’s claims of both belonging to an ATI family and that the family was close to the Duggars; and second, it brings people rallying to poor Ruth’s defense because it looks like someone is trying to out her. But the end result of such a comment was to bolster Ruth’s stories and I would not be surprised if it was a sock puppet account.  I certainly can’t prove it is, but I can’t prove it isn’t, either.

When the story that Ruth is a fake took hold, some people on Free Jinger spent a significant amount of time piecing together all of the families in those TLC pictures, and they found a family they thought could be Ruth’s family of origin.  I cannot emphasize enough that Ruth is a fake.  The fact is that Chris Izer-B* likely found and read about some families to serve as inspiration. I bet people can find a handful whose stories seem similar. If you want to knock yourselves out analyzing all those families and try to make Chris Izer-B*’s lies apply to one of them, feel free.  But do not, for the love of sanity, discuss it here.  As repellent as I find ATI/Quiverfull, the families on that TLC slideshow do not deserve being mentioned in Chris’ frauds. I’ll edit any entries that mention a specific family’s name.

It happens again on 2/17/13, wherein Ruth again copies from an e-mail she supposedly received from a reader called Brandywine.  “Brandywine” asked the following, and Ruth answered:

Mary, I’ve been addicted to your story since someone pointed me to it ten days ago. I think I’m caught up. I have a question or two if you don’t mind. I was a Gothard kid, too. Homeschooled and ATIed. Were you the xxxxxxxxxxx family that used to live in NW Arkansas? We may have stayed with you once. Were you gone by 1995 because I remember you if you are that family? You were maybe 11 or 12? What happened to your rabbit?” Brandywine Yes. That was us. I remember your first name. Glad to see you got out of that too. You should go over to freejinger and tell your story. If YOU are who I think you are, your story is better. You’re living a great life from what I hear. :) The rabbit was eaten.

Too bad we have no chance of verifying Brandywine.  Like Gretchen and Hannah before her, she is untraceable. Despite these moments wherein it looks like maybe someone knows who Ruth is in real life, no one who makes these claims has ever been able to be verified as being a real human being and therefore I assume they are sock puppets.  Ruth claimed over the years that people knew who she was and that was a complete lie.  No one knows what she told Vyckie Garrison but as of this writing, I have found not a single person to whom Ruth might have confided her identity.

Minor problems

I’m Ruth-tired so I’m just going to lay out some other problems with uncharacteristic brevity.

-Ruth says on 5/15/13 that the job in Chicago is only going to pay her a bit more than she is making working two jobs.  She then states on 5/16/13 that the job will pay a bit under $14 an hour.  Admittedly, she would not have had a high standard of living but it is hard to understand how it is that Ruth could not have maintained an apartment or rented space for her travel trailer on the equivalent of $13 per hour per a 40 hour week.  Yes, that was spread out over two jobs, but assuming a two week vacation, that’s still $26K a year before taxes.  She couldn’t survive on that?  No roommates if it was tight?

-Whatever happened to her leg?  She injured herself taking care of those boys and she says she needed a CT scan but it is never followed up on but she is able to go to Harris’ family reunion and walk around Disneyland less than eight weeks later.  She mentions nothing about renting a wheelchair, something that Chris Izer-B* is not averse to doing, and if Ruth had done such a thing she would have mentioned it.  So how’d she walk?  How did we miss that?

-The whole “got kicked off the land where I sat my trailer for free because someone stole stuff from the landlord and I was forced to sell my trailer and live in my car” scenario was… well, I don’t even know.  I have Ruth fatigue.  Discuss it wildly amongst yourselves if you are so inclined.

-Same thing with the twisted ovary.  Most women need about two weeks off work after an ovary removal, even dealing with laprascopic surgery, but everyone is different, I guess.  By that point in the narrative I would not have been surprised if Ruth had needed a complete brain transplant and surgery to correct undescended testes.

-So, when Ruth fled her family and ran to a neighbor for help, the courts just let the neighbors keep her until she was of age?  And they agreed to it?  The family was willing to take in a teenager and raise her because that was the porch Ruth landed on when she fled?  And then the family more or less just never spoke to her again or helped her in any manner once she moved away?  Yeah, that sounds funny to me, too.  I note that is the last entry Ruth wrote for No Longer Quivering.  I also note that Ruth failed to spell consistently the pseudonym she gave her rescuers.  Nothing lie-like in that.  I’m just feeling a little punch drunk and felt like mentioning it.

-The psych evaluation to change her name legally is almost funny because… why would Chris Izer-B* think anyone would need a psychiatric evaluation to change their legal name?  Why would she lie about something so easily disproved?  Did she just get a carried away with her story?  I checked with the state of California’s site and no one needs a psych evaluation before changing one’s name. Have a look for yourself.  But mostly this is interesting because we will be discussing Chris Izer-B* in terms of psychiatric evaluations in the near future.  She tends to write about things that are looming in her mind.  But even so, this one was a head-scratcher.

-People tracked her down at a campsite in Utah as she was traveling to Chicago and that was less upsetting than someone she supposedly had met coming to work and checking up on her?  How could someone track a person down at a campsite if they had no idea what she looked like?  What if there had been several cars with California plates?  Would they just harass every single woman who was traveling alone until they found her?

So we’re at the end of “Secrets and Lies.”  If y’all find some interesting lies I missed, I’ll add links to the comments in this entry.  I’ll have my next two Ruth entries up as soon as I can but I have an “interesting” weekend coming up that involves foundation repair and cleaning up all the dust that such a procedure creates.  It may be a week or so before my next post depending on interesting the weekend proves to be.  But I will be working on finishing off the Ruth story as much as I reasonably can.  I’m ready to move on to the madness of Possummomma, Penn Mommy, Scarlett75 and Jhawksgirl.  And, as it seems, many more alters of Chris Izer-B*.

71 thoughts on “Secrets and Lies, Part Six: The Ruth Chronicles

  1. Sarah

    I am one that feels so duped by Chris. The time and emotions I gave to her story… embarrassing. I’m just glad I didn’t give money. Having said that, there were times when I just scratched my head and thought What the….?
    When she said her father died, I searched and read countless obituaries from Arkansas, and came up with nothing. That was what confirmed it for me. Anyway , thanks for putting it all together. This is crazy!

    Reply
    1. Admin Post author

      Yeah, the lack of any obituary or anyone associated with ATI mentioning the passing of an ATI patriarch was an eye opener for others, too.

      I got caught up with some of Ruth’s stories, too, especially the ones that involved body shame. Like constantly being accused of masturbation and her father’s reaction to her first period. I need a lot of bodily integrity in my life and those scenes just made me die inside, thinking of the shame Ruth must have experienced. Chris’ storytelling managed to exploit something in everyone who read her. No one should feel embarrassed that an emotional thief stole their intense feelings. The only one who should feel embarrassed is Chris.

      Reply
      1. Anonymous

        I never thought much of it but we never published obituaries for either my mom in law or my dad in law. Not one for my grandma either. They all went to direct cremation and ashes scattered, no funeral home announcement. Not sure if this was wrong or not. They all insisted on no fanfare so no fanfare. Is this something that is important to people, I feel as if anyone that cared already knew that they passed. I don’t think I would want some announcement if I passed either. Is this strange?

        Reply
        1. Admin Post author

          No, some families are like that. I don’t think it is strange.

          It’s only strange in this case because Ruth’s community and family were not the sort to be silent when someone dies. An obituary in this case would have been expected. An ATI patriarch important enough to give speeches about his evil daughter and who had been as close to the inner workings of Gothardism would have received an obituary.

          So every family is different and these days lots of families forgo formal obituaries in newspapers in favor of wall messages featured on funeral home pages for the deceased. It depends on the family and the person. I don’t think it’s strange you wouldn’t want an obituary. I haven’t really thought about whether or not I want one – I guess I just assume those left behind would decide how to handle it. Which again just shows it’s different in every case. So no, I don’t think you are strange. ;)

          Reply
      2. A.Roddy

        The period thing reminded me of Stephen King’s “Carrie”. When Carrie got her period her mother shrieked The Curse of Blood. And the poor girl didn’t know what was happening. Yes there are some lunatic Fundamentalists but any man his age should have known it was getting time for that.

        Reply
    2. StephanieSays

      I fell for her back when she was PennMommy and her son died. Seriously, my heart broke.

      Although I am glad no actual young adult died, I don’t understand why she did that.

      Reply
  2. Ruse-ing Ruth

    I never believed Ruth, although I didn’t think she was probably as much of an actual scammer as she was.

    I thought one particularly hilarious lie was the way she described her father’s “death.” He starved to death because an ATI healer had him eat only soup to cure his prostate cancer? Oh Ruth.

    Reply
    1. Nancy

      How did I miss that tidbit of utter b.s.???? I would have known it to be fake then; ATI are fond of prayer to cure illness; sin cleansing and all that rubbish.

      That would have been far more realistic than SOUP.

      Reply
      1. Ruse-ing Ruth

        Yes, she wrote on Free Jinger, “Thus far, the story is that he had a heart attack. I believe he died due to malnutrition at the hands of a naturopath /religious nut ATI “Healer” wwho advised him to fast and pray to fight prostate cancer. I don’t think the cancer killed him since it was a recent diagnosis and his prostate didn’t effect his ability to impregnate my mom a couple of years ago. My brother told me that dad was only eating once every four days, and then only watermelon and cabbage soup, and praying eight hours a day. Dad was also advised to drink only three, small cups of tea every day.”

        Reply
      1. No Named

        One can starve on soup – especially if meals are sporadic and made of spoiled produce. Water with beans in it once a day is a starvation diet. It can kill someone.

        That isn’t to say Ruth was telling the truth. It’s

        Reply
  3. Julie

    Seriously, that was how Ruth said her father died? That isn’t even close to being plausible. I realize Chris Izer-B* is a fiction writer, but that isn’t even good fiction. I wonder if she was getting desperate for dramatic story lines at that point. Which reminds me, the best fiction I’ve ever read about fundamentalism is Rapture of Canaan by Sheri Reynolds. Awesome book.

    I’m still hung up on there being more to the story of Vyckie and Ruth than what they’ve let on. It might be just as simple as Vyckie wanting to keep Ruth’s story on NLQ because it draws a lot of hits, but Vyckie’s reaction to Ruth being outed still seems way over the top. I just don’t know.

    Hope your foundation work goes well. Doesn’t sound like much fun, though.

    Reply
    1. Martha

      I’m VERY hung up on Vyckie. When Calulu wrote her big blow-up post (the one that ends with a photo of Johnny Cash giving the finger to Free Jinger) she says only “Vyckie has talked on the phone to Ruth more than once and is satisfied she is who she says she is.” Umm what? That is the sum total of Vyckie’s verification?

      It gets worse. NLQ is now hosted by Patheos, and if you search for Possumomma there, the bloggers all view the disappearance of Possumomma from the web as the religious community silencing an atheist blogger. So, if the rest of us cry Scam! or Fraud! we’re just tools of the fundies? Oh PLEASE.

      Reply
  4. anonymom

    I just recently read the Ruth saga beginning to end (back in May) and sadly, fell for it. The one thing I have not seen anyone discuss in the many, many pages of discussion I’ve read, is the comments from her “father” or other “family members” hinting at the identity of Ruth’s betrothed… saying that she wants to attack and tarnish the identity of some large conservative political family in NW Arkansas. Last name began with H, maybe? I don’t know how worthy this rabbit trail is of exploration, seeing as this is a real family with no involvement, but in retrospect this clearly seems like another Gretchen/Brandywine type of unprovable “proof”. Have to go run after small humans now, so no link, sorry.

    Reply
  5. Anne

    Yeah her salary was one thing I couldn’t figure out. She was working TWO jobs, as a single woman, and couldn’t afford anything?? She made more than my husband and I and our family of three! Housing IS much more expensive in California, I dunno about Chicago. Especially if she had gotten a roommate though, I have no idea how she couldn’t have done it alone. Especially in a trailer, not an apartment (I’m assuming a small plot for a travel trailer isn’t as expensive as paying for a whole apartment). That was a red flag to me.

    Reply
  6. Aurora

    This line:

    “By that point in the narrative I would not have been surprised if Ruth had needed a complete brain transplant and surgery to correct undescended testes.”

    really made me chuckle. Thanks for making me laugh when reading something rather deplorable!

    Reply
  7. greek_chorus

    I’m going to go ahead and plagiarize my most recent FJ comment…

    I finally finished reading Vyckie’s story on the wayback machine and then read what’s left of Angel’s blog. In the past I never felt one way or another about Vyckie, but because she “vouched” for Ruth’s existence I figured she must be real and that she just embellished her story. Here’s the thing, Vyckie’s silence is very concerning and if she were smart she would address this sooner rather than later. I don’t see how continuing to stay silent on Ruth won’t ultimately hurt her brand even if other survivor stories on NLQ are fakes.

    Reading Vyckie’s account of her Quiverfull life and then Angel’s you would think they were strangers and certainly not members of the same family. Angel’s blog, what’s still public of it, is very damning towards Warren and Vyckie. Hindsight being what it is I can’t help but give Vyckie the side-eye in this whole Ruth debacle. At best she’s embarrassed and her pride won’t let her acknowledge that she made a mistake in how she did or didn’t vet Ruth and at worst she’s complicit.

    If we want to be crazy conspiracy nuts it is interesting the degree to which both Possum Momma and Vyckie are devout, public atheists (versus normal people who just go about their lives whether they believe in god or not) after having previously lived very religious lives. Vyckie’s silence on the matter doesn’t help especially when viewed in the context of her very public quarrel with Angel and Cailou’s (sic) crazy blog post. In her post she says that Vyckie has spoken to Ruth on the phone more than once and Vyckie is convinced that Ruth is who Ruth says Ruth is…. But that’s just it, who is Ruth? Either Ruth gave Vyckie her real name in which case Vyckie is complicit or Ruth gave her a fake name. Either way though, it wouldn’t take more than five minutes of Vyckie’s time to investigate and put the whole matter to rest. Of course RR/PM and Vyckie thrive on drama and victimhood and they would both be lost if we weren’t here to talk about them.

    Reply
    1. Admin Post author

      This is all something I need to think about and I appreciate this comment. I’ve wondered if I should have a look at some of the key players in perpetuating Ruth’s scams. Like Calladus, whom I mostly believe was duped by Chris. Such a look would hopefully clear up motives and show most people were victims but I also know that may not always be the case.

      Because atheism for me is a passive unbelief, I’ve never enjoyed being involved with other atheists because, as we have seen for some, atheism becomes the new religion. It takes on cultish thinking, a siege mentality wherein all criticism is a brutal attack from fundamentalists or believers in unbelievers’ clothing. But I now think I need to examine their roles in permitting this to continue – not to shame them but because it is an important part of the scams.

      Vyckie I vaccilate back and forth between. I had felt that her refusal to talk is chalked up to feeling embarrassed but I got a small taste Wednesday of what I can imagine has happened to her – belligerent and cruel accusations, character assassinations, outright lies. It’s been very strange and it makes me wonder if Vyckie is avoiding such a pasting at all costs. But I still wish she would talk. By now I have to think she knows I won’t savage her.

      This is an interesting comment and it gives me a lot to think about in how I may want to handle Patheos’ decision to back a liar and a scammer.

      Reply
      1. greek_chorus

        Yeah I didn’t care for how you were treated on Wednesday but WK tends to draw the drama out further when it would normally just die off after a bit.

        I’m with you about people being duped. I have no reason to suspect Vyckie wasn’t duped initially but there’s something that really bothers me about her current stance and it’s the same feeling that kept me from ultimately giving money to Ruth even though I believed she was real because Vyckie explicitly and FJ implicitly vouched for her.

        It wasn’t until after reading Vyckie’s entire story and then reading Angel’s blog from beginning to end as well as some of the yuku threads that I began to feel a bit uneasy in her still actively vouching for Ruth which she’s doing per Calulu’s blog. Reading everything after the fact I can see where Vyckie wouldn’t have been out of the QF movement for very long when Ruth came on the scene and that she and her children would definitely be dealing with their own trauma which might have caused her to not be as thorough with vetting Ruth.

        In my early 20s I called myself an atheist IF people asked, but I stopped when Atheism became some new religion. Seriously, Atheists like Vyckie, Chris Izer-B* and Caladus are not that large a community. Most people are like you and me and atheism is a passive exercise. If my friends are getting married in a church, I attend. If I’m going to a funeral, a cousin’s first communion, etc it’s no big deal and I don’t have an overwhelming urge to lecture my son on why this is wrong or evil. I know a couple of people on an acquaintance/FB level who go off on epic rants about religion being imposed on them just by virtue of receiving an invitation or someone giving them a book but most of us just wake-up, go to work, eat dinner, go to sleep… without ever batting an eyelash that we had to sit through a religious event, ceremony, sacrament, rite of passage, etc…

        Keep up the good work!

        Reply
        1. Admin Post author

          Thanks for all of this comment. I appreciate it.

          I had been reluctant to go back and read all of Vyckie’s articles because it seemed like her travails with Angel and other groups were pure drama that could add nothing to the conversation about Ruth but if I get some free time I think I am going to do that. I swing back and forth between thinking Vyckie is shady and thinking she is either deeply embarrassed or has another reason for her silence. It may be beneficial to try to get a grip on her personality before I speculate about her.

          So much reading to do… ;)

          Reply
      2. Elizabeth Jane

        Maybe I’m naive, but I never realized that being an atheist was such a provocative topic in the 21st century. I mean, you don’t go to Mass or to a Baptist tent meeting and stand up in the middle of all the goings on and scream “what a load of road apples!”. This is not atheism as I know it; these are strident and off balance people who are just looking for attention. What happened to a person’s beliefs being private?

        I guess this is why CB fits right in.

        Reply
        1. greek_chorus

          Elizabeth Jane,

          I love the imagery of the Atheist at the tent revival. You’re not naive, just normal and sensible. I will sometimes pray if someone asks me to or is going through a difficult time, because it’s easy to do and brings them comfort. And just to beat the poor dead horse a bit more, it seems like most people who get out of QF become conservative or moderately liberal Christians, not devout Atheist Convention attending Atheists, living in Nebraska, voting for Obama and supporting marriage equality (You can check out Vyckie’s FB page for photos). I support all of these things, though I don’t see myself ever moving to Nebraska, but that’s a lot of indoctrination for someone to overcome in a very short period of time, especially given how much of the QF kool-aid they were drinking.

          Reply
          1. lou5

            Seriously, you have to denigrate the whole state of Nebraska? Really? Why does that have anything to do with it?

          2. Anonymous

            That’s just silly. Plenty of people leave fundamentalism for atheism. Some people move very gradually out of the mindset and maintain some of the values as conservative or moderate Christians. Some people do a total 180. I’ve known both personally. It’s just an individual thing.

      3. Curious

        I’m going to call BS on this just a little bit (not on what happened to you). As far as we know, until Vyckie’s outburst no one (at least on FJ) was saying anything particularly mean about her. People were assuming she was duped as well and I sent her, what everyone can see was, a very polite email, simply giving her a head’s up about the situation. There were absolutely no demands or even suggestions in my email. It was rather neutral and I provided links to all the threads rather than even giving my own summary of the situation, so she could read and make up her own mind based on the posts, not on my opinion of the evidence.

        I realize she has had issues with FJ in the past, but she doesn’t know ME. Just the fact that I am the new owner of the site (and given that by most people’s own opinions the site has changed since I took over…whether they feel that is good or bad), is not a valid reason for her over the top overreaction to my email, IMO.

        I certainly wasn’t making any accusations in my email. She could have just responded with a “Thank you for the information” and that gone about her business. The extreme nature of the blog response, coupled with the ban on the words Free Jinger and RR on NLQ at all, do not make her look professional (or sane), IMO.

        There are a lot of things that have happened on FJ in the past 8 months (mostly in the beginning) that made me angry, hurt my feelings, made me frustrated, etc. Some of them I responded to in ways that could have been handled better, admittedly (though I don’t think I’ve ever told an entire group of people to just fuck off, in my capacity as owner). I think I’ve improved as time has gone on in how I respond to things on FJ. Vyckie has owned NLQ for how long? This can’t be her first rodeo into some kind of large scale drama.

        Here is another difference. You realized you made a mistake, apologized, fixed the error and moved on. Vyckie dug in her heels and banned the words Free Jinger and RR from NLQ.

        I guess I’m just a little astounded at her level of unprofessionalism and IMO overreaction. It makes me suspicious of the entire site she runs and THAT is a real disservice to all the people there that are real and have told hard stories and are really trying to help people. I think that is what really bothers me the most about Vyckie/NLQ.

        I apologize this is a little disjointed. I just woke up and am so not a morning person!

        Reply
        1. Admin Post author

          Curious, even as I vacillate concerning what I think about Vyckie, my assessment of your role – personally and in the role of owner of Free Jinger – has not changed. I read the reaction on Calulu’s site before I knew what you had said and once I read your e-mail, I was appalled. The reaction they had was completely over the top. Their reaction was not even really a response to what you had written in your e-mail. It was a response to a drama they had going on in their heads or something else no one knew about.

          I am not wholly familiar with the grudge Vyckie has against Free Jinger. I think I need to read more about it when I get the chance.

          When I think about the totality of it – either doing a bad job of vetting Ruth or not doing it all, getting PrincessJo to do her dirty work and then disavowing her and calling her a liar, her bizarre reaction to being told Ruth had been outed as a fraud – there’s no way to excuse her behavior. My point was that my mistake, as boneheaded as it was, was tiny in comparison to being a large reason people believed in a years-long scam, yet the response was far beyond the situation. I’m good with being called out when I screw up but it turned into an attempt to engage in character assassination of people not even mentioned on this site. Looking at it from Vyckie’s perspective, if that is what happens in these particular communities when people screw up a small scale, I can see why she would avoid that like the plague.

          (Though to be perfectly honest, I do now think that the people who began slandering unrelated people were trolling and in my reaction I gave them exactly what they wanted. Lesson learned, I hope.)

          But that doesn’t mean I don’t think her whole life would be far better off if she talked and explained herself. Even if a chunk of people may not believe her, it would be far better to come clean and explain how she vetted Ruth because you are right – this taints her entire mission. Her reaction is tacitly saying, “I don’t care about whether or not the stories presented on my site are lies to feed a financial scam.” And her reaction to you was demented. Even if she believes she could bear some legal liability in all of this, her reaction to you was bizarre.

          Here is another difference. You realized you made a mistake, apologized, fixed the error and moved on. Vyckie dug in her heels and banned the words Free Jinger and RR from NLQ.
          Okay, this is new. When did this happen? Was this in reaction to being told Ruth was a scam or was this in the past at some point?

          Reply
          1. Curious

            Here is another difference. You realized you made a mistake, apologized, fixed the error and moved on. Vyckie dug in her heels and banned the words Free Jinger and RR from NLQ.
            Okay, this is new. When did this happen? Was this in reaction to being told Ruth was a scam or was this in the past at some point?

            It was since the RR thing came to light. It was posted in one of the threads on FJ, though I am no longer sure which one, unfortunately. It’s either in their FAQ or maybe their comment policy or something like that.

            It’s here: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/nolongerquivering/2013/07/commenting-policy/

            The comments on that post are….interesting.

          2. Admin Post author

            Curious, I don’t even know what to say. People can’t use the words “Razing Ruth” on NLQ yet they continue to host Chris’ tales? I can’t even begin to understand the reasoning behind that. Oh, and they’ve banned the words “Free Jinger,” too. Because that’s not petty and trivial…

            I don’t get how anyone can still think this is some sort of vendetta against NLQ or Vyckie. And I think that attitude is why people think the worst of Vyckie because it points to idea that she really does have something to hide, whether she does or not. At this point she has nothing to lose by talking to me about what happened with her and Chris.

        2. No Named

          Vyckie and I had a bit of a “falling out” a few years ago, over a professional matter that has nothing to do with this situation.

          The way I read Vyckie’s story, when it was still available on NLQ, is that she fell in with – and I hope everyone will excuse the term – an intellectual inferior whom she manipulated into engaging with the QF movement. Although she was the more powerful, she passed control over family life to a man who didn’t want it and wasn’t fit for it.

          I don’t domestic violence is the fault of anyone but the perpetrator.

          In Vyckie’s case, however, she taught the man his trade and then ducked out to sleep for many hours a day while her children had to deal with the blowhard she had helped to create.

          I came to feel especially sorry for her children when Vyckie, in an open forum her kids could easily access, admitted that she had no patience for Child-H and didn’t enjoy spending time with said child. She blamed the traumatic birth experience by which child-H had been brought into the world for her lack of interest.

          I thought the comment was cruel – especially since, as I said, this was on the NLQ forum. The comment actually drew criticism even from some of Vyckie’s more animated supporters: Frankly, it’s not child-H’s job to coddle her own mother in an effort to win love.

          All that said, however, I just can’t see Vyckie knowingly attaching herself to a scammer. It’s possible Vyckie is simply covering her ears and her eyes, hoping this will go away so she can keep the income stream that helps feed her kids.

          Reply
      4. Anonymous

        I’ve never known Vyckie to be the type of atheist that makes a “religion” of it or is belligerent about it. She hardly could be since, with NLQ, she has to collaborate and interact with people who range from fellow atheists to still-fairly-conservative Christians. Calulu herself is still a Christian, albeit a seemingly pretty progressive one.

        Let’s NOT be “crazy conspiracy nuts” about Vyckie. I don’t know what exactly is going on there, but I know she’s not “complicit.” And considering the fact that she’s had bad experiences with FJ before and quite understandably doesn’t want to believe that she’s been duped by someone who was part of work she deeply cares about, I don’t think her “outburst” is so very strange at all. I think some of this speculation about her is just nasty.

        Reply
        1. Admin Post author

          Just to clarify, the comments about belligerence and atheism as a religion in my comment were not aimed at Vyckie. A closer read will show that, or perhaps you are responding generically trying to explain Vyckie’s nature. Either is cool but I want it to be mentioned that I was discussing push-back I received earlier this week and some atheist communities, not Vyckie.

          I’m not a fan of conspiracy theories but as a person who studies them I can tell you conspiracy theories happen when there is an information vacuum and they are only toxic when accepted as fact. Thus far I have seen no evidence that anyone here is being a crazy conspiracy nut. Rather, people are engaging in speculation because they have no idea why Vyckie is behaving this way. I’m sure Vyckie has any number of reasons for not talking but none of them are enough for people who trusted her and believed she had done due diligence in vetting Ruth.

          The best way to shutting down speculation is for Vyckie to talk, if not to me, then to someone. I still think she was victimized, to a degree, but the fact remains that she outright said she knew who Ruth was and permitted Ruth to use her as a “believe or not but Vyckie knows who I am” excuse. Vyckie owes people answers no matter how much she hates Free Jinger. It would take one NLQ entry to explain how she vetted Ruth, what she did to prove her identity and no one would have to speculate any more.

          Reply
          1. Anonymous

            Well, I’m responding generically to this branch of the discussion. You did not specifically equate Vyckie with belligerent atheists but others did and I didn’t like where that was going. I can say little about Vyckie’s character because I don’t know her but I can say that the community that she created and presided over was, at least in my experience, a mutually respectful and safe space for everyone from atheists to still-conservative Christians. That counts for something in my book. I didn’t mean to put words in your mouth, though. I just needed to stick my response to the general conversation somewhere.

            Look, I would be one of those people who hung Ruth’s credibility on Vyckie’s. And, yes, I did give her money–40 bucks, which is a lot of money to me that I sorely needed and could really still use. I thought I was giving it to a fellow 20-something, struggling to launch a career in a difficult field, living hand-to-mouth, except without the benefit of loving friends and family as I have, without which I know I would go completely insane. She seemed to need it even more than I do. I’m not a credulous or even a particularly trusting person and I had never done such a thing before. The only reason I did was because of her association with NLQ, which gave her legitimacy in my mind. I have cause enough to be very, very pissed at Vyckie, I guess.

            But I’m really not. I feel sorry for her and I don’t really blame her for sticking her head in the sand. Honestly, the whole thing is just so shockingly sordid, that it almost beggars belief for that reason alone. When I first heard the speculation about Ruth being fake, my response was disgust. I personally know some of the contributors and bloggers who have had their stories and posts on NLQ, either IRL, or through communicating on the internet under real, verifiable identities. Some of them have been accused of being fakes at various times too and it’s been very painful for them. So my initial reaction was “Don’t these people have anything better to do than spread rumors and hate about this poor woman?” I still feel a touch of discomfort just commenting here because if there is even a CHANCE that Ruth is real after all, I’d feel like a terrible person. But at this point, after reading your posts and combining your reasoning with Ruth’s always-mysterious-to-me lack of contact with the rest of the “daughter-blogger” community, I think that chance is so vanishingly small as to be pretty much non-existent. But even so, it took me a while to get over “Who would freaking DO that! For years! Seriously, WHO WOULD DO THAT???” It’s so despicable, it’s hard to believe and not because I’m not a generally cynical person, believe me.

            So it’s not hard to imagine that Vyckie may feel that way too. Once again, I do not know Vyckie so this is pure speculation on my part. But I would imagine that, when she started NLQ, she never imagined that she would have to deal with something like this. I haven’t directly asked them but I’m honestly not sure that she vetted the bloggers whom I know for sure are real with any more rigor. She probably thought she didn’t need to and, in most cases, that was true. There may well have been some honors system going on there, just because she never anticipated this level of extreme dishonesty. I know I didn’t. Now it turns out that that trust was misplaced and I’m sure that really sucks for her. I can’t speak for what she believes or doesn’t believe about Ruth at this point. But if she does have a sinking feeling in her gut right now, or if she really does feel like the jig is up, I can only imagine that the sense of indignation I feel over having been duped out of money I couldn’t really spare absolutely pales in comparison to the sense of violation she must feel. That she would respond by shooting the messenger, particularly when the messenger in this case is an internet community with which she already has beef, doesn’t sound so crazy to me, even if it’s not the world’s best response. I just don’t get the characterization of her reaction as “bizarre.” Not the most constructive, maybe, but it seems well within the bounds of normal human behavior to me, especially wounded human behavior. I just can’t really hold it against her.

            Also, let’s not forget that Vyckie is still raising kids and has a lot on her plate. She may just not have time to enter into this fray for the satisfaction of others. Particularly when, at this point, many of them are turning the microscope onto her because she’s an atheist and isn’t it oh-so-mysteeeerious that a fundamentalist became an atheist so quickly and whatnot.

          2. Curious

            That she would respond by shooting the messenger, particularly when the messenger in this case is an internet community with which she already has beef, doesn’t sound so crazy to me, even if it’s not the world’s best response. I just don’t get the characterization of her reaction as “bizarre.”

            She didn’t just shoot the messenger though. She also attributed words and ideas to the messenger that the messenger did not actually say or give. In other words, she essentially lied about what the messenger said.

            If I hadn’t posted my actual message, people would not have known that, but I’m not one to let that kind of thing stand, particularly when I am just trying to be nice and give someone a head’s up about a situation that may well impact them in a negative way.

            So, all the people that don’t read this site or FJ think the messenger said something that wasn’t said. I kind of have a problem with that and I also think that adults lying about something like that in a big outbusty kind of way is bizarre. All she had to do was send me a simple email saying “thank you for the information” or she could have just ignored the email. She didn’t have to make it into a big public spectacle.

            They (Vyckie and Calulu) also said things like I refused to identify myself (no one asked. I don’t go by anything other than Curious, but no one from NLQ bothered to ask me for any kind of verification, so saying that I refused is a bit disingenuous. They also suggested I was phishing for IP addresses so I could say they were RR, which was ludicrous given that I had posted defending Vyckie as a real person and NOT being RR a number of times already.

            Rather than taking 5 minutes to actually contact me and get some real information, they went off half-cocked on a rampage. That is not normal (nor professional) behavior.

        2. greek_chorus

          According to Vyckie’s very public FB page, she attends Atheist conventions and participates on Women in Humanism panels and makes a pretty *squee* big deal about meeting prominent Atheists. I don’t know Vyckie, so this is just the impression she has given me via her online persona.

          My reference to crazy, conspiracy nuts was tongue-in-cheek. I’m sorry if that wasn’t clear. I meant that Vyckie is complicit by continuing to vouch for Ruth who is now a known fake and has solicited money from good hearted people. I don’t see a big Vyckie pile-on in this thread, but Vyckie vouched for Ruth and her response to Curious’ email was bizarre. It makes me raise an eyebrow, which seems like a pretty normal reaction. If I were Vyckie, I’d be pissed at Ruth and I would address it, because ultimately Ruth undermines her mission and Vyckie’s continuing support for Ruth makes her lose credibility in my book.

          Reply
    2. Moldly

      Secondhand, yes, but since Vyckie isn’t speaking out herself, I will say that someone once told me that Vyckie told them that she didn’t know who Ruth was. No one has to believe me, and it’s possible my source was mistaken, but given that with the public temper tantrum and the outright lie about PrincessJo on that blog post, I find it extremely suspicious. Not in a conspiratorial kind of way, but in the sense that Vyckie has completely lost any sort of reputation for integrity she may have once had with me.

      Reply
  8. Edie

    Just a thought. I’ve been enjoying your blog as someone who was a near miss in getting involved with ATI. Ruth’s primary purpose here appears to have been financial in nature. Wouldn’t that take her out of the realm of Munchausen and into the realm of good old-fashioned fraud? I think that if a US Attorney wanted to, s/he could take a blog like this and build a wire fraud case.

    I realize Wikipedia isn’t the best source in the world, but it makes the distinction between people who just want sympathy and those with a financial motive:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M%C3%BCnchausen_by_Internet

    Reply
    1. Admin Post author

      I write so much that it likely got missed but my opinion is that Chris was working both angles – the emotional vampirism of Munchausen by Internet and malingering. I think she really gets off on the sympathy her characters receive but she also runs blogs for money. Her blogs began as an outgrowth of her Munchausen’s in real life but as her life deteriorated and she needed money, she began to use her tendency to fake disease to her advantage financially. So that’s why she crosses the borders of the two conditions – she began as one, morphed into another and depending on her motives switches back and forth.

      I have two big Ruth articles left to finish and one will be on this very issue – how her blog as Ruth covered several bases.

      Proving cases of fraud like this is difficult but while I don’t necessarily support seeking legal redress, for readers who need such relief, I’ll help in any manner I can. Internet fraud like this is still not the priority, law-enforcement- wise, that many would hope for.

      Reply
      1. Edie

        Thanks for your response. As an attorney, I agree it would be hard to prove directly. The best a prosecutor could hope for would be to drum up enough evidence to make charges stick, then let her plead out. But she IS a small-potatoes crook. $10 here, $20 there, not really worth spending the tax dollars. Definitely enough to send a word to the wise. Thanks for your excellent detective work. I’m enjoying this, and thanking God that my dad had way too much sense to let my mom drag us into that patriarchy stuff.

        Reply
        1. Admin Post author

          Your reply jogged my memory. A reader sent me a link to the Internet Scam Resource Center – http://www.ic3.gov

          That may be the best bet. I haven’t looked into it but those who were taken may find it useful. And again, anyone reading this, if you need any data from me to file a complaint, let me know.

          I wondered if she was ever sent a 1099 or similar from PayPal but I think they only send the to merchants who earn over $20k a year using PayPal. I can’t imagine she made that much in one year and since they were gifts I am unsure how such money is categorized. But for some reason I’ve always felt like PayPal is the best option for those interested in legal justice in this case.

          Reply
  9. missbrooklyn

    i actually stumbled into Pennmommy’s wake right when her fictitious son had his fictitious appendix attack. I was reading something on a Gosselin blog (Gosselins Without Pity maybe?) and i followed links to her fictitious blog. I would never have linked her with RR-why would I? So I’m amazed at the mountain of roadapples (I love that!) that you’ve uncovered. I can’t wait for the next installment!

    Reply
  10. Julie

    Yeah, I don’t get the rabid atheist point of view, either. Fanaticism is fanaticism. I call myself a non-theist, meaning that I don’t believe in theology of any kind. I just don’t think that’s where the answers to our universe lie. I would rather expose the institutions than the people.

    Anita, as for the criticism you got over what happened earlier this week, I just have one thing to say. Consider the source. Some things have changed over there, but there’s still a core group that are there to attack. Ignore them.

    Another Vyckie/Ruth thing occurred to me. Wouldn’t there blogs be somewhat competitive of each other? Not overtly, of course, but those two strike me as the kind who wouldn’t want any competition for the “Most Pathetic Former Fundie” award. It gets curiouser and curiouser.

    Reply
    1. nelliebelle1197

      The criticism was valid, regardless of the source. No “core group” attacked her. Anita did something completely thoughtless – and in my opinion, downright odd – and people called her out on it. She is setting herself up to be the “authority” on this scam and, therefore, she has a duty to be above reproach if she wants to be trusted, period.

      Reply
      1. Admin Post author

        I’m fine with taking my lumps for making a bad decision. And this is why I don’t like to hide or delete entries because it looks like I’m butthurt or something. But this time I needed to because comments included outright lies against innocent people.

        The problem was that a handful of people took my error and began to assign it to other people. It became a nasty witch hunt against people at other sites, including GOMI and Free Jinger. I have no idea what the hell was happening and I suspect now I was just being trolled because the main instigator shut up when confronted.

        But the problem here was never that I was upset at being called out for making a tone deaf, insensitive mistake. I think I took the criticism on the chin, admitted my failure and moved on. The problem is that some really demented thinkers saw fit to drag people who were not involved even in the entry, let alone involved in the site, into the situation and defame them.

        Reply
        1. nelliebelle1197

          I understand that and agree that portion isn’t right. But Julie was basically saying criticism is meaningless because it is coming from FJ and that isn’t right. THAT is where I was aiming my comments.

          Reply
          1. Admin Post author

            Okay, cool. Misunderstandings may be happening because this format is wholly unsuited to lively discussions. Holding my index finger next to a comment and snaking back up the chain to see who is being responded to isn’t cutting it. I need to find a better WordPress format because this stinks.

    2. Anonymous

      Um, if Vyckie wanted to exceptionalize herself as The Most Put-Upon Spiritual Abuse Survivor, why would she have started an entire website for other such survivors to share their stories? That does not make any sense. Again I say, a lot of stuff directed at Vyckie is just nasty. It makes me feel less comfortable about continuing to read here, even though I am sad to say that I think Anita makes a pretty watertight case about “Ruth.” Can’t we just stick to that?

      Reply
      1. Admin Post author

        It may be hard to see this from your perspective, but Vyckie’s silence has hurt people. Not me – I know little about her outside of some basic facts. But people invested love, time, energy and money into Ruth on Vyckie’s say-so and Vyckie refusing to speak on this matter other than to attack Free Jinger and to throw another survivor under the bus has not set well with people. It may seem nasty to you but to others who are angry, they are likely pulling their punches.

        A lot of people have issues with Vyckie’s narrative as a survivor, meaning they wonder how much a victim she was. Such speculation to me is not nasty because there have been plenty of reasons such speculation happened outside of just the desire to gossip.

        But I have to say that nothing would please me more than if Vyckie was never mentioned here again. Every minute I have to spend discussing her is a minute I can’t research Chris. But until anyone states a complete lie about the woman – meaning someone makes a statement easily proven false – none of this is nasty. It is cause and effect. Vyckie’s reaction has been, at best, puzzling and the only way it will stop is when Vyckie speaks.

        I’m sorry I can’t help you feel better about reading here. I understand how some of this may make people who like Vyckie or her mission uncomfortable. But she is a part of this story. Her word caused people to send thousands of dollars to Ruth because Vyckie’s word was that Ruth was real. People are angry and they may not speak in a polite manner, but their anger has validity and until it crosses the line into character assassination or rumor mongering – as happened earlier this week to other people – I think it needs to be allowed.

        Perhaps you can just read the text. And hopefully Vyckie will be mentioned less and less when we move on to Chris’ other many alters.

        Reply
        1. Anonymous

          I responded to you much more thoroughly above, but I was one of the people that gave money to “Ruth” (money that I really couldn’t spare) based on the validity given to her by Vyckie and NLQ. I’m angry, believe me, although, as I explained above, I’m not angry at Vyckie and I don’t find her behavior particularly weird.

          But regardless of her response to this particular issue, it’s just completely absurd to say that Vyckie is in competition with or some how threatened by other ex-fundie bloggers. That runs counter to pretty much all of her other behavior as a public figure, at least as I’ve observed it. Her site provided a space for other ex-fundie bloggers to launch themselves. NLQ has never been “The Trials of Vyckie Garrison Show.” I don’t even think her own story is even posted anymore. I just think that statement doesn’t make any sense or really have anything to do with the issues at hand anyway.

          Reply
          1. Admin Post author

            People are suspicious of Vyckie and that’s why those opinions are relevant to the matters at hand. Vyckie’s story was removed after some sort of scandal with her daughter that she blamed on another website, she’s thrown a tantrum in which she told people to kiss her ass and she’s come out and called another survivor who played a role in the Ruth scandal a liar. Those things have tainted people’s opinions of Vyckie. Whether you think it matters, others do because NLQ, Vyckie and Ruth for some are all tied up into a strange package.

            And yes, telling people to kiss your ass and calling another woman a liar is bizarre behavior. You challenge that assessment in your earlier reply but it is bizarre. I can imagine all kinds of reasons why she would behave that way but I can also tell you that bizarre is equally a valid assessment. I think it is bizarre.

            I’m glad you shared your opinion because it’s good to remember that there are people behind all of these names, even behind Ruth, people with complex problems and lots of things going on that could explain what made them behave a certain way. But until Vyckie tells those who trusted her why she did what she did, this is going to continue and as long as things are couched in the realm of suspicion, speculation and opinion, I think it is all valid. If anyone says, “I know for a fact Vyckie is part of a scam,” I will tell them to back it up or I’ll delete that part of the comment.

            I’m sorry I don’t agree with you and I am also sorry I can’t make reading here any easier for you.

            By the way, have you communicated the $40 you gave to Ruth to me under another name or under anonymous? If not, I will add you to the list as well. And I’m very sorry that you gave money you could ill-afford to spare. :(

            And I can also say that once we move past Ruth, a lot of the Vyckie conversation will end. But she could end it all right now with an entry on NLQ or through Calulu. That she refuses is going to fuel speculation and I think that is perfectly reasonable. I may not have anything else to add to future comments on this topic but I am glad you decided to share your opinion.

          2. Anonymous

            I have never posted about the $40 I donated until now and, yes, you can add me. I’m sorry too. :-( Again, it’s not something I’d ever done before but various factors, including her inclusion on NLQ, combined to pull me in. I cannot relate to the experience of being an ex-fundie cut off from her family but, like I said, I can totally relate to being young and poor, working multiple jobs just to make ends meet (I’m trying to make it in a very low-paid field–one job has rarely been enough), wondering if your education even matters and if you’ll ever move past the stage of not being able to financially plan beyond the next week or month etc.,–typical Millenials-stuck-in-a-failing-economy problems, really. I felt terrible for her, going through all of this without the support network that I have. I think that’s part of what she is so good at what she does. She can effectively tap into a lot of troubles and anxieties that are common and very real for a lot of people–painful relationships with parents, uncertainty about career, struggles with mental health. If she doesn’t hook someone with one tale of woe, she hooks them with another.

            We can agree to disagree about Vyckie. Although I still disagree with your characterization of her behavior as bizarre (I’m sticking with “poor and impulsive reaction but not bizarre,” although it’s possible that I’m not grasping all the details here. At any rate, good people can do not-so-good things and Vyckie is still in the Good Person category for me), for what it’s worth, it’s not really you that has posted stuff that makes me uncomfortable (although I doubt that’s your top concern. lol). It’s more the “She seems fake because she went from being a fundie to an atheist. Who does that!” etc. stuff. Regardless of who stuff like that is about, it just doesn’t make sense. I know loads of people who went from being fundamentalists or very conservative Christians to being reactionary atheists. In fact, some of the most vehemently atheist or even anti-theist people I know have that kind of background and really, if you think about, that makes sense. It’s not weird or any cause for suspicion. It’s not so much that the criticisms are of her–I get where people’s anger is coming from–it’s just that some of them do not make sense as stand-alone statements to me, no matter who they are about. And when people stop making sense, criticism really does start shading over into conspiracy-mongering.

            I guess the other concern I have is that people will view the entire NLQ community and associated bloggers as tainted as a result of this. And yes, I know that Vyckie herself has the most power to stop that storm and isn’t acting but I think it’s quite likely that she doesn’t know just how deep this rabbit hole has turned out to be or how angry people are. At any rate, like I said, I CAN vouch for the identities of several of the bloggers, either through personal contact, or internet communication under real identities. And THEY can vouch for the identities of some of the bloggers that I don’t know. All told, most people are accounted for and I would hate for their stories and contributions to not be taken seriously, considering how much work, sometimes emotionally difficult work, these people have put in to their writing. I know I’m just an anonymous poster so my word means nothing as is. I don’t want to reveal more about myself in a public forum, but I’d be happy to shoot you an e-mail with more personal details if you want. I would just hate for all this to mean that people will stop listening to any voice that is in any way associated with Vyckie or NLQ.

  11. okayobee

    “I mean, you don’t go to Mass or to a Baptist tent meeting and stand up in the middle of all the goings on and scream “what a load of road apples!”. ”

    Hahahaha – road apples! Thanks for the laugh. Now I need to work that into a conversation.

    The way Ruth carried on about being outed or persecuted reminds me of the Browns, the polygamist family on TLC. Kody, the husband, got it into his head that the state of Utah was out to get them so he up and moved his family of ~22 to Vegas in a matter of days. The wives eagerly bought into this idea that they were being watched and they’d all go to jail. The kids were like, WTF? This over inflated self imposed persecution complex seems somewhat par for the course for fringe religious types. This is obviously something Chris has picked up on an exploits. Ruth did it, Possum did it. People are always out to get them. Ruth for various reasons, Possum for being an atheist. Maybe she should write for TLC now that House is no longer on :-p

    Reply
  12. Julie

    No, NellieBell1197, I did not say that at all. Not even sure why you think I was talking about FJ, since I did not name the group I was referring to. I would think the words “core group” should make it pretty obvious that I wasn’t referring to an entire group. And if you’re rebutting me, maybe next time address it directly to me.

    See, I think what Curious has said about Vyckie’s reaction to the email she sent her makes it even more curious. That was such a huge over-reaction on Vyckie’s part. To ban the words Free Jinger and Razing Ruth on her site seems like almost a panic response. Now I’m learning that Chris Izer-B* and Vyckie are involved in the same online atheist community?

    I dunno, it just feels to me like Vyckie knew all along that Ruth was a fake and she promoted her because it brought more hits to her site. Now with the scam coming to light, she freaked out and desperately tried to disavow herself of any speculation. Just speculation on my part, but if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck…

    Reply
  13. Naomi

    I’ve been reading your blog with interest. Until recently, I was an RR supporter, although I never sent her money and I had a lot of questions that assumed those closer to her had already figured out. As it’s now evident, “those closer to her” really don’t exist–or at least not like I assumed.

    I wanted to mention two things–first of all, for those who identify as “quivering daughters” or former fundies (myself among them), I find there’s generally an impulse to make personal connections with each other via comments, email, FB or otherwise. Just this week another ex-fundie blogger and I discussed our dissertation projects with each other and exchanged some valuable academic sources. But that kind of rapport never seemed to exist between RR and others (except maybe Vyckie Garrison). Or have I missed something? There’s plenty in the ex-fundie-verse that I simply don’t have time to read so I may have missed it. But I think this is what seemed most odd to me all along although I never articulated it until now. And, for me, all the errors and inconsistencies are now beside the point. Whew.

    The other thing is about Vyckie. I first heard that RR had been “outed” via Vyckie’s strongly-worded post on FB/her blog (maybe a post linked on FB?). I don’t know the details about what happened between Vyckie, Angel, and FJ, but I had seen enough drama on FJ to make her post resonate with me. As I’m reading in the comments here, apparently the tone of FJ has changed since previous times when I used to frequent it on a regular basis. I didn’t know that until now and I don’t know if Vyckie did/does. In other words, I am suggesting here that perhaps Vyckie’s response was more of a knee-jerk reaction to previous experiences with FJ in general than it was about the individual who sent it, how it was worded, or about RR. Of course, I’m as curious as anyone to know what Vyckie knows, and this paragraph is pure speculation on my part. But I wanted to forward a plausible alternative reason for Vyckie’s response.

    Reply
    1. Admin Post author

      Naomi, that’s a good observation. Ruth, as far as I can tell, never made any contacts or friendships with women or men who escaped Christian cults. She spoke of e-mails and posted snippets of them but there was never any sign they came from real people. And of course that’s because Ruth is Chris, so she couldn’t develop even the most shallow of friendships and sustain them.

      Vyckie is a cypher to me at this point. I have no idea what is going on in her head. I do know I’ve made two good faith attempts to contact her and I’ve had no reply. Even if she is disgusted with Free Jinger, whatever the incarnation, I’m just a commenter over on FJ. I’ve been around since the Yuku days, transferred my comment numbers to the new board, and have fewer than 300 comments. It’s pretty clear I’m not a person anyone would associate with Free Jinger, as in I am not a name anyone would recognize from the board. Actually, I made my name blogging in book circles, am an atheist and have always thought that whatever the drama that went on in Vyckie’s life that she is doing good in this world in some capacity. She may have responded poorly to Free Jinger but her continued silence even with outliers like me is troubling.

      But the sad truth is that until she says something, none of us know her motivations. Your theory is as good as any other, including mine.

      Reply
    2. Anonymous

      Yes, I also always found it strange that Ruth did not reach out to others with her background. But I chalked it up to self-isolation that depression often causes. In context, of course, it all makes sense.

      And I’m with you on everything else you said too. I am very uncomfortable with this piling on Vyckie.

      Reply
      1. Admin Post author

        I don’t want this to be a pile-on Vyckie, either. But until she answers, people are going to keep asking. I’m hopefully keeping this from becoming the “Why Vyckie Won’t Talk” blog but it’s hard because she was the lynch pin for so many people believing in Ruth. Until she speaks up, there’s going to be speculation. I don’t like it much either because Vyckie is only a small part in the whole of Chris’ scams. Once I am finished with Ruth, I may not have much left to say about Vyckie but people who sent Ruth money and gave her so much emotional energy and who did so because of their trust in Vyckie’s judgment will likely still want answers. There’s really no way around it when discussing Ruth. :(

        Reply
  14. Criss

    I have met Chris Izer Bedell. She has been diagnosed with borderline personality disorder and has caused her family a great deal of heartache. She no longer has custody of any of her children. She has no conscience about using and manipulating people. To her, it seems a game.

    Reply
    1. greek_chorus

      @Criss, I wondered about that. My husband has a family member with untreated BPD and it’s a nightmare. We’ve had to cut her out of our lives completely unless and until she seeks treatment. I feel terrible for Chris’ children, friends and family members who’ve been hurt by her. I’m just glad Chris’ ex fought for those kids and had the sense to move them across the country. I even feel bad for Chris just as I do for my husband’s family member, because BPD is an awful illness and I know my husband’s family member feels a lot of pain and just doesn’t understand why Everyone Is Against Her.

      Reply
      1. Elizabeth Jane

        I know what you are talking about Greek _chorus.

        Although I am quite knowledgeable about mental illness; it is quite different to have a family member with this type of diagnosis. At times the antics are funny, sad, confusing, frustrating, and at times, frightening. Money is a real “trigger”; poor health is “enjoyed” by this person. This individual is exceptionally bright and very well educated, yet extremely calculating and cunning. People will say “just ignore it”. Easier said than done. I’ve described it like gum getting stuck to your shoe. You can do all sorts of things to get rid of it but it never completely goes away.

        It’s different when you actually have to deal personally with this behaviour – absolutely draining. I feel a lot of sympathy for the family of CB, and especially for the children. Even if she has little contact, she’ll always be their mom.

        The whole story is just such a tragedy.

        Reply
  15. okayobee

    Criss – thanks for commenting. I am not surprised to hear she has been diagnosed BPD. That’s been my #1 prediction since this all broke. The way she used her kids, real and fictitious, to gain attention online (and probably in real life) is par for the course. She probably doesn’t have actual DID. BPDs are chameleons and can take on the characteristics of those around them. CB takes it further by doing so on the internet. She makes up characters/alters to manipulate and control and since she has a knack for it she uses it to scam money. My really heart breaks for her kids. I’m glad the ex was able to get custody. BPDs are so manipulative they can often fool the courts and therapists into thinking they’re normal or at a minimum bipolar. CB must be off the charts to actually get diagnosed and lose custody. I’m just waiting for her to comment here. She must be itching to. Drama in which she is the focus (positive or negative) is a BPDs wet dream.

    For those not familiar with borderline personality disorder (BPD) here is an overview: http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/borderline-personality-disorder/index.shtml

    It’s a disorder can be hard to grasp but if you have one in your life you know how destructive they can be. Often they are referred to as ‘emotional vampires’.

    I think the self harm trait is overblown in most of the descriptions of BPD as they much prefer to harm others than themselves, particularly if narcissism is one of their stronger traits (common). I believe CB is BPD with strong narcissistic and histrionic traits and while she might engage in some self harm activities she much prefers to hurt others.

    Reply
    1. greek_chorus

      Regarding the self-harm aspect, my husband’s relative is addicted to tattooing. She’ll get a tattoo or piercing before she’ll buy food or pay bills. That’s not to say people who get tattoos are BPD. I did read in some forums about people who opted for tattoos or piercings over cutting themselves or suicide attempts.

      Reply
      1. okayobee

        Literature always points out cutting as the obvious form of self harm but I think most BPDs seek out more ordinary ways so it flies under the radar. Bumps, bruises, burns, scrapes, and scabs. It’s normal to have an occasional cut or bruise but all the time indicates something is going on. Tattoos/piercings are a great way to self harm in a hidden way. Over or under eating and drinking are also signs. Basically anything done in excess to physically harm their body.

        Reply
        1. Elizabeth Jane

          Okayobee, I think you are right. In my family’s experience, the person with the BPD is very prone to excesses.

          Reply
  16. A

    Because I’m a sucker for a good hoax reveal (and an impatient one, too) I’ve been googling the history of PennMommy, which seems to be in bits and pieces on the internet. Can anyone who followed that story provide links to a good run-down, because I haven’t found one?

    From what I’ve seen, I’ve been able to identify some of CIB’s sockpuppets from that debacle, including PennMommy, bananabethanna (who also commented on the Atheist in a Minivan blog as a “friend” of CIB, HOLY SHIT), and BK, as well as major players who probably weren’t socks. However, it looks like PennMommy appeared on the scene fairly soon before her “son died,” which makes me wonder who else CIB could have been behind over there. I’ve sifted through some things that mentioned that the women behind GWOP knew “PossumMomma” in “real life,” and could be traced back to St. Louis, MO. On the Atheist in a Minivan blog, CIB has mentioned her kids going to St. Louis and her ex husband is a Cardinals fan. HMM.

    Did anyone who was digging up dirt during the Gosselin scandals ever figure out who was behind GWOP? Was it really Jodi’s sister? Could CIB have been pulling the strings over there?

    Keep up the good work Anita :)

    Reply
  17. Other Jenny

    Vyckie is slowing losing cred from me, I keep checking her site daily (as I have done for over 2 years) to see if she will post an update or something. Now there is a new survivor story up and honestly, for me, until she addresses this calmly and maturely, I dont think I will ever believe another story promoted on her site. Even sadder, I am slowly starting to think that the conspiracy theories people are throwing around (like that her and Ruth were incahoots or that she just knew she was fake but kept it up for the traffic revenue) could possibly be true. Its also sadly making me doubt Vyckies story all together, which I read (and watched on TV) through rose colored glasses. When I first read about this like 2 weeks ago now, I really was giving her the benefit of the doubt and posted that I am sure she is just in denial and references the 7 stages of grief. maybe we havent given her enough time to come around, maybe she is hiding something, no one knows but until then I will be hyper vigilent about anything she puts on her site.

    Reply
    1. Curious

      I want to be clear that I do not think that Vyckie was in collusion with CIB or knew that RR was a fake from the outset. I think she was duped like the rest of us. I don’t know what all her vetting consisted of, but if it was just talking on the phone and getting details that way (remember Vyckie hadn’t been out of fundiehood all that long herself at that point), then it would have been easy to be taken in and really there would have been no reason to disbelieve her. After all, normal people would not do something like was done.

      My beef, such as it is, with Vyckie is the way she is handling things *now* Sticking your fingers in your ears and going lalalalalala does not mean it’s going to go away. She is doing a real disservice to herself (which is her business, if she wants to burn her own bridges she can rock on!), but she is also potentially hurting OTHER completely innocent people in the process. That is my issue.

      People in this community are pretty forgiving, in my experience. If you are truthful, even if you make mistakes, if you say yep, I screwed up and take your lumps and try to do better moving forward, the MAJORITY of people are good with that. They realize people make mistakes and shit happens. It’s when people don’t own up to their mistakes or don’t acknowledge there is even a problem that the pitchforks and torches come out.

      I personally, would rather take my lumps and move on than have the angry mob trying to burn down my house, but maybe that’s just me ;)

      Reply
    2. Michal

      I”m not trying to be snarky, I’m genuinely curious. Was Razing Ruth such a draw to NLQ that Vyckie would have been losing clicks and income if her story were taken down?

      I’m not overly familiar with NLQ. I found it because I randomly Googled something related to Quiverfull or Christian patriarchy a few years ago. This was before the move to Patheos. I read several of the survivor stories and then springboarded to the blogs written by those survivors. Once I found a few blogs that I enjoyed, I pretty much left NLQ alone. I’ve never looked at the forums. I found Ruth through NLQ, not vice-versa. (Although, I may have been familiar with the psuedonym via TwoP, it’s been so long I can’t remember).

      Personally, I think that the simplest explanation is the best. Vyckie was taken in like the rest of us. She of all people would be predisposed to believe Ruth. Admitting that Ruth was a fake would mean admitting that she was taken in, she allowed her name to be used to perpetuate a fraud and scam people out of money, and she would have to admit that her vetting procedures are not very extensive. Her reaction might seem bizarre or out of proportion. But I have been an off and on member of a forum owned by woman who takes any sort of criticism as a personal attack. She routinely responds with anger and hostility that seems (to me) completely out of proportion to whatever statement was made. It’s not completely out of the realm of my experience for a reaction like Vyckie’s to happen.

      Also, I read Calulu’s blog post about this scandal before coming to this website because I was interested in what she had to say. If you continue to read her blog, you’ll see that several days later she put up another post saying that she had read this website and could see how people could think Ruth was fake. She wasn’t saying she thought Ruth was fake, but it sounds as though the initial emotional response is fading, at least for her.

      Reply
  18. Other Jenny

    OK – the one about Vyckie and Ruth being incahoots is a little far fetched. lol, Just something just seems so off with the whole thing, I just dont know if I can really take anything seriously on NLQ ever again and that is really sad.

    Reply
  19. anna

    I just want to say for the last 2 days I can do nothing but read ‘how the admin. was able to deconstruct ruth.Alot of care and ‘slething’ went into this and wow..what a sharp mind at work in here. bravo!! I believed ‘razing ruth’ hook,line and sinker’ up unto 2 days ago. Thank goodness I didn’t send money as I came very close. I remember how I prayed for this poor ‘ruth’. I feel so stupid and betrayed.

    Reply

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