Author Topic: Parallels between the John M Karr and Anna Anderson Cases - The Sommersby Factor  (Read 41384 times)

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Mgmstl

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Annie, an interesting theory, and I think a plausible one. However you have to take into consideration that the family itself thought she was dead from 1920 on until the reporter broke a the story in 1926 or 1927 at Penny stated.  Also that none of the family signed an affadavit stating she was FS.  I had to reread Peter Kurths book in order to keep this straight.  You have to consider the families motives in this also. Both the Shanzkowskas (sp), and the Romanovs/Hesse.

You could also turn this around and say that this is the reason the IF never embraced her, as her health was too unstable with TB, asylums, treatment. etc.  

If you can get the Return of Martin Guerre, on dvd or video with Gerard Depardieu, it is a better version of the story, however Sommersby is good.

While the DNA evidence leans towards FS, and I agree
that it does, my mind is open to other possibilities.  

Offline Helen_Azar

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how much can we fake?  when illness takes a hold of us?   when fever rages?  when death knocks loud and clear.   then our desire to confess, to make amends, to clear our consience, becomes vital.  it requires something beyond genius, to fake a idenity, under those circumstances.  it is possible, yes.  likely,no.
 
Sparrow, this is a general answer, not particularly pertaining to AA, but could conceivably apply.

The human brain is a very peculiar thing that we don't know a lot about. What we do know, is that there is such a thing as mental illness, which sometimes manifests itself in delusions. Delusions can be very strong in people who have them, and very common delusions seem to persistenly involve taking on the identity of famous people, particularly royalty, for some reason. This is nothing new, it has been seen in Russia and all over the world for hundreds if not thousands of years. I can give examples if you like, just ask. Mental institutions used to be full of patients who imagined themselves to be Cleopatra, Napoleon, etc., this was very common and had nothing to do with the fact that these people couldn't have possibly been alive at the time. Delusions don't follow any logical process, yet to the person who has them they make perfect sense. This kind of thing is less common now due to various psychotropic drugs that are available to these patients.

BTW, these drugs are very effective and helpful for people who are mentally ill, including delusionals. But this was not the case even as recently as 50 years ago, so you used to come across this type of thing a lot more often.

In any case, what I am trying to say is that these people are not living a lie, they are not faking in identity, they are not geniuses. These people for the most part truly believe that they are who they say they are. This is why, even when gravely ill, or hallucinating, or whatever, they will still persist in their identity.

So the answer to your question is, sparrow, yes, if someone goes untreated for their mental illness (i.e. delusions), chances are they will live out the rest of their lives under their delusions, which with time will continue getting even stronger. They will never really come around on their own and will continue insisting about their delusional identity. I hope this answered your inquiry and may provide some food for thought for you.  :D
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by helenazar »

Offline Annie

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Anna was anastasia till the very end, was Sommersby?  



Of course, that's the entire point of the movie, that he would rather die as the person he was pretending to be than live as himself!

Did you read my post in the other thread about her not being regal, quite the opposite?

Offline sparrow

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 thank you for your information.  however a liar has to have a better memory.    in peter kurths book{13 years in the writing}  Anna anderson, then known as fraulein unbekannt, was decribed by both doctors and nurses in the dalldorf asyslum, as amiable,cultivated, well educated,gracious,charming,meticulious, clean,good behavior,cultured,from good circles, aristocratic,overbearing.  this before she began her attempt at being someone else?  before her lies had even began she could be described as she was.  at this time she had not yet began her charade.  Mental illness was still supposed to be running rampant in her head.  how can we consentrate on both the reinventing and the mental illness.  preparation?  did sommersby prepare before hand the gestures,spoken word, education, of the husband?  or was the woman just so desperate to have back what she missed, she would take anything. even a man who did not resemble what was gone.  i guess, i am just so darn questioning on the whole thing.  i have never tried to reinvent myself.  i do not know the extent one might go to, during a breakdown.    
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by sparrow »

Offline Ortino

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While I do agree that most likely she did eventually believe herself to be Anastasia because she wanted it to be so, and even with physical evidence and/or testimonies, that doesn't really explain her extensive knowledge about people, places, and things. I doubt she could have picked up most of those details from books, even if she was an avid reader during her youth. I'm almost positive that the personal lives of the IF were not discussed in books. Was it luck? I don't know how much a person could possibly guess and still sound convincing. I'm not an AA fan, but it is this aspect of her playing AN that puzzles me the most.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by Ortino »

Offline Helen_Azar

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... a liar has to have a better memory.  
   I don't understand what you mean, sparrow  ???

Offline Helen_Azar

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While I do agree that most likely she did eventually believe herself to be Anastasia because she wanted it to be so, and even with physical evidence and/or testimonies, that doesn't really explain her extensive knowledge about people, places, and things. I doubt she could have picked up most of those details from books, even if she was an avid reader during her youth. I'm almost positive that the personal lives of the IF were not discussed in books. Was it luck? I don't know how much a person could possibly guess and still convincing. I'm not an AA fan, but it is this aspect of her playing AN that puzzles me the most.


I wasn't specifically talking about the AA case, just about delusional people who take on someone else's identity in general. I have no idea how AA knew the information nor will I even attempt to speculate at this point because it would be sort of pointless. But along the same lines, apparently there are testimonies that show that AA also got quite a few things wrong, like the story about her finger and the carriage door, told in Olga Alexandrovna's biography.
In any case, I was just trying to respond to sparrow's questions, as well as convey to sparrow the benefits of medication (in many such cases)...    ;)
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by helenazar »

Offline Annie

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While I do agree that most likely she did eventually believe herself to be Anastasia because she wanted it to be so, and even with physical evidence and/or testimonies, that doesn't really explain her extensive knowledge about people, places, and things. I doubt she could have picked up most of those details from books, even if she was an avid reader during her youth. I'm almost positive that the personal lives of the IF were not discussed in books. Was it luck? I don't know how much a person could possibly guess and still sound convincing. I'm not an AA fan, but it is this aspect of her playing AN that puzzles me the most.


It doesn't puzzle me, it's obvious someone told her, either on purpose or incidently in conversation. Don't forget she had contact with a lot of Russian emigres' who would have known those things, and even so she got things wrong, such as the finger incident. As Olga said, someone must have told her the story that Anastasia had hurt her hand on a carriage door and she used that to explain the scar on her hand, when in reality it was  Marie and a train door! So she got partial info from people who had known the IF and used it to form her 'memories.' Back when I was a supporter, I used to be fascinated by her memories too, but as I read and learned more, like that she had met and talked with so many Russians who had fled the revolution. I saw through it that it was so easy for someone to have fed her info or relayed stories to her innocently, such as "oh Anastasia don't you remember the time..." "wasn't your mother's purple couch lovely? I loved how it matched the cherry wood.." (not specifics just examples I came up with)

As far as other testimonies and evidence, well, for every one you could name, I could list two from the opposite side, so that means nothing either. And don't forget the big one, the DNA didn't match.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by Annie »

Offline Lanie

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Don't forget all the memoirs of people who knew them were published in the early-mid twenties...Dehn, Gilliard, Vyrubova, etc.  So AA could have easily gotten her hands on those.

Offline sparrow

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 " a liar must have a better memory"  this is to say that we often tell lies.  speaking even from experience.  but we often forget the lies we have told and then the following lies do not add up.  our lies become apparent.  we can not keep up.  the truth might vary somewhat but generally remains mostly the same.    lies do not.     did the supporters of her believe her, just for the sake of not looking bad?   i am rereading all the material i have access to just to get a clearer picture of that,  then i will look in to the issue of the sommersby mental illness to see what happens even during fever etc. she was coherant even if she was depressed in Dalldorf.  just for the record i believe her.

Offline Abby

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It is hard for me to remember everyone that AA had contact with from my readings, but she did meet a lot of people who knew the IF who would probably be able to relay some information to her. However, I don't think people like Olga Alexandrovna and the nursemaid "Shura" would have done this, since they were more than likely testing her knowledge other than feeding it to her. But I can't think of who specifically, besides Gleb, would have provided her with the information that formed her 'memories'. And when did they begin to tell her all of these things? Wouldn't someone at the hospitals notice AA reading up on books about the IF, or speaking to people who were in upper-class circles of Russian society who would've known these specific things (like the Tsar's pipe, the description of the rooms in the Alexander Palace, the details of Anastasia and Maria's hospital and the gifts they gave the wounded soldiers).

I am not advocating AA, just asking based on my own curiousity. I don't think people who would've known these specifics would have told them to AA. So I don't know how she got her information.  ???

Offline Elisabeth

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" a liar must have a better memory"  this is to say that we often tell lies.  speaking even from experience.  but we often forget the lies we have told and then the following lies do not add up.  our lies become apparent.  we can not keep up.  the truth might vary somewhat but generally remains mostly the same.    lies do not.      


One of the most suspicious things about Anna Anderson was the way her basic story kept "evolving" in order to match emerging facts or new theories. So, for example, when Summers and Mangold came out in the 1970s with their new theory that the empress and ALL of her daughters had survived Ekaterinburg, Anna Anderson told them, "There was no massacre there.. but I cannot tell the rest." Well, how very convenient! And note how this statement baldly contradicts everything we now know to be a fact about the Romanov murders - i.e., there was indeed a massacre.
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Offline AGRBear

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One of the most suspicious things about Anna Anderson was the way her basic story kept "evolving" in order to match emerging facts or new theories. So, for example, when Summers and Mangold came out in the 1970s with their new theory that the empress and ALL of her daughters had survived Ekaterinburg, Anna Anderson told them, "There was no massacre there.. but I cannot tell the rest." Well, how very convenient! And note how this statement baldly contradicts everything we now know to be a fact about the Romanov murders - i.e., there was indeed a massacre.


We know that it's probable that Nicholas II and the others were executed in the basement of the Impatiev House, however, there is an investigator who wrote in his report that he didn't think an execution of the IF occured in the basement, and, this, too, is possible.

Next we have nine bodies in a mass grave.  No doubt about this fact.

We know approximately when the bodies were placed in the grave but that is all.

There is evidence that the grave was distrubed a number of times, and,  some of the skulls were removed and replaced....

Contamination and a quick removable to a lab doesn't help the scientists to reconstruct what did or did not happen from 17 July 1918 to the removeal.

As for AA,  for all I know she could have been  a Soviet agent who was placed into the asylum as a claimant in hopes she might discover secrets which the Soviet had failed to discover their usual way.  Or, AA could have been FS or some distant cousin of FS who took advantage of the situation and played the part to her best ability.  

Then, again, if AA was Anastasia,  what a shame she was never reconized.

As for mental illness,  I don't think the Romanovs or the Brits were short on genes which caused the same symtoms AA held.

In her old age, it appears,  she believed she was GD Anastasia.

AGRBear
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by AGRBear »
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Offline Helen_Azar

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One of the most suspicious things about Anna Anderson was the way her basic story kept "evolving" in order to match emerging facts or new theories. So, for example, when Summers and Mangold came out in the 1970s with their new theory that the empress and ALL of her daughters had survived Ekaterinburg, Anna Anderson told them, "There was no massacre there.. but I cannot tell the rest." Well, how very convenient! And note how this statement baldly contradicts everything we now know to be a fact about the Romanov murders - i.e., there was indeed a massacre.


I may be wrong, but I think that later on this, and other statements like this, were explained by the notion that AA was only kidding.  ???

Offline Elisabeth

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We know that it's probable that Nicholas II and the others were executed in the basement of the Impatiev House, however, there is an investigator who wrote in his report that he didn't think an execution of the IF occured in the basement, and, this, too, is possible.  Afterall, all the wittnesses  were claiming to have been the murderers.

Next we have nine bodies in a mass grave.  No doubt about this fact.


Nine bodies would seem to constitute a massacre, Bear.

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We know approximately when the bodies were placed in the grave but that is all.


That's quite a bit, given what a coincidence it would otherwise be: a massacre on the morning of July 17, 1918, forensic evidence for a burial on the same day, and even more evidence of a second burial of the victims on the morning of July 19, 1918 (not only skeletal remains but witness statements).

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There is evidence that the grave was distrubed a number of times, and,  some of the skulls were removed and replaced....


Quite a bit later, Bear - some 60 years.

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Contamination and a quick removable to a lab doesn't help the scientists to reconstruct what did or did not happen from 17 July 1918 to the removeal.


I'm no scientist, but I think that assumption is wrong... contamination should actually tell us quite a bit - about where the bodies were, for how long, and under what conditions, just to give a few obvious examples. And the forensic evidence ties in very neatly with the witness statements. No elbow room here.

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As for AA,  for all I know she could have been  a Soviet agent who was placed into the asylum as a claimant in hopes she might discover secrets which the Soviet had failed to discover their usual way.  Or, AA could have been FS or some distant cousin of FS who took advantage of the situation and played the part to her best ability.  

AGRBear


If Anna Anderson had been a Soviet agent, I'm sure we would know by now, since there are dozens of Western historians squirreling through the KGB archives even as we speak... AA was clearly FS, and FS the original - very talented - creator of her own immortal legend.
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