Author Topic: AA: Cunning - Mad - Con Artist or Victim?  (Read 82997 times)

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Offline clockworkgirl21

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AA: Cunning - Mad - Con Artist or Victim?
« on: March 23, 2005, 03:25:20 PM »
Now, before I say this, I believe that sadly, Anastasia Nikolaievna didn't survive. But didn't Anna Anderson jump off a bridge or something, and was found in the water? Maybe she wasn't lying, but really thought she was Anastasia. This may have been discussed already, or maybe this is a known fact, but I don't know, because I don't know a whole lot about Anna Anderson. What do you think?

Offline Malenkaya

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Re: AA: Cunning - Mad - Con Artist or Victim?
« Reply #1 on: March 23, 2005, 08:27:59 PM »
There is a theory, which is quite believable, that at first AA lived the lie, when it looked like she may be able to get away with it, and people started supporting her and believing her.  (Remember, she didn't make the claim in the beginning - Clara Peuthart started it by saying she thought AA could have been Tatiana.)  In time, with her mental state, she may have simply started to believe her own lies, and by the end of her life may have thought she really was Anastasia.

Anastasia
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Offline Annie

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Re: AA: Cunning - Mad - Con Artist or Victim?
« Reply #2 on: March 24, 2005, 09:00:18 AM »
I do think AA believed she was Anastasia, especially by the time she moved to the US. I don't know if she always did, or when she came to totally believe it, but I am sure she did. Remember, Franziska Schanskowska, the woman DNA tests proved she (99.9%) really was, was diagonsed as being mentally ill. It's more likely a mentally ill person would really believe it. I don't think she was a liar or a con artist at all. (some of her supporters may have been, and they used her)

Offline Elisabeth

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Re: AA: Cunning - Mad - Con Artist or Victim?
« Reply #3 on: April 01, 2005, 03:01:13 PM »
Most of us are in agreement that Anna Anderson was not the Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna and that she did suffer from some form of mental illness (post-traumatic stress disorder and schizophrenia are two diagnoses that have been bandied about in other threads). Even mentally ill people, however, can often determine right from wrong (albeit depending on the degree of their illness).

Given these assumptions, do you believe Anna Anderson was an innocent victim of her illness, or do you think she was a con artist, plain and simple? Or - yet another option -  do you think there was some other reason for her assuming the identity of a dead grand duchess for the remainder of her life?

Who was Anna Anderson, really?
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by Elisabeth »
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Offline Annie

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Re: AA: Cunning - Mad - Con Artist or Victim?
« Reply #4 on: April 01, 2005, 04:04:42 PM »
Though we will never know for sure, I think it was a combination of her mental illness and her being used by other people who may have been con artists. I don't think she was a con artist herself, though she may have originally had dilusions of grandeur and thought it would be a way to a better life. She never mentioned being a GD until someone pointed out that she looked like Tatiana in a pic, then she changed to Anastasia when someone said she was too tall for Tatiana. After that, I believe she was used by people who thought they could get a payoff from her claim. It's interesting that when I suggest this I get jumped all over and accused of slandering people, while those on the other side constantly 'slander' everyone from Olga A. and Ernst of Hesse to Pierre Gillard to the scientists in the DNA case. Why is it so outrageous to believe she was used by someone who helped her? Does it only make AA supporters angry because it makes so much sense and it's the perfect explaination for all the 'memories'?

Well, anyway, I rant on. Back to your original question, I don't think Anna was any kind of con artist but was likely used by people. I also am convinced she came to believe she was Anastasia in her mind and was not a liar. I would not call her a victim since anything that happened to her was still a bit better than what would have become of plain old Franziska.

Offline Lanie

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Re: AA: Cunning - Mad - Con Artist or Victim?
« Reply #5 on: April 01, 2005, 04:24:44 PM »
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Though we will never know for sure, I think it was a combination of her mental illness and her being used by other people who may have been con artists. I don't think she was a con artist herself, though she may have originally had dilusions of grandeur and thought it would be a way to a better life. She never mentioned being a GD until someone pointed out that she looked like Tatiana in a pic, then she changed to Anastasia when someone said she was too tall for Tatiana. After that, I believe she was used by people who thought they could get a payoff from her claim. It's interesting that when I suggest this I get jumped all over and accused of slandering people, while those on the other side constantly 'slander' everyone from Olga A. and Ernst of Hesse to Pierre Gillard to the scientists in the DNA case. Why is it so outrageous to believe she was used by someone who helped her? Does it only make AA supporters angry because it makes so much sense and it's the perfect explaination for all the 'memories'?

Well, anyway, I rant on. Back to your original question, I don't think Anna was any kind of con artist but was likely used by people. I also am convinced she came to believe she was Anastasia in her mind and was not a liar. I would not call her a victim since anything that happened to her was still a bit better than what would have become of plain old Franziska.


Here here.  And not only her 'memories'...the memories that were wrong and made no sense!  Like saying N&A slept in seperate bedrooms...

Offline Elisabeth

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Re: AA: Cunning - Mad - Con Artist or Victim?
« Reply #6 on: April 01, 2005, 04:52:16 PM »
I find myself wanting to agree with Annie and Lanie, that AA was used by other people and that she herself did nothing but play along with a hoax perpetrated by others...

However, there are too many examples of AA acting independently of her "keepers," long after her salad days in the international press during the 1920s and 1930s. The most outstanding example, I think, is when she told Summers and Mangold in 1974, when they were investigating the possibility of the survival of the Empress and her daughters, that "There was no massacre there [in Ekaterinburg]... but I cannot tell the rest."

How convenient.

In 1974, she was no longer under the control of her "handlers," and had not been for several decades, and yet we find her  consciously and willfully playing along with the latest conspiracy theory. Not only that, but she was canny enough to know that this particular conspiracy theory was more plausible than all the rest.

I think she was mentally ill, but her mental illness did not impair her ability to distinguish between lies and the truth. She continued to perpetuate the hoax, the lies, for the rest of her life, because it was in her best interests.

I think she was the genuine article, a real con-artist.  
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Mgmstl

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Re: AA: Cunning - Mad - Con Artist or Victim?
« Reply #7 on: April 01, 2005, 08:16:32 PM »
Of course she was used by other people that is obvious from some of those who were in her circle.

I don't think this is a "red herring", as far as AA being FS,
I still don't believe, too many differences, physical differences and cultural differences between the two women.

Annie first of all NO ONE is slandering the scientists in the DNA case.  Why is it slander to point out the obvious issues with Olga's testimony, or motives, and the agenda of Ernie of Hesse.  No one is jumping on you, it is this one sided play on things that you seem to be adept at.  We have been through this before and it I think that EVERYONE'S motives on either side of this case are suspect.

I don't believe anyone with main involvement in the case, and I look at most people who were involved in this as adroit liars, and everyone was interested in a financial windfall and that includes the Royals...

Whoever she was, she may have pulled the wool over everyone's eyes of course.   She may well end up being FS, but IMHO as a historical researcher, historian, genealogist, etc., it is worthwhile for those who want to discuss the possibilities for us to be able to do that, to learn what the affadavits, testimonies etc contain, so we can make our decision, and it is not a red herring to us.  

I see both sides of this issue and quite frankly I would hate to have been put in the position of Olga A. & others.   However I & others feel that these differences are striking enough to bare analyzation, even with the DNA results.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by Mgmstl »

Offline Olga

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Re: AA: Cunning - Mad - Con Artist or Victim?
« Reply #8 on: April 02, 2005, 06:33:29 AM »
Quote
I see both sides of this issue and quite frankly I would hate to have been put in the position of Olga N. & others.   However I & others feel that these differences are striking enough to bare analyzation, even with the DNA results.


Yes, it's pretty hard to be asked to identify someone as your sister when you're dead.

Offline AGRBear

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Re: AA: Cunning - Mad - Con Artist or Victim?
« Reply #9 on: April 02, 2005, 11:10:10 AM »
Quote

..[in part]...

Whoever she was, she may have pulled the wool over everyone's eyes of course.   She may well end up being FS, but IMHO as a historical researcher, historian, genealogist, etc., it is worthwhile for those who want to discuss the possibilities for us to be able to do that, to learn what the affadavits, testimonies etc contain, so we can make our decision, and it is not a red herring to us.  

...


I agree Michael G..

It apears to be near impossible for some to understand we're not out to prove that AA wasn't FS or that AA was GD Anastasia.  All we're doing is trying to get as many facts as we can find before we can make up our own minds.

Other people may have gone through this exercise already and to them they  have all the facts they need.  We're still going through the process.

It is not up to others to tell us that we have all the facts needed.  This just doesn't work for people like myself, Michael G. and others.

And, it is wasted effort to tell us all the facts have been discovered.  We know, and this is a personal and not everyone's opinion,  there are many facts not yet known.

For me, because, I can't speak for others, I've seen many facts  handed down by many historians.  Trouble is these so-called facts sometimes end up being less than a proven fact but something of a "red herring", "white herring", "green herrings"  [no fact at all].

Was AA a "con-artist" or a "victim".   I think it may be proven she ended up being both.  This is just my opinion.  I'm not asking anyone else to think the way I do.

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

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Re: AA: Cunning - Mad - Con Artist or Victim?
« Reply #10 on: April 02, 2005, 01:30:03 PM »
    I think that to be considered a "con artist" one must be mentally competent and cognizant of reality vs. fantasy. This is not something that Anna Anderson seemed capable of doing.

   To begin with, AA was mentally unstable. Something had so traumatized this woman that she "forgot" who she was and then -with a certain amount of feedback from various people with their own private agendas- she began to see herself as a Grand Duchess...  eventually it was determined that she was Anastasia.

   I don't think that she ever sat down and came up with a brilliant scheme to fool people by behaving in a highly irrational and uncooperative manner 98% of the time. But if she ever began to doubt, in her secret heart, her royal "id"  it was already too late. She seems to have suffered from dementia in her later years.

   I am not aware of the legal definition of a con artist - but I really don't think that she was clever enough to have practiced any confidence tricks.

rskkiya
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by rskkiya »

Offline Elisabeth

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Re: AA: Cunning - Mad - Con Artist or Victim?
« Reply #11 on: April 02, 2005, 02:57:27 PM »
See, I think we're underestimating her. Plenty of people suffer trauma and become mentally ill or "unstable" as a result. That doesn't mean they're not capable of producing great works of art, for example. I think AA was - if not always, then often - lucid enough to know that she was not really AN, and this is why she so readily varied her story according to changing circumstances and historical knowledge. She was well aware that she was not AN or she would not have felt the need to adapt her version of events to those of others. People who are genuinely convinced that they are Napoleon or the the Queen of England do not constantly change their story to suit others. They have an "idee fixe" and they cling to that no matter what other people say. Their reality is independent of others'.

I think AA was highly intelligent and very gifted. Look at it this way, an ignorant, stupid peasant girl would not have been able to adapt herself so readily and effectively to the identity of an imperial highness, no matter who her "helpers" or "handlers" were, and no matter how much they coached her. There had to be some innate talent for dissimulation and mimicry in AA for a hoax like this to have worked for almost three-quarters of a century.
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rskkiya

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Re: AA: Cunning - Mad - Con Artist or Victim?
« Reply #12 on: April 02, 2005, 03:11:50 PM »
Quote
.

I think AA was highly intelligent and very gifted. Look at it this way, an ignorant, stupid peasant girl would not have been able to adapt herself so readily and effectively to the identity of an imperial highness, no matter who her "helpers" or "handlers" were, and no matter how much they coached her. There had to be some innate talent for dissimulation and mimicry in AA for a hoax like this to have worked for almost three-quarters of a century.


Elizabeth
    I don't quite see what Anna A did to "adapt readily " or to effect the" identity of an imperial highness"?
   Most people seemed to agree that it was her very lack of cooperative behaviour that tended to convince sceptics, which is a bit "counter-intuative" but not too surprising, given the amount of romantic hype attached to this environment!
   She gave people what they wanted and adapted to all historical and psuedohistorical demands just as a child will do and say whatever will please the adults around her.

   If she was a "con" then she was a very poor one --there was no logic and no pattern to her "act"!

Then again, I never considered her claims to be at all viable.

rskkiya

Offline Elisabeth

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Re: AA: Cunning - Mad - Con Artist or Victim?
« Reply #13 on: April 02, 2005, 03:30:04 PM »
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   She gave people what they wanted and adapted to all historical and psuedohistorical demands just as a child will do and say whatever will please the adults around her.

    If she was a "con" then she was a very poor one --there was no logic and no pattern to her "act"!

Then again, I never considered her claims to be at all viable.

rskkiya


But you're describing a logical pattern to her "act." She gave people what she sensed they wanted from her. She was an expert at what psychologists call "mirroring." She reflected back what others wanted to see. She told them what they wanted to hear. When she refused to cooperate, it was because she knew she couldn't pass muster - refusing to speak to unannounced visitors, hiding her face, her mouth, identifying the visitor only after he had left and she had had time to reflect on who he might have been (or to get information from others as to his identity).

If all AA had done was to refuse to see visitors and behave in a difficult manner, however, no one would have accepted her as Grand Duchess Anastasia. It was the fact that she interspersed her bouts of "being difficult" with generous helpings of "cooperating" and giving detailed information that kept the illusion going. If she'd been genuinely crazy, there would have been no way to coach her, no way to feed her information to start with. Yes, she probably had post-traumatic stress disorder - but that's a far cry from being clinically insane.
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Offline Helen_Azar

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Re: AA: Cunning - Mad - Con Artist or Victim?
« Reply #14 on: April 02, 2005, 06:41:32 PM »
AA may have either been an extremely delusional amnesiac whose mind completely "adopted" the identity of a Russian Grand Duchess. Or she may have been a sociopath (or had another extremely severe personality disorder) and was, in fact, a con-artist. The latter is definitely a possibility, IMO, because many sociopaths live a lie and many are con-artists (and are very convincing at it), yet they are not in any way out of touch with reality. If AA had this particular condition it would have been very difficult to pin point back then, since I don't think anyone even knew it existed. Hence this is why many thought her to be very convincing. Even today this is something that's nearly impossible to diagnose, from what I understand.  

I used to think that AA was mentally ill and that she was herself completely convinced that she was Anastasia, therefore I didn't think that she was a con-artist. But when I thought about it some more, I realized that a lot of things she did were very deliberate and seemed to have involved at least a certain amount of forethought or manipulation, like that infamous "Dar'ling" letter or her comments about how some things, like vodka, reminded her of Tsarskoe Selo, etc.  

Many sociopaths are extremely good at lying or pretending to be someone they are not (not necessarily pretending to be another person, but a different type of person, e.g. Scott Peterson). This would be consistent in the AA case, except she would have been pretending to be someone else completely. But like someone already said, we will never know for sure.  

One thing we do know for sure, AA would have made a very interesting case study for a psych student! ;)