Thursday, August 03, 2006

Anthony Godby Johnson: The Invisible Boy


Swallowing the Camel has moved! This post is now here.




25 comments:

Nasdijj said...

The notion that I have never adopted a child is just plain wrong. As ESQUIRE recently pointed out, those court documents are sealed. WHY. To protect the privacy of the adopted child. FROM EXACTLY SUCH DISTORTIONS. People scream at me for "the truth." The truth is that the courts are correct to seal such documents so the lives of these kids aren't dragged through the mud by innuendo, "gotcha" tabloid journalism. My son's adoption records were sealed. I do not owe you, the reader, the publisher, or anyone "meat" to satisfy your prurient curiosity.

SME said...

Duly noted, correction added. Now stop embarrassing yourself. I'm not at all curious about the details of your life; observe that I tacked you on to the end of a more interesting fraud.

tshsmom said...

The REAL question nasdijj, is: are you WHITE?

OK, SME, you just made up for the Mormons standing you up. ;)
Do you spose the "invisible boy" will contact you next?

SME said...

Well, "Nasdijj" at least isn't a middle-aged white woman, which is more than anyone can say for Tony and J.T.

Anonymous said...

Barrus's relationship with the truth remains...interesting. Lately he's been blogging about his travels in Europe, hopping from Paris to Tangiers and most recently to Mykonos. There, he wrote about being involved in making a film that, as he wrote, morphed into a remake of Pasolini's "Salo." He would at times write that the mysterious boys with HIV/AIDS he has claimed to be caring for were with him (the unsurpassed, volatile, transgressive creativity of the "rescued" boys in his supposed care is a recurring theme in his online writing). In the last installment, he was jetting off to Dubai to meet with a mysterious "investor" from Hong Kong. Problem? A quick search on Flickr pulled up most of the photos used to illustrate his tale. Taken anything up to two years ago, by a range of photographers, all distinctly not a 50-something white man likely still living in North Carolina. Now the blog is pulled, with an "oh, gee, it was all really grist for a novel" disclaimer. Hmmm....

SME said...

Yikes. A fabulist in the Hubbardian mould, or just Grey Owl on crack?

I do not even wanna know how a film could "morph" into Salo.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for a great site... I was researching this Anthony Godby Johnson thing after seeing the Maupin movie. These people are very ill, and our society is happy to let them stay ill. It makes me sick to to know that "Vicki" and her spouse (who HAS to be ill himself to have wed such a nut job) were allowed to adopt children. The state should be ashamed of themselves if they couldn't do a simple Google and find our her bizarre mental history.
Keep up the good work...chasing down the sad liars and attention cravers.
(Why annonymous? Because these are NUTS we are talking about, and the less info they have on their detractors, the better).

Anonymous said...

Thank you for writing this. I was completely unaware about the whole hoax and was recently sucked into a very small facet of it. I was hired recently by someone who started a non-profit based on the ABC special and was told about the wondrous miracle boy with AIDS whose story is showcased in the 1994 ABC documentary. I had no reason to suspect that I was being duped when told details about my employer's contact with 'Tony' and was very moved by the whole story. As the days progressed I was told more and more things that started to seem too incredulous to be true. I began to do fact checking online, found your blog and followed the articles you referenced. I no longer work for the employer I mentioned but am being targeted by my ex-employer in a smear campaign in retribution for not supporting untruths that glorify victim hood (hers and others). I guess alot of people had something financial to gain by perpetrating the Tony Hoax. Thanks again for your blog.

SME said...

It's very disturbing that people are still milking this hoax. I'm sorry you went through that, and that you were able to find out the truth of the situation before it was too late.

Anonymous said...

One has to admire though, a certain level of intellect (despite the insanity) that is capable of pulling off such a sophisticated fraud. For those who doubt every conspiracy theory, here is evidence that crazy brilliant people do exist and are indeed quite capable of fooling large numbers of people despite extraordinary levels of complexity that should easily provide the warning signs to all but the most gullible.

SME said...

It's sadly true...most of the perpetrators of such frauds are highly intelligent, astonishingly creative, charismatic, and naturally skilled in acting. The layers of complexity allow some hoaxes to remain veiled for years...in the Fraginals case, Tony's anonymity "had" to be protected because powerful, well-connected criminals were gunning for him, and his increasingly serious health crises naturally precluded any public appearances. Two problems solved. The big problem is that such a fraud cannot be continued indefinitely - curiosity mounts, questions are asked, demands are made. People do clue in eventually.

Anonymous said...

i have heard of this and i believe that "anthony sold called is not his real namei had seen an episode of 20/20 on abc that it wasnt him.his real name was steve tarabokjia and had gone to school in a small town in nj

i think that joanne is sick and not normal in the head ... she shouldnt be allowed to be in any contact with children at all

Anonymous said...

Sounds like she married as big a fraud as she is (http://www.wsbt.com/news/local/40661177.html)

A Plymouth psychologist has pleaded guilty to health care fraud for falsely billing Indiana Medicaid of more than $100,000, according to documents filed in court this week.

Marc Allen Zackheim was a licensed psychologist and owner of Associates in Clinical Psychology P.C., a domestic professional corporation, according to court documents filed in the South Bend division of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana

Anonymous said...

Was Joanne Vicki Fraginals ever arrested for what she did?

Anonymous said...

FUCK ALL OF YOU! THEY ARE GREAT PEOPLE FUCK WHAT THIS WORLD HAS TO SAY! UNLESS YOU KNOW THEM THEN SHUT THE FUCK UP

SME said...

To my knowledge, Vicki Fraginals Zackheim was never even criminally investigated, though Keith Olbermann and a few others claim she scammed money out of them by saying she couldn't cover all of Tony's medical expenses.

Nice to meet you, Anon. Please visit again sometime, when your caps lock isn't on and your meds are working.

Anonymous said...

I knew Mark Zackheim. In the later 1970s, he was a closeted gay man who hung out on the fringes of the gay community in Chicago. He said he worked in the mental health field. I know a women who says he offered her thousands of dollars to become pregnant by him and hand over the baby to him, with no questions asked.

Anonymous said...

Joanne Vicki Fraginals

ABC did a piece on her. What kind of news agency can't find a photo of this woman? I've been searching and can't find anything. How is this possible if she were a teacher at a school?

Anonymous said...

As far as I know, Fraginals didn't have any biological kids. The two girls that lived with her were her brother's kids, and her brother lived with her at the time.

RumpRoast said...

I recently watched the Law and Order: Criminal Intent episode based on this story. Unreal the desipiration that drives people to seek attention!

Anonymous said...

I recently watched the movie The Night Listener. Prior to the movie I did not know it was a hoax. It just looked like an interesting movie. It was. A good one too. Of course then I started googling it. And here I am. I find it amazing that so much can transpire, and a book published without anybody even meeting the main character. How is that possible? Todays world seem too sceptic but how can you publish something without meeting the person? Nobody met him. And yet so many believe it to be true. I suppose it appeals to our eternal strive for hope and happy endings. Anyways a good healthy sense of sceptism wouldnt go amiss. Good faith is fine. Stories such as the boys could happen - but not without leaving a major trail of of traces and evidence. Court documents may be sealed but courtcases or mention thereof are not. Not even in the time where technology was limited and before the Internet age. We had shocking cases like the European abuse case where the father kept his daughter locked up, raped her and bore children with her. And more cases have been revealed. So yes these human atrocities happen. But there is usually always smoke where there is a fire. Thanks for the author for making evidence avaliable. It would be helpful if you the older articles could be found and listed. Some of them like the Newsweek article of 1991 or 1993 is unavailable. Perhaps somebody can upload it? Amazing how there is no picture of Vicki Fraginal Johnson Zackhaim. Being a teacher if she has pictures of her students, then surely they have old pictures of her as a teacher too? Irony is striking when she ends marrying a person who is later involved in child abuse.

RecallerReminder said...

Myself had a similar experience some time ago but not under the same circunstances. This was not a fraud in a way that mean could be criminal intent or anything, was more like a person really sick (or very morbird) who fake his/her identitity along with a bunch of lies about a phantasy live. Cant tell why he-she did this, but I know was not only to me. Many other were dragged to his/her web and its probably still there, in cyberspace, getting more people for his/her wicked entertaiment. Well, probably is over there a lot of similar fakers, and there is nothing we can do to stop them, only be aware to prevent they get us cause when they do dont want to let us go (until we question them, of course, they just cant face the truth). I want to believe mostly of this people have not bad intentions, they only need help to get over and start to live their lives (even is unlikely to happen, since they will be always hiding in lies, refusing the personal contact using convenient excuses, totally out of our reach since we cant know who they really are and they admit nothing), and the only thing we can do is detect them, stay way (play along dont work, sometimes, if the cases when they actually have conciounes and find brave to admit it) and use this kind of examples as reference to make them understand we cant play their games without facts of their existence. This system if for comunication and sharing anything we want, not to hide or avoid reality. We just want to believe the best of the friend we have though long distance but we must remember, someones will take advantage of this. Be aware, is the only thing we can do, be aware of the fakers.

septembergrrl said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I recently have found out about Tony.And i can't say i don't believe in him.I understand that what Viki did was wrong in my eyes and many others.But how can we say Tony isn't real?I mean i know none of us have ever met him...But he could be one of God's miracles and lived through all that.I mean i seriously do think it is a very interesting story and i loved it.He most likely is fake.I have no doubt about that.But i think the idea of him and his difficulties is very interesting and alluring.I will be reading his book.

Anonymous said...

Can you do a part 3? Since the last post, Marc Zackheim passed away as did Vicki. However, there is an author by the name of Victoria Zackheim living in California and no record of Vicki's death.