Christine Maggiore (1957-2008): A Sad and Inevitable End

I have just learned that Christiane Maggiore died on December 27, at the age of 52. My condolences and sympathy go out to her only living child. She did not have to die so soon.

Maggiore’s friends and supporters say her six-month bout of fatal pneumonia was in no way related to her HIV/AIDS. They insist she could not have died from HIV/AIDS because HIV is not a disease, does not cause AIDS, and does not have to be medically treated. Despite the ongoing denial, it seems Maggiore met the same unnecessary, agonizing death to which she consigned her daughter in 2005.

Diagnosed as HIV+ in 1992 (along with a former boyfriend), Maggiore became a poster child for a small but vocal movement of people, most of them HIV+, who claim that the media spreads mininformation and propaganda about an imaginary AIDS-HIV connection, and that AZT is more harmful than AIDS. Maggiore established a foundation to spread this message.
She and her husband, Robin Scoville, had two children. While pregnant with daughter Eliza Jane, Maggiore appeared on the cover of Mothering magazine cover with “NO AZT” written on her pregnant stomach, and was cheered by rock concert crowds when she spoke out aginst the prevailing HIV/AIDS theories. She breastfed her kids and refused to have them tested for HIV/AIDS, insisting the diseases can’t be transferred from mother to child by any means. For herself she sought only alternative treatments.
It’s a curious fact that HIV+ people who don’t inform their sex partners of their staus are routinely charged criminally, while HIV+ moms are not.

In 2005, 3-year-old Eliza Jane Scoville developed a bad cold and an ear infection. Very reluctantly, Maggiore followed a pediatrician’s advice and gave her daughter amoxicillin. Within days, Eliza Jane became wan and listless, then suffered some sort of attack in the night. Her parents frantically called 911, and the toddler was rushed to hospital. She soon died.
Maggiore immediately blamed the amoxicillin, for it was the only drug Eliza Jane had ever ingested. Both parents maintained she had been perfectly healthy until then.
An autopsy revealed otherwise. Eliza Jane had full-blown AIDS and had died from related pneumonia. Even faced with copious medical evidence, Maggiore vehemently denied her child had AIDS. The coroner’s findings were politically motivated, she said. But she did have her son tested, for fear he’d be taken away if she didn’t (he is HIV/AIDS negative).

Like her mother, Eliza Jane Scoville did not have to die so young. She was sacrificed so that her parents could make a point.

Maggiore’s untimely death could serve as a hard lesson for HIV/AIDS denialists and people who reject the germ theory of disease. I hope they will benefit from that lesson before they, too, die preventable deaths.

The World’s Weirdest/Stupidest Conspiracy Theories

(in no particular order, with each theory’s author or main proponent in parentheses, if known)

  • The driver shot JFK. (the late William Cooper)
  • The Beatles were designed and sent to the U.S. by the British Psychological Warfare Division, to undermine the morals of American teenagers. (Lyndon LaRouche)
  • Christ’s Crucifixion was staged. (Hugh Schonfield) Christ eloped with Mary Magdalene, and one or both of them fled to France to raise their family. (Baigent/Leigh/Lincoln)
  • Christ and his disciples were a magic-mushroom cult. (Dead Sea Scrolls scholar John Allegro)
  • HIV/AIDS was created in a lab.
  • HIV does not cause AIDS.
  • Man never landed on the moon. It’s not even possible. But there is an alien base there. (see Wikipedia; for an artful and very funny parody of how these theories can be patched together from unrelated material, watch the mockumentary Dark Side of the Moon)
  • The Zapruder film is entirely fake, even though it contradicts the findings of the Warren Commission. (Jim Fetzer)
  • Stephen King killed John Lennon. (Steve Lightfoot)
  • WWII was staged. It never really happened. The Illuminati employed elaborate special effects, stage magic, and phony journalism to scare the world into pacifism. (Donald Holmes)
  • Queen Elizabeth I was a man. The real Elizabeth died as a child.
  • George H.W. Bush was really George Scherff Sr., a Nazi sent to destroy America as a teenager and adopted by Prescott Bush (Scherff was also an assistant to Nikola Tesla, and stole all Tesla’s inventions after he was murdered by Otto Skorzeny and Reinhard Gehlen). Hitler was still alive in Montana in 1997, and Josef Mengele is keeping himself alive and youthful with a regimen of hormones and cannibalism. Oh, and Curious George was inspired by a young George Scherff Jr.; that’s probably why Alan J. Shalleck was murdered by two men he met through a gay sex network one day before the movie premiered. (this information comes from a man named Eric Berman, who claims he heard it straight from his girlfriend’s dad, Otto Skorzeny, in Florida during the late ’90s. Skorzeny died in Madrid in 1975.)
  • One promoter of the Scherff-Bush story adds that Josef Mengele was the real Zodiac, the Boston Strangler(s), and the anthrax letter mailer. (http://www.thebushconnection.com/)
  • The 1939 War of the Worlds radio broadcoast was a psychological warfare study funded by C.D. Jackson on behalf of the Rockefeller Foundation, designed to find out how Americans would react to an enemy invasion. Funny… in a trailer for his mockumentary F is for Fake, Orson Welles did say the WoW broadcast had “secret sponsors”. (Daniel Hopsicker)
  • A really old one that just won’t die: Jews drink the blood and eat the flesh of Gentile children during Passover. Some Catholics still revere the relics of Medieval child saints supposedly slaughtered and devoured by Jews.
  • The doomed Franklin Expedition was sent to the Arctic not only to find the Northwest Passage, but to secretly investigate UFO sightings that had been reported since the 1700s. The men were captured, experimented upon, and eaten by giant aliens. (Jeffrey Blair Latta)
  • Hitler and some associates escaped to the Arctic in a submarine, to live with super-advanced aliens who reside within the hollow earth. (This story originated with Edward Bulwer-Lytton’s novel The Coming Race, was treated as fact by the pre-Nazi Vril Society, was bolstered by the forged “secret diary” of Admiral Byrd, and was adopted by the likes of Ernst Zundel)
  • Denver International Airport was built expressly to conceal a vast underground complex, headquarters of the New World Order elite. Clues are hidden in the airport’s peace-themed mural.
  • Scientology: Billions of years ago the intergalactic overlord Xenu used a film to brainwash our souls (“Thetans”) into believing in the world’s major religions, which he invented.
  • Gnosticism: The entire material world is an evil trap created by the imposter God of the Bible.
  • Nation of Islam: White people were created in a lab.
  • Jesuits sank the Titanic to kill some of the world’s richest, most powerful Jews.
  • The early Middle Ages (614-911 A.D.) never occurred. Everything that supposedly happened during those years was either a misunderstanding, an event from a different era, or an outright lie – Charlemagne, for instance, is a fictional figure. And we are actually living in the 1700s. (Herbert Illig’s phantom time hypothesis)
  • Shortly before he left office, Bill Clinton secretly signed into law the National Economic Security and Reformation Act (NESARA). This act would have completely restructured the U.S. government by – among other things – forgiving all personal credit card debt and mortgages, abolishing the IRS, restoring constitutional law, and somehow ensuring world peace – but the Supreme Court placed a gag order on it, and threatened death to any government official who breathed word of its existence. NESARA activists around the world are agitating to get the act announced and instituted.
  • Aspartame, flouride, genetically modified foods, and vaccines are used specifically to keep us sick and open to suggestion, and/or as part of a secret depopulation plan designed by the world’s elite.
  • Atlanta child murder theories: Victims were used for CDC research into Interferon; KKK Klansmen posed as cops to wipe out young black men (Dick Gregory); white scientists needed the boys’ foreskins to produce a cure for cancer and/or a youth serum. (Dick Gregory again)
  • Jeffrey Dahmer was an actor hired by the Ambrosia Chocolate company to pose as a cannibal killer so no one would object to the factory being torn down and another one built with illegal tax breaks (posted by “manoftruth” on online forums devoted to Rush and Bon Jovi, along with rants on Wicca and Jews; his name might be Mark Zahn, but who knows?).

And here’s a fun one: By combining two separate conspiracy theories, you can turn Hitler into Jack the Ripper!
Theory #1: Prince Eddy, Duke of Clarence, faked his death to move to Germany and become Adolph Hitler.
Theory #2: Prince Eddy, Duke of Clarence (and/or Freemasons acting on his behalf) was Jack the Ripper.
Hence, Prince Eddy might have killed several prostitues, faked his own death, then resurfaced in Austria as Hitler.

Faux Bro: The Not-So-True Story of J.T. LeRoy

A few years ago everyone was saying “You gotta read Sarah.” This was a 2000 novel by one J.T. LeRoy. I looked into it. J.T. LeRoy was a formerly homeless, waifish cross-dresser who hauled around a fax machine and exuded the introverted weirdness/hipness of Warhol. Sarah was about his own experiences as the son of a Southern truck-stop hooker who regularly pimped out her son (sometimes dressed as a girl).

J.T. LeRoy seemed just a little too offbeat (and his knack for self promotion too well-developed); he just didn’t come across as anything like the horribly mixed-up and exploited kid of his stories. I didn’t buy it. I figured either J.T. LeRoy invented his story and his kooky image, or someone invented J.T. LeRoy.

This has happened before. Several years ago, the memoirs of a super-intelligent 14-year-old boy named Anthony Godby Johnson broke people’s hearts. Anthony had been horrifically neglected and abused by his dad, a New York City cop, before being adopted by the social worker who rescued him. But by that time he had contracted AIDS from one of the many people who had sexually assaulted him. The amazing thing was, his spirit and humour and intelligence had survived intact. His book, A Rock and a Hard Place, was truly inspiring. Mr. Rogers even wrote a promotional blurb for it.

Like J.T. LeRoy, Anthony cultivated special friendships with older, established writers by writing fan letters. He spent hours talking on the phone with Armistead Maupin, author of Tales of the City. It was Maupin’s boyfriend who first raised the red flag. “What do you actually know about this kid?” he asked Maupin. “Has anyone ever seen him?” Maupin asked around and discovered that, no, no one really had seen Anthony. His adoptive mom, Vicki, was very protective of him and didn’t allow visitors. When Maupin arranged a trip to the Midwest to meet his protege, Vicki canceled at the last moment because Anthony had to be readmitted to hospital. After a painful period of investigation and reflection, Maupin had to admit that Anthony and Vicki were probably one and the same. The preteen voice he heard on the phone was undeniably that of a woman. Ms. Johnson denies it – but to this day, no one has met her adopted son. Maupin’s novel The Night Listener (2000) is a thinly fictionalized version of this experience. (see my post “Anthony Godby Johnson: The Invisible Boy Behind The Night Listener)

Before Anthony Johnson, there was Kaycee Nicole Swenson. Kaycee was a 14-year-old cancer patient whose resilience and strength inspired everyone who visited her website. She and her mother kept fans up-to-date on her progress via chatrooms and forums for over a year before some suspicious readers uncovered the fact that “Kaycee” was really a 30-something mother who had never had cancer. Kaycee was an invention of her own teenage daughter, but for some off-the-wall reason, the woman decided to take over the persona and pretend she was dying.

Now, an article in New York Times Magazine contends that J.T. LeRoy is probably a woman named Laura Albert. His early paychecks were sent to relatives of Ms. Albert, and J.T. (according to his website, http://www.jtleroy.com/) is the lyricist for Thistle, the San Francisco punk band that Laura Albert and her boyfriend started many years ago. When J.T. makes his rare public appearances, he wears a variety of blonde wigs and shades. The hoax possibility has been raised numerous times, even by one of LeRoy’s friends and mentors, Mary Gaitskill: “It’s occurred to me that the whole thing with Jeremy [J.T.] is a hoax, but I felt that even if it turned out to be a hoax, it’s a very enjoyable one. And a hoax that exposes things about people, the confusion between love and art and publicity. A hoax that would be delightful and if people are made fools of, it would be OK—in fact, it would be useful.” (“The Cult of J.T. LeRoy” by Joy Press, The Village Voice June 13 – 19, 2001)

I’m not certain that these kinds of hoaxes are instructional, much less “delightful”. I feel genuine sympathy for poor Armistead Maupin, who thought he was mentoring a dying boy and even let that “boy” call him Dad sometimes. But I have to admit I wouldn’t feel too sorry for Gaitskill, Dennis Cooper, Gus van Sant, Dave Eggars, Courtney Love, or any other J.T. groupies if he turns out to be a crazy chick. To them, he’s just a cool weirdo du jour.

Update: “J.T.” Could Be Laura Albert and/or Savannah Knoop

According to a recent New York Times article by Warren St. John, the question of J.T. LeRoy’s identity has been solved.

Sometime in the late ’90s, Jeremiah “Terminator” LeRoy was rescued from the streets of San Francisco by Laura Albert and Geoffrey Knoop, founders of the punk band Thistle. The West Virginian teenager was homeless and HIV positive, having been raised by a truck stop hooker who pimped him out dressed as a girl. J.T. entered therapy, moved in with Albert and Knoop, and embarked on a writing career that is scarcely 5 years old but has already drawn fans like Bono, Liv Tyler, Courtney Love, and Dennis Cooper. His 2000 novel Sarah was semi-autobiographical; the son of a truck stop hooker named Sarah dresses as a woman and becomes his mother’s stiffest competition (no pun). The two Sarahs and an array of Runyonesque “lot lizards” distinguish themselves by wearing necklaces made of raccoon-penis bones.

Sarah was followed by a collection of short stories, The Heart is Deceitful Above All Things (adapted into a 2004 movie starring Asia Argento), and the novella Harold’s End. The phrase “the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked” comes from Jeremiah 17:9.
Soon an entourage of Terminators (“Termies”) was following J.T. around, wearing raccoon-penis necklaces. Shirley Manson of Garbage wrote a song about him, “Cherry Lips”.

J.T. penned magazine articles and lyrics for Thistle, but paralyzing shyness kept him from appearing in public often. When he did, he wore long blonde wigs, hats, red lipstick, and black shades, looking like a cross between Roy Orbison and Ivana Trump. He talked of getting a sex change.

Rumours persisted that Laura Albert invented J.T. But she’s middle-aged, and J.T. looks much younger. Then, the same month Oprah announced A Million Little Pieces as her most recent book selection, someone found a photograph of Geoffrey Knoop’s younger sister, Savannah. Savannah is a singer and fashion designer whose duct-tape purses were briefly the rage. She’s slighlty built, feminine, in her mid-20s… and looks unmistakably like J.T. Leroy, if you put a blonde wig and lipstick on her.

Photos of Savannah Knoop were shown to the handful of people who know J.T. best: His literary agent, Ira Silverberg; Lilly Bright, producer of The Heart is Deceitful Above All Things; and his business manager. Each said, “That’s J.T.” Silverberg told the New York Times, “To present yourself as a person who is dying of AIDS in a culture which has lost so many writers and voices of great meaning, to take advantage of that sympathy and empathy, is the most unfortunate part of all of this. A lot of people believed they were supporting not only a good and innovative and adventurous voice, but that we were supporting a person.”

It has not yet been proven that Laura Albert is the true author of J.T.’s three books and numerous articles, but the fact that all of J.T.’s paychecks have been sent to relatives of Ms. Albert speaks for itself. Surely stage fright wouldn’t prevent J.T. from getting his own bank account?

Laura Albert and the Knoops have not publicly commented on the disclosures, but a statement issued by J.T. “himself” states that he is now a female and uses “stand-ins” to protect his identity. Whatever that means. This may fool a few diehard Termies, but for the rest of the world the Savannah Knoop revelation confirms a long-held suspicion that J.T. LeRoy, transgendered survivor of child prostitution and HIV, was just too beautiful to be true.

Update: “The jig is up.”

Geoffrey Knoop has admitted that cult cross-dressing writer J.T. LeRoy isn’t real; he/she was played in public by his half-sister, Savannah. The books were apparently written by Laura Albert, Knoop’s ex-common-law wife and co-founder of the San Francisco punk band Thistle. “The jig is up… I do want to apologize to people who were hurt. It got to a level I didn’t expect.” Knoop says that he doubts Laura Albert will ever admit to being J.T.: “For her, it’s very personal. It’s not a hoax. It’s a part of her.”

Update: New interpretations of “J.T.’s” work, and more revelations

Susie Bright, who once published some of “J.T.’s” work and put up with “his” telephone tantrums, makes an interesting observation – that Laura Albert’s writing is basically “slash” fiction (gay erotica written by straight women, God only knows why), though Albert’s descriptions of gay sex were sometimes violent, and much darker than your average slash.

To date (August 4, ’06), Laura Albert has not publicly commented on the hoax. Geoffrey Knoop, meanwhile, divulged more details of how the hoax was perpetrated for an online Vanity Fair piece, “The Boy Who Cried Author“.

Update: “I wish I could’ve had my own voice.” Laura Albert comes clean.

For the Fall 2006 issue of the Paris Review, Laura Albert finally spoke about the hoax. Is she sorry for making thousands of people believe she had rescued an HIV-positive, drug-addicted teen prostitute from a life of squalor and heartache? Not really. As her former mate, Geoffrey Knoop, revealed to Vanity Fair, J.T. was Laura’s alter ego long before she began publishing under that name. “I’m proud of the work. J.T. saved my life and J.T. saved many other lives,” she said.

AIDS Conspiracy Theories (ACTS)

Celia Farber’s article “Out of Control”, published in this month’s Harper’s (see my article on that here) has spurred me to post some more of the outrageous ACTS that have been gaining momentum since the ’80s and ’90s.

  • Biologist Jakob Segal of Berlin’s Humboldt University was the first person to declare publicly the ACT that AIDS was created at the biowarfare lab at Ft. Detrick, Maryland. Dr. Segal hypothesized that HIV was formed from visna (a sheep virus) and human T-cell leukemia. Simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) was discovered after Dr. Segal declared this ACT, and SIV is considered a much more likely precursor to HIV than visna.
  • On Sept. 30, 1993 Reuters announced that the first ACT – the one declared by Dr. Segal – had been created by the Soviet Union in 1983, as dinformation.
  • The AIDS As Biowarfare hypothesis is propped up by the fact that on June 9, 1969, Dr. D.M. McArtor appeared before the House Subcommittee on Appropriations to request funding for a program to create a biological agent for which humans would have no natural immunity. Dr. McArtor was then Deputy Director of Research and Technology for the Dept. of Defense.
  • Deranged “seer” Veronica Leuken of Bayside, Queens, announced that the Virgin Mary had informed her a cure for HIV will never be found because Jesus Christ himself, angered by homosexuals, personally engineered it to kill off large numbers of gay people.
  • Dr. Leonard Horowitz of Harvard theorizes HIV resulted from viological viral research concealed by the Special Virus Cancer Program.
  • According to a group called Christians Awake, the U.S. was founded and is controlled by Freemasons, all of whom are gay. This is why the Washington Monument is a phallic symbol. God created AIDS to punish the Masons.
  • Singer Kanye West hints in his song “Heard ‘Em Say” that AIDS was genetically engineered to target blacks. Should you suspect this is his own pet theory…
  • Bill Cosby said AIDS was “started by human beings to get after certain people they don’t like”. And…
  • Spike Lee proclaimed in a Benneton ad that “AIDS is a government-engineered disease”. And…
  • On Arsenio Hall’s talkshow, Kool Moe Dee said AIDS was a genocidal plot against blacks. And…
  • Louis Farrakhan said the U.S. government shipped a billion units of AIDS to Africa to annihilate Africa’s black population. And…
  • Former Chicago municipal official Steven Cokely declared Jewish doctors injected black babies with AIDS as part of a plot to take over the world. AND…
  • In a 1990 poll, 29% of black New Yorkers believed AIDS was deliberately created in a lab to infect black people. (New York Times, Oct. 29, 1990)
  • A 1990 survey found that 34% believed the AIDS virus was produced in a germ warfare lab. (Boston Globe, Nov. 2, 1995)
  • Today, a growing number of people believe that HIV does not cause AIDS, that AIDS is not contagious, and/or that HIV cannot be transmitted.