I’ve been thinking about Kasper Hauser recently – no this isn’t me admitting secret feelings for a diminutive German foundling – and that it seems to have been an age since we had a good, honest fortean mystery.
The recent story of John Darwin and his return from death (supposedly with six years of amnesia to authenticate his story) seems to be little more than a mundane tale of fraud, the incriminating photograph being found by a simple Google Image search for John + Anne + Panama. When the story first emerged I hoped that we may have an actual have a modern day Kasper Hauser on our hands, albeit one that hadn’t been kept in a box for the formative years of his life.
Similarly the tale of Andreas Grassl (the so-called Piano Man) a few years ago turned out to be a hoax. Grassl had nothing to gain other than publicity from the event, whilst Darwin’s intentions seem a lot clearer. The worst thing about this recent hoax is that there seems to have been no thought placed into how to perpetrate the final element of the fraud – if this was indeed his intention, nor any of the sense of (misplaced) romanticism of the former.
Casting an eye over the news of recent years there seems to have been a drop in the number of fortean related stories, surprising given the continued interest in popular fiction that seems to go hand-in-hand with such stories. I can’t remember the last time we had anything like a UFO sighting reported in the media, print or TV. Similarly TV’s taste for hoaxes seems to have diminished in recent years as if they have become more wary of the possibility of legal action. The 90’s produced the fantastic Ghostwatch and I hoped for a while that Most Haunted was being created in a similar fashion, but now it seems as if its designed more for advertising revenue than anything else.
This isn’t to say that odd events aren’t happening, just that they seem to have dropped out of favour and the only time they are reported it is usually a badly conceived hoax. Is it too much to ask that someone out there comes up with an elaborate scheme that gets us all guessing for a month before the reveal their grand illusion?