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AMA Friday, August 8 2014

I have finally completed all the questions in this AMA. Follow up questions may be sent to my tumblr, although I don't promise immediate answers.

Somewhere, I think in this AMA, somebody asked if I'd ever consider telling more about the alternate 1944 timeline, the X men, the whole King of England thing...the answer is yes, I will be telling a great deal more. But that? Is going in the book when I write it. Thanks to the research nonnies, it's much more likely to finally be completed.

There's been a great deal of discussion about Andy on FFA recently, including questions people have for me. Since I have limited time these days, I've decided to do an AMA. I prefer threaded discussion to tumblr's...tumbling, so good ol' Livejournal gets the job done. Comments on this thread will be answered tomorrow evening. When I'm done I will freeze the comments and link it to my blog and tumblr. You can ask follow up questions; I don't have a set end time other than "when I wear out or run out of comments."

I have a no deletion policy most of the time, but for this "event" I reserve the right to delete anything I find offensive, abusive or derailing. Anon is on, but all comments will be screened.

ETA: Unscreening comments to cut down on repetition.

The comments I have deleted have only been because there are SO MANY comments, and I wanted to streamline a bit. Nothing more.

Also, since Diamond is online, I invited her to add to/answer anything she wants to. :)

10:47 PM PST: Okay kids, I've got to go to bed. I want to answer the rest of these questions though. I don't have a set time, but I'll work on them and post an update here and on my tumblr when I've finished. I am locking the comments now. Thanks for some really great questions - I'll get to them all in time.

And now, to sleep. Thanks.


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Aug. 8th, 2014 02:23 am (UTC)
You've mentioned a time you believed you saw Andy making a river run backwards. I'd like to hear about that incident in detail. Were other people there? What did Andy say about it? Was it a hallucination induced by sleep or food deprivation? Or an "Emperor's New Clothes" thing where you made yourself believe you were seeing it because you wanted it to be true? Or something else?
Aug. 9th, 2014 02:04 am (UTC)
The Bagenders went on a road trip to see Little Sam at her parent's house. I can't remember if it was just a visit, or if we were taking her back to Portland with us. I think we had two cars.

Little Sam had come down for a visit already, which is when she "figured out" (i.e. followed the trail of breadcrumbs that Andy sowed for her) that he was secretly Elijah Wood, and that he was channeling Elves. I will go into more about how he does that in one of the later questions, but at that point, only Little Sam and I knew the big secret.

It was one of the most awesome weekend visits I've ever had. They had a big house and lots of land, and a river. I remember Sam's dad telling us that he'd have the kids dive down to weed the swimming area. We all stayed up late, and I remember Sam's parents had a small party, although I don't think any of us drank.

One of the nights there, Andy took Little Sam and I for a late night walk. This was not unusual - most nights we went on long, long, LONG walks, which I will also cover in the answer about indoctrination below. We walked to a small curve in the river. It was very dark and the moon was very bright, and we were getting a BIG SECRET about our DESTINY from an elf. From Lord Elrond, to be precise.

It gets into the whole rings-based-paganism phase, which I'll talk about in another one of the answers below. At any rate, it was a demonstration to prove to Little Sam that she was beloved by Ulmo, the Valar who is in charge of water (Never read the actual Silmarillion, so the pantheon may be FUBAR). And I think we just willed ourselves to see the ripples moving backward. It's not that hard to do - it's a fairly basic optical illusion.
Aug. 8th, 2014 03:44 am (UTC)
Did you see the post about Andy not being Irish on FFA?
Aug. 9th, 2014 01:37 am (UTC)
I did. Unfortunate that the poster didn't leave a bumper, as it descended into butthurt. I thought it was pretty amazing and quite comprehensive.

Aug. 8th, 2014 04:23 am (UTC)
Do you think Andy has ever believed any of his own stories/lies? I'm curious if you think he deludes himself or if the lies are meant solely and/or primarily to manipulate others.

Sort of related but a bit off to the side - Why do you think he regularly tells lies that are easy to fact check/disprove?
Aug. 9th, 2014 01:49 am (UTC)
I do not think he has ever believed his stories/lies.

I feel fairly certain he's a compulsive liar. I don't know if it's something inborn, or just being so steeped in deception that he has no control. A less hilarious Cartman-with-self-induced-Tourette's, so to speak. I do know that he's done it since childhood, though.

That's the biggest thing that trips him up, because it's almost always some small, solidly provable lie that gets through the chink in a follower's armor.

For me, it was finding a receipt for something he'd told me some story about. We were trying to find an apartment in Virginia (the week I left). He'd spun some elaborate story about how the current Core (Zack, and original character) got it discounted or free or something already hard to believe. Something about looking at this piece of paper that flat disproved, incontrovertibly, that he was lying... It was what we Bagenders called "the white light." (which was an in-joke with "Orlando Bloom")
Aug. 8th, 2014 04:32 am (UTC)
There is probably no actual good answer to this, but I'm wary of him turning up in one of my newer fandoms, because I think a lot of things about it would appeal very strongly to him both in terms of his narrative/trope obsessions and because the makeup of the fandom is largely younger fans in their first or second fandom.

It seems like he's fandom-shopping at the moment, so is there anything you would recommend people who know about Andy can do to make him stay away? I know Teen Wolf and WTNV seem to have effectively told him to fuck off, but is there anything they could've done better?
Aug. 9th, 2014 02:07 am (UTC)
I don't know. I think it's awesome when a warning post goes around, but there's only so much that *can* be done. I think he will find victims no matter where he is. He has the best luck online though, and I think he prefers a larger circle with an inner core to the kind of intensity with only a small group.

I'm glad every time I see a warning start up, though. Because it means people *know* - by which I mean the authors of the warnings - and are helping people keep from being drawn in.
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Aug. 8th, 2014 04:54 am (UTC)
I'm someone who has been casual online friends with Andy for a while now. I have a weakness for narcissists, as my father is a very dangerous one. I imagine your advice would be to run far, far away from Andy and save myself the potential for danger. I'm not an idiot, yet I find myself drawn to him, which I imagine is his MO. I'm not sure what I'm asking here, but maybe it's for some acknowledgement of how magnetic these types can be, and how hard it is to give up on the idea of saving them from themselves.
Aug. 8th, 2014 08:14 pm (UTC)
Talking as someone who is codependant and working on it, you really need to work on your codependancy/enabling nonny

The fact that you are the child of a narcissist and find Andy "appealing" as friend should be a warning sign. Please seek help so that you can have better relationships in the future.
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Aug. 8th, 2014 04:56 am (UTC)
You have spoken before about Andy's temper tantrums and rages when his plans go awry. Can you talk more about that, please?
Aug. 9th, 2014 02:22 am (UTC)
There isn't much to say - I could tell you a much better story in person. You can't appreciate it without the wailing and gnashing of teeth.

I am being 100% serious.
Aug. 8th, 2014 04:57 am (UTC)
(reposting because I think your settings don't like links)

1) You mentioned in posts here on LJ that Andy was diagnosed professionally as "sociopathically manipulative" to the point that one of his therapists refused to work with him any longer. I know you've said elsewhere that you don't want to share details of that diagnosis, as it would violate his medical privacy, but can you say whether you know if his claims to have either DID or schizophrenia are based in facts (as you are aware of them) or pulled out of his ass?

2) Have you ever seen him show remorse? Like not this "oh I am so fucked up, pity me the poor tragic woobie who was forced to hurt people against his will" stuff, but him genuinely emotionally getting that his cult/drama/Others/etc had actually harmed people, and regretting that? Or honestly making a good-faith attempt to change?

3) How many of Andy's past victims are you aware of/in contact with, anonymously or otherwise? Just as an idea of the scale of the devastation behind the scenes to compare with his blithe interview answers.

4) You've said Turimel's book contains some inaccuracies and bias (which is unsurprising to anyone who was following the wank around her). There's also apparently some good data in there as well, right? I haven't read the book, but if I did, what sorts of things should I watch out for as probably being iffy?

5) I hadn't realized till I looked through your posts here that you were in touch with the Players about all the shit Andy sent your way after you left him. Do you know if they've tried to keep aware of any of his subsequent abuse? In your opinion is there anything they can do?
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Aug. 8th, 2014 04:57 am (UTC)
Do you think there will be a point when enough is enough for him and he finally bows out of fandom for good and actually tries to change his ways? Do you think such a point exists? Is he even capable?
Aug. 9th, 2014 02:32 am (UTC)
I doubt it.
Aug. 8th, 2014 05:06 am (UTC)
I have a personal friend who appears to be being drawn into Andy's web, to my grief and dismay. Is there anything I can say that might actually get through to them? Or should I just hang around and be supportive for when the eventual collapse and fallout happens?
Aug. 9th, 2014 02:33 am (UTC)
I get this question regularly, and thus far I don't have any advice other than try to stay friends with them, and remember what they were like before. Stay ready to forgive. Stay ready to support. Sorry :(
Aug. 8th, 2014 05:23 am (UTC)
Hi, Abbey! Thanks so much for doing this. I'm helping notreallyhappeningtoday to make a timeline of the fandoms in which Andy's been active and the claims he's made over the years. It's hard to know where to begin asking questions, but here are a few:

1. I've been looking through the BoE archive on Yahoo. I know that Andy was posting as VB, a Marine going by "Rennie Gade", probably the Ozzie Bloke (although I know he's a real person, I doubt he wrote those messages), and Mr. Frodo. Do you know if he had any other aliases at that time?
1. a )DId he ever post under your name and/or dictate what you should post? I have a feeling he did so on LJ, from the tone of a few comments I've read, and I'm wondering how far back that behavior goes.

2. In a comment to someone a while back, you mentioned that you had Andy's written account of how Tolkien "found" the long-lost, true story of Middle Earth. Would you mind sharing it? I'm imagining a Joseph Smith type scenario.

3. In your opinion--and with the understanding that you never knew Brittany--having had Andy coerce you to make accusations of abuse against your mother, and probably having seen him do the same with others involved with Bag End, does Brittany's letter to her father look like his handiwork?

4. What was it like when you met Andy in person for the first time? I don't think you've written about it in much detail, except for the account of your Goonies road trip that was on the BoE site years ago.

Thanks again!

Tea Blogger
Aug. 9th, 2014 02:42 am (UTC)
Big fan of your research, Tea Blogger! Better you than me :)

1. I didn't know about Renne Gade. The "hiding in plain sight secret Elijah Wood" was on lj under padawans which was short for Padawan Sideous. He regularly directly influenced or outright wrote things for me, or told me what to paraphrase.

2. I might share the whole thing. It's pretty long though. I'll have to think about it. It's not bad. The parts about the Professor are quite good.

3. Oh, that letter is so disturbing. It's Andy all over it. So much of it is just like what I wrote to my mother under his direction/coaching.

4. It was before he was anyone but VB. VB who had all of Kalimac Brandagamba's (that's Merry Brandybuck to most people who give even half a shit) memories. VB who upped the ante to full-on channeling during that trip. I don't remember it all that clearly - I remember segments vividly, but there's no flow. It was exhilarating. It was relief - he was right there instead of words on a screen. He was overwhelming. Intoxicating. Fascinating.

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Aug. 8th, 2014 06:28 am (UTC)
Do you think Andy's parents are aware of his online activities, in either a general or specific sense? It seems that he has spun multiple webs of lies about them in the past, and that he continues to do so, even if (thankfully, I guess?) the lies are smaller and much more innocuous these days.

I really feel for them, it must be difficult to be in their situation. However, I can't help but think if I had an adult child in those circumstances whom I was completely supporting, that I would make limited internet usage and fandom involvement a condition of that support.
Aug. 8th, 2014 05:05 pm (UTC)
Seconding this.
It must be awful for them and I know he's a grown man and all...but do you get the impression they appreciate the level of danger he presents to others? Would they or others around him step in if he was grooming another Brittany?

I know dragging the family into this is dodgy territory, like diagnosing people over the internet so completely understand if you can't answer this. Its just something I've wondered about for years - not everyone in his life must be completely in his thrall, right? Right?

(Andy reminds me of my NPD exex whose family enabled him and bailed him out all the time and would never quite condemn him. It was very odd to observe from the outside).
(no subject) - kumquatwriter - Aug. 9th, 2014 02:49 am (UTC) - Expand
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Aug. 8th, 2014 10:50 am (UTC)
At this point, do you think Andy is still involved with fandom because the canon's popularity catches his attention because it's new!shiny! and he can attract a teenage/young adult cult following through it, does the cult following surpass all his other interests, or is he now just totally getting off on all the attention that seems to follow his every move? Why I ask is that while he seems to attract a core group of dedicated followers, at least from the outside looking in it seems to be far smaller than the amount of people now watching, warning and wanking about his every move.

Do you think he prefers his hunting grounds to be among the stereotypical teenage/young adult fandomer, or would he just as happily prey on fandomers who skewed in the 40-65 year-old-range?
Aug. 9th, 2014 02:58 am (UTC)
I think he'll always skew young. The older you get, the less breathless melodrama you can tolerate. It's so overwrought that it hinges on immaturity, not age. He very consistently finds people who are intelligent, emotional, vulnerable, somewhat naive, loyal and immature.

Why always fandom? It's my opinion that it's just the place that works best for him to do what he does. An alcoholic generally has a preference for something specific - beer, whiskey, whatever - but will generally drink *anything* in a pinch. It's what works for him.
(no subject) - (Anonymous) - Aug. 9th, 2014 03:08 am (UTC) - Expand
Aug. 8th, 2014 11:48 am (UTC)
The biggest thing I don't understand about Andy's activities is why, even after people started catching on to him and spreading the word around fandom to watch out for certain behaviors, he kept on (and keeps on) /repeating/ those behaviors, even when they make people lose the faith in him that he wants.

I mean, like the fact that he's consistently failed to issue a real apology to you that A) acknowledges the things he's done, B) acknowledges that he did those things on purpose and that he was at fault, and C) outlines his plans to prevent himself from doing those things again. A and B are actual facts that have been documented over and over, so he wouldn't be 'fessing up to anything everyone doesn't already know, and C is something he could easily lie about. So why doesn't he just--pardon my language--BS his way through an apology, when not doing so loses him credibility?

Actually, what worries me is the idea that he WILL start changing up his behaviors, taking down some red flags while continuing to abuse people or work toward abusing people. He's manipulative enough to look at what his detractors say he would be doing if he was actually reformed and carry out the motions of those things, thereby making himself seem more trustworthy; so why doesn't he? He keeps telling easily-rebutted lies, making fauxpologies, etc., all of which lose him potential followers. Why isn't he switching up his M.O., instead of falling into the same old easily-recognizable behavior patterns?

Would he ever be motivated enough to switch to a new plan of action, instead of sticking with the one he's been using for a decade? And if he did, do you have any idea what it would look like?

I'm sorry if any of these questions are too vague or incomprehensible. It's just that it seems as if he's a lot more ineffective now that there are people who know first-hand what he's capable of and are vocal about it whenever he does something fishy--you, delwyn-march, 1purp0se, etc.--and it worries me that he might start... smoothing away his warning signs, as it were.

Thanks so much for taking the time to answer questions, and for being willing to talk about all of this. Your insights on what you learned about Andy during your time with him are eye-opening.
Aug. 9th, 2014 03:03 am (UTC)
I don't think he'll reel in the red flags. I think if he was *able* to he would have done it. I don't mean that his behavior is beyond his control (ooh poor woobie!). Some aspects of it are almost fetishistic - the absolute *need* to get certain types of behavior out of people, certain types of reactions, certain kinds of attention.

Beyond that, I am not sure how to put it to words. I'll mull it over more and if I can express it better I'll make a post some other time.
Aug. 8th, 2014 11:55 am (UTC)
Please feel free to not answer this. Your comfort is far more important.

You blogged in length about the folie a deux and many of the tactics Andy used to build a cage around you one bar at a time. Looking back now with hindsight, what were some of the first signs you can remember of him attempting to manipulate you into a co-dependent relationship with him? How much do you remember thinking 'this isn't real', but go along with it anyway to avoid the stress? Did you ever call him out on anything and if so, how did he react when you did?

These questions are in no way victim blaming you. These little things often help current or potentially new victims see how he did it to you, and maybe see how he's currently doing it to them.
Aug. 9th, 2014 03:04 am (UTC)
This one I'm going to have to come back to later.

Edit: In retrospect, I am just posting these links to my earlier writing.


Edited at 2014-09-13 07:24 pm (UTC)
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