#9 Catfish – Part III
In all my years in prison, I have never known of a prisoner catfishing anyone and making them believe the prisoner was actually free, be it on social media networks, or through any other medium. The reverse, however, is not true. Prisoners are catfished by those outside prison with enough regularity to keep the TV series of that name in business indefinitely.
I have often received photos from people who contact me, only to later discover they are of someone else. This has happened to me at least 25 times which I am aware of, and no doubt has happened many more times, of which I remain unaware, as it remains so difficult for me to check. For the most part, it does not really bother me. The average person who corresponds with a prisoner does so only for a short time, for the novelty of the situation, and has no intention of becoming a real friend. I am well aware of this fact. As long as they are a source of interesting conversation while they remain, why should I begrudge them the chance to be someone other than whom they are, if it makes them happy?
Sometimes, however, it progresses beyond that, into true catfish territory. For whatever reason, the person enters into a full romantic relationship with the prisoner, and I assume the intent is that the deception will never be discovered. In most cases, that is likely true. But unexpected and unforeseen events can occur, to expose the truth. In one of the more interesting stories I have of that occurring, I only discovered the truth because of a tragedy.
A good many years ago, I was contacted by a young woman from England. She was well spoken and interesting, which made her a welcome addition to my life. She was also attractive; too attractive, with all her photos being professional quality model shots. This made me suspicious. When I requested a casual picture, to see how she would respond, she sent many, showing herself around the house, in her car, out walking her dog. After some time, I came to accept that she was really the person she claimed to be, and we ended up becoming romantically involved. It was enjoyable, for about a year. Then she disappeared.
She totally ghosted me, going from "I will love you forever" to nothing, overnight. I never heard from her again. Because this is how most people deal with ending a prison relationship, I tried to take it in stride, and not let it get me down. (Side note: Upwards of 80% of those who contact prisoners disappear like that at some point, with no explanation.)
A few years later, one of my neighbors pounded on my wall, and yelled "Turn on the TV, quick. That girl you used to write is on!" It was the story of Katie Piper. Some of you may be familiar with her; A London based model, who suffered a horrible acid attack, and in spite of what was done to her, managed to rise above the situation, and become an advocate for women suffering from similar attacks. I still had some of the exact pictures that were shown from when she was a model. Everyone I knew recognized them and was convinced I had been involved with Katie Piper. Only my "girlfriend " had a different name and did not live in London.
Whomever I had been in contact with, she had obviously been stealing the pictures from Katie Piper's social media, and sending them to me. While the real model was relatively unknown, the person I knew must have believed it a workable plan. My assumption would be that as soon as she heard of the attack, she realized I might see it on the news at some point, and she would be caught. So before I could discover her, she just left.
To this day, I still have no clue as to whom I might have been talking to. Although it is unimportant now, it retains the feeling of unfinished business. But what can a prisoner do?
Previous articles of the "Catfish" series:
Picture: Andrey Arkusha / Shutterstock.com