A quick update on the Plain Layne situation I wrote about last week. Turns out there’s a strong possibility that the whole thing was a hoax after all, as many expected. Mitch of Shot in the Dark writes:
After a little digging and a little dot-connecting - some of the information is public, some known only to me - I figured out who “Layne” was. We spent about four hours talking yesterday.
I learned the whole genesis of Plain Layne. More than that, I learned the story behind the story - which, in the end, is a much more interesting tale than the whole “Layne” phenomenon itself.
For whatever reason, Mitch has decided to sit on the story for awhile. Further down in the thread, someone else proffers a theory as to whom Mitch is referring:
“Layne” was created by Odin Soli, who worked at Aptura and knew Mitch from when they worked together at Integrity Solutions. A certain “Greg” who dug up information on Aptura and presented it on Joshua’s blog, mentioned that Odin Soli is a “self-professed novelist.” Mitch described the person behind Layne as an “accomplished but frustrated writer.”
Turns out that Odin Soli is a novelist, a Latin American specialist (Layne lived in Mexico for a time and spoke Spanish), a database administrator & webmaster (Layne was familiar with both skills), and worked for large Minnesota companies (as did Layne). He’s also a lawyer and owns a house in Woodbury (Layne resided there).
If true, this is fantastic. While everyone flounders around clumsily experimenting with fake Friendster profiles and finding their voices on blogs and journals, this guy has created two entirely plausible and entertaining online characters, fleshing them out over a series of months in living, evolving narratives. A round of applause is in order here.
Thanks to Jason for passing this link along.
ps. I’ve noticed that (entirely unintentionally on my part) the issue of identity, truth, opinion, bias, etc. has come up a lot lately on this site. To wit, the original Plain Layne thread, Fahrenheit 9/11, Capturing the Friedmans, and probably several recent remaindered links. Must be on my mind for some reason.
Update: Who knows if this is legit or not, but here’s a confession by the person who wrote both Plain Layne and Acanit. He claims to have been inspired by the Kaycee Nicole happenings:
Those stories were rotting on my hard drive, same as most stuff I write, until I stumbled across an article about Kaycee Nicole, the legendary internet hoax who supposedly died of cancer. That’s when the idea of turning Acanit into a “real” character hit me. I was instantly obsessed. What would it be like to act a character instead of merely write one? Would the “realness” of the character improve suspension of belief? Could I maintain a consistently believable female character? And that’s how my short stories morphed into an online diary called “The Sex Pistols are Alive and Well and Living in Sohatsenango”.
The timeline of events is a little weird — the Kaycee Nicole story broke in mid May 2001, Acanit’s site has stories dating back to January 2001 — but those entries could have been back-dated seeing as the site really does pick up steam a couple of months after the Kaycee Nicole hits the press.
This thread is closed to new comments. Thanks to everyone who responded.