Okay, I admit that that sounds incredibly wrong, but the alternative, if "Zen" isn't dead, is that he upset a great many people for no good reason.
This will show up as my second post in a day, even though it's now after 1:00 AM where I live. This will take some explaining, so try to be patient, okay?
During the holiday season of 2006, a young man in Australia started threatening to commit suicide. He called himself "Ilev," which we would all realize later was an anagram for "evil." It didn't seem to matter what was said, Ilev was intent on ending his life on New Year's Eve. The general discussion and pleading that occurred out in public wasn't enough for some of us, and we took the conversations private. I was one of those who sent a private message to him, and it was amazing to me that regardless of what I suggested, Ilev had a counter argument. His death was pending, and there was nothing anyone could do about it...or so we though.
Here's the thing about liars...Given enough time, they'll reveal themselves. That's what happened with Ilev. I became aware that, besides myself, the only other people he was talking to privately were women. One "woman" was a mere 14-year-old girl. And when he learned that she'd been in tears over his insistence to commit suicide, he seemed...smug...about it. He wasn't apologetic, or further depressed that he'd brought her to tears, or even apathetic. He almost seemed to say, "Good. This is what I've been hoping for." Not his exact words; that message came from between the lines.
So I found out who he'd been talking with privately, and that small circle started their own little message ring, reporting what was being said to each individual. Ilev was telling each of us what he thought would hurt us most, which turned out to be different for each of us. So we had our severe doubts about whether or not he was who he said he was, or if he had any true intent to do himself harm.
The folks who run GitP aren't fools. They know their stuff, and when the time for his supposed suicide came along, they made sure the authorities were on hand. So after the "date of termination" had passed, I and others called him on his lies out in public. With his game ruined, he vanished.
Some months later, someone claiming to be the REAL Ilev sent me a private message, claiming that his name and password had been hacked and that...blah, blah, blah. I was having none of it. If it was true, he should say so out in the open, not try to reconnect privately. I warned the ladies, "Guess who's back," and he vanished again.
Because of his antics, however, it was realized that there were plenty of people on GitP who could use a place to vent their emotional woes. Thus, even though the originating incident was a distressing creation of fiction, the Depression Thread was born, and many people have been helped because of it.
Now we have this guy, ZenAnarchist, AKA Zen, who is posting regularly, seems friendly, is nice enough, and even puts a picture up on the YOU Thread, in which Playgrounders post photos of themselves. In his one and only picture, he's a handsome guy with a beautiful woman smiling beside him. They appear happy. This picture was posted on 22 October.
On the 23rd, looking up his history of posts, Zen was making his normal posts, when he suddenly started telling people on several different threads that he would have to postpone his participation in various games due to his fiancee and unborn child being killed in a car accident. He was going to have to identify the body, which he said was the hardest thing he's ever had to do.
Come the 24th, several posts on the YOU Thread were scrubbed. It meany a moderator came in and erased what was being said. These posts occurred AFTER the posting of the picture AND the supposed death of the fiancee and unborn child. If I recall correctly, it's because the comments were a bit too racy for the like of the Playground.
Question: Why would you be adding to the racy banter about your fiancee who was killed the day before?
Mind you, that's relying on my hazy memory. It could have been an argument that Zen started because he was upset, but I don't know with absolute certainty.
Also on the 24th are numerous posts by Zen in which he thanked people for their support. One might wonder why he was doing so much posting to a gaming forum, but he flat-out stated that if he didn't do SOMETHING that he'd spiral downward emotionally. He was doing a lot of posting in the "play-by-post" gaming threads, and someone by the name of BladedWarlord was going to take over Zen's character. Zen's basic message was, "Don't worry. When I have my head together, I'll send you notes on my character so you can take my place."
On the 25th, he involved himself in someone's plight on the Depression Thread. This other person was talking about his great desire to end his life, and Zen came along with his little "life is precious" post. All indications are that he is very upset, he is coping, and he has a grief counselor. All of that is from his posts. Then he went silent.
There was nothing more until someone named ScionOfBlades came along on the 28th to report that Zen had ended his life. And the Playground wept. Including me. I was terribly distressed that someone had ended his life in a state of insurmountable emotional turmoil. I was so thankful when I was able to log onto Skype and talk to my beloved Becky, because she helped pull me together and make me feel better overall. (Thank you for just being you, baby!)
Once we disconnected Skype, I headed back to GitP to see what else was being said, and there's drama brewing on the memorium thread. Someone named RaptorRider came along to say, "Ummm...Hey, guys. I don't mean to be disrespectful, but that picture of the guy with the beautiful woman? That's not this Zen character. That's me."
I'm instantly suspicious. Someone somewhere is lying to everyone else. If they're not lying, and the picture WAS stolen by a guy who just committed suicide, pointing this out now is NOT the time. Ah, but it was the timing of this new poster that was a bit odd. He joined today for the specific reason of being able to post and reveal "the truth."
ScionOfBlades didn't know what picture was being talked about, and that's where I became directly involved. I sent the picture in question to Scion, who claimed he was seeing the picture for the first time, and that it WASN'T Zen. ScionOfBlades then said that Zen was somewhat ashamed of his looks, and probably borrowed a picture of more attractive people to make himself feel better.
Thus, I wrote back, explaining that we'd been scammed before, and that it had been pretty upsetting the last time, and this time it was even worse. I hated doing it, but I asked for some kid of proof that Zen had ended his life. A news article or an obituary. I mean, a story like this here in the States would be news. "Man commits suicide less than a week after losing wife and unborn child in car accident"...? It falls perfectly under the rule of news, "If it bleeds, it leads."
Then, because I was growing increasingly upset that someone was playing out a cruel hoax, I engaged in a little Darksiders. When I'm getting angry, nothing improves my mood like killing pixelated demonic minions.
After a few hours, I returned to GitP to find that the memorium thread had been locked. Another thread, placed by a moderator and immediately locked so that there could be no arguing about it, was placed. Suspicions had been raised, so all threads were locked and were being investigated.
That's when I started writing this post. And while I was writing it...
They weren't kidding when they said it was being investigated. The head honco, Rich Burlew, came along and posted the foloowing:
After examining information both from our own forum database and various external websites (and offline sources), the moderation staff of Giant in the Playground has determined to our satisfaction that the reported suicide of GITP poster ZenAnarchist was, in fact, part of an elaborate hoax. We do not know, at this time, to what end.
However, we have made enough different connections to know that ZenAnarchist, ScionOfBlades (the poster who reported the suicide), and RaptorRider (the poster who recently claimed to be the "real" person displayed in photos posted by ZenAnarchist), are all the same person, all using the same computer (sometimes within seconds of one another). Other aliases on this site include BladedWarlord, -Baldur-, WorldWalker, Octopus Garden, and DocRock. We know this poster's real name, address, current employer, and most importantly, that he is still alive. We have no knowledge regarding the alleged death of his fiancee at this time.
All related accounts are being banned, and steps are being taken to to prevent this individual from ever participating in the Giant in the Playground message board again. At this time, we cannot reveal all of the methods used to make these determinations, but I want to personally assure you that we would not be making this announcement if we were not absolutely certain.
And on a personal note, I'd like to apologize for not getting this removed sooner, but certain key pieces of evidence did not come to light until now.
I am virtually speechless. What kind of creature, (because he certainly isn't human), pulls this kind of hoax, and for what purpose? Was it somehow "fun" to put an entire online community into a state of extreme distress? And can we start a class action lawsuit against him? I'd like $1,000,000 for every tear that was shed today.
It's now two hours since I started writing this post. I need medication to calm me down, and I should probably kill more imaginary things. Because if I don't, I'm going to start thinking about how to hunt this clown down and do some of the things my old Mafia neighbor suggested when it came to torture.