Thursday, September 10, 2015

DOCUMENTARY WEEKEND: THE WOMAN WHO WASN'T THERE

Because tomorrow is 9/11, a day of remembrance for us, today I republish a post from September 19th, 2013. Tomorrow I must edit, but I shall return to you on Monday. Please forgive my temporary absence from your blogs. I must take some time off from answering your comments, too, but I read everything you write about my blog and appreciate your insights and opinions unless you're a jackass. 


Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

Today I present for your viewing consideration a documentary called The Woman Who Wasn't There (2012, No Rating, Originally Made for TV, Available on DVD and Netflix Streaming).







Because we endured another 9/11 observance so recently, I want to review this documentary, which I watched on Netflix Streaming.

On September 11th, 2001, a Spanish woman named Tania Head, who worked for Merrill Lynch, was on the 78th floor of the South Tower when the first plane hit, making her one of only 19 people on the 78th floor or higher who survived. After six days in a coma, Tania awoke in a hospital burn unit, absolutely devastated because Dave, who was her fiance or kinda sorta maybe her husband, had died in the North Tower.

Tania became a symbol of survival because of all she'd been through. Eventually she helped establish a survivors' network, and became the group's president. She often led tours of the site where the Twin Towers once stood. She became close friends with many other survivors, who felt they could count on her during their darkest times.


Tania Head meets with some of New York's political luminaries –
Michael Bloomberg, George Pataki, and Rudy Giuliani.


Of course, the title reveals the truth, so this review isn't really a spoiler. "Tania Head" was in Barcelona on 9/11. She never worked for Merrill Lynch. She didn't know the Dave who died in the North Tower. She's the woman who wasn't there, who managed to convince multitudes of people that she was.

This documentary is fascinating. No one really knows why Alicia Esteve Head claimed to be a survivor of the attack on New York. Did she long for attention? Did she want to be part of an important group? Was she lonely and found an opportunity to make friends?

Other survivors of 9/11 recount their experiences with Head. She was very popular in their community, and reportedly did not use her story for financial gain. Rather, she donated money to help others.

The film reveals how some of the other survivors became skeptical of Head's story, the details of which changed with various tellings, and how The New York Times eventually reported that her story was a hoax.

But she managed to get away with it until 2007.

The Woman Who Wasn't There is worth watching because it's one darned strange story. I give this documentary The Janie Junebug Highest Seal of Approval.

I hope you find it as interesting as I did.

Happy Viewing!


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug



29 comments:

  1. I have heard of her. What a low life.

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    1. I think it's some type of mental illness. She was desperate for attention.

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  2. Janie, thanks for sharing this, and I remember the story that told of her being a hoax. So interesting to understand the background of someone who would take on a false experience, and I'm sure it's been done before. At least she mostly used her story to be of service to others. Hmmmm.

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    1. She was of service to others until she broke their hearts because they learned she was a liar. She pushed at least one man out of the survivors' network because she wanted to be in charge of everything. The parents of the man who supposedly saved her life met with her and gave her a special item that their son wore. If I'd been friends with her, I would have been so let down. On the other hand, maybe in her mind it wasn't a lie.

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  3. I remember this documentary. She obviously has deep issues. Truth can be so much stranger than fiction.

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    1. Absolutely. The truth is often unbelievable.

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  4. I hope she will have some sort of peace. Deception can take a toll on a person.

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    1. I don't know if it's possible for her to find peace.

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  5. Wow, that's crazy she held the lies for so long. I'm glad she didn't actually profit from it or else I'd be really angry right now. She must've been just so very lonely.

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    1. She profited by attaining the friendship of so many people and by getting so much attention.

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  6. I can't imagine someone lying about being a 9/11 survivor, but to continue to do the work she did is truly astounding! Thanks for telling us about the documentary. I'm definitely going to watch it. I find human behavior and the human psyche so fascinating.
    Michele at Angels Bark

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    1. I wish she'd come forward and talk about why she did it. If she told the truth, people might have more sympathy for her. Maybe she's not capable of telling the truth.

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  7. Hard to imagine someone making this claim for attention.

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    1. I looked for her online to try to find out where she is now. I found a list of people who have pulled off hoaxes and got caught--eventually.

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  8. She is in desperate need of attention and is quite the sociopath because, in the end, it was all about her. She did not want to be invisible which is what she may have felt like. What's good and bad is that she did help people but these same people she helped now feel betrayed and all for her own self. I hope she is getting treatment.

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    1. I don't think anyone knows where she is currently. She stayed in New York for a while and was spotted there. She got a job in Spain, but was fired when the book and documentary about her came out. The company where she worked feared that people wouldn't trust them if they kept her on.

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  9. Hi, Janie!

    I'm going to bring this program to Mrs. Shady's immediate attention. Hopefully she and I can watch it together. I don't know quite how to feel about this woman. She wasn't in it for the money and she actually helped survivors through their darkest hours. She apparently was lonely and craved attention and saw the 9-11 tragedy as an opportunity to help and be helped.

    Alicia got away with the pretense for so long because she was congruent. In that respect she reminds me of Frank Abagnale, the famous impostor who had fake credentials as an airline pilot, a doctor, a lawyer and other important positions, and inspired the movie Catch Me If You Can.

    I will express more about this bizarre case after Mrs. Shady and I watch the documentary. Thank you for letting us know about it, Janie!

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    1. Yes, she is similar to Frank Abagnale. People who believe their own lies can pass a lie detector test.

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  10. Eeek! That's crazy and the other crazy fact is, how did she end up in the burn unit in a coma? At least she did charity work, but still... the story is bizarre to say the least. I'll have to rent this DVD.

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    1. I found it on YouTube for free. Looks as if it's the entire movie. She was never in the burn unit in a coma. She said she was, and people believed her.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BWCPuJFPbic

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  11. She sounds like an opportunist, and a very insecure one at that. This little escapade probably gave her a feeling of self-worth.

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    1. I'm sure it made her feel important. She was insecure as a child, too.

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  12. Wow. What WOULD possess someone to do that? Wanted her 15 minutes of fame, I'll warrant.

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    1. Desperate for attention her entire life.

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  13. Wow. I never heard of her. I will definitely have to watch this; it sounds fascinating.

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  14. What a strange story. I never heard of her either and now I wonder what happened to her after she was discovered to be a hoax. I will add this to my wishlist for DVDs.

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  15. It's fascinating when someone does something like this but not for profit. Well, monetary profit anyway. I'd never heard of her, but I have heard of stories where the mom tells everyone her kid has cancer (shaves his head and everything), and even goes so far as to tell the kid he has cancer...just to garner sympathy and attention. It takes a special kind of a-hole to do that to your own kid.

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  16. Unbelievable. The things that people do, Janie.

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  17. Will definitely look for it today.
    I love your writing style and will visit often, maybe even convince your to help me edit the book I am writing.

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