Cynic’s Corner

 

With any unusual story comes a lot of healthy skepticism. Here’s a FAQ about Benjaman’s life in regards to the documentary.

 

Q: How do we know he isn’t faking it?

A: Simply because Benjaman isn’t getting anything out of this. Again, without a social security number, he can’t even stay in a shelter, can’t build credit, can’t do much of anything. Even with this site, he’s not profiting in any way.

Q: There’s stuff online about this being a hoax. What’s up with that?

A: A few years ago, a Website called Websleuths began pouring in hours into the Benjaman Kyle story, trying to solve the case. One day, a moderator proclaimed, it was a hoax- due to some discrepancies between the reports of how he was found. Here’s a quote from Neil Forsyth’s article in The Guardian.

“In 2007 Kyle became one of the site’s most popular cases until, on 3 April, Griffith posted a 350-word entry claiming that she and others had evidence Kyle wasn’t beaten and so was a fraud. The 18-page discussion that followed contained two pieces of apparent evidence. The first was that Richmond Hill police had told a Websleuths member Kyle was not unconscious when found and was able to talk but chose not to do so.

However, Harold Copus, an investigator with more than a decade’s experience as an FBI case manager, who was brought in by the Dr Phil show to look into Kyle’s story, supports his version of events. “I spoke to the EMTs [paramedics], Burger King staff and responding police officers. Not only was Kyle unconscious when he was found, they thought he was dead.” Copus confirms that Kyle’s fingerprints have been checked against the FBI’s files on both criminal and civil cases, the most comprehensive search possible. Kyle also cooperated with a linguist (who agreed that a midwest background was likely) and Copus talks about taking Kyle to an “expensive doctor in Atlanta” who reviewed “Kyle’s medical situation from the moment he was found”.

In my own research for the documentary, I tried to obtain the original police reports from the Richmond Hill Police Department. Sadly, they no longer exist. And when you do look at the information provided by websleuths, there do seem to be differences between the stories, but more disturbingly, the original report is gone.

Because of the strange circumstances of the case, proper care was not taken on the crime scene, or for the subsequent paperwork. To this day, it is used as an example to police trainees in Georgia on how to not conduct a crime scene. So, yes, Websleuth’s conclusion that some of the details are hazy is correct, since the case was not given the proper documentation. But their conclusion, that this man is faking his condition, and doesn’t know who he is, is not.

 

Q: Interesting story. What do you actually expect do accomplish with the site? Can we really do anything?

A: I think we can. Somewhere, someone that knows this man is out there. We have the tools to spread information quicker than ever, and if there’s ever been a time where we could reconnect this man with his past life, it’s now. We’re also at a point where our shared knowledge can live in one place, and that’s why I made this website. I don’t think one person alone can solve this mystery, but collectively, we might have a shot.

 

Q: I hate things that try to make people feel like they’re “making a difference” by liking a Facebook status…

A: Yeah, awareness without action means nothing. If that’s your stance, then don’t feel like you’re being indoctrinated to do anything. I first found this on stumbleupon, and I think we’re at unique opportunity to help this man’s life by spreading his story. I’m not trying to make you buy a bumper sticker or anything.

 

Finding Benjaman on Facebook