Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The World's Greatest Imposters





I've been thinking about imposters lately. (Why? That's for me to know and for you to read about in a few months.) So I was thrilled to discover this fascinating list of the world's ten greatest imposters. At number two, there's Frank Abagnale, who managed to impersonate a pilot, a doctor, and a lawyer without the benefit of a single degree. And number nine is Mary Baker, an English cobbler's daughter, who invented a new language and convinced the world that she was Princess Carabou from the island of Javasu. But I was surprised to see that the list did not include one of the most famous imposters of all.

In 1918, the last Czar of Russia and his family were murdered by Bolsheviks. But in 1920, a lovely young woman appeared in Berlin. Her name was Anna Anderson (shown below), and she claimed to be the Grand Duchess Anastasia (shown above), one of the Czar's three daughters.

Anderson spun a remarkable tale. She'd been shot by the Bolsheviks but managed to escape with the help of a soldier. Later, she had made her way to Berlin where she tried to contact her father's sister, Princess Irene. When the princess failed to recognize her, Anderson tried to take her life. Doctors at the mental facility where Anderson had been taken after her suicide attempt confirmed that the young woman's body was riddled with bullet wounds.

For decades, many believed that Anderson was, in fact, the Grand Duchess Anastasia. Even members of the royal family insisted she was a relation. Anderson's true identity remained one of the world's greatest mysteries--until 1994 when DNA testing proved that Anderson was not of royal blood. She had been an imposter after all.

Sadly, the bones of the real Anastasia were recently identified. While Anna Anderson hobnobbed with royalty, Anastasia had been lying in a lonely grave on the eastern side of the Ural mountains.


22 Comments:

Blogger Kitty said...

Happy St. Patrick's Day!! I feel sorry for Anderson now... ;-;

5:28 PM  
Blogger Emma said...

That is horrible! I can't belive they didn't do DNA testing sooner, or id they have DNA testing that early? Yeah, I was always fascinated by the story of Anastatia, but I never knew about Anna Anderson!

6:06 PM  
Blogger Jin Ai said...

That's amazing! and the list looks really interesting...(who would be dumb enough to buy a money printing machine?)

6:26 PM  
Anonymous Dakota Blue said...

Oh, but they do not include me on this supposed 'awesome list'. How dare they! Not everyone can put on a green costume, dye their head red, and claim to be the Irish Superhero. (Yes, she's real. Well, now she is. She helps people win the lottery and stay out of debt. Don't you wish she was real?)

6:36 PM  
Blogger falcon said...

I knew about Anna Anderson, but didn't Anna Anderson have amnesia?
I know that Anastaisia in the Disney version did, and that was loosley based on Anna A., and I read somewhere else that she truly did have amnesia.

7:42 PM  
Anonymous cupcakedoll said...

Emma-- they didn't have DNA testing back then. It was developed pretty recently.

The real Anastasia's bones must have only been found in the last few years, so nobody could prove the poor girl was dead during Anna's life.

10:25 PM  
Anonymous Peace Peeps said...

Happy St. Patrick's Day, top of the morning to you, all that stuff. Kiki 3 sneak peek = soon? Please? Must I grovel? Oh, and the Irish Superhero sounds awesome. But I don't think that's impersonating . . .

10:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I feel really bad for Anastasia . . . While Anderson frolicked with the rich, her bones rotted in a forest. That's just depressing. Still a cool post, though! That site is really good for finding tons of stuff you would never need to know! (AKA the most useful knowledge!)

9:43 AM  
Anonymous Nellie said...

I had read about that--I think it's really interesting and also kind of sad.


"I've been thinking about imposters lately. (Why? That's for me to know and for you to read about in a few months.)"
Dan da dan dan...
:)

12:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I read about Anna Anderson in a really cool book about the tsars. It said that she had bayonnett scars on her feet. For a while I sort of believed it.... until about three days ago when I read about it in NatGeo 8-0 shocking.

2:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

the story of the Romanovs is sad. they were brought down to the basement and told they were getting their pictures taken. But instead of adding another photo to their album, they were peppered with bullets. Its depressing. :-(

2:31 PM  
Anonymous Meredith said...

There's this great book about that whole Anastasia thing. My little sis got it from the library after we watched the movie (which isn't Disney, it's Fox). I don't think she read it, though. I think she just looked at the pictures and decided it was too creepy.

3:12 PM  
Anonymous spiffy said...

Hey, was St. patrick's Day international mastermind's birthday? (I just vaguely remembered that, sorry if it's not true)

5:42 PM  
Blogger falcon said...

Oh, really? It's fox? I wondered why they never had it with the Disney stuff! It seems very disney, though.

6:41 PM  
Blogger DoC Member said...

Abagnale is cool!

These imposters are amazing. Coincidentally, yesterday, in history class as a Cold War-Communist paranoia game, we were given pieces of paper.
On the piece of paper, there was a chance you were a dot. As a dot, you have to get into the non-dot groups.
If you don't, you get 5 points.
If you're a non-dot, and you make a good group without dots, you get the full 10 points...if not... you get 5 points.

I was a dot, and I got into a group. Nobody suspected me, not even the teacher. Haha...

I feel like being an imposter. H
o.o

(IDHSCB)

9:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

when she said for us to find out, i hope it means shes writing another book!!!!! i would LOOVVVEEE it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

6:06 PM  
Blogger Irregular Kiki said...

That is very interesting. I'd hate to spend time with someone I thought I knew, and find out they were not really the person I knew...

8:23 AM  
Anonymous KikiStrike20 said...

oh yeah, i remember reading something about that...

10:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ah hah! A clue! Someone impersonates Betty, right?

1:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow. i feel so bad for the duchess. it must have been so cruel to have been killed then left in the woods.

btw...... does anyone know when kiki 3 is going come out.. i have read the first two like a zillion times and i'm dieing to find out what happens. if ananka still the narrator or is it going to be betty???????? too many questions & so few answers!!!!!!!!!!!!

3:15 PM  
Blogger liltomboyblue11;) said...

a) She wasn't a duchess....

b) Rasputin really was behind it. Anastia's brother had hemophilia, and Rasputin was a monk who came to heal him, but tsar Nicholas wasn't a very good ruler and didn't want to rule so basically let Rasputin decide things and was just a figurehead. Yes, it was slaughter. :( Anna Anderson really was neurotic though. I read a book on Anastatia (I was 5... and a very creepy child) ;)

b) Anastatia's mom's name is the same as my middle name

c) I can't believe that guy preformed succesful surgeries!!!!!!!

5:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

the DNA testing was faked because the English Royal family could not afford to have it come out that they had covered it up all these years. Ask DNA experts.

11:03 AM  

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