An Anonymous Stranger Confesses to A Murder. (Maybe)

Tuesday, September 03, 2013 - 02:18 PM

On Sunday, the blog Post Secret, which publishes anonymous, secret confessions sent via postcard, posted what purports to be a murder confession.


Of course there’s no way to tell if the card is real or a hoax, and the weight of probability suggests the latter. But in the meantime, the detectives of the internet have descended on the case.

Reddit users set to work identifying the location displayed in the screenshot, and quickly turned it up: a driving range in Chicago. An anonymous tipster called the Chicago police. On Sunday, they searched the area for a body and found nothing. 

Post Secret’s creator, Frank Warren, has been criticized for exploiting the idea of a murdered woman for cheap titillation. He justified his decision to publish the post in the first place thusly:

“In most cases, including this one, I believe it is healthy to shine a light on dark secrets. In this case, for example, maybe the secret leads to solving a crime, or reminds women that they are much more likely to be hurt on a date with someone they know than a complete stranger.”

Neither of those justifications feel particularly sound. Women are, unfortunately, aware of the threat of domestic violence. The idea that this message would be an effective PSA or an appropriate forum for one feels silly. And it’s also hard to imagine Warren truly believes that the most expedient way to catch a murderer would be to post their confession to his secrets blog.

In the meantime, Warren has unpublished half of the post. The backside of the postcard, which was originally on the site, has now been quietly removed. 


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TLDR is a short podcast and blog about the internet by PJ Vogt and Alex Goldman. You can subscribe to our podcast here. You can follow our blog here. We’re also on Twitter, and we play Team Fortress 2 more or less constantly, so find us there if you like to communicate via computer games from six years ago.

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