1996 by Gloria Naylor

Book: 1996

Author: Gloria Naylor (yes, that Gloria Naylor)

Why Do I Consider This Book Odd: God help me, but just bear with me for a moment. Back when I stumbled across the information about Johnny Gosch and the whole Franklin Scandal, I did a search and somehow ended up on the site of a woman called Eleanor White – I can no longer recall the exact link that got me there, but believe me, I got there. Anyway, Eleanor is a person who believes in gang stalking, meaning that organized groups of government entities and private citizens stalk her, breaking into her home, wearing out her clothes, breaking her furniture, leaving mounds of dirt on her kitchen floor, tapping her phone calls, harassing her at work, following her every move and using advanced technology to read her mind. The site had some unintentionally hilarious moments, like when White or someone else posted pictures of some very ratty long johns worn through at the crotch as proof that someone was breaking into their home and wearing out their clothes.

But ultimately, there was nothing funny about any of it because no matter whether or not you believe these people’s claims, the fact remains that they think this is happening to them and some are terrified. Regardless, the first link on the Alphabetical Site list White had on her site was to a review of Gloria Naylor’s 1996. So I had to get a copy. It took me a while to make myself read it. And I don’t even really want to discuss it here because I know that the end result will be a lot of e-mails if not comments from people who genuinely think they are victims of gang or multiple stalkers and will accuse me of being part of the vast conspiracy of people loosening the buttons on their coats, taking their new tires and replacing them with bald radials in order to make them miserable, or beaming thought rays into their brains to inspire suicide. But I read it and by my own messed up, self-imposed rules, discuss it I must.

Availability: Published in 2005 by Third World Press, it is still in print via the publisher’s website or you can get a used copy here:

Comments: I am a grad school dropout. I finished one semester and realized I was just not cut out for it. I was 26 and didn’t want anybody telling me what to read anymore because I just wanted to be left alone with my true crime, my conspiracy theories, my Loch Ness monster photo analyses and my Fay Weldons. I flat out didn’t have the mental discipline it took to get my Master’s, which was no surprise really because as an undergrad, I would stay up until the wee hours after studying to read the books I wanted to read, sometimes faking my way through classes because I couldn’t bring myself to read Beowulf or Mrs. Dalloway. But in that one semester of grad school, I took an African-American women’s writers class and studied Zora Neale Hurston, Alice Walker, Toni Morrison and Gloria Naylor. We read The Women of Brewster Place and Mama Day, the latter being not a great novel, but not a bad one either. And the former, in addition to winning a National Book Award in 1983, was a favorite of Oprah, who starred as one of the characters in the mini-series based on the book.

I wonder if Oprah has read 1996. I wonder what she thinks about this book, about what has happened to Gloria Naylor. Something in me tells me she hasn’t read this book. Nor have most Naylor fans who may stumble across this discussion. I am using large quotes from this book in order to discuss it thoroughly and if it seems like I am ridiculing Naylor or anyone else who believes in mind control or gang stalking, I’m not. But if I don’t use her words and react to them with candor, it will be impossible to show why this book is so shocking and so odd.

Gloria Naylor purchased a dream home on St. Helena Island in South Carolina. She set out to spend her summers there, relaxing away from New York and gardening. All was idyllic except for Eunice Simon’s cats. Her neighbor’s cats routinely dug and defecated in her garden. Visiting with Simon did Naylor no good and relations between the two degenerated. Things came to a head when Naylor put out poison to kill tree rats and ended up killing one of Simon’s cats instead. Yes, as in every book I read these days, there is a dead cat in 1996. Things spiral completely out of control when Naylor loses it in a supermarket and snipes at Eunice, “You bitch.” Simon hears “Jew Bitch” and it’s katy bar the door.

At this point, the book slides completely into speculation on Naylor’s part, a retelling of what she thinks must have happened (and bear in mind, Eunice Simon is a pseudonym, as are most of the names in this book, so trying to research what happened to Naylor is impossible). According to Naylor, Simon’s brother is highly placed in the National Security Agency, and though he is tired of his oversensitive sister, he finds that Naylor has tenuous social ties to Black Muslims and begins to make her life hell on those grounds. Using the anti-Jew sentiment that Eunice misheard in the supermarket combined with anti-Semitism perceived as the aim behind Black Muslim groups, Dick Simon from the NSA not only launches an investigative campaign against Naylor, but he also calls in the local ADL to assist stalking and tailing her.

Naylor’s garden is killed off by stalkers. Her home is broken into. She is followed everywhere she goes. Her computer is hacked. Three students recruited by the NSA to torment her – she calls them The Boys – terrorize her at all hours. A friend who visits her is threatened. She returns to New York and the organized stalking continues. Every few minutes, cars stop and open and slam close their doors outside her apartment. Neighbors let the NSA set up a computer and satellite in their home so that thought rays can be beamed into Naylor’s brain. These thoughts they send her are meant to cause her to try to kill herself. When Naylor fights back against the thought rays via inner strength, the NSA ups the ante and begins to read her thoughts and respond to them in real time via typed words on a computer, a sort of intercranial instant message conversation. Untold amounts of money and man hours are spent on tailing and antagonizing Naylor, who accidentally killed a cat and spoke admiringly of the Million Man March.

Sigh…

I am not going to dither here as others have who have read this book, refusing to comment on the factual truth of the events as Naylor perceives them. Outside of sites on organized and gang stalking, you will find scholars weasel out of dealing with the horror of the content by stating the largely irrelevant: that whether or not you believe Naylor was a victim of organized citizen and government stalking, isn’t this an interesting look at race relations in America, a sober reminder of the potential for a tyrannical police state or a fascinating combination of narrative fiction and speculation? That’s some bullshit right there, folks.

I won’t waffle because it is a condescending move not to state facts plainly because I don’t want to look like I am calling a renowned writer crazy. Yes, race relations are still terrible in this country. Yes, the government is intrusive. And maybe Naylor set off a Jewish neighbor with some ties to the NSA and Naylor was investigated a bit rigorously as a result. But nothing else here that Naylor describes as a fictional narrative of true events is even plausible. There are those who think that the fallout of her dispute with her neighbor caused Naylor to become mentally ill. I have no idea. But this book is full of delusions.

When a person says they are stalked, I can believe them. When a person says they were investigated rigorously by the government, I can believe it. Believe me, I can believe it. We all have stories to tell in this post 1984, post 9/11 age. But when a person tells me that the government has been reading their mind with a computer and a type of satellite, typing in responses to their thoughts in an abusive argument, not only can I not believe it, but it brings into doubt even the rational, reasonable accusations the person made. Given the paranoiac belief that Jews are fueling the attacks against her, reliance that Naylor has genuine understanding of what happened to her is crucial to being able to tolerate this book as much more than an anti-Jewish polemic in which a misunderstood insult in a grocery store can launch the entire force of the Anti-Defamation League in a campaign of terror. But then again, I also think only a True Believer in the utter corruption and complete, almost God-like competence of our government will be able to believe the whole of 1996.

This is gonna be one of my longer discussions so read the rest under the jump.

Our government does terrible things and can never keep it a secret. The government tapped phones and monitored online usage of citizens after the invasion of Iraq and could not keep it secret. If our government had the power to read minds and implant thoughts, it would not be a classified secret for long and they would not invest the incredible man hours to use this technology on the handful of desperate people who think they are being abused in this manner. It took a team of people, if Naylor is to be believed, to organize the campaign against her, using private citizens in the ADL and members of the NSA, as well as students recruited and sent to the remote South Carolina island where she lived. Expensive and esoteric technology was installed in the homes of private citizens, agents were flown all over the country, homes were rented, and countless man hours spent harassing Naylor, and not, say, the mafia, suspected child molesters, drug traffickers or groups the government thinks are subversive, like the actual Nation of Islam. Naylor because she killed a cat and was suspected of uttering a Jewish slur trumped all of the true criminals and counter culture groups the NSA could have trailed.

The book also makes it clear that even with the added element of being unable to believe much of what Naylor says, it also seems as if Naylor was her own worst enemy talking to her neighbor with the cats. She initially approached her neighbor with cookies to discuss the cats. The second time she went over, she was not particularly polite.

She was doing what she could, she told me, but her babies needed exercise. I suggested she put them on a leash and walk them up and down the Avenue of the Oaks.

So, this little town has a New York writer who comes only for the summer and her closest neighbor is expected to keep her cats in when they are accustomed to having outside access. As an outsider in a small, insular town, her reaction to the situation with people who lived there full-time and for much longer than she had would have rankled everyone, even folk like me who think pet cats are safest indoors. And as an outsider and a woman of color, her time in the South in a small town may have triggered some latent paranoia. And who’s to say some paranoia was not warranted? Small towns in the South can suck mightily even for those who have lived in them for generations. The late Steve Gilliard discussed the complete culture shock he experienced when he, a man of color and native New Yorker, visited South Carolina to see family. As a woman who has lived in the South my entire life, I can tell you that despite the fact that we have a black President, entrenched and at times violence racism is still all too real. If she got her neighbor’s hackles up, I can understand why Naylor may have had her’s up as well. In the beginning, it seems easy to explain what is happening to Naylor, but later nothing is simple.

Oh yeah, in this scene we also discover the cat Naylor dislikes the most is named Orwell. I am not making this up. Then she puts out poison for tree rats and accidentally fells the mighty Orwell. Had I been Eunice Simon, I would have been terribly angry at Naylor for “accidentally” killing my cat.

The death of Orwell the Cat triggers a series of break-ins, Naylor’s garden gets ruined, and her computer is hacked. Frankly, to someone not in the grips of paranoia, her computer compromise sounds more like hack-kiddies than a government probe.

I booted up again, went back to into my WordPerfect program, and after a short while there was another spoof box that was labeled “Trouble.” And the text in this window read, “Big Trouble. We’re Gonna Die.”

Naylor begins to wonder if the government was in fact responsible for the hack on her computer because the whole thing was very unprofessional. But instead of assuming that she was hacked because some hacker somewhere wanted to see if he or she could do it, she decides that perhaps private citizens who are in conjunction with the government are responsible, civilians she thinks have “the power to disrupt my life.”

In the first 50 pages or so, I clung to the idea that maybe this was not going to be as bad as I anticipated but the next passage of Naylor’s imaginings put to rest any hope that I was going to be able to finish this book without a heavy heart. She conveys the next scene from the observations of an NSA agent.

Looking around at the group gathered in Eunice Simon’s living room, he realizes it isn’t going to be easy. The room is packed with operatives from the ADL and NSA, and each is arguing for a piece of the action.

Yes. A room full of NSA agents and private citizens have assembled to argue over who gets to stalk, harass and terrorize a woman who killed a cat and has a tenuous connection with the Nation of Islam. If that seems reasonable to you, you may want to stop reading now.

It goes on:

Things will be a lot more efficient now. First of all, they now have the manpower for blanket surveillance. There is no place she can go or plan to go without their knowledge. There is no one she can talk to, fax, or e-mail without them knowing about it. They can follow her on trains, on planes and definitely in that red truck. She is a woman alone, for God’s sake. She has no organization behind her, has few friends and no help. If she tries to get help, they’ll know about it in plenty of time to divert it, or at least to plan their next strategy.

This passage is a litmus test. If you see how this could happen, chances are all of this discussion is an affront to you. If you wonder why it is that the US government and citizen groups would stalk one woman with this degree of manpower and organization when there are anti-government, overtly anti-Semitic and openly violent groups that pose a far greater threat to the fabric of this country than Naylor, then chances are you understand why this book gave me stomach cramps.

Once she returns to New York, Naylor seals the deal for anyone who was still on the fence as to whether or not she was completely delusional. After installing a tiny computer and satellite in Naylor’s neighbors’ home – her neighbors, in Naylor’s mind, are complicit in the campaign of terror – a man Naylor calls Agent Browne demonstrates how the whole set up works.

“Now,” Agent Browne says, “aim the dish toward my head and type any word into the computer.”

Paulo types in “hello.”

“You typed ‘hello,’” Agent Browne says. “Now, type in a whole sentence.” Paulo types. Agent Browne still has his back to Paulo. “You typed ‘Bring me the keys to the kingdom,” Browne says. “And how do I know? I heard it.” He taps his forehead. “I know what you’re probably thinking, and believe me, this is no magic trick. You have in your hands some of the most advanced technology in the world. We’ve known for a couple of decades that sound can be produced in someone’s head by radiating it with microwaves. It’s now been refined to work with this computer program. This program translates key strokes into bursts of microwaves that bypass the ears and hit the auditory section of the brain. You are, in effect, speaking directly to the brain. And the brain ‘hears’ you. For all the target knows, she’s just had a fleeting thought that originated within her.”

Naylor then goes on to say that the satellite has a 50 foot range and the vocabulary of the computer is 72,000 words. This is mad science here. None of this science is now nor has ever been a threat. The government may be working on it but aside from the research of paranoiacs, there is no proof. This is science fiction. It gets more fantastic as more science fiction gets added to the equation when simply beaming thoughts into Naylor’s head does not work. Dick Simon shows up with a newer infernal device.

“This is vastly different from what you’ve been using because it gives you feedback. You know what an EEG is–a machine that reads brain waves. Well, this is the mother of all EEGs because it translates the brain waves that make up thought. Every time you think a word or a sentence, you hear it inside your head, don’t you. This machine hears it as well as prints it out onto this screen.”

“It’s a world without secrets,” Paulo says.

“No more secrets,” Simon says. “We’ve unlocked the last frontier where secrets can be kept–within the human mind.”

“What’s the vocabulary range?” Paulo asks.

“One hundred thousand words in English. But we’ve programmed in many more languages than that. The best part of this for you is that once you’ve read her mind, you can respond with the microwave hearing device, and she’ll hear you the same way she’s been hearing you for weeks.”

“So, it’s like she’s holding a conversation with herself,” Hallum says.

This mind-reading, thought implanting device drives Naylor to a psychiatrist, who ends up being bullied by the stalking crew and believes Naylor’s tale of persecution. I wish he had come forward to back up her story but then again, perhaps the psychiatrist is as speculative as the idea that Eunice Simon has a brother in the NSA willing to do all of this because someone killed his sister’s cat and is claimed to have uttered an anti-Jewish slur.

And from there, Naylor uses the worst sort of evidence gathering to prove her case that her mind is being read. She cites the case of John St. Clair Akwei, a former NSA employee who claims that in 1990-1991 he was harassed electronically with the same devices Naylor claims were used on her. He sued and his claims were entered into evidence and this “evidence” has been used by those who need it to prove a vast conspiracy on the part of the government to stalk its citizens and read their minds.

When Naylor continues on in her evidence, using the name Barbara Hartwell as a source, I almost quit reading in despair. She is one of the most desperately mentally unsound people I have stumbled across online. And of course, Eleanor White, she of the site I mention above, is given as a source that there is such a thing as synthetic telepathy. And Cheryl Welsh… I can’t even go into detail here about why these sources are so questionable. It’s just too sad. Again, in the interest of self-preservation, I will not link to these people because I take seriously the comments I get here, and if I link to them, I will be over-run with comments and forced to respond to True Believers who think the government is reading their mind, putting dirt on their floors while they are out and drinking their milk straight from the carton. You can’t argue with a True Believer. You shouldn’t even try. Google these names if you like if it helps to put all of this into perspective.

Naylor herself recognizes the terrible problem involved in all of this “proof.”

Their problem was the same as mine and other victims of mind control technology: how do you get people to believe? Unfortunately, information on mind control is sandwiched between reports of underground tunnels where gray aliens work for the U.S. government and sightings of UFOs. Quack stuff… Most people who love their country don’t trust their government. Even if you got them to concede that the government has such technology, their next question would be, “How do you know that it’s happening to you?” Your only response would be, “I know it’s happening to me because it’s happening to me.”

And that’s a whole lot of problem, isn’t it? Because given that believers in mind control think this technology is being kept in neighbors’ homes, being used by arrogant college students recruited to stalk them, and is so available that it can be dredged up in order to be used against the innocuous likes of Gloria Naylor, Eleanor White, and Cheryl Welsh, then it is not too much to ask for someone somewhere to get one of these machines and demonstrate online to the world how it works, take it to sympathetic authorities like the psychiatrist that Naylor says believes her, and show the world instead of relying on speculation.

Let me pose my own question, and this is the hardest question to pose to those who believe they are victims of excessive government probes that include stalking, mind reading and similar: what makes you so special that the government or any person in the government wants you dead or wants to spend millions of dollars tormenting you? There is a damnably sad level of narcissism that permits a person to think they are the focus of such negative energy, expense and pointless aggravation. There is an even more damnable randomness to this – Eleanor White and Gloria Naylor have been subject to mind control but John Gotti and my third grade teacher have not. Why Naylor and not J.D. Salinger, Ingrid Newkirk, Spike Lee, or, frankly, me? The randomness to which citizens get selected for this sort of abuse is baffling.

Naylor herself knows that discussing this is almost futile and her pleas for understanding and almost bitter reconstructions of how she thinks people will react are heartbreaking. She is talking through Dick Simon in the following passage, wherein he speculates about how they will be doing Naylor a favor if they finally drive her to suicide rather than face the humiliation that will come from publishing a book about her ordeal:

They will be saving her from the public humiliation of having this book trashed in every review medium in the country. That is, if she even finds a publisher. They’ll shake their heads sadly over the fact that a writer of her caliber has gone bonkers. She’s seeing Jews coming out of the woodwork, government agents tapping her phone and hacking into her computer, cars mysteriously driving past her when she’s out in the street. Was she planning on fiction or science-fiction? Either way it would be doomed. In the best-case scenario for her, she would find a publisher to print her nonsense and it sells more than fifty copies, but there she would be the queen of the weirdoes (sic), crowned by the same people who brought you UFOs at Roswell, time travel and invisible CIA agents.

It is a mistake to think that because Naylor is an intelligent woman whose writing shows a deep integrity on her part that she cannot go insane. Just because she has the self-awareness to understand how unbelievable her story is, it does not mean she is not suffering from paranoid delusions. Many think that such delusions would render her a gibbering mess who could no longer write or have a normal life outside of the scope of her delusions and that is not the case. This happens to people and while it absorbs most of their life, it does not mean they cannot pay rent, buy groceries and otherwise seem normal. We just don’t expect it to happen to a woman whose first attempt at writing garnered her high accolades, a woman who has had fame outside the literary ghetto because Oprah liked her book. As Naylor says herself in 1996:

Paranoia is a slow poison, and a lethal one. It usually starts with small things and then grows to color almost everything in your life.

She is right and yet I hope she is wrong in the long run because Naylor is a talented novelist whose place in literary history does not need to be tainted or her words dismissed because she had a break with reality and wrote a book about it. I hope one day she leaves behind these delusions – she may have and we don’t know. But in a way, Dick Simon was right – the best case scenario has played out – few people know about this book and hopefully this cancerous paranoia will not be Naylor’s legacy.

25 Responses to “1996 by Gloria Naylor”

  1. The evidence “Ironing-Over of Button Hole and Button” is very damming, though!
    I haven’t read a lot about sabotaging, but I remember being fascinated when the case of Duncan and Blake was being written about a lot. Scientology and sabotaging seem to be an actual possibility!

    • On September 1, 2010 at 12:43 pm, anitadalton said:

      I still don’t entirely understand what the person who has experienced this terrible ironing over means happened to his shirts. I’ve read it several times and just don’t get it.

      Hoo boy, I have not heard of Duncan and Blake. I can see a new rabbit hole opening up before me. Like you, I can see a sort of low-level gang stalking happening when a religious group sees someone they fear will harm their cult. Looking away so I can work on more reviews but I see some serious online reading in my future.

  2. Speaking as a scholar who routinely trades in serious bullshit, might not both readings of this book be true? She’s clearly nuts and most of the stuff that she thinks happened to her probably didn’t—but that doesn’t necessarily mean the book is NOT an interesting statement about race, power, paranoia, etc.

    After all, Ms. Naylor–delusional though she may be (or may have been)–does share a country where increasing numbers of idiots think the President is Muslim and born in Kenya. Who’s crazier?

    • On September 7, 2010 at 2:18 pm, anitadalton said:

      Jeffrey, I can see your point because in what you say above, your perspective that this could serve as a text about government power and racial relations in the USA is not a smokescreen, a weaselish way to avoid the brier that can stick you if you say Naylor suffered a complete break from reality. As long as it is seen as a statement about race relations and power and not an account of them, I think I’m okay. But in too many of the discussions I saw of this book, shocked academicians just waffled, refusing to state the obvious, that even National Book Award winners can come unhinged in completely distasteful ways and it annoyed me.

      I can barely bring myself to read the news anymore because of poll reports. In fact, I had to kill my Facebook account because if another person I had known from high school who seemed to have a functioning mind back then yet now lost their mind over Obama’s birth certificate or freaked out about how the government is gonna put an RFID chip in their taints as the Mark of the Beast, I was gonna end up on the evening news somehow. And not in a heartwarming, “This woman has 9 cats and they warble the National Anthem, aren’t they cute” sort of way. The stupid really does burn. We live in such paranoid times that I am sure many people will think 1996 and similar tomes are real time documentaries.

  3. Look. ‘You’ may not believe Naylor’s experiences, but she evidently experienced what she said. One of the tactics of gangstalker members is to discredit the victim or TI, targeted individual, calling delusional first, then, as time goes on with the TI complaining, them, other unsavory nouns are used to descibe them. Until you have been targeted, you should refrain from judging what you know nothing about.

    • On September 15, 2010 at 9:30 am, anitadalton said:

      TInKCMO, I don’t mean to insult you or to appear condescending, but telling someone that they don’t understand, that they should not comment until they have experienced something, is a sophomoric reply at best. I didn’t experience fatal familial insomnia yet I read a book about it and have an opinion on how the sufferers must have felt. I didn’t ever have a job that permitted me to be a part of a union but I have definite opinions on them. To insist that direct experience is the only yardstick by which opinion can be formed is a way of saying, “I don’t have to provide reasonable proof. Just take my word for it.”

      This is a book review site. The entire premise behind book reviews is that people who have not experienced the content of the book, in most cases, offer an opinion on the writing and the ideas. Without the ability to form an opinion on the information because I have not directly experienced it means, by your definition, I cannot discuss my opinion on books on WWI, disease outbreaks in Africa, the treatment of the mentally ill during the early 1900s, the lives of Catholic saints or, really, any book written before 1970.

      Since you don’t run a book review site, does that mean you should refrain from judging that which you know nothing about? Of course not. People have to form opinions on the information they are given on any topic. In this case, I looked at the proof Naylor offers and determined from that evidence that I don’t believe that she was gang stalked by the ADL and the NSA and that satellites were not used to read her mind.

      I also note that ‘You’ is in quotes in your reply. I think I know why but should you choose to come back and reply, and I welcome your opinion, perhaps you could elaborate on it.

  4. I find that Ms. Naylor is ineptly addressing a topic that in truth she clearly doesn’t know enough about to have fully experienced.

    As a true target and because I know people who have been targeted in this way, I can say this stuff is real. No doubt there if you are a skeptic shut up and go look up the patents for all this harassment technology. It’s THERE. That’s not the issue. The issue is how a person DEALS with being a target and the WHY of targeted harassment. The things that go on behind the scenes of our govt. and why people act out of charactor sometimes are hidden in this topic. The ability to harass a human and the revelry in while the harassers do delight in this is a known fact. However, Ms. Naylor should have added to her fictional narrative a better reason for being a target to make it seem more legit. The truth is the NSA doesn’t spend this kind of man power on civilians who piss off their sister’s cat. They do this stuff to govt. whistleblowers and people who threaten to blow the whistle on the reality of these technologies. If Ms. Naylor had somehow given a better CONTEXT this could have been a ground breaking book because NOTHING she describes is impossible in fact many of her “experiences” are just a regurge of things that have happened to me personally as a whisleblower. Most “sheeple” will never step out of line enough to encounter this stuff and they scoff at those who do, thereby allowing this to continue in their own society.

    • On November 9, 2010 at 1:50 pm, anitadalton said:

      Jan,

      I generally don’t directly engage with people who believe they are victims of gang stalking or mind control (or UFO abduction or ritual abuse, etc.). I have found that most people who feel they are being gang stalked or were victims of the Monarch Project are quite fragile and the last thing I want to do is challenge the beliefs of a person who is likely in genuine pain and fear. While I suspect you may fall into the fear category, you don’t seem that fragile. I hope this doesn’t sound condescending but you seem like you have your wits about you well enough that I can discuss this with you without feeling like I am antagonizing a person with some form of mental illness.

      I’m not scoffing at you, nor am I a “sheeple” (and good heavens, consider not using that word because there is no better term that may indicate a person is either an insufferable hipster or delusional wingnut). I think the government does bad things but I do not believe the vast majority of gang stalking accounts because like SRA accounts, they wander off into such extremist unreality, unraveling into such bizarre, outrageous descriptions in a desperate attempt to be believed that they render themselves unbelievable.

      I agree that whistleblowers often find themselves in a position of peril. I don’t think Karen Silkwood died in an accidental car crash. I’m still reading about the recent death of Shane Schmidt so I am not sure about him but his death seems quite suspicious. I think whistleblowers, especially government whistleblowers, face horrible repercussions. I think that the government tries to discredit such people and if the attempts at discrediting fail, they kill them.

      But I do not think they are subject to mind control wherein they have a one-on-one instant message sessions in their brain with a person nearby with a tiny microwave satellite and a keyboard. I think this because the technology does not exist. There may be a patent for it, but patents prove nothing. A person can patent any absurd idea but a patent does not ensure that the idea has any practical basis. Do you genuinely believe that patent evidence proves that people are reading your mind? Have you had the sorts of back and forth conversations in your brain that Naylor describes (and of course, if you choose to answer, I don’t need any information that would imperil you)?

      And if such technology exists, why, do you think, hasn’t it fallen into the same sort of capitalist trap that almost all technology tumbles into? Why is this mind reading technology not being used in mob investigations (hell, it seems the FBI can barely do a phone tap properly some days)? Why are we not using it to interrogate people being investigated in the war on terrorism? Why is it not being developed to help us communicate with people in comas or with conditions that make it impossible for them to speak? These are not rhetorical questions. If there are answers to these queries, I would love to hear your opinions and answers.

      But we are definitely in agreement that the NSA is not going to waste so many resources on a woman who killed a cat and has tenuous associations with the Nation of Islam.

      Thanks for taking the time to comment. I hope you comment again.

  5. I’m just wondering if the author would like to speculate as to why Naylor, would risk her reputation and have people undoubtedly question her sanity, if this isn’t what she believed happened to her? Why would she do that? I mean I really want to know what you think. And also the book is from what I understand “a fictionalized memoir”. Doesn’t that mean some of the people, places and conversations would be what Ms. Naylor “imagines or speculates” happened? I mean, I’m sure she wasn’t at a meeting of NSA employees and ADL operatives. So anything she wrote about that I’m assuming would be fiction, don’t you think? This is my take–the average citizen doesn’t want to know that this is possibly happening in this country. Because,well, because they don’t. Willful ignorance is rampant. But just b/c you haven’t heard or read about it, doesn’t mean it’s not happening. There are those still denying the Holocaust happened and there’s plenty of evidence to the contrary. So I’m not surprised that people would automatically poo-poo this type of experience. That, i believe is what the ‘perpetrators’ count on. If evidence exposing Co-INtelpro hadn’t been uncovered, you’d have people who would have never believed that either. But again, my feeling is, why would this acclaimed writer write something of this nature when I’m sure she had to know what type of comments, questions would arise b/c of it. Nobody is that attention starved.

    • On December 15, 2010 at 5:09 pm, anitadalton said:

      Hi, Dee. Thanks for your comment. I’m going to answer your questions roughly in the order you ask them.

      1) “why Naylor, would risk her reputation and have people undoubtedly question her sanity, if this isn’t what she believed happened to her?”
      I think Naylor genuinely does believe this happened to her. I don’t think I ever in this review indicated otherwise. I don’t think it happened but Naylor does. She risked her reputation because she honestly thinks the NSA stalked her and beamed thought rays into her brain and considered it worth it to reveal it all, and addresses outright in the book her fears about people’s reactions.

      2) “Doesn’t that mean some of the people, places and conversations would be what Ms. Naylor “imagines or speculates” happened? I mean, I’m sure she wasn’t at a meeting of NSA employees and ADL operatives. So anything she wrote about that I’m assuming would be fiction, don’t you think?”
      I am assuming from the way you put your question that you have not read this book but while it is a fictionalized novel, it is Naylor’s attempt to explain what happened to her. She has no knowledge if her neighbor’s brother was really in the NSA. But she assumes the woman she calls Eunice Simon had access to people who could mobilize a full-bore assault against her and she uses significant detail to explain events. The people she discusses in her novel are fictional but Naylor genuinely believes she was gang stalked by the ADL. The faces can change but that essential fact remains the same – she thinks the ADL and the NSA stalked her. Were there young college boys using an arcane technology to torment her? Who knows as they were her “creation” but the end result is the same – Naylor thinks a satellite with a keyboard was used to have a real time conversation in her brain. The fictional details are used to tell what Naylor thinks is a true story. The details are fiction but the end result Naylor thinks happened is fact in her mind.

      Moreover, the fact that Naylor can only provide fictionalized explanations for what she thinks happened to her should raise even more red flags.

      3) “But just b/c you haven’t heard or read about it, doesn’t mean it’s not happening.”
      I’ve personally read a lot about it. I still don’t buy most of the accounts.

      4) “There are those still denying the Holocaust happened and there’s plenty of evidence to the contrary.”
      Yes, and those people, in the eyes of the sane and those without an obvious political (and often racist) agenda are considered kooks and lunatics. When people create conspiracies without much factual basis that can withstand the most basic application of Occam’s Razor, it is my stance that such people should be treated with the same skepticism one views people who, in the face of overwhelming information, create fringe theories to explain a perverse point of view.

      5) “So I’m not surprised that people would automatically poo-poo this type of experience. That, i believe is what the ‘perpetrators’ count on.”
      That circular reasoning has always bothered me. If I refuse to believe an account that makes no sense, the reply too often is that I am falling into the hands of the perpetrators because they flourish when victims are not believed but in order to believe I have to dismiss my faculties of discernment. By failing to offer evidence, such people demean failure to believe as being a part of the problem. Of course all perps want no one to believe their victims. It worked especially well with the Catholic pedophile priests. But in the case of gang stalking, most of the accounts can be explained without pulling in conspiracy. Moreover, when there are gang stalking cases that have a ring of truth, like what happened to Karen Silkwood, there is a distinct cause and effect. A person with powerful information that could harm a person or an entity is killed. There is a reason to silence that person if attempts at defamation and intimidation fail. What possible incentive was there to defame a woman like Naylor, from whom even the most advanced conspirator would have little to fear?

      6) “If evidence exposing Co-INtelpro hadn’t been uncovered, you’d have people who would have never believed that either.”
      Actually, COINTELPRO left plenty of tracks and it left a good enough trail so that the people who stole the evidence and revealed the plot to discredit people who were perceived as threats knew where to go to get the information they needed. Moreover, no one who was targeted by COINTELPRO reported impossible fictional technologies used to beam into their minds. The people targeted had something about them that led government to fear them. MLK, the Black Panthers, pro-Communists, etc. There is nothing about Naylor, a mainstream writer embraced by the mainstream media, that would trigger such an overwhelming government and private citizen reaction based on revenge for a dead cat and some vague praise issued on behalf of the Million Man March.

      7) “But again, my feeling is, why would this acclaimed writer write something of this nature when I’m sure she had to know what type of comments, questions would arise b/c of it. Nobody is that attention starved.”
      She wrote it because she genuinely believes this all happened to her. I don’t think she wrote it for attention – it was printed in a small press run by a small press and she had to know few people would ever read it. She wrote it because she moved to a small town where outsiders were viewed with suspicion, she likely encountered racism and developed a paranoia, probably justified, that spiraled into outright delusion.

      Hope this clears up why I do not believe the whole of Naylor’s story.

  6. Well, here’s some input: I went through a gang stalking ordeal for the better part of seven years. During the entire course of the experience I took antipsychotic medication BECAUSE I REQUESTED IT, as I was certain that I’d either lost my mind, or would definitely do so due to what was happening to me. The medication changed none of my perceptions, because, as it turned out, this stuff really was happening. How do I know for sure? Because after literally years of my dealing with constant harassment and home/car invasions
    I spoke with a neighbor (very shyly) about what I’d been experiencing, and she looked at me with amazement and said, “*****, I’ve seen these people!” She then told me that she’d been observing an army of different cars coming and going fr. my house every time I left home for a period of over two years

    • On February 9, 2011 at 1:29 pm, anitadalton said:

      Moraid, thanks for sharing your experience. I wish I could ask you some questions, like do you know who was stalking you and why? But I also suspect that if you are being stalked fear would prevent you from leaving too much info in a public forum like this. I have no problem believing that gang stalking happens – I just disbelieve accounts like Naylor’s that involve science fiction technology and seem motiveless aside from sheer nastiness ans perversity.

      I am so sorry you ended up on antipsychotic medications, especially if they were atypical antipsychotics. Such drugs nearly killed me and are given hand over fist to people who clearly do not need them and even if you wanted them, the terrible side effects of such medications should have prevented a doctor from giving them to you unless you had a thorough work up proving you needed them. Ugh.

      I hope your life is peaceful and clear and if it isn’t, I hope it will be soon.

  7. [...] 1996 By Gloira Naylor (2007) “I hope one day she leaves behind these delusions – she may have and we don’t know. But in a way, Dick Simon was right – the best case scenario has played out – few people know about this book and hopefully this cancerous paranoia will not be Naylor’s legacy.” – Anita Dalton [...]

  8. A fascinating thread. It is a tragic story for those who admire her work; if indeed some of the wider world of the ‘stalked’ is unintentionally hilarious. Naylor’s beliefs – and those of so many of the people who throng these pages – were well described by the analyst Viktor Tausk in his classic paper on the ‘influencing machine’ as a formation of paranoia – written just after the first world war – where he points out that the influencing machine always uses the most recent technology; or reciprocally, technology always engenders new forms of paranoia. And of course, technology does penetrate our lives and selves, just as the government does spy on some people, even if not in the form of demonic operatives typing phrases into our heads. I just hope that this work becomes a classic of its kind like Schreber’s Memoirs of My Nervous Illness; and that Naylor becomes able to return to her superb historical fiction. I have read that she is moving to Paris; perhaps there she’ll find peace.

  9. On August 2, 2011 at 8:06 am, Anne Burnett said:

    Is it possible tat the motivation for stalking Ms. Naylor is experimental? To do the stalking on a somewhat known but not too known person, a black woman who would be somewhat negligible by the popular culture, Oprah notwithstanding? In Tuskegee, black people were observed with syphillis and nothing was done about it, because to the people conducting the experiment those black men were negligible. Oprah is powerful, but Ms. Naylor is not Oprah, although Naylor’s link to the superstar may be important in placing Naylor in an important but not important stance. Maybe the powers that be want to see what happens, not just to Naylor but to the reactions of those hearing her.

    • On August 2, 2011 at 9:42 am, anitadalton said:

      Anne, that is an interesting theory. While the satellite mind-reading technology that Naylor describes does not exist, increasingly I don’t know if I can completely dismiss all of Naylor’s claims as the ravings of a paranoiac. It would be hard to believe every element of her story but I have maintained that it is certainly possible the folks of that South Carolina island took offense to her and began a campaign of stalking that pushed her into paranoiac delusions.

      The reason I have backed down from my original stance that she likely did not experience all of what she said is because I have been thinking about Ernest Hemingway. Just before his final and successful suicide attempt, he reported that a man working for him was a spy, that his house was being bugged. Papers recently declassified by the FBI prove that Hoover indeed had a plant in Hemingway’s service as well as a bug in his home. Everyone in Hemingway’s life just assumed his assertions were due to his mental illness, not that he was being driven (further) insane by political machinations. http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2011/jul/03/fbi-and-ernest-hemingway

      At this point, I don’t know if I can dismiss much any more. So your theory seems as good to me as any at the moment.

  10. I wanted to further comment and add that I’m a target and I believe that trying to devine why psychotics and sociopaths do what they do will drive a sane person mad. It’s like trying to figure out why ted bundy or jeffrey dahmer kill? If you don’t share that mental defect then chances are, as observers, we can’t possibly logically fathom as to why someone would not only unleash this kind of pogrom on anyone, but why ANYONE would even invent somehing like this? And why the United States government would authorize it’s use and PAY people to implement and execute it? Like what type of depraved sociopath could even create this type of harassment? (my guess is some psychiatrist or psychologist) I am of the belief that this is a pogrom that includes parts of the FBI’s Co-Intelpro (the verbal harassment via v2k is akin to 10-12 year old school girl bullies-very amateurish and childish. If the goal was for it to be scary and/or menacing, it only succeeds in being laughable and irritatingly stupid), the CIA’s Mk-ULTRA mind control experimentation (and specifically Dr. D. Ewen Cameron’s ‘psychic driving’–which is a continuous looped pre-recorded msg played 24/7–this is what I have heard emanating from my left ear daily for the last 10 mths non-stop); testing of artificial intelligence computer programmes utilizing brain-to-computer interface and the US govt’s long documented history of non-consensual human experimentation. I think all of these elements are included based on my own personal experiences. I also think in particular ( although some disagree) that voice-to-skull technology that Ms. Naylor mentions that incorporates ‘mind reading’ technology and thought implants (yes, they DO have these capabilities)are a result of implants, possibly nano-implants. Speaking for myself, I had a biopsy about a year or so before the v2k started. I believe i was intentionally targeted for implantation and believe many in the medical establishment know of this; are involved & totally complicit in this crime against humanity. They have a history of this and it has been well documented in the last century or so that the US govt has used unsuspecting citizens in all sorts of medical experiments. I believe the phenomenon described by Ms. Naylor is simply a frankenstein-like culmination of this history. In effect, we targets are victims of sociopaths in the employ of the state (or contractors thereof)who are probably making money off of our torture. One target (david a larson)filed a lawsuit against the CIA et al as recently as 2010 and indicated that the FCC is issuing licenses to contractors so that they can communicate with experimental ‘medical devices’. Anyone who is a victim of v2k realizes there is SOMEONE on the other end of the equipment (it’s so obvious it’s some type of machine, you can even hear the whirring and hear it switching over when it’s changing the audio). Also for me I realized that only my left ear is affected, the sound is way more amplified than my right ear and this is recent. I also discovered while trying to block out ‘the voices’ that putting cotton in my left ear muffles them. Now if I was schizophrenic or paranoid delusional, why would the voices be muffled by cotton and the audio greatly reduced? I believe while being put under anesthesia for what was presented as a biopsy in 06, was really just a ruse to get me under the knife so that I could be implanted. I have some theories as to why I was chosen and I think it’s a confluence of my race, gender, political beliefs, the Patriot Act & my general outspokenness online. My theory is that there are those chosen for this pogrom b/c we pissed someone off (whistleblowers,activists), those chosen b/c they are members of dis-possessed groups who have been targeted historically for these types of covert govt pogroms: (poor,homeless,veterans,mentally ill, racial minorities, women, homosexuals, etc); and I also believe that some were chosen simply b/c they were/are victims of opportunity. I believe this covert pogrom has been in existence for at least 30-40 years but advanced technology and the Frank Church Committee Hearings in the 70′s which exposed both Co-Intelpro & Mk-ULTRA, caused the intelligence community to only take them further underground and dispense most of the research to contractors so that they could deny direct participation. But anyone with a brain would have to realize that in order for a pogrom to be this organized, standardized, pervasive (people in multiple industrialized countries are reporting the same sorts of harassment so it’s not just the US)and able to be maintained for long periods of times–requires a vast network of people, infrastructures and vasts amounts of time and money. The fact that I can hear ‘the v2k’ pretty much where ever I go, indoors or outdoors, would indicate that the technology is advanced enough that IF it wasn’t the US intelligence community and/or military complex sponsoring it; they would have shut it down long ago. When targets like me complain to so-called law enforcement, instead of help, we are either written off as looney and more than likely, then re-inforcements are called in,like the local police. I believe once you discover what’s going on and whom is more than likely doing it–containment and harassment is the name of the game. The government in my opinion doesn’t want what happened with Co-Intelpro & Mk-ULTRA to EVER happen again. But it will. And sooner rather than later. There are just too many of us telling the same story over and over again via the net. Gloria Naylor may have been chosen for a totally different reason than me, but our experiences are eerily similiar and I can totally relate to what she has written in 1996. I feel like a Jew in the early part of Nazi rule who has witnessed the camps, is trying to warn people but they don’t want to believe that that level of evil exists. Well, I’m here to tell you and co-sign with what other targets have been screaming for years and for some, decades—Orwell was right. He may have been wrong on the date but unfortunately, he was right on most everything else.

    • On August 19, 2011 at 12:06 pm, anitadalton said:

      Dee, I appreciate you sharing all of this. While there are elements of your story that that I have trouble accepting (Larson’s lawsuits and the so-called discovery of patents means little – I could patent a time travel device without having the technology or capacity of producing one, and people could be licensed to use it without there being any product or application), increasingly I cannot dismiss utterly the claims of people like you who have experienced what you consider to be government stalking. Until I can see for myself the devices in use or have some greater theory as to why these things are done, it will be hard on me to believe utterly.

      In the comments above this, I explained my new willingness to believe after the papers were released proving that Hemingway’s paranoia about being spied on by the FBI was not paranoia. If these governmental gang stalking is happening to people like you who are potentially troublesome due to your online presence and social beliefs, one of the key ways to ensure people like me do not sweep your story under the carpet is to find the reason for the tracking and the commonality between those experiencing it.

      I also understand that it is not the duty of those victimized to prove the terrible things happening to them -just sharing what I will have to know in order to turn a corner so that I fully believe stories like yours.

      If you can find a doctor you trust, would a full body scan show the presence of something in your body that is emanating the noises you hear? It may be worth a try, though I don’t know if an MRI has enough magnetic resonance to detect nanotech devices under the skin. If you can physically hear these noises, and they can be muffled with cotton, that must mean a sound is emanating in some manner because the sound is reaching your eardrums. Perhaps there is some sort of audiology study or similar that could help prove emphatically what is happening.

      Or not. I know how frustrating it is to know something yourself and have no idea how to prove it.

      All of that aside, please be safe, Dee. Please do all you can so you can be and feel secure.

  11. A few years back I contacted Ms Naylor and told her of my Ordeal of being a victim of hatecrimes since 1975, five years after I had arrived as an immigrant here in New Brunswick, Canada. Organized Stalking or Gangstalking is such a hidious and satanic crime that is hard to fathom for anyone, unless he or she has personally experienced it. To give you a small insight into the depravity of those criminals, I made a 75 min documentary 2 years ago, it is called “Farmers Ordeal”. You find it by googling my website “Maritime Troubles” 50 megs. Identical injuries caused by DEW, you will find on U-tube by googling “Torture of Christians in America”. There you will see right in your face evidence of injuries caused by DEW devices or weapons, like Lasers or Masers, technologies that have been around for over half a century, and we have let the Government and its minions get away with covering it up. That makes them part of a CRIMINAL CONSPIRACY, and there is no Statute of Limitation on CRIMINAL CONSPIRATHIES. This is only the tip of the iceberg of crimes TIs have to endure and on top of it being ridiculed, slandered, thrown into Looneybins up on false accusations, and that all being done in countries and by people that call themselves Bastions and Guardians of Freedom and Justice? I smell an awfull many CREEPS, MORONS and COWARDS. America, Canada one Country, one People, BS, but WE HAVE TO GO AFTER THOSE DAMMNED MUSLIMS, to show them the errors of their ways. Americans, Canadians, you have used up your GOOD WILL ACCOUNT domestically and internationally. WAKE UP! Show good will toward your fellow men, because when you will need it, there wont be any left.
    Werner Bock

    • On September 2, 2012 at 8:07 pm, anitadalton said:

      Werner, I wanted you to know that I read your comment and appreciate that you took the time to leave it. When I have some time to look up the film you made, as well as the other resources you suggested, I will, and thanks for letting me know about them.

      As I said above, after learning about what happened to Ernest Hemingway, I am not so quick to dismiss what in the past I would have thought of as paranoid ravings. But regardless of what I think about all cases of gang stalking, I wish you peace in these matters. I am so sorry you are so besieged. Good luck to you.

  12. http://lezarceleurs.posterous.com
    Supposing this is just mentally build up ( paranoïa) how do you explain damages to furniture , clothes , cars …?

  13. […] I am rethinking the microwave brain readers that Gloria Naylor insisted were used to read her though….  You know how when your cats freak out and run frantically into the other room, only to stop […]

  14. It’s hard to find experienced people about this subject, but you seem like you know what you’re talking about! Thanks

  15. On April 22, 2014 at 6:57 pm, Targeted said:

    I am sorry to say but you the reviewer couldn’t come off any more pompous, sactimonious and judgmental. I say
    this as a targeted individual who has dealt with much if not all of Ms. Naylor’s experiences. Read more, open you mind, before you begin to spout your ignorance.

    • On April 22, 2014 at 7:19 pm, anitadalton said:

      Yeah, that sums me up to a tee. “Pompous, sanctimonious and judgmental” should be tattooed on my ass. But I did read the book. Did you? I can’t tell from your comment. :)

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