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Mike Feigen - The single secular homeschooling dad of three boys with cystic fibrosis who never was

14 January 2012 100 Comments

1165467_baseballOn January 11th, 2012, Mike Feigen, single father of two twin boys with cystic fibrosis, died in a car crash along with his twin sons and his nephew, hit by a drunk driver.

The online secular homeschooling community was hit hard, with messages of condolences, sadness, and mourning all over Facebook and the Secular Homeschooling Yahoo group.

But, a day later, when no information was forthcoming on how to pay respects to the family, and no article showed up in any newspapers, and none of the family was giving more information, there started to be suspicions about whether he even existed at all.

Mike Feigen claimed to homeschool three boys, two of which were his twin sons with cystic fibrosis, as well as a nephew who also had CF. He had said his wife died in 2004 2003 of CF as well, and he at that point stopped working in order to be a full time dad.

He posted to Facebook, the Secular Homeschooling off-topic Yahoo group, and to a Cycstic Fibrosis support forum many times a day, updating families about his sons’ health. He also posted about anti-religion and the Yankees.

He had a lot of friends (and as I’ve learned, also a lot of people who most certainly did not consider him a friend). These friends supported him and cheered him on through all of his struggles with his children.

So when he died, it hit the secular homeschooling community hard, and many people were very upset by it.

But after a little while, people started asking questions about him.

And when people started asking questions, suddenly, his Facebook page, his CF webpage, and the two pages for his sons disappeared off the internet.

Without those points of contact, Mike Feigen with two sons with CF did not exist anywhere else. He instantly blinked out of existence.

After doing extensive research, I have come to the conclusion that  a real living Mike Feigen never existed, and that he and his entire family was fabricated.

But who would do this and why?

I have my suspicion, but let’s start with the facts about why I have concluded with 99% certainty that he never existed.

Each individual fact can be explained by other possible scenarios, but when you take them all together, there is only one conclusion to be made.

  • The announcement for his death was only a few hours after he announced he went to the batting cages. In an accident that horrific, it would be highly unlikely that a family member would know enough and be able to announce about it on his FB page that quickly. Not to mention that most family members would be too busy trying to get information themselves about what happened before announcing it on the person’s FB page. Cleaning up a fatal accident takes a lot of time.
  • The announcement was allegedly by his mother in law. Her page did not have any mention of the deaths of her own grandchidren. She only posted on his page. And she posted to “let people know” without any visible emotion.
  • Mere hours after there was suspicion about his existence voiced on his page, the page was taken down. So were the pages of the two sons. For some reason, the page of the nephew was not taken down. I was unable to verify if the mother in law’s page was still up. (Update: the nephew’s page is now unavailable.)(Update: the mother in Law’s page, Judy Cohn, is also no longer available.)
  • Nobody on FB had met him in person. He had hundreds of FB friends, and none of them came forward stating that they had met him.
  • There were no pictures of him or his kids on any of the FB pages.
  • There was no record of a crash of that magnitude anywhere in the US in the news.
  • Nobody was quite sure where he lived, although there was speculation that he was New Jersey or New York.
  • According to his posts and a few other things found about him on the internet - he did not exist on the internet until January 2009, where he posted several times to a CF group and Daily KOS. After that, his existed retreated to FB, the secular HS yahoo group, and the CF group, and posted often there. By 2010, he only existed on FB.
  • There is no record of a Mike Feigen living in New Jersey or New York.
  • There is an easily found Mike Feigen who lives in CO who is a social relations manager for the minor baseball league, as well as a Mike Feigin who lives in New Jersey and is a practicing attorney. The Mike Feigen who was said to have died was an avid baseball fan, and he claimed to be a lawyer.

These are the main facts that he did not exist. The three most important ones are that nobody has met him in person, he does not exist anywhere else on the internet, and no news article about a horrendous crash killing 4 people including three boys with CF was in the news.

(Update: I have been told that in one of his posts at posts on the Secular Homeschooler site, he said his sons’ doctor was Dorothy Bisberg, M.D. in New Jersey. I am not sure if there is a way to confirm that.)

Unless there is new information about this, there is no evidence anywhere that Mike Feigen and his children ever existed.

Which, is good, in that 4 people didn’t die in a terrible car crash. But bad in that someone has been writing as Mike Feigen in 3 different forums, and created at least 4 different FB pages to support it, since January 2009. And duping us all in the process.

Who would do this and why?

(Update: We now know who did it and why. The theories below were my original suspicions based on the evidence I had, but as more information came in, these theories were all debunked. Read the comments to find out who it was and maybe you can deduce why on your own.)

This is where the facts are a little blurry, because nobody can know for sure why people do things. But I speculate the following based on additional findings I’ve discovered in the past couple of days.

I believe that Mrs. White did it in the Hall with the Lead Pipe.

Ok, seriously. After all the given evidence, the most likely story is that Mike Feigen was actually a woman. She is a writer. I’m 95% sure of both of those things.

And I also believe that she did it because she was promoting a book she was writing, as well as her general anti-religious platform.  I have about 50% certainty about this.

The next likely scenario, which I have at about 40%, is that it was someone who wants to be a writer, perhaps writing a book, or creating characters for a book, who was doing character research, and in the process, also got her kicks from the support/debate it created.

These are the bits that caused me to go down this line of thinking:

Evidence that it was a woman:
If you read the posts and comments and take away from the “Mike Feigen” persona, the writing style and choice of topics has a feminine “feel” to it. Although, it’s nearly impossible to know for sure if someone is a man or a woman, there are common differences between how men and women write. I’ll leave it up to you to decide, but the more I read his posts, especially the long ones, the more it makes sense that a woman wrote it.

The whole story is also very romantic. His wife moved in across the street from him when he was six. His nephew is like a son. His in-laws love him dearly. He struggles from day to day, and his struggles are always so much harder than anyone else’s. He’s able to stay home because both his father and her father are rich. He used to be a lawyer. It’s got all of the markings of a “perfect family who has to deal with something hard, overcome it, and ends with tragedy anyway.”

(Update, Linda Nielson took several samples of Mike’s writing and ran it through the Gender Genie - 4 out of 5 samples came up as being written by a woman.)

Evidence that it was a writer and he’s a writer’s character.

  • If you look closely, especially to the longer posts, the grammar, punctuation, formatting, are all very well written.
  • It’s written like a story. You could take some of his longer posts, especially the self-describing posts, and put them in a novel, and it would read very nicely.
  • He rarely, if ever, veered off the character topics. (There is only one example of this that I could find, where he asks about building a pool.) The story was tight, and there was very little human variance. The first posts in 2009, were like character introductions, rather than human stories, with a tightly wrapped story about how he got to where he was and his approach to life. On his FB feed, his posts were consistent with the same topics over and over, with no variance that I could see or that I’ve been able to gather from outside sources. The character was well-defined to the point of being annoying to some, even. While it is not unusual for individuals to be obsessed with one topic, when someone posts the number of posts he had (meaning he was on the internet a lot), there would be some variance and personal injection somewhere. If it was a writer, it makes sense that he would only post on very focused topics and keep within the character’s outline.

Now, the reason I think it might have been a particular writer who’s coming out with a book (who I won’t mention by name until I have solid evidence that it’s her), is that just coincidentally, I was able to find out information about some of Mike’s “likes” on his FB page in Dec. 2011, and Jan. 2012. His likes, again, where exactly what his character would like - CF foundation, Richard Dawkins, Atheism (but not homeschooling, interestingly). But there were no oddballs like a tv show or a favorite restaurant or anything personal that we normally add along with our political or pet passions. Also, almost exactly one month before he suddenly died, he added one more like - to a writer’s page, who happened to be writing a book about secularism, and who was going to end her stint as a newspaper columnist - on the topic of atheism. He added her when she announced she was very soon going to retire as a columnist, and was going to write a book.  Also, the writing style of this person’s few updates, and Mike’s writing style are eerily similar.

The story fits easily - Mike Feigen was a research character for her book, and also a way for her to come up with ideas for her column.

(Update: After receiving more information about this person, it seems unlikely it’s her. It might be someone in a similar situation, but I don’t think it’s the original person I was suspecting. Unless I get more info, I will not pursue this particular possibility further.)

And, on the side, what the heck, it also felt good to debate and be a fundamentalist atheist and nobody would attach it to her real name.

The details, we will probably never know - about who and why she did it. But this story makes sense to me.

The second possibility, is that it was actually a writer who is not successful, yet, who is a very good writer, doing research for a character or a book, and who also has personal experience with CF. So, everyone, keep an eye out for a character in a book in the future who has this character profile - single homeschooling dad, CF kids, and is a staunch atheist. n any case, as soon as she saw that people were looking into who she was, she freaked, and deleted the accounts.

Both of these stories make sense to me, and until there is more evidence to show otherwise, this is what I suspect. It explains why the person was able to keep it up for so long, why they were interested in it, why it was believable, and why they left so abruptly.

Some have speculated that it was a crazy person looking for attention. This is always a possibility when something like this happens. But usually, attention seeking people aren’t that good at keeping their stories straight. It’s still a possibility, but I put it at 10%.

Although, I must add, that no matter what the reason, even if it was to do a character study, there has to have been a bit of a sociopathic tendency with the person who did it, to be callous and detached enough as to pull so many people in, and then just turn them off with an abrupt “he’s dead” and not even a wave goodbye.

And that, is the story of Mike Feigen. The fake person who infiltrated the homeschooling and CF community, who made friends and enemies, and who pulled at our heartstrings both when he was “alive” and when he died.

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100 Comments »

  • Deborah Markus said:

    Very interesting! Thank you for posting this.

    When I came home late the night that the Mike Feigen postings started coming through on FB, I showed my husband what had happened. The next day, when you posted your first doubts, I asked him if he’d heard any alarm bells ringing re what I’d showed him. “Sure,” he said. “But if this really was a friend of yours, I didn’t want to sound like a jerk.”

    I didn’t think to take screen shots, but one thing I did notice that night was that before the “We’re heading out for the batting cages!” posting on Mike’s page, the postings had been nothing but quotes from favorite writers for quite some time. So a personal message about going out for some recreation really stuck out, after all the purely literary postings.

    Also, one thing I was struck by years ago — not struck into skepticism, but irritated by — was a posting by Feigen’s sister to the SH Yahoo group. She said that Mike had asked her to post news, and dutifully wrote a long detailed missive about the boys and Mike himself. After several unstrained paragraphs, she suddenly said something about how “Mike always makes this writing thing look so easy. He just sits down and types. That’s how he was in college — he’d be surrounded by a bunch of notes that didn’t even look related, and then an hour later he’d have pulled a paper together” — a paper that always got a high grade, of course.

    It struck me as rather inauthentic, but I chalked it up to super-rich people being different from actual human beings.

    Please keep posting about this as you get more information and flesh out your hypotheses. I’m fascinated by this entire event, whatever it turns out to be. My initial thought was “sympathy con artist,” but so much writing for so long? You’re right — it sounds like a research project.

    At first I wasn’t sure about the writer being female, because frankly some of the postings from Mike on the SH Yahoo group seemed rather macho to me. At one point, during an argument about reproductive freedom, Mike mentioned a statistic about how many miscarriages women have without even knowing it and said something about the vagina being nature’s perfect killing machine. Obviously a woman *could* come up with this kind of writing, but it’s certainly not what one would associate with “femininity.”

    But maybe it was a woman trying too hard to sound like a man? A lot of writers do that when trying to write a character of the opposite sex — instead of thinking, “What would someone like this do under these circumstances?” they go with, “What would a MAN [or woman] do under these circumstances?”

    Thanks again for posting this. Can’t wait to see more on the subject.

  • Valerie said:

    Good detective work, Tammy. My eyes ache just thinking about all the pages you must have sifted through.

  • Kerry said:

    Absolutely fascinating, Tammy!!! If this blog/book thing doesn’t work out, you’ve definitely got a secure future in investigation, lady!! :)

  • Liz said:

    I only disagree with one part of this analysis: there is actually a 100% chance that it’s a crazy person looking for attention. Sane people do not act like this. Yes, it may be a writer working out ideas for a book or promoting a book, but that writer is crazy. The vast majority of writers, some of whom are also crazy, would not find this in any way appropriate — or even all that useful. You can do research in these groups and write down your own character notes without getting the two combined.

    There’s an incredible callousness about the whole approach that suggests pathological self-centeredness. You really have to ignore the reality of other people in order to deceive them into outpourings of sincere love and support, whether you’re seeking the emotional rush or just the plot material. I’d say that qualifies as crazy.

  • Cara said:

    I didn’t see Mike’s facebook, since I’m fairly new to the SH board and hadn’t taken particular notice of him there. So, I don’t know who he recently linked to there that you’re now suspecting of creating his character for research. However, I do know that Susan Jacoby is an atheist columnist who is currently retiring to work on her book writing. However, I can’t imagine that it could be her, since she writes non-fiction. Is that who you’re suspecting?

    I’m with Liz — I think the whole thing smacks of crazy. Long-lasting and unusually consistent crazy, which marks it as the work of someone with high intelligence and a personality disorder, rather than a psychotic form of crazy.

  • Tammy (author) said:

    Deborah - The over-masculine writing would be consistent with a woman writer trying to sound like a man. If it was a writer researching a character, it could have been an attempt to play with the man’s voice and to see the reaction it would get.

    Also, a woman writing as a man would probably try to have “man” opinions, but the style would likely still be a woman’s. There are whole courses on cross gender dialogue writing, just because this issue is particularly difficult in both directions.

    Thanks for sharing what you know.

    Valerie - DH helped me. But to be honest, it wasn’t very much to sift through, and that’s what made it so strange.

    Kerry - Intriguing idea. There would have to be some added spice tho - make it a drug dealer to someone really famous doing it for kicks or something. Maybe an online one-way love affair - he was single!

    Liz - Good points.

    Cara - Is Susan Jacoby a well-known atheist writer? Do you have a link to some of her writing samples? I’m not ruling anyone out at this point, unless I know them in person :)

  • Cara said:

    She’s very well known. There are excepts from her newest book on her website, susanjacoby.com. However, like I said, she writes non-fiction only — so I don’t see how creating a character like Mike could assist in researching her writing.

    This whole thing is fascinating and kind of shocking, and will make me and probably many others more skeptical about the people we think we know online.

  • Tammy (author) said:

    Cara, thanks for the additional info. She was indeed the one who was added right before Mike disappeared, and since I knew nothing about her, never heard of her, and her FB page just happened to be updated to mention she was quitting right around the time Mike disappeared, she was on my radar.

    I read some of her excerpts on her website, and upon closer inspection her writing style isn’t the same as Mike’s. I thought it was from the bits on her FB page, but it’s not really.

    I’m now leaning towards my second suspicion, that it’s an unknown writer. Although I’m still open to the possibility it’s someone who’s already published.

    But it just might be someone who is marvelously good at pretending to be someone else, in which case - what a waste of talent!

    Glad you piped in. I appreciate any additional info we get to put the pieces together.

  • Chris said:

    There was also a caringbridge page for the boys that was “private” in the sense that you needed your email to log in. There are legitimate families who do that for privacy reasons. However, that was also taken down after people started questioning it. (I looked for it today and it was gone). I had never met them but had heard of them through another caringbridge.

    It’s all very unsettling, especially since I was also facebook friends with them. I’m glad this piece was written though - it feels like there are some answers since I was also searching for articles about the tragic death that was posted to facebook.

  • Nipuna said:

    I am a member of a forum on delphiforums a few years ago where we had a Mark with a son with CF who had many similarities with this Mike person. We also came to the conclusion that it was a woman. When we started directly questioning, Mark disappeared. I think that would have been in 2008ish.

  • interesting said:

    This is similar to a Janna St. James deception. You should look at the website I’ve linked to. It looks like “Mike” has covered “his” tracks well. Maybe there are things on the Piece of Fakey blog that will sound familiar to you.

  • Hevel said:

    The only thing that I can disagree with is using Gender Genie. While 8 out of 10 of my own blog posts show female, while I’m most definitely not female. Hack Factor’s gender guesser, however, give accurate results as in I’m a European male. http://www.hackerfactor.com/GenderGuesser.php

    From what you describe and what little I saw of him during my very brief stint on the SH Yahoo group, his posts did sound like character studies.

  • Dee said:

    When I was searching Mike I found this in the cfnews:

    Dad and 3 sons killed by DUI

    NOT Mike and his boys BUT
    1 of the boys killed had the same name as Mik’s boy~ also strange finding
    It in the “CF news”……..hhhhuuummm

    http://www.cfnews13.com/article/news/2010/august/130799/Father,-3-sons-killed-in-St.-Pete-crash

  • Dee said:

    One other thing. After the person who first posted about Mike’s passing I went on FB.
    I found his FB BUT no posting about his passing away. Did anyone else see that post?
    Has the person who started all this posted since? Could the person who first posted be one
    is the same person?

  • Katie said:

    This blog post was posted in the Yahoo Secular Homeschooling group that I belong to. I am newer to the group, but remember seeing his name in posts. When the news came across the group, I was horrified. It didn’t matter than I didn’t know him…my heart grieved for such a tragic loss of not one, but FOUR lives. In a drunk driving accident no less; even worse.

    I tried to find info about the accident myself. Part of it was morbid curiosity, part of it was to see if the online communities he was a part of knew if the family needed help. I couldn’t find anything, but didn’t think that was suspicious; as like most people have agreed, it can take a while for information like that to be made public.

    Then I started seeing the posts where others were calling “bunk.” After more and more posts kept coming in, I realized that I had crossed that conspiracy theory line, lol. I can’t imagine going to these lengths to fool people, and to what end? Just crazy…

    Anyways, your post came through our Yahoo group and I want to thank you for the effort you put into breaking this down. After reading this, I too believe that Mike Feigen, or the person pretending to be him, is one THE greatest cons ever. :(

    Katie
    A computer junkie, workbook hating, TV watching, iGadget addicted, secular homeschooling, soccer mom of 2 boys.

  • Kellie said:

    I’ve been watching this all being discussed on the secular homeschooling group, but haven’t commented because I’m not exactly an active participant. (My daughter is still quite young.) I appreciate all the work you’ve done, but think you’re really reaching for an explanation with the writer scenario. So often people just NEED a reason why people would troll with a tragic story and it seems like a nice fit.

    I’ve been a moderator on various message boards for a long time now, including one that, before it crashed, had over 35,000 active members. As someone who spent a good deal of time sleuthing out stories so that we could verify/debunk them and remove trolls, I can tell you there’s never been a good explanation. Maybe there’s a component of mental illness. Really they just want attention. Always. There’s a reason their story is never “normal.” It’s never a woman planning a non-eventful wedding. It’s always a woman who’s husband is in a coma! Wedding plans on hold for now! It’s never a mom having a healthy singleton. It’s always a mom having twins! Or triplets! And now they’re in the NICU forever. And maybe if she desires to keep up the troll for a long time, now one has long-term issues. In this case, not a man homeschooling twins, one of whom has CF - instead he is homeschooling 3 boys with CF!! It fits.

    Honestly, from what I am reading, this guy sounds like a classic message board troll. Maybe a tiny bit smarter than most, in keeping the posts to certain topics, as that is often how they trip themselves up. (The other way is that other people who have been in the same situation recognize inaccuracies - this is particularly common with the preemie/NICU trolls.) But I have seen other trolls do the same.

    It is pretty normal to see the writing be very good. This is someone’s performance art or hobby. They make the effort. Also, trolls tend to be fairly smart people in general.

    Just wanted to point these things out. So many times, people who have not been on the admin side of message boards have NO idea that this really does happen and just how common it is. Mike was not an unusual case.

  • Dianna said:

    Thank you so much for for writing this.

    I have been following the journal that “Mike” regularly updated about his sons and nephew at http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/nathanandzachfeigen. Not only did “Mike” post updates here, but “he” also regularly posted to the guestbooks of others. The caringbridge page was deactivated on the day that I read about the “accident” at colesfoundation.org. I thought it was mighty strange that a family would even consider deactivating the journal so soon, instead of allowing people to post condolences. Perhaps caringbridge administrators can track down the IP address of the person that created the page, so he/she is unable to do it again???? Just the thought of someone making up a fake story about children who have a disease like cystic fibrosis is beyond shameful. If this is the case, I wish you the best of luck in bringing “Mike” to justice and exposing “him” to the world for the snake “he” is.

  • Tammy (author) said:

    Chris - Thanks for the information about the private caringbridge website. That seems strange indeed. Wouldn’t a family want to leave behind a loving memory of children who died so violently?

    Nipuna - It it possible it was the same person. Thanks for sharing that piece of info.

    Interesting - I couldn’t understand what was going on in the website you linked. But I guess this kind of thing isn’t all that unusual. At least, from what I’ve gathered, Mike didn’t hurt anyone.

    Hevel - Thanks for the clarification on how to read that piece of evidence.

    Dee - Very interesting. Thanks for digging that up. And to answer your question, the mother-in-law announced it on his FB page. She did not announce it on her own or the children’s. I wish I had a photographic memory so I could tell you want it said, but it was something like, “Mike and his sons were killed on their way home from the bating cages. Hit by a drunk driver.” If anyone has the exact phrasing, that would be helpful. Also, I was told, at roughly the same time, she announced it on the SH loop and the CF forums, but I don’t have personal confirmation of that.

    Katie - You’re welcome. I’m glad that he/she’s been outed, so that none of us have to go through grieving for a pretend person, and not spend another ounce of emotional energy on this manipulator.

    Kellie - Thanks for your insight on this. I suppose it’s not surprising to know that this happens more often than we think, considering the anonymity of the internet. But I am surprised just how well-known he was, and kept up the ruse on three different forums for three years. Even though I don’t like what he/she did, it’s a pretty impressive feat. Then, to disappear without almost a trace at all. This is indeed a skilled individual. Too bad they used their skills to dupe people. Seems like such a waste.

  • Kellie said:

    It is not uncommon to have them go on for years. It only stops if the troll grows bored of the lie, or if s/he is outed. It sounds like this might be a case of the former happening.

    There was a girl in my “due date club” on a large mommy message board who had been there for over 5 years. Had a kid, and people knew her, had met her, etc. She was totally real. When she was in my DDC she was having her “second” child. Almost two years later we found out the second child was a total lie. She was never pregnant again at all. It was very strange.

  • Esperanza said:

    Kellie: “Maybe there’s a component of mental illness. Really they just want attention. Always.”

    I agree strongly with Kellie. It is normal to wonder the “why” of motivation, but that could drive us crazy:-) It’s obvious they are attention whores, otherwise, they’d lurk on boards and ask occasional questions to glean information.

    I’m so glad I put him on ‘ignore’ a long time ago. But I hurt for my friends who feel hurt and betrayed, and who spent precious emotional energy on this character.

  • Liane said:

    Re: speculation about where he lived, there is a post that is obviously from him here: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/homeswimmingpoolowners/message/6380 — It explicitly states that he lives in NJ, 15 minutes outside NYC.

    To that end, no amount of searching has turned up any info on a deadly collision in New Jersey that involved three children…

  • Informed said:

    I have been friends with “Mike” for several years. Both through caring bridge and facebook. Not to defend this man, but he has been nothing but positive and uplifting over the many interactions over the 4 years I’ve “known” him. With that said, because he was so compassionate, the news of the “deaths” hit me hard. And the fact that I was friends with his entire created family and I talked to then extensively over email, through caringbridge, and facebook. I was devastated. So I started doing my own research based upon what I knew. I collobrated with a handful of mutual friends of mine and “Mike’s” whom I have also known for years. All of us together have discovered this….

    “Mike” loved baseball. Everyone who knew him knew this was public information. His favorite team was the Yankees. “Mike” was reported to live in New Jersey. With many of us being friends with “Mike” for many years, all of us had a different relationship with him. He trusted (for a lack of a better term) all of us with different parts of his life. He had mentioned a place called the “Windmill” about a mile away from the coast. We also knew that Yankee stadium was about an hour and a half drive from where he lived. And they would go there all the time. Also, “Mike” was HUGE into baseball statics. He was forever stating random stats from different teams, mostly his beloved Yanks. Mike would talk to anyone about any team, always using statistics. “Mike” had reportly been a graduate of Syracuse University. He had frequently mentioned them being his team of choice durning any sporting team went up against them. He also knew his history and politics….very well. One of his son’s posted DAILY his “fun facts” of the day. The day they all “died” one of the twins’ fun facts was on the President’s of the United States.

    All of us threw our varying knowledge together. We looked for patterns, clues anything we could get our hands on; going through years of old email conversations with him. “Mike” had reported publicly on both of his web sites about his brothers, Rob and Josh. Also, the twins loved going to see their Grandpa Harvey. Again, clues left by Mike. We started mapping things from what we knew, and pinpointed a small area in New Jersey where “Mike” could possibly live. With deductive reasoning and context clues, the area we came up with was Springfield, New Jersey.

    That was our starting point. From there, we were franticlly typing random tid bits of public knowledge of “Mike” into various search engines. We discovered a man, born in April 1971 (”Mike’s reported birthday) living in that town. He has two brothers, Josh and Rob, and his father’s name is Harvey. He is not married at present, but there is record of a female death in the family. (Mike’s wife reportedly died of CF in 2003). The gentleman we discovered also attended Syracuse University, orginally majoring in Computer Science, then History and Political Science (explaining the many history lessons “Mike” would randomly give us). The very interesting fact about this gentleman is that he LOVES the Yankees. And baseball. So much in fact, he’s a baseball stats writer. We discovered an online interview with this gentleman and a sports writer. The writing style of this gentleman and “Mike’s” is identical. To those of us who have “spoken” to this man everyday, and only through writing, you learn real quick how to recognize their daily sentence structure.

    Again, “Mike” loved his baseball. I had a small altercation (in good taste) with him on facebook about the Wild Card team in post season baseball. His opinion was so strong that it had actualy offended me. He had never been so hostile in his typing. Well, the gentleman we discovered hates the Wild Card. Why bring this up? Because an interview I found with this gentleman gave the EXACT same reasons to me as to why he hated the Wild Card. Paraphrased a little as he was talking to a different audience in the interview than he was to me.

    Our research was able to conclude this….there is a man, living in NJ, born in the same month and year as “Mike,” attended the same University as he, loves baseball, has two brothers with the same first name as “Mike” and a father with the same name as “Mike’s.” And this man happnes to be a statistical writer for baseball, hoping one day to work for the Yankees. There are a ton of other things that lead to this, but to put them all down would cause this to be much much longer. So in short…..”Mike” as a name does not exist. “Mike”, in fact happens to be a man named Lee (last name removed). Google that name, you’ll know after your own research if you have been a long time friend of “Mike’s.”

  • Kathy in PA said:

    Just wanted to point out that it was a fellow list member who posted to the Secular Homeschool list, after some back and forth on FB about whether we should post it and to which list.

  • ashley said:

    Mike Feigen -> drop an ‘e’ -> Mike Feign.

    yeah.

  • Nipuna said:

    Sorry, the person I was speaking of was named Danny and his son was Mark. He said he was from Florida and also had a nephew (possibly also with CF?). He said he was married and his wife had a hysterectomy (not the boy with CF’s mom?) and could no longer dye her hair. Did anyone who saw the facebook page see any of these photos on there? http://img367.imageshack.us/img367/4959/untitled7qw.jpg
    http://img210.imageshack.us/img210/687/av296ce.gif
    http://img221.imageshack.us/img221/4526/ourweddingcakecut2ak.jpg

  • Kathy in PA said:

    OK, so if Mike is ‘Lee (last name removed)’ - then what about the boys and what about the supposed accident? I would not surprise me at all if he had changed his name to maintain privacy on the internet, I know people who are upfront about doing that. But how then, would this person fit into this ending?

  • Esperanza said:

    Sorry to continue to be the skeptic, but, for all we know, “Informed” is just sending us on a merry chase. I’m glad “Mike” was uplifting for all of the people and “Informed”, but, unless s/he has three kids with CF and is homeschooling them, “Mike” is still a liar and a manipulator.

  • Karen said:

    “Informed” has shown me convincing proof that links “Mike” with Lee (last name removed). I believe that “Informed” has cracked the case. The links pointed out, plus the four items of hard evidence that I saw, convinced me that Lee (last name removed) is in fact “MIke Feigen.” “Informed” strikes me as genuine, honest, and trustworthy, though I only know this individual through fb and we all certainly have seen that we can’t always believe everything we read on fb.

  • Nipuna said:

    Are you sure Lee (last name removed) isn’t a pseudonym too? There’s a Harvey (last name removed) on FB with the same family names as “Mike”. And he refers to himself as poppop. Our “Danny” used to talk about “Mark’s” grandpop. But no accident report anywhere in the news for the (last name removed) family.

  • Tim said:

    Lee (last name removed) graduated 2 years after someone named Nicole Feigen from Livingston HS in NJ.

    I wonder if she was an old GF and that’s where he got the name?

  • Tim said:

    Okay, Lee (last name removed) dad, Harvey, has someone named “Judith Cohn” in his friend list. “Judi Cohn” was the name of the “mother in law” who posted about Mike’s “accident.

    I am beginning to see the truth here. I believe Informed is correct. TOO Much coincidence.

    AND, Lee (last name removed) has a law degree. Nail in the coffin in my book.

  • Kimberly said:

    In response to finding so many connections with Mike and the Lee (last name removed) person, there are two possible (ok, realistically more, but two immediate ideas) reasons they match up. 1. Lee (last name removed) faked a “Mike” persona or 2. “Mike” used a real person, Lee (last name removed), to help create the on-line persona.

    I am intrigued by this, and as most people, I like a good story and want to figure things out. Obviously unless the “Mike” person comes back and tells us the back story we’ll never really know why.

  • DupedNoMore said:

    I think the reason he was so ‘believeable’ is because he actually DID present a number of other interests on FB. Here’s a link to his FB profile, friends, group interests, what he was a ‘fan’ of via profileengine.com

    http://profileengine.com/people/165987187/mike.feigen#/people/165987187/mike.feigen?offset=0

  • Kim said:

    Interesting - out of all the family photos on Harvey’s fb page, I only found one, very old, picture of Lee. Maybe he is a lonely guy, ostracized by his (very) Jewish family?

  • Tim said:

    The reason I don’t think he patterned his life after Lee is that he really seemed to know his stats. Yes, he could have looked them up every day, but that would have really gotten old after a while. He did this for what, three years? He seemed to be a genuine Yankees freak, too.

    I’m leaning toward: This was Lee’s hobby. But again, this is just my opinion.

  • Rest in f*&#ing peace, Mike Feigen » Bitter Notes said:

    [...] few days after the accident, writer/homeschooler Tammy Takahashi blogged about Mike Feigen. As far as I know, she was the first person to raise questions and push for [...]

  • Doug said:

    Lee (last name removed) is known for citing and promoting his own statistics, especially RCAA and RSAA. I never saw Mike Feigen cite those stats. Lee is also very well known for his hatred of no hitters. He considers them the most overhyped thing in baseball. He knows a daily newsletter and literally does not even mention that it was a no hitter. He just writes that someone pitched a shutout. On the other hand, I remember times when Mike was actively reporting watching potential no hitters that were in progress.

  • Tammy (author) said:

    It’s strange that someone would know so well what Lee is “known” for. That would have to be a pretty big fan. And then, what a coincidence, also to be so familiar with Mike’s updates on FB, to know a minute detail that one writes “shutout” but the other would write “no hitter.”

    Well, it’s not that strange at all if they are the same person.

    And if they also happen to live in NJ. (
    “Doug”’s IP address is: 76.116.173.122
    Look it up at IP-Address (http://www.ip-address.org) to see it’s in New Jersey. )

  • Jen Garrison Stuber said:

    Tammy –
    Mike’s IP address will be caught in the header of any yahoo groups posting he did.
    –Jen Garrison Stuber

  • Tammy (author) said:

    Also, I’m collecting email addresses and IP addresses used by Mike/Lee. If you have any, please send me a PM on facebook.

  • MT said:

    “Doug’s” IP is not only NJ, but exactly in the area where a Lee (last name removed) of Springfield comes up in online white page listings. The Lee (last name removed) in the white pages is associated with a Harvey (last name removed), etc.

    Simply too much of a coincidence for it to not be true. If it isn’t Lee (last name removed) himself, then it’s someone involved with his complicit knowledge.

    Lee should come clean and apologize so that everyone can move on.

  • MT said:

    Well, the last Yahoo Secular Homeschooling Group posting from “Mike” back in December has the IP address 76.116.173.122
    Same IP as Doug’s post above.

    How odd that Doug, who shares an IP with Mike, would have come here and not confirmed his death, but rather debated the finer points of baseball terminology.

  • Lisa said:

    Good catch, Tammy. That’s the same IP “Mike” used to post to SH loop.

  • Esperanza said:

    I love it that the same medium Doug/Mike/Lee used to perpetrate the fraud was used to finally identify this narcissistic fiction writer.

    Kudos to “Informed” and the rest of those that put it all together:-)

  • Luki said:

    Now that everyone has been made aware, what do we intend to do with this information? Go after him mob style? Harass his family on Facebook or via phone calls? I fully agree, we have all been HAD, but is there a plan beyond that realization? Personally, I hope not. Yes, you can track my IP and learn that I was one of the closest people to him, as the person Mike. I’m very hurt but I can’t turn my hurt around and harm or harass him or his family for it. I hope it just blows over soon.

  • Tammy (author) said:

    Luki - good questions.

    I agree with you. Now that we know the truth, I hope it blows over soon, too.

    Some people seem annoyed, but I haven’t seen anyone saying they want to do anything other than know the truth.

    As much as “Mike” duped us all, he didn’t hurt anyone or take anyone’s money.

    And now the mystery is solved. I didn’t do it alone. I had many, many people help me, send me messages, give me information, and otherwise point us in the right direction to find out what was going on.

    To me, this is an example of what the homeschooling community can do when we all work together for the same goal.

    Good job, everyone!

  • Esperanza said:

    Luki. . .As a person who knows others who were hurt by this deception, big (((hugs))) I’m sure all of us, to some extent, can empathize. Maybe not with these exact circumstances, but with being deceived and manipulated.

    I can’t imagine that any of us want to “do anything” with the information, other than pass it on to others. So that they will not grieve for a fictional family. And that, like everything life brings us, we can learn.

    While part of me is angered with the deception, the larger part is simply saddened/bemused that this Doug/Mike/Lee has such and empty life that they have to cry for attention in such a sick manner.

  • Kathy in PA said:

    In a perfect world, what I’d want is an honest explanation of the one question we all want to know. . . WHY? Maybe it started out innocently enough and took on a life of its own. Who knows. Maybe this Lee guy really does have 2 kids with CP and is a widower. We’ve only proved that ‘Mike’ is ‘Dug’, so there are still a lot of unanswered questions as to why and maybe how. But do I think that’ll be forthcoming? No.

    Ironically a recent SH poster was looking for advice and input about an online group, including security measures. She has since posted that this whole sordid affair has been an education in and of itself. Maybe that’s all we’ll get out of this — a reminder than one of the biggest draws of cyberspace has always been and still is anonymity.

    I keep thinking of ‘Must Love Dogs’, which ironically was on cable over the weekend, where both the main character and a supporting one create multiple dating profiles to try out various aspects of their character. I know I often wonder if all my online friends lived down the road from me (or God-forbid in my house!) and saw the warts as well as the wisdom, if they’d still find me as interesting or even worth friending.

    I don’t wish anyone ill. I’m peeved at having my feelings taken for a ride, but mostly I feel sad for whoever did this. That they would put this much effort into a ruse instead of into their very real life. But mostly, what I’ve wanted to know all along, even when I thought it was a DUI homicide, is the one question at the root of every question. . . WHY?

  • Nipuna said:

    My question is where will he turn up next? I’m quite convinced he was the same guy on delphiforums from about 2003/4 - 2006. Doug, remember that forum ATC?

  • Elizabeth said:

    Now that you have definitively solved the mystery — and I really believe you have — the kindest thing to do might be to delete the posts that give his real name. He didn’t intend to hurt anyone — even if he actually manipulated a lot of you — and I think he deserves our pity. The kindest thing to do might be to expunge his name. No one on this site seems to wish him ill; and the embarrassment caused by this incident may do just that. For all you know, it could be that he “killed” them off because he was tired of living a lie and felt terrible about manipulating people, etc. Anyway, just a thought. I would hate to read that exposure of this incident caused him to harm himself or something.

  • JWB said:

    Great investigative work everyone. Glad the slimeball has been outed.

    Let us all walk away from this with a lesson…be careful when approached via internet. Luckily this person didn’t rip anyone off financially.

    What a lonely loser existence this person must live to spend so much time, in so many places on the internet, to pretend to be someone he is not.

  • Kellie said:

    People who get their kicks from trolling almost always do it again. They change up their story a bit and choose different forums in the same vein. Usually.

  • Michelle said:

    I WAS hurt by this person. Maybe using a DUI death or otherwise bringing alcoholism into the story was based on his relationship with me. He was always very supportive of my struggles on fb. So I do want retaliation. I think this post and the sleuths should get together and write a big editorial article and submit it to the New York Times and Springfield NJ papers and any other big papers out there. Perhaps even qrite an article for a magazine. I would feel vindicated if the lady in the grocery store checkout line, librarian, mailman, or other folks who have daily contact with the perpetrator can look them on the eye and shame them. I guess finding Lee’s Ip address is the only way to link them all though. I can tell you that I sure wish this was illegal. And that triggering those with my disability with intent to defraud was illegal too. And I am so mad I could wish this person a fat case of hemmerroids.

  • Kelly said:

    Has anyone thought of taking this to the media?

  • Luki said:

    I fully agree with Elizabeth’s post.
    Michelle, I am in a major battle with alcoholism as received a lot of support from Mike about it. I don’t think it was the chosen method of going away in order to b**** slap us one final time by it being a DUI. I just think it was a quick thought of how to vanish because he was done with the charades.
    Like Elizabeth said, I certainly wish no harm to him and I agree that the posts with his name should be removed.

  • bhán said:

    It’s disgusting, getting attention when real people have to deal every day with what he just pretended to be dealing with. He’s a complete jerk, and I agree that people in his area have a right to know what kind of person they are talking to - I’d want to know!

    And I agree with Kellie, from experience I know that people who do this kind of thing and have no negative repercussions do it again. Often on a bigger scale.

    ..bhán

  • Tim said:

    It’s done. He’s ousted. Mystery solved. I feel duped, but I’m moving forward. I friended him on FB because I liked his Hitchens quotes. I still miss those quotes. No sense in making a huge deal out of it now. What’s done is done :(

  • Tammy (author) said:

    I removed Lee’s last name. Talk to me on Facebook if you want more information.

    And please don’t use Lee’s last name in these comments. Thank you.

  • Esperanza said:

    Tammy, may I ask why you removed the last name? Is there some new question that puts into question whether Lee was in fact “Mike”?

  • Deborah Markus said:

    Did “Mike’s” friendships with anyone extend to impersonating his own kids and corresponding as them with other children? From what Informed said, it sounds as if “the kids” were “friends” with some people — were any of them children?

  • Gretchen said:

    Hi Danny! Or Dana.

  • interesting said:

    One thing you should be aware of before you write this guy off completely.

    I’m the victim of a long con by someone who has had decades of practice. Janna St James has been pulling this kind of deceptive stuff for nearly half a century, hurting dozens of people throughout the years *precisely* because the parties she duped always chose to put their anger and humiliation behind them and never told their stories. She’s impersonated real people, including her own daughter, but she’s also invented dozens of others, skillfully blending fact with fiction. She has deceived people she lived with, never mind all the online scams she pulled. She even deceived the daughter of one of her own friends. I’ve spoken to more than a dozen other people she’s scammed, a couple for each decade of Janna’s con artist career.

    The fact that “Doug” appeared shows that Lee is still monitoring this board, most likely to feed his ego, while very possibly setting up his next scam elsewhere. This pattern is too sickeningly familiar to me. If the IP address info is incontrovertible, I think you have every right to post Lee’s last name. At the very least, try to get the IP address out there as the location of a serial fraudster. Odds are good that he will do this to someone else if you don’t, and possibly even if you do.

    I wish you luck. It’s no fun to feel you’ve wasted your time on a emotional vampire.

  • Amelia Patrick said:

    Deborah,
    I found this site while trying to understand the whole caringbridge connection with “Mike Feigen” and his supposed death.

    Regarding Mike’s kids and did this have an impact on children?
    YES - my son Ryan, deceased now since November 13, 2010 also was concerned for mike’s ‘kids’ even though he was gravely ill himself. This is so sad that ‘Lee, Doug, Mike’ put himself into the lives of people like those of us on Caringbridge who are dealing with more than what most people can ever comprehend and then to divert our compassion, attention, energy onto himself is a level of sickness and evil I will never understand. When we on caringbridge tried to help ‘mike’ we would be written personal responses sometimes - further damaging out fragile realities with his ‘opinions and responses’.

    I for one would like to have this man ‘outted’ in public - maybe he has done no harm here on the homeschooling board but the wake of torment, heartbreak and harm he has inflicted on those who diverted our energy his way during what was our own children’s last days on earth can never be calculated (like baseball stats) or simply cast aside because: “He didn’t really hurt anyone.”

    Yes, he did - he hurt ME and many of REAL people who were with me in the PICU at St. Louis Children’s Hospital as my son died.

    Yes, Lee, Doug, Mike - you HURT me, us, RYAN NICHOLAS PATRICK and you at least own us an apology!

  • Jo said:

    Has anyone considered passing this information along to his employer?

  • Elizabeth said:

    Check out this wikipedia link to a disorder described as “Munchausen by Internet” — http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Münchausen_by_Internet. It starts by defining the disorder as follows: “Münchausen by Internet is a pattern of behavior in which Internet users seek attention by feigning illnesses in online venues such as chat rooms, message boards, and Internet Relay Chat (IRC).”

    It appears to be as old as the internet; researchers published the first article in a medical journal on the phenomenon in 1998!

  • Kathy in PA said:

    If it can be proved definitively that Lee ******* was indeed passing himself of as Mike, then I do believe there should be accountability here. I don’t think anyone should start harassing them or anything, but this person purposely duped a number of people, including children, and that shouldn’t get a free pass. Forgive them, sure, but definitely hold them accountable.

    I agree completely with the posters that bring up the point that without accountability and repercussion, what starts out fairly benignly can go on to become much more serious. It can embolden some people to think that if they got away with it this time (with only a hand slap and a brief shaming) they can learn from their mistakes and do it all again — better.

    One of the points of community, imho, IS accountability. Not that people sit in judgement of you, but that you do hold yourself to a higher standard because, among other things, there’ll be people there to notice if you don’t. Within a supportive community this is actually a good thing. Think parenting. . . Of course we correct our children when they’re wrong, hopefully in a productive, compassionate way, so that they can learn to exhibit good, healthy behaviors and not bad, destructive ones.

    Just my .02.

  • Tim said:

    Lee,

    I know you’re going to read this. What people here want is simply an explanation. If you don’t have one, then say so. Even more, I believe they (we) deserve, at the very least, and apology. Are you at least open to that?

    From what I have read, a few are angry, but others would accept the apology and move on. The few that are infuriated by you also deserve an apology, even though its acceptance by them is questionable.

    People liked you as “Mike”. Why did you think that people wouldn’t like you as “Lee”? Yes, I’m hurt and angry, too. But you owe many people an apology. Be a man and provide it, please.

  • Esperanza said:

    Interesting said: “The fact that “Doug” appeared shows that Lee is still monitoring this board, most likely to feed his ego, while very possibly setting up his next scam elsewhere.”

    Exactly! If Mike/Lee/Doug was really interested in just disappearing he wouldn’t have come here. This just cinches for me that it’s narcisstic, ego-driven manipulative behavior.

    While I’m glad he was able to provide some support for some of you, this doesn’t outweigh the hoax perpetrated on the larger number of people. If he was just interested in helping, he could have done it without trying to garner so much sympathy and attention, as he did posing as the hero-father-caretaker of Nathan and Zach.

    This person has already changed their IP address, and I’m certain has already scurried to their next scam.

  • Elizabeth said:

    For further corroboration of who you are dealing with, check out these (especially the first). Yikes. I think I am coming to understand the accountability argument.

    http://www.futilityinfielder.com/wordpress/2006/05/bereaved.shtml

    http://www.smsd.tv/pipermail/yankees-legacy/1997-April/000666.html

  • Julie Perry said:

    I disagree that we just let Lee/Doug/Mike walk. There was harm done, not only did this person (and I use that term loosely) enter one of the last communities where an assumption of trust can be had and lie, they befriended and communicated directly with children using fabricated children as a method. Two of the three main groups he was a part of allow for a lot of information about children (home school and CF). What he did to us identifies him as a tedious scumbag. The inappropriate contact with children is extremely alarming. Lee/Mike/Doug.

    The slow gaining of trust of parents used to gain access to children is a hallmark of pedophilia. I believe what Tammy has put together needs to be forwarded to the authorities in Lee’s home town and possibly at the Federal level. To heck with our feelings of embarrassment at being duped by a professional, for a group like ours to not report a suspected pedophile to the proper authorities would be a great failing.

  • Sarah D. said:

    From what I understand, there were accounts set up for “Mike” and his family, and if he accepted any money as part of the scam, that is fraud and is punishable by law. I think this does need to be pursued, in a lawful venue.

  • Amelia Patrick said:

    Yes, Julie Perry, I too wondered that. Does he use this information to gain physical access to children. By definition the families he ‘used’ have kids who are not always ‘in swarms’ of other kids: homeschooling and children set apart by sever medical challenges. At the least I believe this person to be a Sociopath (read: The Sociopath Next Door) At the worst - someone taunting Real people to be ‘caught’ for only he knows ‘what’. This is fraud, and stalking at its most secretive and who knows for what ends. I would LOVE to have his REAL name forever linked on-line and professionally to his ‘lies’. He is a man of statistics and highly intelligetn . . . he should not be simply dismissed by good-hearted people. This is a premediated pattern of deceit that should always be linked with his real name. If we do nothing with this information then we are not also somehow responsible for his future deceptions?

    Amelia Patrick
    Ryan’s mom from caringbridge

  • Esperanza said:

    This person has actively participated with the children of those he duped. That’s taking this too far for comfort. It’s one thing to feed your ego by duping adults. It’s a whole ‘nother level to involve children.

  • MT said:

    Why is everyone so sure he didn’t accept money? One can easily imagine generous and trusting people reading his situation on caringbridge and sending him money to help with medical bills, etc. Regardless if there was a crime, this kind of behaviour should be held accountable. Lee chose to use serious deception in a public forum, and therefore should be publicly outed. Look at the Gay Girl in Damascus hoax, Tom MacMaster was outed very publicly, and I’d have suspicion that he won’t soon try that again. Lee has not made a public apology, and is therefore not deserving of forgive-and-forget.

  • Mom to 2 said:

    Mike, Lee, Doug was all over the Caringbridge Community, using his made up children, communicating with parents and children in that community. That is sick and twisted on every level. He deserves to be outed, he deserves to be called out to the authorities. To prey on families who are truly suffering and going through enough as it is, is completely inhuman and evil. He hurt A LOT of people. What a slap in the face to those who have REAL sick children, especially those suffering from CF. It is disgusting.

  • Deborah Markus said:

    I’m interested in conversing privately with CF parents re “Mike.” My blog posting about him is linked to just above Doug’s comment, and you can get in touch with me from there.

  • Kimberly said:

    While I would not like to see public embarrassment to his real family for his actions, I feel that it should be stopped in whatever manner possible. My thoughts as this was coming to light and people said “He didn’t hurt anyone” was wondering what type of contact his “children” or he had with other children, and who might have sent money to help him (even though at least on the HS board he indicated that money was not an issue for him).

    I’m not sure how things like this work legally, but I know that FB has a user agreement that explicitly states that you won’t impersonate others (among a million other things). So, Lee very specifically did break that user agreement. I’m not sure that a community of people can bring charges for that since technically the breach of agreement was with FB and not individual people.

    Has anyone who used to have regular contact with him emailed him to ask for the apology or to as for an explanation? It would be interesting to see what response that got. I don’t think that is sufficient to “let it go,” but for some families it might be a start.

  • Linda said:

    I agree with the notion he is a sociopath, and that he should be held accountable for his actions. (I, too, have read The Sociopath Next Door - very illuminating.) Sociopaths manipulate people for their own purposes; it’s a game to them. It’s not, however, a game to the people they manipulate and often hurt, either emotionally, financially or physically. (Any or all of those could be possible. We just don’t know enough.)

    Given that we know from some of the posts, that he has emotionally harmed people, taken some of their emotional energy away from their own children, essentially, I believe he should be outed as publicly as possible. If there was a way to put an “alert” on an IP address, that might be a good thing. (Not aware of such a thing, though, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it isn’t out there.)

  • Kimberly said:

    One other thing, if people here who have figured this out do and say nothing the person responsible who quite possibly is in need of mental health assistance will surely not get that assistance.

    With some sort of public outing, the person may receive needed treatment.

  • Tim said:

    Lee. I know you’re reading this. Apologize. Do you not think those you’ve wronged deserve it? At least state what your intentions were. You’re causing people to become more incensed because of your apathy, callousness, and cowardice.

    The time to speak up is NOW. Think about it, Lee. This is an opportunity you do not want to pass up. Otherwise, your name will get thrown around, your family will be embarrassed….

    JUST APOLOGIZE! We already know you’re here.

  • Cindy said:

    WOW–I only knew the character Mike through his caringbridge site for his children but when I saw on another site the “tragedy” of all being killed by a drunk driver I immediately wanted to do something for the family–a card, note, something. Funny thing was the usual notice on caringbridge of services couldn’t be found–the site no longer appeared. I thought how strange but still never thought this was all a sham!!! Even after a few days I thought I really want to send a card. I found this site by doing a search so I really want to thank the dedicated folks who unraveled this mess. My heart breaks for all the people who have interacted with this person all this time, people who really had true tragedies occuring with their children and thought of “Mike” as a kindred spirit. So Very SAD!!!!! I do believe you reap what you sow and “Mike” will get his in the END!!!!!!!!

  • Linda said:

    Kimberly, sociopaths are one of the hardest disorders to treat. They don’t feel there is anything wrong with them. They merely have no (or very limited) conscience.

    That said, outing this person is important because knowledge (for potential future victims) is power. Had the SH community known he was a hoax, he would have been kicked off that particular board. Ditto for CaringBridge - what he did was against their express policies.

  • Elizabeth said:

    You guys have persuaded me — as has additional research I’ve done on people like St. James and the prospect that M/L/D may have had contact with children while posing as Zach or Nathan. Please disregard my statement above that we should spare him embarrassment and redact his full name, etc. Caringbridge needs to know; FB needs to know; his family probably needs to know (my guess is they know something is off about this guy). This guy is at least a sociopath and possibly a pedophile, too.

  • Cara said:

    Lee, the author of this blog has been caring enough to remove your last name, thereby protecting your professional reputation. You have been reported to have been compassionate and supportive to others. People with whom you pretended to share suffering and joy (but mostly suffering) have been extremely damaged by your intentional deception. You owe them some explanation. They’re not going to be able to let it go without one. I’m even going to have a hard time letting it go, and I didn’t know of your existence until I was shocked by the news of your and your children and nephew’s deaths. If you were tired of the charade, good, but why put people who had come to care for you and your children through the false news that you’d all been killed in a horrific accident? Why not just take down the pages? Those people at Caring Bridge are already dealing with more than anyone who has never been through it can possibly imagine, and more than I’d wish on anybody. Give them some fricking closure, if no one else. You owe it to them.

  • bhán said:

    What?! Seriously, I cannot believe anyone concerned with saving this person’s professional reputation! If I were the employer I would want to know, ditto if it were someone in my family.

    I was so glad I had warning about the person I knew, I could have been out a lot of money and gotten involved in criminal actions thinking a child was in danger (things had crossed state lines at that point).

    Scammers go on to bigger and better when they are let go with no repercussions. I hope every posting this person wrote is compiled and preserved.

  • Dianna said:

    How can we read Amelia’s post and allow him to get away with this?

  • Cara said:

    I don’t think he has an employer. As far as I can tell, he makes whatever money he makes from the sales of his encyclopedia of baseball statistics. Which makes him particularly vulnerable to loss of online reputation. I don’t think he got here from searching for the name “mike feigen”, to see the fallout from his death announcement. I think he got here from searching for his real name, which judging from the way his encyclopedia is discussed online, he does often. What I’m saying is that it is apparent to me, from my research on his real name, that he very carefully controls how his encyclopedia, and how he, is mentioned online. That having been said, everything seems to have fallen off for him after 2006, around the time he seems to have started trolling. I suspect an onset of mental illness.

    It is hard, though, not to be angry about this. I’m not succeeding. I can’t understand why anyone would ever dream of trolling people who’s children are dying. It’s just completely incomprehensible. And it makes me want to do something; especially since he’s not expressing any remorse to anyone.

  • Kathy in PA said:

    Let’s just for a 2nd say that Lee’s life had some parallels with Mike’s life. Didn’t Mike’s wife (who supposedly had CF) supposed die around then (2006). And didn’t someone say they had found a death in the family (but not confirmed to be Lee’s wife) in 2006? Certainly seems coincidental.

  • Elizabeth said:

    I subscribe to ancestry.com and cannot find a (last name removed) female who died in the 2000s. In fact, the (last name removed) only lost one family member in the 2000s — a Barry who died in 2006. He was born in 1944. Of course, she needn’t have been named (last name removed), but typically the U.S. Obituary Collection captures all names mentioned in the obit. (For example, when Lee’s great aunt Geraldine Epstein died in 2009, it lists all family members, including Lee, his parents and siblings).

  • Tim said:

    Elizabeth, I’ve already gone there. From my searchings, I see nothing that leads me to believe that any of the fantasy was true. “Mike’s” “wife” died, according to him, in 2003.

    He shows no remorse because he feels no remorse. I have asked him twice to apologize. I’m sure he’s laughing at all of us, especially since those he screwed over are taking measures to protect his anonymity.

    A simple “I’m sorry” seems like small potatoes in return for what is being done for him in this blog.

    We know you’re checking this blog more than once a day, Lee. You think we’re stupid, but someone here was smart enough to best you.

  • Miss A said:

    I’m sure M/L/D is enjoying all this negative attention…..he needs help!!!!

  • Heather said:

    Ok, I’m following Amelia’s lead. Thanks lady! :) I’ve been debating on it for a few days now, silently watching and reading this blog. I’m a mom from Caringbridge (CB). I met Mike on CB while my son Matt was in the hospital. Matt, gone now since Sept. 6, 2011 was what appeared to be one of Mike’s favorite children to write to and talk about. Matt had many nicknames, but the one Mike seemed to take a liking to was Rottenpants. When talking to Matt on facebook (which he did very frequenlty) he would address Matt as Rottenpants. I set Matt up a facebook page, which I control and update. Mike requested to be Matt’s friend, and I accepted. When Matt would have a good day, Mike would be the FIRST person writting on my status stating “Yeay Rottenpants!” My Matt was a very sick child. He struggled with daily things. One of the things Matt had in common with Mike’s “twins” is that Matt would do the vest treatment 4-5 times a day. But now that Mike is now Doug is now Lee, I’m LIVID. Does this man deserve to be beaten and broken? Of course not. I wish NO harm to him. However, I do believe something needs to be done and/or said to someone higher above than us lowly bloggers.

    Mike/Lee/Doug, you are NOT making my son Matthew Ray “Rottenpants” proud. I would read your posts on CB and FB to Matt everyday, not to mention ALL of your baseball quotes and stats. Matt loved his baseball. For you to know this, and then dupe an innocent child, a very sick child for your own jollies, is absolutely revolting. My son did not do anything to anybody…all he ever wanted out of life was to breathe without struggling and live everyday without suffering. That was it. And YOU took advantage of that. What kind of Momma would I be if I didn’t get out here and make myself public and defend my sweet baby? Unlike you, I’m PROUD of my son, and I’m PROUD of his disease even though it took his sweet little life at 5 years old. I didn’t have to create a fantasy world of pain and suffering; life straight up handed it to me. I can only imagine what kind of things are in your head to create a life that is so absolutely horrifying, and lie to everyone about it. The world of special needs is NOT a place to want to be. And then to create it, make friends, crawl into the hearts of others, take my time, energy, and strength away from my dying baby to talk to “yours,” just to find out they didn’t exist, is sick. You need help. I hope when all this comes to head, which it will (it always does), you will get the help you really need. Then, once diagnosed with whatever it is that’s made you so insane, you can MAYBE call yourself disabled enough for people to believe you….maybe.

  • Jennifer said:

    I was curious about all this so I went and took a look. I found that there was an article in the Seattle PI that mentioned this individual as a friend: http://blog.seattlepi.com/swminsea/2009/03/31/a-cougar-looks-at-loss/

    There are also pages for Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook — still up — that say that this individual is an employee of the Omaha Stormchasers.

    My question, and I admit to not having read every comment here so please bear with me: Is it not possible that someone hijacked this name? I entirely understand concerns about internet access with children but I am not sure what to make of these conflicting pieces of information.

  • Tammy (author) said:

    Jennifer,

    The fake Mike Feigen’s IPs are in NJ, whereas the Mike Feigen you found is in Nebraska. Also, the fake Mike Feigen doesn’t exist anywhere except in 3 forums, whereas the Mike Feigen you linked is all over the place publicly on the internet. The odds of them being the same person is extremely low.

    At first, I thought it was weird that the real Mike works in baseball, too, but it’s very possible that Lee knew of this guy, and used his name in the forums, knowing pretty well that most people wouldn’t know who that person was. Or might do a cursory check, see that he’s a baseball guy, and not look further.

    Hard to say why he used that name. But I hope it clears up why there are links to a Mike Feigen around.

  • sharon said:

    I too join the ranks of CB moms that are LIVID-Mike/Doug/Lee what ever or who ever it is today-creeped in to the hearts and lives of children that are terminally ill who have since become angels under the pretence of having sick children. Mike(who he claimed to be at the time) made our Curtis a honorary twin like he did Matt left encourging and supposedly heartfelt messages-he even at the time of my childs death had one of his supposed children leave a message of concern. But then went one step over the line by signing the online funeral gb . It makes me want to vomit. Our lives arent fun,they arent jokes,or sport for some sick human for what ever reason they come up with. Mike had certain requirments to sign his childrens guest book-and out of respect I personnally followed those request even though we were totally in different worlds as far as our beliefs- I respected his requirements,I even defended his right to his opinion and request. In fact I made some of Curties own followers upset with me cause I told everyone we may not agree but we need to respect his desires and wishes-NOW ISNT THAT JUST THE FUNNIEST THING-RESPECT HIS WISHES-please he was anything but respectful for our hearts for our feelings,for our children. This person totally disrespected our children our sick and dying struggling children-but that wasnt enough for dear ole Mike-no he had to disrespect them after death. Mike and I had a falling out over a fb status I had left-then he turned ugly and hateful and hurtful-so unlike some of the other moms I was spared the constant daily lies of his made up family -but it hurts none the less-cause even though as adults we had parted I still prayed daily for his children. I wasnt going to comment on this I have truely prayed that I could put this behind me as just one more co-lifer that came out of the woodwork-but when I think that he used my childs gb the same place true loving caring ppl were signing to help me get through the most horrible time of my life-it just comes to the surface again. I hope by all of us coming forward that this person who suffers in my humble opinion with DBS(de-ranged brain syndrome) is publiccly brought to the surface-and to be honest I dont care if it causes him to be humilated. Our children deserve to be treated better than this-my friends deserved better than this-they did nothing to him but love and support and defend him.

  • Tim said:

    To add to what Tammy said, if the Mike Feigen (Feign, Fakin’) in Omaha was the portrayer of “Mike”, he would have taken the opportunity to come back and apologize….as LEE.

    That would have been the perfect opportunity to pin it on “Lee” and deflect suspicions off of himself.

    However, Lee (Doug/Mike) has not made his presence known around here again (although he IS still here), which practically solidifies that he was busted, knows it, and probably has no idea what to do now. There will probably be more to this story.

    Keep your eyes peeled for a fake obit or something to pop up on a freebie site (like Legacy), as a last ditch effort to continue to support his story. Sick people just don’t understand when they’ve reached the “busted beyond the point of no return” line.

    Screw you, Lee. An apology and an explanation (even an “I need help” one) would have gone a long way with these ladies. They’re not like you. And now you’ve really pissed them off.
    Good luck now. You’re gonna need it.

  • Munchausen By Internet: The Case of Mike Feigen | And They Lived… said:

    [...] I only started hearing about him as the hoax is uncovered, but it’s the same story. From Just Enough And Nothing More: Mike Feigen claimed to homeschool three boys, two of which were his twin sons with cystic [...]

  • CG said:

    I just found out about this. As someone who knows people on Caring Bridge, including a relative who was a young person who passed away, I know how important these relationships are. I think that there needs to be some way to prevent future cases like this. I wonder if caring bridge is doing anything to try to stop such things from reoccurring? Or other websites?

    As for accountability from this person, I think that’s a very good idea. This person hurt a lot of people, one of which I know.

  • Megan Hurwitt said:

    I’m a little late to the party, but Mike was one of my admins in a FB group I own, and when he “died” the entire fb group was crushed. I’m well versed in Internet Munchhausen’s by Proxy, so I immediately started digging. After about two days we reached the same conclusion you did. Mike F. and his boys were the fabrication of a sick mind. Rather than let it tear our fb group apart, it brought us together. We had a mock “key party” wherein we all took photos of ourselves holding our keys, both to affirm that we were who we said we were, and to dote affection on each other.

    Thanks fake Mike for bringing Facepalm closer. I hope that you never got the satisfaction of your Internet Munchhausen’s by Proxy because you were caught out so quickly. Atheists are skeptical by nature; next time, prey on the Christians.

  • Munchausen By Internet: The Case of Mike Feigen | Off the Rails said:

    [...] I only started hearing about him as the hoax is uncovered, but it’s the same story. From Just Enough And Nothing More: Mike Feigen claimed to homeschool three boys, two of which were his twin sons with cystic [...]

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