Michael Smerconish spoke to someone claiming to be Ellie Light. Ben Smith has the audio.
The person claiming to be Light admits deception in representing her address, and places herself in Southern California (presumably Long Beach, the residence she claimed in several of the letters). She says she’s a traveling nurse who submitted it to newspapers in many places she has been to. That is consistent with the IP address that we traced to Huntington Beach — which is close enough to Long Beach for IP purposes.
I don’t know that I’m convinced. She stumbles on the name of “Ben Smith’s blog” where her letter was initially published. (It’s Politico. Would she not know that?)
Complicating matters is that a second person is stepping forward and “admitting” to be Ellie Light . . . or, at least, Ellie Light’s spouse.
Someone on Facebook named Barbara Brooks (a pediatric nurse) claims that Ellie Light is . . . her husband. She writes on her Wall:
Don’t think you can make a difference? Well, my husband wrote letters to newspapers under a pen name “Ellie Light” and over 42 newspapers published the letters and now Ellie Light is the most searched name on google. I don’t agree with using phony names, though. But then he isn’t a Mennonite . . .
The same comment was left on Left Coast Rebel yesterday at about the same time.
Reader Joseph D. e-mails with a complicated chain of evidence linking her to an earlier comment left at Left Coast Rebel’s blog, under the screenname Winston44. Joseph D. says:
The corresponding twitter account has one friend, Jerry Schaefer, from Long Beach, California (the same town as some of Ellie’s claimed residences.) Jerry’s facebook showed one friend named Winston, Winston Steward. Under Winston’s friends, Barbara Brooks claims to be his wife and that he is Ellie Light.
I have to go to work and I honestly don’t know what to make of any of this. The Smerconish interview may well be with the real “Ellie Light” — but assume nothing. Ellie still has a few questions to answer, I think.
And again, keep your eye on the ball. Don’t get carried away with focusing on a single person. This isn’t about one person, but about identifying deception generally.
UPDATE: Looks like Joseph D. and Dan Riehl were onto something. Maybe.
The Cleveland Plain Dealer tells us that Ellie has been identified. She is a nice old grandma type who made a little mistake. Nothing to see here, folks. Move along.
Except . . .
Except that they have an update which reads:
UPDATE: The Plain Dealer has now talked to two different people claiming to be Barbara Brooks. One says the real Ellie Light is her husband; the other, husky-voiced, says she’s divorced. The story below was posted based on an interview with the husky-voiced version.
You thought that was weird? You haven’t seen weird.
Now we get to the strangest part of all. Gawker picks up on the Facebook page entry by Barbara Brooks, mentioned above, in this post.
And then it gets bizarre. Brooks says the Ellie Light on Smerconish’s show was her ex-husband. Who sounds, according to her, like a woman. (?!?!)
Meanwhile, Gawker says, there is another Ellie Light sending around her phone number.
I called it this morning, after receiving it indirectly, and invited her to lunch.