Wednesday, September 7, 2011

So, you never met a false rape claim? Meet the women who say they were raped by ghosts

TV legal commentator and adjunct law professor Wendy Murphy once famously proclaimed, "I never, ever met a false rape claim, by the way. My own statistics speak to the truth."

Ms. Murphy, we'd like you to meet the two Washington state women, and the actress, who say they were raped by ghosts. 

First, the Washington state women. This story is a few years old, but it's among the most outrageous false rape claim we've heard.

The women told officers that "a paranormal person" had been placing sensors on their bodies and having intercourse with them at their apartment.  The maintenance man in charge of the apartment complex said the women keep calling him saying the ghosts are raping them on weekend nights. He finally told them to call police.

Ghost hunter Ross Allison even trivialized it. With the emergence of the SyFy channel's hit show "Ghost Hunters," paranormal popularity is soaring. And Allison says as the number of ghost shows grows, so do spirit sightings.  "And so they start to label every little interesting thing happening in their home as paranormal when it might just be a house creaking," he said.

Police declined comment on the unusual report other than to say they do not have any investigative leads.

Turns out the two women aren't alone. Actress Alessandra de Rossi made the following astounding statement to reporters a few years ago: "One time I was raped by a ghost."  Here's the story:

"She said she was also in her room, about to sleep, seeing and hearing her mother go about her routine in the house, when she suddenly felt a gush of cold wind enter the room. Then later on, Alessandra said, 'I felt something heavy fall on top of me. As in, I knew someone or something fell on top of me even when I couldn’t see it . . . . I remember fighting and fending off whatever that was. In the morning, I completely forgot about it already. But when I went to have a shower, I got shocked with the pain I felt in my body when water hit me. And then I saw how bruised and scratched my thighs and arms were. That again, I cannot explain,' she said baffling all of us."

We should not poke fun at troubled people who tell rape lies, even about ghosts. While the precise numbers are unknowable, it seems that a significant percentage of women who lie about rape do so for attention or because they are otherwise troubled, not to harm innocent people. Unfortunately, as we've seen on this site, even "innocent" rape lies can end up turning on an innocent man or boy.

Sometimes its assumed that if a man or boy is not convicted, there was little harm from a false rape claim. Please Lauren Weedman's story. Lauren had no intention of hurting anyone with her admittedly stupid rape lie.  But then the cops found someone who, they claimed, matched her imaginary description.  How do you quanitify the harm to the man she describes in her account? Do you dismiss it just because he wasn't convicted?  Here's what happened when she attended the police line-up -- trigger warning -- this is rather disturbing:

"They lined up a row of men, but I was sure of who they suspected; he was the only one who was told where to stand. . . . I felt sick. Thanks to me this man knew how it felt to be treated like a violent criminal.

"As they pushed the guy around to show me what he looked like in profile, I could barely breathe. I wanted it to be over as quickly as possible--for everyone. I said, 'No, that's not him. None of them.'

"The detective standing at my side kept telling me, 'Just wait. Let's bring him up so you can get a look at him.'

"When they finally pushed him up to the glass, he was crying. He looked terrified.

"'No,' I said sharply. 'That's not him. I'm 100% sure. . . .

"I went into the bathroom and sobbed."

Short of a false accusation involving a ghost, even "innocent" rape lies can be very scary.