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Okay, I will admit up front that I have way too much time on my hands, and probably shouldn’t be as fascinated as I am with the real story behind some webcam clips by someone calling themselves “lonelygirl15″ on YouTube — but at least I’m not the only one. Unbeknownst to me when I wrote my first post on it a little while ago, TV writer Virginia Heffernan at the New York Times was also following the tale of Bree and her boyfriend Daniel (see here and here and here, whose video clips are consistently among the most-viewed on YouTube (Business Week media writer Jon Fine has also been writing about it).

Her latest update delves into one of the popular theories about Bree, who from her videos appears to be the home-schooled daughter of religious — and possibly missionary — parents. The theory is that the clips are “viral” ads for some kind of forthcoming movie or other production, although there are just as many who believe Bree (who has had an email conversation with Ms. Heffernan at the Times) is a real person. The NYT blogger’s latest post refers to one of the proponents of the “Bree is fake” theory, a filmmaker named Brian Flemming who has written extensively about it on his own blog, and raises the possibility of an interesting twist: that he could actually be the one behind what he is debunking (he says he isn’t).

Curiouser and curiouser, as Alice in Wonderland said. Is Bree a more elaborate version of a kind of Blair Witch web campaign? Perhaps. Does it really matter if she is real? Probably not. But I find myself fascinated nevertheless. If nothing else, I find it interesting how quickly people — even regular, non-media people — jumped to the conclusion that it was fake.

Update:

In other YouTube mystery-related news, the New York Times has a piece about “FunTwo” — the Asian guitar wizard who plays an incredible version of Pachelbel’s Canon on the electric guitar. Virginia Heffernan revealed his identity on her blog earlier this month.

About the author

Mathew 2420 posts

I'm a Toronto-based senior writer with Fortune magazine, and my favorite things to write about are social technology, media and the evolution of online behavior

5 Responses to “Lonelygirl15 mystery continues”
  1. attribution is either a weak stab at satire or the most ridiculous post ever. James Robertson agrees. Thankfully, the offending blog seems to have been suspended by its ISP. I missed the whole Lonelygirl15 debate, but Mathew Ingram has a good primer on it, including links to a couple of others speculating on whether this is a real person or some sort of viral marketing. I watched about 10 seconds of one episode on YouTube, and lost interest- in the video itself.

  2. s been some talk over the past few days about Lonelygirl15, a 16-year-old homeschooled girl called Bree who posts well-shot, entertainingly edited videologs on Youtube with her friend Daniel. It would appear, however, that all is not what it seems. Some of the later vlogs seem suspiciously staged, and references to her devout – but unspecified – religion in earlier posts culminated in a shot of an altar to Aleister Crowley. A seemingly-innocent fan site

  3. […] It would appear, however, that all is not what it seems. Some of the later vlogs seem suspiciously staged, and references to her devout – but unspecified – religion in earlier posts culminated in a shot of an altar to Aleister Crowley. A seemingly-innocent fan site actually registered its domain well before Bree started posting to Youtube, which clearly suggests a thought-out marketing campaign. Similarly, filmmaker Brian Flemming seems to be putting a little too much thought into the mystery. He has a movie, Danielle, coming out next year, formerly entitled The Beast. Net sleuths have been quick to point out that Bree’s friend Daniel’s Youtube username is DanielBeast. […]

  4. Guten tag, Deutchland! | Well ain’t this a geographical oddity?…

    Germany has latched onto the Lonelygirl15 phenomenon and the debates over whether she’s a hoax, scam, fake, authentic, real, or any other adjective one might use to bump up search results. The Frankfurt General Sunday paper had this to say……

  5. […] Although there have been several hints and rumours, which I have written about here and here — and which Virginia Heffernan at the New York Times and others at the L.A. Times, the Times of London and elsewhere have written about — the truth about who is behind the “lonelygirl15″ videos on YouTube has remained elusive. […]

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