On April 14 2010, an apparent human by the name of Karin Catherine Waldegrave (Von Berg Habsburg) discovered Facebook. Like to many people who first use the social media platform, it was a bit like getting a new toy. She started off with the basics: filling out her Hometown, Looking For and Interested In fields; uploading some family photos; adding a few people as friends.
By June of 2010 Waldegrave began to post long, rambling messages on Facebook. Some of these started out seemingly benign and even witty—”Looking for a Waldorf (a good salad, not a boutique school)?”—but would quickly branch out into sprawling, massive messages to which she (and seemingly, often, she alone) answered with even more sprawling messages. Sometimes, as much as 200+ responses, by Waldegrave, would follow a post.
Here is a sample, from that “Waldorf” thread:
Surprisingly, you will not find the recipe in Myra Waldo’s Pan American’s Complete Round-the-World COOKBOOK, which was steadily reprinted twice a year between 1954 and 1962.
She thanks the following for “supplying information for this book”… as editor in chief: the Voice of America, Radio Free Europe, Mr. Chyz of the Common Council of American Unity, the various foreign consulates, and of course most particularly the Pan American World Airways agents all over the world in 81 countries,” with very special thanks due to “Harold Laird and Gerald Whitted of Pan American.”
She goes on to say that “maintaining an open mind on all subjects is the surest way for us to learn something about the rest of the world” and that “in this atomic age” her neighbours were and are “the Patagonians, the Zulus and the people next door.”
I guess Harold Laird and Gerald Whitted of Pan American were just too busy with other things between 1954 and 1962 to let her know how to mix 1 cup of diced celery, 1 cup of diced apples, 1/2 cup of finely chopped walnuts and 3/4 cup of mayonnaise to help represent the United States con libros.
Sometimes, it even appeared as if Waldegrave was having some sort of conversation to persons unknown on Facebook, within these threads. Sometimes, she would suddenly welcome a new “person”—as if somebody stepped into the room in which she was typing, or somehow “entering” these elaborate conversations she was having with herself.
By January of 2011, Waldegrave—who claimed to have an impressive European ancestry, and was obsessed with genealogy—began writing posts in which she accused people of being serial killers, of stalking her, of trying to kill her family. She also seemed to have some major issue with the faculty at her claimed PhD program, and name-dropped the FBI and CIA as part of the growing number of persons/entities/agencies afflicting her.
By this point, the posts were pretty much word-salad:
This is to report that staff and associates of Foreign Affairs Canada (FAC) (the erstwhile Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Canada – DFAIT) together with Doris Bradbury of the Association of Universities and Colleges Canada (AUCC) – now of the American Chamber of Commerce (ACC) in Kyrgyzstan, the RCMP, politicians and police, and their junior social network including Prof. Charles McMillan of Maastricht Business School, and junior scholars in Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom, have been hired as RCMP/CIA/FBI backed entrepreneurs, officers and agents by “Class/Flight ‘95/’96” at the erstwhile Centre for Russian and East European Studies (CREES) at the University of Toronto M.A. (Russian and East European Studies) funded by the Andrew Mellon Foundation and its handler network since 1963 here in Canada.
Though depending who you talk to about the subject online—one of the many internet sleuths on 4chan, Reddit, and other platforms—perhaps Waldegrave was indeed some sort of target of a shadowy Illuminati cabal, and/or a victim of MK-Ultra. Comparing her writings to people like Brice Taylor and others who claim such an unfortunate lineage, there are similarities.
However, another explanation that is often offered is that Waldegrave is not real at all, but some sort of sockpuppet account or bot used as a “social experiment” or as some type of spy communication…perhaps her ramblings were created by a Markov chain text generator. Perhaps her writing was “scraped” from dozens of other sources and dumped into these posts as a sort of “troll.”
The family photos she posted—many of them with the same strange water-type damage—could have all been Photoshopped. Sure, there are some verified “real” people in the photos—there have even been reports that Waldegrave’s own identity (well, some version of it) has been verified—but this all could have been stolen from other people to create the “hoax” account.
And yet, as I read through the archived text of her posts—her actual Facebook account was suddenly shut down sometime after 2011—I don’t think this was a hoax.
As I’ve said, I’ve read online MANY personal narratives, journals, manifestos, and archived post collections of various individuals…and what Waldegrave wrote seems genuine to me. I mean, not the veracity of her content per se, but just the fact that she was/is an apparent human on Facebook. There are too many personal details and nuances of speech.
Even the argument that she couldn’t have written both an initial post and then a very large first comment within the exact same timestamp—that only a bot could do this—doesn’t hold up to me. She could have dashed the first one out, and then the second (perhaps with a burst of manic energy), within that time marker (I think).
My first (non-medically approved) impression (a.k.a. “talking-out-my-ass” opinion) about the mystery of Karin Catherine Waldegrave’s Facebook posts: she had some sort of mental breakdown. It started small, ballooned out-of-control over the course of a year, and then the entire account got shut down by her or her family. It doesn’t mean everything she wrote in those posts was not true—but it was the way she was expressing that information that was the major problem.
This was also the belief of the many internet sleuths on the case, who apparently began to “help” by trying to contact Waldegrave, her friends, family, and others and inquiring about her mental health. What was meant to be a relatively private personal Facebook account among a small set of people turned into a Creepypasta. (this might have all led to her posts being deleted and her disappearing online; just a guess)
Pretty soon, Waldegrave became canonized as a type of Internet saint or deity or entity; a meme. Even if the answer to the mystery of Karin Catherine Waldegrave was as relatively mundane as, she was under a lot of academic pressure and had a temporary nervous breakdown…we (the collective online We) are way, way, waaaaaaay past that now.
You see—much like the more famous case of Elisa Lam—too much Energy has been invested in this meme now, this spooky story that has become a staple of various message boards and paranormal/conspiracy-type websites. It has taken a life of its own, to the point where the “real” answer to the story has almost become irrelevant.
Grant Morrison, in his recent essay “Beyond The Word And The Fool,” explains this type of phenomena as follows:
We speak not of supernatural entities, for which we can offer no proof of existence outside our prodigious imaginations and capacity for invention; instead we refer to far more interesting ghosts which, immaterial though they may be, are irrefutably real.
We may conjure up, for instance, the prominent ghost in William Shakespeare’s blockbusting Hamlet. Not the wraith of Hamlet’s dad who turns up all inciting-incident and vengeful-like in the first act but the genuine non-material presence which haunts the play and illustrates my point.
In the example of the Karin Catherine Waldegrave internet meme, the actual character called “Hamlet’s Dead Dad” that Morrison is referring to, from Shakespeare’s text itself—that’s the mundane, nuts-and-bolts evidence/possible proof that is sought to come to a “reasonable” conclusion regarding the origin of her posts. We examine Waldegrave’s use of syntax in the writing, we research her connections with other people online, we magnify the pixels on her photos to see if they were ‘Shopped or not, and we try to come to some (non-medically approved) conclusions about her state of mind.
However, the “genuine non-material presence which haunts the play” is the heavy-duty mojo creepypasta magickal energy thing that has been collectively invoked by the Internet regarding Waldegrave’s story. It is not Waldegrave herself that is the repository of this energy. The combined forces of interested individuals on 4chan, Reddit, and other various message boards and websites have created, I suggest, a sort of Waldegrave “tulpa”—some immortal mix of MK-Ultra heroine, cyber-spirit, and inhuman AI-generated cryptogram.
And that is why this picture—the woman’s Facebook profile avatar—has a sort of “power” to it:
It has been invested with that power, through accumulated psychic attention.
Of course, that is only a theory. One could only imagine, if such a theory was actually true, what sort of chaos the world would be in now with all these Internet-launched thoughtforms clouding up the various realms and dimensions that surround us mere mortals.
More to read about on Butterfly Language:
Book Review: “Thanks For The Memories” By Brice Taylor
Woman In The Elevator: What Happened To Elisa Lam?
Was There A “Poltergeist” Movie Curse?