‘people think I’m teh sexy’: A Conversation With SL’s Charles Manson Stalker

by Alphaville Herald on 05/02/05 at 2:49 pm

by Neal Stewart

grandduke Ferdinand, sometime Charles-Manson-look-alike. Stalker or teh sexy? Griefer or misunderstood?

Recently, a Second Life resident reported on her blog an incident that she had experienced in-world: For some time, an avatar dressed as Charles Manson had hung around the bedroom of her virtual residence, watching her and brandishing a knife. She was, in her words, “scared shitless.” The alleged stalker was banned from the island where both resided.

It was hard to tell, at first, whether the accompanying screenshot was comical or haunting. Was the incident just a misunderstanding? If not, what makes stalkers tick? Is there anything to ph33r from a person like this?

Well, I found him. And he told me.

Here since the beta days, grandduke Ferdinand weaves the story of a disenchanted man. As he tells it, right-leaning folks are a dying species in Second Life. Living in the anything-goes battlefields of the infamous Jessie sim, he was a member of a formidable group of isolationist WWII enthusiasts. By some definitions, some of what they did would be considered griefing. By the Linden definition, some of what they did indeed was griefing.

Now there are only a handful of his kind left. Today his homeless, unemployed avatar has a black eye and a stream of blood running from his nose down through his scraggly beard. His dark hair is thick, matted and unkempt. Carrying a beer bottle, he wears a tatty black trench coat and a pair of shorts made from yellowing 1940′s newspaper. But at the drop of a hat he can transform into a clean-shaven soldier with boyish features, polished boots, and a neatly-pressed and ironed WWII uniform. The changes in his avatar and in the role he plays seem to reflect changes in the way he feels about his place in Second Life–just as residents adjust their in-world behavior and persona as their feelings about the grid evolve.

As we talk, the grandduke swigs continually from a bottle. Pacing erratically and jumping along the terrain around us, he rarely stands still. He says he is 23 in his First Life. His purple-bruised right eye-socket looks like an eye-patch, and with the sun setting behind the palm-tree behind him, he resembles nothing so much as a shipwrecked pirate, forced to survive on the shores of a world he no longer knows.

Neal Stewart: So they locked you out of the island, did they?
grandduke Ferdinand: Yeah

Neal Stewart: What happened exactly?
grandduke Ferdinand: Umm… I just watched people through their windows
and they cried.

Neal Stewart: Were you dressed as Manson?
grandduke Ferdinand: That is a semi-yes but not for sure. My avatar kind of looked like Manson but it wasn’t really. The body was made to look like him but at the time that wasn’t the point.

Neal Stewart: Did you have a knife?
grandduke Ferdinand: Yeah, but that wasn’t the reason why I got locked out. It was because I walked into people’s rooms and I watched people through their windows. And my Av looks bummish / killer/ drunk.

Neal Stewart: Were you deliberately trying to scare people? By standing at the windows?
grandduke Ferdinand: Well, I neither confirm or deny.

Neal Stewart: Do you think it was fair that you were banned?
grandduke Ferdinand: No, it wasn’t. I didn’t do anything that violated the TOS [Terms of Service] and I didn’t say anything rude or nothing like that.

Neal Stewart: Didn’t the people you were looking at tell you to leave?
grandduke Ferdinand: It wasn’t really their room, I was outside. And I had a place in the apartment so I somewhat had a right to be there.

Neal Stewart: Would you have left if it was their room?
grandduke Ferdinand: Well, mostly all of them yes, but there was this one time and there was a Linden and they were talking about me so I didn’t leave because I wanted to see what they where saying to the Lindens about me. And say my bit.

Neal Stewart: Did you hear what they said? Did you say your bit?
grandduke Ferdinand: Well, for a few minutes, then I got locked out of the sim and I got banned for 7 days. The Lindens said I was right but I should just mute them [the other party] and go on my way. It was about something else, why I got banned. They said I shot in a sim. One I have never been in. And I never have a gun out. So, I don’t know. They said I was in a sim I never have been in.

Neal Stewart: Did they say when you were meant to have been in that sim? Was it the same day?
grandduke Ferdinand: Yeah. I wasn’t even on then. I’m at work at that time and I never even been in that sim. I stay in only a few sims. But Lindens just ban [World War II Onliners] for the fun of it. Lindens love to ban WWIIO for nothing.

Neal Stewart: Why do you think that is?
grandduke Ferdinand: Because we used to be big and we had a lot of people. They think we are “nazis” but we have always claimed we are WWII re-enacters. And we used to do marches and shit and we had some members that used to be griefers.

Neal Stewart: Are you interested in the Nazis?
grandduke Ferdinand: No, not the party. I am interested in German soldiers of WWII and allied soldiers. But now most of the group’s been banned for one thing or another. Because people are dumb, they think German and right off the bat – “Nazis”.

grandduke Ferdinand in uniform

Neal Stewart: So you were banned from the area you were renting in?
grandduke Ferdinand: Yes.

Neal Stewart: Did you get any money back? Was the rental agreement canceled?
grandduke Ferdinand: I got some of the money back. And yeah it was canceled. Then he was telling people I bombed his place. And I never did. So now I’m banned from a lot of other land on his behalf.

Neal Stewart: Have you moved somewhere else?
grandduke Ferdinand: Nope. I don’t know no good places

Neal Stewart: What do you do for fun?
grandduke Ferdinand: Meet people.

Neal Stewart: So you’re pretty sociable?
grandduke Ferdinand: Yeah. I would say so

Neal Stewart: Do you like that aspect of SL the most?
grandduke Ferdinand: Yes, for the most part. But they need to work on who runs it.

Neal Stewart: What is it that you like the least about it?
grandduke Ferdinand: Lindens.

Neal Stewart: Apparently the people who felt you were harassing them said that you were hiding in their bedroom and at one point laying on the floor beside their bed. Is that true?
grandduke Ferdinand: They thought I was in their house because of an animation. But I really was a floor down. See this thing. When I turn it on, I go about 3-4 body-lengths down or up. So I go through floors sometimes. Making it look like I’m in their room.

[Grandduke shows me an animation called 'poofimp' where he flips upside down, passes through the floor then crouches upside down on the ceiling below. Later I experiment with the gesture and discover that it can be used on land to completely hide your avatar underground - title and all.]

Neal Stewart: So you’re saying you didn’t hang around anybody’s room, you were actually on the floor below?
grandduke Ferdinand: And above. Yeah. I did go into peoples apartment once or twice but left when they said.

Neal Stewart: It’s just that some people said you didn’t leave when they told you to.
grandduke Ferdinand: It was that last time. Like I told you, I didn’t leave because I wanted to speak to the Linden. Other times I went outside and looked in the window. Some think thats still “there”.

Neal Stewart: So you weren’t lying beside anyone’s bed? Just using that animation through the floor?
grandduke Ferdinand: Yeah.

Neal Stewart: Do you think that some people, girls maybe, might be scared by someone dressed as Charles Manson, walking around their place with a knife?
grandduke Ferdinand: I only had the knife one time and it was for like 2 minutes. 99% of the other time was with a beer. How can you be scared on a game? I just think they want to fight with people and get people in trouble.

Neal Stewart: I think some people take SL very seriously. And they might think that if someone is dressed in a way that is scary, and hanging around them, that the real person wearing the Manson Av might be trying to scare them.
grandduke Ferdinand: People think im teh sexy.

Neal Stewart: Heh heh. Like who?
grandduke Ferdinand: Too many to count.

Neal Stewart (left) interviews “teh sexy” grandduke Ferdinand

Neal Stewart: Your avatar is pretty different from most of the ones you see around.
grandduke Ferdinand: Is it bad to be different?

Neal Stewart: I don’t think so. Why do you like that particular Av?
grandduke Ferdinand: Cos I look teh sexy

Neal Stewart: Heh heh. Are those Winston Churchill boxers you’re wearing?
grandduke Ferdinand: LOL newspapers

Neal Stewart: Heh heh. Where from?
grandduke Ferdinand: I don’t know. Something I Googled.

Neal Stewart: WWII newspapers?
grandduke Ferdinand: Yeah.

Neal Stewart: Did you come up with the face yourself?
grandduke Ferdinand: Yeah.

Neal Stewart: Looks like you’ve been in a bit of a scrap?
grandduke Ferdinand: If you look way back in the newspaper – yours – you will see a story about why that happened.

Neal Stewart: Can you remind me?
grandduke Ferdinand: I was a cage fighter at Dirty Dicks bar.

Neal Stewart: How’d that go for you?
grandduke Ferdinand: Fun. But most of the guys that ran it got banned. And now you can see where my life went after I was out of work.

Neal Stewart: You took to the bottle?
grandduke Ferdinand: Yeah, and these are the stuff I wore on my last fight and they have never been washed.

Neal Stewart: Heh heh. Why’s that? Do they have sentimental value? Or have you just become lazy?
grandduke Ferdinand: A little of both. And I’m homeless.

Neal Stewart: Are you on a $9.95 basic plan or the monthly one that lets you have land?
grandduke Ferdinand: I think the $9.95.

Neal Stewart: So are you still looking for work?
grandduke Ferdinand: No, I gave up. Begging and digging through the trash is my full time job now. And I make my own hair gel.

Neal Stewart: Heh heh. Should I ask how? :)
grandduke Ferdinand: lol

Neal Stewart: You don’t make it like Ben Stiller do you? :) Cos that can get really tiring…
grandduke Ferdinand: lol

Neal Stewart: How long have you been playing WWIIOL for?
grandduke Ferdinand: 3-4 years.

Neal Stewart: Wow. And SL?
grandduke Ferdinand: Since beta.

Neal Stewart: How has it changed since you’ve been here?
grandduke Ferdinand: Really just Jessie. Game hasn’t changed much.

Neal Stewart: How has Jessie changed? Other than people leaving.
grandduke Ferdinand: Jessie used to look cool but now it looks like an uncleaned sand box. WWIIOL used to own all the land in Jessie, well most, so we had unified building codes. So it was like all the same.

Neal Stewart: Why do you think so many of WWIIOLers were griefers?
grandduke Ferdinand: Because for the most part, the guys are to the right and most people that play this game are to the left. But it was only a very small number that were. We had a good leader back then who kept us in line. Our group was very anti-commie and anti-liberal. Also, people didn’t like us because we controlled Jessie 100%. If we didn’t want you there, you weren’t going to be there.

Neal Stewart: What is the leadership like now?
grandduke Ferdinand: We don’t have the members that play. So there isn’t a need.

Neal Stewart: What do you think the future is going to be like for WWIIOL in SL?
grandduke Ferdinand: It will be over.

Neal Stewart: When?
grandduke Ferdinand: Whenever the leader sells the land.

Neal Stewart: What will you do then?
grandduke Ferdinand: Sleep.

Neal Stewart: Grandduke Ferdinand, thank you for your time.
grandduke Ferdinand: No problem.

6 Responses to “‘people think I’m teh sexy’: A Conversation With SL’s Charles Manson Stalker”

  1. Urizenus

    Feb 5th, 2005

    poor grandduke Ferdinand. It really was all downhill after that fight with Wen at Dirty Dick’s.

  2. Grandduke Ferdinand

    Feb 5th, 2005

    Isnt that grandduke such a sextor

  3. Chaunsey

    Feb 5th, 2005

    Just like to clarify a few things I guess.

    for one, very few wwIIolers are actually life banned, the majority simply dont enjoy the game any longer.

    We still have a few regulars on, I try to get on when I can but for a few months now RL has kept my SL time to a minimum. I try to log in atleast ever other week or so to clean up atleast.

    Every once in awhile a large group of wwIIolers will log in though.
    The problem is wwIIolers only enjoy playing when other wwIIolers are on, as the rest of SL is rather boring for the play style we prefer and rather hostile aswell to the play style we prefer.

  4. Wen Nomad

    Feb 5th, 2005

    I messed him up reeeaal good.

  5. Urizenus

    Feb 5th, 2005

    A steel pipe to the head will do that I guess.

  6. Torley

    Feb 6th, 2005

    Great piece, Neal. A fun read… good questions. :D

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