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Who the hell is Scott Shields?

2nd May 2007 • Dave

Four years ago this month, my good friend Robert young and I made good on a 5 year old promise to visit the Big Apple and have a bloody good time! While we were in New York we kept a sort of travel log which detailed our Manhattan adventures. We had ambitious plans for a web site with pictures and audio and all manner of things to inform and entertain anyone planning a similar trip. Anyway, we were far too busy to be mucking around with all of that. So we got as far as writing the text in Word and that is pretty much where it stopped. Eh hem, well I say we, the lion’s share of the actual pressing of keys on the computer part was down to Rob’s insane industriousness – writing somewhere in the region of 15,000 words in not much more than 24 hours! After reading Rob’s tome, yours truly proposed a catalogue of revisions to protect the innocent and enhance the readability of the story. Rather than preparing a 6-foot trench and a wooden box for me to lie in, Rob accepted and implemented most of my suggestions. Thank you.

Nearly two years later following a couple of aborted attempts I began blogging on a semi-regular basis. Well ok less than that, maybe a couple of posts a month if I feel like it. You get the picture. Anyway, being short on content and creativity I decided to post the New York story as it really was not seeing the light of day which had been our original intention. Ok I could not be doing with all the original razzmatazz but at leas the content would be online for search engines to spider and who knows it may turn out to be a source of amusement for some hapless netizen found wondering around in the less fashionable parts of cyberspace. The account of our trip to the US can still be found archived here as entries for May 2003.

Anyway, on to the point of this post. I am getting there. During our trip to New York Rob and I visited Carolyns, a well known Times Square comedy venue to see an American comedian, Darryl Highly. As part of our record of proceedings, the travel log had the following to say.

“Once inside we bought tickets and propped up the bar, meeting yet more friendly New Yorkers, one of whom had a picture of a dog on his jacket, and baseball cap with his name printed on it: Captain Scott Shields. He informed us that a comedian had ridiculed this picture until he pointed out that it had been a rescue dog and was now dead of cancer. He informed us he’d never seen the wind so completely taken out of a comedian’s sails.”

We had absolutely no clue as to the veracity or otherwise of the Scott Shields dog story and quite honestly at the time we did not really care. The anecdote was apparently notable enough for one or other of us to remember and write it down.

Anyway, all may not be as it seems with Captain Scott Shields and his deceased rescue dog. I had almost completely forgotten the encounter when earlier this evening I received the following email. In fact it was only by chance I spotted this in my Spam folder as the address the emailed used is not one I check very often. I have removed the senders name and email address in case he wishes to remain anonymous.

—start of message—
Sent: Wednesday, May 02, 2007 9:27 PM
To: Dave Williams
Subject: old blog


the guy really is a fraud
—end of message—

A couple of seconds Googling found:

Are Captain Scott Shields and his deceased rescue dog patrons of the Official Bear Search and Rescue Foundation who are subject to spurious allegations regarding the authenticity of their story? Alternatively, is Captain Scott Shields “Trading in on tragedy for fame”, Succumbing to the Lure of Truthiness” to whom I am providing the Oxygen of publicity by blogging about this story? Less likely, am I the target of some elaborate hoax who’s purpose I can only guess at? Is the tangled web of conspiracy theorising reaching previously undetected levels and if I am not careful my curiosity is in danger of spiralling out of control into full blown paranoia?

You decide! As with the Channel 4 documentary Blind Young Things shown a couple of nights ago, I really have not arrived at any firm conclusions yet. As soon as I have an opinion about either, dear reader you will be the first to know.

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