File 0077: Nate, The Ex From The 'Before Times'
July 29 2022
This episode we're going all the way back to 2000-2001 with our guest Nate. This is the next chapter in the Jen Saga. Nate knew Jen before State College, before Jack, before the FF7 house and is here to provide some unique insight into her background and roots
This is Continuation of The Jen Saga
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Cayla (HEX): Nate, this is Nate.
Nathan (HEX): Hi.
Cayla (HEX): For the sake of clarity, I'll call mine Nathan.
Nate: I just got out of a workplace where someone retired that had been using Nate and I was actually employed there first, but he was older, so out of respect, naturally, I let him have it. Just hoping I can take it back.
Cayla (HEX): It's mine! All right. Well, I guess, welcome to the Human Exception! Today, it's well, myself, Nathan, but we also have a guest. Nate.
Nate: I just want to preface this with what we're going to be talking mostly about here and realize that that was more than half a lifetime ago. And for me, when I think about all the other experiences I've heard related to, I think the people involved with all of this, I feel like I was probably very lucky. In that it was not only very short that I was affiliated with any of them, but also that I didn't have this pleasure of meeting any more of them either. So. But anyways. Yeah, this. This for me was a long, long time ago. I'm glad to get get it off my chest. I've tried this before with a few other people, and the guy from Vice just blew it. So I won't be talking to him again, anyways. So yeah, you know I, I not to say I'm uncomfortable with saying who I am or anything, but I don't necessarily want any of this associated with me in a, in a professional sense. Cause I do have a little bit of a public profile. But anyways, I will say I am in my thirties. I have lived all over the country. And I come from a fairly, I would say, very ordinary family. So. Compared to a lot of people where they had a lot of problems or something or all that like that really isn't my story. I am. I'm pretty well-adjusted person. I come from a pretty well-adjusted family. Unique to this story maybe was that I was 16 when it all started.
Cayla (HEX): So, Nate, here is well, I guess the earliest survivor of Jen that we've had a chance to encounter, Nate actually met her before State College, before Icarus and Jack and all that. How did you guys meet?
Nate: So there was a website called Eyes on Final Fantasy. And they had an associated IRC chatroom, you know, with it. So she was in there looking for people to roleplay with her in a chat room. I had just recently borrowed a copy of Final Fantasy 8, got really into it, from a dorm mate of mine. Actually, it was his roommate's, and he didn't like him, so he let me borrow it. He said as long as I can get it back to him and make copies of it or whatever. So I got really into Final Fantasy 8. Decided I'd like to look for other people that like this. And so she was in the chat room. She was talking about Final Fantasy 7, which I hadn't played. I was bored and it seemed like something to do. So she kind of guided me along in that. As I didn't know who the characters were.
Cayla (HEX): And you said you were 16 at the time?
Nate: I was 16. She was, I believe. I can't remember if she'd just turned 18. And we met with December 2000.
Cayla (HEX): So long ago now.
Nate: 22 years. Well, less than that, but, close enough.
Cayla (HEX): And you said you hadn't played FF7 at the time when you met her?
Nate: No, and I'll be honest, to this day, I have never completed it. I know the entire storyline and how it starts and ends. I've never played it all the way through.
Cayla (HEX): Is that largely, you think, because of the association with Jen?
Nate: Yeah. It was back in the day. I think I could force myself through it now, but most of it is just because I think it's, at least the older version of it looks so terrible to me. Cartoonish compared to how 8 looked, trying to suffer through that. You know I owned it. I just didn't get into it initially. And you're probably right initially, it was kind of ruined by her. But I do own Final Fantasy 7 remake Intergrade or whatever they're calling it and just I haven't completed that because Elden Ring was so much more interesting.
Nathan (HEX): It really takes a lot of your time, that's for real.
Nate: How many hours do you spend on that mountainside killing that same bird over and over and over again?
Nathan (HEX): Too many, too many. I think I put like 200 hours into that game before I finally finished and put it down and moved on to something else.
Nate: I feel like I'll probably come back to it at some point, but I'm, I'm, I'm about the same way, about 220 hours or something like that.
Cayla (HEX): You guys started roleplaying and were your conversations at this time always just like roleplaying or did you guys ever talk about anything like personal for a while there or?
Nate: I don't usually get to know people just on that level. I wasn't even that familiar with roleplaying. To be honest, it seemed, I live very much in the real world, so to be kind of involved with someone that clearly was influenced so strongly by fantasies was interesting to me because she was a girl, I was a boy, and she seemed like she was interested in actually talking to me. So I think that played a larger part of it. But. And it was I did I wanted to get to know who she was. I thought that was just as important. So a lot of what we talked about or chatted about had to do with where she was from, what interested her outside of gaming kind of thing. And so it started out as just a lot of online chat back and forth a lot in IRC instant message and she would make new instant messenger names and roleplay each one of them. And that really satisfied her. And I was a lot of times just whoever she told me to be or I'm just myself. She'd ask me to make something up and let's roleplay something about that you want to come up with. I think trying to kind of get me to be more of a participant or at least more ownership of that. You could tell it's something that really interested her. It started out mostly online and stuff, but it turned eventually into over the phone. So we would you know, we would chat with other people online, roleplay with people in little group either on AOL group chat or through IRC. And then when we got tired of that, we would say, hey, we're done. We're going to go talk on the phone for the rest of night. So that's what we did.
Cayla (HEX): Yeah. You guys weren't even in the same state, so that would that would have been a phone bill.
Nate: So, actually I have a kind of interesting trick about that. So I mean, it was my first, I met her in my first semester of college for me. But it was also most of our association was in the second semester and then the summer afterwards. So like that, those conversations that we had, the reason I was able to get away with it was that I would walk all the way across town in the college towns that and buy a prepaid card. There was something defective about the way their system was set up the call times. And so around 2 a.m., if you had a phone call that started before 2 a.m. it wouldn't register your minutes, as long as you started your call 9 o'clock, 10 o'clock, and then talked past 2 to some point, you wouldn't lose any minutes. Now after that, if you hung up or something and needed to call back, which happened sometimes, then it would register those minutes afterwards. So we got away with talking hours and hours and hours on.
Cayla (HEX): Yeah and Jen loves staying up really late, so that's great for her
Nate: I know. That was interesting to me, I was still going to school. She had all the time in the world to just talk and talk and talk and talk. And I found that really interesting because I'd just go to sleep and I would go to go to school, come back the next night, and she was ready for the same kind of stuff all over again.
Cayla (HEX): At what point did it turn romantic?
Nate: I think it was just kind of gradual over. For a period of time because I was someone that could be that for her. I'd like someone that was there. I could talk to her every night because there weren't a whole lot of people that could do that. This wasn't like the cell phone era with even like the nights in a week and cell phone are someone that could actually call her and talk to her. The big opening for her, I would say probably within like a month or so, you start to say things, you know, 'I love you' or 'I can't wait to talk to you again', you know, words of affection. It kind of flowed out from that. And to me, they seemed genuine. I didn't have any reason to suspect anything else from her or from her. For me, this wasn't my first, you know, relationship-ish, but it was probably one of my first important ones. I mean, I like to live mostly in the real world. So to me there was always like one of the foot going to drop on this one where we meet up, we don't like each other or something like that. So, I don't know, I had a lot of time on my hands because of school. So it worked out well for me. Those were my nights, I had my school, during my days, you get a whole lot of sleep.
Cayla (HEX): And was she working or anything at the time?
Nate: She was. So she lived in a little town, sort of halfway between Grants Pass, Oregon and Medford, and there was this little like a flower shop. I only went there once. We went there once when I visited later and I'd call her there. She couldn't really call me from there because the people that own the place probably have seen it and, you know, noticed it on their bill. So she'd always have me call her there, but I think her mom actually arranged for her to get that job. I think she was a friend or something of her mom or an acquaintance or something. So like she actually did have a real job, which these days sounds kind of surprising.
Cayla (HEX): Yeah. And so she was living mom at the time. Her parents split when she was quite young, right?
Nate: You know, I'm not totally clear on exactly when her parents split. I would presume it was sometime, either, sometime around the age, probably with the plus or minus two years of her turning 10, no more than that range. Might even have been a little bit later than that. It was just details to me at this point.
Cayla (HEX): Oh, yeah. Totally fair. So what does she tell you about her past before, like meeting you?
Nate: Well, that's funny when I hear all these other stories that people tell about, like 'her father is this' and 'her mother is this'. There are a lot of times were during this business, especially during the daytime, like her mom would occasionally like come on the phone to say 'I need to use the phone' or something, or Jen would give her mom the phone. I would talk to her mom for a while. So she didn't embellish, I got the real deal story about who she was, that she had grown up in Arcadia, California. And she loved going to Disneyland. She was obsessed with the Indiana Jones ride. She used to tell me that, you know, she would go to the park so much, they would let her give, you know, be a guide for people, which I don't really believe and I didn't really believe that even that I thought that was like, I kind of told her like, 'yeah, come on, give me a break'. But her dad was still down there, at least during that time. I think your dad has since moved to Oregon, but he had a place, I think it was probably still in or around Arcadia. But as far as her background is concerned, her mom left home. I believe it was like at the age of like 13 or 14 be on her own because she had a very bad situation. I think she had some abusive father and older brothers and so on. And this is all happening around like Hollywood, California, back in the probably the sixties or seventies. It's not like the big world we think of now. It's the Hollywood of those days where you might still have a celebrity sighting, where you could say hi to them, not nowadays, where they're surrounded by bodyguards and apparently all the time. And so you know they met at I think believe was Hollywood high school, her parents at least. So her dad was a descendant of a guy and his brother that ran or created and ran a set of five and dime stores down the West Coast. And this is something that she confirmed and her mother confirmed. But, you know, the five and dime era was long over. So by the point that I started talking to Jen, they were in like the process of selling some of their last real estate. And I think it was all going into like the family trust at that point. So like there was a Cornet five and dime stores. So. Like like a lot of families, I think where you come from, some of that money sort of, I, I was never quite clear as to like, I didn't talk to her dad. I think I said hi to him once when she was visiting him briefly and that was about it. I think he was kind of leery about her having any boyfriends or anything like that because of some of the issues I'd had with her.
Cayla (HEX): Well, yeah, also some strange guy from the Internet.
Nate: Yeah, exactly. Didn't matter if I was 16. Yeah, I pieced that together. So there was, I mean I don't want to jumble this up too much, but anyways, she, he grew up down there.
Cayla (HEX): So she had a relatively normal early high school life, right? Well, other than she having behavioral issues.
Nate: You guys have probably talked about this before, but yeah, her mom told me she had behavioral issues. I had these really interesting conversations either when Jen was down in California visiting her dad or when she was off at work. And I would talk to her mom because her mom. Is to clean houses for people in Medford in Grants Pass. That was like her employment. She was kind of living a little bit, she bought the house that they lived out of there off of divorce settlement with Jen's dad. And, pretty nice house, but, anyways. When we had these conversations, she was always very quick to tell them that Jen, you know, had some behavioral issues. She didn't want me to be surprised. Very adult kind of conversations to have being that I was 16 and then like later 17 to talk about this kind of stuff. And she talked about it with me in person later on. But she used to tell me that she really liked that I talked to her that I was a very grounding sort of influence for Jen. That I made her think of concrete goals and realistic things. And I didn't really kind of know what all of that meant until later. You know, Jen had a very, very sort of troubled upbringing. Jen seemed, when I did talk to her about some of her past, she liked to kind of wax poetically about how fun it was to get into some of the trouble she used to get into. And one of them was having sex with her boyfriend or something in the back of a limousine on the way to prom. And her boyfriend was older than her and all this other stuff when she was a freshman. I mean, you know, weird stories like that. Like you could tell she had kind of a wild side to her. Going back, she was diagnosed very early with oppositional defiant disorder. And then they later said it was conduct disorder. And she kept going back to all these counselors. I think some of that, you know, maybe genetic, other parts of it might be living in a household where, you know, Jen's mom used to say that Jen's dad was, I can't remember if he was exactly, physically abusive but he definitely was verbally abusive. And those are the kind of things that Jen grew up around. Just the two of them, you know, yelling at each other and being mean to each other, all of that.
Cayla (HEX): I didn't realize that her dad was... not a great partner.
Nate: And again, you know, I've met so many people since that point to not to not really know his side of that conversation. I can't comment to what really happened there. Families break up for reasons that are only known to the people involved. And so this was just Jen's mom's point of view. And Jen herself, too. But, I mean, the thing was, is that she had no problem, working with Jen's dad towards, you know, parental solutions and things. So I feel like maybe it was a lot of disagreement, maybe it looked worse than it was because Jen was a kid. So maybe a lot of the time she went out and got into trouble or played around in Disneyland or wherever that was her way of. Sort of growing up around problems
Cayla (HEX): Yeah it's really interesting that she mentioned that she had real issues as a child. How much of that was triggered by her environment or just her? Just hard to say. Looking back, I'm sure.
Nate: No way to know. There's really no way to know. But, the story that rings true and this is one that kind of is consistent with some of the other stories that you guys have been told is that but Jen's mom told me this one that Jen had gotten into some actually got into trouble or they thought she was kind of headed down the wrong track. And so she had researched between her and Jen's dad into the kind of places that might be a good boot camp to send Jen. So it was one of those, you know, middle of the night kind of operations where they send a bunch of toughs to your house in the van and pick up your kid in the middle night and ship them off to some faraway location. In this case, it was near Laverne in Utah. It's called Cross Creek. And Jen, she didn't speak very fondly about. She told me, like her first night there, you get in there, and 'they force me to take cold showers'. And they were really sort of, I won't say violent but 'very tough with us' about it. Very strict, very militaristic. It was somewhat of a school. She might have mentioned a few names and things. And those are conversations I can't recall all the way through people that she knew there. You know, I could gather from the entire process that she definitely wasn't fond of being there. The thing is really, you know, in those conversations, she understood why she was there. She knew that she was a bad, bad seed in kind of a way and that she needed a behavioral adjustment. Though it was weird to me to hear all these things now where she has like totally removed herself from any accountability or anything like that.
Cayla (HEX): So for people who don't know, Cross Creek is part of the WWASP Schools, part of the troubled teen industry and not the good kind, the kind that has a very long, a varied history of abuse of the children in their care of various kinds. Verbal, mental, sometimes physical and sexual in some cases depends on the school, the ones in like the US tend to be better, the ones in Mexico and stuff are worse. A lot of them are shut down by this point, but. It was where Jen was at the time and is where she met Mela. We'll talk about eventually. But.
Nate: That's spot on. I mean, I read stories. I ever read sort of like Tranquility Bay in Jamaica. The kids that were running out windows and then the locals would catch them and send them back. The thing about Utah where she was at, it's like South, I'd have to look at a map again, but it was one of those places where you really couldn't have escaped. Or if you did, you were pretty much, you know, taking your life in your own hands. It was so far off from civilization. They did that intentionally. They don't want to give these kids any option like you're kind of stuck there or else. So I think moving this on a little bit and this narrative on a little bit. She eventually turned of age as she turned 18. Her birthday is before mine in the year, and so they couldn't keep her there anymore. When she turned 18, she was an adult and she could say, 'I don't want to be here anymore'. So that's what ended up triggering her to come home. It wasn't that she had reformed or anything or had gotten better by their statistics or whatever it was, or her mom wanted her back. It's just that she said, 'I don't I don't want to be here anymore'. And so they sent her home.
Cayla (HEX): I think, from you said her parents didn't realize what this school was when they sent her?
Nate: Absolutely not, yeah her mom. She was very ashamed of it afterwards and saying, 'I can't believe that's the kind of conditions that she was under'. I think it'd be a shock to just about any parent that your kid is more or less being held under Gulag prison conditions. But it wasn't like, you know, it wasn't like Oliver Twist or something wasn't that kind of stuff, but it definitely isn't. I mean, there's enough stories out there I don't have to elaborate on as far as withholding food or water or throwing them in locked rooms in places and small spaces like those are all kind of out there. So she comes back home and she goes to live with her mother. Her mother has since moved from California. Her mom both based on, I think, her history of abuse and just, you know, being fed up with California and Jen's dad trying to go for a place that was really remote. And that's why she ended up in Applegate, Oregon. I don't want to give away any addresses or anything like that. I'm sure if you guys want those, I can give this to you all.
Cayla (HEX): For sure.
Nate: Having been there myself, it was a hard place to find. This is pre Google Maps and I couldn't afford a GPS at the time anyways but yeah, it was really, really remote. I can't even find it now. I've trying to go there on Google Maps and Street View and I can't find the house either.
Nathan (HEX): Did you have to use that good old MapQuest to try and get there? And even then it was wrong?
Nate: Yeah. So I mean, in this probably four months a story here and there, not that there's a whole lot to say in there, but yeah. That. It's we had to use like a MapQuest. And when we went there, I flew into a place that was geographically close, but not not that close. And we drove out there.
Cayla (HEX): Yeah so you ended up going out to meet with her in the summer of 2001?
Nate: So and without giving too much of me away, I was in a bordering state. I had some friends that were, I was going to go visit. And another friend of mine, I asked him, 'Hey, would you mind driving me out here to see her' I didn't have a car and I couldn't, you know, I couldn't rent one at 17. So he was like, 'Yeah, let's go, let's go do it all'. You know, my parents told me not to do it. They knew that I talked to this girl all the time when they kind of knew and told me not to go do it. My dad made some real big threats about things he would do to my college support if I went. And they were just threats. I don't think he thought I would do it. He never found out about it. So hopefully he doesn't listen to this podcast. I hope so
Cayla (HEX): I don't think he can ground you anymore. So you should be okay.
Nate: Well, I'll tell you that the center part of Oregon is extremely remote. It's alkali flats. It's less like desert out there. I remember at one point we crossed this. There's like a pond or something, and it had nothing but like a flock of dead ducks in it or something. And we didn't know, it was the middle of the night we drove. We left, I think sometime in. God, it was like 6:00 in the evening and drove straight on through. So I ended up making it to Applegate somewhere around like early in the morning, like 10ish or something like that.
Cayla (HEX): So you arrive. What happens when you arrive?
Nate: Oh, we pull up this driveway, their house is kind of like somewhat of a steep hill.
Nate: Anyway, so we pull up and, you know, she comes out to greet me, and she's about what she looked like in the photos that she'd sent me. You know, she had sent me some of the same roleplaying photos that everyone's kind of familiar with now. The ones of her in a white lab coat and glasses. She didn't wear glasses. White lab coat was a gift. I had snuck some test tubes from college or high school I can remember and brought those to her because she wanted them for her role playing. And I thought, okay, whatever, I get her a gift. And she was real happy to see us. Well me, not my friend. She didn't care about him. But, you know, I got to meet her mom, Mona. I have nothing against Mona. Mona is very, very kind. She just you can tell she's got a very guarded personality. I don't think she would have let me come over there had we not talked on the phone at length prior to that.
Cayla (HEX): I just can't imagine being a parent in that time, like the early 2000s. Your daughter's dating somebody online and he shows up. But yeah, I think if you guys hadn't had that relationship already, it would have been a lot different.
Nate: Jen had this weird obsession beforehand, because I had skipped a couple of grades growing up and she thought I was like a really smart, gifted person. But she would always talk about, if we ever have kids, someday they're going to be really, really, they're going to have your smarts and my this and my this. And I was a biology major. So I used to like listen to these things and go, 'She's really kind of crazy a little bit in these things', but I liked it. She doesn't really know how any of this stuff works. Yeah. So we go in there and the house had like a door kind of, from the front of it, the door was kind of on like the left side of the house. As I'm walking up to the right side of the house, there's like this weird look. It's not very big. It's looks like somebody had tried to make a small booth or something with windows in it. And I think that's where she, like, used to role play being a scientist with like test tubes and all that jazz and like a little rack and stuff in there, which is kind of weird I think, for an adult girl. But we're talking about Jen here. You walk in the front door to the left, there's like some stairs that kind of go downstairs to some sort of a basement area where Jen's room was, and there's a bathroom down there. And then, like, as you're going through that hallway, there was like a washer and dryer. It kind of goes upstairs. It's this kind of a more of a living room area. It's like a living room kitchen. The kitchen had kind of an island in it with like one of those kind of like grill tops. She cooked up some steaks later or something like that on it. That's why I remember that so well. And the windows kind of overlook and like down the hill. So it's beautiful. I mean, you're in the Oregon nowhere, and then there's kind of like a porch off of that, which when we were there overnight, like you could, it was beautiful. Like the stars, there's no light pollution and it's a very remote place and I can always see why Mona really enjoyed it.
Cayla (HEX): How long did you end up staying there? Sorry
Nate: A day and a half, maybe two days, including the drive back. Well, it really wasn't that long, but the initial like part of it was total charm offensive. Like she was thrilled to have me be there. We talked a bunch. She cooked us some food. Her mom at one point wanted to talk to me aside and kind of make sure that I was there for the right reasons I guess? She also made some reference to that, again, she said, 'I think you're a good influence'? And I'm not trying to just pat myself on the back like she was like, 'I think you're a pretty decent guy', especially I think she said it mostly because she knew that her daughter had issues. So she was just making sure I knew what I was getting into if I was getting into anything. Her mom's room was, it was like to the right of the kitchen, there was like another bathroom and some sort of closet. Her mom's room was towards like the back of the house. That's where we had our little powwow conversation briefly because she's like, 'Let me take you aside and ask you some things'. She made us dinner, that was a lunch sort of thing. And then later we went out and had a meal and she took us to mall over in, I believe it was Medford. I bought Jen this like sort of crystal angel or something like that that she wanted. Her bedroom was interesting. She had a, she always would brag about having, like, this four poster bed with a canopy? She was obsessed with a four poster bed with a canopy. I went in her room. And it looked like a girl's room and a four poster with a canopy and, you know, pictures and things. And she had some of, like, the final fantasy, you know, figures that she owned. I think one of them was an Aeris I had bought her and sent her one point for something. And then she gave me, like, this little card that they used to give out at the Indiana Jones ride. And so she wrote like her name on it, for the longest time I used to have it I think I tossed it one year because I would just like just wanted to forget about all this. We, you know, we went in there and had that whole thing and then, at one point, I can't remember the timeframe of this. It was after we got back from being out in Medford. It was either before or after that. We walked outside. We also, on the way out to Medford, we also looked at her, went to her workplace, and she showed me that whole like the 'flower shop', as she called it. I think it was her way of roleplaying being Aeris or something? At one point I walked around and mentioned somewhat of a flower garden out there and she told me something. I think this was probably the next day. Let me step back. So that night, my friend goes to sleep. We're tired, exhausted. I stay up with her in her room and we're talking and stuff and. She's on the phone with, at the time was Rene. She was calling like Hojo. And it's sort of a weird sort of thing about 'you're really Vincent Valentine. You're really Vincent Valentine from this other dimension or something like that. And we're really bonded to these characters and all of this jazz'. And I remember telling her. I don't believe any of that. That all sounds really -I'm I'm tired. I'm like, I haven't slept in no. 38 hours. I've driven all the way here or being driven all the way here- it all sounds totally nuts to me. .
Nate: And so she just kind of like lost interest in me at that point. Like it was right from kind of that point. Like, I'm no longer interested in this guy because he doesn't believe in my crazy 'soulbonding adventures', is what they were calling it.
Cayla (HEX): Prior to that, had you met Jack online or were you even aware of Jack before?
Nate: Yeah. You guys call her Jack, I know she goes by that now or he goes by that now. But it was it was like she would play it off of me. 'Oh, I'm going to go talk to Hojo now. I'm going to go talk to him'. We used to talk all the time. Like, 'why are you talking to this other person?'. Just kind of got on my nerves a little bit. I was like, 'Well, this is what we used to do, why are you-'. And then, you know, she would make me jealous about it. That was kind of like her thing. I think it was kind of about that point that she started not liking me as much. I think the charm offensive when I showed up was the shock of me being there for some reason in my mind, you know, later on I kind of felt like she made up her mind that if 'he's not down with what we're doing, I'm going to tell him I'm not interested so'. Oh yeah, they had already started to do that stuff and I was kind of, I think on the way out. And so she had it was the next the next morning or something. We had this conversation outside and she says that 'I'm not really into you that way'. I was disappointed and we had a pretty good day the day before. And I'd driven all the way out there and put a lot of effort into it. And I said, 'okay, sure'. And all this stuff and. And there was more playing off of this Hojo and all this other stuff. And I just said 'No. Just can't get behind that stuff. It just seems. Crazy to me'. Anyway. The rest of the trip there. And the rest of that day was kind of, I kind of just wanted to get out of there.
Cayla (HEX): Yeah. No kidding.
Nate: That's like, well, this is I mean, for me, it was like, this is pretty much over. I'm super disappointed. I put all this effort into getting out here, and I would probably piss off my dad if he found out about it. To show up and be sort of routed by somebody from another state that's pretending to be a man from a video game. So, you know and you're tired. And I had been tired for a long time because we spent all those nights talking to each other. I think some of your sensibilities start to go out the window trying to get like that tunnel.
Cayla (HEX): Oh, definitely.
Nate: When you're sleep deprived, it never fully left me, like my logic is probably the most solid part of who I am, my personality. I was probably never going to be a very ripe candidate for what she ended up being or doing. I still occasionally called her afterwards, though, mostly because I wanted to ask her mom. I want to talk to her mom or dad. I want to talk to her to go what's what's going on with her anyways? And that was, I think, when she started keeping secrets from her mom about what she was doing. Her mom, she knew about Hojo or whatever and the conversations, but I was kind of cut out by that point. And she still would occasionally ask me to call and talk to her. So I would. And I, of course, wasn't quite over it, even once I had gotten home from my trip and everything. So I was still open to talking to her about it, hoping maybe she'd change her mind. But she didn't. Then eventually we just didn't talk very much. I end up calling her mom one day or her mom called me, it was something weird and she said that Jen had left. I said, Well, okay, tell me a little bit more about what happened here and. And she says, 'well, you know, we wanted to make some money, so we invited someone to come and live with us'. This person was a painter. And she, you know, talked to Jen about it and then Jen got up and left to go to Pennsylvania. Jen had also, I mean, she was talking around this time, too, and was saying things like, 'you know, I'm going to leave and all this' and 'you should support me in my choices' and 'you should give me some money and all this'. And I'm not giving you any money. I'm not.
Cayla (HEX): Did she tell you why she wanted to leave? Was it just for Jack or was there other things she was trying to tell you?
Nate: She never really vocalized that to me. She just wanted to go be with, you know, her true love, Hojo, that this was, Jenova's true, you know, whatever. Like, she was, like, she was living a fantasy. I was like, this is just really kind of odd, I don't know. I think the best way to put it was just she was going to be with her, and that's who she wanted to be with. This is really a guy that she loved him and that's where she wanted to be. I said, okay. Then she would tell me that I was her Vincent Valentine. that I really didn't love her. And then I was blah blah, blah, blah, blah, and I wouldn't give her money to go see her. And then it's going to be five days across the country. And that Hojo had sent her enough money for the bus ticket and some food, and that's about it. I should, you know, give her some money, too, or I should- look like I'm not. I don't have any money. I'm a teenager. You expect, like I Western Union you some money or something? So like five days went by and I didn't hear anything about her. And then she eventually sent me a message along saying she made it. It's like, okay. Good for you. Like, being over this now, and I'm ashamed of myself.
Cayla (HEX): Did her mom know where she was going?
Nate: No clue. Not a clue in the world. No. I think she'd left one day. Yeah. I mean, it was like a Greyhound bus or something. So I think I'm guessing that the painter took her there or she found some other means to make it over there. I'm not exactly sure how.
Cayla (HEX): Oh, and yeah, like, you're 17 at the time. You guys have just broken up recently. I can't imagine the state that you're in. And then she's asking you for more.
Nate: I mean, I was actually amazingly resilient at this point. There had been another girl online that liked Final Fantasy 8, and I ended up being really mean to her, and that thing didn't end real well, but immediately had her to kind of like fall back to talk to. And she loved talking to me. So that entire summer. 'If you know, you want to call and talk to me about this. I'll talk to you whenever you want. I like you and all that'. And so that was actually reassuring to me. Like, I didn't have, like, a whole. 'Oh, man, I'm really having problems with Jen over the summer kind of thing. I can't get over'. I got over really fast. I had a job for the summer and when I wasn't doing that, I was talking to another girl.
Cayla (HEX): That makes it easier.
Nate: Yes, they made it a lot easier for me to deal with it. The problem was that Jen didn't quit calling me. I had my parents number so she would call. And I would get this thing. 'Hey, you know, so-and-so's on the phone for you'. And I had to go take it outside so I would be on the line or something. I'd be out there on the lawn.
Nate: So she would call me all the time and like. It was weird. Like, the relationship from that point was really sort of, you know, abusive in a way. If it was anything like at this point, we had no romantic affiliation. I think she kept trying to hook me or something, not knowing that I had kind of someone else to talk to and was more interested in someone that wasn't crazy. And she would ask me like, 'Hey, I found this thing on eBay and I want you to buy it and send it to me' she had found this like blue chocobo on eBay. 'And you should buy it and send it to me'. Or 'you should send me some money over here in Pennsylvania, if you really love me' and all this other stuff and she'd use things that you told her about yourself, against you in those conversations. Abusive kinds of things about you or your personality, ways to try to goad you into doing something for her. And I would tell her I am a hard logic kind of person. I would say, 'Why would I do anything for you if you're going to say things to me like that?' And then it was like it was, you know, more and more abusive behavior, the whole 'I'm going to kill myself if you don't send me some money'. By the time that she started kind of getting on to that, I just said.
Nate: Do it.
Nate: I don't care anymore. Just go out and do it. I'll listen to you. I'm on the phone with you right now. And then she put Hojo on the line like, I'm like 'I don't want to talk to you, Renee. I don't know you. I don't care about you. You're the reason this whole thing started anyways.'
Nate: And Hojo was like "She's really going to kill herself"
Nate: And I said 'Put a phone next to her. I'll listen to what she does. She's not going to do it. I don't believe any of that. She's self-centered enough' and that this happened more than one time and it was embarrassing. My little brother knew about it. He'd, like, harass me.
Cayla (HEX): Prior to her move did she ever talk about self-harm or suicide? When she was still living in Oregon?
Nate: No. Not at all. No. And that was. That was pure Pennsylvania, I'll just put it that way.
Nate: So anyway, I spent that lot of that summer again doing other things, working and being on the Internet and helping my parents move houses. So I at that point, though, I realized that this girl is nuts. And so I need to sort of keep track of where she is. I don't want her showing up on my doorstep. She knows everything else about me. And I'm here. I'm 17, paranoid. And so she, you know, started to have a very lively atmosphere there. And she was living off of, an apartment. Off of Waupelani drive or something in State College, that's where she lived, you know, Hojo's apartment. I remember reading. I forget how I found this out, but I decided to look up criminal records for the county. And then this is like months later found out they had been arrested for some sort of domestic violence?
Cayla (HEX): It was LARPing
Nate: Yeah, it was like, disturbing the peace, I think. The thing was, is like reading about her screwing up or failing to me was almost cathartic in a way. But I really just didn't, I wasn't happy about the way things had gone. And so I, you know, I kept track of it. I would look at all of their, like, Live Journals and Zynga's and all those names and cross-reference them all the way through. And she had like, the two of them, they had this, like, weird web of back and forth and all this and then occasionally and I'd still get a message from her, which was really weird. You know, she'd send me messages occasionally asking me for stuff and tell me what's going on. And at one point, she said 'Hojo's parents are helping to buy a house. So we're going to have a house here now'. I said, okay. And so I and we didn't have pretty much any conversations really until much later after that, like 'we're going to get this house and to whatever or whatever'. It was pretty easy for me to figure out which house it was. After a little while I could do it, put watches on things, it was this one, I believe it was was Linn Street. So I so I just kind of watched it from afar. I looked at all of their online stuff. I watched people get affiliated. They had this like Hojo.org website they would post on and it was like there was several people's names that come to mind. Like it was her, Hojo. Pat. I think E.K. and a few others would write like these. I call them goofy fan fictions that have no. It's not consistent with any of the storylines just in their heads. And I'm not a big like fan fiction kind of guy, so.
Nate: Anyways, I followed that for a while to figure out what was going on there and it was pretty much it. Other than like every now and then I'd go back and look it up and see what they were up to. It's pretty much it up until there was a time when someone that had been affiliated with that house, put up a website, demon sushi. Was that Zack's page?
Cayla (HEX): Yeah. Zack, we call him Icarus, but either way, Zack, the one who wrote up demon-sushi
Nate: What's funny is I still have the email from that. Like they were going, but they were like, it was on my Yahoo! Account, so they want anyone to know that I was affiliated with it. I wrote to them and said, Hey, I'm the Nate. I knew her, blah blah. And then I went up on that website. They said, I never got a hold of them again, which was a total lie. I don't know why they didn't reach out to me and I haven't asked Zack about it. 'Hey, why did you quit talking to me?' Cause I have Zack's, like, original, like, you know, name that I was using back at the time and all the stuff on this email. So it's really kind of weird like that. Yahoo saved emails for 19 years or whatever.
Cayla (HEX): Yeah. And you may have to get lost in the shuffle because I know he was getting a ton of messages from people soon as the website went up.
Nate: Right. And there was a lot of other people and had abuse stories, I think, that were more compelling than anything I had to say. And to be fair. I didn't, I wouldn't say I was really a victim of any of this. It was just like a bad Internet breakup is the way that I put it. Like the stuff that she did afterwards was I just thought: 'You're just in a really terrible state where you're at and you've got no money, talents or resources and you're just trying to scam off of me because you have my phone number. You think you can bother me into given you money? It's never going to happen'. Like I. Work hard for this. I'm at Burger King, you know. 45 hours, 40 hours a week in burgers while you're, like, screwing around all the time. Like, I'm not giving you any money. Anyways.
Cayla (HEX): How did you find out about demo-0sushi?
Nate: I found out what?
Cayla (HEX): How did you find out about demon sushi?
Nate: I think I looked her up online once like under the name, pretty much looking up Jen Cornet. There's like there's like, you know, four or five people that are more popular than her named Jen Cornet. And I think that's how that came up in searches. I would just once in a while saying, like, hey, I wonder what kind of trouble she's got into now. I read about that.
Nate: I can't believe that they trashed this house. They made it seem like it was really nice house that's you know, and I had followed Mela's sort of her live journals and stuff too, and all the stuff they made her do about making her go be a stripper and all of that. I, I was like, wow, she's really kind of been a head trip for all these people. And so like for me, like reading all of their stories, Jen to me was always just kind of like really screwed up person. I didn't realize she was going to go and abuse people, take advantage them and milk them for money. I mean, she she couldn't get it out of me. And I used to think, 'okay, well. I'm not that special. Why would anybody else be that influenced by someone that really doesn't have anything to be convinced about?' Like, she's not like people talk about all these things that they are. She's really personal and she must be really persuasive or she's a cult leader. I never found her to be that talented in anything other than interesting a guy to talk on her phone all night long for a while, you know. She had to put some skin in the game with me, time and effort and things. And she used to send me mail and love letters and that kind of stuff, and she put a lot of time into it. One of them, I can't find it, and I shuffled it somewhere in my parents library. I put it, I wanted to hide it, so I put it like in a book somewhere. It was like she, when she was in Oregon, she wrote me this, it was like tea stained and everything. It looked like an old letter out of a trunk written in fancy calligraphy pen or whatever fountain pen. She liked to dolled it all up and everything, and it looked pretty nice. She sent me a card on my birthday, which I think I've given you guys a copy of that once. So it's like. I like to hear her go and do all these things. It was or surprising to me that anybody would let her get that far because, I mean, I guess I'm different and I think my circumstances were different. And a lot of people when they got involved, were probably looking for more of a sense of belonging and maybe they weren't didn't have the family support, maybe that I had in the same way, or at least the family shame I think is what it was probably more for me. It was in my family like I, I couldn't, I couldn't like throw it all out there to be with somebody like that, my family, like in my own head and from the kind of things they would say about me. Like, it's not we have to be proud of the things we do. That was not something that I could be proud of.
Cayla (HEX): Yeah.
Nate: Always resonated with me. It's like, Look, all of this is done in secret. I think it's a really weird there's no way any of this could come to light. And for you to like still a face in the family publicly claims like like you always knew it was going to end, it was going to stop. So at that point, like just kind of following her online and things, the last time that the last couple times I really talked to her, I believe these are two separate occasions. One of it was when her grandmother died and her grandmother's name was Constance. You can still find her obituary online. Now, I saw that there was a funeral home. I said, okay. I also knew that I was like wondering like, well, she's going to go to this. And somehow I went. I think the reason I even looked up her grandmother was because she had written a journal entry or someone had written a journal entry. I think it was Angelique, maybe had written something about it. They were headed across country that was going like, well, why would you do that? Oh, because their grandmother died. And back when we used to talk, her mom would always say 'she's not going to get anything because her grandmother didn't like Mona', Jen's mom. So she was written out of the will. Or not. I don't know. I know that family still has a lot of money. I know it's, like, held up in trusts. It's not really hard to figure out who her family members are. They're all out there. Her dad lives, you know, not too far, like within a couple hours of her mom, somewhere near, like, I don't want to say it on here, but you could look it up and find it. But anyways, so I called the funeral home and I left a message and said, 'Hey, do you mind sending a message along to Jen for me when she gets there?'. They did. And Jen, you know, got a hold of me at one point was like she wouldn't admit it was her. I was like, well, who would get a hold of me if in response to a message if it wasn't actually her? She was really kind of covert about who she was. And this was back, I think, 2004 or 2005. It was just the weirdest kind of conversation. But I asked her a lot of these questions and things. And so we talked. She had a different she was using the AIM name. I think it was something Angel. Uriel. Something like that. Bright Angel Uriel?
Cayla (HEX): Angelariel was Angel, but she had Clockwork_Uriel at the time. They all had angel names for a while there.
Nate: And I think these were two separate conversations. So initially, one, as I just said, hi and I'm still out there and now sorry about your grandmother, blah blah. Mostly made me just letting her know that I still got tabs on you. I know where you are. Please leave me alone. Then later on in time I think I sent her a message of the same thing. And this time she was in Arizona living there. We talked for a while, and what I wanted to say to her was, at this point, I had little more perspective. Like I was in my first job out of college and graduated, and I felt successful and independent. I said, 'Are you still doing the same things you used to do? Like I read about stuff on Demon-Sushi and all these things you were doing. Are you still doing this stuff?' And she's like, 'No, I'm not doing that anymore. I have a real job. I'm like a waitress somewhere waiting tables. I'm trying to be on the straight and narrow'. I said 'Good'. I said, because, you know, I told her like 'I'm in my first job after college and I'm doing really well here. And I have a car and a place of my own and all these kinds of things. And I just like to know that people in my life are doing well'. And she was like, 'Yep, I'm doing well and trying to live a good life and not be a mean person'. And it was just a weird, weirdest -this is the last conversation we had- just a weird, weird conversation with her. And I said I was talking to somebody else kind of at the same time. This is all over. instant messenger, by the way. We weren't talking on the phone for this. I said, 'Hey, I got a friend that we both know. A guy that used to be in our roleplaying group from was living in like the Tempe area'. And I said and I said to him, like, 'hey, you want to go meet up with her?' And he's like, 'Oh, yeah, she's nuts. I'd love to meet her'. So I said ok, his name was, I shouldn't give away his name without permission either. I should ask him before I do anything so I won't say who his name is. But he was somebody else from the Eyes on Final Fantasy Community. And he said, 'I'll meet her'. And so he says, so he gives me a message like the next day and goes, 'You won't believe, like how this went down. So she says, Let's meet up like 3:00 in the morning at a diner somewhere. She shows up like wizard robes. Wizard robes, kind of smelly, like perfumed up with like a staff. And she's got like, these people around her and everything'. And he goes, 'It was just insane. Absolutely insane'. And I just kind of like, okay. And so we talked for a few minutes and that was the end of that. And that's like the last anything I know about any of that until the point when. I go online to look up stuff and I see that I don't know what her real name is either Monica or Eve or whatever her name is, and posting under like a handle of like Miss Misanthropy or something, which she was trying to like say, 'I think this is Jen'. So I sent her a message and was like, 'Well, what do you have?' And she's like, 'Well, this is what she did and this is, you know, her, she was running this and blah, blah, Freddie Lounds and all this kind of stuff'. And she's like, 'Well, I've got some recording of her voice', she says from when we talked. And she goes, 'Can you identify her from these voices?' And I said, 'Well, yeah' it wasn't about like that I remember every pitch, everything. She had a certain cadence, the way she talks, and she's kind of animated, too. Especially with some of the roleplaying we did, real animated and I listen to it and I am like 'It's unmistakable that's her like absolutely that's her'. And she was like, okay. And that's kind of where like that the whole thing started. And, you know, we talked back and forth about different things that she believed in, and you know Monica and she shared some of the information she had with me. I know some of that's kind of disputed, I mean, at times and people have had their issues with her, but we've always been very cordial about it, mostly because I, I wouldn't have made that connection. I don't watch Hannibal. It's not my kind of television. But what's funny is, like the behaviors that she showed were very similar to the kind of behaviors that Jen is known to pull. She's got very distinct tendencies that she can't break, which is there's a lot of her own personality that permeates every single roleplaying thing she does. So every time that I was reading about something or fanfic or whatever else she was doing, I could tell that was her because she doesn't let it go. There's like family names that are important to her that get weaved to them or an aspect of a fantasy that we had talked about in a particular way that she expressed it, that she would express it again like she does, that she's very much the same person in that way. And the thing is, I hear these perspectives she would talk about like who her dad was, her dad is like an accountant, something like that. And she would like tell people 'oh my dad's professor'. 'My dad's a mad scientist'. Like, no way, like that, none of that stuff is true. Like and your mom, like, clean houses. And she probably still does.
Cayla (HEX): In your last conversation with her, when you talked, when you confronted her with the demon sushi stuff, how did she respond, she tried to deny it to you or?
Nate: Wasn't a full fledged denial. I wish I still had that conversation and I've looked for it in my, I don't have any message logs of of that. But it wasn't. Think her tenor of it was mostly. It's not 100% true. It's her way of saying it.
Nate: But. She knows how to lie. She lies so easily. Like drinking water. She lies just part of what she does. And so when the thing is, like she couldn't lie to me. Because I think I still knew her pretty well. But not only that, things that people said or whatever. She just isn't she? She couldn't persuade me that she hadn't like there was no one like other stories about it. She wouldn't tell me anything more about it. I was just saying, like the stories that she's told other people about where she came from. Everything just sounds so preposterous. But it's interesting because there are some elements of truth in it. I don't even know if she's told anyone, she's from California, where she was out in California where she grew up. I know she's masked completely like her family history. You know what her dad was or what her mom was, or their family fortune or whatever or that. I think she said she's entitled to some money or she's going to be rich someday or whatever it is. And that's not true. She's got a lot of cousins. I live up in Oregon.
Cayla (HEX): Yeah. She told people she's from California when she was out in Pennsylvania, but she never told anyone that she was in Oregon, which is the weird one to me.
Nate: Really. Her mom still lives. Yeah, I. Last conversation we had. Me and Mona. This was after Jen already left to Pennsylvania. I just called out of morbid curiosity to see how she was doing, and she was, like, 'Nate. I'm washing my hands of this. I'm moving again. I'm moving to another place. I just don't want to be bothered by anybody. I've had a really hard life' and I said, 'I understand'. And that was it. I mean, she was as old as my mom, you know and I wanted to respect her wishes. And she did kind of tell me where she was moving to. It's not hard to find. I mean, if you wanted to is out there, it's another very, very remote place. But yeah, it was like. I would expect that Jen has been out there again. I don't think that she's still there and not with her mom. At least I think she's probably visited. You don't turn your back on your kids.
Cayla (HEX): Yeah, she's definitely made it to the West Coast like a couple of times prior to moving out there because I know she took Jack to Disneyland once. And I think of the three of them once, Angel, Jack and her. She's been out in the general area, so I'm sure she stopped this all her mom on the way.
Nate: I mean, you'd have to really be on the way and we're talking. We're talking like, what's a county there? Jacksonville County, Oregon. Yeah. You would have to make an intentional trip to get out there. It's not like something that's just kind of off the road. Let's stop in. A thing is, and people ask the question I get the most, is 'Nate, where do you think she is?' And I think I've shared with you guys that I believe she's probably close to her parents. I say that because she has no skills other than labor. She could probably work fast food. Or service job of some kind and, you know, make a way of it. And I would hope that she does. But it would probably be more likely that she is in one way or another being, in a limited sense, being supported by family.
Cayla (HEX): Yeah. That makes sense to me. So when you found all the Hannibal stuff, that must have been quite the shock for you.
Nate: Well, I mean, my life, fast forward to that point. I'm married and have kids. Well, I didn't have kids yet. I was married by that point. My wife was like, 'why are you, why do you pay attention to this stuff?' And I said, 'You have to understand.' I told her, like, 'well, you know, you all these weird stories' and she didn't care about any of it. Thinks it's weird, and she probably prefer less. So, like I told her, like, it's really not that important, and I just kind of stay up to date with it because it's, I have a similar fascination to some of the stuff that goes on. And so that's why I stick around. So because, if she were to show her face somewhere, I believe that there may still be tendencies about her or things that she would say where I could maybe help identify her. There's just little things like that that don't come up until someone asks your question about it. Someone says, 'What did she look like? Did she have this that she ever mentioned this?' And I'll say 'Yes, no.' Like I remember most of it, just doesn't, it's not like I spontaneously remember it and tell people it's something that has to be triggered in me. Oh, hey. And you were in this conversation. And then we talked about our family, talked about our cousins and aunts and uncles and all the different people in the family and where they all were. And, you know, at the time, all of it was very, very consistent. And it was I think it was really hard for me to build an argument to anyone that like my story was true. I think there were plenty people that believed it from the start. Nobody really believed that until I produced like photos that nobody had seen and like a card that she had sent me. And all this, you know, to that point, when you talk about like finding her in the Hannibal fandom, it didn't surprise me. Just it shocked me that she was still able to do this with people that other people would like buy-in and let her do it. Like the fact that she has like such buy-in from the Hannibal creators and like Bryan Fuller and all those people was like, Wow, she really hoodwinked all of those people at that level. Are they just really hard up for press and fanatics push their show or something because people with a little bit of like logic and reason would probably say 'Maybe we shouldn't get in bed with these nut balls. We should let them, you know, have their own fan community and do what they want to do there, but don't endorse it.' I mean, because most groups don't. I think that they always keep their fans at arm's length. It was probably their mistake.
Cayla (HEX): Yeah.
Nate: Yeah. A lot of stuff was like I said, it was corroborated by Monica's sources and stuff like it was, she told me all these crazy stories about things that they had done and really struck me the most is like how much effort Jen pays into making sure that not she's Jen. She does not want to be Jen publicly, she wants to be anybody else under name now. So I heard, one thing that she told me, like the last conversation we had is that she was headed to Illinois and she's like in 2006. So I. I was like, 'I don't, Illinois, I like I've got family around there. Like, I don't want her near my family'. So I still kept tabs on her. So when I heard from Monica that like there was a P.O. box there and she shared some information asking if I could find anything. Let me put it this way. Like between the time that Jen and I quit talking and my current career, I had spent some time working as, like, a skip tracer. So, like, being able to, like, track people down is kind of a second nature skill because we had to, like, hunt people down to make them pay the bills. Jen amongst all the people I've ever tracked down, is amazing at hiding her tracks, she just does not want to have a public record. She's not a total complete pro at it. But I think she knows how to get other people to sign for her for stuff like if I'm going to sign on her apartment or something, she'll get someone else to take it on just to keep it out of the public record. She does anything she can other than live a legitimate lifestyle. And it shows in the public record that she's just very difficult to find. I'm not surprised that people wouldn't run into her or that they've, you know, her followers give her, you know, a bin Laden level of protection. It's like we'll drive you around for an hour in Lake County, Illinois, until we finally take you to this house out in the middle of nowhere. Meet this, you know, sage oracle here in the forest. You know, it's. It's kooky at this point. It's really, really kooky.
Cayla (HEX): Yeah.
Nate: You guys have any other weird questions about her? I'll answer anything if there's anything, you know, like personal aspect.
Cayla (HEX): If you had the opportunity to talk to her again, would you?
Nate: Yeah, I'd talk to her again. I think that the best thing you can do if you, I wouldn't say it's revenge, but I would like to see how she's doing. As far as just to say, just out of morbid curiosity, really, not because I care. Just because I'd like to know what she's up to these days. Like, why are you you know, have you have you really cleaned up? Are you going to lie to me again? I feel like amongst everybody else, like she was lying all the way through her time in Pennsylvania. She probably even lied to, you know, to Jack about things, about her life. Problem is that she could never lie to me because I knew her for real. I knew the real Jen, her real history and the places she grew up and the things that she did and the things she preferred. And like I heard about the little girl, Jen, I heard about the, you know, you know, ten year old Jen, like all of the different things, her fantasies and her desires and all these kind of stuff. And so, like talking to her, I think I could still talk to her as a person. I wouldn't turn it down. She wanted to get a hold of me and like talk for an hour. It's fine. I'm not going to tell her where I live
Cayla (HEX): I think that's a good plan. So this isn't the first time you've kind of talked about your story. You've talked a little bit about on the reddit before. Do you think she knows that you talked about her?
Nate: 100% I have no doubt she knows that. I don't think that she hasn't gone online to read about herself. I know people have different opinions on whether or not 'oh she's mad, crazy and she what'. She reads about herself. Everybody reads about themselves. She's got a particular vanity to her. Or she likes being important. And I think that's kind of because honestly, in her life, she's not, she is a deeply insecure, unimportant person with a lack of empathy for other human beings. And so she would love to read something positive about her just isn't going to be written that way. So I guess in the meantime, she can be notorious. I don't think that she's going to suddenly come out and apologize to everybody, for what she did. I think she's just going to keep taking advantage of whatever.
Cayla (HEX): Do you think there's anything that would stop her like, something that'll finally break the pattern?
Nate: I've always believed that she would reach an age where the kind of things that she did were no longer possible. A lot of the things that she does and the kind of people that she attracts, you need to be almost in that age cohort to convince them. I grew out of my fantasies. I had to hit the real world wall. Like you've got real world goals and you start to lose some of your creativity, it almost takes like an unencumbered mind and personality to continue living like that. So even if even if that is still her, I think that at this point she's not going to go to convince other people to do that stuff with her. Or if she is, very few of them exist. So she's going to either have to, out of the survival aspect, need to live a legitimate life in some form, even if it means like public assistance. And honestly, that's fine. I would rather that she do that. She legitimizes her life at least a little bit and lives on the straight and narrow and tries to make something of what's left of her life because she never got her GED, as far as I know, she wasn't even working on it when we were talking back when she she had talked about it and she was 18 years old saying, 'well I never finish high school, so I need to go do this'. She didn't graduate from Cross Creek like Mela did. But I would I would celebrate that because maybe maybe she could do some good with her life, if she did.
Cayla (HEX): I think that'd be a pretty big sign if she got her G.E.D., that things might be changing.
Nate: But she'd have to use her real name probably. Or at least make up a name or have some sort of paper trail. And I think she thinks that. I don't I don't honestly think anybody that's out there, just even despite what she has done, is probably actively looking for her. Like people said, oh, is she being prosecuted? I don't think that's anything is running right now. She could easily do whatever she wants.
Cayla (HEX): Yeah. She never was charged for anything. She was never taken to court. Like, there are things that people could have taken her to court for, but they didn't. And it's like the statute of limitations as long over and so many states.
Nate: And it just isn't something that I think people would waste prosecutorial resources on. Not for something like that. Doesn't matter how notorious you are on the internet.
Cayla (HEX): Yeah, your intended status, it doesn't matter.
Nate: You guys and I'm around. Like, if there's ever any questions, you guys ever follow up, like, absolutely. Get a hold of me. I just, um, I think at this point, my story has been told many times this. I talked to the guy from Vice. He was, was in the city I was in at the time. And he got the story totally wrong. He changed all the names and it seemed like nobody really cared to hear what I had to say about any of it. Everybody wanted, like, the freak show. And I mean, she's still a person, just not a. Very upstanding one.
Cayla (HEX): Yeah. Both Icarus and Theo share the same sentiments about the Vice guy. Just because he completely changed their stories too
Nate: Writing for money. I love Vice. I just didn't love that article. So the person that got me in touch with him was another one of the people that. He was actually younger than me, and he was the person that talked to Jen before I did. He went by the name X online in the chatrooms, and he got jealous. And Jen started talking to me. Because he didn't have any of the resources. I had to do anything to call her every night or talk to her. And eventually he just kind of came to the conclusion, like, what? 'You know, Nate's not a bad guy'. So we talked. He's the one who got a hold of me in the chat, he goes, 'Hey, this guy from Vice wants to talk to somebody that knows stuff about this, and I only could tell him what I knew. Why don't you talk to him?' and I was like ok and did it all anonymously. Like I didn't want him tracking me down or having my name. Because you never can trust the press to throw your name out out there and drag you through it all. You guys saw my posts, there's the something awful post, talking about the Sarah saga and all of that. Like I posted there originally to see if somebody would want to hear what I had to say. And then I posted again. I said there was demon sushi in the Sarah saga. There was the Reddit. You know, that was the most recent that kind of got in contact with you guys. I have. I mean, unless there's a specific question, I don't think that there's much more I have to offer the community about anything other than that. I make good money now and I don't need and I'm happily married and, you know, I have my kids and cats and everything is good. There's no reason to keep pursuing, you know, 22 year old demons other than to entertain people that want to come and learn more about it. Or because I mean, you that's a question that, you know, people will ask, like the salacious stuff like a lot your conversations that returned a little adult. And I'm like, absolutely they did. We're talking about a couple of teenagers here. This is what they want to do
Cayla (HEX): Yeah!
Nate: She was 18, I was 16 and I was, you know, in the prime of my, you know, whatever. So it was. Yeah, we talked about that stuff, but we talked about other stuff too. And it wasn't always just that all of that was you definitely had people ask me a question like, do you think she's, you know, she. Is she lesbian or anything like that or she bisexual? And I can tell you that back in those days until she started talking to Hojo, I had no idea that she would be any of those things. She seemed very interested in men. She'd had a boyfriend before that in California that she'd gotten into trouble with. So unless she was playing him crazy, I think that. She clearly had an attraction to men, at least to some extent. Whether that's expanded on whether she's paying, I don't know. I think she's part of the trans community, although she seems to prey on the trans community frequently. Which is pretty upsetting to me
Cayla (HEX): Easy place to find vulnerable people.
Nate: Absolutely. I mean, you're talking about people that are really, truly looking for, you know, acceptance in their world. And if you have someone, with maybe not the best intentions, but as someone that gives you that validation, which she does, she can do that really, really well. She can be very, very charming. I mean, she did the same thing for me. She validated that I'm a guy and I want to be appreciated and liked and loved and everything, and she can do it for anybody. So I don't think that that's something that you lose with age either. So she probably still is doing that. And I think for her it was she played a lot of Final Fantasy back and like seeing the 97, she would have been like 15, 14, 15 years old. She really strongly attached herself to that game emotionally. You know, it was it was weird like in that house, like she had a PlayStation in her room. She, you know, was really into every aspect of that game. And it was so odd to me that given everything else about her, that that is what she focused on. I think depending on how that relationship with her parents was or any abuse that she may or may not have suffered or viewed or whatever. I think that's just what she retreated into. It's where she's comfortable. I've always thought it would be like a cathartic thing to finally finish Final Fantasy 7. I just can't do it.
Cayla (HEX):One day, maybe.
Nate: One day. Yeah. Now, it's mostly just time, there's no way I'm going to burn out a 40 hour RPG.
Cayla (HEX): Fair.
Nate: I know where it ends. Come on.
Cayla (HEX): Well, thanks so much for talking to us. Nathan do you have any questions?
Nathan (HEX): Nope, not for me.
Nate: I know it's not as interesting, as like some people, some really crazy stuff about like what happened in that house and mine's somewhat more limited. But there was a guy he was five, five or six months of like constant conversations.
Cayla (HEX): Yeah. I think it's important, though, to talk about that as well because, you know, people tend to demonize her a lot. But she came from somewhere. She was a person. She still is underneath it all, obviously. But, you know, to understand where she came from will help us a lot more to understand her.
Nathan (HEX): And it's also kind of refreshing to have, some sort of even like a little bit of normalcy when discussing someone. Right. Like. There's always a basis of where a person starts and that's not always some insane place. Right.
Nate: I guess the biggest problem I had with all of that was it like, did I ever really get close to turning her away from any of this stuff? Could she ever have been like a decent, productive member of society? Or was I just dreaming and hoping and white knighting the entire time when I was 16? Because her mom thought I was close. Her mom thought like, you know, she wants to do better things because you talked to her. I believed it.
Cayla (HEX): You know, I think like I'm sure you were a good influence on her and at the time. But I think the underlying behaviors and the things that she was seeking out, like you said, a lot of people replicate the trauma that they've endured. There's a lot of stuff that she experienced at Cross Creek. You know, I think she kind of sought out places and experiences that she could express that. She was she was kind of always seeking that extra edge, I think. And I guess how she wound up where she is is just because: normal is boring to her.
Nate: That is true. She likes the the drama. That's like best piece of advice someone ever gave me, as they said to, it was like two pieces of advice they said: one of it was deal with person or you don't. Anything like if you if someone treats you terribly, you just continue to cope with it. If you don't want to, you just quit. It the other one that says is, you know, once you've had an exciting life you'll never settle down again, you always crave craziness, weirdness, because a good, stable life is going to be boring. And so you either come to peace of that or you don't. Those are things that I think people who are dealing with her or that she herself has internalized. Because I don't. You guys keep talking about it. But Cross Creek being like the genesis of a lot of her craziness, I don't think that at all. I think she had so many problems before that point and she developed like ways to get around her, the bad in the life around her by falling into fantasies and that. And she never stopped doing that. And to this day, she still hasn't stopped doing that. And she doesn't want to be conventional. She likes the craziness of all of it. I'm sure she's fallen on some hard times between when I talked to her and now. There's no way she couldn't. She's pissed off so many people and taken advantage of so many people. At some point, like the love you have for someone doesn't matter what it is, isn't enough. And they just go like, 'I've had it. You're done. We're walking away from you'. And I mean, I've heard that already from people, or at least second hand. I've done that with her. At some point, she's going to run out of people. That's why I keep telling, I think she's going back to her family. Because those people never run out of love for you.
Cayla (HEX): Yeah. I think it's an it's a good kind of explanation as to why she's so attracted to part of poly dynamics, right? Because then if one person leaves, you still have other people. And she's always working on the next thing
Nate: Or you can say, 'I like this person better than you right now' to get you to do things that she wants you to do.
Cayla (HEX): That too.
Nate: Like I again, I think my mother, I would never have left my family to go be with her or to drive off. I would never gone to Pennsylvania. I never would have done any of the things she asked me to do because it just didn't make sense to me. But I know other people that would have. I think that if you had. I think me being different a lot of I think a lot of people you guys are talk to, I think we're in desperate mental straits. They were really, really just people looking for something. And this was like any anywhere is good. When you're feeling bad, anything's better than what you have. That wasn't my scenario. Like my life. Yeah, I would've been heartbroken for a while. And again, I had people to fall back on like that girl I hurt her really badly later. But. Life.
Cayla (HEX): Yeah, you had support. If you had the opportunity to speak with somebody who is stuck with her right now, what would you tell them?
Nate: Oh, I think I know who you're talking about. It would tell them that it's never too late to get back to what is comfortable to you. I mean by that, knowing if I we're talking about the same person like knowing. Here she comes from in all of this. I think that there's a, I happen to know those communities really well. If we're talking about that and I know that it can be very supportive despite their more conservative leanings. Conservative-esque, Religious kind of.
Nate: You can always go home. Always. Even Jen knows that, you can always go home. I don't think that. I mean, maybe at this point they have it. Like Jen's parents probably would always have a room for her. And so anyone that's with her, it's like, look, you're never to so point you want someone to go and like, you have friends that care about you. You've got family that cares about you. And they're probably just waiting for that call from you. They would do whatever it takes to get you back where you can be.
Cayla (HEX): For sure.
Nate: Because they all know, and I'm sure in her own heart knows that this is not a good scenario for you. Like, that was what got me out of it, too, is that. And I mean, I mean, other than her kind of turning on me a little bit is like, look, this isn't this isn't like there's no future in this. This isn't close or just doesn't align with the goals in life she wanted to have. So how many years are you going to waste on this? How much more time are you going to waste on this before you realize that and turn away and like I had worse relationships in that later on in my life. It took me I didn't even learn from like the Jen thing as well to know. Sometimes you just have to quit on people. It's like a really hard lesson to quit on people that aren't good for you and you need to be. And, you know, that gives you a chance to rebuild and be the you that someone can be if you're looking for love someone that you can be attracted to. That's what I would tell that person is like, look, there are better people in life associated with than this. I mean, more power to you. If this is what you want, you're an adult. You can do what you want to do. I think you can do better. And I think most people think you can do better and all your friends and family know you can do better. Leave this person, go do something else.
Cayla (HEX): And you deserve better. Well, I think it's great to end on.
Nate: So. As I have you guys ever have any more questions about like if there's like a particular factoid that comes up or anything or if you want to know more about what I know about her, rest of her family or anything, let me know. Like I say, a lot of the a lot of the stuff I researched in my spare time was just that I knew it in case something came up. And so, like, not that she associates with her family much, at least her blood family, but like a lot of that was helpful background information, at least knowing and how she tends to act or whatever. I Half thought like a long time ago, to just pick up the phone, like telling her dad, can't get hold of her mom, her mom doesn't want to be got a hold of. She may not even have a phone. But your parents are both alive. I'm not jumping back into this pool again. I'm years removed. I'll leave that for someone with more. Motivation.
Cayla (HEX): Like I said, thanks again so much for coming on and telling your story. If anyone has any questions for Nate, definitely feel free to shoot us an email or a message. There's a contact form on our website and we'll be sure to pass them on.
Nate: All right. Well, you guys have a good evening. Anytime.
Cayla (HEX): You, too. You too. Thank you.
Nathan (HEX): Thank you.