What is the 'fraud' Helen Keller theory and is there any truth to it? Inside the viral allegations on social media

Internet theorists have come up with a new theory, questioning Keller's existence, and if she was a fraud


                            What is the 'fraud' Helen Keller theory and is there any truth to it? Inside the viral allegations on social media
Helen Adams Keller (1880-1968) (Getty Images)
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Helen Keller was an author, lecturer and crusader for the handicapped, whose 'The Story of My Life' won millions of hearts after its release in 1902. Now, Internet theorists have come up with a new theory, questioning Keller's existence, and if she was a fraud.

Helen Adams Keller (1880 - 1968), the blind and deaf author and lecturer. (Photo by Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)

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According to an article published by Isabella Lahoue, 'The Generation that Doesn’t Believe Helen Keller Existed', where she answers the question, "Why is it then that the only people who don’t believe in Helen Keller are teenagers?" saying, "Maybe it’s because we were never technically educated on her in school like we were on Anne Frank and other historical figures. She’s become something of an urban legend. Maybe we don’t believe in her because we’re growing up in a world of fake news. We know the power of manipulation and lies in the media, and we’re losing faith in the sources everyone once trusted. There is too much data and too many lies circulating for us to process and believe it all."

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American lecturer and writer Helen Adams Keller (1880 - 1968) on the day of her graduation from Radcliffe College, Massachusetts. Blind, deaf and mute from the age of one, she was taught to read Braille, speak and lipread with her fingers by teacher Anne Sullivan. (Getty Images)

Soon the theory, if Helen Keller was real or fake started floating on the Internet, as one Internet user wrote, "Guys, something insane happened to me today. I am on a text chain with my teenage nieces and nephews along with my mom (their grandma) and today my mom asked them if they knew who Helen Keller was... And their response was that Helen Keller was a fraud who didn't exist." The person further continued, "At first I thought they were trolling grandma, which is admittedly fun. But after awhile it was clear they weren't joking. "How could someone be deaf and blind and learn how to write books?" My nephew admits she probably existed but was probably only one or the other."

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The person further wrote, "I still thought I was getting trolled so I asked if I was getting trolled and they were adamant -- Helen Keller was a fraud. So then I did some Googling to find out some relevant information to prove her existence and found this:" and "This is like a real thing. "Well, how do you know she's real if you weren't there to see her?" "Cause I've seen THE MIRACLE WORKER. Do you think Abraham Lincoln is real even though we didn't see him?" Then they sent me an eye-rolling emoji." The person further explained, "They all believe Abe was real and did the things he did. They don't believe Helen could have been blind and deaf and did everything that she did. "Cause the things he did were actually realistic." Have a look at the rest of the thread here.

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(Twitter)
(Twitter)

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(Twitter)

Soon, more and more people started talking about it, Actress Marlee Matlin has defended Keller and said, "The trending topic that Helen Keller never existed is shocking, inexcusable and a sad example of how deaf, deaf-blind and people with disabilities can literally be tweeted out of existence. I will NEVER give up fighting against ableist nonsense like this!" Another one wrote, "All the more reason disability history needs to be mandatory in all school curricula. A thread explaining that teens don't believe Helen Keller could have achieved all that she did." 

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Another one wrote, "So TikTok says Helen Keller was a fake and millions of kids believe that. FTR, Helen Keller was a socialist, suffragist, anti-racist, original member of the ACLU, and the author of 14 books. Her book on socialism was burned by the Nazis. Don't erase the work of #disabled people." Writer Andi Zeisler wrote, "Helen Keller is not Santa Claus. You do not get to decide whether to “believe in” a person who existed in the world. What is happening." While one said, "Ping me if any of you don’t believe Helen Keller actually existed. I’ll give you one whack on the head and then proceed to explain how she is real."

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And some shared their experiences saying, "when my friend brought up this helen keller shit to me i was so shocked ?? like ... a lot of young ppl think they’re immune to fake news and conspiracies and hoaxes unlike our parents, but in reality ... this happens," and "Why am I seeing that Helen Keller is fake?? I’ve been to her HOUSE." And one said, "My kid and niece just told me about this a couple nights ago. They believe that Helen Keller is a fake as well. Nothing I said would convince them otherwise. "

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Meanwhile, some just openly agreed to the theory that Helen Keller was fake, "Helen Keller was a fake and we all know it," and "Helen Keller is also completely fake so it makes sense that no one believes it." Another one questioned, "someone tell me how helen keller wrote a book. THAT FAKE A*S H*E WAS "BLIND" AND "DEAF" I CALL CAP."

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Born on June 27, 1880, in Tuscumbia, Alabama, Keller lost her sight and hearing at the age of nineteen months to an illness now believed to have been scarlet fever. Five years later, on the advice of Alexander Graham Bell, her parents applied to the Perkins Institute for the Blind in Boston for a teacher, and from that school hired Anne Mansfield Sullivan. Through Sullivan’s extraordinary instruction, the little girl learned to understand and communicate with the world around her. She went on to acquire an excellent education and to become an important influence on the treatment of the blind and deaf. In 1924, Keller joined the staff of the newly formed American Foundation for the Blind as an adviser and fund-raiser.

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(societyoftheblind.org)

Her international reputation and warm personality enabled her to enlist the support of many wealthy people, and she secured large contributions from Henry Ford, John D. Rockefeller, and leaders of the motion picture industry. When the AFB established a branch for the overseas blind, it was named Helen Keller International. Keller and Sullivan were the subjects of a Pulitzer Prize-winning play, The Miracle Worker, by William Gibson, which opened in New York in 1959 and became a successful Hollywood film in 1962.

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