PART 2 – INTIMIDATION
CHAPTER 7 – AN UNHOLY UNION
“There is no real me, only an entity, something illusory, and though I can hide my cold gaze and you can shake my hand and feel flesh gripping yours, and maybe you can even sense our lifestyles are probably comparable: I simply am not there. Myself is fabricated, an aberration. I am a non-contingent human being. My personality is sketchy and unformed, my heartlessness goes deep and is persistent. My conscience, my pity, my hopes disappeared a long time ago (if they ever did exist). I am blameless. Each model of human behavior must be assumed to have some validity. Is evil something you are? Or is it something you do? My pain is constant and sharp and I do not hope for a better world for anyone. In fact, I want my pain to be inflicted on others. I want no one to escape.”
– Bret Easton Ellis, author American Psycho
Do politicians steal? Or is it that we’re giving them whatever they want? Surely that’s the only way an outsider could interpret us doing nothing about it. We’re like a healthy person laying down to die.
But it hasn’t been as simple as that for me. I didn’t lie down and so they came for me. Being beaten and mugged several times in my life cannot compare to the cruelty I faced in Knysna. The DA was willing to do anything to maintain power through cover-up. The National Party, the masters of apartheid’s deception and oppression, would have been proud of them.
It began with Mark Allan, a failing businessman who became my cyberstalker. I believe he’s the real deal psychopath.
* * * * * *
A couple of hours surfing porn will make you realise all kinds of humans exist. There’s a big difference between wanting to spank the housemaid and the possibilities of what can be done with a whip to a woman tied into painful position.
Psychopathy’s the same. It isn’t one size fits all. Be glad that they’re not all serial killers like in the movies. We meet them in our everyday lives. They could be our boss, our lover or my reader. They’re more likely to be surgeons, priests pilots, politicians and salespeople than artists and charity workers. Some are aware of their nature, others aren’t. Some are productive, some destroyers.
William Dutton, psychologist and author of ‘The Wisdom of Psychopaths: What Saints, Spies, and Serial Killers Can Teach Us About Success’, makes strong argument for psychopaths having a place in society. Their fearlessness would likely have made them the best hunters and defenders of the tribe thousands of years ago. In modern times, the coolest head controlling the scalpel may be your greatest chance at surviving the operating table. The surgeon may not care about you but the fulfilling of his super ego delivers positive result. Cold comfort doesn’t get colder than that.
The lack of empathy is what separates Jeffrey Dahmer from regular folk. Conversely, if we found a bit of our inner psycho, we’d be less fearful and more determined.
We’re all on a sliding scale of some sort. Some of us more anxious or confident, cleverer or dumber. It’s obvious that not all of us are as steadfast and wise as Ruth Bader Ginsburg or as intelligently brave and sexy as Isobel Yeung. It’s the same for psychopaths. But the higher they’re on the scale, the less positive emotions they’re likely to have, and the better able to copy them. They may be less occupied by guilt and love but jealously, selfishness, frustration and anger sometimes burn so hot as to make devils proud.
In following chapters, I’ll dig into the craziness of Allan and his associates which includes a surgeon who became a DA councillor. It’s a trip into the dark side of Knysna’s ‘social’ nature. Every town has it but possibly needs a common target to become visible. I was that target. My blogging was a light bulb for mad moths.
The first moth was Mark Allan.
* * * * * *
Mark Allan owned pitiful websites, possibly hundreds of useless website urls, a Thai restaurant and, later, the Find IT SA directory. Ownership may have been in the name of his Thai wife but she spent her life cooking in the miniature restaurant located in Pledge Square, behind the memorial to the dead. I don’t believe she had anything to do with what happened to me. And considering what Allan was willing to do to me publicly, I wonder what he was like behind closed doors. I still think of her as the saddest person I saw in Knysna.
I believe Allan, a man obsessed with control, was the owner of everything. Ironically, he was unsuccessful, battling to stay afloat. His final attempt to succeed in Knysna involved borrowing money from his family (outside of Knysna) to purchase that directory. It soon shut its office doors, operating from the garage beneath his house before closing down.
Unfortunately, Allan lived at the bottom of the hill I lived on. I had no car so would regular bump into him on my short walk to town. Coincidentally, the offices of Knysna Tourism were there too. Allan would become ‘friends’ with then CEO Shaun van Eck, he who received the R270,000 farewell gift for doing so much wrong.
I don’t believe that Allan is capable of being friends with anyone. They’re relationships for convenience, including the convenience of hurting. Van Eck was the manipulated fool. He would eventually offer me a peace pipe but refused to renounce the dirty deeds done against me by Allan and Baden Hall, another mate of his. It was clear to me that Van Eck was a sham, only seeking revenge on Greg Vogt, his replacement.
* * * * * *
I could never have predicted what was to follow when Allan approached me in 2011 with project ideas I didn’t want to be involved in. There was no need for me to write content for his websites, or find others to do the writing for him. I had my own, more successful websites. I wasn’t making money but I was getting attention and growing. Mine were bigger and looked infinitely prettier.
As he lived in my road, I wanted no hard feelings after having composed two blogs for him. I tried to be nice about stepping away by offering to build him a better website for free. He turned me down, got very arrogant, belittled me, and said that I never understood the internet. Although he was awful at it, I would later discover that the internet had been his obsession since the 1990s, before it became common place in South Africa.
He approached me a second time, wanting me involved in selling advertising to restaurants. I made the mistake of initially agreeing to the possibility since it was one of my intentions for my loveknysna.com. I reckoned two working together could accomplish more, but I wanted out before we reached an agreement.
My concept was ‘The Food Agency’. I’d made a logo but wasn’t convinced. A more benign name such as ‘Garden Route Restaurants’ was more likely to attract web traffic. But without discussion, Allan registered ‘The Food Agency’ domain… in his name only. Then instead of us working together, he wanted me to do all the work, him claiming I’d get all the money. I worried that he’d get rid of me as soon as I’d established the business.
Besides me blogging, I’d be selling an ad package to the restaurateurs that included placements in other media. It made no sense that Allan wanted most of that spent on Find It until I discovered he was in the process of purchasing it. I was being conned.
He was a dangerous liar because he did so with seeming sincerity. He would act as if he was helping me. His frustration, however, was 100% real. I couldn’t put my finger on it but, beyond what was obviously wrong, he made me feel uneasy. Something behind his face ticked differently to normal folk, urging me to create distance.
The death of our amicability was when I suggested he focus on one goal instead of hundreds to which he travelled from calm to explosion in a split second. He yelled repetitively that his family (who’d lent him money) had told him the same that morning, and that we were all wrong. You had to be there to understand how bizarre and out of context the situation was. He freaked in tomato-faced fashion. That was the only time I saw the real Mark Allan in person, the psycho beneath the mask.
His cyberstalking began soon after. On rare occasions his mask would slip online but his persecution of me seemed to be far more a game he enjoyed.
* * * * * *
Allan began with objectionable comments on my political and social commentary website, knysnakeep.org. He became the first person I banned.
Under the name ‘Admin’, he resorted to blogging negative remarks about me at Outreach.co.za, a website registered to his wife but listing him as the technical contact. It should be noted that the over 30 domain name registrations I discovered were also in her name. I’m confident she wasn’t involved in any, and that Allan was deliberately hiding his name from the internet. Additionally, not a single photo could be found of him.
Outreach.co.za claimed to be a community blog and excessively used SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) words such as “empowerment”, “social responsibility”, “community development”, “political opportunism”, “corruption”, “Knysna” etc. Yet it’s sole purpose was attacking me. Over 100 blogs – he was dedicated. Allan was trying to negatively associate me with key words and counter my naturally earned domination of some in Knysna.
His website ideas may have been awful but he was savvy at defamation and disinformation, especially through distortion of real facts. He was planting seeds of doubt regards my intentions and associations. He knew what he was and how to use it against me. He would accuse me of actions he was doing. Ironically, he pretended that I was the pretender. Accusation via mirror would become common form of attack.
“The CEO of Knysna Tourism has been suspended by the Board pending a disciplinary hearing… And now, it’s the vultures that are gathering. One in particular whom I am familiar with. An opportunist and fair weather friend of the worst sort who goes by the name of Wicked Mike… Clinically unsound… You would like to be recognised as a charity worker and activist? But it is not going to happen. You like the rest of them are driven by your own self-interest… This man is dishonest. His anger has nothing to do with the plight of the masses. He is merely using them. Using their desperation to hide his lack of ability, his abuse of the skills he has and his belief that he is somehow entitled to share in the bounty… He is a hungry sort with his eye firmly fixed on the public purse… slips comfortably into this cesspit of moral bankruptcy keeping an anxious eye on the trough of plenty… there is an odds on chance you are taking dirty money my friend. So don’t start chirping about democratic principles, equality, justice, transparency and the freedom of speech. It’s a lie, you know it and you are part of it… How can you flip flop from being an organiser and fund raiser for the DA one day [I never was] and a vitriolic accuser the next?… You are not the white messiah you seem to think you are. You are irrelevant and the only reason you are tolerated and accommodated is because you are being used… After all the finger pointing, I think it is time you publicly declare who is funding you.”
I don’t pretend. My handicap is caring too much. I wasn’t been funded nor aiming for a crooked share of taxpayer’s cash. That was exactly what I was fighting against.
But it’s easy to sow doubt. And for propaganda to work better, it must be replicated and supported by different voices.
* * * * * *
On the forum at GardenRoute.com, numerous negative remarks were made against me by profiles called Odd, Conrad Zeelie and Talktown. All were fake profiles connected to Mark Allan through associated websites. Some website names may have been fake but the hidden links directed to Allan. It’s possible that all three profiles were Allan himself but I suspect that a copywriter, occasionally contracted to Knysna Tourism and Knysna Municipality, was one of them.
The fact that GardenRoute.com allowed the hatred seemed to be part of the bigger wave that had people siding with their mates at Tourism versus me. I may have later turned a popularity corner but those early years found me infamous and alone. Conservative Knysna wanted to maintain its belief that its establishment was strong, clean and respectable. But denial cannot change black into blue.
At GardenRoute.com, the propaganda built on what had been said before. Whereas it had previously been falsely claimed that my workshops with Tourism were cancelled because they had no value, now it was said that I’d been fired. Of course, the corruption wasn’t been discussed. The goal was to distract and discredit.
Knysna-Plett Herald would play a large, negative role in Knysna, shielding corruption, banning me and allowing attacks against me. Unsurprisingly, Talktown and the Zeelie profiles were attacking me there too, suggesting there was a conspiracy between me and Knysna Tourism Chairperson Greg Vogt against Van Eck.
“Shaun van Eck is being victimised and treated unfairly. Two years ago, he terminated a project that was being funded by Tourism and run by a garrulous blogger who then went ballistic. And who has been hounding him relentlessly ever since. That blogger now works for Greg Vogt… It is interesting to note that Wicked Mike has removed the featured post calling for the Knysna Tourism Board to press for criminal charges to be laid against Shaun. This, I suspect, is as close as we are ever going to get to an admission that there is a questionable relationship between him and the Chairman of the Tourism Board… he now wants to sue me for statements I did not make. This despite the fact there are plenty I did actually make and where it is quite possible that I might have overdone it a bit. And if I have, I apologise sincerely, will edit, retract, withdraw and hell no, I won’t grovel as instructed. I think he will just have to settle for an insincere apology on a publication he has a problem with. This all started on Outreach.co.za.”
* * * * * *
Stolen identity added more weight to the lies. ‘Conrad Zeelie’ not only defamed me but contacted Knysna Tourism. I’d learn that the real Conrad Zeelie was in fact a jeweller whose shop was less than 10 metres from Allan’s restaurant. Allan was no friend of his neighbour so had appropriated his identity for his dirty business. The real Zeelie was horrified but wouldn’t push charges, insisting that he didn’t want to get involved.
* * * * * *
One tactic was to take something I’d said and twist it out of context to be evidence against me (but ironically with no evidence supporting it). But on the internet, reading is often believing, and few readers would take the time to research what they’re told. Those who were friends of those I’d pissed off in my pursuit for truth would happily jump on the bandwagon. Some people believe what they want to believe. Others manipulate them.
Allan descended another circle into hell by posting a blog on Outreach.co.za that associated me with child abuse. He tagged it with the SEO keywords, “Child abuse in Knysna the Garden Route, kiddieporn, paedophiles, paedophilia, Adrian Forbes-Wilson.”
“…despite your obvious and very public concerns about the welfare of disadvantaged children, your coverage of two recent child porn cases was sketchy at best. You ignored one totally. Whereas in the case of Forbes-Wilson you showed uncharacteristic compassion and understanding. Why? …What are you hiding Mike? What makes you the angry unhappy person you are?”
Allan claimed my ‘30 Ways You Can Help Knysna‘ lacked truth because it didn’t mention “two girls who were callously murdered”, “abuse against women” and “paedophilia busts”. He claimed I was “simply dishonest and self serving”.
His accusations were as ridiculous as if he had stated that I hated horses because I’d eaten fish. The escalation was alarming. I began to wonder if he was dangerous in other ways.
* * * * * *
When sent a lawyer’s letter, Allan slandered the firm online:
“I was going through the summons I have been served by Yogesh Pama of Mosdell, Pama & Cox, trying to understand why, after all that has been said and done, Wicked Mike believes I have defamed him… This summons makes me wonder who Pama is and what he wants? A wandering spirit who changed his name because someone mistook him for an Asian mystic? A man with no purpose who settled in Knysna for no reason other than the fact this is where friends of his lived? A painter of complex pictures no one has ever seen? Or just a divorce lawyer making a modest living by carving up families in trouble? And before I get hit with another defamation suit, I am just asking questions. I do not understand why a man with his vast experience wants to waste my time dragging me to court. Or is he just another frustrated bully like his client? This is not the first brush that I have had with ‘Pama, Pork Chop & Melon’.”
* * * * * *
Attorney Donald Curtis also worked for Mosdell, Pama & Cox. He knew that Allan was a bully. He’d represented an unnamed female employee of FindIt SA. The case had obviously gotten under Curtis’ skin. He refused to give details but believed that Allan had intimidated her into dropping the case. Curtis was upset.
As Allan had used Outreach.co.za against me, in limited fashion he used KnysnaDiaries.com against the manager of the Knysna Waterfront, Sheldon Meese. Again, Allan posted anonymously. I questioned Meese about it, discovering that his real ‘crime’ was being wise enough to not trust Allan and have no need of his services.
Three people contacted me to tell me how Allan had ruined their lives in the Nineties and early 2000s. I can’t verify their stories but there was a ring of truth and consistency of theme I could relate to.
Allan would allegedly target an individual, his goal to defeat them through psychological harassment. His main tool was the internet which, at that time, was relatively new in South Africa. The women told me that they and some of their family members still kept themselves anonymous online. Allan had scarred their lives.
The last alleged victim was male. He stated that he and Allan had been business partners in online adult pornography. He said that Allan wanted total control which he wouldn’t agree to. So Allan, to allegedly gain ownership of their two websites, drugged him, took compromising photos and blackmailed him into giving up his share of the business.
He also claimed Allan supplied Thai women to The Ranch which, at that stage, was the most famous strip club in South Africa. It was alleged to offer more intimate services. After The Ranch closed down, Allan allegedly assumed his ex-partners identity to report the Hell’s Angels to the police so that he could gain control of their premises for his own strip club. When his plan was revealed, Allan escaped threat and Johannesburg for a new life in Knysna.
By chance, I distantly knew the manager of the clothing brand in Durban that had bought one of Allan’s alleged websites, www.roxy.co.za. The manager had been a few years behind me in school but I’d met him properly a decade later through his mother who’d been my awesome landlady. Unfortunately, he was unhelpful. I believe in responsibility to the bigger picture but, to a degree, I understand why. Roxy, an alleged adult website for teen stripping and fucking was now a famous teen girl surfer brand.
* * * * * *
After I’d exposed ten of Mark Allan’s fake identities, and Facebook had banned his Gerald Turner profile, he began posting comments as himself. That was the first time in twenty-two months of defamation against me. He would eventually have four Mark Allan profiles that never interacted on a social level or displayed a photo of him.
Bevan Lackay, then the Community Manager at News24, one of South Africa’s largest media outlets, said: “He sets up profiles purely to pass ‘commentary’ on articles that you publish, and has no interest in engaging elsewhere on News24.”
* * * * * *
I exposed Jaco Dercksen as a likely fraudster through ‘Warning to Accommodation Owners‘. On News24, I renamed the blog as ‘South Africa’s Great Spammer…or is that Scammer?’ Allan, always the perverted opportunist, responded to my article by accusing me of being the internet criminal:
“You are a bully. You use your questionable skills to harass, intimidate and bully. You seek attention and don’t care what damage you do in the process. It must stop. Your insensitive self-seeking victimisation of Shaun van Eck turned me from being a cynical recluse into someone who would support fracking in the Diepwalle Forest if I thought you were taking a stand against it. You have converted me from being a pessimistic denialist into a political activist with an agenda and intent to vote DA, just because I know it will get up your nose. All of this must stop. I am not the troll, you are. And Jaco Dercksen in this case is not the bully, you are… I watched as you stalked Shaun van Eck and insulted and offended everyone from Knysna Tourism through the Municipality and up to the Premier’s Office. You just shut your eyes and pull the trigger… And by the way, why do you use that term ‘Bad People’ so often? I find it incredibly creepy. It’s baby talk. Why did you leave Pietermaritzburg? Are you the open book you would like people to believe you are… You are drunk with power… You are out of control. You are a cyber-bully and it must stop.”
By that stage, I’d gained a court order against Allan. Knysna’s deplorable police refused to act on it. Allan knew they wouldn’t, even dared me online. Allan could attack me with impunity. His propaganda campaign escalated.
He publicly offered to give my address to Dercksen who’d threatened me. I would later be emailed by a resident of another town that there were outstanding warrants of arrest for Dercksen. The local police wouldn’t accept my complaint and those on the other side of the country never responded to my messages.
Allan’s mention of “Pietermaritzburg” and “baby” in back-to-back sentences would later become notable when Baden Hall, his associate, would falsely imply that I was forced to leave Pietermaritzburg after molesting children. Reality was that I’d reached fragile low point after a break-up with the woman I loved, had experienced a let-down by a mate I worked for, and decided to change my life. I impulsively got on a bus to Knysna, meaning to stay for only three days but landed up being a resident for eight years. The town was impossibly pretty. I never wanted to leave. Knysna became my next lover. I’m missing her as I type this.
* * * * * *
Early on, I never realised Allan was a psychopath, that his attack was mostly personal. The political angle was relevant but only as a tool to manipulate others against me.
Allan’s false identities boosted Shaun van Eck’s whilst disparaging me. He seemed to have an agenda to help Van Eck as his disciplinary case approached. Van Eck initially and impossibly claimed to be unaware of what was happening but admitted Allan was helping him to promote his new business on online. Years later, he would refer to Allan as his friend.
It was obvious at that early stage that Allan intended to sic a crew of trolls on me.
Allan approached Van Eck’s ex-right-hand, Nicci Rousseau Schmidt, who was the Public Relations head for both Knysna Tourism and the Knysna Municipality. He wanted them to work with him to silence me.
“Nicci, as discussed, you guys and the municipality in particular, cannot afford to ignore Wicked Mike. He is all over Google… Let me have two or three people who are interested in learning how to become trainers that train the next set of trainers. We could easily drown out the rantings of what is merely a wicked troll, pushing him off the page and into cyber oblivion.”
She turned him down so he turned against her in a blog. He then went to Greg Vogt, the director most responsible for Van Eck’s removal. When turned down again, he trashed Vogt too.
However, Allan would continue standing against me whilst pretending to be standing up for the honour of Knysna. His real goal was to defame me so badly it would destroy me. Comments clearly begging to be deleted were allowed to stand on the Facebook pages of the Knysna-Plett Herald and the Knysna Municipality. My appeals to them were in vain. They were already against me. Allan was on their side.
He would eventually find helpers, several of them DA. As a group, the accusations against me would compound. Being labelled “clinically unsound” would gravitate to narcissism and finally sociopathy. Indirect references to me being a paedophile would become a parent witnessing me molesting his kids. Allan also expressed interest in having me jailed. That wish was taken up by my attackers like an insane torch for the liberation of the corrupt.
It took an extremely arrogant DA to work with Allan. It was as if they were saying, “We’re too powerful to be punished.” Although the DA may have thought they were using him, or that he was their ally, he was using them. He saw the DA, and especially Councillor Dr Martin Young, as nasty tools for his pleasure. But it began a slippery slope the DA are still sliding on. It turned some of their supporters against them. And I’m hoping that it’ll eventually result in longer jail sentences. It was also extremely useful in exposing other nuts in town.
A chapter on Allan is grossly insufficient. He’s did so much more and has a dark background needing discovering. But he’ll likely escape punishment for the crimes he committed against me for the DA’s benefit. He emigrated to Thailand. I don’t know if he’s still there. But the internet is everywhere so his cruelty continued long after. A few residents weren’t cowed by him, mocking him in return:
“I reckon it’s a sad picture. An old fat man sitting at his computer in his underjocks, 10,000 k’s from here, in a permanently impotent rage, spitting bile into a community that couldn’t care less what he says.
Ag shampies, man. Look at what you’ve become? Are you not a bit embarrassed for yourself Mark?
Mike Hampton has captured your life!
Cheer up, Mark. Sure, its easy to become despondent when you realise that nobody gives an elasticated wank about your opinion. Don’t give up and don’t let it get you down! Try and forget that you’ve pissed a substantial portion of your life away patiently shovelling lorry-loads of arseblubber into the internet.
Forget that you believed, for no reason that the rest of us can fathom, that this was worth doing.
Abandon your conviction that important men with moustaches were leafing through your penetrating observations with grudging approval.
Bravely ignore the fact that everyone has actually been shitting themselves laughing at you.”
But Allan’s rarely made a comment the past year. Apparently, he’s running out of money in Asia. Maybe he’s desperately self-focused in a small village with poor internet connectivity. Or maybe he’s got a new victim, one that doesn’t fight back.
There are no compliments in my observation that Mark Allan is clever and experienced. He’s evil. It’ll be interesting to see how his ego handles this book. No matter what words of protest he may hollow into existence, he likes the attention. I imagine him enjoying my words… and I’ve got more to say.
My life was to become far worse.
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