This may eventually be a (slightly) larger topic, given there are at least a few of these I have found. But none of them is much treated with any more "reality", that I can discern, from the usual fluff used to inflate paperwork.
Let's look at one for Paul Stuart Gilbey, supposedly making some people confused in thinking the virtual obituary makes the character "Paul Gilbey" more real than the CGI character he appeared to be in "photo" documentation. Now, please allow me to post my various thoughts that might not all be considered "leads". I am merely musing and speculating about various topics that this kind of thing brings up for me, and some points may be much stranger than others.
I have seen real virtual tributes, like this one purports to be and/or mocks, and I am left scratching my head about a number of differences between the real ones and these sparse 9/11 ones.
First of all, the software is atrociously anti-user friendly. Here is the page with the launch link: http://www.legacy.com/Obituaries.asp?Pa ... D=18537362
Instead of making the database at all searchable, we are left wondering if there are really 18 million other tributes or if this was a special occasion just for Gilbey. We are left wondering why they used the powerful software CrazyEgg in order to track mouse movements and clicks and learn demographics data about their users. I believe in comparison, our site uses Mint and only appears to track visitors/hits and ingoing/outgoing links. I am not sure if Mint is collecting other data they don't share with us, but we definitely don't need to track where people's mouse movements or "eyes" go, as the confetti technology of CrazyEgg boasts.
Is Legacy.com a true memorial site, or is it yet another intelligence gathering service of the entire "fly trap"-like glow of 9/11?
In fact, the true purpose of the memorial might be revealed in our understanding of Legacy.com's creation. Spawned from the 9/11 "tragedy", Legacy.com now heavily tracks users, advertises and sells customer attention — truly vultures profiting from death and everything to do with memorializing lives. I tried searching for Gilbey in the database and aside from this "virtual obituary" only achieved a link for a memorial of another name. Clicking on this, for example, I am presented with the following screen (names of actual deceased removed to protect them) :
With all due respect to those genuine families and loved ones using this site, what a sad scheme. To continue remembering your loved one, please deposit 25 cents.
All in all, Legacy.com seems like a very cynical business model, to me. Maybe I am wrong in thinking this.
When you do try to launch the obituary for the 9/11 vicsim, there's a good 15 seconds where you just have to watch the start button fade up:
Then, when you begin, after another nearly 10 seconds you are presented with this semi-functional navigation showing just six images slowly fade up over the course of a minute:
Then, finally, but only after the full minute has elapsed at the end of this slide show of 3 total images actually depicting the vicsim in question (half of those shown), you are allowed to use the navigation buttons, and the name of the author slowly slides in from the right. You can then see that there really are only 6 pictures, several appearing to be cropped and all of them of low quality, and they are of the following:
A lousy low-quality picture of the Gilbey character
Whose knee, and what knee exactly, is that one in the center? "brohter max" or "mason"? Where are that child's legs supposed to be? It looks very awkward, as if one child exists merely from the waist up? We'd want many more, and better, images than this. I'd imagine there would also be several taken from this time period if it were real. Like all six of the images in this tiny "memorial" for someone supposedly so well loved, they seem so oddly ... alone. Sparse. Controlled.
An even worse picture of the alleged identity. Is Gilbey's data being carefully sanctioned out?
"Hey, let's make this memorial about me, too, because daddy doesn't get all the attention. Remember me?"
Note the two fingers, as in two towers, of a different looking hand than what may belong to this ostensibly young lady (note the extremely pointy elbow again, as well), "pointing" to a (plausibly real but also really pathetic/cheap type) modern memorial wherein they've engraved a transparent material, such as glass or plastic — a kind of typical "trophy shop" memorial as far as memorials they have these days — and that grin! What does it mean? Is this like the British gesture "up yours, dad"?
"Wedding photo" of the alleged Paul Gilbey
Does this grainy image even look remotely like the same man? It looks like they copy-pasted his ears, nose and brow from a set, but didn't get the proportions correctly in order to simulate the same identity. I could be wrong but I don't find it convincing.
I am sorry but if this sort of thing makes you feel there is a "great deal" of evidence supporting Paul Gilbey's existence, especially any more than the most basic sorts of efforts they would make for a true memorial (unlike the incomplete slop that is the virtual CNN memorial, which — like the moon landing hoax — they will undoubtedly overhaul one day with "updated" reality), and this makes you think Paul Gilbey was a real living flesh and blood person, I really feel sorry for you.
Why do researchers get caught in this trap, thinking "this must be a real person!" and obsessing over such sketchy profiles?
Even a huge memorial service with a closed coffin can be theatrically performed. By comparison, the absurd virtual obituaries give serious pause to the question of the alleged existence of the vicsims.