Frauds, fakes, hoaxers, swindlers, con artists and scamsters occupy a dark corner of humanity’s family tree. They steal from the innocent, undermine and discourage legitimate charity, make well-intentioned public policy suspect and inefficient, distort history and human knowledge, and cause the the public to be more callous and cynical. These venal liars not only are unethical, but they make ethics themselves appear naive and foolish. This week, a scam of long-standing that began with a mysterious woman who claimed to be a grown infant believed to have died on the Titanic was finally, through DNA evidence and the obsessive work of Titanic history buffs, proven to be what it was…a lie.
Years after the Titanic went down, killing Leonardo DiCaprio and so many others, a woman named Helen Kramer come forward claiming to be Loraine Allison, a two-year-old who had been traveling on the doomed liner with her family. She engaged in a long public campaign to be accepted by surviving members of the wealthy Allison family, and to re-write history as well. After her death, Kramer’s granddaughter, Debrina Woods surfaced in 2012, continuing the claim on a series of Titanic forums.
She said she was prepared to write a book, and maybe a screenplay. She set up a website, pressing Helen Kramer’s claim by selling merchandise featuring little Loraine’s image. She had found a suitcase belonging to her grandmother which, she said, contained substantiating documents that proved that Helen was Loraine, as her grandmother had died swearing was true. Woods tried to contact the Allison family and arrange a visit, prompting the family’s lawyers to get a restraining order. Woods even tried to scatter her grandmother’s ashes over the Allison family plot in Chesterville, Ontario. Naturally, she was only interested in the truth, not the family’s money. The fact that she would be eligible to inherit a chunk of the family’s considerable wealth if Helen was accepted as Loraine had nothing to do with her quest, just as Helen Kramer only wanted to be received into the loving embrace of the family she had lost in the watery catastrophe of 1912.
Or so she said.
Tracy Oost, a Titanic researcher and forensic scientist at Laurentian University, in Canada, had enough. She set up the Lorraine Allison Identification Project, which sought to compare mitochondrial DNA samples from both families to settle the controversy once and for all. Sally Kirkelie, the great niece of Loraine’s mother, agreed to take part, and Debrina Woods’ half sister, Deanne Jennings, who shared the maternal and mitochondrial link to Helen Kramer, also agreed.
The result? No match. Whoever Helen Kramer was, she was not Loraine Allison, who did, apparently, died as infant in the icy waters of the Atlantic on that famous April night.
Sources:Telegraph, The Loraine Allison Identification Project
Graphic: The Loraine Allison Identification Project
15 thoughts on “A Titanic Fraud Sinks At Last”
It’s shameful what people will do to try and obtain a quick buck throwing morals, ethics, and integrity straight out the window.
I know, none of of us like lawyers, but what about the woman in the post?
But did anyone check her DNA to see if she was really Grand Duchess Anastasia?
Wondering about that myself. They were about the same age.
About the only mitigating factor here is that her granddaughter very well may have believed every word of what she was saying. Of course that cash was surely a lure- but if you were told your whole life that you were a long-lost heir to a wealthy family, and had a plausible explanation behind it, you’d be inclined to assimilate that “truth” and let it establish itself as gospel in your mind.
I wonder if Helen Kramer didn’t believe it as well either because of mental instability or because of whom she was raised by selling her on it. Kramer’s granddaughter said there was proof so I don’t know if she really believed it if she was willing to deceive everyone with made up evidence.
Either way, it’s good that the truth is out, and any provisional benefit of the doubt will evaporate if she keeps trying to force the issue of course.
Both the grandmother, whose real name wasn’t Helen Lorraine, but, Irene Evangeline Schulz, born in 1902, IN RUSSIA, and Debrina, obfuscated documented evidence of a child born in 1922, which would have meant this lady would be about 11 when she gave birth. The fact that she stated she had five children, leaving out the oldest sixth child, is incriminating, and suggests she left him out because it would have messed up her real age, eight years older than the dead girl. Likewise, Debrina lied and said her granny only had five children, and when confronted, then lied and said the boy died in childhood, when in truth, there is proof of him living until his late 50s. The reason they both blanked him out shows a consciousness of how this boy born to a 20 year old Kramer, in 1922, would instantly dissolve the story into the nonsense it always was.
or that maybe the DNA test was “paid” to be a mismatch by the wealthy families descendants who like so many rich or poor , don’t want to share? Look at all the crookedness in govt, industry, all human history can be summed up by the words ” A history of intrigue, dishonor, theft, and even murder; numerous wars resulting in the non-combatant rich getting richer, and the poor getting poorer or dying (in fact most all wars are really about someone wanting what someone else has; usually wealth, or resources, and especially LAND ). Did you know that thru payola the super rich control almost every congress and parliment of all the countries in the world? Yes its true ~! They even suppress new patents that would enable a clean world energy just for $$$$
It’s really hard to go through life thinking this way. I recommend against it. The world and humanity is simply not this malign.
“Invent?” You may want to consider adjusting your medications.
From what I read, this Kramer woman was about 10 years too old to be Loraine Allison. What? She didn’t know her own age? Fat chance. She wanted money or attention of both.
Thank God for DNA technology.
But did the granddaughter of Miss Helen actually have documents from her grandmother in the suitcase as many have said?
NO, Naomi!! The ONLY “Documents” Woods has in her possession consist of fictional, non-existent smoke and mirrors!! This is a gal who is after one thing-a well funded retirement account for her rapidly approaching “twilight years.”
She’s also a woman who claims her earth shattering discovery “JUST HAPPENED” to occur a day or two before the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the ship. ( April 12-14, 2012….. GREAT timing, Debbie! ) Better yet, our Debbie SWEARS this “treasure trove of irrefutable evidence” simply sat, unopened, in an overstuffed suitcase in a closet in her home for some 50-odd years.
Of course it did.
Even more fascinating was her alleged next move. Despite having “just discovered” this “amazing” stash a mere 48 hours earlier- Debrina miraculously found time to not only set up a whiz-bang website describing-(but NEVER showing)-endless reams of paperwork and other “evidence” she claimed were in the suitcase. She also strongly hinted that for the right price, she’d give one a looksie which would “absolutely prove beyond a shadow of a doubt” dear old dead granny was indeed, THE long lost Lorraine Allison of Titanic infamy.
Yah gotta admire a, (ahem) “potential heiress” who doesn’t let the dust settle under her feet when she thinks ‘her ship has finally come in.’ ( bad pun-but I couldn’t resist :D)
As we all know-over the weekend of April 12-14, 2012-Debrina Woods set her carefully planned fantasy in motion.
Pretending “she was only interested in clearing her grandmother’s good name,” Woods began posting on every “Titanic Buff” site she could find. Describing her “amazing discovery” in detail, she’d go on to innocently ask “if there were any out there who could help in her quest.”
Needless to say, the response was overwhelming. Unfortunately for Debrina, the financial outcome was not.
Rather than the book deal, movie deal, and nationwide speaking tour she claimed to have under contract-Woods’ refusal to provide one iota of proof as well as undergo a DNA test to verify her ridiculous statements became her downfall.
The DNA test on a close relative scientifically proved Woods is in no way related to the Allison family, and of course-Debbie has yet to show anyone, ANY of the “irrefutable proof” she claims to have.
Weirdest of all is Woods and her continued bizarre behaviors.
She continues to claim, to anyone who will listen-that her mysterious “proof is real,” (to this day it remains unseen) that she is mere “days from signing major movie and book deals” and darkly accuses the scientific team who conducted the DNA Test(s) of being “paid to lie about their ‘true’ findings.”
Poor Debbie. I think she needs a nice vacation to relax and clear her head. A cruise perhaps?