March 2005 ::: News ::: Hislop Letters:
Questionability Of The Authenticity To The Alleged 'Hislop Letters'
Hislop Letters Menu (click on a link to go to relevant section):
- Original Arguments Regarding The Alleged Hislop Letters:
- Hislop Letters: Forgery, Tampering And Suspicions Confirmed
- John Hislop Letters: Discrepancies Arise
- Robert Priddy Comments On The Alleged Hislop Letters
- Alexandra Nagel And The Alleged Hislop Letters
- An Alleged Hislop Letter Edited With Image Software
- Updated Arguments Regarding The Alleged Hislop Letters:
Original Arguments Regarding The Alleged Hislop Letters
- Tampered & “Cleaned Up” Hislop Letter 1
- Tampered & “Cleaned Up” Hislop Letter 2
- Tampered & “Cleaned Up” Hislop Letter 3
- Tampered & “Cleaned Up” Hislop Letter To Terry & Diana Payne
Just recently (late February 2005) the ExBaba website released what they said were three original scans to “Hislop Letters” that were allegedly written by John (aka “Jack”) Hislop in early 1981. A scan to a fourth letter was released on April 24th 2005. A close comparison of two different copies of the same letter show that one (or both) of the letters was forged and tampered with. Apparently, a desperate Anti-Sai Activist tried to pass off a carefully prepared duplicate as an original letter and was caught red-handed in an act of forgery.
The fact that the alleged letters are 25 years old and only surfaced in 2001 (6 years after Hislop died) is highly suspicious in itself. From 1981 to 2001 (a lapse of 20 years) there were no references made to any alleged “Hislop Letter”. As a matter of fact, prior to August 2001 not even one person mentioned any Hislop letter. Prior to February 2005 not even one person mentioned Letter 4. Timothy Conway allegedly alluded to the “Jack Hislop” letters in an email correspondence with an unnamed Sai devotee on August 6th 2001. It is be noted that Timothy Conway’s email was not put on the ExBaba website until February of 2002, nor was it put on the snowcrest.net website until January 2004. These facts are confirmed by archive.net for both the ExBaba website (the ExBaba website has since blocked archive.org) and Snowcrest.net. Timothy Conway also attributed a quote directly to Hislop saying he called for a policy of “spin”. Nowhere in any of the letters did Hislop use the word “spin”.
At http://home.no.net/anir/Sai/saiorg/hislop.htm and home.hetnet.nl/~ex-baba/engels/letters/hislopowen.html, Robert Priddy, Ernest C. Owen and Serguei Badaev made their first comments about the alleged Hislop Letters (1, 2 and 3 only) on Oct. 24th 2001. Steve White made his first comments on Oct. 25th 2001 pertaining to letters 1, 2 and 3 only. Not one person (Priddy, Owen, Badaev or White) made reference to Timothy Conway and his alleged email to “XXX” on August 6th 2001. Furthermore, despite text versions being publicly displayed for Letters 1, 2 and 3 since October 24th 2001, not even one person had the common sense or the intellect to scan the original letters for public viewing. Only in late February of 2005 did someone provide the alleged “original” Hislop Letters in scanned form. Robert Priddy said that the “indisputable proof” for the letters being genuine is the exact matching of the text versions with the subsequent scanned versions. Of course, this is reverse logic. It is very suspicious that the original scans were not supplied first before the text versions were made public. Anyone can create forgeries using text versions as outlines. No mention is made as to whom is in actual possession of the hard-copies, how long the person had the hard copies and how the alleged letters were obtained.
All 4 letters do not have letter-heads nor do they show any signs of wear from age or creases from being folded. The letters and signatures are unusually crisp (except letter 4), with no signs of fading in over 25 years. On all of the letters, the signatures are very clear (except letter 4, in which the signature is terribly faded and barely legible). Letter 4 was never mentioned by any Anti-Sai Activist prior to February 2005. On Anti-Sai Sites, only Letters 1, 2 and 3 were discussed. Consequently, Letter 4 was either forged or purposely suppressed.
In Hislop’s book, My Baba and I, he dated all of his letters with an abbreviation of the month followed by the day and year. In letters 2, 3 and 4, Hislop gave numerical dates that are uncharacteristic of his known dating method. On letter 4, despite the unusual clarity and crispness of the text, John Hislop’s signature is totally obscure. On letters 2 & 4, the month, day and year are separated with hyphens, which is another uncharacteristic dating method for Hislop.
On letter 3, it is obvious that there were two pages to the letter that were “merged” into one page by someone, with no signs of creases, no letter-heads and no separate pages. Obviously, someone tampered with the image to make it appear as it is currently seen. The letters are not actual scans but obviously tampered-with scans.
A long-time associate and close friend of John Hislop pointed out to me that in the early 1980’s Hislop usually typed his closing to a typed letter (to anyone other than Sathya Sai Baba) with “Om Sri Sai Ram” or “Om Sri Sai Ram Namah”. By the mid 1980’s he changed his closing to “Om Sai Ram” which continued until his end. Always typed, never written (as was done with the alleged letters).
The typewriter font on letter 1 is different than the font used on letters 2 & 3 & 4. Click Here to see the differences in lettering and kerning (spacing of the letters). This means that letter 1 was not typed on the same typewriter as letters 2 & 3 & 4 (although most of the font characters are almost exactly similar).
On letter 1, Hislop supposedly put a “P.S.” on the top of the page and a “P.S.S.” on the bottom of the page. This is highly unusual as it is common knowledge that one does not begin a letter with a post-script. Dr. John Hislop was well educated in English grammar and would never begin a letter with a post-script. One may reason that the “P.S.” was an afterthought, yet this does not explain why the “P.S.” was added to the top of the page and the secondary “P.S.S.” was put on the bottom of the page. To further this point, Click Here to view the text versions to the Hislop Letters that are displayed on SnowCrest.net. As one will notice, the post-script paragraph is shown at the bottom of the letter (not the top), followed by the second “P.S.S.”. On the scanned copy, this is not what is shown. Why? The paragraph structure differs significantly between the text and scanned versions, despite the apparent accuracy maintained in the word-for-word transcription. Furthermore, on letter 1, Hislop’s signature is on the far left side of the letter. It looks very unnatural and unusual. On letters 2, 3 and 4, the signatures are properly centered.
Another disturbing fact arises when looking at Letters 1, 2 and 4. The Payne Family is composed of three people: 1) Terry Payne; 2) Diana Payne and 3) Terry Payne Jr. (their son). Diana Payne divorced Terry Payne and went back to using her maiden name of “Scott”. Terry Jr. did the same. This happened months after these letters were allegedly written. However, on letter 2, Hislop referred to Terry Jr. as “Terry Scott”. When these letters were written, Diana had not divorced Terry yet. So both Diana and Terry Jr. were still using the last name of Payne, not Scott. How did Hislop know this months prior to their divorce? Also, Diana Payne said in a letter distributed on Anti-Sai Sites that:
- “This all came out in 1980”
- “In 1980 my son told me that Sai Baba was a homosexual”
- “In 1980 I wrote letters to the Sai organization in the US asking for help and an explanation for Baba’s actions. I knew many of the Board members personally. Of course they all said that both my son and myself were lying.”
Hislop allegedly stated in Letter 1 that Diana Payne wrote her letters to various Sathya Sai Organization Directors sometime in early January 1981. Diana Payne claimed all of this correspondence happened in 1980. The letters are dated January and February of 1981, not 1980.
At: home.hetnet.nl/~ex_baba/engels/articles/hislop/hislop3.html, Robert Priddy tried to pathetically defend these documents and said:
“Consider: a counterfeiter would have to have possessed the same typewriter as Hislop used for his many letters and directives - or else be able to create pixel by pixel the unique letterings of his particular keyboard...Not a single detail in the letters can be shown to be out of place or not in character.”
Of course, this is a blatant lie and an absurdity. In the alleged documents, there are parts where some of the letters are out of place. Anyone can see these inconsistencies just by perusing the alleged documents.
Just how difficult is it to create a fake Hislop Letter? Click Here to find out. I was able to create a fake Hislop letter using the same typewriter font that was used in the alleged letters from John (Jack) Hislop.
Click Here to see the differences in lettering and kerning (spacing of the letters) on letter 1 as compared to letters 2 and 3. This proves that a different typewriter was used for letter 1 that was used on letters 2 and 3. Robert Priddy also claimed (guess he did not look closely at the letters), “Not a single detail in the letters can be shown to be out of place or not in character.” Click Here to view the out of place lettering, missing words and inconsistencies.
At: home.chello.no/~reirob/CovUp4.htm, Robert Priddy (again resorting to his tabloid-glitz assertions) said:
“Different scan versions and transcriptions (four were posted years ago) all contain the exact same information, the origin of which is strongly supported by many independent sources.”
Of course, don’t expect Robert Priddy to divulge these “independent sources”. He does not do so. Robert Priddy also said that Timothy Conway has the original copies, but one will notice that Timothy Conway has not come forward to answer any questions about the alleged documents. Again, if Anti-Sai Activists had copies to these documents “for years”, why were the “original” scans made public only years after the text versions were made public?
At: home.chello.no/~reirob/CovUp4.htm, Robert Priddy said:
“The letters' contents were also well known to close friends of Hislop including Robert and Rita Bruce, Richard and Michelle Kaplowitz, Robert Bozzani, and Alvin Drucker among various other ’sai VIPs' around the world. While talking to Rita Bruce in 1996, she referred to a major crisis in the Sai Organisation in the early '80s, which lasted for many agonising months, especially but not only in the USA. When she realised this was before I joined and that I knew nothing of it, she would say no more.”
Of course, not even one of these people has come forward to support any of the claims made by Robert Priddy. Not even one! Just because Rita Bruce allegedly referred to a “crisis” in the early 80’s does not mean that she was talking about these alleged letters as she said nothing about them. Robert Priddy is speculating (as he loves to do) about her comments and making blind assumptions despite not knowing (admittedly) what Rita Bruce was alluding to.
Click Here to view and compare the alleged “original” letter from Hislop and the same letter that was allegedly faxed to Alexandra Nagel from Glen Meloy. Furthermore, Alexandra Nagel provided an image with multiple signatures from Hislop and shamelessly admitted that his signatures were purposely “skewed” and an underline was “removed” from under his name (that Hislop added to many of his signatures). If Alexandra Nagel admitted that Hislop’s signatures were “skewed”, altered, edited and tampered with (using imaging software), what else was done with his signatures?
Alexandra Nagel said:
“Scans of the letters from Hislop to Sathya Sai leaders were faxed to me on October 20, 2001 by Glen Meloy, as can be seen from the fax scan.”
Following Alexandra Nagel’s advice, I put the fax phone number through a Google search and it resolved to Timothy Conway, not Glen Meloy. The fax number is 805-564-2125 from the Wake Up Press. This phone number resolved to:
Timothy Conway, (805) 564-2125, 222 Meigs Rd, Santa Barbara, CA 93109
Timothy Conway lives in Santa Barbara and Glen Meloy lived in Palm Desert. A distance of 197 miles between the two. The Wake Up Press also published Timothy Conway’s book. Intriguing facts not divulged by Alexandra. So who faxed the letter to Alexandra Nagel? Conway or Meloy?
Regarding the authenticity of Hislop’s signature, anyone could have added it to a fake letter. To prove this point, take a look at the following letter and see how I was able to add Hislop’s signature multiple times. Just because it looks like Hislop’s signature does not mean it is his or that he signed the letter:
Updated Arguments Regarding The Alleged Hislop Letters
Just recently, Timothy Conway released a statement in which he said that he was the person who obtained xeroxed copies to the alleged Hislop letters. Although it is true that Hislop would send xerox copies of his letters to Directors and Officers, the alleged letters were only addressed to Directors (clearly evidenced on the letters), not Officers. Timothy Conway did not divulge the name of the former President of the San Francisco Sai Center who allegedly gave him the xeroxed letters.
The only way to ascertain the indisputable authenticity of the letters would have been to ask Hislop himself. In 20 years, there were never any statements made about these letters. They only surfaced 6 years after Hislop died.
Timothy Conway admitted that the scans were “cleaned up”. Not even one Anti-Sai Activist had the honesty or decency to come forward and admit to “cleaning up” (i.e., tampering with) the scans. The general public is perfectly entitled to view the original xeroxed copies along with the information that was erased from them. Because the “original” scans were tampered with, one can only wonder why Anti-Sai Activists are purposely withholding the original xeroxed copies and felt a need to “clean them up”. Timothy Conway does not posses the original hard-copies to the alleged Hislop letters. He only has xeroxed copies.
Therefore, this entire debate about Hislop’s alleged letters is based on xeroxed copies and not original ones (as claimed by Anti-Sai Activists). More lies from Anti-Sai’s.
- Alleged Untouched Hislop Letter 1
- Alleged Untouched Hislop Letter 2
- Alleged Untouched Hislop Letter 3 - Page One
- Alleged Untouched Hislop Letter 3 - Page Two
- Alleged Untouched Hislop Letter To Terry & Diana Payne
Putting aside the many factual problems that haunt the alleged Hislop Letters, let us venture into the possibility that the letters are authentic. First of all, Click Here to view how Anti-Sai Activists (for years) only discussed three letters, not four. Alexandra Nagel, Robert Priddy, Serguei Badaev, Ernest C. Owen and Steve White made comments only about Letters 1-3. No mention to Letter 4. Despite the fact that Letter 4 surfaced only recently (April 24th 2005) when there was no mention made to it prior to February 2005, is very suspicious in itself. One can only assume that the letter was forged or purposely suppressed. Either scenario is profoundly troubling. However, the contents to Letter 4 provide some startling information that, if true, would substantially undermine the credibility for the letters being written in the first place.
For background information, the Hislop Letters originated (or so it is said) due to Diana Payne’s claim that Sathya Sai Baba attempted to molest her son, Terry Lee Scott. Mr. Scott has never spoken out about any alleged abuse. Despite the ExBaba website providing a link to Diana Payne’s story and a link to her email address, they do not divulge the fact that her email address does not work and her current name is “Diana Scott”.
On Letter 4, Hislop said that Terry Lee Scott (the boy who made sexual abuse allegations against Baba) was “expelled in disgrace from the Hostel”. Apparently, Terry Lee Scott made his allegation against Sathya Sai Baba after being expelled “in disgrace” from the hostel. Why was Terry Lee Scott “expelled in disgrace” from Sathya Sai Baba’s Hostel to begin with? If these letters are genuine, it is undeniable that this crucial information may play a significant role in explaining why Terry Lee Scott may have lied about Sathya Sai Baba. This additional information (which, if genuine, has been purposely suppressed for years) would completely compromise the integrity of these letters being written in the first place. In Letter 4, Hislop made mention to another letter that was initially sent to Diana Payne. Hislop allegedly said:
“From my first reply to your initial letter I have clearly stated that I do not believe the stories told by Terry Jr. and, furthermore, that I do not condemn him since I do not clearly understand what would lead a teen-age boy to make accusations which I hold cannot be factual. I have told the same to the Directors and you have a copy of that letter.”
Of course, where is this first letter that was allegedly sent to Diana Payne? Is it being suppressed as well? Considering that Hislop does not go into details about Terry Jr.’s disgraceful dismissal from the Hostel, chances are the details of his expulsion were given in the first letter sent to Diana Payne. That letter is noticeably absent. Why? Isn’t it strange that no mention was made to Letter 4 in all these years and now it is being made public? There is now a valid reason why Terry Lee Scott may have lied against Sathya Sai Baba after being “expelled in disgrace from the Hostel”.
Consequently, either way (genuine or forged), these letters have the critical problems of tampering, forgery and/or suppression that undermine their basic premise. It is also important to point out that Diana Payne’s husband, Terry Sr. (now ex-husband), at that time, still maintained his devotion to Sathya Sai Baba despite the allegations made by his own son. That is why Diana Payne divorced him. There is a lot more to this story than the selective critiques and one-way arguments made by Anti-Sai Activists. Once again, it is to be noted that most of the “proof” used by Anti-Sai Activists comes from anonymous, outdated or dead sources.
In my email correspondence with John J. Prendergast, he claimed that the alleged Hislop Letters he received were signed in ink by John Hislop. According to Timothy Conway, the alleged Hislop Letters that John Prendergast gave him were xeroxed copies and were not signed in ink. Therefore, the signatures were not ink signatures but xeroxed ones.
Timothy Conway “affirmed” as “utterly true” that John Prendergast (after hearing rumors of sexual impropriety) requested and received a copy of the alleged Hislop Letters directly from John Hislop himself. John Prendergast claimed that he actually received the alleged Hislop Letters in a Sai Center file that was passed to him from the former Center President when he became the succeeding Center President. John Prendergast could not remember if he obtained the alleged Hislop Letters directly from John Hislop or from the previous Center President, Don Heath. Therefore, John Prendergast did not specifically request a copy of the alleged letters directly from John Hislop as Timothy Conway erroneously “affirmed” as “utterly true”.
John Prendergast suggested that he originally found out about Terry Lee Scott’s allegations against Sai Baba through the alleged Hislop Letters. John Prendergast did not say he heard rumors of sexual abuse that prompted him to request the alleged letters from John Hislop (which Timothy Conway claimed he did). Although John Prendergast saw the alleged letters as “possible evidence of sexual impropriety”, he did and said absolutely nothing about them and remained a Sai Devotee into the late 80’s even though he was a mental health care practitioner. Although Timothy Conway received the alleged letters in the mid-80’s, he remained a Sai Devotee until 2001. Apparently, the alleged Hislop Letters did not motivate either Prendergast or Conway to defect from the Sai Movement.
Although John Prendergast claimed that he found Terry Lee Scott’s allegations to be disturbing, he did not investigate the matter whatsoever. As a matter of fact, John Prendergast said of the Paynes:
“The parents and their son were occasional visitors to the SF Sai Baba Center, so I had met them before Terry lived in India. I did not see them thereafter. I was not and am not familiar with any of the details of the case. I don’t know why he was expelled.”
John Prendergast specifically stated that the alleged Hislop Letters were part of a Sai Center file meant for Center Presidents. The Sai Center file was passed to Timothy Conway when he became the succeeding Center President. Timothy Conway claimed he took the alleged Hislop Letters from the Sai Center file because they were not part of the Sai Center file but were directly given to him “a year or two or more” after he became the new Center President by John Prendergast. Timothy Conway also claimed that he did not pass the letters to the next Center President because he was “not really sure” he had them in his possession! Apparently, Timothy Conway has no clear recollection of when or how he obtained the alleged Hislop Letters and why he took them from the Sai Center file when he was “obliged” to pass them to the succeeding Center President.
It appears that Timothy Conway took the alleged Hislop Letters because he felt (as did John Prendergast) that the letters might possibly be evidence of sexual impropriety. Of course, Timothy Conway will never acknowledge this possiblity because it would mean that he failed in his moral and ethical duty of “mandated reporting” and he would be an “accomplice in sexual molestation crimes” (an oft-repeated argument parroted in his Anti-Sai writings).
Neither John Prendergast nor Timothy Conway can remember exactly how they originally obtained the alleged Hislop Letters and both give conflicting recollections about them.
Conny Larsson claimed that the scans to the alleged Hislop Letters were tampered with (i.e., “cleaned up”) “for the sake of the reader”. I received the alleged untouched scans from Timothy Conway and they are just as legible and clear as the altered scans. Therefore, when Conny Larsson claimed that the scans were tampered with and altered because they were “brightened and given more contrast than the scanner produced”, he lied. It certainly appears that Ex-Devotees attempted to deceive readers into thinking that their cleaned-up and altered scans were original scans to original hard-copies (they never mentioned one word about cleaning up the scans).
Furthermore, the alleged Hislop letters are not proof that Sathya Sai Baba did anything wrong. The alleged Hislop letters simply document a complaint made against Sai Baba by Terry Lee Scott, who was “expelled in disgrace” from Sai Baba’s hostel as well as reference to a few other complaints made from unknown sources at unknown times. After Terry Lee Scott was “expelled in disgrace”, only then did he make his allegations against Sai Baba. It is no secret that Sathya Sai Baba has been accused of sexual impropriety by Tal Brooke (whose allegations have been circulating since the mid 70’s at Sai Baba’s ashrams). Therefore, Terry Lee Scott could have simply repeated a rumor pertaining to Tal Brooke’s allegations. The alleged Hislop Letters are not proof or evidence of sexual abuse. If anything, they are proof that someone complained about Sai Baba. That’s it.
Terry Lee Scott’s mother never filed a basic police complaint, public grievance or court case against Sathya Sai Baba in India for any alleged impropriety.
Based on the alleged letters, John Hislop investigated this matter thoroughly, made explicit inquiries directly to Sai Baba, made explicit inquiries directly to various individuals who worked at Sai Baba’s Brindavan College (specifically mentioning Jack Hand by name), obtained information that Terry Lee Scott had actually been “expelled in disgrace” from the Hostel before he made his allegations against Sai Baba and was ultimately convinced that there was no truth to the rumors against Sai Baba.