The case of the romance author who faked her own death has taken a couple more twists. At least one of those twists feels like a psychic curse that we may have wished upon the world…the involvement of Declan Finn et al.

On January 8 people interested in the case of Susan Meachen, an author who apparently faked her own death to publicise her book began Tweeting out screenshots of a set of responses the now apparently revived author had given as direct messages.

This worried me and not because of the whole returning from the dead thing but because of who was being quoted:

“People are tweeting links to an extremely dodgy website because of an update on that author who faked their own death”

The website in question was the substack-based review blog Upstream Reviews, which is the right-wing, puppy-orientated blog written mainly by Michael Gallagher but which also involves long-term topic of this blog Declan Finn. “Upstream” here being a reference to Andrew Breitbart’s adage “Politics is downstream of culture”.

You can read the second version of the article that had the alleged “replies” here: [archived version]

Upstream Reviews started as a regular WordPress blog but after apparently suffering technical problems it shifted to a Substack site (credited as copyright Declan Finn). When File 770 covered that the old site appeared to be down, Upstream wrote a very snide reply on the new substack site The site also promoted the SFWA hack and the troll site O and A forums that have been directing harassment at author Patrick Tomlison.

So getting more mainstream promotion by accounts oblivious to the nature of the site was a bit of a coup for them, all fuelled by the possible-zombie Susan Meachen replying to their direct message. However…it is now unclear if Susan Meachen did reply to them at all. After publishing the responses, claims have been made that the Twitter account they DM’d is fake.

Upstream Reviews has since retracted the responses from Susan Meachen saying:

“UPDATE: Since the original publication of what we believed to be Mrs. Meachen’s response and her answers to our subsequent questions, a number of people close to her on social media have expressed doubt as to whether or not the individual we spoke with in fact was Susan Meachen. Additionally, Mrs. Meachen has apparently denied that it was her we spoke to on other platforms. As we are currently unable to verify this, we have made the decision to hereby retract those parts of the article. What was originally reported has remained. We apologize to Mrs. Meachen and regret the error.”

In short, there are conceptually three Susan Meachens:

  • The original Susan Meachen, who may have but probably didn’t die
  • The Susan Meachen who more recently claimed not to have died
  • The Susan Meachen who owns a Twitter account that replied to Upstream Reviews

Whether there conceptual Susan Meachens are all the same person is an open question. Not unreasonably, the question of whether Susan Meachen may actually have in truth died and the whole back from the dead is itself a sick prank, is also open. Put another way, there are Susan Meachens online who collectively do not provide a coherent story.

Upstream Reviews appear to have been genuinely pranked. I don’t think they were trying to trick people with a fake scoop. Having said that, people really shouldn’t have credulously boosted their post regardless.


29 responses to “Twists…”

  1. Drama queens gonna attract drama queens. Declan’s probably jealous (as usual) that he’s never had this much attention/grift, and credulous enough he didn’t have his pal do due diligence in the first place that that really was her (either continuing to be alive or speaking from beyond the grave).

    The article in itself wasn’t half bad, I’ll give das Hündchen that much.

    Now, were the DMs from a fake, from actually a Meachem who then disclaimed it, the daughter pretending to be her (and disclaiming), her pretending to be her daughter pretending to be her (then disclaiming) or some even more unholy combo?

    Does she even have a daughter, or is that another one of her fictions? (that’s a rhetorical question’ of course not) Why didn’t any of her online pals do a search and find no other death announcement and her very alive (!) TikTok?

    And was she spending 2 years being dead for tax purposes?

    Liked by 1 person

    • She does seem to have a daughter who did hold fundraisers concerning her death, though who knows, maybe the daughter is not a real daughter. The fundraisers constitute fraud to raise funds off a fake death. If it’s fake. At this point, no one knows what’s going on. I imagine someone will sue someone eventually.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve been casually following this story but it’s hard for me to get excited about it. I think I’ve been spoiled by all the time I’ve spent hanging out on Ravelry—so many indie yarn dyers have tried to solve their financial difficulties by faking their death that a volunteer consumer advocacy group has “Dead for 10 minutes” on their bingo card. Is this really the first time a writer has done it?

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’m proud, goddammit, to be the member of any comment thread which contains the words “so many indie yarn dyers have tried to solve their financial difficulties by faking their death” therein.

      Uh (scuffs dirt), I just wanted to say that.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Not the first time an author has done it, no. But the online aspects, the fundraiser, the weird return that is not certain it’s a return, etc. has made this case get a lot of attention. But it certainly sounds like the indie yarn dyers have a jucier history. I’ve heard the knitters can be pretty rowdy too.


  3. I don’t want to sound conspiratorial here, but I just wanna throw out that pretending to have died and then reappear as your own son or daughter is a common strategy for immortal beings whose eternal youth would otherwise be suspicious.

    Has anyone seen her in daylight? Is she a vampire?

    Liked by 4 people

    • I’ve actually been working a plot point like that into one of my stories… in that case the person was actually a nature spirit who set up a small conservation land trust a century ago on a plot that includes both their grove and a farmhouse at the edge of the forest, and she just continues to appoint herself as the next caretaker of the trust under new identities. (Ducks Unlimited started in Canada in the 1930s as a similar sort of operation, where it operates as a land trust for conservation purposes and partners with other people or organizations to manage the locations.)

      Liked by 1 person

      • In the novel I’ve been submitting, the immortals (elves) live in a small town where everyone knows they’re not human. Now, though, people have begun moving in from outside so they’ve had to construct a fake family history, make plans for the future (their nonexistent son is studying in Ireland; when they go to visit him, there will be a tragic accident …). Unfortunately it turns out the plans don’t hold up to close scrutiny

        Liked by 1 person

        • Well, yes. It’s a lot harder to pull off that sort of thing these days if you don’t have the groundwork set up ahead of time, especially if you’re actually living in the same small town as the people you’re trying to fool.

          In the case I was talking about, the spirit works in a rural area pretty much as a forest ranger for a land trust, so it’s not like she’s going to be seeing the same people over and over again every day, and she’s had over a century of laying the groundwork for this, so it’s a little easier to manage.

          I’ve had another series of stories where I took the traditional ‘shows their true forms in mirrors’ weakness of some shapeshifters, extended that to cameras, and as a result most of the shapeshifters in the modern day have had to form their own communities and do things like get allies working at the DMV to sneak faked photos onto driver’s licences. That’s been very much one of the ‘world restrictions write the plot’ sorts of story worlds.


          • The story’s set in 1973 so computerized everything isn’t as big a deal. If not for events in the story nobody in Pharisee Ga. had any reason to think the fictitious backstory would come under scrutiny.


              • Thanks. My inner writer often has to fight past my inner worldbuilder and inner editor to get anything done, sadly. The first story involving the land trust is only a few chapters in and I haven’t got to that part yet (and things are likely to push into X-rated territory at some point); the other one about the mirrors is a series of short stories that I write at when the inspiration hits.

                Liked by 2 people

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at

%d bloggers like this: