I frequently correspond with abuse victims and survivors over social media and via email, but every once in a while, I receive a communication from an abuser. Sometimes, it’s a situation where the abuser is repentant, and wants advice on how to get help. Other times, it’s just utterly bizarre and disturbing, and I report it to the police.
Such was the case in early May.
The police have told me that they believe the IP addresses that the following emails originated from were likely spoofed. However, in case the victim in question is a real person, I’m changing her name to “Mary Smith.” I’ve also changed a few other minor details that could be identifying, for her protection.
On May 2, I received the following email:
Hi Jennifer! My name is Fredrik. I live in Sweden. I have a prayer request. Please pray for Mary Smith’s salvation. Mary Smith also lives in Sweden. Mary Smith needs to be saved and come to faith in Jesus Christ. God has laid a burden on my heart to pray for Mary Smith. Pray for Mary Smith to become married to a God fearing man that will become her husband. The Lord gave me a dream some time ago and in the dream an anagram of Mary’s name was shown to me. The anagram of Mary Smith in the dream was Mary Smith. Mary is the Swedish name for Mary. Smith is the Swedish word for True. Smith is the Welsh name of John. Smith means Godly. True means true. John means God is gracious. Mary’s middle name is Grace and Grace means God’s grace. Putting it all together: Anagram of Mary Smith = Godly True God’s grace. Mary’s middle name = Grace = God’s Grace. Maybe Mary Smith needs continuous prayers if you have the opportunity to pray for her continuosly I will be very grateful. I will continue to pray for Mary Smith. I care about Mary Smith. I thank you for everytime you take the time to pray for Mary Smith … God bless you! Best regards Fredrik
This email concerned me, and I wondered if Mary knew she had a stalker. Even if she did, an email like this might help her convince a judge to issue a restraining order. I traced the IP, and it pointed to a city in Sweden. I decided to contact Swedish authorities, but since I don’t speak Swedish, that proved difficult. I was able to network with a few friends who speak Swedish (you know who you are, thank you!), and they told me where to forward the emails, which I did.
I figured, if someone knew I had a stalker, I’d want them to go above and beyond to help me. I wasn’t sure how long it would take Swedish law enforcement to respond, if they ever read my email at all, and I wanted Mary to be warned ASAP. I worried this guy could be hanging around her, acting harmless, when in fact, he’s a total nutcase. Thankfully, her real name isn’t overly common. In fact, I only found five women in Sweden with her name on Facebook. I messaged each one a brief introduction and said I’d had a message from a potential stalker, and then crossed my fingers hoping one of them was the right person.
On May 4, I received this email via my website:
Hi! I did get a message from you from Messenger (Facebook) regarding that you are worried that I have a stalker. This because you get a lot of email from a Fredrik in Sweden who writes to you and explain his obsession and dreams about me. I don’t want to have contact with you on Messenger if it’s not the real you who has sent me the message. I just want to make sure that it is you who tried to contact me on Messenger? And if it is, can you please send me the emails that he have sent to you? And if it’s not you, someone have hacked your account to get to me. Best regards, Mary
I was relieved to receive this. I’d been concerned that the right Mary might not even be on Facebook, or if she was, might not check her messages regularly. I thought it was strange she wouldn’t respond via Messenger, and I was disappointed not to know which Mary Smith she was (because I’d messaged five), but I blew it off. After all, if she’s got a stalker like Fredrik, she has every reason to be cautious.
Out of curiosity, I traced her IP address, and it pointed to the same city in Sweden which Fredrik’s pointed to. So, now I knew they were close, and my concern increased. I replied and forwarded her the weird message Fredrik had sent me about her.
Then I received this reply via Mary’s email address, saying:
Tue, May 5, 2020 at 3:02 AM Fredrik Åkare wrote:
Hi Jennifer! Thanks you for your response. This is actually Mary’s friend. She did not want to leave her personal e-mail just incase. We know who this guy is and have done so for a couple of years. He has only met Mary one time and after that farfetched “anagram” he seems to be kind of obsessed with her … What made you worried with the text? What do you think he is implying? I am trying to make sense of this guy, if he is truly dangerous. I work in law enforcement but this guy is basically non existing in our records. Thank you! Gary
This left me a bit befuddled. Firstly, the email was under the name “Fredrik,” and secondly … he works in law-enforcement and that fruitcake email didn’t send up red flags to him? How could anyone not see how stalker crazy it sounded?
I showed Jason (my husband) the emails and he immediately suspected someone was messing with my head. I agreed, but decided to draw out the conversation, just in case we were wrong, and in case the sender revealed anything further about themselves which I could report to law enforcement.
I wrote back to “Gary” AKA “Fredrik” AKA “Mary:”
Hi Gary. Gmail says your name is Fredrik Akare? What concerned me about his original email is the repetition of her full name over and over. Also, the fact that he seems to think he’s getting messages from God about Mary. He sounds delusional … It also concerns me that he seems obsessed with Mary finding a husband … I don’t know what your laws are like in Sweden. If you were in Texas, I’d recommend a restraining order. Effectively, what that would do is, if Fredrik were to continue contacting her, show up at her home or work, or corner her somewhere, the police would be able to arrest him for violating the restraining order. And of course, if Fredrik is mentally ill, he needs medical care. I highly recommend getting law enforcement involved … this guy’s email is sending off a lot of red flags. Be very careful! Jenn
Not long after, “Gary” AKA “Fredrik” AKA “Mary” replied:
Tue, May 5, 2020 at 9:05 AM Fredrik Åkare wrote:
Hi. My real name is Gary. This is not my main e-mail either. The name Fredrik Åkare is a character from a swedish song and in this case just an unlucky coincidence … The thing right now is that he has not been in contact with Mary for the past like three years or something … I’ve been looking him up and talking it over with my boss but the fact that he hasnt been in contact with her for a couple of years makes it impossible for us to act. But i am keeping a close eye on Mary and our surroundings. Thank you for your response and concern. Gary
Out of curiosity, I Googled the name “Fredrik Åkare.” He is indeed a fictional character in a Swedish folk song. In fact, he’s an “old man” who has a sexual relationship with a 16-year-old girl. If you’re familiar with my history of surviving child abuse, you may recall that’s around the age I was when I was propositioned by a pastor named Gary.
So, at this point, I was 95% certain someone was messing with me, but also fearful that if I was wrong, this woman in Sweden could be in danger, and her friend Gary seemed absolutely useless to protect her.
I decided to go ahead and take what information I had to the police. They believe the IP addresses these emails originated from were likely spoofed. They said it sounds like someone is sending me fake emails to upset and harass me, and they’ve advised me to block and ignore all such communications.
I am following their advice, which is why you won’t see me replying to false accusations and trolls online. I suppose this blog is a break from that standard, but it’s been such a bizarre experience, I wanted to write about it! And these are only a few of the strange emails I’ve received since my book came out. Don’t get me wrong, I have no regrets, and would do everything again tomorrow … but my goodness there are some weirdoes out there!
Today, on June 2, exactly one month after receiving the original message, I received this email:
Hello Jennifer! My name is Fredrik and I live in Sweden. I have a prayer request because I want to serve God the best I can. Please pray for Mary Smith’s salvation. Mary Smith also lives in Sweden. Mary Smith needs to be saved and come to faith in Jesus Christ. God has laid a burden on my heart to pray for Mary Smith. Pray for Mary Smith to become married to a God fearing man that will become her husband. The Lord gave me a dream some time ago and in the dream an anagram of Mary’s name was shown to me. The anagram of Mary Smith in the dream was Mary Smith. Mary is the Swedish name for Mary. Smith is the Swedish word for True. Smith is the Welsh name of John. Smith means Godly. True means true. John means God is gracious. Mary’s middle name is Grace and Grace means God’s grace. Putting it all together: Anagram of Mary Smith = Mary Smith = Godly True God’s grace. Mary’s middle name = Grace = God’s grace. Maybe Mary Smith needs continuous prayers if you have the opportunity to pray for her continuosly I will be very grateful. I will continue to pray for Mary Smith. I care about Mary Smith. I thank you for everytime you take the time to pray for Mary Smith. God Bless! Fredrik
Be careful out there, y’all! Creepers gonna creep!