This big book debunks, in meticulous detail, and with profuse sources, the Billy the Kid imposter hoaxes of “Brushy Bill” Roberts; John Miller; the “Billy the Kid Case” forensic DNA hoax; and the Cold Case Billy the Kid megahoax, which combined them all.
This book exposes Billy the Kid imposters: tricksters hijacking his identity and history as a shortcut to fame and fortune. Madmen, imposters, charlatans, hoaxers, hucksters, forgers, windbags, and wannabes, they make a pathetic and unsavory lot; whose eventual championing by a corrupt, self-promoting, 21st century, New Mexico governor gave them access to the world stage. All insulted legitimate historical investigation. That makes this book a study of lying, from delusional to malicious; matched with the gullibility of hoodwinked victims.
More profoundly, this book is a testament to the actual history unknown to those pretenders: a Territory-wide freedom fight against the deadly Santa Fe Ring political cabal, that culminated in the Lincoln County War Battle, which made a grass-roots hero of young, charismatic, bi-cultural zealot, Billy Bonney; and marked him for killing as the mythologized outlaw Billy the Kid.
It is also a demonstration that historical research is both a science and an art, requiring the skill to find correct data, and the ability to analyze it to decipher events’ meaning. The historical hoaxers covered here, trying to mimic investigations, demonstrate just how hard it is to uncover fact as opposed to foisting fiction.
This book is also a manual for hoaxbusting, illustrating the extremity of labor needed to sleuth and expose chicanery this massive. Nothing can be taken for granted, since, at this level of profiteering and sociopathy, no claimed source can be accepted as accurate, no document is above being forged, fallacious straw man reasoning and fake conspiracy theories substitute for evidence, and truths are hidden. The conniving promulgators, assembled here, rely on a normal reader’s trust in authoritative information beyond their knowledge. But here, readers are hoaxers’ victim-dupes, cynically sold flimflam, disguised as historical discoveries with attention-grabbing claims.