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ΑρχικήEnglish EditionThe death of someone who never existed: the Mania Tekou case 

The death of someone who never existed: the Mania Tekou case 

By Evi Tsakali,

It was on the 9th of April that Mania Tekou’s death was announced via her Facebook profile. As explained through the words of her husband, Bruno, she died due to cancer. The Greek media mourned the renowned economist and philanthropist that they had met only in the digital sphere. But Mania had not died due to cancer; she was killed by her own creator. Because Mania had never existed…

Who was Mania Tekou?

To be honest, I had never heard of Mania Tekou before she vanished in thin air. Here is a brief description of who she was (or, at least, who she claimed she was): she was born on July 12, 1967. She talked about social sciences (her favorite occupation was to comment on college professors’ posts and debate on a variety of issues), wine, her amazing Basque husband, Bruno, who “cooked the best onion soup”, and his mother, who was a French countess. Her husband was supposed to be a member of the international jet-set and was recently appointed a special mission by the United Nations, which he insisted that he would serve pro bono (oh so generous). Mania herself was working for a corporate in Bilbao besides being an active entrepreneur in Athens, and the couple was supposed to be moving to Switzerland soon.

Mania was perfect in every way: the perfect daughter, mother, and wife, with the perfect studies and career. She ran 20km a day, she knew literally everyone; scientists, academics, politicians, humanitarian practitioners… If someone knew Nelson Mandela, that would be Mania Tekou. Her detailed posts described, in perfectly (again) polished Greek, how she was joining crucial missions for international organizations, meeting crucial people, accepting crucial positions, tackling crucial issues, being crucial, and in general, living the crucial life.

image source: https://www.protothema.gr/greece/article/1114319/penthos-sto-facebook-apeviose-i-anuparkti-mania-tekou/

How did we find out it was a scam?

During the first few hours after Tekou’s death announcement, her Facebook profile was filled with condolences’ posts from a plethora of journalists, academics, and intellectuals… when the moment of realization came. All of the posts made statements like “too bad I never met you in person”, or “so sad we never grabbed a coffee in Athens”, until someone commented, “Is there anyone who had actually met her in person?”. There was no answer, nobody had ever actually met Mania Tekou and there was nobody who had a picture with her. All of a sudden, things became very suspicious. Before anyone could react, the account was deleted, and with it, all of the potential evidence. Mania Tekou was a scam, a fake profile, a bad prank taken too far.

Who is behind Mania Tekou?

The question that still lingers in our minds is who could have created this persona that fooled the intellectuals of the Greek digital sphere… Some claim it is only one person, because of the consistency in the vocabulary and the content of the posts. Others claim it is a group of people because of the time the management of such a profile demands. Possibilities could range from a narcissistic person seeking validation on social media for something they are not (or maybe they wished to be) to a group of academics conducting a social experiment. Someone could add the probability of the Mania Tekou case being an example of the Mandela effect, given that the profile has now been erased and there is no solid evidence that it ever existed. Personally, I am very tempted to learn the answer and I hope that the creator(s) will reveal their intentions soon… Until then, we ought to acknowledge the ingeniousness of their plan as well as how it showed very audaciously how we have shifted the emphasis on our “digital” lives and how we blindly trust everything we see in it, despite its apparent excessiveness. 

P.S.: And remember, the greatest lie ever been told, is the one closest to the truth.

Further reading (in fact, listening): 

Πολιτάκης, Δημήτρης (Ηχητικά Άρθρα). “Mania Tekou: Όταν αποκαλύπτεται ότι το προφίλ της «φίλης» μας ήταν μούφα”. Lifo Podcasts. https://www.lifo.gr/podcasts/hxhtika-arthra/mania-tekou-otan-apokalyptetai-oti-profil-tis-filis-mas-itan-moyfa



Evi Tsakali
Evi Tsakali
She was born in 2001 in Athens, Greece. She has graduated from Sorbonne Law School (Université de Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne) while completing her studies in Political Science and Public Administration at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens. She is currently studying for her Master’s in European Interdisciplinary Studies at the College of Europe in Natolin (Warsaw), majoring in EU in the World and writing her thesis on the rise of Golden Dawn in Greece in the context of the financial crisis. She has been writing for Offline Post since October 2020, while pursuing internships in her fields of studies, including -among others- one in the Press and Media Office of the Greek Ministry for Foreign Affairs and one in the Political Office of the Greek Embassy in Paris.