Are you a Kansas woman who pulls out her eyelashes instead of taking anxiety meds? Are you an Arizona pedophile who's sitting outside of an elementary school right now? Are you a racist who's ready to take back America from the black and Hispanics -- by force? Your darkest secrets are safe with Sarah Griffin. Probably.
The 26-year-old Lenexa woman runs the addictive website Secrets I Never Told
with her boyfriend. Online since March, the site is a collection of
supposedly true human depravity and pathos, posted anonymously by users
around the world.
Since the release of the Secrets I Never Told: The Book
-- a hard copy compilation of the best/worst posts and some
never-before-published submissions -- and related local media attention,
the website has experienced a spike in confessions (self-reportedly) coming
from Missouri and Kansas.
The concept isn't new, but as Griffin told me, her forum differs from, say, PostSecret.com, because "you don't have to be especially deep, poetic, or artistic to have your secret posted. Secrets I Never Told shows the raw, uncut feelings, thoughts, and actions of everyday normal people."
Normal is a relative term. A lot of the confessions on Griffin's site are pretty messed up. Here's a sampling from the site's WTF section:
Please stop getting mad at me when I laugh when you mention your annoying dog getting run-over. I know I did it...but you don't. -- Laughter 2.0 (Anonymous male from Missouri)
I have sex with my journalism teacher at least 3 times a week. I'm in 11th grade...and go to private school. -- Bad Student (Anonymous male from Kansas)
I'm a single mom struggling with money. I received an offer from an
older man the other day. He will travel here, and I will be with him for
2-3 days twice a month. Did I mention I will make $4,000/month, not
counting gifts I will be given and getting to travel all expenses paid? --crazy or great opportunity? (Anonymous female from Kansas)
Although Griffin says IP addresses are never traced, a truly alarming post could still result in a call to the cops. In an interview with Mix 93.3 FM on December 6, Griffin alluded to an ongoing criminal investigation that involved a submission to the site. Via e-mail this week, she told me, "Although we have extremely limited information about who and where the secret originated from, we have alerted the authorities in certain situations."
That's probably a necessary policy, but there's no related warning on the site or even a statement from the creators expressing that they don't want crazy yarns from pranksters. There's just this explanation in the About Us section:
"We prefer secrets that are short, sweet, and to the point. No stories
please. Anonymity is the key. We don't want secrets that have a name or a
specific place; you wouldn't want anyone to figure out that it was you.
We do, however, want secrets no matter how big, small, politically
incorrect, or illegal."