Editor’s Note: Jacob deNobel sent me this email on Friday night about an hour after I promised to spread Spelunker’s identity across the internet. What do you think?
Hello, I’m Jacob deNobel, and after everything that’s happened over the past few days, I thought I would try and reach out. (HW: Within an hour of threatening to spread Spelunker’s identity around the internet, you sent me this email, which tells me that you are constantly reading this website.)
Just to start and be clear, I’m not Spelunker, and before a couple of months ago, never heard of him. (HW: Maybe.)
I do understand that my word probably doesn’t mean a lot to you, but I would appreciate if you could acknowledge the uphill battle I have to fight to prove I’m not a man who has made himself anonymous. How do you even do that, outside of a he-said/she-said? (HW: That’s why I sat so long on this information. There was always the chance you are not Spelunker.)
I had figured if I just kept a low-profile, this would all blow over, but between the SPLC contacting me today and your recent post warning Spelunker that you’re going to post my info everywhere, I’m hoping that reaching out to you will help.
I would really like to try my best to argue that I’m not the guy you think I am.
I’ve seen the comments of your “Who is Spelunker” article, and I know you have a tiny bit of doubt that you’ve got the right guy. (HW: I’m not absolutely sure, but the evidence suggests you are the right guy.) I’d like to put forth enough evidence for you to begin to doubt fully and go through with your test of my identity.
First, a bit of backstory to explain some of the attached screenshots and photos I made. (HW: Spelunker is also fond of screenshots.) As someone whose work with the Carroll County Times goes online on a daily basis, I do a lot of Googling myself.
Aug. 1, while trying to find a story I wrote (HW: None of your screenshots are from August.), I came across the Stormfront thread claiming that I’m Spelunker. I was rather surprised by this and spent the next couple of hours trying to figure out how the heck they connected me to this guy. I didn’t find much, but I found the other thread of some photos of me from high school from my Myspace which hadn’t been updated since I graduated. It was then that I deleted my Myspace. Nothing came out of it, and things were quiet so I didn’t pay too much attention to it.
Things next popped up in September when you Tweeted the link to the CCTimes Letter to the Editor to me. I browsed through your Twitter page just to figure out what was going on, and that’s when I noticed you had been Tweeting facts about me — like my RoboCop costume — to the Spelunker Twitter. This gave me a little pause, so I sent an email to the Spelunking blog email (HW: You could easily send an email to your own other email account and take a screenshot of it.), and later that day I also sent a Direct Message to his Twitter account (HW: If you have two Twitter accounts, you could also tweet yourself.), which you had tagged as well. I’ve attached screenshots of both this email and this tweet of my confusion.
The next day, I received a call on my work phone from Daryle Jenkins of the One People’s Project (HW: That’s interesting because it proves you are connected to DLJ.) who said he was sorry to hear about the case of mistaken identity. He told me Spelunker asked him to contact me. He told me they had never heard of me and Spelunker wanted to continue to remain anonymous. (HW: If Spelunker is truly concerned about you suffering on account of his actions, he would claim ownership of his own blog and stop harassing people.) Then he said if I ran into any trouble, I could give him a call. The next day, he sent me a request to connect on LinkedIn which I didn’t accept (I have included a screenshot of this. Note the date is exactly one day after your initial tweet at me). (HW: I’m not connected to all kinds of people who I known on LinkedIn. So what?)
I kept an eye on your Twitter and blog and Spelunker’s blog just to make sure my name didn’t keep coming up, and I was frankly relieved when I saw you were planning on testing the theory that I’m Spelunker, because literally any test at all will exonerate me. If you’re still holding out, please do the test. I insist. (HW: The test was delayed due to an unforeseen turn of events.)
So I’ve been regularly Googling myself to make sure this didn’t keep popping up, and when your “Who Is Spelunker” article came up I called Daryle Jenkins to see if Spelunker would reveal himself now that I’m taking the heat for him. He said Spelunker couldn’t do that (HW: It’s strange that he is so concerned about you, but not concerned enough to take ownership of his own blog.) (which didn’t make a lot of sense to me, since his anonymity is coming at the expense of my own) but he would call the SPLC to see if there was anything they could do.
Today I got a call from the SPLC telling me they were going to be posting an expose of Boy Howdy (HW: Why would the SPLC expose BoyHowdy now except to retaliate against him?), who they said was the first to post my information. They asked me for a quote to go along with the story, and I told them I just wanted to stay out of it. (HW: If you wanted to stay out of it, why bring further heat on yourself by having them post their article?) I have no dog in this fight and don’t want to be quoted. I saw the post go up, and I noticed there was an error (they referred to me as Jewish, which I’m not) so I called the number from earlier today to ask them to change that. You’ll notice an edit was made around 6:45 or so.
That’s my long story, but there are a couple of things I want to highlight seem to suggest, if not definitively prove, I’m not Spelunker. I hope this doesn’t make me look too crazy, but I am a reporter and digging through a ton of info for inconsistencies is what we do for a living. All of this info has come from me browsing through Spelunker’s blog and Twitter, and occasionally searching for “Spelunker” or “Jacob” on Stormfront or your own website just to make sure they’re not popping up too often. I was content to let this stew in the background, because it really hasn’t affected me in real life yet, but comments like “If there is an ugly ending, well, that’s on him” make me want to clear this up.
1: If Daryle and I have been acquaintances for years, why would he try to connect literally the day after I first heard of you? (HW: I’ve known all kinds of people for years … who just recently added me on Facebook. So what?)
2: If you search for me online — a lot of my info is public — you’ll find that I’ve been a Carroll County resident literally my entire life. I grew up here. I live here now, and I work here. I did a few searches on Spelunker’s blog and he has never once mentioned the county or anywhere near where I live. I’m an hour outside of Baltimore City, where his blog says he’s based (HW: Spelunker claims to live in Baltimore, but his IP address indicates he lives closer to Pennsylvania.), and much of his writing covers Frederick, Baltimore and Anne Arundel County. As one of the most conservative counties in the state, I imagine he would easily find things to write about here, but never has, because likely (HW: I could write about all kinds of things in SE Alabama, but I prefer to write about national issues.), he doesn’t know about what’s going on here.
3: I do work as a full-time reporter, and have neither the time, nor inclination to go around harassing folks. We work late hours at the paper, and many of Spelunker’s blog posts have been made while I’m in the office. I will gladly give you to my local editor who approves my time cards to show that I’m busy working when a lot of his posts go up. (HW: I can edit the settings of this post to publish it anytime I wish.)
Most recently, you’ll see Spelunker posted a blog post at 10:34 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 4 — election day — in an article that mentions you. If you check the Carroll County Times Facebook page, you’ll find a post “Have you voted today? Did you have to wait or was it a smooth process?” that was posted at 11:06 a.m. and features live reporting from me from the polls that morning. From 8:30 to 10:40 a.m. I was out at Carroll County polling places talking to our residents about the races they were interested in and trying to get back for an 11 a.m. deadline. There’s no way I would have had the time or inclination to run back, post a blog post as Spelunker (even if it was pre-written) (HW: WordPress can publish this post anytime I wish.) and then write my Carroll County Times story and post directly on the web all by 11.
4: This is a little less tangible, since you don’t actually know me, but I think it comes across in my writing and social media presence. I’m a friendly dude. (HW: Spelunker also claims to “love” us.) I don’t go around bugging people, even those I don’t agree with. I know you know that we probably don’t politically agree on much, but haranguing people just isn’t my style. Anyone who knows me would tell you that I avoid conflict just about as much as possible, and I’m all about finding common ground with folks, not insulting or making fun of them. (HW: This proves nothing. All kinds of people live multiple lives due to internet anonymity.) Even my LinkedIn page which you guys found says “Everything I do, both in my personal and professional life, revolves around connecting with others and trying to make the world a better, or at least friendlier, place.” Does that really sound like Spelunker who seems to go out of his way to poke you guys with a stick every chance he gets. Like I said, honestly you and I don’t have much in common politically, but I’m not Spelunker’s biggest fan either. First of all, his anonymity is coming at the expense of my own, which does not endear him to me, secondly, he seems to be more interested in attacking you guys or bothering folks than building something positive. Like I said, this point is less tangible, but honestly, if you read the tone of anything I’ve published under my own name, I think you’ll see we’re not the same kind of person. (HW: I’m sure most WNs strike a different tone too in real life when they are not posting under an anonymous pseudonym on the internet.)
5: On the Twitter front, Spelunker just began his Twitter account in April of this year despite blogging since 2013. I began Tweeting in May of 2013. If that was the time I decided to get a personal Twitter account, wouldn’t it have made sense for me to also start one for my new blog? (HW: Spelunker has a Twitter account. Maybe you are just too busy, as you say?)
We also share no Twitter followers nor do we follow any of the same people (even entertainers like Stephen Colbert which Spelunker follows and I do not). (HW: This is nothing unusual: lots of WNs maintain two Facebook accounts.) Wouldn’t I be able to convince at least one of my real life friends to following my writing on my Spelunker account? Another Twitter difference between the two of us, is that I use tinyurl to shrink down urls to be postable at 140 characters (https://twitter.com/Jacob_deNobel/status/491314731630596096), while Spelunker posts urls in their entirety.
5: Going through Spelunker’s archives, he got his start posting almost exclusively about goings-on on the Towson University campus, before branching out afterwards. This says to me, he likely was a TU student in 2013 who graduated that year and began blogging more often. (Not necessarily. It proves he first took an interest in Matt Heimbach before branching out to others WNs.)
This last piece might seem a little over-the-top, but I think it’s the most telling. I’m a writer at heart and have a vested interest in questions of grammar and style. If you look at the attached screenshots, I’ve highlighted grammatical quirks that are unique to Spelunker and myself and where we differ. (HW: If you are so grammar conscious, you could also deliberately change your grammar style in your posts.)
1: Any journalist who writes for a newspaper knows you never place punctuation inside a quotation mark. Check the AP Style handbook. If you look through my stories, or the attached screenshots, you’ll find that I’ve never placed a comma, question mark or period outside of a quotation mark; however, Spelunker does it every time he uses them and isn’t copy/pasting someone else’s content.
2: Spelunker uses the abbreviation OK, while I use the spelled out version of “okay.”
3: One of the biggest grammar battles is the fight over the use of the oxford comma (the comma placed before the final item in a series as in the sentence “I bought bananas, apples, and milk.” Again, AP style demands that reporters never use the oxford comma. The habit was whipped out of me in my journalism courses in college, and I haven’t used one in years. Spelunker again, uses the oxford comma.
I’ve seen your comments (again, I’ve been doing a lot of self-stalking since this whole thing started) that say that it was Stormfront who made the connection because of a Google Voice call into a radio show that had my name attached. (HW: Yes, that’s the only way The White Voice and Stormfront could have ever connected you to Spelunker.) This baffled me at first, but I did some research and found that Google switching numbers and names for their users is a common problem with the system. https://productforums.google.com/forum/#!topic/voice/aYfoXMOFrtg
https://productforums.google.com/forum/#!topic/voice/90MaJuq9CB8. For Google Voice, you choose an area code and Google selects the rest, but they have had issues in the past of selecting numbers that are already in use. The Carroll County area code is wide enough to cover almost all of Maryland, including Baltimore City and the rural areas where I am. (HW: It is possible that Google Voice could have reassigned your number to Spelunker. It is also possible that Verizon could reassign my cell phone number to another Southern Nationalists. It is EXTREMELY UNLIKELY though.) The Jacob connection is slightly more coincidental (HW: Spelunker chose to post as “Jacob” on the Hatewatch blog.), but it also has been the one of the most popular name for boys for quite a few years running.
If you still have the audio from that radio show, there are clips on YouTube from my college courses which feature my voice http://youtu.be/b25oLATzeNU?t=36s and if you listen to them side-by-side with the radio call-in (HW: I know WNs who change their voice while doing radio interviews to protect their anonymity), I’d be willing to guess that they don’t sound like the same guy.
Again though. please, whatever you’re big piece of proof test is, do it. I have no fear of it, because it will prove Spelunker is not me. I’d really like to not be worried about people coming to get me for something I didn’t do.
Here’s a guide to the attached screenshots:
OriginalTweets: The Tweet you made to me that first got my attention
First email: My email to Spelunker back before I knew anything about him
TwitterMessages: My Direct Message to Spelunker that I sent the evening I sent the email
LinkedInRequest: Darryle Jenkins requesting to connect on LinkedIn the day after I email Spelunker
Outside Punctuation: An example of Spelunker placing a comma outside of quotation marks
Inside Punctuation: Example of me placing question marks inside quotation marks
More inside punctuation: Me placing commas and periods inside quotation marks
OK: Spelunker using the abbreviation OK
Okay: Me using the spelled out version of okay
Oxford comma: Spelunker using the Oxford comma before “and”
No Oxford comma: My lack of Oxford comma before “and”
I’ve been working on this for a while, collecting information in case I ever needed it. Like I said, I was happy to stay quiet and out of it (HW: If you wanted to stay out of it, why didn’t you tell the SPLC not to run the story on BoyHowdy?), but both sides seem to keep pushing the issue and forcing me to the forefront again (HW: Spelunker and his associates continue to push the issue.). I’d really like to wash my hands of this whole situation. Like I said to the SPLC. I don’t want anything to do with this. You’ve seen my Twitter. I just want to tweet about movies and not have to worry about people thinking I’m someone I’m not. (HW: How many readers of this blog write about their ideological beliefs at their day job?)
I do hope you consider this evidence. If you have any questions or want anything clarified, please email this address, I’ll do my best.