From 1996 through mid-2001 two individuals known as Dan Schulz and Scott Wirkus, aka "the Dan and Scott Show," and a group of associates calling themselves the "Phreak Army" or "Freak Army," conducted a cyberstalking and harassment campaign against me. Among the actions, some conducted by Schulz and Wirkus, others by individuals identifying themselves with the Phreak Army, and others by unknown individuals but coinciding with Phreak-associated peaks of harassment, were:
Phreak member Chad Kovac set up www.phreakarmy.org to redirect to my website. If the purpose of this was to make people believe I was responsible for their actions, it had no effect I could notice.
It's difficult to say how many people were in the Phreak Army; my best guess is that it had about ten long-term members, and pulled in perhaps another ten for brief periods of time. Nearly all of them referred to themselves as "generals" and often used paramilitary terminology on their web pages.
Schulz and Wirkus's mania is apparently associated with their desire to be regarded as celebrities; in their phone messages, they often talked about how famous they supposedly were, as if making me grant them recognition was vitally important to them. On several occasions, Phreaks either falsely represented me as a member of their gang or attempted to pressure me into joining it. Schulz and Wirkus made use of audio websites to broadcast their hostility, and were apparently actually able to find hosts that were willing to pay them to do this, thus feeding their delusion of fame. There were long periods, sometimes as much as six months, during which no harassment would occur; it would then start up again when Schulz and Wirkus found another website to run their "Dan and Scott Show" from. This is a rich area for psychological speculation, but I'd best leave that aside. Given their past patterns, it remains possible that they will resume their harassment campaign at some future date.
Of the various sites that have hosted Schulz and Wirkus in the past, I know of two that actually provided facilities for harassment. These were talkspot.com and eyada.com.
Talkspot.com provided the Phreaks with a message board on which they discussed their harassment campaigns. A representative of talkspot.com told me that since I had a web page, I was "in the public eye," and thus had forfeited my privacy rights.
Schulz and Wirkus used computer technology to piece together recordings of my voice into telephone threats while on the premises of Bob Meyrowitz's eyada.com, so it's likely that Meyrowitz's operation supplied them with the technology. Other sites hosted the perpetrators at various times, but these two are the ones which I know specifically provided facilities for harassment.
Eyada.com was no small-time chickenboner. It somehow raised millions of dollars from investors, occupied office space in the most expensive part of Manhattan, and went broke after a single year of operation. It must have been fun while it lasted -- but not for the investors whom Meyrowitz suckered.
In the early morning hours of October 18, 2000, "The Dan and Scott Show," operating as an entertainment feature of eyada.com, called a woman and made abusive and threatening comments to her. She was clearly disturbed and frightened, though trying hard to remain calm; the callers ignored her repeated requests to hang up and her threats to call the police. Afterwards, the callers seemed very pleased with the results.
They did not use their own voices for this call. They used clips of my voice, mostly from a 1996 recording of an occasion when I had been an unwilling recipient of a call from the same people. At the beginning of the call, they used a clip giving my name, thus falsely identifying themselves to the target. Pulling the clips out of context, they used my voice to charge her with having called them and to abuse her with groundless (having been pulled out of context and redirected) threats of legal action.
The woman was not an actress or other willing participant. She was, according to the audio file, a "phone whore" -- their dehumanizing term for someone who answers calls and provides sexual entertainment on a 900 number and certainly works under difficult conditions, whatever one may think of the practice. To her, the threats were real. To Schulz and Wirkus, they were a way to defame me. To Meyrowitz, they were a source of income.
Schulz and Wirkus made at least ten other abusive phone calls of a similar nature. Sometimes they targeted phone sex operators; more often they abused randomly dialed victims in the middle of the night, seeking to convince the victims that I had made the calls.
These acts of harassment and misrepresentation were broadcast by eyada.com, and later stored in their archives as entertainment. Highlights of the threatened broadcasts were made available separately on garymcgath.com, which was registered in England. (The Phreaks neglected to renew the registration of this domain, and I have since registered it for myself in order to prevent its further abuse.)
Usenet archives during the period of harassment include a number of forged messages (including forged spam) posted in my name by members of the Phreak gang, in an attempt at defamation (which they called "comedy"). In most or all cases, if you know me, it's easy to recognize them as forgeries.
Update, January 2005: I'm hoping this will be the final version of this page. There has been only one harassment incident since 2001 which I can attribute to the people discussed here, so I hope it isn't premature to reorganize this account into a historical perspective.
Update, June 2006: Sadly, Schulz and Wirkus remain obsessed with me, nearly ten years after their lunatic fixation began. Recently I received an illiterate email from gmail.com addressing me in the third person, declaring that the "freaks" (the Phreak Army) are "not gonna stop till everybody knows his name," and demanding that I "pick up the phone and make everything alright." This seems to mean that they've sunk into a fantasy existence where they imagine they're making phone calls to me and I'm failing to answer. At this point they don't even seem worth worrying about, but Schulz and Wirkus could still be forging my name to spam or threatening phone calls, as implied by the otherwise senseless threat to make everybody know my name.
Update, 2007: On the morning of April 25, Schulz or someone acting on his behalf made a feeble attempt to sign me up for his mailing list by forging my address. This failed, since he used a service that requires confirmation. The level of both his persistence and his ineptitude is staggering. In May a "Grandmaster Schulz" sock puppet made unspecified threats against me if I did not "repent of my sins and humbly beg admittance into the Worldwide Brotherhood of Pheaks." (sic) This was followed by a threat of legal action when I publicly posted the threat. Another vague ultimatum followed on June 14; this time the sender's address was email@example.com. Since Hushmail is an anonymizing service, this proves nothing about the sender's identity. I believe only one person is conducting the harassment at this point. The claim of renewed harassment of my mother was a lie, as she was and is beyond anyone's reach.
Update, 2011: Someone torrented the entire contents of my long out-of-print tape "Shrink Wrap Blues" to a pirate site, violating several copyrights besides my own, and attached the "Dan and Scott show"'s calling card in the comments. Their permanent obsession with me is surely inflicting more pain on them than I ever could.
Update, 2015: A Dan and Scott sock puppet sighted on Twitter.
Ongoing: Telephone-threat domain eyada.com continues to be renewed every year. The owner's identity is now hidden behind a Toronto-based privacy screen. I think Schulz and Wirkus have sunk into some anonymous gutter and don't matter any more, but people should never forget the way Meyrowitz blew millions of dollars of investors' money in a single year on a telephone-threat web site (getting office space in midtown Manhattan was part of how he accomplished this). Even if investors don't care that he's human scum, they should remember that he'll make their money disappear.
Schulz's lifelong obsession with me seems to have degenerated into a bored habit. He's permanently detached from reality, I'm afraid, but doesn't seem dangerous to anyone but himself.
Update, June 4, 2015: Twenty years after I refused their phone call, it appears that Schulz, Wirkus, or somebody associated with them is still after revenge. Two Twitter accounts have posted the false and libelous claim that in 1997 I ran over and killed four children. One account is called "Lance Manload," a name I don't recognize; the other is "Ken Rutkowski," at the time a spammer with Schulz and Wirkus's "Phreak Army." Update: A third variant has been posted by an account called "Dan And Scott." Curiously, these tweets can't even agree on what I'm supposed to have done.
People don't usually post demonstrably libelous fabrications under their own names, and Schulz and Wirkus have usually resorted to proxies or forgeries to attack me, so it's hard to tell what's going on; It seems strange that they'd have the guts to libel me openly using their own names. On the other hand, everything else points to them.
I still find their lifelong obsession with me bizarre. They're like little boys who kick cats and scrawl dirty claims on bathroom walls but who have never grown up. The more they're despised, the more they want revenge on a world that doesn't recognize them as great entertainers. The lies aren't going to do anything to me, but the obvious mental instability of the person(s) behind them is a concern.
November 2016: Someone broke into two accounts on the UK filk archive site to post a forged message and comments. The forged message said that I had died and was false in every other detail as well. It was signed by "Lance Manload" and claimed that Schulz was a friend of mine, and another message made a threat against the site. The same message was posted to Usenet.
December 3, 2016: Schulz and Wirkus's obsession has reached two full decades. In recent days, someone (most likely all the same person):
So far the people in Schulz and Wirkus's circle have never attempted physical contact with me or anyone I know, but this person is clearly deranged and unpredictable.
A personal note to "the Dan and Scott show": You've spent something like half your lives obsessing with me. You seem to think I'm responsible for your not being big name stars. Sorry, but I had nothing to do with it. Look in the mirror. All you can think of is getting back at the people who you imagine wouldn't let you have your dream — by striking at someone else, usually someone who has nothing to do with either of us. You've threatened random strangers in the middle of the night. Get some help, so you can finally move on with your lives.
Last updated May 19, 2019
|Return to Gary McGath's home page|