Unspeakable Times

'The Woman Who Wasn't There' Tells The Shocking Story Of A 9/11 Survivor Who Wasn't All She Seemed

While it's now considered history to younger students, the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on September 11, 2001, are moments permanently etched in Americans' minds. Most everyone can tell you exactly what they were doing when they heard about the events, and many who lost loved ones can recall the day in excruciating detail. 2,753 people lost their lives at the World Trade Center alone, and tens of thousands of survivors still live with physical and psychological health problems. The idea that someone would pretend to be involved in such a horrifying event is both shocking and distasteful - but one woman did exactly that.

Alicia Esteve Head - known primarily by her alias, Tania Head - was a graduate student in Barcelona during the events of 9/11. Despite not even being in New York City at the time, she joined the World Trade Center Survivors' Network and told a dramatic story of being severely injured and losing her fiancé. Although this tale won her sympathy and friendship, those close to her - and reporters - started to sense something wasn't right. Her narrative wasn't always consistent, and after The New York Times opened up an investigation, people learned Tania Head's story was completely fabricated.

Her ruse was conveyed in the documentary The Woman Who Wasn't There. Head's then-friend Angelo J. Guglielmo Jr. directed and produced the movie, and he originally intended to showcase the lives of survivors. He had to change tactics when Head's true story came out.

Like the documentary Mommy Dead And Dearestthe movie delves into a web of intricate lies and speculates about the motivation behind such harmful deceit. Trauma - especially collective grief - can make people act out in a strange manner, and Tania Head appears to be no exception.