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Have a secret? Get it off the chest on Net

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SAM COATES   |   London   |   Published 23.05.05, 12:00 AM

London, May 23: It is more convenient than the confessional, more trustworthy than your best friend and infinitely more satisfying than keeping it to yourself.

A new Internet site has come up with the answer for everyone harbouring a grubby, unpleasant or even criminal secret that they have sworn never to reveal. It invites you to spill the beans to the world ? anonymously ? on the front of a postcard.

From the employee who lied about having a terminal illness because they wanted some sympathy, to the fan of reality television who deleted the Pope’s funeral from the programme recorder to make room for an episode of Survivor, contains bizarre, funny and disturbing revelations.

For the contributors it is cathartic. For voyeurs, it is a chance to feed on the misery, and despair ? or even creativity and mischievousness ? of unknown people. Some of the contributions are flippant.

“I donated $ 40 to the tsunami relief fund and now that I’m broke I regret it,” one postcard reads.

“I only pick up my dog’s [mess] when people are watching,” another says.

Others reveal fantasies. “I want to be kidnapped, stripped naked, then bound in clear wrap to a signpost in the middle of downtown ... and no one can set me free.”

Some reveal ingenuity and cunning. “I got a parking ticket and so did the car next to me. I replaced the ticket on the car next to me with mine. My ticket got paid. And the one I took?

“I mailed it to PostSecret.”

Some pose more questions than they answer. “Everyone who knew me before 9/11 believes I’m dead,” one says.

Whether or not the tales are true, from the response to the postings it seems that the eloquent, poignant and bitter comments have struck a chord with fans.

Several postings revealing deep depression and despair. “Sometimes I forget to buckle my seat belt because I want to crash and feel the pain. I think I deserve all of it ...,” one reads.

“I still haven’t told my father that I have the same disease that killed my mother,” another goes.

Many of the contributions are on beautifully produced postcards, specially designed for the site. The website was launched on January 1 by a man who identifies himself as Frank.

It appeals for contributions to be sent to German town, Maryland. It was initially aimed at the US, but postings have come from all over the world.

“Each secret can be a regret, hope, funny experience, unseen kindness, fantasy, belief, fear, betrayal, erotic desire, feeling, confession or childhood humiliation. Reveal anything ? as long as it is true and you have never shared it with anyone before,” the website says.

Its message board reveals how attached many people have become to the service in the past five months.


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