It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.

Please white-list or disable in your ad-blocking tool.

Thank you.


Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.


Iris Chang's Suicide

page: 1

log in


posted on Jan, 22 2008 @ 10:59 PM
Iris Chang. You may not have heard of her, but she was the one who originally piqued the public interest in the Asian atrocities and wrote one of the first books on the subject (in English), and was definitely the first book on the subject to become quasi-popular (sold about half a million copies).

I was reading about her death, and it seems not to add up. She was researching something big about the Bataan death march and was obviously very excited:

Getting ready for the trip [to Kentucky in hopes of gaining access to audiotapes sealed within a Bataan-era tank], Iris went into overdrive. "In the past, when Iris was working on something, she might work for 48 hours straight and then she would crash for 20 hours, and then she'd be back up, working again," Brett said. "But this time, I had assumed she was sleeping all day after working all night. But it turned out she wasn't sleeping during the day either. She was trying to be a top-notch mother and she was also trying to prepare for her trip."


Smith had been Iris' liaison in Wisconsin; another Proviso High teacher was to be her guide in Kentucky. But just before Iris left for Kentucky -- the last week of July 2004 -- a family emergency forced the teacher to cancel. Iris would be working solo. Her parents saw her off that morning. "She was very tired," her mother said. "She should not have gone."

By the time her plane landed in Louisville, she was overwhelmed by exhaustion and anxiety. She got from the airport to the hotel, but that was all she could do. Iris collapsed in bed. Soon she managed to call her mother.

"I knew Iris was not right," her mother said. "She couldn't eat or drink. She was very depressed." She asked if Iris had any friends there she could call for help. One of the veterans -- a colonel she had planned to meet in Louisville -- came to the hotel. Smith said the colonel spent only a short time with her. "She was afraid of him when he showed up," Smith said. "But he spoke to her mother on the phone and told Iris, 'Your mom is on the phone, so it's OK.' "

That afternoon, she checked herself in to Norton Psychiatric Hospital in Louisville, with help from the colonel. Through a third party, the colonel declined to be interviewed.

"First they gave her an antipsychotic, to stabilize her," her mother said. "For three days they gave her medication, the first time in her life." (The family would not name specific drugs.)


The problem is that it doesn't add up. Something happened between her departure and her arrival to Kentucky. It seems that she would be used to being overworked, as she would work for days straight anyway during her previous bouts of research. She ended up killing herself with an antique pistol that she bought the day previous. However, those working at the sports store where she bought her gun from said that she came frequently, as she was a collector of antique guns. Then she seemed afraid of the person she was supposed to interview. Then, she checks herself into a psychiatric hospital and is given drugs which are undisclosed.

She showed no telltale signs of suicide. Besides her "depression", which came suddenly, as her parents reportedly said that she had never had trouble with depression before, though she has had ups and downs. She was in the middle of an unfinished work! People who have a sense of purpose usually do not commit suicide. Interestingly enough, she left a pretty cryptic suicide note:

In next post

posted on Jan, 22 2008 @ 11:04 PM

Then she wrote a suicide note -- addressed to her parents, Brett and her brother -- followed by a lengthy revision. The first draft said: "When you believe you have a future, you think in terms of generations and years. When you do not, you live not just by the day -- but by the minute. It is far better that you remember me as I was -- in my heyday as a best-selling author -- than the wild-eyed wreck who returned from Louisville . . . . Each breath is becoming difficult for me to take -- the anxiety can be compared to drowning in an open sea. I know that my actions will transfer some of this pain to others, indeed those who love me the most. Please forgive me. Forgive me because I cannot forgive myself."

In the final version, she added: "There are aspects of my experience in Louisville that I will never understand. Deep down I suspect that you may have more answers about this than I do. I can never shake my belief that I was being recruited, and later persecuted, by forces more powerful than I could have imagined. Whether it was the CIA or some other organization I will never know. As long as I am alive, these forces will never stop hounding me. . .

"Days before I left for Louisville I had a deep foreboding about my safety. I sensed suddenly threats to my own life: an eerie feeling that I was being followed in the streets, the white van parked outside my house, damaged mail arriving at my P.O. Box. I believe my detention at Norton Hospital was the government's attempt to discredit me.

"I had considered running away, but I will never be able to escape from myself and my thoughts. I am doing this because I am too weak to withstand the years of pain and agony ahead."

This suggested that she committed suicide not because of depression, but out of fear. Immediately after she died, rumors arose that it was proof that her books were based on fake information!! Conspiracy? It said earlier in the article (sorry it seemed not to post right, I'll post it again), that she had "checked herself in" to the psychiatric hospital, but then she described it as "my detention"! That does not sound like she checked into there on her own free will.


I think she might have been onto something big, because she obviously seemed to think so. It would be something important enough that the government would deem it necessary to interfere with. She is an intelligent individual and this trait is probably the most obvious. It is obvious in the way she writes. It is obvious in her accomplishments. So what would make her believe that the CIA, which, by the way is an American agency, would be after her (as apposed to some Japanese agency who didn't want her exposing their past)?

Note: the source is just a pretty detailed while not too long summation of events leading up to her death as well as a short summary of her life. I am just pointing out the things that don't add up (this article can be regarded as the "official story", while it does probe a little. All in all, the article does not really ask any questions, but provides the facts.)

This is kind of a follow-up to my Holocaust post. It seems that the Holocaust may be used to distract from what happened in Asia.. but what? It seems that Iris Chang may have been close to finding that secret, but she died before she completed her work.

I think the most cryptic line is:

"There are aspects of my experience in Louisville that I will never understand."

Louisville was the place she was visiting to get those audiotapes from within the tank, and is also where she had her "breakdown", and , which is considered to be the trigger that caused her to go on the path towards suicide. What happened there?? Why are there aspects that she doesn't understand? What aspects?

[edit on 22-1-2008 by italkyoulisten]

posted on Jan, 22 2008 @ 11:26 PM
Please let me know if you can dig up anything about Iris Chang's death in relation to conspiracy. I did a little research on google, but it seems all the hits were the same things repeated, and they were all referencing "all these conspiracy theories" that came about after her death and that you should not believe them, but I cannot find any of the original theories so I can't see the other side of this argument.

There are many motives here. The Japanese government, for one, who had been attempting to hide this history for years, constantly attacked Chang, and to this day still deny the fact that they committed the atrocities. There were a lot of shady deals going down at the end of WWII between the Japanese and US governments, including deals that granted Japanese scientists who conducted human experimentation on a massive scale amnesty for their crimes. The fact that there were barely any serious war crime trials for the Japanese should be another tip off, as historically, the Japanese were more than on par with the Nazis in terms of generic "evil", and their atrocities were definitely comparable to the Holocaust, if not even more atrocious. However, so little is taught about them, and before Iris Chang's Rape of Nanking (1997), there were no serious, readily available texts going into the horrific details of the Asian Atrocities. There have been numerous attempts to discredit her since. She interviewed hundreds of survivors and veterans who were just waiting for their opportunity to tell their stories before they died. There are thousands of living survivors who still haven't gotten their chance to tell their story, and millions more never will, because they are already dead. Her sources include indisputable primary sources in the form of photos, diaries, recordings, videos, etc.

The US Government could also be involved also, as they were on the other end of the deals made with Japan after WWII.

[edit on 22-1-2008 by italkyoulisten]

posted on Jan, 29 2008 @ 05:42 AM
Great post! I don't have anything to add except I hope you continue with your research. This smells like an actual conspiracy. My sea lion senses are tingling!

posted on Jan, 29 2008 @ 08:50 AM
When I read articles about intelligent people go around doing research and then suddenly disappears one way or another by depression leading to apparent suicides (when originally the person was quite healthy), my gut feelings indicate there is hidden truth being discovered along the way and about to be ultimately revealed to the public via her books, for example.

I never heard of the Rape of Nanking (1997) until browsing the internet years ago. And I was surprised that incidences like those are left behind like forgotten memories if it weren’t for people like Irish Chang who reported what doesn’t always make mainstream headline news. I never imagined in my life that the war was that prolific to include mainland China and thought the war only isolated in and around the neighboring islands as popularized by history books.

Sniff, sniff: I smell conspiracy here. And Iris is so young to have her unfinished hard work behind, too!

posted on Jan, 30 2009 @ 11:02 PM
I briefly corresponded Iris Chang in 2004 just a few months before her death. I met her once and exchanged a few emails. I had no clue she felt the way she did or was going through what she claims. I am hoping to delve more into this as well. Please post anything that turns up in regards to her louiville stay, her treatment inside the hospital, etc.

posted on Mar, 15 2009 @ 07:32 AM
After Chang’s Rape of Nanking was published there was discussion about its academic reliability. That claim centered on the fact that the book lacked credible resource material. Although, that supposition really doesn’t apply in the case of RoN , which was largely a first person account of the event, Chang was profoundly hurt by the criticism. This was a very personal project for her as well as the millions of others who were knowledgeable of the atrocities that occurred in Nanking 1937.

When I was a sophomore in college (early ‘70s) I heard about the Nanking events for the first time in a Chinese history course. My “prof” was Chinese, and recounted the events that occurred there. I can’t remember whether or not he actually lived in Nanking 1937, but the anecdotes that he revealed about the atrocities the Japanese inflicted upon the residents of Nanking were shocking and loathsome.

Of course I can not speak for the reason why Chang committed suicide, but just on the fact that her credibility and reputation as a journalist, historian and the cultural burden of being implicated as an intellectual fraud was too overwhelming her.

posted on Dec, 12 2012 @ 03:11 AM
Mystery things must have happened while Iris was in Louisville; meeting a mystery Colonel who she was very scared of, being treated mysteriously in Norton Hospital with mysterious medications; her coordinating guy Ian Smith was mysteriously not with her on this special trip to get to the mysterious audio tapes. Check out hemingway-and-iris-chang/25854 for similarities between the 2 apparent suicides. Iris suspected CIA or higher organization to be behind the deliberate plot at the Louisville hotel. I think she had been drugged on her flight; something extremely bad had done while she collapsed in the hotel (Colonel Kelly?); that she felt so ashamed of herself afterwards....she could not forgive herself, and did not want her son, Chris, to know her as the "wild-eyed whack" from Louisville (her farewell notes). What was she hiding from us till the end? Who is Colonel Kelly? I now know that the torture tapes stored in Louisville is top security for USA for its involvement in WW2...the Bataan Death March. So the plot was to drive her crazy somehow & led her to commit suicide? or Was she there to meet someone mysterious with an antique gun to protect herself? She wanted to maintain a nice image after death; she had been browsing websites to commit suicide....but to draw a gun inside her mouth for sure was not pretty at all. Her behavior after the Louisville trip had been strange, (even her 2 age old son, Chris, could notice);....but not desperate enough to kill herself that way. There were cover-ups & many un-answered questions to her "logical" death. It was easy to frame her after Minnie Vautrin, also from Illinos, who committed suicide as well.
WHO KILLED IRIS CHANG? thread328697/pg1 hemingway-and-iris-chang/25854

top topics


log in