Head appeared as one of a handful of people who claimed to be on a floor above the point of explosion in the south tower, a factor -- as clearly distinct from a 'fact' as could be -- that made her story all the more remarkable, although 'incredible' would perhaps be a better choice of word.
Much of her account was posted on an Internet message board, oft-times the places that such legends are born, a message board that just happened to be the web site of the World Trade Center Survivors’ Network. It was for the Survivors Network that Head served in no lesser role than president handling, among other things, corporate donations.
Terror has always been very good for various business interests and, if the example of Head is anything to go by, very good for self-aggrandisement and self-publicity.
Along the way, Head variously claimed to have lost her fiance, Dave, or her husband by the same name, depending on which lie she was telling. She claimed to have an undergraduate degree from Harvard and a business degree from Stanford. However, neither college had any record of her attendance. Head claimed to work for Merrill Lynch, but Merrill Lynch didn't have any record of her employment either. Head claimed many other things too, all of which were little more than embellishments to the great lie.
Ultimately, it was the wealth of conflicting stories sprayed forth by Head's loose lips that would be her undoing, just as soon as anyone bothered to try and verify any of them. It is a sad reflection on the state of the modern corporate news media that it wasn't until the New York Times finally checked and blew open Head's flimsy cover as late as September 2007 that the veracity and authenticity of her story began to be challenged by other survivors.
In all it took six years before Jennifer Adams, chief executive of the September 11th Families’ Association, acknowledged, "At this time, we are unable to confirm the veracity of her connection to the events of Sept. 11". As one blogger noted, "Tania’s myth has collapsed. Brought down by investigation, reasonable inquiry, and candid disclosure of a conclusion."
Tania Head is in fact Alicia Esteve Head, so not even her name was genuine, and she comes from a well-known Barcelona business family that was implicated in the 1992 economic scandal known as the Planasdemunt Affair, a major scandal in the history of Catalonia. Both Head's father, Francisco Esteve Corbella, and her brother, Francisco Javier Esteve Head, were sentenced to prison terms (translated excerpts here, full Google translation here) for forging documents issued by the Barcelona firm BFP. Deception and deceit would appear to run in the Head family.
Channel 4 bill their Cutting Edge piece as follows.
The 9/11 Faker
C4 Thursday 11 September 2008 9pm
In the years following the 9/11 attacks, many stories emerged of triumph, tragedy and heroism. But one story stood out. Tania Head, one of only 19 people at or above the point of impact to survive, who also lost her fiancée in the attacks.
As Tania's fame grew, so, finally, did the questions. In September 2007, the New York Times published a front page article questioning Tania's account. Shortly afterwards, she packed her bags and disappeared.
Since the New York Times article appeared Head's pronouncements, which have consisted almost exclusively of "No comment", have all been issued by her lawyer, although not just any lawyer but a media and entertainment industry lawyer. When there's a media scandal to manage there is nobody better to manage it than a PR guru.
At this stage it is not known whether Tania Head wrote a book 'which fitted into a burgeoning genre of "misery memoirs"', addressed the United Nations, or whether she had dinner with the UN Secretary General at the height of her infamy.
Luckily, the sort of immaculate deception perpetrated by Tania Head only happens in America.