The Chameleon, a story you might not believe but it is actually true, honestly, you can check it out on wikipedia




Nicholas Barclay was a tragic story. He went missing without a trace in Texas in 1994 and the police had no leads or clues about his whereabouts. Three years passed with no reason for hope appearing. Then, out of the blue, his family got a phone call to say that it seemed he had appeared in Linares, Spain. His sister rushed to get a plane to see her brother for the first time in three years. He had changed, his hair was darker and he had a strong French accent but she was just delighted to see her brother again. The two made their way back home to Texas to the rest of the family. He explained that he had been kidnapped and had suffered badly, that explained the changes in his behavior and accent.

A private detective called Parker began researching how Nicholas had been captured and all that had happened to him. When interviewing him, Parker was struck by the strong French accent and wondered how he had picked it up in a relatively short space of time. He then noticed an old photo of Nicholas as a child and couldn't help but see some differences in the photo and the boy who stood before him. His ears were a different shape and, most notably, his eyes were a different colour. Nicholas explained this by saying that the people who captured him had injected him with some drugs into his eyes. 

Parker went and did some research and concluded that his story did not add up. He notified the authorities that the teenager living with the Barclays was not their son. The family were resistant and maintained that he was. Eventually a DNA test was conducted and it was discovered that for five months an imposter had persuaded the family that he was their son.

Frederic Bourdin was a serial imposter, known as 'The Chameleon' who traveled Europe pretending to be orphans to get taken into care homes. Previously he had invented characters, this was the first time that he took the identity of an actual person. He went to jail for six years. Upon release he tried to take the guise of a missing French boy and was caught again.

The question that I had when I heard about this story was; why? Why pretend to be someone else? Bourdin never took advantage of the people he got close to. At the age of 31 he passed himself off as a 15 year old orphan and spent a month in an orphanage but never took money or harmed anyone. So why? 

It seems, more than money or control, he wanted love. As an orphan or as a child who had suffered he received pity and attention that he otherwise couldn't find. It is significant that now he is married with children and has given up the guises. It is wonderful that he has found real love and acceptance, for who he really is, not on the basis of being someone else.

I think that some of us feel that for God to really accept us we need to do what Bourdin did. We need to make God believe that we are part of His family. So we try to look like we are. We try to be really good people, because that's what His people do, we try to be nice, dress well, go to church etc, if we do all that then we will fit into God's family and be accepted.  Except that's not what it takes.

For Bourdin to really be a part of the family he needed to be adopted. That's what God offers for everyone who comes to Him, adoption. He knows that we're sinful, He knows we fall short of the standards of His family and yet He still offers it freely to those who come. He will love us, not as wannabes but as real sons and daughters. He loves us with the love that He loves the Son. I find that astoundingly liberating. I'm free to be who I am in Jesus. I don't need to be a Bourdin.

(I read this story in The Devil and Sherlock Holmes: True Tales of Murder, Madness and Obsession)
Aaron Williamson, 22/03/2013