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Real Valentine Phantom calls in

In our October 21 edition, we detailed a conversation with city council candidate Carol Schiller in which she told us she was the original Valentine Phantom (see "City Council Race Hearts Up," by Beatrice Marovich). Schiller claimed that in 1981 or 1982 she and a friend conducted a "midnight raid," blanketing Portland with hand-cut red paper hearts on a white background. But the mysterious valentines first appeared years before, in 1976 (which, admittedly, we should have noted in the original piece, but cut us some slack ó the oldest among us was exactly 7 months old on that first Valentineís Day). In a phone call to the Phoenixís Marovich on Saturday, November 5, Schiller explained that she genuinely thought she was the first person to start the tradition.

Last Friday, an anonymous man claiming to be the real Valentine Phantom called the Phoenix. He later dropped off an envelope containing newspaper clippings about the Phantom from 1976, a copy of one of the original valentines, and a copy of a receipt from February 12, 1977 for the printing of the flyers. The Phantom managed to drop off the evidence late in the evening without being seen by anyone on staff, which really irks us.

Is there anything you can tell me about past heart appearances that would make it clear you are the one who knows what youíre talking about?

Absolutely, without giving away my identity. For instance I can tell you that it did start in í76 ó I actually have copies of those original valentines. I can tell you that, letís see, Valentineís Day in 1979 was 8 degrees and windy, ícause that was my note to myself. And there were a total of six of us that year.

Youíre also saying you donít think [Schiller] has ever been involved in the ongoing process that started then. If she did do it in í81 or í82 was she a second bandit?

I think she had red paper and cut it up into hearts and I donít know why she didnít think it hadnít been done because itíd already been done for five years at that point. And she certainly hasnít had anything to do with it any of the other years.

These days there is still a pretty hard-core crew that gets out there in the wee hours of the morning and does this. I will say that I have stepped aside from doing that. I will say that I have helped with some logistics and fundraising to help pay for it, but Iím getting a little long in the tooth to be doing [the early morning runs].

Issue Date: November 11 - 17, 2005
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