But sometimes, you know, the truth is really stranger than fiction.
Personally, I'm not on board with the people who say Alvarenga's story is a complete fabrication. As part of my law school education, I'm currently taking Evidence. Although the class itself is really concerned with learning the rules of evidence, it's based heavily in logic - and what facts can potentially be inferred by evidence, i.e. the ways in which evidence may be interpreted by a jury. If you look at the evidence available to prove or disprove Alvarenga's story, thus far, it weighs heavily in his favor.
Thus far, we have:
- Statements by the government of the Marshall Islands that he washed up there and was found with a dilapidated boat on a remote atoll. They have also said they have found no reason to doubt his story and that he was hospitalized on the Islands.
- Statements from the hospital in the Marshall Islands where he was treated indicating he arrived in poor health and was readmitted after he was initially released.
- Statements from Mexican officials saying everything they've heard thus far adds up, as far as they can be sure.
- Statements from Alvarenga's family that they hadn't seen him in eight years and assumed he was either dead or in jail.
- Statements from people who worked with/for Alvarenga's employer in Mexico that document him, his boat, and his companion going missing in November 2012. A search was said to have been conducted, but it was unsuccessful in locating the boat or the two men.
Alvarenga, who's currently getting his 15 minutes of fame, also can't be said to have a strong motivation to make the whole thing up. In order to make the story plausible, he would have to somehow make himself so unhealthy that he was admitted to a hospital, venture to a remote part of the world and somehow get his boat there, make his companion permanently disappear, and lie low enough in some other part of the world so as not to be easily detected. This guy was a fisherman working in Mexico who seems to have come from an economically challenged background - do we really think that he came up with the world's greatest hoax and went to such extreme lengths to carry it out? No, I don't think he did.
I think Alvarenga was a man who was thrown into extreme circumstances and found out exactly what he was capable of. Life-threatening circumstances have made things that seem impossible possible before; it's not a new phenomenon. You can find any number of stories about ordinary people lifting extraordinary weight when a family member or friend is trapped under something, even though they never should have been able to have the strength to. You hear about horrible historical events like the Holocaust, where some people were miraculously able to survive work camps even though they had no food, no water, had to work constantly, were beaten, were abused in every way possible, had no sanitation, etc. Sometimes, against all odds, people are able to survive. Just because we don't understand it doesn't mean it's not possible.
Do you believe that truth can be stranger than fiction?