Diana Nyad Fact Check
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ARIS NYAD timeline

Early in her career, Nyad spoke frankly about...

"...the magical creature she had, until she was 12, as a father: 'an aristocratic bum. A goodlooking, big, muscular Greek type, big curly Afro hair, very statuesque-looking, and he looked so terrific, and talked so well, spoke seven foreign languages, and he taught at Oxford for two years, and was very--knew everybody and everything. And, I even knew as a 10-year-old: I knew he was a liar.'" ["What Makes Diana Nyad Swim?" by Jane Shapiro, The Village Voice. Feb2, 1976.]

1941 -- Aris Notaras deported to Canada from New York (see "posing as a Greek naval hero" article from 1943).
1943 -- Aris Notaras arrested in Beverly Hills posing as Greek naval hero Aristotle Zison Nyad.

1944 -- Arrives Brownsville, Texas. (detail / complete)
1945 -- Petitions for naturalization as Aristotle Zison Nyad in New Orleans.
1947 -- Returns to U.S. from military posting in Egypt, apparently. See passenger manifest.

1948 (Sept.) -- Marries Nelly Spaar in England. (detail / complete)

1948.12.31 (approx.) -- Dances in Palm Beach, likely in quest of benefactor (detail / complete)

1949-1956 -- a "Nellie Spaar" on delinquent tax list in Decatur, IL (1949, 1956)

1951 -- Arrives in NYC from France


Aris Nyad

Nellie Nyad (via Sophia's
Vintage Fashion Pic(k)s

Not sure if these next two are related to Aris, but the timing tantalizes:

early 1950s: Nelly Nyad with "her lover, a very rich and powerful duke." See "Paris Fashion Week Story: Nelly Nyad."

1952 -- Nelly Nyad, "Paris fashion model," in NYC.

1953 -- Sneaks off to Arizona to marry Lucy Sneed, Diana's mother. See "Aris Z. Nyad and Mrs. Sneed Wed...." Also see "...wealthy mystery man-about-town...."

"Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence."
—Carl Sagan

Sleeping Octopus

Compiled by Daniel Slosberg

updated 3/1/18
© 2016