By Betsy Rothstein and Austin Price
A graying homeless man with an admitted history of mental illness set up shop in Dupont Circle Wednesday afternoon with an elaborate boombox and speaker system. “I love to dance!” he said, getting his groove on amid a sticky Washington heatwave.
So who is he and what’s he doing here?
Adjacent to the stereo speakers and propped up against one of the ledges that surround the fountain was a handwritten sign on a piece of cardboard that contained two scrawled email addresses — his own and presumably that of Fox News anchor Brit Hume.
Here’s where things get dicey. The man claims to be Louis Hume, the son of the journalist. He says he’s not Brit Hume’s biological son, but that Hume raised him in every way that matters. He even has a birth certificate (as pictured here) to attempt to prove his claim and named Brit Hume’s first wife, Clare Jacobs Stoner, as the woman who raised him and his “biological aunt.”
Dressed in cream-colored shorts, a bright white T-shirt that reads, “Help the Homeless” and worn sneakers, Louis (not likely his real name) was dripping with sweat as he pried himself away from dancing for a brief interview.
“He taught me all the proper ways to live, which I paid little attention to,” he said of Brit Hume. “I’ve led a very wild life, I guess you could say. God told me recently that I had to start telling people about meeting him. I guess he doesn’t like the idea.”
He continued, wistfully, “It seems like forever since I’ve seen him. I lived out West. But yeah, he’s my dad. I met God. God gave me a ride, like a three, four, five hour drive. I want to tell the story and be on a lie detector machine so people know I ain’t lying about it. But I’m mostly up here just preaching the gospel.”
“Louis Hume” said a few months ago he tried to camp out down by the Fox News studios on North Capitol Street to try to see his “father.” But he said cops chased him off. “I went to Fox News and I said ‘Okay, well listen, my Dad’s working up there. You go tell him to come down here and tell me to leave and I will.’ So they relayed the message up to him,” he said. “My Dad told security, ‘I don’t have a son, my son died.’ So he was saying, basically, I’m not his son anymore, I don’t know.”
This story is heartbreaking on a variety of levels. Brit Hume’s real son, Sandy, a journalist who worked at The Hill, committed suicide in 1998. Louis claims he and Sandy were “best friends” growing up. He knew minimal details about his death, but he couldn’t accurately describe Sandy. He said he had blonde hair and a wiry frame. He also reeled off Bethesda addresses where Brit Hume supposedly raised him.
Asked if he has a history of mental illness, he didn’t even try to deny it. He looked earnest and pained and thoughtful as he explained that he has been diagnosed as bipolar and has manic episodes. “I’ve had manic episodes, where I don’t sleep for like a month,” he said. “Yeah, it gets me pretty crazy. The time when I met God, I was very well within my senses.”
When questioned about his homelessness he gets a spark in his voice as he considers himself among the lucky ones. “I have a very nice tent in Rock Creek Park and I’m building a swimming pool,” he says, laughing.
He says God told him it was time to tell the world about his father, Brit Hume.
Photographs by Austin Price
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