Conspiracies, Cults, & Cons

Jul 28, 2015

Pull the shades, put on your skeptics cap, leave your friends behind and climb on board because today’s show is all about conspiracies, cults, and cons. From the magic bullet that killed JFK, to Jim Jones cyanide punch, to the Ponzi scheme, America has had its fair share of conspiracies, cults, and cons. We’re going to take an unexpected look at all three, starting with the conspiratorially minded among us.

The Long Con

Mar 14, 2012
Photo by Robert Huffstutter via Flickr Creative Commons

We can’t say with any authority when the first con artist found his mark. But we can trace the term “confidence man” to an article in The New York Herald in 1849. The Herald reporter urged citizens to stop by the city’s notorious tombs and peer at the suspect known as Samuel Williams. Many came to peer at the flim-flam man who described his effect on his marks as “putting them to sleep.”  The willingness to be duped, is of course, the genius of the con.