Dr. Joseph Cyr, a surgeon with the Royal Canadian Navy, had to think quick when his ship came upon a rickety boat with mangled and bloody bodies at the height of the Korean War in 1951. As the only doctor on board, he quickly moved to operate on 19 men, all of them his enemies in this war. All survived, making the young doctor a hero.
Except he wasn't really a doctor.
His real name was Ferdinando Waldo Demara, and he never graduated high school, let alone medical school. At different times in his life, he was also a prison warden, a teacher for disabled children, and a civil engineer.
We're fascinated by the art of the con, yet few of us think it can happen to us. We imagine psychics, card sharks, and Nigerian princes effortlessly lifting hundreds of thousands of dollars from easy marks. We can spot the scam a mile away. Right? Think again.
- Maria Konnikova - Staff writer on psychology and culture for The New Yorker, and the author of Mastermind: How To Think Like Sherlock Holmes and The Confidence Game: Why We Fall For It...Every Time
- Jack Farrell - Author of Fast Jack: The Last Hustler. A memoir by John Farrell
- Anthony Amore - Director of Security at Isabella Gardner Museum and the author of most recently, The Art of the Con: The Most Notorious Fakes, Frauds, and Forgeries in the Art World
- “You Can Get Away With Anything” by Andrew Lloyd Webber
- “Conned Again” by Sloppy Seconds
- “A Pro At Being Conned” by Billy Hancock
Colin McEnroe and Chion Wolf contributed to this show, which originally aired on January 14, 2016.