show episodes
 
We all go through moments of doubt and uncertainty. But how do we stop them from holding us back? Trust expert Rachel Botsman speaks with incredible guests – from soldiers to poker players and psychologists to hostage negotiators – that will change the way you think about trust. Heart-warming – and at times heart-stopping – these conversations ask what happens when we confront our trust issues, face our fears and open our minds to new possibilities. For an even deeper dive into the insights ...
 
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show series
 
I got hypnotized to recall a childhood trauma. In part one of The Hypnotist, I interviewed several hypnotherapists to answer the question: what is hypnosis? The short answer is a trancelike state that resembles sleep but is induced by a person whose suggestions are readily accepted by the subject.* In part two, I try hypnosis for myself to see what…
 
I want to undergo hypnotic regression, experience it for myself, and try to unlock memories from my childhood that should probably never resurface. Can hypnosis help me recover that memory? So, what the hell is hypnosis anyway? What is hypnosis? Is hypnosis even a real thing? The word "hypno" comes from the Greek word "hypnus," which means sleep. A…
 
John Browning investigates real blood-sucking vampires—people who need human blood to survive. In today's episode, we will talk about real people who claim to be real vampires. Self-harm You know, we bantered about tapping into veins and arteries from the vantage point of vampires feasting on blood. But if you remove the word vampire from our conve…
 
Michael shreds a mean "pretend" guitar. He's also a PRETEND podcast supporter on Patreon. If you want to co-host an episode with me, consider supporting the podcast on Patreon/ Patreon Guest Co-host: https://www.patreon.com/pretendradio Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoicesBy Creative Babble
 
Lee King spilled the beans on his family's secret—leading to his father’s arrest. Hannah’s boyfriend, Lee King, is hiding a big secret; and it’s not just about his multiple fiances. It turns out his father, “Fast” Eddie Maher is an international fugitive. Fast Eddie, an international fugitive, was on the run for 20 years until his son gave him up. …
 
Ransomware. Does that term ring a bell? Even if you've never heard those words before, trust me, most of us have experienced Ransomware one way or another. If you live on the East Coast, you remember waiting long hours at the gas pump this past May. That's because a hacking group known as DarkSide hacked the Colonial Pipeline. The hackers demanded …
 
Sean David Morton was arrested in 2016 after being charged with more than 50 counts related to filing phony tax documents and bogus government bonds. He was also accused of conspiracy to defraud the IRS. These are similar tactics used by sovereign citizens—but Sean David Mortin doesn't like that label. You see, Sean David Morton's name is synonymou…
 
Where do sovereign citizens go when they need medical attention? Some of them seek help from homeopathic quacks like Rick Van Thiel. Rick Van Thiel is not a surgeon. In reality, he's a porn star operating on people with dirty scalpels, reused needs, surrounded by filth. And the worst part is, he performs his surgeries in the nude. The last episode …
 
What is a sovereign citizen? American Sovereign citizens believe that the laws of the United States do not apply to them. Therefore, no authority should tell them what to do: not judges, lawmakers, lawyers, or police officers. Oh, and they don't pay taxes either. Sounds crazy, right? It would be crazy if they didn't get away with it so often. _____…
 
This is the very first episode I recorded for PRETEND. Hear how a small-time crook went from breaking into houses to running a phony medical clinic. ------- FEATURING: Follow the Truth Podcast Trailer In 1993, James Jordan, father of NBA legend Michael, was murdered in NC. Was the wrong man convicted of pulling the trigger? E1 and E2 release date: …
 
This week, we revisit one of PRETEND's most popular episodes. It's called the Hijacker and it's a collaboration with my friend Chris Knittel. Hear Martin McNally describe the day he hijacked a plane. ________ Story idea? If you have a story to share, email Javier at javier@pretendradio.org. For more episodes like this, visit pretendradio.org. To ge…
 
Jules Hannaford from the Fool Me Twice podcast joins me to talk about 4 years of PRETEND. ________ Story idea? If you have a story to share, email Javier at javier@pretendradio.org. For more episodes like this, visit pretendradio.org. To get early releases and bonus episodes, go to pretendradio.org/donate Today's episode was written and edited by J…
 
The Sham vol.1 This week, I turn the mic over to you. Two listeners share stories about their run-in with a con artist. Our first story is from a long-time listener named Paul Schiffbauer Jr. He tells us about the time he learned the truth about the family business. Our second story is about a listener whose con artist husband destroyed her life. L…
 
There are two sides to Billy. There's Billy, who just wants to do the right thing. And then there's the criminal lurking from within. So which way did he go? Did Billy end up becoming a criminal? Or did he choose to be the good guy in his own story? Well, he decided to do both. If you've listened to this show long enough, you know I go to great len…
 
This week's episode is actually the first episode of my other podcast CRIMINAL CONDUCT. I wanted you, PRETEND listeners to get a sneak peek before it's debut on April 16th. If you like this episode, subscribe to the CRIMINAL CONDUCT feed to listen to the full episode. -------- Criminal Conduct is back with a brand new case. This season, John and Ja…
 
Doug Williams, the former Oklahoma City police officer who is best known for his crusade against the polygraph industry, teaches an undercover federal agent how to beat the lie detector test. The agent confessed that he had sex with a minor and was smuggling drugs into a prison. Should Doug Williams continue the training? What if Doug William's tec…
 
Learn how to cheat a polygraph test. Ex-cop, Doug Williams, says it's a lot easier than you think. Doug Williams is looking over his shoulder because, since 1979, he's been on a crusade to defeat the polygraph machine. In 1996, he started a website called polygraph.com, offering a handbook and one-on-one training teaching people how to pass the tes…
 
If you haven't listened to The Prophet series, start here: http://pretendradio.org/the-prophet-word-of-faith-fellowship-revisited/ When I first started this podcast, I reported on a secretive church located in the foothills in western North Carolina called the Word of Faith Fellowship. The church is accused of being a cult and separating families—f…
 
Tori Telfer, author of Confident Women: Swindlers, Grifters, and Shapeshifters of the Feminine Persuasion joins us to talk about female con artists. Today, we're focusing on one of the women in her book—Bonny Lee Bakley, the wife of Hollywood actor Robert Blake. ______ Story idea? If you have a story to share, email Javier at javier@pretendradio.or…
 
In today's episode, we're going to take another look at the opioid crisis, but this time from a pharmacist's perspective. But this is not just any pharmacist. Dan Schneider is a vigilante who helped bring down his son's killer, a pill mill, and one of Earth's largest pharmaceutical companies. Watch the Pharmacist on Netflix: https://www.netflix.com…
 
A doctor caught trading prescriptions for cash leaves a trail of bodies behind. A respected anesthesiologist ran a pain-management clinic on the weekends out of a basement in Flushing Queens, New York. Each Saturday, Dr. Stan Li saw more than seventy patients a day, writing prescriptions for Oxycontin, Xanax, and other opioids. Today's episode feat…
 
Johnny Depp played Donnie Brasco in the Academy Award-nominated film. But the real-life story of Donnie Brasco is even more fascinating. Joe Pistone, an FBI agent, went deep undercover as Brasco and spent six years inside the Bonanno and Columbo crime families. The movie, if you remember, starts with Joe Pistone immediately infiltrating with the mo…
 
Brian Earl with the Christmas Past podcast shares a Christmas story you’ve probably never heard before. In the early 1900s, children’s letters to Santa Claus never made it to the North Pole. They landed in the dead letter office and were eventually destroyed. But along came John Gluck, a hustler who took these letters to Santa and turned it into an…
 
Remember when we used to go out to parties? Well, since you can't really go out these days, today we're going to celebrate together. In this episode we're talking about party crashers. Act 1: How to crash a party Our first story is about the art of crashing a party. What do you need to do to attend a party you weren't invited to without ever gettin…
 
A real-life Indiana Jones? The word on the street is that Michael Torres is Ph.D. by day and a treasure hunter by night. Torres claims he has an aeronautical engineering degree from Duke University. Don’t believe him? He has a photo of his diploma. Michael Torres also claims to have taught at MIT Lincoln Laboratory. He has the library card to prove…
 
In this episode, Michael Torres discovers "a mass Jewish grave." But is it what he thinks it is? And I talk to the CEO of Seafarer Exploration to figure out why he hasn't found a single treasure in 13 years. ------- Story idea? If you have a story to share, email Javier at info@pretendradio.org. For more episodes like this visit pretendradio.org. T…
 
A modern-day pirate Michael Torres is a self-proclaimed pirate. He says his most recent finds include the crown jewels of a pre-Incan civilization, a missing colonial settlement, and a desecrated Jewish burial site at Bonaventure cemetery. These larger-than-life discoveries have come into question. In today’s episode, we’ll follow the evidence to s…
 
A Florida treasure-hunting CEO says he was tricked by a conman. Seafarer Exploration, a treasure salvage company, has spent the last 13 years trying to find a 300-year-old Spanish galleon sunken off the coast of Florida. A galleon is a large sailboat, with multiple leveled decks, and 3 or 4 masts. These ships were designed to carry large treasures …
 
A man says his best friend scammed him out of almost $100,000. Now, he's getting revenge. Jonathan Walton fell for the oldest trick in the book. He said, “It wasn't some Nigerian Prince emailing me in my spam folder. It was a living, breathing, lovable woman.” That lovable woman’s name is Mair Smyth. She’s also known as Marianne Smyth, or Marianne …
 
Confessions of a former identity thief Dartanyon A. Williams stole his parents' identities at the age of 15. Unfortunately, they weren’t his last victims. Dartanyon, who also goes by DAW, claims he has stolen thousands of identities. So many that he lost count. How to steal someone’s identity How did he do it? He had many tactics. But the most prov…
 
In the last two episodes, you heard from Michael Bazzell a privacy expert whose job is to make people disappear. But who is he? Why is he so passionate about privacy? And how exactly does he make people disappear? I'm going to do my best to figure him out. It turns out Michael Bazzell eats his own dog food. He's pretty much an invisible man. I have…
 
In the last episode, we talked about the wrong way to disappear. Faking your own death rarely works. But did you know that there are real people out there who legitimately need to fade away into society? Who needs to disappear? There are many reasons to live anonymously. However, we’ve broken it down to four different archetypes: the executive, the…
 
Did Olivia Newton-John’s Former Boyfriend Fake His Own Death?Faking your own death is almost always a bad idea. Hear the story of Patrick McDermott, Olivia Newton John’s boyfriend, who many believe staged his own death. The wrong way to disappear People have been playing dead since the beginning of time. There’s really no way of knowing for how lon…
 
The COVID-19 pandemic is a conman’s Super Bowl. In times like these, when there's so much uncertainty, snake oil salesmen are ready to promise you a cure. In this episode, you'll hear from a woman who takes one of these miracle drugs. I ask her why she takes it. Special thanks to: Joe Terrell with Instrument of Mercy https://instrumentofmercy.com/ …
 
COVID-19 Scams I wasn’t expecting to be back with a new PRETEND episode so soon. In fact, I’m still wrapping up the final episodes for my new show called CRIMINAL CONDUCT. But the world around us has changed. And scammers are on the prowl. If you live in the US, chances are you probably received your stimulus payment. It went either straight into y…
 
//Criminal Conduct debuts on March 23rd.// Get an inside look into the making of the new podcast. Thank you to Jerri Williams from FBI Retired Case File Review for helping us with this bonus episode. You can listen to the episode one now on Patreon. https://www.patreon.com/posts/34832524 Subscribe to Criminal Conduct now so you won't miss an episod…
 
On September 2nd, 2010, 24 year-old Michelle O’Connell broke up with her boyfriend, St. Johns County Sheriff’s Deputy, Jeremy Banks. Minutes later, she was dead. The St. Johns Sheriff’s Office quickly ruled the case a suicide, without examining crucial forensic evidence or interviewing any key witnesses. A medical examiner ruled her death a homicid…
 
The Joe Schmo Show is a real-life Truman Show—where everyone is an actor except one unsuspecting guy. It’s a reality show within a reality show. The series everyone watched on SPIKE TV was called The Joe Schmo show. But the show Matt Kennedy Gould thought he was participating in was called The Lap of Luxury—a Big Brother style television show. He h…
 
A con artist save Christmas Brian Earl with the Christmas Past podcast shares a Christmas story you’ve probably never heard before. In the early 1900s, children’s letters to Santa Claus never made it to the North Pole. They landed in the dead letter office and were eventually destroyed. But along came John Gluck, a hustler who took these letters to…
 
PrankNet is a network of online terrorists who performed crank calls which caused thousands of dollars worth in damages. These cruel prank phone calls created anxiety and fear for anyone who picked up the phone. PrankNet victims destroyed hotel rooms, set off fire alarms, and flooded rooms by damaging the sprinkler system. In part 3, you heard actu…
 
Can we learn to listen to those we don’t agree with? This season’s final episode features two guests who have very different views on vaccinations. It is estimated that 2019 has seen a 300% increase in cases of measles globally. Where has this doubt around vaccinations come from? In Part One, Rachel talks with the Director of The Vaccine Confidence…
 
Too much of today’s media pits the so-called ‘expert’ against the ‘anti-something.’ That’s not what this special on vaccinations is about. In Part Two of the Trust Issues special on vaccines, we hear from mother-of-two, Rita, who shares her own beliefs and opens up about why an experience with her son caused her distrust in vaccines to develop. Rit…
 
When does a prank call go too far? When it leads to sexual abuse and thousands of dollars worth of destruction. PrankNet The punks at Pranknet are believed to be responsible for tens of thousands of dollars worth in damages. They often called restaurants making employees set off sprinklers systems and fire alarms. Sometimes they would even call hot…
 
How do we push ourselves to our limits? David Coulthard is a British driving legend, with 13 Grand Prix titles to his name and no less than 62 podium finishes. So why is it that, a decade after his retirement from the track, it’s the losses, not the victories, that stick in the champion’s head? Through his chat with Rachel, David gives us an incred…
 
Can we control how others perceive us? Adam Grant’s career is an ongoing success story. Switching from Junior Olympic diving to organisational psychology, Adam became the youngest tenured professor at Wharton and has received multiple teaching awards. He also has four New York Times bestsellers under his belt and currently hosts the chart-topping T…
 
A prank call leads to a 2-hour strip-search at a fast-food restaurant A prank caller posing as a cop calls a manager at a Hardee's Restaurant in Rapid City, South Dakota. He tells the store manager that one of his employees stole money from a customer. Instead of calling the real police, the manager decides to strip search the employee. This prank …
 
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