Ferdinand Demara earned his reputation as the Great Impostor: For over 22 years he criss-crossed the country, posing as everything from an auditor to a zoologist and stealing a succession of identities to fool his employers. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll review Demara's motivation, morality, and techniques -- and the charismatic spell he seemed to cast over others.
We'll also make Big Ben strike 13 and puzzle over a movie watcher's cat.
In 1909, 22-year-old Alice Huyler Ramsey set out to become the first woman to drive across the United States. In an era of imperfect cars and atrocious roads, she would have to find her own way and undertake her own repairs across 3,800 miles of rugged, poorly mapped terrain. In this week’s episode of the […]
In 1822, Irish thief Alexander Pearce joined seven convicts fleeing a penal colony in western Tasmania. As they struggled eastward through some of the most inhospitable terrain on Earth, starvation pressed the party into a series of grim sacrifices. In this week’s episode of the Futility Closet podcast we’ll follow the prisoners on their nightmarish […]
In 1902, scam artist Cassie Chadwick convinced an Ohio lawyer that she was the illegitimate daughter of steel magnate Andrew Carnegie. She parlayed this reputation into a life of unthinkable extravagance — until her debts came due. In this week’s episode of the Futility Closet podcast we’ll describe Chadwick’s efforts to maintain the ruse — […]
Paying for things is all too easy online these days, and that’s why managing your money has gotten so hard. We’ve all done it: You sign up for a streaming subscription or gym membership, blow past the free trial date, and it becomes a part of your monthly expenses. Some of us juggle so many […]
We all know those gifts we get “for the kids,” the ones that parents are secretly more excited to open. Drones are a perfect example, but there’s a model out there that really doubles down on that appeal. Introducing the Space Fighter Building Block Drones, a series of space fighter drones that are a blast […]
The hardest part of web design can be nailing down the look. These days, even non-designers can easily spot a stale stock photo or lazily-made icon. What’s the solution? No matter what kind of artist you are, it’s always a good idea to widen your palette. And with more than a million vector images to […]