56 episodios

Pretend Radio is a documentary-style podcast about real people pretending to be someone else. I interview con artists, snake oil salesmen, undercover FBI agents—pretty much anyone living a lie.

Pretend - a true crime documentary podcast Creative Babble

    • Crímenes reales

Pretend Radio is a documentary-style podcast about real people pretending to be someone else. I interview con artists, snake oil salesmen, undercover FBI agents—pretty much anyone living a lie.

    S510: The Joe Schmo Show

    S510: The Joe Schmo Show

    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 had no idea that the people he was living with were all actors. 

    The series was created by Paul Wernick and Rhett Reese (Deadpool). It was hosted by Ralph Garman and written and produced by J. Holland Moore. Season one starred a young Kristen Wiig who played a quack psychiatrist. I must warn you. This show did not age well. It would not survive in today’s #metoo movement. Despite what it lacks in sensitivity, it makes up for in its ingenuity and heart. 

    In this episode, Melissa with Moms and Murder and I talk with Chase Rogan, season three’s Joe Schmo, to find out what it’s like to be the star of television’s biggest hoax.

    Today’s episode was written and produced by me and Melissa. 
    Original music was provided by thechicken.net
    Additional music by Blue dot sessions
    All clips in this podcast were used in compliance with the US copyright act for fair use exemption, for criticism and commentary 

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    • 59 min
    S509 The Santa Claus Man

    S509 The Santa Claus Man

    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 Santa and turned it into an opportunity to get rich and famous.
    It’s the strange and true story of government agents, spies, an art thief, U.S. presidents, and gun-toting boy scouts.
    Check out “My Dear Santa” with Brian Earl from the Christmas Past podcast

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    CreditsToday’s show was written and edited by Javier Leiva.
    Our theme music was written and composed by Joe Basile with TheChicken.net.
    Additional music by Podington Bear.

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    Support for this episode is brought to you by Detective TrappAnaheim investigator Julissa Trapp is not like other detectives. She’s the only woman on the homicide squad, and a skilled chameleon: undercover cop in vice stings, crime-scene commander, patient confidante of killers. A master interrogator, she invokes her personal experience – and deepest griefs — as a tool to elicit confessions. When a young woman’s body is found at a trash-sorting plant, Trapp learns the murder may be linked to the disappearance of three other women in nearby Santa Ana. Trapp embarks on a dark journey that brings her face to face with a man who takes “a little piece of her soul.”
    Listen now at Wondery.fm/PretendDT
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    • 42 min
    S508: The Prank Call part 4

    S508: The Prank Call part 4

    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 actual Pranknet prank calls. In part 4, you’ll hear from a former prank caller who says she was one of the architects behind Pranknet’s most despicable hoax. It involved two female KFC employees in Manchester, New Hampshire. The two employees were convinced to strip naked in the freezing cold and urinate on each other.
    Hear how Jeri Batsford says she helped Pranknet orchestrate some of their most twisted pranks.

    Credits
    Today’s show was written by Javier Leiva and edited by Molly Brock.
    Our theme music was written and composed by Joe Basile with TheChicken.net.
    Additional music by Blue Dot Sessions and Podington Bear.

    Support for this episode is brought to you by Detective Trapp
    Anaheim investigator Julissa Trapp is not like other detectives. She’s the only woman on the homicide squad, and a skilled chameleon: undercover cop in vice stings, crime-scene commander, patient confidante of killers. A master interrogator, she invokes her personal experience – and deepest griefs — as a tool to elicit confessions. When a young woman’s body is found at a trash-sorting plant, Trapp learns the murder may be linked to the disappearance of three other women in nearby Santa Ana. Trapp embarks on a dark journey that brings her face to face with a man who takes “a little piece of her soul.”
    Listen now at Wondery.fm/PretendDT

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    References
    http://www.onpointnews.com/docs/hoax.pdf
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ysSgG5V-R3U
    https://www.wmur.com/news/18803151/detail.html
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

    • 33 min
    S507: The Prank Call part 3

    S507: The Prank Call part 3

    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 hotel guests directly and convince them to shatter hotel windows.

    An ESPN reporter falls for a Pranknet hoax
    Nobody is safe from PrankNet's mayhem. Even Elizabeth Moreau, an ESPN reporter, was persuaded to swing a toilet seat across her Hilton Garden Inn window in the middle of the night. She thought there was a gas leak in the building. All of these calls were recorded and posted on Youtube. You can hear the desperation in her voice during the call. 

    Who is behind PrankNet?
    The mastermind behind PrankNet is allegedly a Canadian man who goes by the name of Dex. Dex, who’s real name is Tariq Malik, is clearly proud of his work. However, when exposed by an internet blog, he vanished without a trace. 

    A prank caller confesses
    I wanted to learn more about PrankNet and how they operate. The question is, could I get one of them to talk with me? Fortunately, Jeri Batsford, a former PrankNet member, deflected from the group. 
    Listen to part 3 of The Prank Call on Apple Podcast, Spotify, Stitcher, or Google Play.

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    Credits
    Today’s show was written by Javier Leiva and edited by Logan Castrodale.
    Our theme music was written and composed by Joe Basile with TheChicken.net.
    Additional music by Blue Dot Sessions and Podington Bear.

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    Support for this episode is brought to you by Detective Trapp
    Anaheim investigator Julissa Trapp is not like other detectives. She’s the only woman on the homicide squad, and a skilled chameleon: undercover cop in vice stings, crime-scene commander, patient confidante of killers. A master interrogator, she invokes her personal experience – and deepest griefs -- as a tool to elicit confessions. When a young woman’s body is found at a trash-sorting plant, Trapp learns the murder may be linked to the disappearance of three other women in nearby Santa Ana. Trapp embarks on a dark journey that brings her face to face with a man who takes “a little piece of her soul.”
    Listen now at Wondery.fm/PretendDT

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    References
    http://www.onpointnews.com/docs/hoax.pdf
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ysSgG5V-R3U
    https://www.wmur.com/news/18803151/detail.html

    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

    • 38 min
    S506: The Prank Call part 2

    S506: The Prank Call part 2

    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 call went on for more than 2 hours.
    I spoke with the manager of that restaurant to find out why he obeyed the prank caller's every demand.
    Searching for David Stewart—the prank call suspect
    Victor Flaherty is now the Cheif of Police in West Bridgewater police department in Massachusetts at the time in 2004, he was a detective sergeant searching for the notorious fast-food prank caller. Many police stations across the United States tried to locate the perpetrator—and all of them failed. It turns out that tracing the calls back to the source proved to be nearly impossible. 
    Listen to the lengthVictor Flaherty went through to find the suspect named David Stewart.
    If you want to start from the beginning, listen to part 1 here.
     
    Credits
    Today’s show was written by Javier Leiva and edited by Molly Brock.
    Our theme music was written and composed by Joe Basile with TheChicken.net.
    Additional music by Blue Dot Sessions and Podington Bear.
     
    References:
    Rapid City Journal
    Courier Journal
    MSNBC
     
     
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

    • 40 min
    S505: The Prank Call part 1

    S505: The Prank Call part 1

    Disclaimer: We will be talking about sexual abuse and other disturbing topics. Listener discretion is advised.
    Strip-search hoax
    A prank caller pretending to be a police officer instructed fast-food managers to strip-search female employees forcing them to jog naked, do jumping jacks and perform other humiliating acts. He made more than 70 of these calls in the United States over a 12-year period.
    Why do we obey?
    Some of the managers were charged with rape and kidnapping as a result of these pranks. How could they fall for such a prank?
    The truth is, humans are programmed to respect authority. But why do we obey? In this episode, you'll hear real audio from Stanley Milgram's experiments on obedience and authority. The results are shocking.
    Bonus episode
    Donna Summers, the manager from the McDonalds restaurant in Mount Washington, sued McDonald's for failing to warn her about the previous hoaxes. She asked for $50 million. She was awarded $1 million in punitive damages and $100,000 in compensatory damages.
    Listen to my conversation with her attorney Wendy Wagner.
    The Pranks part 1 BONUS (McDonalds Lawsuit)
    https://www.patreon.com/posts/pranks-part-1-30952858

    Links and sources
    https://www.courier-journal.com/story/news/local/2005/10/09/a-hoax-most-cruel-caller-coaxed-mcdonalds-managers-/28936597/
    https://rapidcityjournal.com/news/local/man-on-trial-for-kidnapping-rape/article_faeff508-246c-54db-8a66-15d121c5112d.html
    https://www.courier-journal.com/story/news/local/2005/10/09/a-hoax-most-cruel-caller-coaxed-mcdonalds-managers-/28936597/https://web.archive.org/web/20090325234639/http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/15504125/

    Credits
    Today’s show was written by Javier Leiva and edited by Molly Brock. Our theme music was written and composed by Joe Basile with TheChicken.net. Additional music by Blue Dot Sessions and Podington Bear.
    Southern True Crime Podcast Meetup
    Saturday, October 26, 2019
    Tommy Condon’s Restaurant, Charleston, SC
    RSVP HERE
     
    Support for this episode is brought to you by HempFusion
    Use promo code PRETEND for 20% off of your first order and free shipping at hempfusion.com. Get HempFusion shipped anywhere in the US.
     
     
     
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    • 49 min

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