Aristotle on Tyranny

Below is an excerpt from The History of Western Philosophy by Bertrand Russell. There is an interesting section on tyranny. A tyrant desires riches, whereas a king desires honour. The tyrant has guards who are mercenaries, whereas the king has guards who are citizens. Tyrants are mostly demagogues, who acquire power by promising to protect […]

Hermes

Zeus had many children, but the cleverest one was Hermes, the God of thieves. When he was only a day old, he snuck into his brother Apollo’s (the God of Light and music) pasture and stole 50 of his best cows. He attached bark on the sole of their hooves and a broom on their […]

Solomon (1 Kings 3:16-28)

In his great wisdom, King Solomon used a trick to elicit truth in a dispute between two women. “Oh, my lord” the first woman said to the king, “this woman and I dwell in the same house; and I gave birth to a child while she was in the house. Then on the third day […]

Delilah (Judges 16:4-30)

Samson had been a bane to the Philistines for a long time. They wanted to know the secret of the great physical power that Samson used to defeat them. The lords of the Philistines approached Delilah, the woman Samson loved and said to her, “Entice him and see wherein his great strength lies, and by […]

The Serpent (Genesis 3:1-24)

Adam and Eve had barely settled into the garden of Eden when the serpent tricked them into defying God and precipitating the fall of man by eating of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. The serpent coaxed Eve, “You will not die, for God knows that when you eat of it your eyes […]

Diagnostic Deception

The 20th century was the Golden Age of Quackery and snake oil salesman. If you were dubbed the “dean of 20th century charlatans”, you must be quite special. Dr. Albert Abrams earned that title in 1924 after the professor from Stanford University,  built two bogus devices he called the “dynamizer” and the “oscilloclast” which were […]

Kennedy’s Dictum

“It doesn’t matter who you are, it’s who people think you are.” John F. Kennedy’s father once said. JFK and his team wanted people to think that he was a devoted family man, when he was in fact, a shameless philanderer. He was photographed as played with his children, but behind the scenes he cheater […]

Elena’s Resume

She was Romania’s Marie Curie, and she called herself a brilliant scientist, but Elena Ceausescu was a poorly educated peasant who had enough power to fake her academic credentials. She had this power because she was married to Romania’s dictator Nicolae Ceausescu. Elena didn’t graduate high school but managed to obtain her doctorate in chemistry, […]

Oscar Hartzell

There are many kinds of tricksters. Some are like P.T Barnum, they try to trick people so that they find them entertaining. But there are confidence men like Oscar Hartzell, who sought to rip people off with their schemes. Hartzell is one of history’s greatest con artists. In the early 20th century, he convinced over […]

The Prince of Humbugs

In 1835, the legendary showman P.T Barnum made his debut. He exhibited what he called “the most astonishing and interesting curiosity in the world,” an elderly black woman names Joice Heth. She was 161 years old. He announced through pamphlets and many forms of advertisements that she was the “most ancient specimen of mortality.” This […]