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Word of Mouth

Conspiracies, Cults, & Cons


Pull the shades, put on your skeptics cap, leave your friends behind and climb on board because today’s show is all about conspiracies, cults, and cons. From the magic bullet that killed JFK, to Jim Jones cyanide punch, to the Ponzi scheme, America has had its fair share of conspiracies, cults, and cons. We’re going to take an unexpected look at all three, starting with the conspiratorially minded among us.

Listen to the full show. 


American Conspiracy Theories

Joseph Uscinski is associate professor of political science at the University of Miami, where he researches conspiracy theories. He co-authored a book on the subject called American Conspiracy Theories


What Makes a Cult, a Cult?

Kate Gale grew up on High View Church Farm. What the church considered “propagating the gospel” she considered “cult-like”. She left when she turned 18-years-old and is now the founder and managing editor of Red Hen Press. She shares her story about growing up in a closed religious community.


Huckster, trickster, flim flam man. No matter what you call it, Americans love a good con artist. And producer Nate Dimeo of The Memory Palace brings us this story of one of the greatest cons in American history. You can listen to his story at prx.org.

Credit Keturah Stickann via flickr Creative Commons

Convict Land: A Reporter Learns to Con the Cons.

Journalist Alexander Reynolds has been examining the conditions of American jails in a pretty unorthodox way, by going undercover as a volunteer detainee. So what does it take to con a bunch of cons? Alexander explains in his new book, Convictland: Undercover in America’s Jails.  Reynolds provides an excerpt at vice.com.


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