Based On A True Story

I would that my life was Based On True Story – a running true story at the very least. And if it were,  then that would mean this shirt would be a true and positive statement, if I were the one to wear it. But what if my life was a fake? What if my life was a lie? I would hope that it was not, but for these people it was. Below is a list of some of the greatest con men in history. To them, this shirt would be one big fat lie.

1. Victor Lustig, the man who sold the Eiffel Tower:

“In 1925, Lustig’s master con began when he was reading a newspaper: an article discussed the problems the city was having maintaining the Eiffel Tower. So he adopted the persona of a government official, and sent six scrap metal dealers an invitation to discuss a possible business deal. Lustig told the group that the upkeep on the Eiffel Tower was so outrageous that the city could not maintain it any longer, and wanted to sell it for scrap. So he sold the Eiffel Tower to one of the scrap metal dealers and took a train to Vienna with the suitcase full of cash. The buyer was too humiliated to complain to the police.”

2. Frank Abagnale, catch me if you can:

“For a period of two years, Abagnale masqueraded as Pan Am pilot “Frank Williams”, to get free rides around the world by dead heading on scheduled airline flights. Later, he impersonated a pediatrician for 11 months in a Georgia hospital under the name “Frank Williams”. He also forged a Harvard University Law diploma, passed the bar exam of Louisiana and got a job at the office of the State Attorney General of Louisiana.”

3. Milli Vanilli, the pop duo who couldn’t sing:

“So the truth was revealed: the Milli Vanilli sound was actually created by Frank Farian featuring the vocal talents of other singers, and Morvan and Pilatus did not sing at all on the records.”

4. Cassie Chadwick, the illegitimate daughter of Andrew Carnegie:

“In 1897, Cassie began her largest, most successful con game: that of establishing herself as Andrew Carnegie’s daughter. She faked a promissory note of $2 million with Carnegie’s signature. The information leaked to the financial markets in northern Ohio, and banks begun to offer their services. For the next eight years she used this fake background to obtain loans that eventually totaled between $10 and 20 million.”

5. David Hampton, less than Six Degrees of Separation from Sidney Poitier:

“Hampton began employing the persona of “David Poitier” to cadge free meals in restaurants. He then persuaded at least a dozen people into letting him stay with them in their homes or to give him money, including Melanie Griffith, Gary Sinise, and Calvin Klein. He told some of them that he was a friend of their children, some that he had just missed his plane to Los Angeles and that all his luggage was on it, some that his belongings had been stolen.”

To read more about the above men, check out the original story from which the above quotes were taken at Top 10 Greatest Impostors In History.

Based on a True Story is available now from la Fraise for €23 (~$30 US).

Based On A True Story

Based On A True Story

Comments

  1. says

    Great way to present this shirt. I’ve always admired the “perfect con”, where the target is too humiliated to go to the authorities. The Eiffel Tower story is ridiculous. Reminds me of George Parker, a very famous con man who sold various New York buildings to tourists (he sold the Brookly Bridge twice a week for years). Con men are awesome in movies, but in real life they tend to destroy people’s lives.

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