Fakers, Forgers and Phoneys: Famous Scams and Scamps by Magnus Magnusson
Masterfully exploring the shadowy world of deception and counterfeiting, this intriguing collection gathers 16 case studies. True tales include a mystery man known by the unlikely name of George Psalmanazar who fooled the London literary world in 1704 with lurid accounts of cannibalism and polygamy in his native island of Formosa, Taiwan; the fabricated "missing link" human skull which was discovered in a gravel pit in 1912; and how an obese cockney adventurer in Australia succeeded in passing himself off as a slim young English aristocrat who had disappeared more than 10 years earlier in 1854. More recent scams unveiled are a house-painter-cum-art-restorer who fooled the art world and became a national TV celebrity in 1979, and a suave London conman who inveigled a struggling artist to become involved in the greatest British art scam of the 20th century.
Magnus Magnusson's previous titles include Scotland: The Story of a Nation and The Vikings.
Table of Contents
Introduction 11 Art Forgeries 17 The Fake's Progress: Tom Keating 24 Conman and Accomplice: John Drewe and John Myatt 47 The New Vermeer: Han van Meegeren 71 The Case of the Cottingley Fairies 97 Notes 106 Archaeological Frauds 109 The Missing Link: Piltdown Man 115 The Funny Business at Glozel 137 The Vinland Map: A Pious Phoney 161 The Cardiff Giant of New York State 185 Notes 189 Secret Lives: Impostors and Hoaxers 193 The Tichborne Claimant: Arthur Orton 202 Escape from Slavery: Ellen and William Craft 231 The Turk in the Cabinet: The First Chess Automaton 247 The False Formosan: George Psalmanazar 268 Notes 291 Literary Forgeries 295 Thomas Chatterton: The Boy Poet and the Medieval Monk 303 The Ghost of Ossian: James Macpherson 326 The Bogus Welsh Bard: Iolo Morganwg 350 The Boy Who Rewrote Shakespeare: William-Henry Ireland 373 Appendix 395 Notes 396 Index 401