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Separate the fraud from the fiction with Nicholas J. Johnson as he and his guests explores the worlds of deception, illusion and swindles.

Separate the fraud from the fiction with Nicholas J. Johnson as he and his guests explores the worlds of deception, illusion and swindles.
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Melbourne, Australia


Separate the fraud from the fiction with Nicholas J. Johnson as he and his guests explores the worlds of deception, illusion and swindles.






48 - Counting Cards with Dale Sadler

Imagine you're a professional magician, performing a few card tricks at function when you're approached by a mysterious stranger who wants to make use of your unique set of skills. He wants to turn you into a card counter. That is exactly what happened to Dale Sadler, a magician turn card counter who spent years making his living winning at blackjack at casinos across Australia. On this episode, Dale explains how to card counts, how to gain access to the high rollers room, how to avoid get...


47 - The Truth About Lies with Dr Celine Van Golde

What would you say is the best method of detecting lies? A truth serum? A polygraph machine? A body language expert? The truth about lie detectors is…they probably don’t work. So why do they show in popular culture on reality tv shows and, most disturbingly, in criminal investigations? And what are the ramifications of putting our faith in these dodgy devices and half baked theories? On this episode of Scamapalooza, Dr Celine Van Golde of the Not Guilty project helps uncover the truth about...


46 - Women In Magic with Carissa Hendrix

I have always assumed that it must be hard to be a woman in magic. It’s an industry dominated by men and populated by old guys with outdated ideas of gender, young boys who got into magic to pick up girls and antisocial men of all ages who struggle to talk to ANYONE, let alone members of the opposite sex. We have the organisations like the International 'Brotherhood' of Magicians and The Magic Circle that didn’t allow women to even join until the 1980’s. But is the magic fraternity at hotbed...


45 - The Ethics Of Mentalism with Jon Archer

What’s the difference between a con artist and a magician? A great magician tells you they’re about to lie you. They admit it out right. And then fool you anyway. But a great con artist will suck you in and leave you refusing to believe you were ever deceived. So what then, about mentalism, that branch of magic that brings to life psychic phenomena like psychokinesis and telepathy or that makes extraordinary psychological techniques like neurolinguistic programming or body language reading...


44 - The Doctor Will See You Now with Dr Vyom Sharma

How do working GPs deal with alternative medicine? These frontline healthcare practitioners have to deal with constant red tape, constant education, strict laws and pesky professional ethics. Alternative medicine practitioners, on the other hand, are so unburdened by professional oversight, rules and regulations that they can sell remedies that do not even work (and in the case of homeopathy, often don't even exist) with few ramifications. On this episode of Scamapalooza Nicholas talks to Dr...


43 - OzLockCon and Lockpicking with Topaz.

OzLockCon is Australia’s first conference dedicated to locksport and physical security. From the amateur lockpicker to the professional security expert, the conference has something for everyone interesting locks. On this week's episode OzLockCon organiser Topaz talks about the event and explains how to pick a lock.


42 - The Gullibility Test with Alessa Teunisse

Why, given the constant need for people to measure everything from their personalities to their intellect, is there no test for gullibility? Alessa Tenunisse, a pHd student at Macquarie University’s Department of Psychology, has spent several exploring gullibility and it's relationship to scams. On this week's episode, Alessa discusses her work while Nicholas tries to strike it rich with a GQ test. You can help Alessa with her survey here:...


41 - Fake News with Toby Halligan

We are living in a golden age of bullshit. Nowhere is this more evident than in the media where fake news is now almost indistinguishable from the real deal. So how do you spot fake news? How do you spot it spreading? And how do you deal with that weird relative wanting to spread pizzagate conspiracy theories on facebook? On this week's episode, satirist Toby Halligan explains how to defeat lies in the era of fake news.


40 - Paper Moon with Sarah Baggs

It's only a paper moon, sailing over a cardboard sea. And this week's episode is only pop culture queen Sarah Baggs exploring the whimsical and heartwarming world of Paper Moon. From the Peter Bogdanovich film to the Joe David Brown novel to the Jodie Foster starring TV series, Sarah and Nicholas explore what makes this rare con artist film a classic.


39 - The Annals of Gullibility with Stephen Greenspan

Stephen Greenspan has dedicated a large part of his career to explaining why people act gullibly. As a psychologist and author, he’s drawn from research, literature and his own personal experience as a victim of Bernie Madoff to help explain the psychological underpinnings of why otherwise smart people do stupid things. On this week’s episode, Nicholas takes to Stephen about his work, his life and the reason why, if you say the word gullible really slow, it sounds like word oranges.


38 - I Love Phillip Morris Vs FOCUS with Martin Dunlop

There are no two con artists films less alike than I Love You Phillip Morris and FOCUS. One is a true story, the other fiction. One is slick and cool, the other bright and slapstick filled. One features two men falling in love in prison while the other features a run of the mill Hollywood romance. On this week’s episode, Nicholas talks to Martin Dunlop about the differences between the two films while exposing their complete lack of understanding of the politics of sexuality.


37 - Charles Dawson at The Labrastory (LIVE)

The Laborastory is a science storytelling event in Melbourne that comes to tell the stories of science – the heroes, the egos, the breakthroughs and the mistakes of genius. From forgotten history and lonely laboratories, science and scientists quite literally take centre stage. On this week’s episode, Nicholas talks at the monthly science event about his scientific hero: amatuer geologist and fossicker Charles Dawson. But being Nicholas, there is a twist in the tale....


36 - Brain Magic with Tony Barnhart

Anthony “Magic Tony” Barnhart is a cognitive psychologist at Arizona State University. He studies the psychological processes underlying handwritten word perception and the psychological foundations of magic and illusion. On this week’s episode of the podcast Tony discusses his work while Nicholas tries to sell Tony on his crackpot theory connecting magic and autism.


35 - Now You Seem Mean 2 with Nick Mason

Nick Mason, from the Weekly Planet Podcast, returns to help Nicholas deal with complex feelings about the 2016 film Now You See Me 2. The sequel to the surprise 2013 hit, Now You See Me 2 features more magic, more heists and more confusing plot twists than the original.


34 - The Gentle Grafter with Tosh Greenslade

Do you remember that story about the man who sold his fob watch to buy his wife a comb while she sold her hair to buy him a watch chain? That classic twist comes from the mind of O Henry, a short story writer famous for penning tales filled with criminals and the down on their luck. Almost all of his stories have unpredictable, ironic endings. On this week’s episode, actor Tosh Greenslade brings to life my favourite O Henry short story, a tale of two con men, written by a man who might have...


33 - Alien Autopsy Part 2 with Spyros Melaris

In the second part of Nicholas’ conversation with Spyros Melaris about the 1995 Alien Autopsy video, Spyros discuss the fallout from the hoax video, his falling out with his collaborator Ray Santilli and the many easter eggs hidden throughout the film. Is Spyros telling the truth? Or is he creating a conspiracy inside a conspiracy?


32 - Alien Autopsy Part 1 with Spyros Melaris

In 1995, the world was captivated by the Alien Autopsy video, a grainy 17 minute film supposedly depicting the disection of an alien “Grey” in Roswell, New Mexico. A decade later, the film was exposed by British man Ray Santilli who claimed he had masterminded the hoax. However, in recent years, another man, Spyros Melaris, has claimed that he was responsible for the lion share of the work. Where does the conspiracy end and the truth begin?


31 - Small Time Criminals with Ben McKenzie and Kevin Turner

Ben and Kevin just want to play. As two members of Pop Up Playground they create fun, immersive game experiences that feel like real live computer games. So why has their latest project, Small Time Criminals, attract the ire of tabloid media and victims of crime groups. Is it an ultra-realistic bank heist simulation that mocks the victims of real robberies? Or is it a media beat up? On this week’s episode Ben and Kevin talk games, cheating and bank heists while Nicholas tries to make the two...


30 - The Bullshitters Book Club with Vinny DePonto

Everyone wants to be a good liar. Or at the very least, be able to spot a good liar. But what do you do when all of the books on the subject are written by authors who are experts on doing just that? On this week’s episode, Vinny DePonto talks about five of his favourite books on lying and Nicholas wonders with Mark Twain would be doing burlesque if he was alive today.


29 - Dom and Dumber with Dom Chambers and Bayden Hammond

Dom and Dumber have taken on a mammoth task, combining magic and sketch comedy into an entirely new genre. In this week's Scamapalooza, Dom Chambers and Bayden Hammond sit down and talk about their favourite comedy, magic and how you manage to jam the two of them together. #comedy #magic #scams #sketch