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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.






24 - Houdini and The Medium with John Cox

Harry Houdini was not just one of history’s most famous magicians he was also obsessed with death and the afterlife, dedicating years to uncovering the truth about life after death. Mina Crandon was a spirit medium who claimed that the ghosts she communicated with could ring bells, float tables and throw trumpets across rooms. On this week’s episode Jon Cox from from the website Wild About Houdini tells the incredible story of Houdini and Crandon’s battle of wits and the extraordinary...


23 - The Great Moon Hoax with Matthew Goodman

On 25 August 1835, The Sun newspaper in New York reported that a telescope had been invented so powerful that it could see the surface of the moon. There, alien life had been discovered. Man bats, bipedal beavers and abandoned temples to forgotten gods were all described in great detail. On this week’s episode Matthew Goodman, author of The Sun and The Moon, explains how the hoax came about and how it changed journalism and astronomy forever.


22 - Piff The Magic Dragon with John Van Der Put {Explicit}

Piff The Magic Dragon isn’t your usual magician. He plays Las Vegas and wows judges on TV shows like America’s Got Talent and Penn and Teller Fool Us. But, his also a fire breathing dragon with a pet chihuahua, known for sending playing cards into toasted cheese sandwiches and shooting his beloved Mr Piffles out of a canon. On this week’s episode, Piff aka John Van Der Put explains how he become the world’s most famous magical dragon and what it’s like being an internet sensation.


21 - The Sting with Matthew Specktor

The Sting is the king of con artist movies and the godfather of every twist happy heist movie from Ocean’s 11 to Matchstick Men. This week on the podcast writer Matthew Specktor talks about the incredible legacy of The Sting, a film that swept the 1973 Academy Award, reteamed Robert Redford and Paul Newman and changed film forever.


20 - Sucker with Lawrence Leung

Based on his award winning one man show, Sucker is the new feature film from comedian Lawrence Leung. Starring John Luc (youtube’s MyChonny) and Timothy Spall (Harry Potter), Sucker is a coming of age con artist flick that shares DNA with Paper Moon and The Sting. This week on the podcast, Nicholas talks to Lawrence about making the movie, his favourite con artist films and why, not matter what Nicholas says, you can’t con an honest man.


19 - Sleights of Mind with Stephen Macknik and Susana Martinez-Conde

The phrase neuromagic sounds like an obscure genre of cyberpunk fantasy novels. In reality, it is the study of the neuroscience of magicians and magic. Founders of the discipline Stephen Macknik and Susana Martinez-Conde have spent years unlocking the secrets of the human brain and why we are so easily fooled. On this week’s episode, the pair talk about their research and reveal some of the real secrets of magic including change blindness, misdirection, perception and saccades. Don’t blink...


18 - Keeping The Bastards Dishonest with Dee Madigan

Dee Madigan is an advertising creative and political campaigner who spends her days selling politicians to the public and her nights revealing the secrets of advertising on television shows like the Gruen Transfer and in books like the Hard Sell. On this week’s episode, Dee explains the techniques campaigns uses to sell us politicians and their policies and Nicholas reveals his appearance as the arms and torso of an Australian politician in a magic themed campaign ad from 2014....


17 - The Cottingley Fairies with Sarah Baggs

The Cottingley Fairies were the talk of the early 20th century. A pair of girls, Elsie and Francis, took five photos that appeared to depict real live fairies. The photos sparked off a series of events that stretched through the 20th century involving the Theosophical Society, Kodak, James Randi, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and sexy, sexy Harvey Keitel. This week on Scamapalooza, pop culture commentator Sarah Baggs asks the question: "Do you believe in fairies?"...


16 - Scam School with Brian Brushwood

Brian Brushwood is the ultimate drinking buddy. A king of bar magic, propositional wagers and short cons. Since 2008, Brian has been sharing the tricks of social engineering, bar bets and close up magic in his uber-popular series Scam School. On this week's episode, Brian sits down and explains the key to a good bar room hustle, the history of Scam School and ethics of teaching the secrets of magic to millions of people online and for free.