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S308: The Prophet - Meet Jane Whaley Part 3

The world first learned about the Word of Faith Fellowship after an Inside Edition exposé in 1995. The investigation, led by the Trinity Foundation, revealed accusations of abuse within the church. Watch the Inside Edition story: Jane Whaley's quiet little kingdom was suddenly in the spotlight. Hidden cameras captured Jane's signature screaming prayer. Church members told Inside Edition that they would strap children to chairs so they wouldn't...


S307: The Prophet - Meet Jane Whaley Part 2

Previously on Pretend Radio, I came face-to-face with pastor Jane Whaley of the Word of Faith Fellowship. When I arrived, we met in her office for a few minutes before the church service began. I was surprised by everyone's friendliness. Suddenly, the music started playing and we knew it was time to head into the main sanctuary. Jane Whaley held my hand as we walked down a long hallway towards the service. As we inched closer to the sanctuary, the music got louder and louder—it was ear...


S306: The Prophet - Meet Jane Whaley Part 1

As far as I know, I'm the first journalist who has ever interviewed pastor Jane Whaley. Heck, I might be the only member of the media to have attended church service. How was I able to pull this off? The short answer is, I have no idea. In fact, when the executive producer of the upcoming A&E series on Word of Faith Fellowship found out about my exclusive interview, he gave me a call. He asked me, "I just want to know one thing... how did you do it?" I told him, "I just asked...


S305: The Prophet - Brazil and the Word of Faith Fellowship

Did you know that the Word of Faith Fellowship has nearly 2,000 members internationally? They have affiliate churches all over the world including Brazil, Sweden, Scotland, and other countries. I don’t get it. Why would Jane Whaley want to branch out to churches outside the United States? Why not just expand within North Carolina? What could she possibly gain from having members all over the world? The answer, some former members say, is human trafficking. Brazil is by far the biggest...


S304: The Prophet - Allegations of Abuse and Corruption

When Nancy Burnette was appointed by the courts to be a guardian ad litem, she knew her job wasn’t going to be easy. A guardian ad litem is someone who represents kids in the foster care system. It’s her job to place children in homes with the right parents. If she doesn’t get right, her decision can cause lasting damage on these vulnerable children. This was a challenge Nancy was willing to take. So, put yourself in Nancy’s shoes for a second. If you had to place a child in the custody...


S303: The Prophet - Former Members Speak Out

On April 7th, 2018, more than a dozen former Word of Faith Fellowship members reunited at the Spindale House in Rutherford County, North Carolina. It was an opportunity for former members to answer lingering questions for the citizens in the community. But in reality, it was probably an event designed to make good television for the documentary crew filming the whole thing. When I walked into the room, I expected a small gathering with a few chairs. Instead, I counted 6 professional video...


S302: The Prophet - Who is Jane Whaley?

Who is Jane Whaley? Jane Whaley is the pastor at the Word of Faith Fellowship—a conservative, charismatic Christian church. Those who have left the church describe her as a ruthless cult leader. But, we don't know much about her. Where did she come from? How did she assume power? I spoke with John Huddle, a former Word of Faith Fellowship member, to learn more about Jane Whaley's past. To learn more visit --Promo-- All Crime No Cattle --Music--


S301: The Prophet - Word of Faith Fellowship Revisited

Season 3: The Prophet - Word of Faith Fellowship Revisited I’m back with a whole new season of Pretend Radio. But this time it’s going to be a little different. Instead of telling you a different story each episode, I decided to do a serialize season where I tell you a single story, one episode at a time. So what is it about? It’s about the first episode I aired on this show—the Word of Faith Fellowship church. Back in season one, I met up with a man who says he escaped the cult. His...


S213: The Hijacker, Part 2 - Martin McNally

Martin McNally needed some cash, so what did he do? He hijacked an American Airlines flight with 90 passengers on board. If you haven’t listened to part one, check that out first. Today’s episode, picks up where we last left off. It’s 1972, and Martin McNally just hijacked a plane heading to Tulsa, Oklahoma. His plan was simple… Demand a half a million dollars, jump out of the plane, and disappear into the darkness of night. After 15 seconds of freefall, McNally pulls the ripcord. He...


S212: The Hijacker, Part 1 - Martin McNally

Martin McNally is going to hijack this plane and nobody, not even the FBI, is going to stop him. In today’s episode, Martin McNally recounts his 1972 hijacking of an American Airlines flight heading to Tulsa, Oklahoma. His plan was simple—sneak a submachine gun onboard a 727 jet, demand a half-million dollars in cash, and escape with a parachute. And he almost got away with it. Martin McNally’s story is gripping and will have you at the edge of your seat. He was inspired by the...


S211: The Jolly Roger Social Club

You may remember Sharon McConnell-Dickerson from episode 8 titled “The Sculptor.” You know, the blind artist who casts the faces of dying blues musicians. When we first recorded that episode, she told me a story that quite frankly was hard to believe. It sounded like something out of a movie. In fact, it should be turned into a movie. It’s one of the most sadistic con artist stories I’ve ever heard. And warning, this episode is pretty dark. So if you don’t like that kinda stuff, you’ve...


Pretend Radio Anniversary Bonus Episode

Guess what? Pretend Radio turns one year old this month. So I thought it would be cool to replay some old guest interviews I've done on other shows. (01:00) Generation Why Podcast Interview - I talk about Vester Flanagan, the reporter who murdered the news crew live on television (14:23) Maurer Glass Podcast Interview - Learn how I find my guests and behind the scenes insights (30:22) The Live Canary Interview - I traded a story for a beer I'll be back soon with a new episode. In...


S210: The Babalawo - Secrets of Santeria

Today's episode "The Babalawo" is about Santeria… the faith, not the song. Unlike the pop tune, not a lot of people know about this mysterious religion. Santería, also known as Regla de Ochá, La Regla de Ifá, or Lucumí, is an Afro-Cuban religion that means the worship of saints. So, you maybe asking yourself, “Javier, where’s the pretend angle here?” Well, this religion in particular gives me the heebie jeebies. I feel like people visit these Santeria priests like if they’re fortune...


S209: The Good Cop, Bad Cop

How does a good cop turn bad? For Ruben Palomares, a former corrupt LAPD Rampart division officer, the process was slow. He went from receiving LAPD’s highest honor to becoming one of the most corrupt cops in US history. Officer Palomares’ story begins with his first undercover assignment. In the late 1980s there was this show called 21 Jump Street. Johnny Depp starred in it. It was about undercover cops, who pretended to be students, in order to bust drug dealers in schools. But did...


S208: The Stranger

A lie is only powerful if you choose to believe it. So why do we fall for it every time? In this episode, we’ll hear four different stories. Each describes a tall tale, so persistent, that it’s hard to imagine someone keeping all the lies straight in their head. Each one of these stories reminds me of the movie The Truman Show. It seems like everyone I spoke with lived in a world carefully created just for them. Now it’s time to ask you. Have you ever been lied to? Or have you ever...


S207: The Gambler Part 2 - Art Schlichter

Previously on Pretend Radio, we learned how Art Schlichter’s gambling habits destroyed Anita Barney life. She went from being the wealthy widow of a Wendy’s CEO to becoming broke and struggling to pay her light bill. It started out with a loan for $10,000. Art Schlichter said he needed the money to buy a car. Anita: “He just met me and he’s asking me for money. I was totally surprised but I didn’t know what to say. I said yes.” That was just the first loan. Slowly, he would borrow...


S206: The Gambler Part 1 - Art Schlichter

This is the story of disgraced Ohio State quarterback Art Schlichter. In order to understand Art Schlichter’s crimes, you first have to understand how his story ends. Anita Barney, heiress and widow of a former Wendy’s CEO, lost every single penny her husband left her. Art Schlichter and Anita Barney How did it happen? Art Schlichter gambled away her entire fortune. Art and Anita first met in 1981 after her son Alan survived a plane crash. He was at the pique of his football career when...


S205: The Reporter - Vester Flanagan

Warning, this episode may be disturbing for some listeners. It describes a shooting that resulted in the death of two people. While this story is not technically about a mass shooting, it has every characteristic of one. I began working on this story prior to the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting. My first reaction was to pull the episode. Then, I thought I should postpone the release. But, you know what? There’s never an appropriate time to talk about mass shootings....


S204: The Taker

Karl comes from a long line of con men. He says both his grandfather and father were swindlers. It's only natural that Karl slipped into the family business. In today's episode, Karl talks about bribing corrupt company building managers. He says he sold them cheap light bulbs, trash can liners, and cleaning supplies at a premium price. In exchange for buying overpriced products, Karl would send these building managers gifts and cash. He made lots of money working as a B2B telemarketer. He...


S203: The Boy and the Girl

Candis Cox and her husband Adam live in Raleigh, North Carolina. This is their love story. How did I find them? I’m glad you asked. I told my friend Wendy I was looking for a couple profile. She said, “Hang tight. I have the perfect couple for you.” 15 minutes later, Wendy calls back and tells me to call Candis Cox. It was the most awkward conversation. I called her and said, “Hello, my friend Wendy said you and your husband are madly in love. Do tell.” She was like, “Okay?” Their story...