Geniuses at Work: Prolific Art Cons In History
The term con artist is a well-known one, and you must have heard of this very term. However, the term, ‘con artist’ is far from being new, as it is started in the early 19th century. That time it was known as a confidence man. A con artist is that person who chooses a victim and gains their trust to rob them of their best possession with a smile on their face.
This practice of being a con artist is well-known, and there have been so many people in the history who have been entitled as the greatest cons. Here, we have listed the name of such a con artist.
1. Reed Waddell
He was born in a family that lived in Springfield, Illinois. He was a good person, but then gambling took him out and he came to New York in 1880. His con consisted of spreading leaflets that have the advertising of selling the counterfeit money. It was at first for the gamblers, who wanted to retrieve their lost possession, but at last, they never got back anything and they were even unable to go to the police.
Reed Waddell invented the good brick scam and it earned him more than $25,000. He used to make the earning into gold bars and sell them to wealthy farmers, who were looking for getting triple in their overall investment. Reed Waddell, later on, shot and died by the hand of his partner a fellow swindler Tom O’Brien in Paris.
2. John St. John Long
The story of John St. John Long is an enticing one. He was born in 1798 in Ireland. He started with the studies of art, but later on, he decided upon medical fraud. He announced that he has found a treatment of tuberculosis, in 1826. His treatment was done in various ways; one was inhaling the medicine, or rubbing the same on the chest and back of the patient. This medicine contained turpentine, which caused a sore and it was so painful that the lung infection used to come to the surface and leave the patient’s body.
Other than the medical expertise he acquired, he was handsome, so people would seek help from him more than often. However, in 1830 he had to go through a trial for the death of his patient, and he had to pay $250. After that the case of his patients dying became rife. He was known as the ‘Handsome hoaxer of Harley Street’. He died in 1834, and it was from some riding incident, but people say he died in tuberculosis and refused to take his own medication.
3. Victor Lustig
He was the man who sold the Eiffel tower twice. He was ‘the smoothest con man that ever lived’. He had his money box scheme, where sold a money box and told people that it will give them $100 bills. In reality, the box itself contained some $100 bills, and it slowly got out the bills, and at last became all useless. Victor Lustig hosted a secret meeting where he persuaded some wealthy metal dealers that he would sell the Eiffel tower for scarp. He went with this very scam again and this time police arrested him.
He was arrested in 1935, and although he was able to escape for one month, he was sentenced to jail for 20 years.
There are several other con artists in the history, like Lou Blonger, William Elmer Mead, Henri Lemoine, Lord Gordon Gordon, hungry Joe and so on. All of them were the best con man in the history of prolific con artists.