Behind the Bastards

There’s a reason the History Channel has produced hundreds of documentaries about Hitler but only a few about Dwight D. Eisenhower. Bad guys (and gals) are eternally fascinating. Behind the Bastards dives in past the Cliffs Notes of the worst humans in history and exposes the bizarre realities of their lives. Listeners will learn about the young adult novels that helped Hitler form his monstrous ideology, the founder of Blackwater’s insane quest to build his own Air Force, the bizarre lives of the sons and daughters of dictators and Saddam Hussein’s side career as a trashy romance novelist.

Part One: The Con Artist Who Invented A Country

Part One: The Con Artist Who Invented A Country

Tue, 10 Nov 2020 11:00

Part One: The Con Artist Who Invented A Country

Listen to Episode

Copyright © 2022 iHeartPodcasts

Read Episode Transcript

Hey, Robert here. It's been like two months since I had LASIK and I'm still seeing 2020. All I had to do was go in for a consultation, then go in for a maybe 10 minute procedure and then my eyes have been great ever since. You know, I healed up wonderfully. It was very simple, couldn't have been a better experience. So if you want to explore LASIK plus I can't recommend it enough. They have over 20 years experience in the industry and they performed more than two million treatments right now if you want to try getting LASIK plus you can get $1000 off of your surgery when you're treated in September, that's $500. Of per eye, just to schedule your free consultation. Hello, I'm Erica Kelly from the podcast Southern Fried true crime. And if you want to go from podcast fan to podcast host, do what I did and check out spreaker from iheart. I was working in accounting and hating it. Then after just 18 months of podcasting with Spreaker, I was able to quit my day job. Follow your podcasting dreams. Let's breaker handle the hosting, creation, distribution, and monetization of your podcast. Go to That's Hey there, it's Ebony Monet, your co-host for the San Diego Zoo's Amazing Wildlife podcast. In this special episode, we're speaking with Doctor Jane Goodall about the fascinating journey that led to her social discoveries on chimpanzees SO4-O months, the chimps ran away from me. I mean, they take one look at this peculiar white ape and disappear into the vegetation. Bing wildlife on the iHeartRadio app or wherever you get your podcasts. Dip therea. That's a disease. And I'm Robert Evans and this is behind the ******** a podcast that's not about diseases. It's about the worst people in all of history who are kind of a disease on the human condition. I couldn't think of anything else to shout at the start of the episode, so I went with diphtheria. Anyway, the show has begun. My guests today are one of our very best guests, the wonderful, the incomparable, Lazy mother. Yeah. I'm so happy to be here. I've been seeing you in so long, Robert. Yes, it has been a minute. It has been a minute. How have how are you doing in, in this year of plague and also general uprisings and also a political election and also an economic collapse. I was in the beginning, in the beginning of this. I know when you say it all together. Yeah. When you talk about what's been happening, it sounds very bad because the news cycle is so crazy like that. The one week where Melania was like Christmas. I can't do her voice, but she's like, **** Christmas and even land ohgod. Trump's taxes came out the same week. Also, he got COVID. It was like, so many things happened and we were like, oh, this is just Tuesday, OK? Yeah, I'm. I'm doing a lot better in the beginning. I'm a, like, an introvert. People don't know that about me because I do a lot of this ****. But, like, I am alone a lot and I like it. So I was like, Oh yeah, I'm on TV's Netflix movies, honey. And then when we got into June, it was like, OK, black liberation. And that kind of kept me busy. And then I took a real dump, like, after that, of like, closing my blackout curtains. Like I was like a shut in bedridden pregnant woman in the 1800s. And just like laying in the dark for a few days. But now I'm back, I'm working out every day and, uh, you know, just trying to keep myself sane. Please, you know this. Yeah, visual. You know how they used to be like, Google God, I had a King's baby. So get your *** in bed and close these curtains. Yes? Ah, so that was me. Except for no baby. No quarantine baby. Thank God. I I have not had a quarantine baby either. I did adopt A riot, son, but but no quarantine baby. Lacey. How do you feel about con men? You love con men, but I do. I I really love them. It's a complicated relationship though, because I don't love when people are victimized. I hate to see it happen. Actually, this morning my little sister got scammed. Ohh no, what kind of scam? I was dealing with a family crisis before 9:00 AM child because they 2 hours ahead of me. And so basically my sister met this girl and they've been hanging out through a mutual friend for three months and the girl was like talking about how she needed to move out. From her parents house and how during quarantine, things have just gotten so bad, you know? Side Story. Side Story, honey. So she's like, I'm selling my art online and I don't want to put the money in my bank account because I want my parents to know that I'm saving up to leave. So she asked my little sister if she could put the money in her bank account. Cut to some man named Clyde or some ****. Emailing my sister four checks for $800. Why my sister didn't think I was like you. I literally the first thing I text her. She was like, don't tell Mom dad. I was like, first of all. You I have to second of all. I know this is petty, but I was like I run a show called scam goddess. I was like y'all. Support your sister and listen to our show. Cause girl, I haven't talked about this scam like 5011 times. I'm trying to help you. How old is your sister? 17. So old enough to know better. It's like, it's like if your job was to give out flu vaccines and then, like, your sister gets the flu and she's like, well, I didn't know there was a vaccine. Like, what the **** are you like? Right? I'm like, I spent a whole section of my life just talking about scams. You ain't think nothing, thought, like, let me text my older sister before I make a deposit. Nothing. So she sent them $1300. Oh no, because the bank cleared it automatically, which is their fault. So we're dealing with them. It was $3200 total. And so the Bank of course did a charge back and then that coin flew right out of her account and she was like, well, my friend didn't know. I was like, your friend did know, OK, she scammed stuff and she's not your friend. And I'll talk to her again and also I will pull up to whatever slide, whatever swing set I need to, to be her ***. I will fight children. Yeah. If you're 51, you can fight kids. It's the same. Mostly. I will fight children. I'm, you know, I have one. It's a fair fight. OK. It's her. Is her friend 17, too? Yeah, I think they're around the same age. That's an adult. Yeah, but surprise. *******. Yeah, right. Surprise. I didn't expect to talk about this one. Sorry. It was on my heart. You know who else would fight children? Oh, probably probably the, the the subject of today's podcast, I assume based on everything else he did. So, Lacey, you and I are both are both connoisseurs of con men. You know, we love we love us some Connors, right. Like it's it's there's something just you gotta you love a grifter. Like they're they're monsters, but they're fascinating. And most of the grifters, at least, that I talk about I know you cover kind of a different branch of them. Most of the ones I talk about are either, like Hawking some sort of miracle. Medical treatment or like a path to easy riches. I guess that that's basically all of them, right? Right. There are like, you know, a couple, though, who rise above the rest. There's people like Ron Hubbard, right, who like, grifted a whole religion. And it's like, you know, and today's grifter is that level of grifter. He didn't make a religion, but the guy we're talking about today, Sir Gregor MacGregor, conned people into believing he had a whole country. And that's pretty ambitious. Considering, you know, travel. He's like, no, you don't have to come. Just no, Oh no, he he convinced them to come now. This was a different era. We're talking about the 1800s and spoiler a lot of them died. No, this is a high body count scammer, but our first episode is going to be about the rest of his back because like every grifter he had to like, build up, you know, just start by faking a country, right? Like you gotta, you got that's like, that's like the marathon of grifting and like you gotta do some tin K, some 20K like before you can, before you can get that ****. So Gregor McGregor was born in Stirlingshire, Scotland on Christmas Eve, 1786. His family were somewhat. Famous among the contentious peoples of Scotland, one of his ancestors was a guy named Rob Roy MacGregor, a cattle rustler and a bandit who basically charged people not to steal their ****. He was a gangster. He controlled a large group of Raiders who would like steel cows and then ransom them back to their customers or just like get money from them not to steal their cows in the 1st place. The original towing company, yeah, yeah, he was, he was kind of like a towing company, but an illegal towing company where like some guy with a gun comes out and said, oh, you want your ******* car back? They happen to you. You got your car? Yeah. I have definitely had my car towed, but it was unfortunately legal, although I felt as if it was not. And if it were a bandit, perhaps that would have been nicer. Because there were cops involved anyway. So he ****** *** a local noble by stealing his stealing his cows eventually, and that got the McGregor clan kicked off. There's like a roster of official Scottish clans. It's like a it's like a whole deal. And so the McGregor family got kicked off for like decades and Rob Roy's family got like tossed out of their home in the dead of winter. And he was, he was really, it seems like just a crime. Like, just like not a good criminal either. Like, you know, I'm not judgmental of criminals, but he's just like stealing people ****. But because of like. For whatever reason, it's complicated. He's he turned into a folk hero in Scotland and he's kind of viewed now as the Scottish Robin Hood. So this is Gregor Macgregor's like famous ancestor and he's he's only born like 60 years before Gregor's birth. But like you know, back in the 1700s, that's like a billion years, you know word of mouth. Yeah. Yeah. So by the time Gregor McGregor comes into the world his family, his clan had been real estate and stated to the roles and he's got like this famous tradition of like we're we're we're we're both warriors and. And freedom fighters, yadda yadda yadda. His family weren't rich, but they were really very comfortable. Local aristocrats, like upper middle class. They were eating every day. Yeah, yeah, yeah. And they were eating well. He would have grown up hearing tales of like, his ancestors, glory, yadda yadda. We don't know any details about Gregor's education or his early life because people didn't keep great notes in the 1700s about folks who weren't like super rich. But we know that his father worked for the British East India Company and would have been absent all the time doing, you know, genocides. And stuff. It's likely that Gregor was raised by his mom and his aunts and showered with attention because he was the only boy in the family, and I think most people know what that kind of does to you. He was like, the original influencer of the 1700s. It sounds like he would have had, like, maybe like 84 Instagram followers or 8084 thousand. Yeah, excuse me. Yeah. It's weird how quickly you've picked up on where this story's going. Lacy. So yeah, his body, his modern biographer guy named David Sinclair posits, based on his later life, he was probably showered with attention and grew used to getting whatever he wanted. Like he was, he was the special boy of the family, right? So he probably left school at about age 15 because that's when Scottish boys became adults. Which is interesting to me because, like pretty much everywhere else in Europe, it was like age 14. So I guess the Scots, you get an extra year of being a kid. That's nice. Yeah, they're progressive. The next year, at age 16, he enlisted in the British Army. 16 was the earliest age at which this was allowed. And before you get all judgy, you should know that 17 year olds joined the US Army all the time. So things aren't changed all that much. Like we added a year. We're the Scotsman of the modern era. So yeah, Gregor joins the Army, and he would claim later that he spent the year between graduation and joining the university and joining the army at the University of Edinburgh. But everything he ever said was a lie, so don't put too much stock in it. There's no evidence that he ever attended college. Now, back in those days, as a result of changes made by King Charles the second, young men with money could buy their way into the British Army. And it's almost certain that Gregor's father paid for him to be commissioned as an Ensign, which was like the lowest officer rank at the period and cost about £450, which was equivalent to around $25,000 in modern money. So like this was expensive. It was also the normal way that officers got promoted, right? You could either wait years to earn a promotion, or you could pay for it poor man had to settle for. Being promoted the old fashioned way through like hard work and courage and so that, you know, that took a long time. Until fairly late in the 1800s, every officer rank in the British Army worked this way up to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. No sense. So the people who are least qualified are just running ****. It's interesting because it did work very badly a lot of the time and that's why it was eventually stopped. And obviously like the thing that you'd imagine did happen, a bunch of idiots got to command the lives of thousands thanks to their rich dads. And you can look at. Bit like the famous charge of the Light brigade during the Crimean War. And even though the, I mean they'd stop that process, but still a lot of the officers in charge during that war had paid to become officers. And even the British loss of North America is like maybe partial consequences of the fact that the system worked this way. But it it wasn't like it wasn't all bad, actually. And this is the I found like a really interesting letter to the editor in an 1860 issue of the New York Times. We're like a British. Military veteran explained why the system wasn't quite as as simple as people thought it was, and one of the points he made is that it allowed people who were good leaders to speed up their rise to through the ranks and then spit, thus spend more time commanding armies in the prime of their lives. And there's actually at least one really good example of this. The Duke of Wellington paid for all of the seven viable promotions he could possibly have paid and like by the time he was a Lieutenant Colonel, he'd never seen combat, had no functional experience, and he went on to beat Napoleon at Waterloo. So like. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it works. Strategy? Yeah. He was a strategist, OK? He was. He was, yeah. He was good at what he like. Sometimes this worked out and, like one of the one of the famous defenses when people would talk about canceling the system in the late 1800s, was that, like, well, then we'd have to pay all these officers back for the money they paid to, like, get their promotions. And that would cost way too much money. So let's just, let's just keep having idiots in charge anyway, costing lives. It was a very silly thing, for the most part. Now the unit Gregory's. Dad bought his son into was the 57th foot, a Scottish regiment famous for the fact that almost everyone in it was a criminal, their name. Their nickname was the steel backs because they were flogged with whips so many times for their disobedience. So it was said that like you had to have a strong back to survive because they regularly get like 900 lashes and **** for like all of the crimes they committed. Now is that pre army or during the army? That's during the army. I feel like you shouldn't be beating on people that you need to. Like, the British Army did that all the time there was there. In fact, there was like a saying that, like, the British Navy was kept in order by rum, ****** and the lash. Wow. Yeah. So, like, they're drunk, they get to **** each other and we beat them when they step out of line and that's why there's they. There's also a great Pogues album called Rum, ****** and The Lash. Wonderful. Tell if that's a good time or a bad time. When people would like it, like there are some stores I've been to in San Francisco that specifically cater to that set of things, right? Right. But these were not fun. Lashes, you know, like these would do real damage to you. The commander of the 57th Foot once nicknamed them the fighting villains because, again, they're all criminals. So McGregor did well there at first. He actually earned a promotion from instant to Lieutenant without having to pay for it. So we had, like, promise he there was a chance he could have lived a legitimate life at one point, is what I want you to keep. It always is. What is this? Yeah, yeah. There was that moment where John McAfee had to choose to murder a bunch of people in the jungle, and when he chose crack, his choice was made for him. He chose to do a Democrat. The crack stepped in and said, the crack entered the chat and said, I got ideas. Yeah, it's like one of those Jesus, take the wheel posters. But crack? Yeah, you never. John McAfee closed his eyes and let practice take the wheel. Don't let crack take the wheel. Y'all. Ever. No. No. So at this point in history, the British were real scared about Napoleon because Napoleon was, you know, pretty, pretty good at war. And yeah, Gregor spent the bulk of his military career being sent around to different islands this Fort. And forts is part of like a big chess game between the Empire and Napoleon. The British were terrified the French were going to invade, you know, England. So, like there were just always moving soldiers and fleets around. It was so he spends, he doesn't actually fight. He spends all of his time, like moving from post to post. And his favorite part of life in the military was all the fancy parties, because all of these fortresses and posts are near like towns and cities, and they all have these big social lives. And of course the visiting young officers or the, you know, the, the, the, the biggest thing in town whenever they come in. And he was a very handsome guy. He was meticulous about his uniform. He wore every decoration. He possibly good on it. And he, he, you know, he stood out at these parties. And as a result of standing out when he was still, like, a teenager, he met a lady. Her name was Maria Bowater, and her father had been an Admiral. And so their family had **** you money. They get married and. Yeah, you know, and in those days, you get married to a girl and she comes with money, right? Yeah. Yeah. You get like, yeah. That handsome? I just Google searched. The standards were lower in those days. Everybody. Everybody's got the typhoid. Yeah, he has. He has. I just farted face. Yeah, but he didn't. He's not actively ******** himself to death. OK, so, like, that's gets kind of the standard is like, oh, you're not you're not having fatal diarrhea. What a handsome man, right? You don't have leprosy. Yeah, both ears. It was a rough time. So, uh, yeah, they get married and her dowry is like huge. So Gregor has **** you money too, at least for a while. And unfortunately this has a bad effect on him, number one. It swells his head because immediately he's like, oh, now I'm like a ******* rich officer guy. But also like, he marries into this family that has this tradition of, like being very powerful people and he's just a Lieutenant and they don't. That does not impress them. So to earn their respect, he uses some of the money that he their money that he got. To buy himself a promotion to captain. Yeah, he's got douche face. I'm looking at his face. He's like, it was good looking for the day. No, it's not. You know, I could see him being a baddie back in the day. I'm just saying he's got that douchey face of, like, I get everything I want. Like, it's just he's. No, no, he would have. He would have been in a fraternity and he would have been one of those guys that there were unfortunate stories about because yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, that's this guy. Not that he actually does anything like that. I'm just assuming. Because of other things he does. So I'm gonna quote next from David Sinclair's the land that never was, which is a biography of Gregor McGregor quote, the Young Captain's progress should have been assured. Using his newfound wealth, McGregor could have bought himself the rank of regimental major, which could take anything between 6 and 17 years on the basis of promotion, and then with war a certainty, could have either counted on distinguishing himself sufficiently to move up to Lieutenant Colonel, or else paid again for the highest purchasable rank in the army. There appeared to be no reason why, in due course, he should not become a general as his wife. People had and as her brother subsequently would. By this time, however, certain traits in the young man's character were beginning to turn him into his own worst enemy, one of his later military comrades, if that is the right term for a man who disliked him. Intensely observed, McGregor was spoiled by prosperity, and his versatility and haughtiness of disposition soon overturned his flattering prospects. So he gets a big *** head. That's a fancy way of saying he gets a big head. Yeah, and this guy's a hater. Whoever this comrade is is definitely a hater. He's probably, like, had to work his way up. Yeah, yeah. Everyday body to get to the exactly. Yeah, he's like, he's he's actually got to do ****. So one of his other comrades later noted that he began to show a growing fascination with extreme affectation of dress and fashion and an overpowering fondness for the nicest distinctions of rank and the overpower, or in the imposing spectacle of honorary badges and tangible tokens of merit. And this means like. He would, you know, there's all sorts of ******** awards you get in the military for, like, showing up and not doing anything. And most, like most, like, grunts, the people who actually fight, like, don't don't wear that ****. And he like, he would, he would wear that **** because, like, he always he wanted to have everything he possibly could on him. It was about, like, looking good, right? He's like a rapper. He's showing up these cities like he's Travis Scott and, you know, showing off for the *******. He said there's a party in every town and I got to have my gold chains, and his gold chains were purple hearts and, yeah, medals of freedom. Yeah, exactly. Yeah, that's why they like, that's the *******. You know, I grew up, like, really conservative. I talk about this a lot. And like, the the discourse around rappers when I was a kid was like, ohh, look at how, like, look at how, look at how, like, shameful this culture is because of, like, these men with their, like, big golden chains bragging about, like, you know what? Like the stuff that rappers brag about. And it's like money card *******. Yeah, it's the same thing rich white people brag about. It's just different money, different cars, different women, like there's nothing different about it. It's just what men do like. Grossman do at least like it's just a thing. Yeah. So I don't see, but I get it that it's like if you're really doing work and you're in the military and you're looking at this guy and people are dying all around you and you're on the battlefield and you have homeboy who doesn't even have to touch the soil and he's like, dripped down with every medal in accomplishment. Yeah, and probably talking cash **** and all these functions and being a douche. Yeah, because at least, like, you know, like if you've got a ******* gold chain or whatever, you probably had to earn that gold chain. You had to ******* hustle like he just married some lady. And then took her money and then bought a promotion. I'm looking at a picture of him posed with a sword, like, yeah, this is my sword. And I'm like, has he ever had to swing the sword on anybody? Or is he just posted up? Like, this is how rappers pose with guns and music videos. He he does eventually swing his sword, but not at this point. Yeah, not. And at this point, he's never done anything. He's wearing all the metals and he's he's forcing all of the men under his command to never show up outside of their rooms unless they're wearing a full dress uniform with a handsome. Walking cane. OK, so he was swaggy. He was had the Swag Brigade. Yeah. He wanted. He wanted. And yeah, and that that frustrates the men around him or the swag, but alion. OK, yeah. So and and, like, these guys don't wanna be the swag battalion. They're criminals, like. They they they wanna they wanna get drunk and fight. They don't wanna wear walk around with canes. So. In the winter of 1807, France invades Portugal and Spain, the British counter invade and although Gregor and his unit were nearby, they didn't take any part in the fighting until like 1809, when they're sent to Portugal to fight under the Duke of Wellington. After deploying to Portugal, the 57th fought heroically at the Battle of Albuera, which was this horribly bloody grinding affair that killed like 10,000 people and was like a hugely famous battle at the time and has now been forgotten by everybody but war nerds. Because that's what happens when you sacrifice yourself and hugely famous battles. Everybody but nerds forgets you. I wish that that wasn't the case, because, yeah, absolutely. Now we should remember all the battles. Obviously, we're still in Afghanistan. Like, we should remember all the **** that's still going on. Yep. But it's more interesting to me sometimes. The olden time battles, because, ***** you gotta be in good shape. I gotta be out here stabbing you. That's a lot of work. And I got stabbed. Multiple people, like I gotta be here. How long are you? How many hours are you outside? Stabbing? I know. Everybody's got to be out of breath, just like, oh, it's exhausting. And they're all wearing, like, these thick cotton. Uniforms, like, now **** breathes, right? Like right now we got breathable material. They have to dress like they about to go to a Kanye West fan their hats or £10, like, yeah, it's it sucks. It sounds terrible. Ohh, I'd have to take a break. Is there a point in a fight where we both just like, hold on, let's just take five photos. Yeah, I mean, they're actually were. Sometimes everybody's stretched. We don't know. We're gonna keep the battle going. Yeah, we just all need 10. So, like, yeah, they they the. So his unit fights in this very famous battle and they earned the nickname the Die Hards because, like, they're they're such good fighters. And Gregor would spend the rest of his life bragging about the fact that he served with the diehards and he fought in this battle and he didn't. It's a total lie because when it happened, he was actually back in England because months before the fighting happened, he got into like, what was probably a fist fight with a superior officer and then got kicked out of his unit and eventually the entire British Army. And we don't know exactly what happened, but one of his comrades did write that he was much addicted to the pleasures of the table gambling, and was frequently intemperate, drunk to excess. So he was probably got wasted and got into a dumb fight with somebody he shouldn't have been ******* with, and he got kicked out of the army. Wow. I love how classy it sounds back then, like he loved the table and he was table. Yeah, now it's like, buddy, you're sitting at a slot machine for 16 hours. It's called the table. No, it's the table. Yeah, if you smoke a cigar and wear white gloves while you do it, it's classy and not. It's a very depressing problem. Ohh goodness this guy. So he just came to war for the turn up. He said it's gonna be cute. The girls are gonna get statue. I'm gonna give you fashion. I'm gonna give you decoration. Decorative warrior. And then he gets kicked out before the fighting starts. But that's perfect timing, honestly. Yeah. And the thing about the 1800s is like he just went on claiming. Oh no. I served with this unit at that famous battle. Like I'm one of them. Like I'm and he had like the regimental badges and there's no Internet, like nobody gets, like nobody can check up on this ****. So he just it's the perfect situation for him. He's like because of the his comrades fought and died bravely and earned a name for themselves. He gets to use that name, but he also got to be hanging out back in ******* Edinburgh. Sorry, not London. Edinburgh at the time. Like it's a great situation for now. It's like, how are we gonna tweet that he got yeeted out the army before the fight? Like there's no way. They do that, yeah, exactly. Yeah. Heat it up, PR. I like that. So his first biographer who was a soldier who served with him, uh, Colonel Rafter. And we'll talk about this guy a little bit later who hated him by the way, wrote that quote. McGregor now appeared to enjoy the free his freedom with little foresight and less reflection, so he's very happy to be kicked out of the army. Yeah, I would be. Yeah, **** it. I mean, it seems like a bad thing to be it. And he got everything he needed. He got the drip and he got the rip and he had to go to war. That's the perfect recipe. It is perfect. And like, it was a dumb like there's been like 3 wars ever that like, we're worth it to fight in, and like the ******* Napoleonic Wars were not one of them. So, yeah, rafter goes on to write quote having honored the City of Edinburgh with his residence for some time, he there assumed the title of Colonel. He was not actually a Colonel. He's just one of these guys in the 1800s who's like, I'm gonna call myself a ******* Colonel. He decorated his heels with guilt Spurs. That's like golden Spurs and his breast with the badge of a Portuguese order of knighthood, which he had not earned either. His lady a foreign contessa. His footmen were dressed in a very whimsical livery and the panels of his chariot. They're highly emblazoned and shown with all the blushing honors, honors of a coronet just like it. So he's. He's just lying and he's got the money to buy all of the fancy things, to claim that he's a Colonel and like his wife is royalty. And and again, the only way to to know somebody was fancy back then was whether or not they could afford to pretend they had honors and nobody's able to check up on ****. So he's got the money. So it's true, it works out great for him. Well, actually it doesn't. It doesn't work out great quite at this point because he's a Scotsman and all of the people around him are Scotsman and Scottish people don't give a **** about this. Because they're Scottish, right? Like, they don't like, they like, oh, you're covered in gold and ****. Like, we all spend all of our time getting into naked fist fight, fist fights in the wood woods. We're ******* Scottish. Like, they're like, yeah, you're you're. Medals are cute, but we don't care. We don't care. Yeah, they do not. He will later figure out how to trick his native people, but at this point his native people are like, So what the ****? Like who cares if you're if you're a Colonel and you married a rich lady? Like, go, go like **** **** up a rope. Really? So yeah, they, uh, Gregor decides to leave Scotland forever and he moves to the Isle of Wight with all of his fancy stuff because the Isle of White, as you might have guessed by the name, was filled with a lot of dumb rich white people who threw ostentatious parties. And all of these people believe his lies as long as he dresses well so like that this is the place for him. I'm glad he finally found his scammer paradise so he could get his Great Gatsby on. He's The Great Gatsby of the military and I love it. Yeah, yeah, he's doing it. He's doing it right as rafter wrote, quote he there? Represented himself as an heir to the to a highland baronet and to a castle with an estate in the Highlands. His gay disposition, Hanson figure and good address procured him ready admission to all circles and the assemblies of the aisle were considered devoid of their principal attraction unless graced by the presence of the lively Scotsman. So it becomes like the biggest name on the island. He's like he he he's he's he does have that like thing. He would have been a good, like reality star or something at the time. He's good at self charismatic, yeah, yeah. And everybody, everybody on this island, charismatic specifically to rich people, like he's really good at impressing rich people. Everyone's bored, especially if you're rich. You actually have people to do the day-to-day **** that you had to do back then. If you don't have to put your own hand cart and make your own damn food, then you probably need some entertainment. Yeah? Why would you care if somebody's lying through their teeth at you? As long as they tell a good story? Like, that's literally the only thing that matters because you're so bored you wanna die all the time. But you know who's not so bored they wanna die all the time? Lacey who? The products and services that support this podcast. Mint Mobile offers premium wireless starting at just 15 bucks a month. And now for the plot twist. Nope, there isn't one. Mint Mobile just has premium wireless from 15 bucks a month. There's no trapping you into a two year contract. You're opening the bill to find all these nuts fees. There's no luring you in with free subscriptions or streaming services that you'll forget to cancel and then be charged full price for. None of that. For anyone who hates their phone Bill, Mint Mobile offers premium wireless for just $15.00 a month. Mint Mobile will give you the best rate whether you're buying one or for a family and. That meant family start at 2 lines. All plans come with unlimited talk and text, plus high speed data delivered on the nation's largest 5G network. You can use your own phone with any mint mobile plan and keep your same phone number along with all your existing contacts. Just switch to Mint mobile and get premium wireless service starting at 15 bucks a month. Get premium wireless service from just $15.00 a month and no one expected plot twists at That's Seriously, you'll make your wallet very happy. At Mint mobilcom slash behind now a word from our sponsor better help. If you're having trouble stuck in your own head, focusing on problems dealing with depression, or just you know can't seem to get yourself out of a rut, you may want to try therapy. And better help makes it very easy to get therapy that works with your lifestyle and your schedule. A therapist can help you become a better problem solver, which can make it easier to accomplish your goals, no matter how big or small they happen to be. So if you're thinking of giving therapy a try. Better help is a great option. It's convenient, accessible, affordable, and it is entirely online. You can get matched with a therapist after filling out a brief survey. And if the therapist that you get matched with doesn't wind up working out, you can switch therapists at any time when you want to be a better problem solver therapy can get you there. Visit behind today to get 10% off your first month. That's better Com behind. Hey, it's Rick Schwartz, one of your hosts for San Diego Zoo's Amazing Wildlife podcast. In this special episode, we sit down with Doctor Jane Goodall to hear her inspiring thoughts on how we can create a better future for humans, animals and the environment. Anything, particularly young children out into nature so that they can experience it and take time off from this virtual world of being always on your cell phones and so on. And get the feel of nature so that you come to be fascinated, then you come to want to understand it, and then you come to love it, and at that point you want to protect it. And then we'll come to the sort of healthy world that I envision as a good future for us. And the rest of life on this planet. Listen to amazing wildlife on the iHeartRadio app or wherever you get your podcasts. We have returned. That was a little more energy than that deserved. I liked it. I was trying to be like Gregor McGregor and like, and do the hype, you know? Yeah, yeah, it works for me. Thank you, Lacey. Thank you. Thank you for keeping my confidence high. As a confidence man, I. Umm, uh, maybe one day. So yeah, he dominates the social scene in the Isle of Wight, but he gets bored because, like, he's he's won. Like, it's kind of like he, he, he he beat that level and he's the big fish in the whites. Kind of a small pond. So he decides he wants to go somewhere bigger and fancier and like, take. Yeah, exactly. Never satisfied, never satisfied. So he goes to London, which is the fanciest place in the world then, and maybe now, I guess it's still pretty fancy. Still pretty fancy. But, you know, London is kind of like a different ******* ballpark than the Isle of Wight, and he's going to need more than just, like fake credentials to make a mark there, because there's a lot of kernels and ******* barons and ****. Like there's kings and ****. It's ******* it's London. So thankfully for him, his dad had just died. And even though his dad wasn't the clan Chieftain, Gregor was able to start lying and pretend that he had inherited the position as the chief of Clan McGregor. So he starts calling himself Sir Gregor MacGregor, and again, no Internet, so nobody gets to check this yet. And for a while it worked. Uh, largely because Gregor burned through his wife's dowry at an extraordinary pace, bribing his way into high society and buying all the expensive uniforms and accoutrements that he needed to look like the man he was pretending to be. All of this eight through, you know, the money that he had. And then in 1811, tragedy struck. His wife, Maria died. Now, this was not a tragedy because he cared anything about her. This was a, you know, oh, **** her. This was a tragedy because it severs his ties with her rich family and he was starting to run low on cash, and we can't. No babies with her. Ohh scammer McGregor, you didn't make you about one seed with her, so you have a little connection. He's not thinking ahead. I love how angry that you are with him that he did not pregnant impregnate his wife before she died tragically. Because it's bad. It's bad. It's bad craft, you know? Gotta make a baby, right? Also like if you're gonna run through your coins like are you just looking for affirmation, sweetheart? Like you gotta be trying to have like there has to be some kind of ingoal you trying to make more money or you get a rope people into your new pyramid scheme. McGregor, McGregor, LLC, circle of riches. Like, what's the end goal here? Yeah, that's the thing about at this point he doesn't really have an end goal he's just kind of he just kind of wants to feel fancy. He doesn't seem to have a plan in this. That will come later. He grows. He this is a growth story. OK, see? But at this point, yeah, he's uh, so I'm actually going to quote from it right up in the Rothschild archive about him. Quote McGregor could not face the prospect of returning to his family farm in Scotland. His only real experience was military, and his interest was aroused by the colonial revolts against Spanish rule in Latin America, particularly Venezuela. The Venezuelan Revolutionary General Francisco de Miranda had been feted in London during a recent visit, and McGregor had formed the idea that exotic adventures in the New World might earn him similar celebrity. He sold the small Scottish estate. It inherited and sailed for South America via Jamaica in the early 1812. Now this guy, General Francisco de Miranda, is a is a really interesting dude. So, like this. We'll talk about this a little later. But like, everybody's *******. The South America is full of revolutions. And this guy Francisco de Miranda is like a revolutionary, like a very successful general who's won a bunch of battles and like, he just travels around Europe when he's not fighting and ***** absolutely everybody. So he rules. He's like, he's like. It's like a cool figure. Like, he's this soldier of fortune, this, like fighter for liberty. And he's also just like, he's like James Bond, just like sleeping with everybody and every city he can. So he's like, McGregor sees this guy and he's like, that's the ******* life I want. So yeah. He he he goes to Jamaica. It's supposed to just be a stopover, but he falls in love with Jamaica as soon as he lands there. And he tries briefly to make a life. But for McGregor, making a life somewhere meant hanging out at rich people's parties and pretending to be a war hero. And in those days, traveling dandies had to carry letters from other rich and famous people who knew the rich and famous people in the area they travel to. And that was how you'd get introduced to high society. And he didn't have any of that, so nobody would let him into their parties. Dang, he think, just make some letters up. Yeah. That's what's surprising to me because he's not above it. I guess he just didn't. He wasn't confident that he could. Maybe he didn't know who to fake the letter from. Right? Right, right, right. You do need that information. You need to you need to have a name. And he probably didn't have that. And again, he's a baby scammer at this point, you know, he's he's he's he's not good yet. So he was waiting outside the club and he couldn't get it. Yeah, he could not get in. Nobody's letting him through the rope. So in spring of 1812, he continues on to Venezuela and he lands in Caracas 2 weeks after much of the city had been destroyed by an earthquake. Killed like 30,000 ******* people. Horrible, horrible earthquake. So he introduces himself as Sir Gregor to anyone who'd listened, and he starts talking to representatives of the Republican army and claiming that he's a Colonel and a knight in the Portuguese are order of Christ and all of his old lies. Now, at that point, Venezuela is in the middle of a revolution against Spanish authority, and this was part of a broad trend across South America. Like, all like all of these places in South America are erupting into like liberation struggles. And as times of chaos and political change tend to do, this. Opened up the door to charlatans and con men. It's real easy to, like, work on a grift in a in a in a situation like. I mean, look at COVID. You know how many COVID? Yes, they are. Hell yeah, yeah, the scammers were like, ohh right, ohh yeah, and we haven't even had our revolution yet. Like that's like 30 days away or so. Literally, it's like a few days away from the revolution. Not far. Yeah. I need to get my revolution scams together. What am I gonna be selling out here on the streets? I I think Colonel Mosley has actually a nice ring to it, right? It could be a Colonel. Yeah, I think so too. Yeah. You just gotta pick a militia that's not actually gonna fight to be a Colonel of because you don't want to. You don't want to get tested on that **** right? No, no, no, no. I gotta go somewhere and people, like, just, like, like New Guinea. Like, very small. Yeah. So all these conmen and stuff start popping up in Venezuela. And not just conmen, but all of these. Like it's just like there there's a big vacuum of power and a bunch of dudes who want power kind of flooded. A quote from a write up by the Bulletin of Latin American Research to kind of discuss this. Quote the end of Spanish rule in the Americas is generally seen by scholars as a period in which a power vacuum came to be filled by caudillos. These were popular leaders, strongman competing on the basis of their charisma, their strong social constituencies, IE them in from their land, economic bases, and political projects in the absence of a state monopoly of violence, physical force was rarely irrelevant to explanations of their rise to power on these criteria, despite his foreignness and Scottish birth. McGregor certainly had the capacity to become a successful caudillo, even though the quintessential caudillo was a local figure whose ability to function as a leader rested primarily on local support and resources. So this is like, these kinds of guys are are riding into this gap and gaining power for themselves. And he's got the potential to be one of them, right? He has the skills, which is that he's charismatic and good at getting people to to follow him. So yeah, and if people have no leadership, then that's when you pull up with the leadership. And everything. Oh, you guys need a leader, huh? Yeah. Hey, look, I just happened to be here, and I'll need you now. I'm a leader. Does he speak Spanish? Are you all willing to die for me? Oh yeah, yeah. He had been taken over by Spain, yet it had to open. It's called. Oh yeah. No, no, no, no. Yeah. They're they're fighting for freedom from Spain. But they're like, right. So they're fighting a war, like, as he lands and Caracas is liberated, but, like, there's Spanish troops all over the place, like there's A and the war is not going very well. And yeah, he he has to, he learns at some point, you know, he started, he grew up speaking Gaelic, I think. So he had to learn English like he's good at, at acquiring languages, as a lot of people tended to be in that. So the Venezuelan Republicans were desperate for men, and they were desperate, particularly for seasoned military leaders. And the British Army is like the most powerful army in the world at the time. They're the guys who beat Napoleon. So like, if you come in saying, like, oh, I I was a British military officer to like this group of people trying to raise an army from nothing, like, they're going to be like, oh **** can you, can you help us out? Like, we really, we could use some help here. So obviously he inflates his record. He lies and says that he's that he commanded the infamous 57th. Put regiment, the Die Hards, and turned them into the elite unit that held the line at the Battle of Albuera that he had not been at. But he pretends, yeah. Yeah, I fought Napoleon. Yeah. Yeah. The Venezuelans had no way to know that he was lying because she was far away then and he owned a nice uniform, so they assumed he was telling the truth and he's, you know, a convincing guy. So Gregor also made a good call by going directly to the Commander in Chief of the nascent Venezuelan State, General Miranda that guy was just talking about. And at this point, he's basically the dictator of Venezuela because, like, they're trying to win a war and they do this thing that you see a lot of republics do in times of strife where they're like here, have all the power for a limited time if you can. Like if you could win this thing for us to help us out and have all the power. Yeah, but he does that. We trust you. What's what's crazier is what's crazy. Isn't that like, that happened? And people usually wound up living under a dictator for the rest of their lives. What's crazy is like sometimes those dictators actually did give back the power. It's a weird story. Yeah. Yeah, it happened in Rome a couple of times. That's where, you know Cincinnati. Yeah, like the City of Cincinnati. It's named after a Roman leader named Cincinnatus. Who was this? He was like a military leader who became the dictator of Rome during, like this horrible, like war that like threatened the life of the Republic. And they made him a dictator for like a temporary period of time. And he won the war. And then he like, gave up everything, all of his power and went back to being a farmer. It's a chill guy. I like he was he was a chill dude. Yeah. Yeah. That's why Cincinnati is called Cincinnati. There you go. A little bit of. Extra history for you. So yeah. back-to-back to Gregor McGregor. So yeah, he goes straight to General Miranda and David Sinclair's biographer notes that Miranda was like, yeah, but the man that Gregor dreams of being. But I also think that maybe because Gregor idolized this guy and had studied him so much he had, he gained a really deep understanding of like what Miranda needed and wanted because he basically turns himself into the person that this guy needs and becomes his right hand man because. Like, the war is not going well. Miranda needs a guy that he can trust to, like, train a lot of his troops. And like he, he needs like us because Miranda is an old guy, too. He needs a strong right hand and and Gregor kind of becomes that he gets immediately made a kernel for real this time. So he's actually, he faked his way into being a Colonel, so that's nice. And he gets a unit of cavalry and he sent straight into battle, this time near a town called Maracay that was under deadly siege by the Spanish forces who were attempting to retake Venezuela for their king for weeks. Venezuelan and Spanish soldiers clashed at various points along a long frontline. Gregor finally saw combat, and as David Sinclair writes, he actually was really good at fighting. Like he he he does the thing finally. Yeah, he was a liar at first, but like when it comes down to actually going into battle, he's he's good at it. We'd love to see a good fake it till you make it. Story. Yeah. He faked his way into being a war hero until he made his way into being a war hero. I'm going to quote from David Sinclair here. Colonel McGregor stirred Republican spirits when he led his cavalry. To the route of a of a royal force near Cerro Gordo, between Maracay and Valencia. But it was something of a peripheral action and could not be developed into a general offensive by Miranda's troops. So he earns a promotion through his heroics, but they don't really affect the battle, and the fact that he gets a lot of attention for being brave spurs him on to do another like super brave, dangerous cavalry charge during another battle at a place called Los Gallos. And this time it gets most of his men killed and horribly maimed. Too much dip on your chip always. Yeah, yeah. But General McGregor survives and it his scheme works to the extent that his bravery again like it it impresses all of the other officers who of course don't care that he got a bunch of guys killed. They care that like, he showed bravery and stuff because that's the way war was at that point. So, yeah, that's that's cool. And getting his you know getting his men massacred convinced the other European soldiers in the serving in the Venezuelan cause. That Gregor was a real war hero. So they like, they all believe him now because he he he leads this incredibly bad idea. Well, of course, and also he can tell the story because he's the one, you know, one of the few who lived. He can be like, yeah, yeah, it was crazy. It's not now. It's not a error in judgment. It's like, ohh the opposing side. But I tell you what, I would not be in Gregory's battalion if they're like you. But Gregor, I'm. No, no, no, no, no, no. He because his men die for sure. They dying, dying. Ends of life. Yeah, no, my men absolutely weren't cursing my name as they bled to death on the sands. You can ask them. Well, you can't because they're dead. But like, I'll tell you, I was there. They were happy about dying. They actually were like, this is great. Thanks for giving us a chance to die, Gregor. Uh, it was so easy to be a military scammer back then. So another dude who was running around in the same circles of this. Was fighting on the same side was a guy named Simone Bolivar, who was at that time considered to be one of the brightest minds in the Venezuelan military. And he was a Colonel. Yeah, yeah. Simone Bolivar. Very famous guy. He went on to become the Liberator, a nickname he earned. Like he really, really earned by freeing modern day Venezuela. Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador. Peru and Panama from Spanish rule. So like, yeah, when he failed to call him that, the girls knew they were about to be free. Yeah. Yeah. So yeah, I like that. He's a fascinating dude and is also like, everyone who gets a bunch of statues kind of a ***** ** **** too. But for our purposes today, you just need to know that he was like a popular officer when Gregor started ******* his young cousin. And I'm going to quote from. Of course he is. No, that's gonna go well. Yeah, man. Yeah. It goes OK. It actually goes pretty well for Gregor. This scene, he he seems to have actually been in love with this woman because they stayed together for like 20 something years until she dies. Then why don't they just keep. Is he killing them because they keep dying? I mean, you know, she did have kids and like, that wasn't a good idea back then. Yeah, but with the what? With the deaths. Yeah, that's why birthdays are a thing now, because it was like, ohh, yo, kid made it. Your kid made it. And you made it woo coming out, yeah, yeah. And a quote from Colonel Rafters biography here. And this is like, after he starts ******* this girl. I think Josefa is her name, yeah. The mother of this lady, finding that reports President prejudicial to her daughter's reputation had obtained circulation in consequence of Macgregor's intimacy with her, appealed to General Miranda, who, acquainting McGregor with the circumstance, recommended him strongly to marry her, to which he answered with all that apathy for which she is remarkable. With all my heart, I have no objection. So he starts ******* this girl, but, like, not not in an official way. And, like, you're not supposed to do that at this point. And this girl's mom finds out and she's like, the hell do you think you're doing? And she goes to General Miranda because she's like, hey, this is a high society woman that he's, like, ******* and he's not. He's not getting hitched to. And so Miranda basically sits him down and says, like, hey, if you don't marry this girl, bad things will happen to you because this is a dictatorship and I have that power. And his response is I have no objection to marrying her. So, like, I love her. Did I say that before? He doesn't even say that. He just like, I don't hate her. Yeah, fine. Yeah. Yeah. Don't bring her here when y'all wanna do it. Well, whatever. Yeah. Yeah. So, yeah, this is, this is basically a shotgun wedding. And it would, it would be one of General Miranda's last orders because the war very quickly went to **** for the Republican side. And to make a Long story short, Miranda was again an old man and kind of losing it and as his. Chances shout soured, he retreated into fantasy, and like he and he, he promotes McGregor to a general. And they would spend all of their time at his like mansion in the hills away from the front line having big parties. And they're actually having like a giant fancy party on July 5th, 1812 when the entire Venezuelan line collapses under a renewed Spanish assault. And obviously the guy being the McGregor is he's very happy to be having a party rather than like, fighting at the front line when things are actually bad. Yeah, well, party spoiler though, you know, someone coming in and being like. Hey, hey, hey, hey. Everybody died. Everybody's dead. We don't really have an army anymore. It looks like we lost this one. Ohh, is that a coup or champagne? I no, I I will thank you. Yeah. So the whole defeat happened in part because Simone Bolivar, who was not yet the Liberator, kind of abandoned his post because Bolivar is one of these guys. Was a real sense of his own destiny. And he's like, oh, we're going to lose. I don't. I don't want to be around for this ****. So he's not a loser. Blvd. Yeah, I'll lose and get away from that. She's not a dumb man, a liberal. General Miranda returns to Caracas to try to organize a defense, and Bolivar gathers a bunch of his allies and comes back and arrests the general and hands him over to Spain. And as a result, Bolivar is able to kind of escape. And it's it's a very shady thing that happens, but it seems to be mostly his desire to save his own *** and like the fact that the war was clearly lost. So they yeah, so Bolivar like runs the **** away to Jamaica, basically, and Gregor McGregor does the same thing while a lot of brave Republicans die fighting the Spanish. Triggers like, Oh no, no, no, no, no. Like, wait for me, man. And he got yeah, I am. I am not a causes guy. Yeah. And he let's go. He very pointedly gets on the boat with all of the Republican sides, money, like, all of their gold that they're taking away so that they can continue the revolution. Like he makes sure he's on the money, but yeah, he's watching the money. That's what he's there to do. And they go back, sorry, in Jamaica to curassow. Yeah, yeah. The Bahamas, like, that's that's that's that's that's where you go run to when you lose a war in South America. Then and now you wind up in the Bahamas. When I lose my war in South America, I'm planning to go to court. Nassau is a beautiful island. Oh yeah. That's for refugees from war. Yeah. Now refugee is a strong brag. Yeah. Yeah. No, yeah. I was a freedom fighter. Yeah. So Bolivar winds up there, too, and the defeated revolutionaries immediately start planning their comeback. But, like, Gregor is not really interested in that. The reputation he'd earned during the war, like he he kind of liked being a caudillo and he liked, he liked, he was a man people would follow. He had like a name in South America now he was he was kind of famous for being on the size of liberation, and he he figures that kind of leaning into this is going to be his best chance to make a **** load of money. So he travels to New Granada, which is a Spanish colony on the border of Venezuela that was fighting like Hell to not be a Spanish colony anymore. It had a leader who was a general named Narino. Who'd been given dictatorial power again in the hope that he would beat Spain. Same kind of deal. And and McGregor does the same thing. He like gets in good with this guy. He gets given like an army by this guy and high trained to like hired to train them basically. And he was not good at training armies. And they his he tended to mainly focus on making them look fancy and March around a lot, which they hated training. They're like, oh, he's like gowns, beautiful gowns. Everyone wears their gowns. You can't fight without a gown. Where's your walking stick? I'll wanna die in this. 4. So yeah, his subordinates complained that he was basically a little dictator himself, but before, you know, that could come to a head, general Narino loses a major battle in the Spanish army, basically wins in seeing the advancing Spanish forces. Gregor runs like **** again, and he winds up retreating to the public, to the Republic of Cartagena in a in modern Colombia. So we all know Cartagena. For different things these days. But at that point it was like a little independent Republic. So this is a very complicated and messy period in Latin American history. I'm the furthest thing in the world from an expert. From it, there's all these different figures. Bolivar comes back and fights again and loses again and runs away again. And like, all this ****** happening, like it's just a ******* constantly revolution, revolutions and rebellions and fight and flight happening. It sounds like, yeah, everything is just like, it's very, very confusing. Time to try to understand. Gregor exhibited a great skill in latching himself to whatever soldiers and whatever soldiers were hanging around him to like whatever cause seemed like the best bet at the time, and he was not always good at judging that. Which is why he wound up trapped in the city of Cartagena while a massive Spanish army blasted the walls away with big guns. He met. Yeah. He managed to survive the siege, just barely. And he characteristically got out because he volunteered to organize the retreat after helping to convince. Yeah. That's what I'm going through before they're in the room. They're like, OK, who's gonna do the the charge? Who's doing this? Who's you know what? I got the retreat. I'm actually very good at organizing with running away. I majored in retreat at college. I can take care of this. You guys die holding them off, which is what happens. Like, the bravest men die holding them off. And Gregor organizes the retreat. And of course, he winds up taking another boat back to Jamaica. And this time he's welcomed by the Islands British High Society types because now he's a famous freedom fighter. Because the British, you know they don't. They like that all of these places are freeing themselves from Spain, because every country that frees itself from Spain is another place the British can set up shop and and sell stuff to right themselves. Yeah, but they're kind of colonization. So the British thought that Spanish colonialism was barbarous because they they murder all these people. They enslave all these people, as opposed to the British kind of colonization where the countries are independent. We just bring in corporations that force people to labor for us and in conditions that are basically slavery, right? Like Jeff Bezos, murder and Colin? Yeah, OK, it's cuter over here. Like people die, but we at least file some paperwork. And we get to talk. Yeah. And we get to talk a good game about supporting liberation and freedom. Right. Right. And so, like, these high society types are all for the freedom of these nations from Spain. And McGregor is now a famous freedom fighter. And he's the best kind of. He's the best kind of Latin American freedom fighter. A white guy. Right. He's not Latin American. Yeah. So. And also, like, honestly, like a lot of the Latin American freedom fighters who were natives, we were basically white. Like, we're white guys because, like, white people in Spain. Like, yeah. Forever. Great, so quote. McGregor was delighted to find himself welcomed as a hero among the British community of Jamaica and enthralled many a dinner party there with heavily embellished accounts of his part in the siege of Cartagena. Some of those listening received the impression that McGregor had taken personal charge of the defense of the city, with one of them recorded as leaping to his feet and proposing an enthusiastic toast to the Hannibal of modern Carthage. One of the claims McGregor made was that he had lost two children during the terrible siege. This was almost certainly a lie, probably designed. Further to dramatize Macgregor's sacrifices in the cause of liberty. Fake kid death scam? Hell yeah he did. That's the best kind of death to fake. You get so much I fake that I fake my children's deaths all the time. But did he bring the kids that he had with the Spanish woman with him? Or is he just a deadbeat dad who was like, yeah, and then they killed my kids for sure he he never had kids. Ohh, I thought the home girl got pregnant before she died. The second wife. No, no. She's dead as hell. I don't think she had any kids. The second wife didn't have kids either. OK. No. Oh no. The second wife, no, sorry. The second wife, still alive, but they haven't had kids yet. OK, got it, got it, got it, got it. So he just made-up some kids. He was like, yeah, I miss a little junior. McGregor, McGregor, Gregor, Gregor and and Stephanie. Those are my kids. So weird. Yeah. Yeah, my my child. If fake tiffer. Yeah, sersha. Ronan. My child. Anyway, they're dead now. Horrible. Real sad. Real sad. Can I have more wine? Yeah. That is my my advice to all of you is pretend that your children are dead. If you want to be famous, it helps you know what won't fake the deaths of your children. Wait. Anyway, here's ads. Mint Mobile offers premium wireless starting at just 15 bucks a month. And now for the plot twist. Nope, there isn't one. Mint Mobile just has premium wireless from 15 bucks a month. There's no trapping you into a two year contract. You're opening the bill to find all these nuts fees. There's no luring you in with free subscriptions or streaming services that you'll forget to cancel and then be charged full price for none of that. For anyone who hates their phone Bill, Mint Mobile offers premium wireless for just $15.00 a month. Mint Mobile will give you the best rate whether you're buying one or for a family. And it meant. Families start at 2 lines. All plans come with unlimited talk and text, plus high speed data delivered on the nation's largest 5G network. You can use your own phone with any mint mobile plan and keep your same phone number along with all your existing contacts. Just switch to Mint mobile and get premium wireless service starting at 15 bucks a month. Get premium wireless service from just $15.00 a month and no one expected plot twists at That's Seriously, you'll make your wallet very happy at Mint Mobile. Com slash behind now a word from our sponsor better help. If you're having trouble stuck in your own head, focusing on problems dealing with depression, or just you know can't seem to get yourself out of a rut, you may want to try therapy, and better help makes it very easy to get therapy that works with your lifestyle and your schedule. A therapist can help you become a better problem solver, which can make it easier to accomplish your goals, no matter how big or small they happen to be. So if you're thinking of giving therapy a try, better help is a great. Option it's convenient, accessible, affordable, and it is entirely online. You can get matched with a therapist after filling out a brief survey, and if the therapist that you get matched with doesn't wind up working out, you can switch therapists at any time. When you want to be a better problem solver, therapy can get you there. Visit today to get 10% off your first month. That's better Hey, it's Rick Schwartz, one of your hosts for San Diego Zoo's Amazing Wildlife podcast. In this special episode, we sit down with Doctor Jane Goodall to hear her inspiring thoughts on how we can create a better future for humans, animals and the environment. If we don't help them find ways of making a living without destroying the environment, we can't save chimps, forests or anything else. And that becomes very clear when you look at poverty around the world. If you're living in poverty, you can't afford to ask as we can. Did this product harm the environment? Was it cruel to animals like, was it factory farmed? Is it cheap because of unfair wages paid to people and so alleviating poverty? Is tremendously important. Listen to amazing wildlife on the iHeartRadio app or wherever you get your podcasts. We're back in. Sophie's being mean to me because I don't understand pop culture, and, you know, that's the kind of bigotry that I face daily. So, I mean, it's not my fault that you don't know. Also, my kids died in the siege of Cartagena. So. OK, I'm so sorry for your loss, Roberts teeth have been dead longer than he's been alive. Yeah. By the time McGregor wound up back in Jamaica again, as I said, Bolivar had attempted to liberate Venezuela again. And it it. Haven't worked out. And this is like, he's a Bolivar is like a ******* committed dude. Like, he does believe in what he's doing. He's just, you know, he's the kind of guy who's able to get it done, which is the kind of guy who's willing to, like, time for me to abandon this army. The same kind of work out. Got to know when to cut your losses. My losses. I mean people. Yeah, yeah. I mean, yeah. That's what we're talking about. Like, you gotta know when to hold them, when to walk away and when to run from them and leave them to die at the hands of the Spanish army. That's what that song is about. Yeah. So the two meet up. Been on the island, and this time Bolivar offers to make McGregor a general again, and it was 1816 by this point. In short order, both men managed to rally together another army. I don't know how they do it, but they're always able to keep making armies and they invade Venezuela again, and this one goes better at first. Bolivars forces when a major victory. But then Spain counterattacks and a bunch of people die and Bolivar fans himself, retreating to a town called Sharoni, where his trust trustworthy friend General Gregor McGregor was waiting with a fresh force of 1500 men by the time he got there, though. Gregor was long gone because as soon as he heard that Bolivar had lost, he retreated. Saturday and yeah, we're trading. You said it, and he's you give him credit to this. He's incredible at retreating. And this is the moment, this is his real moment of heroism, like, the one that we get. This is like the one legitimate moment of heroism that he really has. Also, like, Bolivar feels to me just like McGregor, where it's like, OK, we usually third times the charm, but the third time, we still didn't defeat the Spanish army. Like, bro, let's just pack it up, OK? Like, I'm not fighting in the war for Blvd. You gonna die. The thing that differentiates them is that. All of our really does believe in liberation, and that's why he keeps doing this, right? Like he's just willing to kind of like he he's not he he he believes so much in his destiny that he's not willing to like die because he he has to make the cause happen. Gregor doesn't believe in anything. But he's really good at retreating. So he's got this army, which is mostly made-up of freed slaves, who didn't really know they had any option but to fight for a bunch of indigenous people. But to his credit, he didn't like abandon them. He he leads them on this retreat and it's like the most heroic moment in his life because it's it's a horrible like situation to be in because like they're fleeing through this heavy, like woodland areas and they're they're being pursued constantly by all of these Spanish armies and they keep getting into like these battles that they keep winning. Like, he's actually really good at this. He keeps getting attacked while he's fleeing, and like beating these Spanish armies that are trying to capture him as he's trying to link up with his other allies further north and. Like by day nine of this, their ammunitions almost spent and like their their clothing is in tatters and they're just, they've just been like murdering their way through this, this incredibly rugged terrain. It's like it's it's actually a really impressive military feat that he's able to keep this army together and winning. But he owes a lot of it to his wife because like kind of when they're at the end of their rope and exhausted and ammunition and out of ammunition, they wind up running into like yet another Spanish army and they don't really like, they don't have the ammo. To fight them in the traditional way. And so his wife picks up a Lance and leads the army on her horse into like, this desperate, suicidal charge against the Spanish lines and they break the Spanish army against all odds and win. It's like this, this ******* wild thing that happens. And so General McGregor and his victorious army limp into the city of Barcelona after 34 days of constant fighting and fleeing. And it's like. It's it's it's seen as like a miracle, basically, that they've survived and this incredible feat, and it makes him like a legendary figure within South America. And it is an act of like, real hair, like, it's *******. It was a crazy thing that he was able to, like, succeed at. So Simone Bolivar sent him a letter hailing him as one of the great military geniuses of the era, and, like, he kind of deserved it at that point. And if he'd stayed with the Venezuelan cause, he would have had a guaranteed place of honor and privilege when they eventually won their war. But he gets into another big fight with a guy in charge of him, and when that guy, like, won't take the advice that McGregor gives him, McGregor just abandons like the Venezuelan army and leaves. It was like, OK, enough liberation for yeah, yeah, I got into an argument with a guy. **** it. Like, I don't believe in this anymore. So you like he. Yeah. So he ***** off Bolivar, like, writes him a series of letters, desperate to try to get this guy to come back. But there was no getting McGregor back because he had fallen in love with a new dream. Lacey. The dream of. Every red blooded man and woman invading and conquering Florida. So. He travels to Haiti, and he handpicks a group of mercenaries for this endeavor. He finds, like 100 and five guys, but they all abandon him as soon as it's time to leave for the United States. So he winds up sailing to Philadelphia with just his wife, and he immediately sets to work recruiting yet another army to invade Florida, which at that point belonged to Spain. Yeah. And also, at that point, it was a time in the world where you could just kind of, like, show up in an American city and been like, who has a gun and wants to do some more with me? Let's go to Florida. And, like, people would be, Oh yeah, I want to do that. That sounds way better to do war. Actually, I was just, I'm gonna jethrow about doing a war. Like, yeah, let's go. Have you been to Philadelphia? It doesn't get nicer. Like, we might as well go to war. So yeah, he gets some yeses, and I'm going to quote again from the land that never was here. He claimed that he had received a Commission from the government of the United States, together with a considerable sum of money, to take possession of Florida on behalf of the Republican movement in New Granada, with the tacit agreement of the Spanish Government. He had, he said, attended daily meetings in March 1817 with the American Secretary of State and the Spanish Ambassador in Washington, and they had agreed that he should take a small force to occupy Amelia Island off the East Coast of Florida, which he would. Subsequently handed over to the Americans, Spain would not attempt any military intervention so long as McGregor was seen to be acting in the interests of New Granada. It was willing to see it Amelia to the Americans, but could not do so directly for political reasons. Mainly that any display of willingness to give up its American possessions would serve to spread and encourage revolution. Now this was all a lie like Spain did not agree to give up any part of Florida, and the Secretary of State who McGregor claims that he'd worked with to set up this plan was not even in the United States at the time. He was in like France or something, but McGregor. Nonetheless, somehow, somehow still walked away with a State Department mandate authorizing him to take control of Amelia Island and East and West Florida. Now, the paper was not signed by the Secretary of State, but it was signed by representatives of several Latin American liberation movements and like some random dude who worked in the secret, in the Department of State or in the State Department. And as best as I can tell, he basically convinced these South American liberation leaders who were in Washington DC to like support their cause that he was going to conquer Florida for them. And then he used their clout to score a meeting with some random state department functionary who wrote down what they told him. And that gave McGregor the most important thing in the world in the 1800s, which was a fancy piece of paper with nice stamps on him that he could use to convince dumb soldiers of Fortune that he was legitimate. So, like, that's what he does. Like he needs the papers, he gets the papers. And so he starts trawling around New York and South Carolina and Georgia, calling himself Brigadier General of all the forces, both naval and military, destined to affect the independence of the Floridas. Here you hear title. Look at my papers. I kinda wanna steal that one. Someday when I invade Florida. I mean, someone needs to invade Florida so I could use a kernel. Lacey, it could be you. You know, Robert, if you just be you, you just show up, be tall, and it's my job to raise the army and never get close to Florida. Someone else actually has to try invading it and stuff. I'm just here to raise a bunch of money and then take it and run. See, that's why I want to be. I don't want to be the person doing the work of liberating Florida. No, no. Nobody wants to liberate Florida. That's why it's still the way it is. So. He gathers an army of several hundred men, which is enough to cut like a couple hundred guys. You could conquer a Florida. Back in those days things were easier to fund his journey. He did the only thing he knew how to do besides fight, and he hatched an elaborate scheme I'm going to quote here from Colonel Rafters book. The Americans had long been looking with eyes of desire on the fertile and extensive tracts of E Florida, and now gladly embraced the opportunity which seemed to offer itself of gratifying their long cherished wishes. McGregor saw and took advantage of the public feeling he issued and issued. Papers which he called scripts, which he engaged to convey to every person advancing $1000 or to the holder of the script which was transferable 2000 acres of land in Florida, or to repay the some advanced with interest the world was at is at all times the dupe of some Hubble or another. And although it is scarcely credible, yet it is a certain fact that McGregor obtained by this means $160,000. Wow. So he he's like, yeah, give me 1000 bucks and I'll give you a land in Florida and people do it. And he makes a lot of money. You're selling land you don't own. I love it. That's what. That's what all great cod men do, though, is sell land they don't own. That's the great con. It's our president. Kind of. Yeah. I mean, it's still happening. You have to be careful if you're renting a house or something because there's so many people out here, we're still renting homes to that they don't own to people. So, yeah, I love it. Yeah, it is. He is doing an Airbnb, right? Like the Airbnb is just like a dressed up like they're selling Florida, too. Land ******* look online. Yeah. No, you got this land. Go to map out. So you see over there that show land right there? Yeah. Have you ever, have you ever been there? No. I'll sell it to you. No, it's nice. You gonna love it. You're gonna love it. You're gonna love it. Florida. Great weather. No snakes. Yeah. So most con men would have just taken the money and run, but Gregor actually used it to equip an army and charter a boat, which he used to take 60 hand-picked men to Amelia Island, which was at that point just kind of a lawless island for Haven for pirates and prostitutes. He defeats the tiny Spanish. Harrison and then, like, conquers the island and he delivers this baffling speech to his soldiers, who again are all like drunk mercenaries, promising the children of South America will resound your names and their songs. Your deeds will be handed down to succeeding generations and will cover yourselves and your latest posterity with a never fading wreath of glory. So he really, he's talking. He's talking this up like, you got 60 dudes, the girls are going to know you OK? Yeah, everyone's going to know your name, going to sing songs about you. What's your name? Tom-tom or Tom here. I. He fought real good. He was so good at fighting, yeah. So McGregor calls for reinforcements, but rather than invade Florida as promised, he's set to work trying to turn Amelia Island into, like, an independent nation. And not because anyone had asked him to do this, but because he just kind. He was just kind of thought it was neat. So he like, he builds a seal. He like designs a seal for the Emelian government. He puts himself in his head. He like, and he like. I'm going to quote here from from David Sinclair talking about, like, what he kind of gets up to in this. The main purpose of his. Administration seems to have been to raise money for one of the first acts of Citizen McGregor, which is the title he gives himself, was to establish what he described as an Admiralty court that would officially value the booty brought back to the island by its resident privateers and pirates. For the service, the court would demand a fee of 16 1/2% of the gross value of the treasure. Whether any of the islands maritime entrepreneurs ever took advantage of the offer is not recorded, but to encourage them further in their brutal trade, McGregor issued so-called letters of mark, which were officially government licenses for Buccaneers. So again, he probably no one. It's not anyone took like him up on this, but he decides like I'm going to start a government so that I can get pirates to pay me for being pirates like this is because it's an interesting con. Yeah for robbery, any issues, banknotes he starts having money printed and he just signs it with his last name McGregor, which is a flex. I'll give him that it is. I would like some Macgregor's. Yeah. So he spends the next few months just kind of drinking and ******* and partying, celebrating the fact that he's in charge of a country and ignoring the fact that he had promised a lot of people he was going to conquer. Florida on the back burner? Yeah, it's on the back burner. I'll ask for him. Spain realizes eventually that he's conquered their island and they they don't like this, so they send an army to take it back. And the instant McGregor realizes that there's a Spanish army coming, he abandons all of his soldiers and country, and he flees by boat with his wife. I mean, that's his script. You know what I mean? That's his script. And I, ironically, the guys he leaves behind actually beat the Spanish invasion. They beat two of them. And then Mexico sends in troops and, like, takes over the island, and it becomes a part of Mexico briefly. But then the United States invades and, like, kills all the Mexican soldiers and annexes Amelia from Mexico. And President Monroe justifies this by saying, like, well, hey, Mexico stole it from Spain or Mexico stole it from these random mercenaries. Stole it from spades, so like it's on the open market now. I mean, we stole it again. We just came in and took it. Like, what are you what are you complaining about? Pirates can take it, but we can't **** you. Yeah, we're America, baby. The manifest. My favorite scam. Manifest destiny, which is like, God told us to steal this land. The United States gets its first piece of Florida. Wow, neat fun. Had to involve a con man at some point. So on November 9th, 1817, Josefa McGregor, his wife, gives birth to a son and they're still on board a boat at this point that they're using the fleet in North America with all flea, North America with all the money they grifted because he sold like 50 grand from his army money. So Gregor makes him medallion to commemorate his son's birth, which is the kind of guy he is. He's like he's he's, he has a kid and he's like, I got to get an award for this ****. I got to give myself an award for having my wife who's. Having a baby in olden times on a boat, what did she do? What did she do? Tell me that. So this medallion he makes has an engraving of the flag of the Floridas and two phrases written in Latin on it. Amelia. I came, I saw, I conquered. And liberty for the Floridas. Under the leadership of McGregor. Neither of these things happen like, you don't want. Either of these things have my son like nothing. Nothing about the baby's like, OK, no, it's not about the baby. The baby's an excuse to have a medallion. What are you girls are gonna love this at the next party, OK? Ohh yeah. So McGregor was now a rich guy, but not as rich as he wanted to be. 50 grand you could retire on in those ******* days. But he wanted he wanted to be **** you rich. And it was not quite that much. Yeah. So he he regarded the conquest and then lost of a loss of Amelia Island as a big success because he made a bunch of money off of it and it convinced him that being a freebooter basically a pirate, you know, but on a national scale was kind of the way to go. And I'm going to quote now from a write up in the Rothschild archive. He then oversaw 2 calamitous operations in New Granada during 1819 that each ended with his abandoning British volunteer troops. Under his command, McGregor conferred and invented decorations and titles on his officers, fraudulently obtained and squandered money, and generally and generally behaved abominably. And during this period of time I've been telling about this guy, Colonel Rafter, who wrote this biography of him. The reason rafter is obsessed with McGregor is that his brother, who is another rafter. It was like an office was an officer in Macgregor's army, and MacGregor abandoned him and he was executed. Look, if there's one thing you're going to see in McGregor, it's the back of his head, OK? Because he yeah, yeah. The girls know good war better than this face. Well, I got you all here. My job is done. I feel like he doesn't even announced when he's leaving. It's like the new Irish goodbye. Just like turn around. You're like McGrath. Look, starting the wars, half the battle. I figured y'all would do the rest. You go back to have a meeting with him like, no, his tent is gone. Like he's his tent is gone. So is all of our money. Yeah, who's all went out for battle, actually. He started backing. It was very bizarre. He took all of the gold and left us with the fake money with his name on it. Right. Y'all trying to pay for beers with McGregor. Yeah, yeah. So McGregor arrives at the court of King George Frederick Augustus on the on the Mosquito Coast after he loses these these two wars that he's gotten involved with. And because of his like, his fame in the area, he's able to convince the king of the Mosquito Coast, who's this this guy, George Frederick, to sign a document giving him and his heirs like a huge chunk of mosquito territory and an area larger than whales. It's said that he does. It's an exchange for rum and jewelry. There's some debate. And it's so he gets this big. He cons his way into, like, having a bunch of land, but it's useless land from a financial point of view. Like, it's pretty it's got a lot of game on it. It's able to support, like an indigenous population, but like, the soil's not great, it's a bad place to grow crops, and there's like it. It's in no way established or settled. He he has this land that's not very useful, but what's more important than that is that he has this land, and he has a letter from this king telling him that he owns a bunch of land. In Latin America, and this gives McGregor an idea because he's like. I've been trying. I've been putting all this effort into trying to conquer countries or conquer chunks of land and turn them into countries and, like, that's hard. What if I just pretend that I already have a country and then make people buy it and then convince people to buy it from me? So he he gives a name to this territory that he's he's kind of grifted poier, which he names after the inhabitants of the Highlands of the area. And yeah, poyer. Nice name. And this is, this is where the story of his great. Con begins because McGregor didn't actually move to the land head acquired, nor did he like do anything with it. Like he's got this land, but he doesn't. He doesn't use it. Instead he takes the letter saying it's his and he sails back to Great Britain with a scheme in mind. And over the way, on the like boat over to Great Britain, he starts calling himself the Kazik, which he claimed meant Prince in in the local language. So he starts claiming that this tract of land he's been given as, like personal property, is actually an independent country. And he's been made royalty in this, in this tribe, of course. And so he's he's the Prince of Poier and when he gets back to Great Britain, he's going to try to convince people to, to buy into this scheme with him. And that's what we're going to talk about in Part 2. Lazy. Robert what would you name your fake country? Oh, that's a great question. Ohh gosh, it needs to be something like. Uh, maybe like. All. I want to go with an ill. I don't know why. It's like levas. Ohh, you went with a fancy name. Yeah, go to leyvas. I gotta think of something that sounds good, like in a Drake song. Like and it popping bottles and lavas. Yeah, Levas, that's that's my fake. That's hoping that does sound fancy. I was gonna call it **** Valley and just like, like, yeah, you everybody gets laid and **** valley, like, all these frat boys pay me 100 bucks, you get to go to **** Valley, and then it's just a bunch of frat boys stuck in a valley and then they all get dehydrated. That fire festival, the Fire festival, is my plan for my to say that sounds like your plan is the fire festival. That's exactly what it was. Yeah, it's a great plan as long as you don't have the Internet. So people find out it's it's con. You can just take the money and run away to Norway or some **** right? I wish I could have run scams before there was Internet. I still think about old shatter hands and, like, checking people's money. Ohh to see if it was real. Ohhh. Yeah. Lacey pluggable. You got plegables? Yeah, sure, guys. As always, you can find me at DIVALACI diva Lacey. All platforms. And if you like robbery and comedy, listen to my podcast, scam goddess. Enjoying Lacey's army to liberate Florida vacation. Yes, we will be liberating Florida. Maybe Tuesday. Next Tuesday is a good time. Look out. Look out for that on Twitter. We're just gonna show up and liberate for it. Yeah, yeah. You gotta live. I mean, to be honest, could use some liberating these days. Hello, I'm Erica Kelly from the podcast Southern Fried True crime and if you want to go from podcast fan to podcast host, do what I did and check out spreaker from iheart. I was working in accounting and hating it. Then after just 18 months of podcasting with Speaker, I was able to quit my day job. Follow your podcasting dreams, let's break or handle the hosting, creation, distribution, and monetization of your podcast. Go to That's Hey there, it's Ebony Monet, your co-host for the San Diego Zoo's Amazing Wildlife podcast. In this special episode, we're speaking with Doctor Jane Goodall about the fascinating journey that led to her social discoveries on chimpanzees. For four whole months, the chimps ran away from me. I mean, they take one look at this peculiar white ape and disappear into the vegetation. Listen to amazing wildlife on the iHeartRadio app or wherever you get your podcasts. In the 1980s and 90s, a psychopath terrorized the country of Belgium. A serial killer and kidnapper was abducting children in the bright light of day. From Tenderfoot TV and iHeartRadio, this is La Monstra, a story of abomination and conspiracy. The story about the man who simply become known as. Lamaster. Listen for free on the iHeartRadio app, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts.