If you wanted to speak with the dead in 1960s America, there was one man who was ready to help. For more than a decade, Lamar Keene was at the top of his game, becoming known as the Prince of Spiritualists. Then, quite suddenly, he turned his back on it all.

But Lamar Keene didn't go quietly. He published a tell-all exposé in which he confessed that he was little more than a conman, a psychic fraudster, who manipulated people in their most vulnerable moments. And in doing so, he catalogued the many physical and psychological tricks he used to separate his followers from their money.

It wasn’t just his own carefully crafted reputation that Lamar Keene sought to destroy. He wanted to blow the whistle on the whole industry. He claimed that he had been part of a national underground network that included many other psychics, clairvoyants and mediums, who combined forces to fleece the unsuspecting public. He called it the “psychic mafia,” and said that his confession made him a marked man.

But how much can we trust the revelations of a self-confessed conman? How much of Lamar Keene’s extraordinary story is really true? And what can it tell us about how our emotions affect belief and our susceptibility to misinformation?

In a series that mixes documentary with drama, Vicky Baker (Fake Heiress) takes a deep dive into Lamar Keene’s stranger-than-fiction life story.

Episode 1 Cast:

Lamar . . . . . Edward Hogg

Bill . . . . . Michael Begley

Ken . . . . . Neil McCaul

Waitress . . . . . Jasmine Hyde

Ruthie . . . . . Tillie Murray

Written and reported by Vicky Baker

Drama written by Nick Perry

Sound design by Peter Ringrose

Produced by Sasha Yevtushenko

A BBC Audio production for BBC Radio 4

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