Imprisoned in a remote Turkish POW camp during World War I, having survived a two-month forced march and a terrifying shootout in the desert, two British officers, Harry Jones and Cedric Hill, join forces to bamboozle their iron-fisted captors. To stave off despair and boredom, Jones takes a handmade Ouija board and fakes elaborate sĂ©ances for his fellow prisoners. Word gets around, and one day an Ottoman official approaches Jones with a query: Could Jones contact the spirit world to find a vast treasure rumored to be buried nearby? Jones, a trained lawyer, and Hill, a brilliant magician, use the Ouija boardâ€"and their keen understanding of the psychology of deceptionâ€"to build a trap for their captors that will ultimately lead them to freedom.Â A con game played for a good cause, the incident provides Fox an opportunity for reflections on the psychology of deception and how in the beginning of the 20th century, speaking to dead spirits seemed less implausible: the world was full of almost unbelievable miracles of magnetism, electricity, radio, and other wonders.
Speaker: Margalit Fox, Journalist
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