Episode 18: Dollop: The Chameleon

I may earn money from the participating companies linked in this post: Bookshop.org (supporting my nearby independent bookstore Bluebird & Co, in Crozet, VA) and/or Audible. My podcast is sponsored by Audible and Care/Of.

Welcome to the Court of Movie Plot.

God bless creative Wikipedia editors, all y’all. I had a good laugh at Frederic Bourdin’s listed occupation: “serial imposter”. Hat tip, my friend.
David Grann’s New Yorker article on Frederic Bourdin
David Grann’s book, which includes an expanded examination of this case: The Devil and Sherlock Holmes: Tales of Murder, Madness, and Obsession
And as for the eyes…let’s get into the eye-color change. As we do, let’s send out a song dedication across the miles for Nicholas Barclay, because, behind all the jokes, there is a troubled kid who is missing, and who was probably murdered.

I searched as much as I could bear (and learned a couple of things I did not need to know), and found that, yes, Dr. Josef Mengele was fascinated with changing eye color, either through genetics (heterochromia) or through his injecting chemicals. I stopped searching before I found any evidence that he succeeded because I had had enough evil for one day. Now, I read about serial killers for recreation, so you know if I tap out, it’s rough. The above Crystal Gayle is my attempt to whistle in the dark. Moving on.
Bourdin’s continued exploits as a “serial imposter” inspired one documentary, The Imposter, and one movie, Chameleon. After some time in jail, he is now playing himself. Time will tell.
The Imposter, the documentary, has official accounts on Twitter and Facebook.
Oh, and that badass private detective, Charlie Parker, who broke the case? He’s still looking for Nicholas. And he is on Twitter, @charliepi. If you know something, say something to him.
Nicholas’ poster from The Center for Missing and Exploited Children
Band names from this episode:

  • Pancakes and Coffee Beans
  • Law and Order
  • Magic Cut

Cultural references from this episode:



Back to Top