Although Brad Pitt's latest movie Allied, is all about spies, leading a double life is not always exclusive to special agents. People living double lives generally have one life that is socially acceptable for the norm, and another life that is taboo or socially unacceptable. Some double lives include terrifying secrets, including murder. Why would someone want to lead a double life? That's a question that has baffled psychologists and other experts for years. There's no one answer. The bigger question should be: how the heck is someone getting away with leading a double life without arousing any suspicions and continuing to be active members of society?!
In the age of social media it isn't uncommon for people to have two versions of themselves, public and private. Maybe someone is outgoing and talkative on Twitter, but in real life they are shy and incredibly introverted. Those types of dual personalities are not what we are going to be looking at here. We searched for the most unbelievable, crazy, and just plain bizarre cases of people leading double (and sometimes more!) lives. Let's take a look at the 15 craziest stories of people living double lives.
15 Mata Hari
Mata Hari was born in the Netherlands in 1876. She was born Margaretha MacLeod. She was married and had two children when she moved to Java. While in Java her son died a mysterious death. Her marriage to her husband was falling apart and they divorced soon after arriving back to the Netherlands. Her husband received primary custody of their child. She was so distraught she left to go to Paris. While in Paris she reinvented herself as a Middle Eastern erotic dancer. She started going by the name Mata Hari.
She became very popular with the aristocracy and other higher up military officials. Being in the middle of the first World War, tensions were very high. The French government grew suspicious with her interactions with German officials. At first they decided to use her as their spy but they decided they couldn't trust her after all. They charged her with treason and being a spy for the Germans. She was sentenced to death and was executed by firing squad when she was only 41 years old.
14 Ted Haggard
Ted Haggard was the head pastor of a megachurch in Colorado Springs. He was also one of the leaders of the National Association of Evangelicals. He was married with children. He was listed by Time Magazine in 2005 as being one of the most influential people.
But, Haggard was also hiding a deep, dark secret. He had been with other men and even a young boy had claimed sexual contact with him. Haggard dismissed the first claim as a 'massage gone bad'. The second claim and other accusations that followed he remained tight lipped. He took a leave of absence from the church. Then he resigned from the church. The church put out a statement saying he was no longer welcome to be a part of the ministry.
Haggard and his wife went thru counseling and remain married. They travel the country giving talks to churches about forgiveness. They live in Colorado Springs where he sells insurance and is also trying to restart a megachurch. Family man or sexual predator? Perhaps both.
13 Frank Abagnale Jr.
If you've seen the 2002 film Catch Me If You Can, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, you might recognize the name Frank Abagnale Jr. Between the ages of fifteen and twenty-one years old Frank pulled some of history's biggest cons.
He wrote over 2.5 million dollars in bad checks by pretending to be a Pan Am pilot. How did he do that? He had called Pan Am and told him he was a pilot who lost his uniform. They believed him and told him where to pick up a new one. He then pretended he was a college student who was doing an interview on the life of a pilot. He easily scored an interview with a Pan Am pilot. He learned everything he needed to know and was then able to hitch rides on various airlines by pretending to be a pilot.
After being a pilot for some time he decided to try out being a medical doctor. He went to Georgia where he worked as a doctor in a small town hospital.
Eventually his crimes caught up with him and he was arrested in France. He spent time in prison before the U.S. hired him to work for the FBI. He worked for the FBI for over 30 years educating them on fraud and how to prevent scams.
12 Senator Leland Lee
Senator Leland Yee was an outstanding citizen of California. He was President of the San Francisco School Board and he was one of the highest ranking Democrats in California. He had built up quite a name for himself. That is until it all started crumbling down around him and his true self was revealed.
Yee was definitely not an outstanding citizen nor was he a decent human being. The FBI had caught Yee in a sting operation. He had been purchasing missiles and guns from a terrorist organization in the Middle East and re-selling them for a huge profit. He was charged and found guilty of crimes including racketeering, money laundering and bribery. In March 2016, Yee turned himself into the U.S. Marshall's Office. He was sentenced to five years in Federal Prison for his crimes.
11 Klaus Fuchs
Klaus Fuchs worked at the Los Alamos National Laboratory during World War II. He was responsible for many significant findings and developments related to the atomic weapons the U.S. was making. The biggest and most significant research he was involved in was the Manhattan Project.
Klaus was highly regarded as one of the best physicists in his field and was widely respected. It came as a shock when in 1950 he confessed and was convicted of being a spy for the Germans. He had been supplying Germany with inside information related to atomic weapons since 1942. He was imprisoned for fifteen years and afterwards returned to Germany where he was celebrated and welcomed back as an almost hero of sorts. He lived and worked in Germany until his death in 1988.
10 John Wayne Gacy
John Wayne Gacy was a childhood party entertainer, a clown, as well as being the manager of several Kentucky Friend Chicken restaurants. He was also a member of the community organization the Jaycees. He served as Vice President of the Jaycees and was heavily involved in the community. He was regarded as a very hard worker and motivated. Gacy was married and had two children.
When the young son of a fellow Jaycee accused Gacy of sexual assault, Gacy was able to convince many members of the community that the son and father were liars and politically motivated. Gacy was eventually sent to prison for another assault. He spent only 18 months of a 10 year prison sentence behind bars. 18 months!
After being released he relocated and remarried. He started his own construction business where he employed young boys, many of whom would become his victims. His wife divorced and left with his children after a suspected assault victim came forward, a young boy. Nobody knew about Gacy's previous prison sentence as the records had been sealed. Gacy wasn't charged. Between 1972 and 1978 Gacy murdered over 33 people, mostly young men. He buried them in a crawl space under his house.
9 Gary Thompson
Gary Thompson makes over $100,000 a year....from panhandling. Yes, Gary Thompson is a beggar. He slurs his speech, slumps in a wheelchair, and holds out a hat to people walking by wherever he has decided to panhandle for the day.
What makes this so bad is that Gary is actually perfectly fine. He doesn't need a wheelchair. He doesn't slur his speech. He can actually physically and mentally hold down a job. He was in a car accident several years back and did get hurt but recovered. He also received over 2 million dollars for being in the accident. Where did the $2 million dollars go? He blew it! He spent every last dime, in record time. He enjoyed living the high life and not having to do anything, so much so that he has made it his full-time gig: being a panhandler and tugging at people's heartstrings.
8 Bishop Eddie Long
Eddie Long is the son of Rev. Floyd Long and Hattie Long. He is a minister and claims to have a doctorate degree in theology but the college he claims to have received it doesn't really exist. He did hold a job with Ford Motor Company but was fired shortly after being hired because he was using his work phone to make personal calls. He then left to go down south where he started his revolution. He became the head pastor of the Birth Missionary Baptist Church. 300 parishioners quickly grew to over 25,000. The members of the church idolized this loud, boisterous, God-filled man! Little did they know who he really was.
He pushed for peace and love but had been married and divorced several times and had four separate lawsuits regarding sexual assault filed against him. All of the lawsuits were settled out of court for undisclosed sums of money. One of Long's accusers even said Long forced him into a symbolic marriage ceremony.
His ex wives have also stated he was a violent man with a vicious temper. His first wife had to flee their family home with their young child to escape him. Man of God or Man of the Devil?
7 Sam Hurd
Sam Hurd was an NFL player from 2006-2011. He played for the Dallas Cowboys and then the Chicago Bears. He was the special team's captain of the Chicago Bears until he was cut due to his arrest for drugs.
In 2008, Sam Hurd and fellow NFL player Terrell Owens, teamed up and did a show geared towards underprivileged children--to keep them out of trouble with drugs, alcohol and crime. The show was called Running With the Hurd. Unfortunately the show didn't last too long as Hurd was caught in a sting---with the intent to distribute.
6 Anna Gristina
Anna Gristina is better known as the 'British Soccer Mom Madam'. Yes, she took her four kids to school and soccer during the day and then ran a prostitution ring at night. She lived the high life in Manhattan. She listed herself as an 'internet marketer' on the website LinkedIn. She told her friends she was the CEO of a very successful company.
After a five year investigation Anna Gristina was arrested and charged. Her bail was set at an astronomical 2 million dollars because her flight risk was deemed very high. Her roster of clients included politicians, billionaires, police officers, and other high ranking government officials. In order to keep her from releasing their names in her little black book, it was thought that some would post her bail and help her flee the country. She has since named two of her most famous clients as Charlie Sheen, and his then-wife Brooke Mueller.
5 Sister Donna Quinn
Sister Donna Quinn is a Roman Catholic nun who lives in the U.S. She is also Pro-Choice--which is completely against Catholicism. She masquerades as a Sister, representing the Catholic church. Yet she's anti-Catholic. She uses her status as a 'Sister' to make herself sound like more of an authority figure. She enters congregations and tries to radicalize the Sisters.
If Sister Donna Quinn had not taken vows to uphold the church's teachings to become a nun, it wouldn't be a big deal for someone to waver on their beliefs but she took an oath. She continues to mislead millions of people by putting on this act as a Catholic nun. Escorting scared young ladies into abortion clinics and discouraging protestors from trying to stop her. She was slapped by her diocese and told to immediately stop her activities. She has not and just continues to get louder and speak out against various Catholic charitable organizations.
4 John Leonard Orr
John Leonard Orr was a fire marshal and arson investigator. Noble career choices, right? Maybe for someone other than John Leonard Orr. Orr was also a serial arsonist! He set more than 2,000 fires throughout Southern California during the 80s and 90s. The damages caused by Orr's fires cost the state over hundreds of millions of dollars. The fires also claimed the lives of 4 people, including a toddler.
Orr would set fires in crowded stores after he started small brush fires. The brush fires would draw the fire department out of town so that his fires would be able to spread and inflict maximum damage. He is known as the worst serial arsonist in history. He's currently serving a life sentence plus an extra 20 years without the possibility of parole. Orr wrote an autobiography detailing his innocence, which he still maintains to this day.
3 Ed Gein
Ed Gein's crimes are very Silence of the Lambs meets Psycho-like. Ed Gein was a very quiet farmer-handyman. He was distraught when his mother passed away. He boarded up all the rooms in his house that she used to go into. He kept them immaculate. The rest of the house he used and it was in total disarray.
Ed killed several people. Ed also dug up many graves of middle age females. His goal was to create a suit made out of real human skin that he could wear. He wanted to bring his mother back to life by actually becoming his mother.
2 Anna Chapman
Anna Chapman was a high flying socialite living in New York. She owned her own real estate business and was very successful... but not with real estate. No. She was a Russian spy. Anna was part of a complex spy network sent from Russia to learn about American policies and other secrets. A Russian government official tipped off the U.S. and Anna was arrested during a sting operation by the FBI.
Anna's sexy clothes and temptress appearance earned her the nickname "Femme Fatale". Her and the other spies were sent back to Russia where they were rewarded for their hard work. The other spies received new secret identities but Anna kept her identity and used it to her advantage. She hosts her own television show and has appeared on the covers of magazines such as Maxim.
1 H.H. Holmes
H.H. Holmes was a terrifying individual. He graduated from University of Michigan's Surgery and Medicine Department in 1884. At this time things started taking a peculiar turn for Holmes. Cadavers were being stolen from the school laboratory. Then, the bodies were becoming disfigured. Holmes was claiming people were injured in accidents and then collecting the insurance money for himself.
Holmes went off to work in Chicago. People around him started disappearing. It didn't raise any suspicion--not yet, anyway. He opened up an enormous hotel that locals called 'The Castle'. While Holmes was building the hotel, he hired and fired workers regularly so that they would never learn the hotel's complex layout. Doors that opened to brick walls. Secret stairwells. Rooms that had gas lines running into them. Soundproof rooms. It was a hotel of torture. He lured guests to stay at the hotel and would kill them in a variety of ways. The bodies would be taken down into the basement where he would play around and dissect them. He then sold the skeletons to medical schools. When he as inevitably caught, as the death tally was growing considerably, he was found guilty of nine murders but people believe he committed closer to around 200 murders in a span of a few years. He was hanged in 1896 at the age of 34. 'The Castle' was demolished in the 1930s. Variety reports that Leonardo DiCaprio will soon play the killer in a Scorsese film, The Devil In the White City, based the bestselling book.