List of impostors

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Cartoon of the would-be explorer Louis de Rougemont who claimed to have had adventures in Australasia.

An impostor (also spelled imposter) is a person who pretends to be somebody else, often to try to gain financial or social advantages through social engineering, but just as often for purposes of espionage or law enforcement.

Notable impostors[edit]


False nationality claims[edit]

Frits Holm (1881–1930), Danish adventurer and self-styled "Duke of Colachine"

False Royal Heritage Claims[edit]

Academic impostors[edit]

  • Dr Charlotte Bach (1920–1981), fringe evolutionary theorist who was not a doctor
  • Marvin Hewitt (born 1922), who became a university professor without any credentials
  • James Hogue (born 1959), who most famously entered Princeton University by posing as a self-taught orphan
  • Marilee Jones, Dean of Admissions at MIT and best-selling author who claimed advanced degrees in science fields. After ten years in the post, she was revealed to have only a high school diploma.

False minority national identity claims[edit]

Multiple impostors[edit]

Women who lived as men[edit]

Many women in history have presented themselves as men in order to advance in typically male-dominated fields. It is unknown whether they identified as transgender in the current sense. See also: List of wartime cross-dressers.

Military impostors[edit]


In fiction[edit]



See also[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ von Lüpke, Marc (1 November 2013). "Doktor Dreist" [Doctor Brazen]. Der Spiegel (in German).