Imagine that for twenty years you have known a man: a well-respected member of your community, a doctor in a high position with the World Health Organization, a devoted husband and father, a trusted friend and neighbor. Now imagine one day you wake up to the news that this man has murdered his parents, his wife, and his two children. Imagine that over the next few days you learn that almost everything you have believed about this man for the last twenty years has not been true. He has never had a job at the World Health Organization. He has never had a job at all. He never graduated from medical school.

That is the true story of Jean-Claude Romand. When someone in his life finally started to catch on to him, he murdered his whole family and attempted suicide. For twenty years he had lied to everyone he knew, every day, and they never had a clue. When the truth came out they all asked themselves how they could have been so thoroughly deceived. There had to be some signs. What had they missed?

Who is lying? Everyone, actually.

The case of Jean-Claude Romand is extreme. His entire life was a lie. More common are professional liars. Con men weave elaborate lies to dupe their targets out of money. ...[Continue reading on Factorialist]