I just finished Pope Brock's excellent Charlatan, and have been playing an electro-radio healer of dubious humbug in an online Call of Cthulu game, and at the very least, it's livened my responses to spam emails (I regularly hope for an ongoing exchange to sharpen my flimflam). To wit:
My Dearest In The lord,
Let me first of all inform you, I got your email address from a mail directory and decided to mail you for a permission to go ahead. I am Mrs. Amelia Mitchell from United Kingdom, married to Mr. David Mitchell who worked with construction company here in London before he died in a ghastly motor accident on his way to a Board meeting. My Husband and me were married but without any children. Since his death I decided not to re-marry and presently i am 71 Years old. When my late husband was Alive he deposited the sum of $23M. (Twenty Three Million U.S. Dollars) with a finance company here in United Kingdom.
Presently this money is still with the company and the management just Wrote me as the beneficiary to come forward to receive the money or rather Issue a letter of authority to somebody to receive it on my behalf. I am presently in a hospital where i have been undergoing treatment of Cancer of the lungs.I have since lost my ability to talk and my doctors have told me that I have only a few months to live so i think the best thing to do is to use the money for charity purposes.
I want a person who is trustworthy that i will make the beneficiary of my late Husband's Fund deposited with the bank so that the person can get the money and utilize 60% of this money to fund churches, orphanages and widows around the world.
As soon as i receive your reply i shall give you the contact details of my lawyer for transfer of right and privilege. I will also issue you a letter of authority that will prove you as the new beneficiary of this fund. Please assure me that you will act accordingly as i stated here in and Keep this contact confidential till such a time this funds get to your Custody.
This is to ensure that nothing jeopardizes my last wish on Earth.
I await your urgent reply. May almighty God bless you and your family.
My Dearest Out The Lord,
Died in a ghastly motor accident you say? Do tell!
I am, of course, moved by your plight, but I must confess a curiosity with regard to ghastly accidents. I find the Lord works so often in ways meant to pique our interest, wouldn't you agree? For instance, my late wife was mangled in a thresher while trying to pull our boy out; luckily, she failed and the boy was baled. He lived, but must be transported by pitchfork.
I am sorry to hear about your Cancer of the lungs. I have a Cancer of the astrology myself, and have enjoyed an electrostatic rejuvenator that works with the orgone present in every adult to reverse the tragic plenepluerisy that so rapidly overcomes the dorsal meatus. It's lucky that you contacted me, of all people, a most propitious spanner from the Lord Jesus He Is Ridden thrown right into the works of the machine man, with all the attendant success that entails.
The most important thing, Mrs. Amelia Mitchell, is that I can cure your cancer. While I will undoubtably proceed with your plan of precipitating the uric of your prosperous perspicacity upon the charitably unctuous of the flock — and encourage you to send me more details forthwith, as we say in America — we must first put aside all notion of your imminent demise! The materials, or shall we say materiels, for this must be a war, are alas not cheap and I have trouble providing for all who would need my care. But with your alleged holdings, I feel confident predicting a 150 percent recovery.
Let your money in my hands not be your last wish, but one of many cascading wishes, all of the same form.
Yours in crimps,
Dr. Bonyface Licklopper, MNOP
(The image is from a book on high frequency electrical treatments from around a century ago; this was ostensibly serious medical research, and I've found similar devices recommended by the University of Michigan at about the same time.)