They are clandestine, mysterious and dangerous. They spend their lives in the shadows, disguised or misleading their enemies and the enemies of the ones that bank-role their operations (or addictions). These men and women have spent their lives looking over their shoulders, listening and gathering information around the world while avoiding apprehension. Except the ones on this list, otherwise we wouldn’t know about them would we? These are a few international men and women of intrigue.
The White Rabbit
This sexy British chap is considered one of the most successful spies of WWII and the main inspiration for Ian Fleming’s James Bond character. His accomplishments include fighting with the Poles during the Polish-Russian war, being captured and slated for execution but escaping by strangling a Russian Guard. All when he was just 17. After that he worked for a Parisian Fashion house until the occupation of France when he returned to his native England and became a member of the newly founded Special Operations Executive. Forest Yeo-Thomas could not resist the call of gay Paris though as he parachuted into Nazi-occupied Paris three times, assisted the French Resistance. He was apprehended, attempted to escape on a few dozen occasions, successfully escaped three times and was tortured brutally by the Gestapo. He was a key witness during the Nuremberg Trails, identifying Buchenwald officials. His suave, sophisticated character, and womanizing ways were borrowed by Fleming for his seminal spy character, Bond.
James Bond, sorry could help myself.
Giacomo Girolamo Cassanova has not only become synonymous with amorous characters and exquisite seducer he was a spy for the Venice Grande Inquisitor. As if his stories of seducing high-level aristocrats and officials of Venice wasn’t enough to pad Cassanova’s biography, he also gathered intel, was a professional gambler, a violinist, an occultist and an advisor to various Venetian dignitaries. He was also buddies with the likes of Mozart, Voltaire and Goethe.
The ole switcheroo, Shi Pei Pu
Because this list is getting pretty testosterone heavy, I’m adding Shi Pei Pu to show the opposite side of the same coin. How easily men can be manipulated, by women. Or by men posing as women that were dressed as a man. Yeah, that’s the story. Shi Pei Pu was a Chinese opera singer that had convinced one Bernard Bourisicot, a French Embassy employee, that although he was dressed as a man, he was all woman, but dressed as a man to please his father that wanted a son. If you’re a little lost at this point so am I and I’m writing this thing, it gets better just stay with me for a sec. After a 20 year long sexual affair during which Bourisicot never figured out Pei Pu was a man, Pei Pu convinced Bourisicot that he (Pei Pu) had a baby and the baby was their son (he actually acquired it from a doctor at the local hospital). Oh, he (Pei Pu) also obtained 20 years’ worth of sensitive French government materials.
She established the archetype for the dangerous seductress and Femme fatale. Mata Hari is considered one of the most successful spies of WWI. A high society courtesan by trade, Mata Hari used her beauty to seduce secrets out of high ranking government officials from all over the world. A valuable German Intelligence asset during the First World War, she was caught and executed in 1917 in Paris.
Are you a spy and want to blow your cover? Then let me know in the comment section below.