Holiday Magic was a company started by William Penn Patrick, who bought into a small makeup brand, dubbed his line Holiday Magic, and began recruiting folks to sell lipstick, blush, powders and creams supposedly made from organic ingredients. For an extra fee, his distributors could enroll in his “Leadership Dynamics” course, where, among other things, Patrick made participants crawl into coffins, get strapped onto a cross, and endure physical abuse.
Patrick claimed it was all part of a big-picture strategy to help seminar attendees appreciate what they had in life and prove that they were psychologically sound enough to move on. Then in the early ‘70s, the lawsuits hit.
In our latest episode of The List Show, Mental Floss editor-in-chief Erin McCarthy discusses several companies that were accused (and sometimes convicted of) engaging in alleged pyramid schemes and other scams, including Holiday Magic. It also breaks down the differences between Ponzi schemes, pyramid schemes, and multi-level marketing.