When journalist Josh Levin began investigating an infamous welfare cheat, his story spiraled into an expose of one of the most outrageous female criminals in modern history.
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When horse-riding Spaniards invaded, she defied her tribe to befriend one of the abandoned horses, using her new bond to fight off the Spanish.
Let her leprosy go untreated for years to make herself the perfect spy in the Japan-occupied Philippines - soldiers wouldn't touch her, so she could slip right through.
Bisexual cross-dressing spy princess of the Qing dynasty - a hero to some and unspeakable villain to others.
To warn against the incoming British, this teen girl staged her own midnight ride - far longer and more dangerous…
Abandoned and imprisoned, this real-life Amazon took back the life she had stolen away.
This phony Asian royalty fooled rural England for some time - but the truth she was hiding was far darker.
When this indigenous Brazilian warrior mermaid proved too awesome for her tribe, she just took up residence in the water, and started an aquatic harem of passers-by.
The only use this Canadian badass had for pretty pink bows was to adorn her own rib — which she amputated from her own body after an accident.
This mythical Native American woman saved her loved ones from starvation with delicious magical leprosy - a fact that led to, shall we say, complications.
When the most powerful man in the world made plans on her country, she: turned down his marriage proposal, destroyed his armies, and defiled his head so famously that she became legend for centuries thereafter.