How to Become a Spy

We'll share some intel -- if you can keep a secret.

Have you always wanted to get into the espionage game, but aren’t sure where to begin? Forget trench coats and audio recorders — Drunk History’s got some tips from celebrated superspies throughout time that’ll inspire you to get a foot (real or prosthetic) in the door.

Before Roald Dahl became a beloved author of children’s books like “The BFG” and “Matilda” (and some truly raunchy short stories for grown-ups), he was a spy for the British government. How did he get the gig? Well, he was an RAF pilot who got into a terrible crash, wrote an article about it, became kind of a big deal, and started seducing powerful women to pump them for information. Seems pretty easy to replicate.

After Virginia Hall failed the entrance exam for the Foreign Service, she left America for Europe anyway, accidentally shot her foot off with a hunting rifle and drove an ambulance during World War II — at least some of which made her appealing to a couple of British spy recruiters. OK, fine, it was probably her brain that qualified her for the job and not her appendages (or lack thereof), but nothing says “sacrifice” like literally giving your left foot to become a spy. Just make sure you have some other qualifications — and are near a hospital — first.

Everyone knows that Harriet Tubman led a whole bunch of people to freedom on the Underground Railroad, but did you know she was also a spy for the Union during the Civil War? After she was freed, Tubman worked as an army nurse. That’s when she realized she could use her connections and know-how to go undercover on plantations and recruit slaves for a top-secret mission. That mission? Set all of the plantations on fire. While inspiring, this is probably the most difficult (and time-consuming) route possible, so we advise against it.