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The Art Of Disguise

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The Art Of Disguise

Post by Karen on Tue 20 Apr 2010 - 9:52

How one disguises.

On my trips to the East End, I have used several times the costume of a doctor or a sailor, and this change, either for my personal safety, or because I do not wish to attract attention, I called for the help of Mr. Fox, of Russell Street, Covent Garden, W.C. This gentleman makes disguises for other people as not only his chosen profession, but even an art form, who because of his perfection beams with legitimate pride. Especially for people who have somewhat romantic ideas, I had an interview with Mr. Fox which proved very instructive and interesting, but too prosaic natures, many were curious to hear from him, so I went for half an hour this day to talk to him. I found him, as indeed I expected, amid a chaos of wigs, glasses, garments, noses and paint pots in his office, and he had no objection of undergoing questions about his art which we were called to interview. Amid the charms of his young age, Mr. Fox was so communicative, that I had almost learned his art. Fox is a living book of anecdotes, but far from boring, as the authors of books should be funny at any rate, as a rule. Moreover, his stories often take a good look at the social life. In the time of the murders in Whitechapel, Mr Fox was extremely busy with the disguises of real and amateur detectives, who often posed as laborers and merchants, but they, as a rule, went as vagrants to the East End, because in that disguise they could stroll around without attracting attention. It is known that so many people, mostly journalists, on the hunt for Jack the Ripper went to Whitechapel which was full of detectives, so they got in each other's way and many a suspicious detective often followed one another. But among the crowd that came to Mr. Fox was a person who appeared suspicious, because every day he wanted another disguise and sneaking up to him, had a cat's pace. He had a repellent appearance, was restless and seemed very suspicious. Mr. Fox gave notice of his suspicions to the police from Scotland Yard and the next day when the mysterious stranger left the shop, he was followed by a detective. For a few days nothing was suspicious, but on the fourth day he met a well-dressed woman in the City and went with her to Mentone. Of course they were followed there by detectives, but without success, until one fine day we learned that the pair had disappeared. Mr. Fox often provided the police with his good services, as for instance in the jewel robbery at the Midland Hotel, where he noticed the false mustache of a suspicious person with a peculiar motion, so that one could see his real face. Most people who seek help from Mr. Fox, say that the disguise is necessary because of a bet. This is just an excuse naturally. But Mr. Fox is a man of business and takes content therewith. Mr. Fox does the same with the claim of the young Pelican Club-types who seek his assistance with blue eyes. They run all against lampposts, but within a few minutes I make each eye again just for a fee of half a crown (2s 6d) to a guinea, whether they are rich or not. This is of course done with paint. About the way he works, Mr. Fox is very communicative. The only thing that you should be aware of disguises is that you do not paint. You start with the eyebrows. You shave a piece of them, and when they are arched, you pull them down in the middle and stick them down with gum, while you get the ends up the same way. Agreed that changes the facial expression. With a little charred paper rubbed in the eyes, it's a sad sight and the eyes seem brighter. Carbonized paper and the best paint, which you can use. It can not be detected and holds up well. A few marks on the neck makes this seem much thinner and a little red on the jaw makes it appear more prominent. This, with a false mustache and sideburns and a wig to make everyone unrecognizable. But in the open air one must be able to distinguish false from real hair, I noticed. Oh no. You see, we make no false mustaches, as in carnival masquerades, or as one of the dolls one sees in the barber shop. Everyone would, of course, see that. But we first apply alcohol glue on the upper lip and then attach the hair, which dries quickly. Since the glue is invisible, the mustache seems entirely genuine when it is neatly cut, oiled and curled. Only an expert can see that it is not real. The nose is capable of wholesale change, and or by using nose-paste, which, when used in capable hands, causes the whole appearance of that important body part to change, so that the wearer is protected and also at the discovery the owner of a painted blue eye. Glasses and a different suit of clothes are enough to change anyone so that only an expert and a detective can notice the deception.

Source: Nieuwe Gorinchemsche Courant, 10/09/1891, Page 3

Karen Trenouth
Author of: "Epiphany of the Whitechapel Murders"
Author of: "Jack the Ripper: The Satanic Team"

Posts : 4907

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The Art Of Making Up

Post by Karen on Wed 23 Mar 2011 - 20:37



Making a Man's Chin Look Unshaved, Eradication of Personal Peculiarities a Very Important Item in Disguising a Person - Cost of the Work.

Mr. Charles H. Fox, the celebrated wigmaker of Covent Garden, has recently explained that he is constantly in the habit of disguising persons for purposes quite unknown to him. Being of opinion that a few more details about his "unholy art" would not be without interest, we dispatched a representative to see Mr. Fox, who went to business at once:
"You would be astonished," he began, "to know the number of people who come here to be disguised. It has grown into a part of our regular business. Men of all classes come - gentlemen, detectives, amateur detectives, and I do not doubt that I have disguised on many occasions some of the greatest criminals of the day. Of course it is none of my business to inquire into the purposes for which these disguises are assumed, though sometimes I am told. The people who come generally have some tale to tell on the first occasion, but I take these tales with a grain or two of salt. A large number of private detectives and even Scotland yard men come to me, and as I know their business I ask no questions. That they should disguise themselves is perfectly legitimate. However, as I was saying, sometimes I am told afterward what the disguise was wanted for.


"Why, I have a customer at the present time who comes in sometimes two or three times a week. He is made up as a middle aged man and goes out of the shop so completely disguised that none of his friends know him. I don't know what his object is. He seldom stays away more than two or three hours, then comes back, resumes his natural dress and appearance and I hear no more of him till he comes again to be disguised. I fancy it is a case of "cherchez la femme," but, of course, it is no business of mine."
"Do you ever have ladies to disguise?"
"No. In fact, I think I may say never. You see the art of making up comes natural to almost all women. I think it is born in them. They all understand how to beautify themselves. And if they want to disguise themselves they prefer to trust to their own ingenuity. A change of dress, a veil, an alteration in the mode of doing the hair, a pair of spectacles and there you are; detection is almost impossible."
"Now, Mr. Fox, how do you set about disguising a person?"
"Oh, it is very easy. We change the expression of the face by deepening shadows, alter the shape of the eyebrows by touching with a trifle of color, put a little hair on with spirit gum, change the fashion of the hair on the head, and sometimes throw into prominence the bones and muscles of the neck. Making up for the street is totally different to making up for the stage. For daylight use we must employ as little paint as possible. A piece of burnt paper produces a lovely and most delicate color which we use for deepening shadows, and it is imperceptible to the naked eye of the ordinary observer.
"I can produce the appearance of a chin which has not been shaved for three or four days in a very simple manner. The face is first toned to the requisite shade; then covered with a thin layer of spirit gum; then a quantity of finely cropped hair is then dabbed on to the chin and cheeks when the gum is nearly dry. Of course the things to be avoided are to leave the gum shiny and to have the hair dabbed on in patches. Practice makes perfect, and an adept hand never makes these blunders.


"Crepe hair may be used for whiskers or beard in an absolutely undetectable manner if carefully put on and trimmed afterward. But I prefer, instead of using wigs or false hair, to alter the dressing of a man's own hirsute appendages. Thus, in your own case, by turning up your mustache, by showing your upper lip, just altering the set of your eyebrows a little and by deepening the shadows on your face and neck a little you would find your face completely altered. But there is one important thing in effecting a disguise which you must not forget. It is not alone the head and face which must be altered. The attire, the dress, must undergo just as complete a change. A turned down collar, a different suit of clothes, boots and hat, and even the pocket handkerchief needs to be different from that you usually carry. Why, do you know that the very manner of carrying a handkerchief in the pocket has been sufficient before now to detect a person through a clever disguise?
"How long does it take to effect one of your startling disguises?"
"From ten minutes to half an hour, according to the character to be assumed and the amount of work required. This also regulates the cost, which is from half a guinea upward. In ten minutes, for half a guinea, I will disguise you so completely that neither your own mother, your wife nor the editor of your paper would know you. As I have said, I prefer not to use wigs - of course their use increases the cost - and I always demand a deposit if I loan them. Yes, sometimes I get suspicious characters; then I notify Bow street.
"During the Jack the Ripper scare I must have had hundreds of customers. At last it got such a big thing, and I took such an interest in the affair, I sent across to Bow street, and several of my customers were shadowed. One was followed to Mentone and another to New York. They all professed to be amateur detectives, but I fancy some were anything but that, and I even dare say that the gentleman himself may have passed through my hands more than once. It is quite a common thing for large publicans, who own a number of houses, to disguise themselves and visit their various places to watch and see if there is any shady business going on with their responsible representatives, but I think the majority of my customers are jealous husbands, who think it necessary to keep a sharp eye on their wives." - Pall Mall Gazette.

Source: Manitoba Daily Free Press, Winnipeg, July 25, 1890, Page 3

Karen Trenouth
Author of: "Epiphany of the Whitechapel Murders"
Author of: "Jack the Ripper: The Satanic Team"

Posts : 4907

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