say a person wanted to remove their fingerprints like in the movie Men in Black or something. What might be an effective method of removal? Do fingerprints regenerate after severe skin trauma to the area like slicing off the skin or what? Would there be a way to remove them permanently thereby negating all possibility of identification by prints?
The scars would be easier to identify than prints.
Yeah, but the scars wouldn’t be on record with the authorities. That’s the whole idea behind having one’s fingerprints “removed” in the first place.
I recently watched a documentary that dealt with fingerprinting, and the specific example used was John Dillinger. It is known that he paid a “surgeon” to remove his fingerprints with acid. Though the “pad” prints were essentially removed, Dillinger was still linked to crimes using the pattern of his prints outside the pads.
I’ve been fingerprinted. I don’t want to contemplate what it might take to completely obliterate the ridges and whorls, etc. that make up my fingers throughout the entire area “printed.”
This question takes me back…
Back in the summer of 1972 I went with a number of my high school classmates on a trip to New York City and Washington D.C. During a tour of the FBI building an intensely earnest young agent who acted as our guide told us that it was absolutely, positively, without a doubt impossible for anyone to ever alter his fingerprints.
Later in the tour this same guide showed us an exhibit about John Dillinger. Without blinking an eye, the agent told us that Dillinger had altered his fingerprints.
The fingerprints of the man the FBI shot outside of the Biograph Theater in Chicago did not match those on file for Dillinger, who had been in prison more than once and was, besides, an army veteran. The story we got was that he had slit open his fingers and doused them with battery acid.
We were also shown Dillinger’s death mask, which Hoover had for years kept hung in his private office as a trophy. It had been made by a couple of medical students within hours of the shooting, probably much to the consternation of the FBI.
At the time people had pointed out that the face bore a resemblance to Dillinger’s, so that one might not notice a difference at a distance, but that close up it didn’t really look like him. The FBI explained that Dillinger had undergone plastic surgery. So how did the FBI know it was Dillinger? Well…because it looked like him.
Back before people were claiming that James Dean and John F. Kennedy and Marilyn Monroe weren’t really dead, people were claiming that Dillinger wasn’t really dead. Only with Dillinger there are reasons to suppose they might have been right.
We were also told (again by this same agent) that a gangster named Roscoe Pitts had gotten a surgeon to graft his fingertips to the skin over his ribcage. Then he had ripped loose his fingers, leaving smooth skin without prints over his fingertips.
Sometime around 1990 I read a small article in the paper about a woman in South Africa. It was said that she had worked for many years in a factory there where there were few safety controls to protect the employees, and that acid fumes had leaked into the air continually. As a result the skin on her fingertips had gradually eroded until her fingerprints were erased.
You can be like Kevin Spacey in Se7en and shave 'em off with a razorblade.
My father has next to no fingerprints, thanks to decades of carpet installation. The rough carpet backing is like sandpaper on skin. If you look closely at his fingers, they are very smooth; the loops and whorls of his prints are barely visible, much less printable.
Also, my roommate used to have very dry skin, and because it peeled for so long, his fingertips probably wouldn’t have provided usable fingerprints. He frequently lubes his hands up with lotion now, so there goes his criminal career.
Permanently sow gloves on to your hands.
Sewing might be faster, though no doubt more painful.
On a related note, how can one remove all the wrinkles on the palm? I ask because at a very stupid Psychic Show Magic Woo Pretty deal my parents went to and got suckered on, one of the palmist ladies had perfectly smooth palms. I figured he had coated her hand in some sort of powder that filled in all the gaps. That’s about the only way, yes? That or having perfectly smooth palms (“perfect” being the major lines, not the minor fingerprint-like lines) makes a person true and psychic and always to be trusted.
IIRC, the lines are creases from the way you fold your hands…look at your palms partially folded and notice how the skin kinda folds into the lines. maybe if you kept your hands stretched out for years…
Don’t know ho relevant this is, but I have a tiny patch on my thumb where there is no fingerprint, just sort of bobbly skin. I think it happened when I got some chillblain cream on it, but I don’t know why.
In the 1960’s Batman movie, the Penguin baffled the dynamic duo with “plastic-coated fingertips.” I don’t know if this is actually possible, but if you could figure out some way to laminate yourself, that might work.
While attempting to separate frozen 'burgers last September, I sliced a good portion of the flesh off of the top of my left thumb. The flesh regenerated (Because of my youthful age, I can apparently regenerate like Wolverine), but the area that was sliced off currently has a “deadened” feeling and no print. So I guess the answer is to carve the flesh off of your fingers around the bone, and hope that you possess similar mutant-like regeneration abilities.
A coworker of mine had his security clearance delayed because it took him a few months to give a valid set of fingerprints. His had been worn off by years of concrete work.