jump to navigation
  • French and Parisian Swindles in the Nineteenth Century September 27, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern , trackback

    fagin oliver

    More in our swindlers series.

    Eye Expert: the greatest French eye expert is Dr Sichel. To his horror Dr Sichel discovers that there are not one but two other Dr Sichels pretending to be him in the provinces. West Dail Press, 29 Apri, 1876, 7.

    Horse Trick: X sold old nag who says that he is looking for a new brown one so X dies the nag and sells it back at three times its price. Urban legend? Bel Mor New, 11 nov 1863, 4.

    Impoverished Aristocrats: X, masquerading as the British attaché, sends out secret letters to benevolent rich French men and women asking for help for English aristocrats down on their luck. Sta Sent, 4 Nov 1879, 2.

    Marriage Swindle: X puts a matrimonial advert in the newspaper for a phantom young woman. When victims are interested he sends a photograph and requires £40 ‘deposit’ (not sure what for). Victims pay and X ceases to answer the mail…

    New Arrival: Young woman, X, arrives in Paris for the first time and sits bereft at the station. Eventually a man offers to take her to a hotel (! the journalist was naive or censored himself here). They arrive together  and while he checks the rooms, she decamps with his luggage. Chelt Chron, 16 Aug 1890, 9

    Police to Rescue: X goes to jeweler (victim). He tries to escape with a lot of jewels but is taken into charge by policeman (Y), who also takes the jewelry down to the station. Of course Y is not a policeman. Ab Ev Exp, 5 Jan 1889, 2.

    Restaurant Unpaid: X goes into the restaurant and eats and drinks well, Y, ‘a police officer’ comes in and confidentially tells the manager (victim) that X is a crook and that he needs to be arrested. X is told that a friend is waiting for him out on the street and there he is ‘arrested’ by Y and leaves not having paid for the meal. Dun Cour, 18 Jan 1881, 3

    Same Name: X stays in hotel where coincidentally he has the same name as the owner. X’s valet starts picking up mail and one day a package arrives and Y takes this. It transpires that the valuable package had been ordered in the name of the hotel owner (the victim). Dun Ev Tel, 23 Sept 1891, 4

    Trade Switch: X dresses as victim and receives a bill from tradesman. X then goes to victim and demands money for the bill. Her Time, 17 Jul 1847, 6.

    Window Smashed: X breaks shop window and shop-owner (victim) comes out and demands money. X says he has no money but Y in the crowd says not true. X reluctantly brings out large note and victim subtracts damage and pockets note glad to have gotten rid of the crowd. In all the confusion victim has not noticed that the note is a forgery. Ed Ev New, 18 Feb 1881, 3.

    Can any add to these: drbeachcombing AT yahoo DOT com

    30 Sept 2015 LTM writes on the Murphy Swindle (perhaps the origin of the New Arrival)

    X meets victim Y who wants to get a prostitute.  X knows a girl and points her out in the corner.  She’s fantastic-looking. X say he  is her pimp and will arrange everything. She’ll meet Y in a hotel room.  X shows Y the room key.  Y can get the girl by buying the key – which he does.  The key doesn’t fit the door lock, of course, and  when Y returns to the pub X and the girl have moved on.  A girl working by herself will meet a guy she likes and they agree to sex … but where?  She wants to go to her room, but the landlord has locked her out unless she pays $50 back rent. The victim likes that and gives her the $50.  She says she’ll pay the landlord and be right back…sure.  Murphy and the key are probably done daily all over the world.