The Wild World of Fingerprinting

Fingerprinting in the real world is, of course, used for identification purposes, keeping culprits’ tracked or aiding in investigations.  But fingerprinting in popular culture has taken a turn for the weird and even funny. Let’s take a short look at the wonderful world of fingerprinting in the media and pop culture.

Men In Black – Fingerprint Deletion

Everyone’s favorite rapping prince turned space cop, Will Smith, got his fingerprints burned off (or deleted) in order for them to be unidentifiable. I wonder how much that would’ve hurt had it been real.  Do you think some bored intern flpped on the fingerprint deleter to cook his grilled cheese sandwich?

Rose Hills Cemetary – Ghost Prints

Adolescence brings about many curiosities in a person’s life – one being the paranormal. A popular gallivanting activity for Southern California youth is visiting “gravity hills.” Basically, you park your car on a gravity hill, a slightly elevated portion of a road, and the car seems to roll uphill by forces unknown. Apparently, when going with trusty ol’ science, the effect is caused by a shift in perspective while the car is actually rolling downhill. Many believe this is due to ghosts of children who were somehow hit and killed by a nearby motorist.

Proof? People say to pour baby powder on your back windshield and trunk. If child-sized fingerprints appear, you were probably in the hands of the once deceased. In reality, it’s just fingerprints that have been there the whole time.

Mark Twain - Pudd’nhead's Great Collection

The titular character of Mark Twain’s 1894 novel, Puddn’head, a smart man mistakenly branded a nitwit, collects the town’s fingerprints as a hobby. All that weird fingerprinting came in handy when the prints served as an evidentiary tool in a jury trial. Imagine if Puddsy was into coins instead.

No matter what, it seems fingerprinting has become a useful practice in our every day lives – not just for government use but for entertainment use as well. Maybe Fingerprint Depot can help grow your own fingerprint collection.


Mark Twain in Nikola Tesla's lab circa 1894, the year when Puddn'head was published.

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