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by Chris Auld 5 months ago in fact or fiction

We demand $6,000,000 in untraceable, non-sequential bills. We'll tell you where to make the drop.

The magazine collage ransom note is a lost art.

Hand-writing a ransom note is great, it shows the family you care about your work and puts that extra fear in them. They think that they are dealing with a true psychopath.

This means you're more likely to get paid!

But ever since the advent of modern forensics, there are too many ways an FBI analyst can work out certain things about your personality and mommy issues just by looking at your loops and scrawls and with today's DNA analysis, writing your ransom note in your own blood is completely out the window!

So what's the solution? No! You don't need to throw away your entire kidnapping career. But a ransom note collage is a great alternative to the above methods, it makes it harder for the feds to track you and you won't lose your faculties and become woozy from blood loss.

Once you've kidnapped your mark and secured them in a basement it's time to get to work!

1. Collect old magazines.

You can usually lift these from a doctor's office or dentist's waiting room, if not your local, second-hand book store is a treasure trove of used magazines. This guarantees you a great supply of letters from a huge range of magazines. Since you're using old magazines, you can afford to get a fingerprint or two on them since they will be absolutely riddled with filthy, greasy prints of strangers.

Top tip: Whatever you do DON'T use your subscriptions at home. If every letter is cut from a National Geographic, then the authorities already have a database with your name and address on it!

2. Work out your message

Brevity is key, you're working with a lot of paper here and you'll want to be brief as possible so you aren't cutting out letters for weeks. Not to mention a letter over 1 page long is going to start thickening up that postage envelope and you aren't made of money (yet!).

So instead of:

"Dear Mr Jones, we have kidnapped your son, we demand $6,000,000 in ransom. If you call the police we will have him killed. We will know we are watching you. To make the drop head to the park by the old train station and leave the duffel bag in the rusty bin.

Warmest regards


Keep it brief


By doing this you buy yourself time to scout and set up a drop location which you can specify in a second letter. This means another crafternoon for you, LUCKY!

Top tip: Ransom figures with sixes and nines are the best since you can flip them upside-down to suit your needs.

3. Find your most readable letters.

Write out your message on a piece of paper and as you find a nice, readable letter you can use, cross that letter off your list as you bookmark it. Be sure to burn your list when you're done with it. Avoid cursive flourishes. You don't want people to spend time trying to work out if that is a cursive J or a cursive T that you've started a sentence with.

Top tip: Remember non-serifed fonts are easier for people with dyslexia to read. And be sure to check your colour palate won't be difficult for anyone with colour-blindness. You might be a kidnapper, but accessibility still matters if you want your letter read!

4. Get Cutting!

Grab your Fiskars, and cut your letter out and space them on a page. I recommend using a light latex glove for this and putting on a hairnet, you don't want to accidentally drop a hair in the glue or push a thumbprint into the glue.

5. Personal Touches

You can usually remove a lock of hair with a good set of kitchen shears! Pop this in the envelope to let them know you're serious.

fact or fiction

Chris Auld

Chris is a comedian based in Cairns, Australia. He takes writing very seriously, but only if he doesn't have to write serious stuff!

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Chris Auld
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