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Jim Kershner’s This day in history » On the Web:

Wed., Sept. 7, 2011

From our archives, 100 years ago

Spokane police were seeking to hire … an official female impersonator?

Yes, they wanted a man with the allure to attract “mashers,” yet also in possession of a mean right hook if the lechers got too fresh.

Originally, the department tried to hire a woman as a lure to combat a growing problem: men making unwanted advances on the street toward women. Yet no ladies were willing to take on a job that came with the title “official city flirt.”

So police put out the call for a man willing to wear women’s clothes and saunter down Riverside Avenue. The female impersonator could then “slap” around any men who resisted arrest, said a police captain.

From the court beat: An “aged German from Hillyard” had just about succeeded in convincing a judge that he was sane enough to be released from the mental hospital at Medical Lake.

He was “sailing on the road to liberty.”

And then he made a small mistake.

He stepped out of the courtroom briefly, walked back in and told the judge that he had just engaged in a conversation with his dead mother and father in the anteroom.

The judge ruled the man insane and sent him back to Medical Lake.

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