did you know julia child, josephine baker, hedy lamarr and harriet tubman were all spies for an intelligent service once upon a time?

          pictured above: a few members of the girl guides during the first world war. they were the british version of the girl scouts. they would often carry secret messages for higher authorities.

          if there was any woman who inspired me to collect secrets, she was michelle trachtenberg as harriet in harriet the spy. below i collected some tips from the daring book for girls.

how to be a spy

one rule: don't get caught!
whistle signals
  • one long blast means "silence"
  • a succession of long slow blasts means "scatter"
  • a succession of quick short blasts means "close in"
  • alternate long and short blasts mean "look out"
hand signals
  • forward: swing your arm from your back to front.
  • retreat: circle arm above the head.
  • halt: fully extend arm above the head.
secret codes
  • write each word backwards
  • read every second letter
  • use numbers for letters ie. a=1, b=2, c=3
  • reverse the alphabet ie. a =z, b=y, c=x
  • sliding scale alphabet (move the alphabet by one letter ie. a=b)
  • use invisible ink (write with lemon juice, after it dries, hold it up to a light to read)

did you know that in world war II, women spies would wear something called an "escape and evasion" scarf? the scarves had maps printed on the inside for less detectable route planning.

spy team positions:
  • the agent-in-charge (head spy, all spies report to her)
  • the scout (scopes landscape's safety)
  • the tracker (alerts spies when target is in range)
  • the techie (tech-savvy, draws maps and keeps notes)
  • the wheel artist (organizes the getaway)
  • the stealth master (sneaky, often the smallest, quiet)
  • the social engineer (people person, interacts with suspect)
of course, you could always go solo or duo!