Analysis of An FBI Training Film on Physical Evidence

Forensics
[caption id="attachment_7268" align="alignright" width="440"] Symbol of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.[/caption] A YouTube presentation caught my interest. The 20-minute video is entitled, FBI Physical Evidence Training Film – 1960s. An FBI training film! The presentation is dry as bones, yet from a forensic viewpoint it is clear and informative. I give my thoughts concerning the video, below. Before considering those, however, please watch the video. First Impressions The professionalism, the careful gathering and cataloging of evidence, was really striking, as was the scope of the work. I was favorably impressed. No wonder so few cases in which the FBI is called in on end up in rejection of their findings. But there are a few things I feel that are worthy of consideration that modify how one might look at…
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Spontaneous Human Combustion is Real

Forensics
It was a new concept for me, the idea that without flame, electric spark, or other external source of ignition, a human being could catch fire and be almost completely consumed. It is just too far out to be true. Or is it? Could spontaneous human combustion be real? Classically, three elements of combustion are recognized as necessary: suitable fuel, an oxidizing agent, and an appropriate source of spark or fire. The concept of spontaneity requires only fuel and usually oxidizer are present. Any source of ignition remains mysterious and unknown. The Typical SHC Scenario Typically, the individual who supposedly succumbs from spontaneous human combustion (SHC) is immobile and obese. The victim is likely to be female, though by no means is that always the case. The individual meeting the…
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Executed Innocent? Poison Dismemberment Murder

Forensics
[caption id="attachment_3119" align="alignright" width="293"] Hawley Harvey Crippen[/caption] A poison dismemberment murder? In England in the year 1910, Michigan, USA-born homeopathist Hawley Harvey Crippen was tried and convicted. The he waas hanged for the apparent Jack the Ripper style poison dismemberment of his wife. She was the aspiring singer, Cora Crippen (stage name, Belle Elmore). Crippen family descendants have wondered, for decades, about the history and validity of the conviction. Bothersome Detail Leads to Re-investigation The case bothered forensic investigator and murder by poison expert, John H. Trestrail III. If he was guilty, why had Hawley Crippen dismembered her body? Mr. Trestrail’s findings were broadcast by the Public Broadcasting System. It was in an episode of Secrets of the Dead in the episode entitled “Executed in Error.” The broadcast is well…
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