Like everyone else, you had one day fall on a TV serial type Experts where a brigade of the zoom on images forensic and dissected insects to solve a murder. Often caricatured and simplified science is nevertheless a powerful ally in police investigations, but it has not always been the case.
Napoleon Dianes Poitiers or even Rameses III, all these historical figures have in common alliance of police, scientists and specialists of all kinds, sometimes thousands of years later, to determine the exact cause of death. In a complete file, the magazine Science & Vie historical returns of 10 crimes solved by science, 10 cases that we decided to present here. Take your magnifying glass and small chemical kit, it starts.
1. Charles XII of Sweden:
Charles XII was a young Swedish king who spent most of his time in the war against a coalition of many neighboring countries decided to take advantage of his inexperience to put it upside down and get some land. During a siege, while visiting a trench, he gets a shot in the head and collapses. Even today we do not really know what happened, but ballistics and several exhumations and analysis of the body allowed to say what had not happened: view its trajectory, it is impossible that the ball comes Danish camp, far far away, but to his own camp, although this is the official version. Today, a team calls for a new exhumation of the mummified corpse to find microscopic fragments of the projectile in the skull of the deceased king, which would learn more about the origin of the fire and the identity of the shooter. Take that JFK.
2. Mad Bomber:
The Mad Bomber is a man who for 17 years has put thirty bombs in New York, never kill anyone but injuring several and installing a climate of fear among New Yorkers. Faced with the impasse was the police, and as newspaper editors continued to receive anonymous letters Bomber, the prefect of police decides to leave the beaten path. The request of the Police Assistance Dr. James Brussel, a psychiatrist and criminologist. It will draw up an ultra-precise terrorist with different indices portrait, it will even predict how the man would be dressed in his arrest, which finally took place in 1957. For the first time, we had to stop a man through profiling. Dr. Brussel> Doctor House.
3. Jack the Ripper:
In 1888, a man killing prostitutes found in the slums of London. This man does not hesitate to taunt police by sending several letters in which he calls himself “Jack the Ripper”. Unfortunately at the time, the methods of scientific investigations are in their infancy or non-existent and the ugly jojo will never be caught. It was not until many years later that more tests will be done on paper letters or DNA behind the stamps. Paper corresponds to that used by a painter Walter Sickert Richard , the DNA behind the stamps would hand of a woman. Perhaps that of Mary Pearcey , a midwife performed after the slain her husband’s mistress. Lacks more than exhumation of 2 suspects to confirm everything, but we are still waiting. At every time, Jack is still running.
4. Charnel Herxheim:
1996 to Herxeim, Germany. An archaeological dig is open before allowing the construction of an industrial area. A team of archaeologists discovered the remains of what looks suspiciously like a huge mass grave. It would be a tribe called the banded whose village was Herxeim accommodate a hundred members. Yet an estimated one thousand individuals is buried here, and scattered disarticulated skeletons. We first think of a place of worship for the cemetery banded region but the violence experienced by bone rejects this hypothesis. A careful study of bones and teeth shows the existence of scratches, cooking and traces of human mastication, suggesting a cannibalistic ritual. Finally, the analysis of strondium in teeth has allowed researchers to determine the precise geographical origin of the victims: a third of them come from a mountain tribe of the Vosges which would become the prey of the LPC. A source of inspiration for the second season “of Ghosts”?
Sometimes science gets tangled a little brushes, and Napoleon knows something. Officially, he died of stomach cancer at St. Helena May 5, 1821 and everyone was happy. It did not count on that damn science. In 1961, an analysis of a lock of hair detects this abnormally high arsenic. More about a possible poisoning (and reasons) will flourish for many years, until science comes again contradict this version. With a particle accelerator, the hair is analyzed one by one and found that arsenic is distributed abnormally not coincident with any of poisoning but rather by external contamination (posthumous) hair. We therefore expect the next evidence of poisoning, which is a little wait. “Yasser Arafat likes this.”
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