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A fictional account of a boy observing the finding and removing of a dead body

Evans Optograms and Fiction: Shuttered, tenantless, unweeded garden. Whole place gone to hell. They love reading about it.

Body on the Moor

On the strength of circumstantial evidence, two brothers named Karl and Pieter Kip are promptly arrested and imprisoned for the crime. An acquaintance of the victim asks the photographer for an enlargement of the head photo as a memento of his dead friend.

Upon seeing the enlarged photo of his slain father, the young Nat Gibson is seized with grief and bends over to kiss it—and suddenly discerns two small points of light in the eyes of the photo.

He examines these with a strong magnifying glass and discovers therein the faces of the real murderers: The real culprits are now arrested and condemned; the Kip brothers are vindicated; and the novel concludes with Justice served and the status quo happily reestablished. In his final chapter, Verne always the pedagogue explains to the reader the "scientific" basis for this pivotal discovery: For some time now it has been known—as a result of various interesting ophthamological experiments done by certain ingenious scientists, authoritative observers that they are—that the image of exterior objects imprinted upon the retina of the eye are conserved there indefinitely.

The organ of vision contains a particular substance, retinal purple, on which is imprinted in their exact form these images.

They have even been perfectly reconstituted when the eye, after death, is removed and soaked in an alum bath. The following is a brief summary of them by the noted biochemist George Wald winner of the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1967 in his article called "Eye and Camera": In 1876 Franz Boll of the University of Rome discovered in the rods of the frog retina a brilliant red pigment.

This bleached in the light and was resynthesized in the dark, and so fulfilled the elementary requirements of a visual pigment. He called this substance visual red; later it was renamed visual purple or rhodopsin. This pigment marks the point of attack by light on the rods: He set about devising methods for carrying out such a process, and succeeded after many discouraging failures.

He called the process optography and its products optograms. An albino rabbit was fastened with its head facing a barred window. From this position the rabbit could see only a gray and clouded sky. Then the animal was exposed for three minutes to the light. It was immediately decapitated, the eye removed and cut open along the equator, and the rear half of the eyeball containing the retina laid in a solution of alum for fixation.

Undoubtedly, the rapid technological advances made in and the growing popularity of photography throughout this period also served to highlight these discoveries and to introduce them into public awareness.

  • He bought return tickets, which the police think was a curious decision;
  • Originally published in volume;
  • Was it more likely then that the man came into Ealing from somewhere else?
  • Look at it this way, Colonel;
  • Note any obstacles that may have blocked the victim's escape and whether they were naturally occurring, or possible purposely placed;
  • A coroner may contract with a pathologist for the performance of autopsies.

It also came to be believed as a logical extension of this hypothesis that if death were to occur at a moment when the pupils of the eyes were hugely dilated—e. One historian, in describing these events, notes: But no images were found. Stewart-Gordon 121 And another adds: The comparatively new science of forensic photography was called upon, and scene-of-crime photographs were admitted in evidence.

There was a theory that was to last well into the first quarter of the twentieth century that in cases of violent death the last images were fixed permanently to the retina of the eye. A photograph taken when the eye had been drawn a little way out of the socket could thus, it was believed, identify the killer. It was nonsense, of course, but it was a superstition that reached right into our own century.

Murderers, in their turn, sometimes destroyed the eyes of their victims for fear that their image might be recorded therein.

  • But in the cold azure blue of their pure depths he could find nothing;
  • But the fact that her eyes were still open gave her family hope;
  • This image shows an example of decompositional changes and "purging;
  • For victims who have survived and been removed for treatment, documenation may include:

The case involving the murder of a certain Constable P. Gutteridge in England in 1927 was one of many such instances. As described by Richard Harrison in his book Scotland Yard: In the early hours of September 27, 1927, occurred a crime that shocked England with its brutality. In the very act of doing his duty Constable P. Gutteridge of the Essex constabulary was shot down. He was found by the roadside with four bullet wounds in his head, each fired from a distance of about ten inches.

A shot had been fired through each eye, and it was believed by some at the time that the murderer had done this out of superstition. The remaining wife, a conspirator in the crime, was given three years in prison because she had "sewn the head-cape which was to prevent the victim from seeing her assassin and conserving his image on the retina of her eyes.

Finally, it would seem that this belief—at least in some sectors of the population—continues to persist even today. Police often found themselves powerless to intervene. Few refugee-immigrants dared to report crimes, much less identify those responsible. Reprisals, even against family members, could be brutal. In one instance, the wife of a man who had crossed rival gangsters was stabbed to death. Then, in keeping with an ancient Russian custom, the killer gouged out her eyes in the belief that his image would be recorded in them.

Adams 34-5 Or consider the February 22, 1993 television broadcast of the NBC Today show, where an American author is being interviewed about his newly-published book on a notorious Russian serial killer: When the Soviet Union fell, one of the most frightening stories to emerge was that of Andrei Chikatilo, the most savage serial killer in history.

In all, Chikatilo murdered, mutilated, and cannibalized more than 50 women and children in a dozen years in and around the town of Rostov. Issa Kostoev, a special investigator, spent five years stalking Chikatilo, finally helping to bring him into custody in November of 1990 and gaining a full and gruesome confession nine days later when Chikatilo admitted to at least 52 murders—there were probably more.

The murders, the manhunt, and confession are all detailed in Hunting the Devil by Richard Lourie. He would gouge out the eyes of his victims. He hated eyes and genitals. That was part of his a fictional account of a boy observing the finding and removing of a dead body.

Jules Verne was neither the first or last writer to use or misuse this piece of "scientific" data in his fiction. But he was one of the first6 to incorporate it realistically—that is to say, without unduly spiritualizing it with metaphysics, twisting it to serve an ideological message, or extrapolating it into futuristic high-tech brain-scans.

En route, he befriends a young English naval lieutenant named Henry Clifton who has recently had a brief affair with a married woman whose description seems strangely similar to that of Claire Lenoir.

Dr Bonhomet and Henry Clifton part company; the former to spend a few weeks visiting the Lenoirs, while the latter ships out to the South Seas to cure himself of his ill-fated love. I took up a newspaper that lay on the table—a local paper, dirty, torn, dated I know not how long ago. As I turned over the pages I saw a short article, inserted between a case of intrusion on the part of the Clergy and some recent recipe, which ran: It is a photograph of pavements, stalls, gutters, of vague figures, among which one almost always distinguishes that of the man who has slaughtered them; this endures until their decomposition.

As one sees, our ignorance in this matter ought to be lessened by so curious a discovery. One year later, Bonhomet and the widow Claire Lenoir meet. She is now on her deathbed, driven there by guilt and by persistent nightmares about her deceased husband who is standing in an exotic land, dressed as a bloodthirsty savage, and awaiting the arrival of his fated victim.

The widow Lenoir then expires. Noticing a blurry image remaining in her eyes, Bonhomet examines them with the aid of his ophthalmoscope and discovers therein a horrific sight: In examining the eyes of the dead woman, I saw, distinctly, at first detach itself, as a frame, the stripe of violet paper that encircled the top of the wall.

And, in this frame, reverberated in this fashion, I perceived a picture which no language, dead or alive. I saw the skies, the far-off floods, a great rock, the night and the stars!

Forensic Scene Investigation

And upright, on the rock, larger in height than the living, a man, like one of the natives of the Dangerous Sea, stood. Was he a man, this ghost?

How Forensic Scientists Once Tried to “See” a Dead Person’s Last Sight

He lifted with one hand, towards the abyss, a bloody head, with dripping hair. With such a howl as I have never heard, but the horror of which I divined in the ignivomous distention of the hugely opened mouth, he seemed to devote himself to the destructiveness of shadow and space.

In his other hand that hung, he held a stone cutlass, disgusting and red. Around him, the horizon seemed to me endless—the solitude for ever accursed! Stumbling, arms extended, shivering like a child, I recoiled.

My reason fled from me: I was no more than a living chaos of anguish, a human rag, a brain as withered as chalk, pulverized under the immense menace! And Science, the old queen-sovereign with clear eyes, with perhaps too disinterested a logic, with her infamous embrace, sneered in my ear that she was not, she also, more than a lure of the Unknown that spies on us and waits for us—inexorable, implacable! It foreshadows and sets the stage for the second witnessed by Bonhomet which is spiritualistic and heavy with metaphysical implications.

Villiers, an avowed anti-science idealist and firm believer in the supernatural, has prepared and sprung a trap on his pompous anti-hero Bonhomet. The fictional setting is India during the 1880s. One of them, Hummil, complains of sleepless nights and bad dreams. The following week, he is found dead in his bed with a look of horror frozen upon his face. Doctor Spurstow examines the dead man and, noticing gray blurs in the pupils of his eyes, decides to photograph them for later study.

Although the cause of his death remains uncertain, Hummil is buried. After the burial, his friends continue to wonder about how he died: After breakfast, they smoked a pipe in silence to the memory of the dead.

I know what killed Hummil. After a few minutes there was the sound of something being hammered to pieces, and he emerged, very white indeed. There was nothing there. The hot wind whistled without, and the dry trees sobbed. Presently the daily train, winking brass, burnished steel, and spouting steam, pulled up panting in the intense glare. It is not pleasant to face railway journeys at mid-day in June.

Sprustow gathered up his hat and whip, and, turning in the doorway, said— "There may be Heaven; there must be Hell. Meantime, there is our life here.