CSI: History

1 comment November 16th, 2008at 07:57pm Posted by Eli

Sometimes, a grassy knoll is just a grassy knoll:

A team of experts assembled by the Discovery Channel has recreated the assassination of John Fitzgerald Kennedy. Using modern blood spatter analysis, new artificial human body surrogates, and 3-D computer simulations, the team determined that the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository was the most likely origin of the shot that killed the 35th president of the United States.

(…)

A mock-up of the Dallas, Texas crime scene was set up, including the depository, the “grassy knoll,” and other nearby landmarks. Artificial surrogates of Kennedy were placed in a car. Sharpshooters then shot the surrogates from the model depository, the grassy knoll, and four other plausible locations.

Schliebe, along with Tom Bevel, an independent expert forensic investigator, were brought in to examine the simulated crime scene. Both scientists had no idea what the experiment was for or that it was a reenactment of the JFK assassination.

The two experts found a simulated gunshot would to the head that closely matched the wound Kennedy suffered. Most of the simulated body material had spattered forward into the car, consistent with a shot that entered the back of the head and exited toward the front. There was some back-spatter — material that flew back in the opposite direction of the bullet’s trajectory — but not much.

The general lack of back spatter and the preponderance of spatter in another direction are two of the clues, among others, that the investigators used to pinpoint the origin of the shots.

“After Tom and I looked at the scene, we pointed up and back away from the vehicle,” said Schliebe. “Apparently that lined up perfectly with where the sharpshooter had hit the model head.”

(…)

The team used some of the most advanced artificial human heads in the world for the ballistic tests. Made from a proprietary mixture by Australia-based Adelaide T&E Systems, the heads have three different materials which simulate the brain, skull and external soft tissue (skin) — that together respond to the trauma the same way a human head would.

The simulated brain material was made from a pig-skin-derived gelatin, dyed green. The skull surrogate is made from a special vinyl ester resin filled with calcium and proprietary fibers. The artificial skin uses a polyurethane and plasticizers to mimic human skin’s physical properties. The head was even custom-fitted, based on Kennedy’s hat size.

(…)

“We might never know if Oswald pulled the trigger, but when you look at the wind pattern, the spread of the debris, the angles and distances involved, it’s consistent with a shot from the sixth floor depository,” said Martin.

…Or maybe that’s just what they want us to think.

Entry Filed under: Coolness,Science

1 Comment

  • 1. Glenn  |  November 16th, 2008 at 8:32 pm

    “…Or maybe that’s just what they want us to think.”

    Right. Who footed the bill? Huh? Huh?


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