THE WASHING AWAY    OF WRONGS
Also by M Clement Hall                Non-FictionThe Locomotor System—Functional AnatomyThe Locomotor System—Functional Hi...
THE WASHING AWAY OF      WRONGS                   by          Song Ci (1186-1249)      Translated from the Chinese by     ...
Published 2010 by LuluThe Washing Away of Wrongs ISBN 978-0-557-41927-2            4
THE HSI YUAN LU                        or          THE WASHING AWAY OF WRONGS           INSTRUCTIONS TO CORONERS          ...
I, the writer of this Preface, finding that both the summary andsupplement of Book V in the original work were comprised i...
Translator’s PrefaceThe office and functions of coroner, in the modern sense of theterm, were known to the Chinese many ce...
Editor’s PrefaceThis ancient book is well known, but to a very small group ofpeople. The author seems to have been a combi...
TABLE OF CONTENTS                     BOOK ONEChapter 1.    General remarks on inquests.Chapter 2.    General remarks on w...
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BOOK ONE                        CHAPTER ONE                  General Remarks on InquestsThere is nothing more important th...
hasten to the spot with all speed, that the guilty parties mayhave no time to concoct schemes for evading the consequences...
mischief-makers and bad characters will seize the opportunity,and the end of it all will be that your verdict will be disc...
children, thereby acting up to the letter of their duty inproducing some one. Also that the accused conceal noimportant wi...
If, therefore, any Coroner thus appointed, losing sight of theimportance of human life, allow the least shadow of a wrong ...
and colour, would be met, if death resulted from blows, by thequestion: "Had the accused a similar weapon in each hand, an...
on its back or its belly, and to note the severity of the wounds.These must not be hastily entered as wounds received bykn...
CHAPTER TWO           General Remarks on Examining Wounds                   And Fixing the Death-limitMurders are rarely t...
horseback or in a sedan, with a few attendants only, andproceed to examination, noting the wounds and fixing a death-limit...
carelessness about the limit of life and death. In a word, theexamination of a body should be performed speedily andwithou...
CHAPTER THREE                  Form for Entering WoundsSixteen vital spots are enumerated on the front of the body, andsix...
tattooing will reappear. Note if the ears have been bitten,grasped by the hand, cut or wounded; if the nostrils or any par...
Mark on what places there are scars of tattooing, cauterization,or boils, and note down whether recent or old, and whether...
In examining wounds, the finger must be used to pressdown any livid or red spot. If it is a wound it will be hard, andon r...
Begin by stripping off all the clothes etc., down to theshoes and stockings, takinga note of each as well as anything else...
CHAPTER FIVE                Washing and Preparing the BodyWhen the body has been removed to a convenient spot, firstinspec...
over it. At a distance of two or three feet from the hole oneither side, light fires as before. When you think the heat ha...
CHAPTER SIX                First Examination of the BodyAt a first examination, if it is a case where death resulted fromb...
etc.; cover it over with a door and pile up earth on the top.Then seal all round with the seal and take a note of the numb...
CHAPTER SEVEN        Decomposition Different at Different SeasonsIn the spring months, when a body is two or three days ol...
be guided by the seasons, not by the months.        In extremely hot weather, decomposition begins afterone day, the body ...
CHAPTER EIGHT         To Distinguish Real and Counterfeit WoundsIn examining a body which is not yet decomposed, payattent...
there is a red scorched mark, the flesh inside is yellow, andalthough it swells, it does not get hard.         All wounds ...
CHAPTER NINE            De Corporibus Feminarum InspiciendisSi quaestio de morte virginis habeatur, primum locum ubijaceba...
sequetur. Si post partum mortuus est, corpus rubidum, placentaalba. Si post partum ob rein quamdam nefariam vel manu velpe...
CHAPTER TEN                         Dried-up CorpsesFirst lay down charcoal ash, about the length and breadth of thebody i...
CHAPTER ELEVEN              Examination of a Decomposed BodyThe position of a body having been noted, dash away themaggots...
CHAPTER TWELVE                      Examination of BonesMan has three hundred and sixty-five bones, corresponding tothe nu...
twine or a strip of bamboo and tie a paper mark to each bonefor convenience sake at future examinations, and to preventcon...
CHAPTER THIRTEEN            Examination of Bones Long after DeathFor the examination of bones the day should be clear andb...
Where bones have passed several times through theprocess of examination they become quite white and exactlylike uninjured ...
Part Two      To Ascertain Whether the Wounds Were Inflicted                       Before or after DeathWounds inflicted o...
CHAPTER FIFTEEN                          Dropping BloodThe bones of parents may be identified by their children in thefoll...
in the latter case where there is no water, if the intervalbetween dropping the two bloods into the basin is too long, the...
CHAPTER SIXTEEN                      Examination of GroundThere are some atrocious villains who, when they havemurdered an...
on this point, proceed in person to the place and bid yourassistants go round about searching for any spots where thegrass...
TABLE OF CONTENTS       BOOK TWOChapter 1.    Death from blows.Chapter 2.    Wounds inflicted by the hand,              fo...
CHAPTER ONE.                 Death from Blows in a FightWhere death has resulted from blows in a fight, the mouth andeyes ...
CHAPTER TWO  Wounds Inflicted by the Hand and Foot, or by WeaponsWhere there is blood there is a wound, and all such as ar...
halo. [Wounds from knocking against things have no halo;those from blows have.]        Wounds from a stick or bludgeon are...
Examine carefully the length, breadth, shape, and sizeof all wounds inflicted by the hand, foot, or any weapon; also,if th...
CHAPTER THREE   Wounds from Wooden and Metal Weapons, BrickbatsLong-shaped, oblique wounds on the bone may be set down tow...
CHAPTER FOUR                        Death from KicksKicks in the pudenda which cause death may be examined ifthe corpse is...
CHAPTER FIVE                      Wounds from KnivesIn cases of death from knives, etc., before you arrive at theplace of ...
death has resulted from a wound with a sharp weapon, theclothes of deceased must be examined to see if there is a cut,and ...
Where a man strikes with the hand he is not dailyaccustomed to use, the blow will fall too high or too low, andwill not be...
Part Two                 To Distinguish Knife Wounds                 Given Before and after DeathIn examining knife-wounds...
In case of mutilation of limbs, when you have measuredhow far each is from the body and taken notes accordingly, putall th...
CHAPTER SIX                       Suicide with KnivesIn cases of inquests on suicides, begin by asking your originalinform...
wound will be of a severer character than the end. [Pain willcause the suicide to relax his grip.]Where the suicide has cu...
wound will curl inwards, but not if the wound was inflictedafter death.        A finger bitten off by oneself will general...
CHAPTER SEVEN                    Suicide by StrangulationAt an inquest on a suicide by strangulation, begin by askingwhere...
not a circle, return a verdict of suicide from strangulation, thecharacteristics being distinct from those of murder.     ...
hanging at an acute angle with the ground [feet touching, ofcourse], or lying on the ground, the scar will be oblique, not...
on either side of the knot a subcutaneous appearance of bloodrising obliquely upwards and continuous, not extending in ast...
beneath the neck; if the latter, the scar will be straight up frombeneath the throat, reaching from behind one ear to the ...
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  1. 1. THE WASHING AWAY OF WRONGS
  2. 2. Also by M Clement Hall Non-FictionThe Locomotor System—Functional AnatomyThe Locomotor System—Functional Histology Architecture of Bone Luschka’s Joint Lessons in Histology Palestine—The Price of Freedom IME—The Word Book Independent Medical Examinations The Fibromyalgia Controversy Intifada Memoir Viet Nam 1963 Viet Nam 1964-1966 Vale Viet Nam Fiction Trauma Surgeon The Spare Parts Box Martin’s Absolution Martin in Byzantium Diamonds in West Africa Farmer George The George Inn 2
  3. 3. THE WASHING AWAY OF WRONGS by Song Ci (1186-1249) Translated from the Chinese by Herbert A. Giles (1845-1935)Professor of Chinese, Cambridge University Edited by M Clement Hall 3
  4. 4. Published 2010 by LuluThe Washing Away of Wrongs ISBN 978-0-557-41927-2 4
  5. 5. THE HSI YUAN LU or THE WASHING AWAY OF WRONGS INSTRUCTIONS TO CORONERS Original PrefaceThe Hsi Yüan Lu dates from the reign Shun Yu [A.D 1241-1253] of the after Sung dynasty, and was compiled by aCommissioner of Justice named Sung Tzu from the 1 Yü Chiby Ho Ning, Duke of Lu under the Chin dynasty and his sonMeng, aide-de-camp to the Heir Apparent under the first Sungdynasty; also from the Nei Shu Lu by an unknown author of theSung dynasty, and from various other books. Being subjectedfor many generations to practical tests by the officers of theBoard of Punishments, it became daily more perfect and moreexact.The work now published by the Board was compiled from thePing Yüan Lu by an unknown author of the after Sung dynasty,from the Wu Yüan Lu by Wang Yü of the Yüan dynasty, andthe Hsi Yüan Lu Chien Shih by Wang Ken-tang of the Mingdynasty, and is strictly adhered to by all engaged in theinvestigation of criminal cases. Yet although in general useamong officials, good editions are rarely to be met with inbooksellers shops. A collection of corroborative cases havelately been supplied by Wang Yu-huai of Wu-lin, an additionalcommentary by Sub-Prefect Yüan Chi-hsin of Kueichi, andcoloured punctuation by Prefect Chang Hsi-fan of Yüan-ho,making a thoroughly intelligible and complete work. As,however, the blocks are unfortunately kept in Kuangsi, copiesare seldom seen in the South (Kuangtung); wherefore, ChungHsiao-ting, a secretary of the Privy Council, from Chiang-tu,desirous of rendering it widely known, has, after carefulrevision, brought out a new edition. 5
  6. 6. I, the writer of this Preface, finding that both the summary andsupplement of Book V in the original work were comprised inthe above-mentioned corroborative cases and additionalsupplement; also, that the appendices Pao Chien Pien and ShihHsiang Pi Lu were a lot of doggerel rhymes in a vulgar styleand of no practical value for reference, had just expunged themone and all, when I happened to come across, on the table ofHsü Shih-hua of Hai-chow, an Imperial Professor, a workentitled Tso Li Yao Yen or "Important Counsels to GovernmentOfficers," by a Fukien magistrate Yeh Yü-ping, commentedupon and explained by Chu Hsing-chai of Yün-chien, a headCensor, to which was added a series of twelve additionalarticles from his own "limited experience." The language beingterse and perspicuous, easy to understand and easy to act up to,and of special value to public servants, I substituted it for whatI had just expunged, as an appendix to the Hsi Yüan Lu: that allofficials purchasing copies might not only derive benefit asregards the investigation of cases, but, further, have theirattention called to the fundamental principle of physical andmoral government. Thus, an honourable discharge of theirduties manifesting itself among officials and a system of virtueand decorous behaviour growing up among the people, thedead would be without wrongs and the living in the enjoymentof happiness, a consummation unceasingly hoped for by Yehand Chu, and devoutedly wished by Judge Sung!Done at Huai-pei, in the 9th moon of the 23rd year of the reignTao Kuang (1843),by Tung Lien, a Sub-Prefect of the Salt Gabelle. 6
  7. 7. Translator’s PrefaceThe office and functions of coroner, in the modern sense of theterm, were known to the Chinese many centuries before"Crowners Quest Law" was quoted in Hamlet.It was while stationed at Ningpo, in 1873, that I first heard ofthe Hsi-yüan-lu. I found that a copy of this work, heretranslated, was always carried to the scene of an inquest by thehigh territorial official on whom the duties of coronerdevolved. I also found that inquests were held on the living,when dangerously wounded, as well as on the dead. In thelatter case, to move or disturb in any way a corpse, before thecoroner had seen and examined it, would lead to the mostserious consequences for such reckless interference.I became sufficiently interested in this phase of Chinesecivilization to proceed to a careful study of the text of the Hsi-yüan-lu, and thence to translation, for which I was repaid bythe possession of some acquaintance with the system ofmedical jurisprudence in ancient China.Herbert A. GilesCambridge, 1923 7
  8. 8. Editor’s PrefaceThis ancient book is well known, but to a very small group ofpeople. The author seems to have been a combination oftoday’s European Examining Magistrate, and the AmericanMedical Examiner.Dr Giles translates his words to “Coroner” which to anEnglishman of his generation may have seemed appropriate,and certainly the early coroner was the King’s man whosefunction it was to investigate the untoward incidents of hisShire.Song Ci had more skills than a mere investigator and hisobservations one feels are based on a great deal of experience.His remedies probably were also based on experience, thoughhe had more confidence in them than most doctors would havetoday, either in his or in their own.My purpose in preparing the book for publication, is to showhow very old is “Forensics” as a science, and to give ourselvesreason to look back and to consider the powers built onobservation and experience.I have pleasure in making Song Ci’s book available to a widerreadership than academia.MCHGuelph, Canada2010 8
  9. 9. TABLE OF CONTENTS BOOK ONEChapter 1. General remarks on inquests.Chapter 2. General remarks on wounds and the death limit.Chapter 3. (1) Printed form for wounds. (2) Human skeleton.Chapter 4. (1) Examination of the corpse before burial. (2) Examination of the corpse after burial.Chapter 5. Preparing corpse for examination.Chapter 6. (1) The first inquest. (2) Further inquest.Chapter 7. Decomposition of body at different seasons.Chapter 8. Real and counterfeit wounds.Chapter 9. Examination of female corpses.Chapter 10. Dried up corpses.Chapter 11. Examination of decomposed corpses.Chapter 12. Human bones.Chapter 13. (1) Examination of bones. (2) Whether injured before or after death.Chapter 14. On the bones and veins of the human body.Chapter 15. The blood-dropping test (for kindred).Chapter 16. Examination of ground. 9
  10. 10. 10
  11. 11. BOOK ONE CHAPTER ONE General Remarks on InquestsThere is nothing more important than human life; there is nopunishment greater than death. A murderer gives life for life:the law shows no mercy. But to obviate any regrets whichmight be occasioned by a wrong infliction of such punishment,the validity of a confession (in order to prevent rich criminalsfrom procuring substitutes) and the sentence passed are madeto depend on a satisfactory examination of the wounds. If theseare of a bona-fide nature and the confession of the accusedtallies therewith, then life may be given for life, that those whoknow the laws may fear them, that crime may become lessfrequent among the people, and due weight be attached to thesanctity of human existence. If an inquest is not properlyconducted, the wrong of the murdered man is not redressed,new wrongs are raised up amongst the living, other livessacrificed, and both sides roused to vengeance of which noman can foresee the end. In important cases, where death has not already ensued,all will depend on the energy of the coroner in proceedinginstantly to personal examination of the victim noting down thewounds, their position and severity, and fixing the death-limit,(period of responsibility) in the hope that medical skill mayeffect a cure; so that in case of re-examination after death witha view to obtain a [different] verdict, the unpleasantness ofdissection may be avoided. Where death has already resulted from the woundsthere is still greater need for promptitude ere decompositionsets in, and while as yet it is easy to note the severity and sizeof each wound. For while you are delaying the body isbeginning to decompose though to guard against the inflictionof false, or the tampering with real wounds is a principle of thehighest importance. No, the coroner and his assistants should 11
  12. 12. hasten to the spot with all speed, that the guilty parties mayhave no time to concoct schemes for evading the consequencesof their crime. If death has just taken place, first examine the top of thehead, and the back, the ears, the nostrils, the throat, etc., and allplaces where anything might be inserted, on the chance offinding a sharp-pointed instrument of some kind or other. Ifnothing is found, proceed to examine the body in the regularway. Should it be a case where examination of the bones isnecessary, first carefully interrogate the relatives of thedeceased, neighbours, and the accused, bidding them stateclearly who struck whom with what weapon, and in what partof the body, the deposition of each being taken down inwriting. Then, with your assistants, petitioner, and accused,proceed to the spot where the body lies, and examine it as thelaw directs. Mark what wounds are on vital spots, whether onthe trunk or extremities, whether skin or flesh wounds, whetherpenetrating to the bone, their colour, size and shape; whetherinflicted by the hand or foot, or by some weapon; their severityand appearance, whether recent or old. All this must becarefully elucidated and the prescribed form filled up with yourown hand, not by the assistants. Do not, deterred by the smellof the corpse, sit at a distance, your view intercepted by thesmoke of fumigation, letting the assistants call out the woundsand enter them on the form, perhaps garbling what is ofimportance and giving prominence to what is not, adding orsubtracting as they see fit. Moreover, deaths from self-strangulation, throat-cutting, taking poison, burning, drowning,and the like, produce very different results, and only the mostminute investigation of every little detail will ensure acomplete and reliable verdict. If this be neglected, theassistants will intrigue and make light of the whole affair; theculprit will devise some means for escaping punishment, therelatives of the deceased will appeal against your decision, 12
  13. 13. mischief-makers and bad characters will seize the opportunity,and the end of it all will be that your verdict will be discredited,another Coroner deputed, and dissection of the corpse be amatter of necessity, an outrage on the dead, an inconvenienceto the living. These are the evils attendant on a dilatory orperfunctory discharge of your duties. In all cases where the circumstances are unusuallysuspicious, extra care must be taken to make the fullestinquiries. For instance, where death has taken place within thedeath-limit from wounds the cicatrices of which are notdistinct, if there be any appearance of illness, it should beasked whether deceased was in the habit of employing doctors,quacks, or the like. Many die from disease, but you are notlikely to find this out if you do not ask. It will not, however, doto trust to the testimony of a single person, or to be anythingbut cautious in employing others to make inquiries lest youdefeat your own purpose. In all cases of death where the relatives of the deceased,not having been absent, have not petitioned till more than ayear has elapsed, or where it is not the relatives who filepetition but some outsider, or where the more important factsare relegated from the body of the petition to the accompanyingstatement of circumstances in detail; in all such instances nohasty measures should be taken. In all cases where requests are preferred, even by nearrelatives, that examination may be dispensed with; it will benecessary to satisfy yourself that there actually is a corpse (inorder to prevent false accusations with the object of extortingmoney, followed up, when the money has been paid, bypetitions for "no examination") at the place mentioned beforegranting the petition. Care must be taken that neither your own assistants, norany person mixed up in the case, give notice beforehand to thefour next-door neighbours and assist them in absconding;arresting only more distant neighbours, old men, women and 13
  14. 14. children, thereby acting up to the letter of their duty inproducing some one. Also that the accused conceal noimportant witness or bona-fide evidence for his own ends, andthat he produce no witnesses, either friends, dependants, ortenants and the like, whose evidence at the inquest is false. Any delay in securing the weapon which caused deathwill be taken advantage of by the accuseds family forconcealing the same. Your case would be thus renderedincomplete, and disastrous consequences would ensue. Theweapon should be secured at once for future comparison withthe wounds as to length and breadth, in order to complete thecase. At all inquests the first thing to be done is to cause thebody to be identified by relatives and neighbours. If, however,it is in too advanced a stage of decomposition, they must beexamined as to the colour and shape of the clothes deceasedhad on, if there were any marks on them, and also what scars ormarks he might have had on his body. Their answers must betaken down in writing and signed before the examinationbegins. The report on an inquest should show where and inwhat position the body was found, as also each article ofclothing it had on; whether there were any tattoo marks, tracesof acupuncture or cauterization; whether any limbs were foundbroken before death; whether hump-backed, having one legshorter than the other, or bald; the colour of any marks on thebody; the presence of tumours, swelled legs, and such likecomplaints. All these should be carefully noted in case of afurther examination being held, or, where deceaseds name wasunknown, the body being claimed hereafter by relatives, inwhich case their statements could be put to the test. Whencriminals die in prison, those points must be attended to withmore than usual minuteness. The object of re-examinations is not to verify aprevious verdict, but to guard against any injustice being done. 14
  15. 15. If, therefore, any Coroner thus appointed, losing sight of theimportance of human life, allow the least shadow of a wrong toremain unredressed, either from fear of offending the officerwho presided at the previous examination, or fromunwillingness to release the accused who may happen to bewealthy, from anxiety to suit the report to the wishes ofsuperior officers, or from an endeavour to make the presentresemble past cases, and so get quit of his duty as soon aspossible, his crime will be greater in degree than that of theCoroner who held the first inquest. Rather let every Coronerdeputed proceed with caution and justice to make the mostcareful investigation possible; for the object in examining acorpse is to arrive at the unvarnished truth, and where it is acase of a wounded man whose life is trembling in the balance,the slightest private bias should not be thrown into the scale. In cases of severe wounds on vital spots where deathwas instantaneous or resulted within three days, and wherepetitioner and witnesses can swear to the weapon and the partstruck, it will only be necessary to examine such wound, thussparing the dead all superfluous handling, and preventinginjustice being done to the living. For men, in their passagefrom youth to manhood, either by falling down and strikingagainst something, or being thumped and rubbed for pains,from the accidental breaking of a boil, carrying heavy weights,or knocking against hard things, cause their blood to bearrested in its course. Where the wounds are slight and ofrecent date, the bone will be of a red colour, which will passaway in time. Where the wounds are old and severe, the bonewill be dark blue in colour, and will remain so to the last. Itfrequently happens that petitioner and witnesses mention aparticular blow behind the ear as the cause of death, whereason examination the body is found to be covered with wounds,and the higher authorities cancel the inquest as inaccurate. Anofficer who, in adding circumstances to make his report tally,were to mention wounds on both sides of exactly the same size 15
  16. 16. and colour, would be met, if death resulted from blows, by thequestion: "Had the accused a similar weapon in each hand, andwas there no difference in the force of each blow dealt ? "Sometimes after a drunken brawl at night it will be confidentlyasserted that such a man struck in such a part. Now when thecombatants themselves do not know where or remember howmany blows each struck, is it likely that witnesses could?Generally speaking, where several people are engaged in amelee, in adjudging punishment you should look to the originof the fray; in examining wounds, the important point is toascertain their exact positions. Do not, however, adhere tooclosely to rules, as thereby injustice may be done; neither actwith indecision or you will assuredly commit some blunder. Where several persons strike blows it is difficult todetermine which was the fatal blow. If on the body of thedeceased there are two mortal wounds, both inflicted by thesame man, he alone is responsible. If they were inflicted bydifferent persons, one only pays the penalty of death, the mostsevere being held to be the mortal wound. Where there are several wounds, fix on one as themortal wound. It is common for wounds to be set down by the accusedas self-inflicted by deceased knocking in various ways againstthings, to the great hindrance of a proper elucidation of factsand settlement of the case. Knocking against things at rest iscalled ko; running up against things in motion is calledchuang. Such wounds would be confined to the front of thebody, the forehead, etc., and being self-inflicted would not besevere; at any rate, not severe enough to cause death.Wounding oneself behind by running backwards againstanything is quite out of the question. Where deceased has beenknocked down and has wounds on the back of his head, back,or ribs, in as much as he may have been violently thrown downby the accused and have died from the effects of the fall, it willbe necessary to observe carefully whether the body was lying 16
  17. 17. on its back or its belly, and to note the severity of the wounds.These must not be hastily entered as wounds received byknocking against things, etc., or a miscarriage of justice will bethe result. 17
  18. 18. CHAPTER TWO General Remarks on Examining Wounds And Fixing the Death-limitMurders are rarely the result of premeditation, but can betraced in the majority of cases, to a brawl. The statute whichtreats of wounding in a brawl attaches great weight to thedeath-limit, which means that the wounded man be handedover to the accused to be taken care of and provided withmedical aid, and that a limit of time be fixed, on the expirationof which punishment be awarded according to circumstances.Now the relatives of a wounded man, unless their ties be of theclosest, generally desire his death that they may extort moneyfrom his slayer; but the accused wishes him to live that hehimself may escape death, and therefore leaves no meansuntried to restore him to health. This institution of the death-limit is a merciful endeavour to save the lives of both. Cases of battery should always be reported by the ti-paoor head man before anyone else, and any neglect on his partshould be punished severely. Where death has ensued, nearrelatives of the deceased, such as father, brother, uncle, sister,wife, or child, who saw the corpse undressed on the day thewounds were inflicted, should be interrogated as to the age ofthe deceased, the month, day, and hour, at which the woundswere received, the weapon used, and the part struck. Theirreplies will give you, for instance, an oblique wound in suchand such a spot, of such and such a length, or thecircumference and diameter of any round wounds there maybe, whether livid or red, swollen or not swollen, whether or notthe skin or bone was broken, and what witnesses there were, allof which must be entered in due form in the accusation. Wheredeath has not ensued, summon and examine the head man, andif the wounds are really grave, do not let the sufferer bebrought up for inspection lest death might result from theexposure of his wounds, but go at once to the place yourself, on 18
  19. 19. horseback or in a sedan, with a few attendants only, andproceed to examination, noting the wounds and fixing a death-limit. Accused should also be instructed to take the woundedman to his own home and see that he is properly treated.Meanwhile the case stands over. On the day death takes place,and formal application is made for an inquest, the evidence,etc., taken at the previous examination should be gone throughand the wounds identified; all mortal wounds being carefullyre-examined if there is the slightest cause for suspicion. Care inthe early stages may be the saving of the lives of many who aremixed up in the case. If it is a trumped-up affair, make it clearthat it is so, to warn people from like attempts in future. If it isbona-fide, take down the evidence and confession at once, toprevent any advances being improperly made towards you. Seethat your assistants, petitioner, accused, and the witnesses areall present, and make them sign the necessary declarations tothat effect. Then, in summing up and awarding punishment, bestill more careful that every point has been brought out clearly,and that there are no doubts in your own mind; for by thesemeans, not only will justice be done to the living and to thedead, but you will prevent the cancelling of your inquest, longmonths and years of delay, and the implication of manypersons. Where the petitioner has failed to report a case [ofwounding] and to apply for the fixing of the death-limit,petitioning only when death has taken place, except in caseswhere it was instantaneous or within three days, in whichinstances the inquest may proceed as usual. It will be necessaryto be very much on ones guard against counterfeit wounds. If,before reporting a case to the proper authorities, theopportunity is seized for carrying the corpse to the door [of theaccuseds house] seizing on his goods and wounding people,this second case must be settled as well as the first and a death-limit fixed according to circumstances. Should a death-limit bepartly in one month and partly in another, you must observewhether the first is a long or a short month: there must be no 19
  20. 20. carelessness about the limit of life and death. In a word, theexamination of a body should be performed speedily andwithout making light of it; the examination of bones should beperformed carefully, and without needlessly breaking them. Ifthe report of an inquest is rejected by the higher authoritiesbecause confused in detail of the circumstances, investigate thecircumstances only; if they complain of discrepancies asregards the wounds, then examine the wounds; but do not takeany unnecessary steps. There are vital spots and mortal wounds. The top of thehead, behind the ear, the throat, the pit of the stomach, etc.,belong to the former class; death soon takes place. Otherordinarily vital spots are the back of the head, the forehead, thechest, etc. Mortal wounds are where the flesh is livid, the skinbroken, there is a deep gash, bones broken, brains coming out,blood flowing, etc. Where a mortal wound is given on a vitalspot of the kind first mentioned, death will result in three days;on an ordinarily vital spot, in ten days. If a slight wound hasbeen given on a vital spot, or a severe wound on a non-vitalspot, though death ensue within the limit, yet othercircumstances should be taken into consideration and allowedto influence your verdict. This applies still more forcibly ifdeath occurs after the death-limit. The death-limit is the most important point of all.Immediately on a case being reported, make a personalexamination of the wounds and fix the limit accordingly. Ifdeath ensues from improper medical treatment, make acalculation of the time, so as to determine whether within orwithout the limit. Also take a note of the time at which thewounds were received, that your case may be clear andcomplete. 20
  21. 21. CHAPTER THREE Form for Entering WoundsSixteen vital spots are enumerated on the front of the body, andsix on the back; thirty-six non-vital spots on the front, andtwenty on the back. These are supposed to be shown in theaccompanying diagrams (two outlines of body with Chinesecharacters). CHAPTER FOUR Examination of the BodyWhere a corpse has to be examined prepare for use plenty ofonions, red pepper, salt, and white prunes, also grains andvinegar, in case the wounds are indistinct or invisible. Takebesides an earthenware basin, with implements for breaking,powdering, etc. Do not be deterred by the smell and above all do not letthe assistants intercept your view of any part of the body, asthis would be a very serious hindrance. Only on the discovery of a mortal wound can you insiston the relatives of deceased and the accused being present atthe proceedings. On no account allow them to come too nearfor fear of damaging the body. Begin to examine from the head downwards. Measurethe length of the hair, noting if any has been pulled out or cutoff. Look under the hair on the top of the head, and betweenthat and the forehead, to see if there is any other cause of death,as a burn or a wound from a sharp-pointed weapon, etc.Examine the forehead and temples with the same view. Thenthe eyebrows, eyelids, and eyes. Note if the eyes are open orclosed; if the latter, open them to see whether the pupils areperfect or not. Examine the cheek-bones to see if there aremarks of a blow from a fist; the cheeks, whether tattooed ornot, or whether such marks may have been obliterated. In thelatter case, cut a slip of bamboo and tap the parts, when the 21
  22. 22. tattooing will reappear. Note if the ears have been bitten,grasped by the hand, cut or wounded; if the nostrils or any partof the nose have been pierced by any sharp instrument; and ifthe lips are opened or closed. Count the teeth, and observe ifthe tongue is protruding. Also examine the jaws. Into the throatinsert a silver needle, and note if it is black when withdrawn.Examine the outside to see if it is swollen, and if there are anywounds which might have produced death. Feel with your handthe windpipe and gullet; examine the shoulders and arm-pits,for a severe wound in the last mentioned parts would causedeath. Examine the arm, wrist, hand, and fingers, down to thequick of the nails. These are not vital spots in themselves, butwere the bones broken, or the quick pierced, and not properlycured, death might result. Examine the chest, breasts, pit of thestomach, belly, ribs, etc., etc. These are nearly all vital spots.Examine the thighs, knees, shin-bones, ankles, instep, toes andtoenails. The same remark applies here which referred above tothe hand and fingers. Examine the back of the head, noting if there are anymarks of bruises on the "pillow-bone " from a fall, etc.Examine the hair, the nape of the neck, and behind the twoears. Examine the arm, elbow, and back of the hand as above.Examine between the shoulders to see if there are any marks ofcauterization, the back generally, ribs, waist, etc. Note if thebody bears marks of corporal punishment, and examine theinside of the knees, and the calves. Any scars on the ankle-bones, if both on the inside and outside, may be set down totorture; if on the outside only to a blow. Examine the heels, thesole of foot, under the toes, and the quick. These are not vitalunder ordinary circumstances. Note the age of the man, and take his height andbreadth across the shoulders; observe also the position of thewounds, and their nature, whether scrapes or bruises. Observeif they are of a dull livid red or black hue; and noting the sizeand extent of each, determine on the immediate cause of death. 22
  23. 23. Mark on what places there are scars of tattooing, cauterization,or boils, and note down whether recent or old, and whether ornot there is any pus. Also, whether there are traces of the itch,sores, or other marks on the body, both natural and artificial.All such should be carefully written down, or marked aswanting. In examining a body or skeleton where the wounds arenot visible, spread grains and sprinkle some vinegar upon thecorpse in the open oil-cloth umbrella and hold it between thesun and the parts you want to observe. The wounds will thenappear. If the day is dark or rainy, use live charcoal [instead ofthe sun]. Suppose there is no result, then spread over the partspounded white prunes with more grains and vinegar, andexamine closely. If the result is still imperfect, then take theflesh only of the white prune, adding red pepper, onions, saltand grains, and mix it up into a cake. Make this very hot over afire, and then, having first interposed a sheet of paper, lay it onthe part. The wound will then appear. Where death has resulted from blows, and the woundshave not been severe enough to break limbs, the flesh willadhere tightly to the bones, and if it cannot be washed awayshould be removed with the finger-nail, when the wounds willbe visible [on the bone]. The human body is naturally red or brown, but afterdeath it changes to a livid blue. Where no wounds are visible,only suspicious appearances, first sprinkle the corpse withwater, then take the heart of an onion, smash it with a blow ofthe hand and lay it on the part, spreading over it a sheet ofpaper dipped in vinegar. Let it stay on a little while, then take itoff and wash with water. The wound will thus appear. If thereare several dark-coloured marks on the body, take some waterand let it fall drop by drop on to them. If they are wounds, theywill be hard and the water will remain without trickling away;if they are not, they will be soft and the water will run off. 23
  24. 24. In examining wounds, the finger must be used to pressdown any livid or red spot. If it is a wound it will be hard, andon raising the finger will be found of the same colour as before.If water is dropped on to it and the drops do not trickle away, itis undoubtedly a real wound. If it is a part which has changedcolour it will turn white when the finger is pressed down on it,and water dropped on to it will not remain. Change of colour iscaused by the blood in the bowels dispersing after death; notbeing able to congeal in any one place, it spreads over thewhole surface. But where the blows were given before death,the blood congeals into a wound there where vitality ceases[i.e. at the spot struck]. Now the blood is dependent for itsmotion on vitality; if vitality stops, the blood stops also, hencethe hardness. There are certain parts such as the eyebrows, thewindpipe and gullet, the ribs, etc., which are not marked asvital, but which may prove so if the wound happen to be verysevere. This is an important point to remember at the time ofexamination. Any slight red marks on the back, thighs, calves,etc., are the result of the corpse lying on its back and the bloodsinking to those parts: they are not connected with the cause ofdeath. Part Two Examination of a Corpse Which Has Not Been BuriedWhether in a room, on the ground, or on a bed, or whether inthe open air, behind or in front of a house, on a hill, in water, orthe grass, you must first measure the exact position of a corpsewith regard to surrounding objects. If in water, how far fromthe nearest hill or bank; also ask on whose ground, and thename of the place. If in a room, note in what part of it and ifthere is anything covering or spread underneath it. Then, andthen only, should the body be removed for examination. 24
  25. 25. Begin by stripping off all the clothes etc., down to theshoes and stockings, takinga note of each as well as anything else about the person. Thenwash the body in warmwater before proceeding to examination. Grains and vinegarmust not be used till thisis done. Part Three Examination after Temporary BurialFirst see the grave, asking on whose land it is and the name ofthe place, and take the size and height of the mound. If thecoffin has been placed temporarily in any ones house, take themeasurements as before. Next observe which way the head points. Supposetowards the east and the feet towards the west, then note howfar each is from any particular spot, and the sides of the body inthe same way. In the presence of all, remove the earth or bricksand observe what is spread underneath, whether the coffin isvarnished or ornamented, and whether the mat, or whatever isunder the corpse, has a border or not. Then remove the body toa convenient spot and proceed to examination. 25
  26. 26. CHAPTER FIVE Washing and Preparing the BodyWhen the body has been removed to a convenient spot, firstinspect it as it is. Then dash water over it. Next wash off everyparticle of dirt with soap, and throw more water over it, thecorpse lying all the time on a door or a mat to keep it clean.This finished, grains and vinegar may be spread on as usual,the clothes of deceased laid over the body and saturated withhot vinegar, the whole being covered over with mats (to keepthe steam in). In a little while, when the body has become soft,remove the coverings, wash off the grains and vinegar andproceed to examine. Do not trust too much to your assistants; ifthey only sprinkle spirit (without the grains) and vinegar thewounds will not appear. Prepare plenty of grains and vinegar, also paper forputting under the body. The best kinds of the latter are t’englien and pai ch’ao. Bamboo paper is spoilt by vinegar and saltand may injure the body. At the beginning of spring and during winter thevinegar and grains should be used very hot; in the middle ofspring and towards the end of autumn they should be ratherless so. In summer and autumn, if the grains and vinegar wereat all hot, this, added to the heat of the weather, might causeinjury to the skin. Late in autumn use them hot, and at adistance of from three to four feet on either side of the bodylight fires to stimulate their action. In very cold weather, when the corpse is frozen hardand no amount of grains and vinegar, however hot, or clothespiled up, however thick, will relax its rigidity, dig a hole thelength and breadth of the body and three feet in depth; lay in ita quantity of fuel and make a roaring fire. Then dash over itvinegar, which will create dense volumes of steam, in themiddle of which place the body with all its dressings right inthe hole, cover it with clothes and pour on more hot vinegar all 26
  27. 27. over it. At a distance of two or three feet from the hole oneither side, light fires as before. When you think the heat hasthoroughly penetrated, take away the fire and remove the bodyfor examination. At the end of winter and beginning of spring it will notbe necessary to make a hole but merely to light fires on eachside. This, however, must be left to the judgment of theCoroner. 27
  28. 28. CHAPTER SIX First Examination of the BodyAt a first examination, if it is a case where death resulted fromblows, it will not do to report the corpse decomposed andtherefore presenting no reliable features; but the scars must becarefully scrutinized and the causes of death ascertained. Iffrom lapse of time decomposition has really taken place, thebody may be reported as unfit to stand the necessary handling. When the examination as to the presence or absence ofwounds is over, leave the corpse on the mats in the exact spotwhere it was examined, cover it up and seal it all round withthe lime seal, taking a note of the number of seals. Then handover charge of the body to the head man of the place, and addhis formal receipt to the records of the case as a precautionagainst any one tampering with or injuring the corpse. Part Two Further ExaminationIf the body is many days old, and the head and face haveswollen up, the skin and hair come off, the lips turned back andthe mouth open, and maggots have already made theirappearance, then it is quite unfit for examination; and if thewounds were inflicted by a sharp or other weapon, or a blow ofthe hand or foot on a fleshy part where there is no bone, youmay report that examination is impossible. But if the bone hasbeen injured in any way, then the body must be washed andcarefully inspected, and the cause of death ascertained. Theplea used in the other case will not hold good. The Coroner who thus re-examines should, on thecompletion of his task and if there is no dissentient voice, handover the body to the nearest relatives. Where there are no nearrelatives, it may be entrusted to the head man who should beordered to bury it and see that it comes to no harm. If therehappen to be dissentient voices, then it must not be entrusted toany one, but dig a hole and in it lay the corpse with all its mats, 28
  29. 29. etc.; cover it over with a door and pile up earth on the top.Then seal all round with the seal and take a note of the numberof seals in case of there being a still further examination. Theperson left in charge must sign a formal declaration to thateffect to be put with the records of the case. At the end of the first or further examination therelatives of deceased or the head man should be instructed totake charge of the body but it should on no account be carriedoff to the Yamen, to their great inconvenience and for noparticular object. The accused and the witnesses only should bearrested; the others can be summoned afterwards. 29
  30. 30. CHAPTER SEVEN Decomposition Different at Different SeasonsIn the spring months, when a body is two or three days old, theflesh of the nose, mouth, abdomen, sides and chest becomesslightly livid; after ten days a foul liquid issues from the mouth,nose and ears. The bodies of fat people swell and the skinseparates from the flesh, which does not take place with thebodies of thin people or those who have been long ill, till morethan half a month has elapsed In the summer months, first the face and then the fleshon the belly, ribs, and chest changes colour in one or two days.In two or three days a foul liquid issues from the mouth andnose, and maggots appear. The whole body swells, the lipspout, the skin rots and separates from the flesh, blisters rise,and in four or five days the hair falls off. In very hot weather, the injured parts of a body whichhas been prepared will be mostly covered with a white skin, butthe uninjured parts will be dark coloured. The exact nature ofthe wounds it will be very difficult to distinguish, but if from adread of the smell, etc., you fail to make a most searchingexamination, the result is sure to be unsatisfactory. Whereverthere is the slightest suspicious appearance, the loose skinshould be removed, and if there is a wound, there will be ahole-like appearance beneath it. In very hot weather, supposing maggots appear at thetemples or other places before appearing at either of the nineorifices, it will be because in that particular part there is awound. In the autumn months, two or three days produce thesame effect as one or two in summer, and so on in proportion.In the winter months, a corpse turns after four or five days to ayellowish purple. In half a month the flesh on the face, mouth,nose, etc., begins to decompose, but wrapping it in mats andplacing it in a moist place will preserve it longer. Be careful to 30
  31. 31. be guided by the seasons, not by the months. In extremely hot weather, decomposition begins afterone day, the body assuming a dark, dull, hue, and emitting asmell. In three or four days the flesh becomes rotten, maggotsappear, a dark fluid issues from the mouth and nose, and thehair gradually falls off. In spring and autumn, when the weather is mild, two orthree days are equal to one in summer, and eight or nine tothree or four. In very cold weather, five days are equal to onein summer, and half a month to three or four summer days. 31
  32. 32. CHAPTER EIGHT To Distinguish Real and Counterfeit WoundsIn examining a body which is not yet decomposed, payattention only to such parts as are red, swollen, cut or bruised,discriminating between mortal and non-mortal wounds. Suchparts as are of a livid or purple colour need not occupy yourtime, as this hue is common to all bodies in a state ofdecomposition. Wounds on bones may be of various coloursand shades, which are counterfeited in the following manner:red, by taking some genuine safflower, sapanwood, and blackplums, and making them into an ointment, adding alum, andpainting it on the bone, pouring over it boiling vinegar, when ared colour will be obtained of a darker or lighter shade exactlylike that of a real wound; purple, by taking sapanwood and"earths blood," and applying as before; dark blue or black, bytaking green alum or nutgalls and mixing with vinegar into athick liquid, regulating the proportions of each according as theshade required is light or dark. Though very deceptive, thesecounterfeits may be detected by the dullness of their colour, bytheir being apparent to the touch, and by the absence of theusual halo-like shading-off of colour all round. But everythingdepends on the energy displayed at the time of examination;there must be no carelessness. Where blows have been given resulting in death, theinjured parts will be surrounded by a purple or red halo. If,when death has already taken place, lighted bamboo strips havebeen used to burn a wound, which it is pretended was inflictedbefore death, the wound will present a scorched appearance,will be level with the surrounding flesh, and not hard to thetouch. If the bark of the willow tree be used to make a wound,the flesh will be rotten and black, livid all round but withoutany swelling, and not hard to the touch. Counterfeit wounds arealso made by lighting paper inside a cup and applying it to theflesh; such wounds resemble a blow from a fist, but all round 32
  33. 33. there is a red scorched mark, the flesh inside is yellow, andalthough it swells, it does not get hard. All wounds must be determined by the inflammation,which is the gradual diminishing of the wound, change ofcolour, from dark to lighter shades, and lessening of intensity.Also, near where the wound ends there should be a halo-likeappearance, like rain seen from a distance, or like fleecyclouds, vague and indistinct, fresh-coloured and smooth-looking, a result which should proceed naturally from theinfliction of the wound. This is the most important principle ofall. If the red is by itself and purple by itself, of a dull colourand collected into one spot, there being moreover, no halo, thenthe wounds are counterfeit. At the time of examination take a piece of white clothor paper and dip it in the wine and vinegar you are about touse. If the latter have been tampered with the cloth or paperwill change colour. 33
  34. 34. CHAPTER NINE De Corporibus Feminarum InspiciendisSi quaestio de morte virginis habeatur, primum locum ubijacebat mortua notare oportebit, quo facto corpus aliorsumauferatur. Tum obstetricem appella, quae ungue medio sectonecnon et lana cincto, digitum in vaginam coram omnibusinserat. Si lana sanguine rubido maculata, virgo erat. Corporibus feminarum inspiciendis, vagina maximacura scrutari debet, si forte acus vel aliud quoddam acutum hacvia in vulvam introductus sit. Vulnus superficiale maculamrubram prope umbilicum efficiet; nulla profundi vestigia. Feminarum corpora quae, vulnere in pudendis accepto,jamdiu putrida scrutari non possunt, omnia in vertice summo etin osse sacro maculas habebunt. Scire an sit gravida femina, obstetricem jube ventremmortuae manu deprimere. Si venter ut lapis aut ferrum durus,gravida est. Si corpus feminae quae gravida caesa vel parturiensmortua est, in sepulero positum, deinde post multos dies denovo inspiciatur, parturitionem interea sine ullo auxilioperfectum fuisse videbis. Persaepe accidit viduas et virgines juventa prima vulvaemorbo affici; hic post nuptias, harmonia yin et yang confecta,partus forma erumpit, monstrum jam colubri jam alio hujusgeneris simile, et plerumque a vero partu non sine curadistinguendum. Sunt quae alia horrenda edunt, eadem curainspicienda. Ubi parturitio vulneribus accelerata est, foetus aetatemet formam (perfectam vel imperfectam) obstetrix determinet.Nam si foetus formam est imperfectus, massa et praeterea nihil,qua liquefacta nil nisi liquor putridus remanet, parturitiovulneribus accelerata minime potest adjudicari. Infantem propter matris timorem in vulva mortuum,placenta purpurea et nigra et sanguine maculata et mollis 34
  35. 35. sequetur. Si post partum mortuus est, corpus rubidum, placentaalba. Si post partum ob rein quamdam nefariam vel manu velpede strangulatus sit, gulam digitis comprimere oportebit:facies vel purpurea et rubra, vel purpurea et nigra erit. Si puerqui ita occisus annorum decem est, ejus manus et pedesluctaminis signa ostendent. 35
  36. 36. CHAPTER TEN Dried-up CorpsesFirst lay down charcoal ash, about the length and breadth of thebody in extent; cover it with a piece of thin cloth and sprinklewater all over it. Lay the body on this and cover it entirely withanother piece of cloth, on which spread more charcoal ash,covering it once more with cloth, and sprinkling water asbefore. In a little while the skin and flesh will begin to soften,and then the cloths and ashes can be removed and the bodywashed with hot vinegar. Spread on the injured parts a mixtureof red pepper, onions, salt, and white prunes rubbed down intoa poultice with grains and heated over the fire, interposing asheet of paper between the parts and the poultice. The woundswill then be distinct. If the wounds have become invisible from the fleshdrying, take five catties of grains, powdered ephedra flava,yellow horsetail, and powdered liquorice-root, of each 3ounces, boil it all into a gruel and let it cool. Then smear it allover the body, make a hole in the ground, and use the steamingprocess as in winter, heating the ground, throwing plenty ofwine and vinegar on, laying the body in, and covering it upwith mats, etc. Besides this, take a pot of clean water, pour intoit 2 pound of samshoo and boil in it two pieces of cloth. Whenthe corpse is soft remove it into a convenient place and usethese to rub it clean: the wounds will then appear. 36
  37. 37. CHAPTER ELEVEN Examination of a Decomposed BodyThe position of a body having been noted, dash away themaggots and dirt with water, and when the corpse is cleanbegin to examine. Before applying grains and vinegar, keep ondashing fresh spring water all over the body. The skin and flesh of wounds inflicted by striking orcutting are of a red colour; if very severe, livid or black; theflesh adheres to the bone and is free from maggots. Where death has resulted from blows, butdecomposition has taken place and the maggots have leftnothing but bones, the blood on the wounded part sticks to thebone and dries up black. If there is no wound, but the bone hascracks in it like hairs or like the cracks in china and barelydiscernible, these are proofs that there was no wound. Where the body is too much decomposed for exam-ination, you must report clearly thatthe hair was gone, the skin and flesh on the temples, head, face,and all over the body was livid or black, quite decomposed andeaten away by maggots, so that the bones were exposed. If the skin and flesh are in a state of decomposition, youmust report whether entirely so, round the parts where thebones show, or whether only slightly so on the surface; also,whether there are any other injuries on the body, as also the ageof deceased, his facial appearance and the cause of death.Moreover, that the body was really too far gone forexamination, and that having felt it all over with your handsyou failed to find any broken bones. 37
  38. 38. CHAPTER TWELVE Examination of BonesMan has three hundred and sixty-five bones, corresponding tothe number of days it. takes the heavens to revolve. The skull of a male, from the nape of the neck to the topof the head, consists of eight pieces, of a Tsai-chow man, nine.There is a horizontal suture across the back of the skull, and aperpendicular one down the middle. Female skulls are of sixpieces, and have the horizontal but not the perpendicularsuture. Teeth are twenty-four, twenty-eight, thirty-two orthirty-six in number. There are three long-shaped breast-bones. There is one bone belonging to the heart of the shapeand size of a cash. There is one "shoulder-well" bone and one "rice-spoon"bone on either side. Males have twelve ribs on either side, eight long andfour short. Females have fourteen on each side. Near the kidneys of both males and females there is abone about as big as the hand perforated with eight holes inrows of two. The bones in the forearm are two in number as also inthe leg between the knee and ankle. At the wrists and ankles ofmales there are ribs; women have not these. Both knees have abone hidden inside as big as the thumb. In the hand and footthere are five spaces, the thumb and big toe being eachdivisible into two parts. These last have each two joints; theother fingers and toes, three. The pelvic bone is like a pigs kidneys, with theindented part just under the spine. In males, there is quite acurve where the spine meets this bone, making it appear as ifthere were horns sticking up on either side, like the watercaltrop. It has nine holes. In women, the part where the spinejoins is flat, and there are only six holes. Take a. thin piece of 38
  39. 39. twine or a strip of bamboo and tie a paper mark to each bonefor convenience sake at future examinations, and to preventconfusion. 39
  40. 40. CHAPTER THIRTEEN Examination of Bones Long after DeathFor the examination of bones the day should be clear andbright. First take clean water, and wash them, and then withstring tie them together in proper order so that a skeleton isformed and lay this on a mat. Then make a hole in the ground,5 ft. long, 3 ft. broad, and 2 ft. deep. Throw into this plenty offirewood and charcoal and keep it burning till the ground isthoroughly hot. Clear out the fire and pour in two pints of goodspirit and five pounds of strong vinegar. Lay the bones quicklyin the steaming pit and cover well up with rushes, reeds, etc.Let them remain there for two or three hours until the ground iscold, when the coverings may be removed, the bones taken to aconvenient spot and examined under a red oil-cloth umbrella. If the day is dark or rainy the boiling method must beadopted. Take a large jar and heat in it a quantity of vinegar;then having put in plenty of salt and white prunes boil it alltogether with the bones, superintending the process yourself.When it is boiling fast, take out the bones, wash them in waterand hold them up to the light. The wounds will be perfectlyvisible, the blood having soaked into the wounded parts,marking them with red or dark-blue or black. Next carefullyobserve if any of the bones are cracked or split. The above method is, however, not the only one. Take anew yellow oil-cloth umbrella from Hangchow, hold it over thebones and every particle of wound hidden in the bone will beclearly visible. In cases where the bones are old and the wounds havebeen obliterated by long exposure to wind and rain, or dulledby frequent boilings, it only remains to examine them in thesun under a yellow umbrella, which will show the wounds asfar as possible. There must be no zinc boiled with the bones or theywill become dull. 40
  41. 41. Where bones have passed several times through theprocess of examination they become quite white and exactlylike uninjured bones; in which case, take such as should showwounds and fill them with oil by the cracks and holes therealways are. Wait till the oil is oozing out all over, then wipe itoff and hold the bone up to the light; where there are woundsthe oil will stop and not pass, the clean parts have not beeninjured. Another Method: Rub some good ink thick and spread iton the bone. Let it dry and then wash it off, where there arewounds, and there only, it will sink into the bone. Another Method: Take some new cotton wool and passit over the bone. Wherever there is a wound some will bepulled out. At all injured places note whether the splinters ofbone point inwards or outwards. In wounds from blows theypoint inwards; and if they point outwards these are not wounds.Wherever the skull has been hurt the bone is dark-coloured;wherever a bone has been broken, there will be traces of bloodon it. Carefully observe any dark-coloured or purple andblack halo-like appearance. If long-shaped, it was inflicted by aweapon of some kind; if round, by the fist; if large, by thehead; if small, by the point of the foot. When the preparing and examination of the bones isfinished, the assistants should call them over in order. Forinstance, that such and such bones are all complete, and so on.Next, let every single bone be marked carefully with a numberto facilitate their being put together again (if required). Wrapthem up in several folds of paper and three or four folds of oil-paper, tie the packet securely with string, seal and sign it. Thenpack it up in a tub, covering the top with a board, make a holeand bury the tub, piling up earth and setting a mark, besidesusing the lime seal. 41
  42. 42. Part Two To Ascertain Whether the Wounds Were Inflicted Before or after DeathWounds inflicted on the bone leave a red mark and a slightappearance of saturation, and where the bone is broken therewill be at either end a halo-like trace of blood. Take a bone onwhich there are marks of a wound and hold it up to the light; ifthese are of a fresh-looking red, the wound was inflicted beforedeath and penetrated to the bone; but if there is no trace ofsaturation from blood, although there is a wound, it wasinflicted after death. All men have old scars on their bodies, either fromfalling down in youth or fighting, being bambooed, boils, etc.Although the place heals in time, the scar never passes away; ittakes a darkish hue and remains visible after death. For wherethe blood has once congealed, it will never resume its formerappearance. But old wounds have not the halo-like appearance,are soft to the touch, are on a level with the parts surrounding,and of a dull colour. The flesh and bone are both different fromthose of a recent wound. CHAPTER FOURTEEN Anatomy of the Human BodyA mere list of bones. 42
  43. 43. CHAPTER FIFTEEN Dropping BloodThe bones of parents may be identified by their children in thefollowing manner. Let the experimenter cut himself or herselfwith a knife and cause the blood to drip on to the bones; then ifthe relationship is an actual fact the blood will sink into thebone, otherwise it will not. Note: Should the bones have beenwashed with salt water, even though the relationship exists, yetthe blood will not soak in. This is a trick to be guarded againstbeforehand. It is also said that if parent and child, or husband andwife, each cut themselves and let the blood drip into a basin ofwater the two bloods will mix, whereas that of two people notthus related will not mix. Where two brothers who may have been separated sincechildhood are desirous of establishing their identity as such, butare unable to do so by ordinary means, bid each one cuthimself and let the blood drip into a basin. If they are reallybrothers the two bloods will coagulate into one; otherwise not.But because fresh blood will always coagulate with the aid of alittle salt or vinegar, people often smear the basin over withthese to attain their own ends and deceive others: thereforealways wash out the basin you are going to use, or buy a newone from a shop. Thus, the trick will be defeated. The above method of dropping blood on the bones maybe used even by a grandchild desirous of identifying theremains of his grandfather; but husband and wife not being ofthe same flesh and blood, it is absurd to suppose that the bloodof one would soak into the bones of the other. For such aprinciple would apply with still more force to the case of achild who had been suckled by a foster-mother and had grownup indebted to her for half its existence. With regard to thewater method, if the basin used is large and full of water thebloods will be unable to mix from being so much diluted; and 43
  44. 44. in the latter case where there is no water, if the intervalbetween dropping the two bloods into the basin is too long, thefirst will get cold and they will not mix. 44
  45. 45. CHAPTER SIXTEEN Examination of GroundThere are some atrocious villains who, when they havemurdered any one, burn the body and throw the ashes away, sothat there are no bones to examine. In such cases, you mustcarefully find out at what time the murder was committed andwhere the body was burnt. Then, when you know the place, allwitnesses agreeing on this point, you may proceed withoutfurther delay to examine the wounds. The mode of procedure isthis: Put up your shed near where the body was burnt, andmake the accused and witnesses point out themselves the exactspot. Then cut down the grass, etc. growing on this spot, andburn large quantities of fuel till the place is extremely hot,throwing on several pecks of hemp-seed. By and by brush theplace clean, then, if the body was actually burnt on this spot,the oil from the seed will be found to have sunk into the groundin the form of a human figure, and wherever there werewounds on the dead man, there on this figure the oil will befound to have collected together, large or small, square, round,long, short, oblique, or straight, exactly as they were inflicted.The parts where there were no wounds will be free from anysuch appearances. But supposing you obtain the outline only ofthe wounds without the necessary detail, then scrape away themasses of oil, light a brisk fire on the form of the body andthrow on grains mixed with water. Make the fire burn asfiercely as possible, and throw on vinegar, instantly covering itover with a new well-varnished table. Leave the table on a littlewhile, and then take it off for examination: the form of thebody will be transferred to the table, and the scars of thewounds will be distinct in every particular. If the place is wild, and some time has elapsed since thedeed, so that the very murderer does not remember the exactspot, inquire carefully in what direction it was with regard tosuch and such a village or temple, and how far off. If all agree 45
  46. 46. on this point, proceed in person to the place and bid yourassistants go round about searching for any spots where thegrass is taller and stronger than usual, marking such with amark. For where a body has been burnt the grass will be darkerin hue, more luxuriant, and taller than that surrounding it, andwill not lose these characteristics for a long time, the fat andgrease of the body sinking down to the roots of the grass, andcausing the above results. If the spot is on a hill or in a wildplace where the vegetation is very luxuriant, then you mustlook for a growth about the height of a man. If the burning tookplace on stony ground, the crumbly appearance of the stonesmust be your guide: this makes the process much easier. 46
  47. 47. TABLE OF CONTENTS BOOK TWOChapter 1. Death from blows.Chapter 2. Wounds inflicted by the hand, foot, and weapons generally.Chapter 3. Wounds inflicted by wooden or metal weapons, stones, &c.Chapter 4. Kicks.Chapter 5. (1) Knife-wounds. (2)Whether inflicted before or after death.Chapter 6. Suicide with weapons.Chapter 7. Suicide by strangulation.Chapter 8. Murder passed off as suicide by strangulation.Chapter 9. (1) Drowning. (2) Whether before or after death.Chapter 10. Drowning in wells.Chapter 11. (1) Burning. (2) Whether before or after death.Chapter 12. Scalding. 47
  48. 48. CHAPTER ONE. Death from Blows in a FightWhere death has resulted from blows in a fight, the mouth andeyes will be open, the hair and clothes disordered, and the twoarms stretched out. [For just previous to death the mouth willbe in full play, and the eyes will be glaring fiercely; the hairand clothes will get disordered in the scuffle; and the arms,employed in defence, will be stretched out.] Where there arewounds the skin will separate from the membrane below andwill sound if tapped by the finger. If hot vinegar is applied, thecicatrix will appear. Observe its size and measure its length andbreadth. Also note how many wounds there are, either of whichwould have caused death, but fix on some one in the mostvulnerable part as the mortal one. If death occurs either withinor without the limit, it may be that medical aid has been of noavail, or from exposure to the air, in which case the face wouldbe yellow and flabby. 48
  49. 49. CHAPTER TWO Wounds Inflicted by the Hand and Foot, or by WeaponsWhere there is blood there is a wound, and all such as are notinflicted by the hand or foot are also called wounds fromweapons. "Weapons" are not necessarily swords or knives. Wounds from the hand are mostly about the upper partof the body, the back and chest, or upper ribs, rarely on thelower ribs. Kicks are generally in the pit of the stomach, theribs, etc. They are indeed found on the upper part of the body,but not unless the victim was lying on the ground. At theexamination all those points should be carefully considered,and not merely the size and shape of the wounds. Blows givenby the hand or foot or weapons must be on such parts as thehead, face, chest, breasts, etc., to be considered as mortal. Anarm or leg broken may cause death; there will be a halo roundthe parts if the wound was inflicted during life. The colour of awound inflicted by a weapon, the hand, foot, or anything hard,is, if very severe, a dull purple, accompanied by a slightswelling; if less so, purple and red with a slight swelling,purple and red [without any swelling], dark blue, or even onlya little discoloured. Wounds from weapons are long-shaped,either oblique or horizontal; from the fist, round; from a kick,larger than those dealt by the fist. Wounds which occasion death in a couple of days willbe somewhat larger than usual; if inflammation sets in badly,death will result in about that time. If death is instantaneous,the wound will be deeper and more severe, the inflammationpurple and black, penetrating at once and thus causing death onthe spot. Wounds received by knocking against things are, eventhough the skin is unbroken, round or with straight outlines.Though the skin should be broken, the wounds will not bedeep. Wounds from weapons, or the hand or foot, where theskin is broken but without bleeding, will have a purple and red 49
  50. 50. halo. [Wounds from knocking against things have no halo;those from blows have.] Wounds from a stick or bludgeon are oblique and long-shaped: one end will be higher than the other. You must becareful to note which end, and also whether the blow wasstruck from the right or from the left, as the wound must tallywith the blow to make the case easy of investigation. Where a stick or bludgeon has been used, the woundswill generally be on non-fleshy parts, and the victim may die inany time from two hours to ten days. Where harder weaponshave been used, causing death, pay still more attention to theseverity of the wounds. If there was a bit of a scuffle first,accused catching hold of deceaseds hair and then letting outwith his hand or foot, the wounds will generally be in somefleshy vital spot. If a mortal wound is given by the foot in somevital spot, see if accused had on shoes or not. In all cases of kicks, first ask accused what he had onhis feet. If common, homemade shoes with soft soles, thewound will be slight and swollen; if shop-made shoes, withsewn soles, the wounds will be more severe and hard. Shoeswith sharp-pointed toes will cut into the bone, and nailed shoeswill inflict a still heavier wound, discolouring the bone.Wounds which injure the bone most are inflicted by shoes withsmooth, round toes, heavily studded with nails. Such requirecareful discrimination. Blows given with the head, elbow, knee, &c., must beclassed as such according to the evidence, and consideredgenerally as coming under the head of blows from " weapons." Where wounds are inflicted with weapons and the skinis not broken, but the bone and flesh are injured, or where thewound is in a fleshy place, examination should proceed atonce. It will be necessary to elicit clearly whether, if the woundis on the left side, it was inflicted with the right hand, orwhether on the right side, and consequently more roundtowards the back, it was inflicted from behind. 50
  51. 51. Examine carefully the length, breadth, shape, and sizeof all wounds inflicted by the hand, foot, or any weapon; also,if the skin is at all broken. Before washing the body, sprinklethem with water, take the heart of an onion, pound it to a pulpand lay it on the injured parts; apply a poultice of grains andvinegar, and in a short time the wounds will be clear anddistinct. A blow from the open hand, though it will not causedeath unless on a vital spot, still comes under the heading of"hand." The marks of fingers and a palm will be there,corresponding to the hand. Such are always on the face. When the instrument of death was a fowling-piece, theaperture of the wound may be examined or even the bones maybe examined some time after death. As, however, the belly andbowels soon decompose, and there is no basis of operations insuch a case, take what decomposed flesh there is in the coffinand wash it out with water. If the wound was a gun-wound,there will be shot in it, though you must be very careful thatnone are inserted purposely by interested parties. 51
  52. 52. CHAPTER THREE Wounds from Wooden and Metal Weapons, BrickbatsLong-shaped, oblique wounds on the bone may be set down towooden weapons; round wounds with jagged edges, and stab-like three-cornered wounds, to brickbats and tiles. If, however,the wound is oblong, round, oval, etc., the bone smashed andmarked with blood, soaking into the middle or even rightthrough to the other side, the colour deep red, approaching topurple and sometimes dark blue or black, then the weapon usedwas of metal. Such weapons are of various kinds, as life-preservers, knuckledusters, iron hands [holding a sharp iron rodpointed like a pencil], shooting stars [i.e. a piece of iron at theend of a string], but the wounds inflicted are similar incharacter, piercing right into the bone and very severe, not likewounds from wooden weapons, or the hand, foot, etc., whichbarely reach the bone. Further, if the bone is broken into irregular splinters andof a light red or red hue, the wound was inflicted by a woodenweapon; but if the splinters are of equal length, broken into anangle one side with the other, and of a dark red or purple hue,the wound was given with some iron weapon. 52
  53. 53. CHAPTER FOUR Death from KicksKicks in the pudenda which cause death may be examined ifthe corpse is not decomposed, though from the very position ofsuch wounds the examination is less likely to be searching andminute. There is, however, a "bone method " which may beadopted, although there are actually no bones in these parts,and such as there are [in proximity] do not show the wounds.To depend, indeed, on the evidence of the bone immediatelybelow the wound would be to let many criminals slip throughthe meshes of the law. Where wounds have been thus inflicted,no matter whether on man or woman, the wounds will bevisible on the upper half of the body and not on the lower. Forinstance, they will appear in a male at the roots of either the topor bottom teeth, inside; on the right hand if the wound was onthe left, and vice versa; in the middle if the wound was central.In women, the wounds will appear on the gums, right or left asabove. Regarding mortal wounds in the upper or lowerabdomen, if in the former, and the flesh is decomposed, youmust examine the bone with the square holes, which should bered and purple; if the lower abdomen, examine as for thepudenda. 53
  54. 54. CHAPTER FIVE Wounds from KnivesIn cases of death from knives, etc., before you arrive at theplace of examination, ask your informant (the plaintiff)whether the criminal is caught and what class of man he is,what weapon he used and whether it has been secured. If it has,cause it to be produced that you may note its size, and draw afacsimile of it on paper. If it has not been secured, ask plaintiffwhere it is and make him draw it and sign his name below thedrawing. Also, be very careful to ask if accused is a relative ofdeceased, and if there was any ill-feeling between them. Where death has resulted from wounds with knives,etc., the mouth and eyes will be open, the hair disordered, andthe hands slightly clenched. The mortal wound will be thelargest and longest, the skin shrunk and the flesh exposed; ifthe belly is cut open the bowels will protrude. When the murdered man saw his slayer about to strikehim with a knife, he naturally stretched forth his hand to wardoff the blow; on his hand, therefore, there will be a wound. If,however, the murderer struck him in some fleshy vital part andkilled him with one blow, he will have no wound on his hand,but the death-wound will be severe. A cut on the head willsever the hair as if with a knife or scissors. If the skull isfractured at the crown, it was done by some sharp-pointedweapon; this [the fracture] you must ascertain by pressingdown the bone with your finger. A wound from a pointed knifeor chopper will be wide at the mouth and narrow inside: ashallow wound from a sword will be narrow, a deep one broad.A wound from the edge of a sword or knife will be narrow atboth ends, there being no extraordinary pressure exerted ateither. A shallow spear-wound will be narrow, a deep oneround, from the spear-handle having penetrated. Suppose theweapon was a bamboo spear or a sharp pointed coolies poleused against a vital part, the mouth of the wound will be jaggedand irregular. Such scars may be of almost any shape. Where 54
  55. 55. death has resulted from a wound with a sharp weapon, theclothes of deceased must be examined to see if there is a cut,and if the blood stain corresponds with the position of thewound. Where from a knife wound the bowels protrude therewill be several cuts upon them. But, it may be asked, how canone blow produce several cuts? Evidently from the peculiararrangement of the bowels coiled up as they are in theabdomen. Where death has resulted from blows with weapons, ifthe weapon was sharp pointed the wound will have been a stab,but if blunt, not a stab. If the wound was given on the belly, itwill be necessary to give the length, breadth, and depth of thewound. If the membrane is pierced and the bowels protrude,there being congealed blood, such a wound was the directcause of death. So also for the pit of the stomach and the ribs.So too for the throat when the wound has reached and injuredthe bone, and the parts round about are irregularly lacerated,and the gullet and wind-pipe severed. A wound on the top ofthe head, or on the temples, or on the back of the head, it wouldtake a heavy, sharp weapon to break the bone; with bloodaccompanying the scattered brains, must be regarded as amortal wound, and the actualcause of death. Wounds are generally inflicted face to face, the weaponbeing held in the right hand, and are generally inflicted on theleft side. For unless held horizontally, the point of the swordcould not first come in contact with the right side; butsupposing it did, this would be evident from the character ofthe wound. If the striker is left-handed the wound will be onthe right. If it is a case of a sleeping man being wounded, notefirst the entrance to his sleeping apartment and how the bedwas placed. Inquire how deceased was in the habit of lying,and which way his head and feet pointed, and then proceed toexamine according to the answers. 55
  56. 56. Where a man strikes with the hand he is not dailyaccustomed to use, the blow will fall too high or too low, andwill not be even and straight. For instance, a man who is in thehabit of using his right hand strikes with his left at the neck of aman lying the wrong way for him, the point of the sword willfall a little too low and slightly wound the right shoulder. [Acase is given in the notes of a coroner who fixed on the actualmurderer of a man killed in a junk-fight, by making all engagedin the brawl eat before him. When they had finished their mealhe dismissed them with the exception of one, to whom he criedin a voice of thunder, "You are the man! Deceased was killedby a wound on his right side, and you alone ate your rice withyour left hand." The murderer confessed.] Where from lapse of time the knife used shows nostains, heat it red hot in a charcoal fire and pour on it somefirst-rate vinegar, the marks of blood will then appear.[Aninstance is given in the notes of a murder being cleared up inthe following manner: The coroner who had identified thewounds as inflicted by a sickle, and had found out that a certainman had quarrelled with deceased about a loan of money, wentto the village where the suspected man lived and caused everyman to produce his sickle laying them on the ground beforehim. In a little while he turned to the suspected man andaccused him of the murder. He denied his guilt with manyprotestations, but the coroner pointed to the flies which hadsingled out his sickle among seventy others, attracted by thesmell of blood. The murderer confessed.] 56
  57. 57. Part Two To Distinguish Knife Wounds Given Before and after DeathIn examining knife-wounds, the first point is to ascertainclearly if they were inflicted by the edge [i.e. not the point] andalso, whether before or after death. A wound inflicted with theedge of the knife before death will be gaping and irregular inits formation; clean, regular wounds may be regarded asinflicted after death. Wounds inflicted before death will becharacterized by the presence of clotted blood, and by thefresh-looking appearance of the blood and flesh at the mouth ofthe wound, death being caused by the rupture of the membrane.The flesh of wounds inflicted after death will be dry and white;there will not be the same appearance of the blood. Where knife-wounds have been received while life waspresent, the skin and flesh will shrink; there will be asubcutaneous stain all round. Wherever a limb has been cut off,the muscles, bone, skin, and flesh will be in a sticky mass; theskin shrunk from contact with the blade and the boneprotruding. Where a corpse has been cut to pieces the skin andflesh will not change in appearance, there will be nosubcutaneous stain, the skin will not have shrunk, there will beno blood at the end of the wound, and it will be of a whitecolour. If the wound is washed and the two sides pressedtogether with the fingers and no clear blood flows from it, thewound was not inflicted during life. Where decapitation hasbeen performed during life, the muscles will have shrunkinwards, the skin curled up, and the bone will protrude; theshoulders also will be higher. Performed after death, the neckwill become elongated, the skin will not shrink, the boneprotrude, or the shoulders become higher. When it is a case of a body the head and trunk of whichare in different places, first make the relatives identify thecorpse, and when you have taken its exact position measurehow far from the head or feet. 57
  58. 58. In case of mutilation of limbs, when you have measuredhow far each is from the body and taken notes accordingly, putall the parts together complete and lay the corpse in a coffin,comparing a few of the limbs with the stumps to see that theyagree. If the flesh is not red and if, although there may be theappearances of wounds, there is no blood and marrow, yourverdict must be that the mutilation was inflicted after deathwhen the blood had ceased to circulate. 58
  59. 59. CHAPTER SIX Suicide with KnivesIn cases of inquests on suicides, begin by asking your originalinformant what class of man deceased was, at what time hecommitted suicide, and what kind of weapon he used. Ifanyone comes to identify the corpse ask deceaseds age andwhether when alive he was right or left-handed. If he was aslave, cause the bill of sale, etc., to be produced. Ask too if hehas any relatives and whether he was right or left-handed. Thewounds also must be carefully examined as to whether theywere inflicted before or after death; in the former case therewill have been a flow of blood, in the latter case not. If the throat was cut by the suicide himself beforedeath, the mouth and eyes will be closed and the two handsclenched; the flesh will be yellow and the hair in order; therewill be a wound on the neck of a certain length and breadth; thewindpipe and gullet will be severed. The mouth and eyes of all who cut through the lowerpart of their own throats are closed; their hands are clenchedand their arms drawn up closely. The colour of the flesh isyellow and the hair undisturbed. A small knife will inflict a wound from 1 in. to 2 in.long, a cooking-knife from 3 in. to 4 in. or thereabouts. Ifcrockery is used the wound will be small, though a wound fromany sharp-edged weapon will cause death if the windpipe iscut, no matter how slightly. Cuts from sharp weapons on thethroat, pit of the stomach, abdomen, ribs, temples, crown of thehead and such vital spots, even though not of large size, willcause death if the membrane is pierced. If on the other handsuch wounds are not deep, even though there may be several,death will not ensue. If the left hand is used the wound will begin frombehind the right ear, extending from one to two inches on theother side of the throat, and vice versa. The beginning of the 59
  60. 60. wound will be of a severer character than the end. [Pain willcause the suicide to relax his grip.]Where the suicide has cut his throat with one cut and died onthe spot the wound will be nearly 2 in. deep, both gullet andwindpipe severed; if he lingers a day, about 12 in., the gulletsevered and the windpipe slightly injured; if death results afterthree days only the gullet will have been severed, the woundbeing about 18 in. deep, the hair will be in disorder, and therewill not be more than one wound, the suicide not being able toinflict a second. If the hair is in disorder, the wound irregular,with no distinction between its depth at one end and the other,the case is one of murder. Where the throat has been cut with a knife, thecharacteristics vary, noticeably in the mouth and eyes. Wheresuicide was committed in an outbreak of passion, the teeth willbe firmly set, the eyes slightly open and looking upwards, fromthe angry feelings excited. If committed through excess ofpent-up rage, the eyes will be closed, but not tightly, the mouthslightly open, and the teeth in the majority of cases not shut,arising from the disturbed state of the mind up to the lastmoment. If driven to commit suicide from a fear ofpunishment, the eyes of the dead man will be closed, as also hismouth, for he looks on death merely as a return home and ahappy release from the responsibilities of life. If such be thecase, inquire carefully whether his disposition while alive wasrough or gentle, distinguishing between the three periods ofyouth, manhood, and old age. The right hand of a man who cut his throat with thathand will be soft, and one or two days after death will curl up,but the left hand will not curl up, and vice versa. Where deathwas caused by another person neither hand will curl up. Where a man has cut off his own hand or a finger theflesh and skin will be evenly cut, and if properly bandaged willnot cause death immediately, but such a result will be fromwant of taking due precautions. The flesh and skin about such a 60
  61. 61. wound will curl inwards, but not if the wound was inflictedafter death. A finger bitten off by oneself will generally cause deathbecause of the poison in the teeth. All round the wound wherethe bone is broken there will be a quantity of matter; the skinand flesh will be rotten, and death will result from theimpossibility of a cure. There will be marks of teeth, and agenerally uneven appearance. 61
  62. 62. CHAPTER SEVEN Suicide by StrangulationAt an inquest on a suicide by strangulation, begin by askingwhere, in what street, and in whose house it occurred, whatpersons saw it, what was used to consummate the act, wherethe body was suspended, and whether a running or tight noosewas tied. Then examine whether deceaseds clothes are old ornew, measure the position of the corpse, noting which way theface and back pointed, and what deceased stood upon. Measurethe distance between the head and whatever the body may besuspended from, as well as that between the feet and theground. In case of the place of suicide being low, measure thedistance between whatever the rope was attached to and theground. Cut the body down before the assembled people, andcarry it to a place where there is plenty of light; then only mayyou cut the rope from the body, measuring its entire length andthe length of the part round the neck; also the circumference ofdeceaseds neck, noting the exact position of the scar. Thisdone proceed to examination. Begin by asking the original informant what class ofman the deceased was, whether he committed suicide early orlate in the day, and whether he was cut down in the hope ofsaving his life; also whether his death was reported early orlate. If any one identifies the body, ask him deceaseds age, andwhat was his occupation, what family he had, and what was hisreason for committing this act. If deceased was a slave causehis master to produce the documents to that effect, and see ifany relatives are mentioned therein, as also his age. Observecarefully the place where deceased committed suicide, and, ifalready cut down, ask whether when cut down life was extinctor not; also, how much time has elapsed since. Be careful, too,to ascertain accurately the height of the beam. If the feet danglein the air, the tongue protrude, and the scar round the neck is 62
  63. 63. not a circle, return a verdict of suicide from strangulation, thecharacteristics being distinct from those of murder. In examining a case of strangulation where the body isstill hanging, notice first the distance from the ground and fromwhat it may be suspended, also whether the latter would besufficiently strong for such a purpose. If the body is notactually suspended, note what there is under its feet, what kindof rope was used, and the circumference and diameter of thenoose; also observe the breadth of the scar on the neck beforecutting down the body and taking it away for examination. Ifthe body has been already taken down, ask if the rope orwhatever was used is still on the neck of the deceased or nearthe body or in the place where the act was committed, for therope should be carefully compared with the scar. If the weatherwas wet and muddy, note what deceased had on his feet, and ifwhatever he stood upon is marked accordingly. In cases of suicide by strangulation the two eyes will beclosed, the lips and mouth black, and the teeth slightlyshowing. If the rope was above the Adami pomum the mouthwill be tightly closed, the teeth firmly set, and the tonguepressed against the teeth but not protruding; but if below, themouth will be open, and about one-third of tongue protruding,the face will be of a purple-red, at the corners of the mouth andon the chest there will be frothy saliva; the hands will beclenched, the thumbs and toes pointing downwards, and therewill be marks on the legs as from cauterization; the abdomenwill be pendulous and of a livid or black colour, etc., the scaron the neck will be purple and red, or black, as if from a bruise,extending from the back of one ear to the back of the other, andmeasuring fronm 9 in. to 1 ft. and upwards. If deceaseds feet were off the ground, the scar underthe Adams apple will be deep; otherwise not so deep. It will bedeep if deceased was fat and the rope thin; less so if he wasthin or the rope thick. Where a rope of calico or cloth is usedthe scar will be spread over a larger surface. If the body was 63
  64. 64. hanging at an acute angle with the ground [feet touching, ofcourse], or lying on the ground, the scar will be oblique, notreaching to the hair at the back. Whatever kind of knot is used it will be necessary toobserve what deceased stood upon, and whether when thenoose was made there would be enough rope over. With a running or tight knot death may result if the feettouch the ground, even if the knees touch; with the single-twistcross knot the feet must be entirely off the ground. The single-twist cross knot is used when deceased first tied the rope roundhis neck and then attaches it to something high up; it will benecessary to observe the dust on whatever that was, and also tonote what deceased stood upon, and whether he could havereached up to attach the rope himself. Observe carefully if therope be stretched or not, and that there is at least a foot betweendeceaseds head and the beam. For if the head be close upagainst whatever it may be, the feet dangling in the air, andthere is nothing deceased could have stood upon, then thehanging of the body was the act of some other person. Where, in a case of self-strangulation, there is no markof the knot, it will be because deceased first wound the ropeseveral times round his own neck and then, attaching it tosomething high, let himself swing till he died. Or else when hehad suspended the rope, he hanged himself in a double noose,standing on something high, and thrusting his head into thenoose, with an extra turn or so round his neck. The scarresulting, therefore, will be double, the top scar passingupwards from behind the ear towards the hair without crossing,the lower one encircling the neck. Such distinctions should becarefully drawn in reporting the case. Where there is no mark of a knot on the throat of asuicide by strangulation, there will be in the middle of the scar,on either side of the chin, a faint mark extending towards theears on either side, with a tendency to diminish gradually thehigher it gets. Where a single cord has been used, there will be 64
  65. 65. on either side of the knot a subcutaneous appearance of bloodrising obliquely upwards and continuous, not extending in astraight line backwards. After suspension, circulation ceases, and the bodybecomes purple and black like collected clouds, or as if in astate of decomposition, but differing in appearance from a redand livid body swollen from beating, or one discoloured inlarge patches from the effects of poison. In an old or emaciatedman this would be less apparent. Where there has been long illness without hope ofrecovery and a desire to die as soon as possible, and the sickman lying on his back strangles himself with a rope or girdle,the eyes will be closed, the teeth showing, a small portion ofthe tongue will protrude, bitten by the teeth, the colour of theflesh will be yellow, the body thin, the hands clenched, etc.The rope or whatever was used will probably be found graspedby the hand of the suicide, the distance of which one from theother must be accurately measured. The scar round the neckwill be purple and red, a foot or more in length; the knot willbe on the lower part of the throat, and the scar will be deepestin front. If the rope has been already cut away, the belly of thecorpse will have swelled, and the tongue will not be bitten. Beneath the spot where suicide has been committed byhanging, dig a hole three or more feet in depth; if charcoal ispresent, that was the place. [The note says this results from thenatural influence of the dead body over the ground, and mustnot be regarded as anything extraordinary.] Where suicide was committed in a room, observecarefully the dust on the beam or whatever the rope wasattached to. If it is much scattered, this may be considered inmost cases as bona-fide evidence of suicide; but if there is onlya single rope-mark, a contrary conclusion follows. Where suicide was committed in a low place, the bodywill generally be in a recumbent position, either on its side orface. If the former, the scar will be oblique but horizontal 65
  66. 66. beneath the neck; if the latter, the scar will be straight up frombeneath the throat, reaching from behind one ear to the back ofthe other, but not extending to the hair. Tap lightly with a stick on the suspending rope; if it istight, the case is one of suicide; if loose, the body has beenhung up there by others. Generally, when a body has been thusbrought from elsewhere and hung up, there are two scars, theold one being purple and red with a subcutaneous appearanceof blood, the other white without that appearance. The purpleand red scar will also be deep, though instances occur of depthunaccompanied by the purple and red discolouration. A whitescar is, however, unmistakable evidence of the body beingremoved from elsewhere. In cases where from lapse of time the body has becomedecomposed and the head alone remains attached to the rope,the body having fallen to the ground and the bones becomeexposed from the rotting of the flesh, it only remains to seewhether the rope is in the channel beneath the jaws andwhether the two wrists and the bones of the forehead are red. Ifso, it is a case of suicide. 66

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