Cover image for Written in blood : a history of forensic detection
Written in blood : a history of forensic detection
Wilson, Colin, 1931-2013.
Personal Author:
First Carroll and Graf edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Carroll & Graf, [2003]

Physical Description:
xi, 690 pages 16 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations ; 20 cm
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HV8073 .W49 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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In 44 B.C. a Roman doctor named Antistius performed the first autopsy recorded in history--on the corpse of murder victim Julius Caesar. However, not until the nineteenth century did the systematic application of scientific knowledge to crime detection seriously begin, so that the tiniest scrap of evidence might yield astonishing results--like the single horsehair that betrayed the sex murderer in New York's 1936 Nancy Titterton case. In this massive and compelling history of forensic detection, the internationally recognized criminologist Colin Wilson charts the progress of criminalistics from the first attempts at detecting arsenic to the development of an impressive array of such modern techniques as ballistic analysis, blood typing, voice printing, textile analysis, psychological profiling, and genetic fingerprinting. Wilson also explores the alarmingly modern phenomenon of serial sex crime with a discussion of notorious cases that includes Jack the Ripper, Lucie Berlin, Mary Phagan, the Black Dahlia, Charles Manson, and Peter Sutcliffe, the so-called Yorkshire Ripper. Wilson shows how the continual sophistication of forensic detection and the introduction of computerized information retrieval has increasingly stacked the odds against the sex killer. Whatever the case, Written in Blood never fails to enlighten and intrigue.

Author Notes

Colin Wilson was born on June 26, 1931 in Leicester, England. He attended a local technical school, where he did well in physics and chemistry, and left at 16 to work in a wool factory. Before becoming a writer, he worked as a laboratory assistant, tax clerk, laborer and hospital porter.

His first book, The Outsider, was published in 1956 when he was 24 years old. During his lifetime, he wrote more than 100 works on a wide variety of subjects including philosophy, religion, occult and supernatural phenomenea, music, sex, crime and critical theory. His other works include Religion and the Rebel, The Age of Defeat, Ritual in the Dark, The Strength to Dream, Origins of the Sexual Impulse, The Occult, Alien Dawn, Dreaming to Some Purpose, The Angry Years: The Rise and Fall of the Angry Young Men, and Super Consciousness. His biographies include works on Bernard Shaw, David Lindsay, Herman Hesse, Wilhelm Reich, Jorge Luis Borges, Ken Russell, Rudolph Steiner, Aleister Crowley, and P. D. Ouspensky. Wilson died on December 5, 2013 at the age of 82.

(Bowker Author Biography) Colin Wilson, author of such bestsellers as "The Outsider" & "The Occult", also writes on archaeology, astronomy, & cosmology. His recent book, "From Atlantis to the Sphinx", was a London "Times" bestseller.

(Publisher Provided)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgementsp. xiii
Introductionp. 1
A Japanese Sherlock Holmes
Suicide or murder?
'Hesitation injuries.'
Problems of writing a history of scientific crime detection
1 The Science of Detectionp. 7
The Nancy Titterton case: solved by a horse's hair
The case of Mary Rogers, the New York 'cigar girl'
Poe's theory of the killer
The true solution
Dupin as the founder of scientific detecfion
The murder of Helen Jewett
Conan Doyle creates Sherlock Holmes
The 'needle-in-the-haystack' method--Canler tracks down Lacenaire
Bow Street Runner Henry Goddard tracks a swindler across America
The use of torture
Judge Cambo sentences an innocent man
Miscarriages of justice: the case of the Marquis d'Anglade; the case of Lady Mazel
Henry Goddard and the murder of Elizabeth Longfoot
The murder of the steward Richardson
Goddard solves a crime by examining the bullet
Crime in early centuries: the diary of Master Hans Schmidt, the Nuremberg executioner
London in the eighteenth century
Moll Cutpurse and Jonathan Wild
Gin and the rising crime rate
The Mohocks
The first efficient magistrate: Sir Thomas De Veil
The murder of Mr Penny
Henry Fielding takes over Bow Street
The problem of highwaymen
The first recorded example of scientific detection: the case of Richardson
The Mannings murder Patrick O'Connor
The murder of Mrs Millson
Inspector Field and the clue of the dirty gloves
Inspector Whicher and the murder of Francis Kent
The case of Father Hubert Dahme
The public prosecutor disproves his own case
2 The Power of Poisonp. 52
Poison: the favourite weapon of the assassin
Cicero defends Cluentius
Oppianicus: the master-criminal of ancient Rome
The fine art of poisoning: Locusta poisons Britannicus
Poisoning in medieval Italy
Death of the Earl of Atholl
The poisoning of Sir Thomas Overbury
The Marquise de Brinvilliers
The Affair of the Poisons
The Chambre Ardente
The crime of Mary Blandy
The rise of chemistry
The detection of arsenic
Anna Zwanziger, the mass poisoner
Orfila, the first great pathologist
James Marsh devises the test for arsenic
The case of farmer Bodle
The murder of innkeeper Cumon
The case of Marie Lafarge
Orfila's evidence convicts her
The case of Helene Jegado
The case of Madeleine Smith
The discovery of new poisons
The case of Dr Castaing
Stas solves the murder of Gustave Fougnies
Quaker Tawell poisons his mistress
Taylor and the case of William Palmer
The case of Dr Smethurst
Tardieu and Dr de la Pommerais
New methods: alkaloid crystals and column chromatography
The spectroscope
The case of Dr Lamson
The case of Marie Besnard
3 The Discovery of Fingerprintsp. 107
Vidocq, criminal turned detective
The foundation of the Surete
Canler and the murder of the widow Senepart
Jean Baptiste Troppmann murders the Kinck family
The case of Pranzini
Prado and the murder of Marie Agaetan
The crime of Barre and Lebiez
Billoir dismembers his wife
The body snatchers
Dumollard: murderer of servant girls
The railways increase the crime rate
Bertillon and 'social physics'
Bertillon discovers anthropometry
The first success
The crimes of Ravachol
Herschel discovers fingerprints
Henry Faulds solves a Japanese burglary case
Sir Francis Galton
Juan Vucetich solves the first fingerprint murder case
Edward Henry and the classification of fingerprints
An Indian murder case
Bertillon solves a murder with fingerprinting
The Deptford murder case
The conviction of the Stratton brothers
Bertillon and the Dreyfus affair
The theft of the Mona Lisa
Bertillon's failure
Locard and poroscopy
The 'murder' of Lea Camelin
Mark Twain: American discoverer of fingerprints
The case of the two Will Wests
The case of Thomas Hoag
The case of Adolf Beck
The case of Oscar Slater
Faurot and the Nolan case
The case of Caesar Cella
The Mafia
The creation of the FBI
The coming of J. Edgar Hoover
The Hall-Mills murder case
Bank robbery solved by fingerprints: the Fleagle case
Fred Cherrill and palmprints
The murder of a pawnbroker
Gangsters and fingerprinting: Robert Philipps has his fingerprints removed
The Blackburn murder case
Rowland Mason fingerprints a ghost
Transmitting fingerprints by wireless
San Francisco's Zodiac killer
4 Whose Body?p. 170
Edmond Locard's Proofs of Identity
Lesurques and Dubosq--the classic case of mistaken identity
The case of Anastasia
The Tichborne claimant
Did Joan of Arc survive her 'execution'?
Identifying the dead
The case of Catherine Hayes
A dead man's head placed on a pole
William Sheward dismembers his wife
Lacassagne and the dead man in the locked bedroom
The Gouffe case
Willie Guldensuppe is dismembered by his mistress and her lover
Luetgart boils his wife
The Campden Wonder
The misjudgements of Dr Taylor
Samuel Herbert Dougal murders Miss Holland
The Druce case
Arthur Devereux poisons his wife and children
Pepper and Bernard Spilsbury
The Crippen case
Seddon the poisoner
Arsenic in human hair
The 'Brides in the Bath' case
Voisin kills his mistress
The Patrick Mahon case
Norman Thorne and the murder of Elsie Cameron
The Brighton Trunk mystery
The case of Ivan Poderjay
The murder of Agnes Kesson
Rouse and the burning car murder
The German Rouse case
Tetzner and Saffran
Glaister and the Ruxton case
Reconstruction of two corpses
The cases of Keith Simpson
The Baptist church murder
The corpse on Hankley Common
The case of Bertie Manton
The sadist Neville Heath Haigh, the acid bath murderer
Murder without a body: the disappearance of Rose Michaelis
Professor Krogman incinerates a corpse
5 If Blood Could Speak ...p. 245
How to distinguish animal from human bloodstains
A miscarriage of justice: the execution of William Shaw
Gustave Mace and the Voirbo case
Early tests for bloodstains
Landsteiner's discovery of blood groups
Uhlenhuth learns to distinguish animal from human blood
The crimes of Ludwig Tessnow
The benzidine test
The murder of Isabella Wilson
The Gorse Hall murder
Dr Leone Lattes pacifies a jealous wife
The Bruneri--Canella Affair
The murder of Helmuth Daube
The antigens and antibodies in blood
Holzer and the murder of farmer Mair
Sir Sydney Smith and the Helen Priestly case
The murder of Pamela Coventry
The Walter Dinivan case
The case of Werner Boost
Glasgow's rogue policeman
Did Dr Sam Sheppard murder his wife?
The Onufrejczyc case
Dr Mike Sayce and the Danny Rosenthal murder case
Arthur Hutchinson and the murder of the Laitners
AIf Faragher identifies a killer through a single bloodstain
Graham Backhouse attempts to murder his wife
The murder of Colyn Bedale-Taylor
New discoveries in blood serology
Gel electrophoresis
The rhesus factor
Stuart Kind and the absorption elution test
The testing of old bloodstains
The mixed agglutination test
The DNA code
Alec Jeffreys and the discovery of genetic fingerprinting
The conviction of Robert Melias
Colin Pitchfork--the first murder to be solved by genetic fingerprinting
Tommie Andrews and the Florida rape case
The Notting Hill rapist
The Helen McCourt 'no-body' case
6 Every Bullet Has a Fingerprintp. 310
The murder of PC Cole
'Orrock's chisel'
The invention of firearms
The murder of Edward Culshaw
The Guesner case
The first American case solved by ballistics: William Stewart of Baltimore
The invention of the Colt revolver
Lacassagne realizes that bullets have fingerprints
The Echallier Affair
The Luard mystery
Baithazard and the murder of M. Guillotin
The first ballistics expert: Robert Churchill
The case of the hooded man
The murder of Charles Phelps
Charles Waite and the science of firearms identification
Calvin Goddard and the St Valentine's Day Massacre
The Sacco and Vanzetti Affair
Sydney Smith invents his own comparison microscope
The murder of the Sirdar
The Max Karam case
A South African murder case: Van Niekerk and Markus
The murder of PC Gutteridge
The Bertha Merrett case
The Elvira Barney case
Herbert MacDonell, the 'Isaac Newton of ballistics'
The shooting of Roy Roxbury
The case of Gary Greene
The shooting of the Black Panthers
The Colin Chisam case
Michael Hart and the murder of a bank clerk
The 'Bambi' murder case
The availability of firearms
Charles Whitman and the Texas University massacre
John Linley Frazier and the murder of the Ohta family
The murders of Herb Mullin
Michael Ryan and the Hungerford massacre
The problem of gun control in the United States
7 The Microscope As Detectivep. 372
Discovery of the telescope by the Janssen brothers
The microscope
The first murder case solved by a microscope: the Praslin Affair
Leeuwenhoek's microscope
The murder of Germaine Bichon
Convicted by a hair
Professor Riess solves the Marie Pallot murder
Conviction of a child-molester
Georg Popp and forensic, photography
The Laubach case
The murder of Margarethe Filbert
Emile Villebrun writes a thesis on fingernails
Edmond Locard, a French Sherlock Holmes
Capturing a gang of coiners
A rapist trapped by oil spots
The postman in the lavatory
The case of Emile Gourbin
Edmond Bayle and the Boulay case
The microscope in Australia: Charles Taylor
The Alma Tirtschke case
A Rumanian murder case--the corpse in the courtyard
The murder of an American millionaire
Edward Oscar Heinrich, 'the Edison of Crime Detection'
Capture of the D'Autremont brothers
Charles Schwartz and the substitute body murder
The case of the invisible safe-crackers
Emission spectroscopy
A hit-and-run motorist captured by a flake of paint
Stuart Kind solves the murder of Ida Hinchcliffe
The murder of Earl Mountbatten
The case of 'the Fox'
8 The Sexual Criminalp. 433
Sex crime--a modern phenomenon
Sex crime in the eighteenth century
The mysterious death of Mary Ashford
The body-snatchers Burke and Hare
Samuel Richardson's Pamela
The rise of pornography
The problem of day-dreams
The Victorian heroine
Krafft-Ebing and the Psychopathia Sexualis
The murder of Fanny Adams
Pieydagnelle, Verzeni, Pomeroy, and Menesclou
The Jack the Ripper murders: the first 'modern sex crime'
Who was Jack the Ripper?
The poisoner Neill Cream
Was George Chapman Jack the Ripper?
The crimes of Joseph Vacher
The murder of Lucie Berlin
Sex crime in America
Thomas Piper
Theodore Durrant
The murder of Nora Fuller
The crime of Albert Wolter
The murder of Mary Phagan
The lynching of Leo Frank
Sex crime in Europe
The murders of Bela Kiss
The first murder of Peter Kurten
The 'reign of terror' in Dusseldorf
Other mass murderers: Haarmann, Denke, and Grossmann
Sylvestre Matuska, the man who wrecked trains
The murder of Bobby Franks
The clue of the spectacles
Earle Nelson, the 'Gorilla Murderer'
Albert Fish and the murder of Grace Budd
Sex crime in England: the murder of Nellie Trew
Thomas Allaway
The murder of Vera Page
The finger-stall evidence
The crimes of Gordon Cummins
The murder of a WAAF--the killer who betrayed himself
John Calhoun and the overcrowded rats
The criminal personality
The crimes of William Heirens
The Los Angeles Jack the Ripper
The Black Dahlia
The Christie case
Was Evans guilty?
The rise of motiveless murder--the case of Pastre-Beaussier
Penny Bjorkland
Robert Smith
The Moors murder case
Charles Manson
Graham Young, the thallium poisoner
Peter Sutcliffe, the Yorkshire Ripper
The five-man investigation team
The capture of the Ripper
The Railway Rapist
Duffy captured by computer
9 The Craft of the Manhunterp. 517
Allan Pinkerton captures a gang of comers
The Pinkerton detective agency
The case of the murdered bank teller
The downfall of the Reno gang
The murder of Jesse James
The last Western bad man: Marion Hedgepeth
Hedgepeth and H. H. Holmes
The death of Benjamin Pitezel
Capture of America's worst mass murderer
The Muswell Hill murder
Improvements in detection
A spectacular failure: the case of Jeanne Weber
Thoinot's stupidity costs more lives
The Landru case
Kidnapping in America: the Charlie Ross case
The murder of Marion Parker
The Lindbergh kidnapping
Was Hauptmann guilty?
The kidnapping of Brooke Hart
The lynching of the kidnappers
The kidnapping of Charles Urschel
The capture of Machine Gun Kelly
Belin and the case of Eugen Weidmann
Oregon's 'Sleeping Beauty' case
Fabian traces a demob suit
Japan's teacup bank robbery
The case of Ronald Harries
10 The Soul of the Criminalp. 586
The case of New York's Mad Bomber
Brussel's 'psychological portrait'
Lombroso and the science of criminology
The Jukes family
Lacassagne: 'Society gets the criminals it deserves'
The theories of Charles Goring: the inadequate criminal
The crimes of Carl Panzram
Fredric Wertham and the Oedipus murder case
Yochelson and Samenow are converted from 'liberalism'
Dan MacDougald and the 'faulty blocking mechanism'
The FBI Psychological Profiling team
The psychology of a sex killer
The Boston Strangler
Son of Sam
The case of Gerald Stano
Lombroso invents the lie detector
August Vollmer is appointed Marshall of Berkeley
Larson and the lie detector
The kidnapping of Father Heslin
Gerald Thompson fools the lie detector
Chris Gugas and the actor accused of indecent exposure
The Petroklos murder case
Hypnosis as a tool of detection
The murder of Ruth Downing
Avery and Aurbeck learn hypnosis
Can a man be hynotized to kill?: the Hardrup case
The murders of Carl Gregory
The new menace: the 'random killer'
Dean Corll
The Freeway Killer
John Wayne Gacy
Pedro Lopez, Ecuador's mass murderer of girls
Dennis Nilsen, the Muswell Hill murderer
Daniel Barbosa
The case of Henry Lee Lucas
Lucas murders his mother
Released from jail
His career as a serial killer
Joel Norris on serial killers
The case of Ted Bundy
The vanishing girls
Bundy's escape
The Tallahassee killings
Bundy is convicted
What turned Bundy into a killer?
'The hunchback'
A new criminology
Van Vogt's 'Right Man' theory
'The decision to be out of control'
All serial killers have Right Man characteristics
Charles Manson
The case of Leonard Lake
'Sex slaves'
Maslow on 'dominance'
The Moors Murder case--Brady and Hindley
The 'criminal history of mankind'
Wells on 'jostling crowds'
Murderous tyrants
The 'golden age of crime detection'
The solution of the problem of serial killers?
'A diagnostic or prediction instrument'
VICAP--the Violent Criminal Apprehension Programme
Use of genetic fingerprinting
Postscriptp. 663
Select Bibliographyp. 673
Indexp. 679