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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 11, Issue 4 (July 1, 1936)

Possible Causes of Death

Possible Causes of Death.

“1.Drowning. —The clothes and hair are wet, as if the whole body had recently been immersed in water for some time. The condition of the lungs, also congested with water, lends a suggestion of death due to drowning.

“2.Badly Burnt. —On both back and chest, under the clothing, are burns so severe that death might have resulted front them. It could not be decided definitely by Dr. Brannigan whether these burns occurred before or after death.

“3.Kicked or Struck. —The victim has been either kicked by a horse, or struck with a knuckle-duster, on the back of the neck so severely that the spinal cord is severed. Again, there is nothing to indicate to Dr. Brannigan whether this was caused before or after death.

“4. Poisoned. —Two inches below the back of the knee on the right leg there are distinct marks of a Katipo spider's bite. The Katipo is the only deadly insect—or, for that matter, the only deadly animal of any kind in New Zealand (if we except the wild bulls of the Taupo and the literary cows of the towns) and in certain conditions of the blood, a bite from one of these small spiders has caused death within a few hours. Katipos are only found in the rubbish of seabeaches above high water-mark.

“5.Knifed. —A knife wound in the back of the left shoulder was probed, and was found to extend through into the upper right lobe of the heart. If no other evidence were available, this would certainly be adjudged the cause of death.

“6. Garolled. —An extraordinary external pressure has been applied to the wind-pipe—probably the work of an experienced garotter. But choking of another kind may also have occurred, for wedged in the gullet was a sharp-edged lump of Teaswell's Tasty Toffee—the most cooly callous and cloysornely dangerous sweetmeat made in New Zealand.

“7.Fear. —The eyes, and the general expression of the face, portray fear in its most intense form—what is technically known as “frozen fear.” The sudden shock of this extreme type of fear might well have caused heart failure.

“8. Heart Disease. —The heart is in a seriously diseased condition, and the subject might have died from this cause at any time when some extra pressure was applied to this vital organ—such as undue exercise or excitement. Amongst precipitating causes must be considered the fact that in the victim's right hand was firmly clutched a page from the May “N.Z.R.M.”—New Zealand's national
Gillesple, the Chauffeur.”

Gillesple, the Chauffeur.”

monthly—containing on one side an advertisement of a book of Bird Music by Baron Munchausen, and on the other side a heady poem, “The Belfry Bats,” by the New Zealand Poet Laureate, Ben Ulysses. Two lines of this were heavily underscored with human blood: —

‘The belfry bats knelt to a passing dray,

While Sense and System slyly slunk away'.

“9.Electrocution. —An electric current of high voltage had passed through the body within the past 12 hours. This would have killed the strongest person.

“10. A Fall. —Both legs had badly comminuted fractures, and the cranium at the base of the skull, although of extraordinary thickness, was cracked. These injuries are typical of a straight fall, feet first, from a considerable height, as through a street manhole, or down a steamer's funnel. Or the page 36 page 37 victim might have stepped over the edge of a mining shaft or a deep, dry well. The skull fracture alone was sufficiently severe to have caused death.

“11.Motor Smash. —The ribs are caved in—as when a body is struck in the chest by a motor car travelling at high speed. The broken rib ends have punctured the lungs—enough in itself to have caused almost instant death.

“12.Starvation. —The whole body exhibits extreme emaciation, typical of cases where death supervenes from lack of food over a long period.”

It was now 8 a.m. Imp. Lloyd's clue-conscious mind began at once to wrestle with the problem. Here were twelve proximate causes of death. Which was the real one?

And would each of these discoveries supply a possible clue to the murder? As time proved, they would; but was there any 13th clue which would provide the key to the other twelve? Lloyd's A. 1. mind raced at top speed among the infinite possibilities of the situation. There was still one factor missing—what was it?

Just then the telephone in the signal-box jangled. Again Impskill's long arm shot out—and again he heard—as from a great distance—two faint words “Come quickly” followed by a strangled cry and a loud crash. (To be continued.)

“O.K.,” said the weed merchant, “there's lots of brands of tobacco, as you say, but in a manner of speaking, you can divide them broadly into two classes—the toasted and the untoasted; yes, and I'll tell you something more—once you take to toasted—the real thing mind—you won't care a row of pins about the untoasted, no matter what the brand is.”The customer looked thoughtful. “Can toasting really make all that difference?” he ventured. “It can—and it does!” declared the tobacconist emphatically, “the toasting of tobacco is one of the most ingenious and efficient processes as yet invented. What does it do? Why it cuts out the nicotine and at the same time gives this tobacco that fine, pure, clean, sweet fragrance smokers love. You can smoke any amount of it with safety—and, my word!—you enjoy every whiff!” “I must certainly have a tin,” laughed the customer, “a small one just to try it out.” “You'll want a big one next time,” prophesied the tobacconist, “you wait and see.” *

If you are not in The Timaru Herald You are not in South Canterbury.

If you are not in
The Timaru Herald
You are not in
South Canterbury.

(Courtesy, Great Western Railway). How they train Railway porters to manoeuvre their loads on crowded platforms.

(Courtesy, Great Western Railway).
How they train Railway porters to manoeuvre their loads on crowded platforms.