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Sherlock Holmes Forensic Series: Blood Spatter Analysis

If a blood stain pattern is found at a crime scene, it can give investigators an important piece of the puzzle as to how an offense occurred. The size, shape, distribution and location of blood stains can be used to help reconstruct events. Blood stain analysis is strictly science based employing biology, chemistry, mathematics, and physics. It is by no means a new discipline, but it does require a forensic scientist with keen skills of observation much like Sherlock Holmes.

Different events can cause different types of bloodstain patterns. The various types of bloodstain patterns have the potential to reveal a great deal of information. If a victim’s body is harmed by a weapon like a knife, a blunt object or a bullet, then a bleeding wound occurs. When the bleeding wound is struck, an impact pattern is produced. When a weapon or object such as fingers or even hair throws blood through motion, cast out patterns are formed. Distinctly shaped droplets are created when the blood lands on a surface indicating its direction.

A passive bloodstain refers to patterns created by free falling drops or a pool of blood that has been formed by the force of gravity. When a bloody surface comes in contact with a secondary surface, transfer blood stain patterns occur. Some types of transfer blood stains can be fabric impressions, shoe prints or finger prints in blood.

Bloodstain pattern analysis was used in the times of Sherlock Holmes, but the technological advances such as DNA analysis provide forensic experts with increased capabilities of solving crimes.

Sherlock Holmes Exhibit

The International Exhibition of Sherlock Holmes was developed by Exhibits Development Group and Geoffrey M. Curley + Associates in collaboration with the Conan Doyle Estate Limited, the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, and the Museum of London.


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