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Lateral Puzzles » Solved Lateral Thinking Puzzles » Solved Puzzles - Jan 2005 » [Beroean] The Case of Circus Maximus (A Sherlock Holmes Adventure Puzzle) « Previous Next »

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Archive through January 17, 2004Simon Downham22 1-17-04  1:40 am
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Archive through January 25, 2004Simon Downham22 1-25-04  8:04 am
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Simon Downham (Beroean)
Posted on Thursday, July 15, 2004 - 11:07 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Juicy Fruit
To Lady Lilly

I am unsure of how much time as past since we have "spoke" last but I assume much time has past since Huppin, Muppin, and Bugsy had disapeared. Do you think you could possibly remember how they looked and acted the last time they were seen? Did they seem nervous? Unusally calm? Did they seem like the knew something, or possibly hiding it?
I recall that the Huppim and Muppim seemed rather shocked by the whole business of the murder but beyond that I was unaware of any other emotions they were experiencing. Bugsy was a curious little fellow who was of the attitude that he was there to do a job and that was that.

And, if the birds are still making a great fuss
Fuss? That’s an understatement – they are making one awful racket about 20 feet above our heads in the trees! What on earth does it mean?

then maybe there might still be another body in the woods, buried maybe? It’s possible but it doesn’t quite feel that way to me

Did either of the bodies you found look like someone might have been in the process of burying them? No, not one bit – in fact it looked more like they had been dumped there!

Was the ground around them disturbed, please describe the area to me as best as you can so I may be able to get a better picture of the murder scene. And do you think it is possible they might have been murdered elsewhere and dragged to the place you found them at? I am of the impression that the murder took place else where and that the bodies have ended up here unceremoniously.


I am saddened to say that I still have no clue who the murderer could possibly be. i{Do not concern yourself – you are in good company I fear, and in any case, Holmes is with us now and he is sure to guide us out of the darkness and into the light!

Muppin is of course a suspect but I will be careful not to make assumptions. Now, both men were found with broken necks, cause of death strangulation, would you say hands or a tool such as a rope or garret were used in the murders. Likely they were strangled by a pair of capable hands

Now normally it takes someone with strength to strangle someone to death, but since both men were small in size the murder could be anyone. Indeed – it would be like strangling children – perish the thought!

If a weapon was involved, the finding of such a weapon would be of great use. If you believe a weapon was use, a more careful search of the woods in order, although I have said one should be called for to search out the possibly of another body, since the birds still seem quite shaken up by something.
We have conducted a search but no body has been found on the forest floor but we have discovered the missing stilt that belonged to Muppim! Do you recall that his stilts went missing but that one of them was returned after the murder? Well the remaining one was found here on the ground. Curiously it has been carved, sharpened at one end into a point.

Now getting back to the murder of Max, have you already searched where Huppin and Muppin were known to sleep and live? If not, search there to try and either prove that either Muppin is innocent or guilty, that in unless you find his body first. We have found nothing of interest

This should be enough for you to do. Oh and by the way, if Holmes does have any idea who solved this case, I do wish he would at least send us a clue or something to go on. Perhaps you could drop him a line and hope for the best. Oh and do wish him luck on whatever case he is undertaking.

Indeed. Holmes is here right now and knowing him as I do, I am certain that he has some firm ideas as to how we may progress. He has said that he will be addressing us very soon but at the moment he is staring grimly into the trees in the direction from where the starlings are making that terrible racket.


Kind regards
John Watson
Simon Downham (Beroean)
Posted on Thursday, July 15, 2004 - 11:08 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Fred
Excellent, Watson! I look forward to seeing Mr. Holmes. Holmes has mentioned to me that he will be speaking to us all very shortly!

Mike
Its the cowboy sharpshooter - also lasoo expert. Yes indeed – he is both!

Juicy Fruit
Dearest Watson,

This is excellent news! I am sure Holmes can shed some light on this difficult and dangerous situation. I wish him a safe journey and look forward to his arrival.

Regards,
Lady Lilly
My Dear Lady Lilly,

He is here beside me now and he sends his regards to you – he has promised that he has some interesting comments to make and I will share these with you very soon!
Simon Downham (Beroean)
Posted on Friday, July 16, 2004 - 1:57 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Sherlock Holmes
Watson, I am surprised that a man of your pharmaceutical acumen did not recognise that curare is a poison that almost singularly emenates from the South American continent, and in particular, from the natives of the Amazon Basin. Did you not endeavour to discover the source of such a simple and overt matter?

Dr Watson
Oh dear Holmes, I really didn't ..

Sherlock Holmes
No matter Watson, your confederates in this case - lateral puzzlers I believe they call themselves - should really have insisted that you follow up this enquiry. You will need to speak to them about asking the right questions and looking in the right places if you are to ever solve this case!

Dr Watson
I really do think that they have done their best and they have helped preserve my sanity in this case.

Sherlock Holmes
That's as maybe Watson but sadly it is not enough. You need to remind them to be specific in their instructions and to get you looking in the right places for the right things and asking the right questions. Let them demonstrate just how lateral they are!

In the meantime I should let you know that there used to be an Amazonian Indian who was employed by this freak show that they call a circus, only a few months ago. However, it is mainly of academic interest now.


Dr Watson
Only academic interest Holmes?

Shelock Holmes
Yes indeed Watson. It has little bearing now.. now that I know the identity of the murderer.

Dr Watson
My goodness, you cannot be serious! But.. but if you are certain, then we must apprehend this monster immediately before he or she kills again!

Shelock Holmes
Calm yourself Watson. There will not be any more murders. There is simply no reason for it. Other than I, there is no threat to this individual and I can look after myself. In any case I have instructed Lestrade to cordon off the cirus and nobody can escape. This is an interesting situation. Only I and the culprit know the identity of the murderer. The question is, can you and you lateral puzzlers discover who it is before winter sets in?

If you think you will need any help I shall compose a list of questions that your cohort of puzzlers can focus on.


Dr Watson
Well well Holmes, I don't know what to say, except that this is all simply astonishing!
Simon Downham (Beroean)
Posted on Friday, July 16, 2004 - 2:00 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Sherlock Holmes
And by the way Watson, make sure you and your puzzlers quickly locate the body of the remaining midget so that it can be buried before the stench gets even worse!
Leah Tooke (Juicyfruit)
Posted on Saturday, July 17, 2004 - 4:45 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Dear Watson and Holmes,

AH HA! I suspected it as well, I knew the other brother too might be dead. I certainly did not like pointing the blame upon poor Muppin and may he forgive me for even thinking such a thing.

And you have found the stilt, how interesting. Do you see any blood upon the end of it? Does it appear to have been cleaned? And does the point of the stilt appear to match the wound found on Max's side?

The starlings are still crying are they? I assumed this ment another body. And if it is not in the woods it still must be nearby or else they would not be making such a racket. Do they appear to be focused on any site in particular, a site that they cannot get to because of our presnece maybe.

I do believe I forgot to ask. Do you think the two midgets were strangled elsewhere and dumped here? Or maybe they were killed on the spot. I fear it might be too late to examine the ground around them for any signs of a struggle though.

A lasso expert! Oh dear, his room should be searched at once. Anything of interest to this case should be confiscated. Books on the Amazon, any of the stolen articles, curae recipes. He may have, (unwittingly) had part in these awful murders.

And Holmes, you did say that there was no danger of the murderer harming anyone else. Then it is safe to assume that Huppin, Muppin, and Max were the targets, but why poor Bugsy I wonder? He was planted here to watch Mary's knickers so only Mary, ourselves and Bugsy knew about it? Do you think Bugsy was too close to something? Hmm, Mary knew...,but we need evidence to point the finger at her. We may have motive, but no evidence.

We did search her quarters right? And found nothing? Maybe we should check again, for any documents. Also Max's, Huppin, and Muppin's quarters should be searched and any documents seized and examined. Any at all. Since Mary is still with us, however, we might have to check whilst she is away or not looking. Also, check Bugsy's quarters, and take all his documents if he as any. Maybe he found something and met his end before he could alert us.

Now I get back to those child's fingerprints. I think someone should question the doctors and midwives in the nearest town. Ask them directly if Mary had come to them seeking care for being with child. If not, ask if she looked well, seemed to be gaining any more weight, was pale in the face or flushed? Did she complain of or seemed to be suffering morning sickness? Does anyone in the circus have training as a midwife perhaps? If so, the same questions should be asked of them.

Now, that other body...if the starlings give no clue we should check anywhere where it might be possible to hide a small corpse. Animal cages, trunks, under piles of hay and sawdust, all such places should be checked. Cover this as a search for something else though, we wouldn't want to make the murderer too fearful or else he might run. Oh and Holmes, the murder is still about correct, he or she hasn't jumped ship or rather circus, on us?

Watson, did the woods have any caves or deep holes about? If so, they should be carefully checked as well. The missing body could be there. And since the stilt was found there, we could very well assume the other stolen objects may be found there as well. And if all else fails, we should imedeately get all hands and shovels for all and start digging around the area where the starlings are congrated.

It just struck me. The bodies, did they appeared to be mutilated by the starlings or did something larger do it? The damage seems so severe that the little creatures could not have done all of it. Are there any animal tracks about where you found the bodies? Human tracks maybe? And do please have the stilts fingerprinted and checked for any fibers and fluids, tell me anything you find.

That is all for now. I will leave you to it. Good luck and God's speed.

With Loving Regards,
Lady Lilly
Haenlomal (Haenlomal)
Posted on Monday, July 19, 2004 - 8:48 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Hello all,

Sorry for not throwing my weight sooner, but my energies have been diverted to other cases in my jurisdiction. I'm afraid I can only drop into this case from time to time as my workload permits.

In the meantime, though, I will contribute in the following manner: Have you considered going to where the bird activity seems to be the most persistent, and then try looking _UP_ into the tree branches to see if a body is suspended from there?

-- Chief Inspector Oscar Templeton
Simon Downham (Beroean)
Posted on Saturday, July 24, 2004 - 11:16 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Juicy Fruit
Dear Watson and Holmes,

AH HA! I suspected it as well, I knew the other brother too might be dead. I certainly did not like pointing the blame upon poor Muppin and may he forgive me for even thinking such a thing.

And you have found the stilt, how interesting. Do you see any blood upon the end of it? Most certainly. There is a dark stain that id perfectly consistent with old dry blood
Does it appear to have been cleaned? Not at all – it merely looks as though the stilt was hurriedly discarded without ceromony – perhaps simply heaved over the top of the perimiter fence. It was laying in long grass and could easily have remained hidden.
And does the point of the stilt appear to match the wound found on Max's side? It most certainly does. This sharpened stilt with it’s stained tip is most likely the weapon that caused the stab wound that we found in Maximus dead body. However we know that the wound did not result in his death. Death was caused by asphyxia as a result of curare poisoning which must have entered his circulatory system via the neat pair of puncture wounds, that we also discovered on his body.

The starlings are still crying are they? I assumed this ment another body. And if it is not in the woods it still must be nearby or else they would not be making such a racket. Do they appear to be focused on any site in particular, a site that they cannot get to because of our presnece maybe. They are congregated in the branches of the trees above our heads.

I do believe I forgot to ask. Do you think the two midgets were strangled elsewhere and dumped here? It looks that way
Or maybe they were killed on the spot. I fear it might be too late to examine the ground around them for any signs of a struggle though. No – it looks as though they were unceremoniously dumped here after being murdered elsewhere, presumably within the circus grounds.

A lasso expert! Oh dear, his room should be searched at once. Anything of interest to this case should be confiscated. Books on the Amazon, any of the stolen articles, curae recipes. He may have, (unwittingly) had part in these awful murders. We have already done so but thus far cannot find anything incriminating or suggestive that he was involved.

And Holmes, you did say that there was no danger of the murderer harming anyone else. Then it is safe to assume that Huppin, Muppin, and Max were the targets, but why poor Bugsy I wonder? He was planted here to watch Mary's knickers so only Mary, ourselves and Bugsy knew about it? Do you think Bugsy was too close to something? Holmes: Precisely my dear Lilly! He was on to something. Now, can you recall what he was assigned to do – what he was spying out for? Think back carefully about this.

Hmm, Mary knew...,but we need evidence to point the finger at her. We may have motive, but no evidence.

We did search her quarters right? And found nothing? Maybe we should check again, for any documents. Also Max's, Huppin, and Muppin's quarters should be searched and any documents seized and examined. Any at all. Since Mary is still with us, however, we might have to check whilst she is away or not looking. Also, check Bugsy's quarters, and take all his documents if he as any. Maybe he found something and met his end before he could alert us. We have done all of this. Nothing significant has come to light so far

Now I get back to those child's fingerprints. I think someone should question the doctors and midwives in the nearest town. Ask them directly if Mary had come to them seeking care for being with child. If not, ask if she looked well, seemed to be gaining any more weight, was pale in the face or flushed? Did she complain of or seemed to be suffering morning sickness? Does anyone in the circus have training as a midwife perhaps? If so, the same questions should be asked of them. All of these lines of enquiry have so far drawn a blank

Now, that other body...if the starlings give no clue we should check anywhere where it might be possible to hide a small corpse. Animal cages, trunks, under piles of hay and sawdust, all such places should be checked. Cover this as a search for something else though, we wouldn't want to make the murderer too fearful or else he might run. We are in the process of conducting the search
Oh and Holmes, the murder is still about correct, he or she hasn't jumped ship or rather circus, on us? Holmes: No fear my dear Fruit,the murderer has not escaped us and I have the place surrounded by our friends in blue. I am certain of the identity of the murderer but I am now waiting for you to compile the evidence that will merit an arrest. I must warn you that this task will not be easy. This case is one of the most bizarre that I have ever encountered but I am sure that you, my good woman, and your lateral confederates are capable of bringing home the bacon, as they say.

Watson, did the woods have any caves or deep holes about? If so, they should be carefully checked as well. The missing body could be there. And since the stilt was found there, we could very well assume the other stolen objects may be found there as well. And if all else fails, we should imedeately get all hands and shovels for all and start digging around the area where the starlings are congrated. We are onto it right now!

It just struck me. The bodies, did they appeared to be mutilated by the starlings or did something larger do it? The bodies have been entirely mutlated by the starlings, who have been having a fine feast.
The damage seems so severe that the little creatures could not have done all of it. On the contrary I believe that they would have completely devoured the carcasses right down to the bones if we hadn’t have stumbled upon their larder.
Are there any animal tracks about where you found the bodies? Human tracks maybe? And do please have the stilts fingerprinted and checked for any fibers and fluids, tell me anything you find. I am afraid that there is nothing more that comes to light except that we can confirm that the stain on the stilt is indeed blood!

That is all for now. I will leave you to it. Good luck and God's speed.
With Loving Regards,
Lady Lilly
My dear – we both thank you for your creative ideas and thoroughness which has assisted us in our progress. Holmes & Watson
Simon Downham (Beroean)
Posted on Saturday, July 24, 2004 - 11:17 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Haenlomal

Sorry for not throwing my weight sooner, but my energies have been diverted to other cases in my jurisdiction. I'm afraid I can only drop into this case from time to time as my workload permits.

In the meantime, though, I will contribute in the following manner: Have you considered going to where the bird activity seems to be the most persistent, and then try looking _UP_ into the tree branches to see if a body is suspended from there?
-- Chief Inspector Oscar Templeton

Well done Oscar my dear fellow! Thanks to your inspiration we have located the third and final missing midget – well, at least what there remains of him!
Simon Downham (Beroean)
Posted on Saturday, July 24, 2004 - 11:31 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

HINTS!

SHERLOCK HOLMES

My dear Lateral Puzzlers, since my arrival at the scene of the crime, which has now developed into a multiple murder scene, it occurs to me that some guidance would be in order. I will make recommendations for the focus of your attention:

· There were reports of some mysterious “thuds”. One took place on the night of the first murder and the three more were heard on the night that the three midgets went missing. Do your best to find out what those thuds were. – Dryman was on the trail earlier when he was searching the storage areas but he did not know what he was looking for. What do you think you should be looking for?

Every single one of the trivial items that went missing play a significant role in the robbery and murders that took place and are therefore keys to unlocking the mystery.

· The Stilts: Both wre stolen but one was returned – why? Now we know how one of them was employed. It was sharpened and used to effect a stab wound in the body of Maximus. Was the other one used for anything? Why was it returned?

· Fishing hooks: What were they used for?

· Lead weights: What did the murderer want with these?

· Pebbles and sea shells? What part did these play? Why were they returned? Why was it a gap of 3 months before they were returned?

· Why were there two very different sets of stab wounds in the dead body of Maximus? If only one wound killed him what was the purpose of the other?

· What made the puncture wound in the neck. If nobody entered the caravan how was the wound inflicted? If it was caused by a projectile, why was there no projectile found in the caravan? If it was a hand held weapon, what was it and where is it?

· How can you explain the fingerprints found in the caravan that Maximus lived in and where his body was discovered? This still seems to be a complete mystery and it is essential that it is solved. You have been told that the fingerprints are human but the size of a baby’s prints. You have been told that they are not the prints of an animal. Yet there is no evidence of a baby ever being in the circus in recent times. There is no evidence that any of the circus folk have been in contact with a baby in recent times. The trail of the prints suggests an intelligent pattern of behaviour that took place between the location of the jewels and the barred window, which appears to be beyond the capacity of that of a baby. The fingerprints are too small to be those of a midget. Maybe you would do well to look back at the “expert” opinions on this matter and see if you can discover what it was that was bothering the professor – a topic on which his recall of memory was lacking!

· Why were Mary Roti’s extra large size knickers stolen and what would they be used for? Why were one pair stolen and then a second pair? Why did the second pair keep returning to their rightful place, only to disappear again and again?

· Why did the knickers keep reappearing whenever a search was being undertaken

· Where are the Jewels?
Simon Downham (Beroean)
Posted on Monday, July 26, 2004 - 12:12 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

4th November 1988

Addendum to HINTS

SHERLOCK HOLMES

Watson was distracting me as I wrote my previous report to you and subsequently I neglected to mention one of the items that went missing.

The Boomerang:
What is the significance of the missing boomerang?

Arty Morty and The Thuds
I have questioned Arty Morty again. I wanted to be hear from his own mouth, as to, exactly how many thuds he heard on the night of the first murder. He originally stated to Watson that he heard only one such noise. I suspected that there may have been two thuds. However he can only recall hearing the one but it is possible that he may have been oblivious to a second thud if he had fallen asleep. I put this to him but he denies that he ever falls asleep whilst on duty. I don't believe him!


The Nail
There was a nail found embedded on the inside of the perimiter fence about 5 feet from the ground with a piece of knotted nylon line attached. What is the significance of this?

Here is a reminder list of the characters that figure in our investigation:

Maximus Pratt (murdered 29 Sept 1988)
Huppim Pratt (murdered went missing 10th oct 1988 / found murdered 1st Nov 1988)
Muppim Pratt (murdered went missing 10th oct 1988 / found murdered 2nd Nov 1988)
Bugsy (murdered went missing 10th oct 1988 / found murdered 1st Nov 1988)

Albert (The Zulu Warrior. Nobody can pronounce his Zulu name and so he adopted the name of the Queen’s late husband.)
Jago (The Australian Aborigine)
Kill Bodie (The American Cowboy)
Lilly Lustre (Kill Bodie’s assistant)
Harra Singh (The Indian Sikh)
Mary Roti (The bearded fat lady)
Cricket (The Chinaman)
Arty Morty (The gate keeper and maintenance man)
Haenlomal (Haenlomal)
Posted on Monday, July 26, 2004 - 3:55 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Hello all yet again,

How is it going over there in England? Weather here is Canada has been rather unstable, and it has been hindering my progress with several cases I'm working on.

But I digress. I shouldn't be burdening you needlessly with my own cases, as you have more than enough on your collective plates as it is. I wish you guys the best of luck, and a speedy resolution to the case on hand.

In the meantime, though, I have an idle thought, which might come to something. Then again, it might not.... :)

The nylon material found with the fishhook...any chance it came from Mary Roti's silk knickers? Inasmuch they are made from silk, sometimes undergarments need a bit of nylon or plastic or rubber to keep them in place when they're being worn....

-- Chief Inspector Oscar Templeton
Simon Downham (Beroean)
Posted on Monday, July 26, 2004 - 5:43 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Haenlomal

Dear Oscar

How is it going over there in England? It is crisp November morning here
Weather here is Canada has been rather unstable, and it has been hindering my progress with several cases I'm working on.

But I digress. I shouldn't be burdening you needlessly with my own cases, as you have more than enough on your collective plates as it is. I wish you guys the best of luck, and a speedy resolution to the case on hand. Thank you Oscar

In the meantime, though, I have an idle thought, which might come to something. Then again, it might not....

The nylon material found with the fishhook...any chance it came from Mary Roti's silk knickers? Inasmuch they are made from silk, sometimes undergarments need a bit of nylon or plastic or rubber to keep them in place when they're being worn....


Oscar I should have clarified for you that the piece of nylon - I'm getting carried away with myself, I'm not sure that nylon has been invented yet - is from some of the fishing line that was stolen from the American Cowboy, Kill Bodie.
-- Chief Inspector Oscar Templeton


Best wishes Sherlock Holmes
Haenlomal (Haenlomal)
Posted on Monday, July 26, 2004 - 6:18 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Oscar I should have clarified for you that the piece of nylon - I'm getting carried away with myself, I'm not sure that nylon has been invented yet - is from some of the fishing line that was stolen from the American Cowboy, Kill Bodie.

Apologies are unnecessary, my dear Holmes. It is me who erred in not reading through the notes of this case carefully enough. Thanks for the pointer.

Now then, the next logical question, upon discovery of the third body, is the position it was it. Was the body draped over a tree branch? Was it hanging by its neck? Did this body also have a broken neck? I'm sure Watson, being the man of science and medicine he is, could speedily provide us the answers to these questions.

Thanks,

-- Oscar Templeton

P.S. I suppose I now have the unpleasant duty of informing my daughter that her dearest friend Bugsy is dead. Her energetic inquiries as to the problem of the missing knickers made for an interesting read, as well as her despair on learning that her friend was missing. I'm at quite a lost as to how to break this news. She was already quaking at the thought of Bugsy possibly being dead. What will she do once she learns that he really is dead?
Simon Downham (Beroean)
Posted on Monday, July 26, 2004 - 10:51 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Oscar I should have clarified for you that the piece of nylon - I'm getting carried away with myself, I'm not sure that nylon has been invented yet - is from some of the fishing line that was stolen from the American Cowboy, Kill Bodie.

Apologies are unnecessary, my dear Holmes. It is me who erred in not reading through the notes of this case carefully enough. Thanks for the pointer.

Sherlock Holmes: No matter Oscar my dear fellow.
Watson! Could you answer Oscar’s questions? You are the medical man.


Now then, the next logical question, upon discovery of the third body, is the position it was it.

Dr. Watson:
Was the body draped over a tree branch? Well not so much draped, as entangled, among the branches.
Was it hanging by its neck? No
Did this body also have a broken neck? Yes it did and it also had a broken clavicle, radius, ulna and a few cracked ribs too.

I'm sure Watson, being the man of science and medicine he is, could speedily provide us the answers to these questions.

Thanks,

-- Oscar Templeton

P.S. I suppose I now have the unpleasant duty of informing my daughter that her dearest friend Bugsy is dead. Her energetic inquiries as to the problem of the missing knickers made for an interesting read, as well as her despair on learning that her friend was missing. I'm at quite a lost as to how to break this news. She was already quaking at the thought of Bugsy possibly being dead. What will she do once she learns that he really is dead?

I am sorry to hear that your daughter will feel the loss of Bugsy so deeply. Please send her my best regards and inform her that we will make sure that justice prevails – we will bring the murderer to account.

John Watson & Sherlock Holmes
Haenlomal (Haenlomal)
Posted on Tuesday, July 27, 2004 - 3:52 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Interesting....now about Arty Morty and the mysterious thuds he heard at night. I think it's high time we conducted several more little experiments.

Is it possible to obtain a sack, fill it with enough soft material (such as sand) to approximate the weight of one of the dead midgets, and then launch said bag into the the air and observe the sound it makes upon impact? I have this nagging idea that maybe the murderer killed the midgets, and then catapulted them out of the circus grounds using as of yet to be discovered means.

At the very least, we can determine whether or not the thuds were those of a body falling from relatively great height. A pity that too much soft tissue has been consumed so that we cannot determine if there was physical trauma consistent with a fall from great height....but maybe the bone fracture patterns can help there. Maybe the good here Watson knows more and can comment on that?

-- Chief Inspector Oscar Templeton
Leah Tooke (Juicyfruit)
Posted on Wednesday, July 28, 2004 - 5:42 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Dear Watson,

Something very interesting occured to me whilst backtracking these tragic events. Bugsy was planted to watch Mary's knickers, why was he considered a threat?

Well someone was stealing Mary's knickers, and although I dont' know why, yet I am sure Bugsy saw who was stealing them. Maybe he was hiding in them and was stolen away with them. Whatever the reason , I am sure Bugsy was killed because he saw the knicker thief who also happened to be the murderer.

What I am curious about is, why was some of Mary's knickers brought back and the rest taken? Do you think there was a difference between the knickers? Is there anyway to check? Size, number of holes , cloth strength ? These should be checked if at all possible.

I am convinced the sharpened stilt caused the wound in Max's side. Now I ask you this, if one was returned , why do you think? Was the returned stilt different than the one that was kept, (before it was sharpened)? Or maybe the murderer only needed one and had to steal them as a pair. Another thing to check, see how one would have to stand outside Max's trailer to make a successful strike at the point where the wound on the side was made. Then maybe we can at least get an idea of how tall the person had to be , and wether he had to stand or kneel or use a platform.

Ah the thumps, two you say. Well would the night Morty heard the thumps line up with the approximate time of death of Bugsy and Muppin. If so, I think the circus should get a new watchman as Morty only heard one thump and I believe there was indeed two, the sound of Muppin and Bugsy being flung to the ground.

One last thing. Good doctor, in your opinion could the broken bones have been caused by a great mishandling , such as a body being roughly thrown a great distance?

I fear I do not remember when the baby prints first came up or what was said about them, perhaps my memory needs to be refreshed.
Haenlomal (Haenlomal)
Posted on Thursday, July 29, 2004 - 7:52 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Hey Leah, you have a puzzle sitting in lateral limbo. You might want to answer the questions on it to get it out of there.
Simon Downham (Beroean)
Posted on Saturday, July 31, 2004 - 10:41 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Haenlomal
Interesting....now about Arty Morty and the mysterious thuds he heard at night. I think it's high time we conducted several more little experiments.

Is it possible to obtain a sack, fill it with enough soft material (such as sand) to approximate the weight of one of the dead midgets, and then launch said bag into the the air and observe the sound it makes upon impact? I have this nagging idea that maybe the murderer killed the midgets, and then catapulted them out of the circus grounds using as of yet to be discovered means.
At the very least, we can determine whether or not the thuds were those of a body falling from relatively great height. A pity that too much soft tissue has been consumed so that we cannot determine if there was physical trauma consistent with a fall from great height....but maybe the bone fracture patterns can help there. Maybe the good here Watson knows more and can comment on that?

-- Chief Inspector Oscar Templeton


Watson:

Holmes says that you are on the right track – well done. He wishes me to tell you this:
The three midgets who we found in the forest were all killed in the circus grounds and ejected over the fence just as you suspect. The bone fractures are consistent with this.

However the thuds that were heard by Arty Morty cannot be explained by the landing of the bodies in the trees outside of the perimeter fence. The thuds emanate from a different source. In any case, we have to remember that Arty Morty also heard a thud on the night of the original murder of Maximus and his body remained in the caravan where he was killed. Clearly the thud on that night could not have been caused by his body going over the high fence. Could someone elses body have gone over the fence, whose identity is as yet unknown? Unlikely. Or maybe ..?

The location of the other three bodies found suggests that they would have all landed in the trees. At some point when the birds were feeding upon the carcasses, two of the bodies were disturbed sufficiently to fall through the branches and onto the forest floor.

We conducted your experiment. We have heaved some filled sacks into the trees. in the presence of Arty Morty. They made quite a rustle but not a thud when they landed in the trees. Arty says that the nature of the noises he heard were substantially different.


Progress Made:
Huppim, Muppim and Bugsy were all strangled in the circus grounds on the same night and then their bodies were somehow ejected over the high perimeter fence and into the fir trees.
Simon Downham (Beroean)
Posted on Saturday, July 31, 2004 - 11:09 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Leah
Dear Watson,

Something very interesting occured to me whilst backtracking these tragic events. Bugsy was planted to watch Mary's knickers, why was he considered a threat?

Well someone was stealing Mary's knickers, and although I dont' know why, yet I am sure Bugsy saw who was stealing them. Maybe he was hiding in them and was stolen away with them. Whatever the reason , I am sure Bugsy was killed because he saw the knicker thief who also happened to be the murderer.

Holmes
Leah my dear girl, you are absolutely correct!

What I am curious about is, why was some of Mary's knickers brought back and the rest taken? Do you think there was a difference between the knickers? Is there anyway to check? Size, number of holes , cloth strength ? These should be checked if at all possible.

Watson
Holmes wishes me to convey this to you:
The murderer needed a specific number of pairs of knickers for his needs.
Do you recall how many pairs remain missing?
Do you recall that one pair repeatedly went missing only to return every time that a search of the caravans was conducted?
This is a tricky issue: What did the murderer need those knickers for and how many pairs did he need? And how does that match with how many are still missing. There is much yet to learn!


I am convinced the sharpened stilt caused the wound in Max's side.
Correct!

Now I ask you this, if one was returned , why do you think? Was the returned stilt different than the one that was kept, (before it was sharpened)? Or maybe the murderer only needed one and had to steal them as a pair. Another thing to check, see how one would have to stand outside Max's trailer to make a successful strike at the point where the wound on the side was made. Then maybe we can at least get an idea of how tall the person had to be , and wether he had to stand or kneel or use a platform.

One of the stilts was used for this very purpose but our experiments conclude that almost anyone could have used the stilt quite easily from the bars of the caravan window. As for the second stilt – it is in our possession. Do you have any instructions for me regarding this specimen of evidence?

Ah the thumps, two you say. Well would the night Morty heard the thumps line up with the approximate time of death of Bugsy and Muppin. If so, I think the circus should get a new watchman as Morty only heard one thump and I believe there was indeed two, the sound of Muppin and Bugsy being flung to the ground.

One last thing. Good doctor, in your opinion could the broken bones have been caused by a great mishandling , such as a body being roughly thrown a great distance?

As you will have noticed, the issue of the three bodies outside the circus perimeter is mostly understood now – although there is still information to gather.

Holmes
Leah my dear girl, I was getting carried away with myself about there being two thuds on the night of Maximus’ murder. I was testing Arty Morty to see if he had anything to hide. I am content to believe that there was only one thud on the night of that first murder. However we know that the thud was not related to his body going over the fence simply because his body did not go over the fence!}

I fear I do not remember when the baby prints first came up or what was said about them, perhaps my memory needs to be refreshed.
If I can get round to it I will recap the case so far so that all relevant matters will be set before us. Otherwise I will refresh you with the necessary information regarding the baby prints because the whole case hinges on this!

Progress
The sharpened stilt found on the forest floor was used to inflict the non fatal wound in the body of Maximus.
Bugsy was murdered because he discovered the identity of the individual who was stealing Mary Roti’s knickers.
Haenlomal (Haenlomal)
Posted on Tuesday, August 10, 2004 - 5:11 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Hello Watson,

Sorry for the long delay, but I have been working on other cases, so could only drop in here occasionally. But...

Could Mary's knickers have been used for the catapult to launch the midgets over? Maybe attached to the end of the fishing rod. Since fishing rods are somewhat flexible, it's not inconceivable that knickers+fishing rod could improvise as a catapult.

-- Chief Inspector Oscar Templeton
alphadweeb (Alphadweeb)
Posted on Thursday, August 12, 2004 - 2:35 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

By alphadweeb (Alphadweeb) on Thursday, August 12, 2004 - 02:33 pm:
Hello Watson

Not sure if you can see me ... I'm a small fly who occasionally sits on the wall of your study, near your writing desk. I've watched the proceedings with a sense of mounting excitement ... surely the Case of the Midget Corpse Hurler is nearing a solution.

Something which occurred to me ... if there was a baby in Maximus's cabin and it isn't there now, then it had to enter and leave. Normally one passes a baby rather than throwing it ... perhaps through the window. If so, what about passing stilts in through the window to Maximus who puts them on, then as one is passing him the baby, striking suddenly for his neck with a curare-tipped instrument ? Presumably he then felt a bit faint, put the baby on the chest, and fell over stabbing himself on one of the stilts.

I wonder if we could verify any if this.
Simon Downham (Beroean)
Posted on Sunday, August 15, 2004 - 12:33 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Haenlomal
Hello Watson,

Sorry for the long delay, but I have been working on other cases, so could only drop in here occasionally. But... No matter Oscar, it’s good to hear from you again!

Could Mary's knickers have been used for the catapult to launch the midgets over? Maybe attached to the end of the fishing rod. Since fishing rods are somewhat flexible, it's not inconceivable that knickers+fishing rod could improvise as a catapult.

Dr Watson
Oscar you old bounder, trust you to concieve of such a notion! I rather like the idea myself but Holmes suggested that you are getting rather carried away with that fertile imagination of yours. He adds this though:
Sherlock Holmes
Oscar! The size of the knickers is generous in the extreme and comfortably houses a midget (as was proven with Bugsy taking up residence in them whilst spying on the suspect) and in this aspect your theory is sound. However, the matter of slinging the midgets over the tall boundary fence via this huge pair of ladies bloomers is, somewhat fantastical.

It would take a very strong man – stronger than I have ever met. I fathom that such mightiness does not exist in humankind. As for the employment of the rod and line, this would demand such exquisite skill, that I cannot entertain this level of fisherman’s prowess existing within the confines of Circus Maximus. The idea that the combination of strength and angling art should be found in an individual here is most unlikely.

Oscar, this creative theory that you proffer does indeed reflect the genious that you are, however it is more suited to a ripping yarn than it is to the grim reality that we face here.
None the less, keep that clever mind of yours trained on the crime here. Your contributions are invaluable to Watson.
Simon Downham (Beroean)
Posted on Sunday, August 15, 2004 - 12:49 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Alphadweeb

By alphadweeb (Alphadweeb) on Thursday, August 12, 2004 - 02:33 pm:
Hello Watson

Not sure if you can see me ... I'm a small fly who occasionally sits on the wall of your study, near your writing desk. I've watched the proceedings with a sense of mounting excitement ... surely the Case of the Midget Corpse Hurler is nearing a solution.
Dr Watson
Alphadweeb, my dear old fellow, I am so glad that you have joined us!

Something which occurred to me ... if there was a baby in Maximus's cabin and it isn't there now, then it had to enter and leave. True
Normally one passes a baby rather than throwing it ... perhaps through the window. If so, what about passing stilts in through the window to Maximus who puts them on, then as one is passing him the baby, striking suddenly for his neck with a curare-tipped instrument ? Presumably he then felt a bit faint, put the baby on the chest, and fell over stabbing himself on one of the stilts.

I wonder if we could verify any if this.
What a topping idea! I had better get Holmes in to discuss this with you..

Sherlock Holmes

Alphadweeb, I can tell that you have given great consideration to the preceding events and have paid much attention to necessary details. I can also see that you are applying logic to linking certain details and tying them together to make some sense – a pattern - from the tangle of threads. You are to be commended most highly for this piece of work. Unfortunately the scenario that you have constructed is not what occurred but do not let this deter you from continuing to develop ideas.

The thing is this; there are key facts yet to be unearthed that will assist you in getting closer to the truth. There are also some matters that are misunderstood - hidden in the mists of ignorance - and the baby prints is a spectacular example of this. The matter of the finger prints is crucial and it will take a rare feat of lateral thought to solve this mystery. In the meantime it would be good to try and discover more of the salient facts. I have compiled a list of pointers that should help to direct your energies in the right places. I will list these again, below:

However I can tell you that you are right about Maximus being stabbed by a curare tipped instrument and that he was struck in the neck with this instrument through the bars of his caravan window. It would be interesting to consider what instrument this might have been.
Simon Downham (Beroean)
Posted on Sunday, August 15, 2004 - 12:56 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

RECAP of HINTS!


· There were reports of some mysterious “thuds”. One took place on the night of the first murder and the three more were heard on the night that the three midgets went missing. Do your best to find out what those thuds were. – Dryman was on the trail earlier when he was searching the storage areas but he did not know what he was looking for. What do you think you should be looking for?

Every single one of the trivial items that went missing play a significant role in the robbery and murders that took place and are therefore keys to unlocking the mystery.

· The Stilts: Both wre stolen but one was returned – why? Now we know how one of them was employed. It was sharpened and used to effect a stab wound in the body of Maximus. Was the other one used for anything? Why was it returned?

· Fishing hooks: What were they used for?

· Lead weights: What did the murderer want with these?

· Pebbles and sea shells? What part did these play? Why were they returned? Why was it a gap of 3 months before they were returned?

· Why were there two very different sets of stab wounds in the dead body of Maximus? If only one wound killed him what was the purpose of the other?

· What made the puncture wound in the neck. If nobody entered the caravan how was the wound inflicted? If it was caused by a projectile, why was there no projectile found in the caravan? If it was a hand held weapon, what was it and where is it?

· How can you explain the fingerprints found in the caravan that Maximus lived in and where his body was discovered? This still seems to be a complete mystery and it is essential that it is solved. You have been told that the fingerprints are human but the size of a baby’s prints. You have been told that they are not the prints of an animal. Yet there is no evidence of a baby ever being in the circus in recent times. There is no evidence that any of the circus folk have been in contact with a baby in recent times. The trail of the prints suggests an intelligent pattern of behaviour that took place between the location of the jewels and the barred window, which appears to be beyond the capacity of that of a baby. The fingerprints are too small to be those of a midget. Maybe you would do well to look back at the “expert” opinions on this matter and see if you can discover what it was that was bothering the professor – a topic on which his recall of memory was lacking!

· Why were Mary Roti’s extra large size knickers stolen and what would they be used for? Why were one pair stolen and then a second pair? Why did the second pair keep returning to their rightful place, only to disappear again and again?

· Why did the knickers keep reappearing whenever a search was being undertaken

· Where are the Jewels?
Simon Downham (Beroean)
Posted on Sunday, August 15, 2004 - 1:10 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Useful Hint

To reveal, press your left mouse button and highlight the space below this statement and above the next visible comment:

If you approach this puzzle like you would a PC Adventure Game, you will discover more information

I realise that a recap is indicated here and that it is probably essential to do one. However it will take considerable time to do a comprehensive summary of the case so far, and I am unable to do just that, at present. If someone else is inclined to have a bash, I would be very grateful. If that doesn't happen, I will attempt to do it myself at some point.

Thanks to everyone who has contributed so far!
Dref (Dref)
Posted on Thursday, August 26, 2004 - 11:25 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Okay, we'll be waiting! ;)
Drew Sollenberger (Sollen)
Posted on Monday, August 30, 2004 - 7:34 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

okay I keep meaning to post on here. but after half an hour reading and writing a post I hit wrong button had it all erased and couldn't get up the energy to do it again so a shortened version of what I wanted to say.

I suspect that the killer is trying to hid something in plain sight with the knickers being reveiled. please declare yet another search of the premises and when/if the knickers are returned to the line do a through search of them for anything hidden in or around them
Drew Sollenberger (Sollen)
Posted on Monday, August 30, 2004 - 7:45 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

okay mabye I'll just keep posting small posts over and over ;)

has sherlock noticed any for prints to shrink or be destorted in such a way as to appear smaller then they truely are?

on a similar note you said there are finger prints as if a baby were crawling towards the jewels correct? does the dusted room show signs of 'leg prints' where they supossed childs legs would be placed while it was crawling? could you also check and see if there are any foot prints that don't appear to match our victims and if so where do they lead and what size are they?
Simon Downham (Beroean)
Posted on Sunday, September 19, 2004 - 10:35 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Sorry I've been away for a while - just whizzing by now - will answer Drews questions soon!
Helen Gwyneth (Youngnell)
Posted on Thursday, September 23, 2004 - 5:15 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Wow! That was a long read.
Allow me to introduce myself at this late stage of the proceedings. I have recently stumbled upon this mystery and what a delight! It has filled many pauses during boring work hours. Selling oranges, of course.

There are a couple of things that have been nagging at me. The 'baby' fingerprints for starters. At first I thought this may be the work of a child midgit. Working on the logic that if adult midgits are the size of normal children then maybe midgit children are the size a normal baby? (Holmes - have we ruled out that it's not a child midgit's prints?)

However thanks to Holmes's advice I reviewed the Professors pondering over the finger prints. Something struck me. After a bit of my own detective work I discovered something that, though enlightining has only prevoked more questions. It is a fact that Koala bears and humans have similar finger prints. So similar that one can be confused for the other. And Koala's are obviously the size of human babies.
However I am not convinced that they are intelligent enough to be trained to steal jewels, though it might be possible.

If the prints turn out to be a Koala's (can anyone think of a way to test this? - Watson have you come across any traces of ucaliptus?) then this obviously incriminates Jago the aboriginy (plase excuse my spelling I have something which, my dear Watson, I believe they will later establish as a kind of dyslexia).
Watson could you please establish whether any of the other suspects have been to Austrialia? Though I suppose anyone could get a Koala if they wanted it enough.

Right, off this Koala train of thought.
I am highly suspicious of Mary Roti. She has featured highly in this investigation and there's something niggiling me about her. She was obviously closely involved with Max but didn't seem too upset that he'd died, more upset about her lack of underware. Could she have used her mighty weight as a counter weight to see-saw the midgits over the fence?

The knickers are probably being used to hold something. However as they have never been found during the searches (correct me if I'm wrong but isn't one pair always missing?) I suspect that they are either hanging in the treetops or being worn by someone, prime suspect: Mary. On anyone else fabric of such volume should be obvious. Could a search be conducted without prior warning and include, dare I say it, a strip search? And a search of the surrounding treetops.

Hmm I've just re-read your last hint on the subject of the knickers Holmes, maybe I have the wrong end of the stick here. Please could you clarify whether all the knickers are returned just before a search?

Also please could you confirm when the items were taken? Were some taken long before Max was murdered? If knickers, pebbles and sea-shells went sometime before then it seems as though they were being used for practice? Maybe to train an animal? A child shouldn't take too much training.

As for the matter of the neck wounds I think we need to search the stores for either a blowpipe or a long device to poke with. Ah I've just had an idea. The problem of a blowpipe would be retriving the darts however if the darts were connected by fishing line all the perpatrator would have to do would be to yank them out. Perhap is was connected to that nail on the fence? Please could you remind me what side of the fence it was on?
Hmm, I think this might be it. So we must gather anything that could be used as a blowpipe, including musical instruments (circus's usually have bands?).

As for the non-fatal stab. Done after death due to lack of bleeding, perhaps in order to tell if Max was dead so it would be safe for whomever to steal the jewels? It's also serves to confuse the actual cause of death etc. Did you dust the returned stilt for prints? This should reveal something. As for why the other one was returned, well, I'm stumpted. Could it be just to incriminate the other stilt and confuse the search further?

Oo and if it is a Koala (I so want it to be)it could climb the trees and hide, hence having never been found. Right, I think you need to clarify whether it really could be anything so spectacular as a Koala Holmes, before I get even more carried away.

Right then, back to my orange selling.

Best wishes,
and do be careful

Young Nell
Simon Downham (Beroean)
Posted on Thursday, September 23, 2004 - 10:45 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Fred
Okay, we'll be waiting! ;)
Watch this space - but not for too long - we may not need it after all!
Simon Downham (Beroean)
Posted on Thursday, September 23, 2004 - 10:53 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Drew

Dr Watson

I suspect that the killer is trying to hide something in plain sight with the knickers being reveiled. please declare yet another search of the premises and when/if the knickers are returned to the line do a through search of them for anything hidden in or around them The search is under way


has sherlock noticed any for prints to shrink or be destorted in such a way as to appear smaller then they truely are? An interesting idea but Holmes says, "no"

on a similar note you said there are finger prints as if a baby were crawling towards the jewels correct? Yes

does the dusted room show signs of 'leg prints' where they supossed childs legs would be placed while it was crawling? could you also check and see if there are any foot prints that don't appear to match our victims and if so where do they lead and what size are they?
This may take some time but we will see whatr we can do. However, since we took the original prints, the crime scene has been disturbed rather too much. It is unlikely that we will turn up anything useful now.
Simon Downham (Beroean)
Posted on Thursday, September 23, 2004 - 11:55 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Young Nell

Sherlock Holmes – Consulting Detective

Wow! That was a long read.
You are to be commended for applying yourself to this case with such diligence and tenacity. It is exactly what we require to effect the necessary progress.

Allow me to introduce myself at this late stage of the proceedings. I have recently stumbled upon this mystery and what a delight! It has filled many pauses during boring work hours. Selling oranges, of course. Watson and I are pleased to have you join us. We feel most gratified that you should sacrifice your purveying activities with oranges to assist in solving this dastardly case.

There are a couple of things that have been nagging at me. The 'baby' fingerprints for starters. At first I thought this may be the work of a child midgit. Working on the logic that if adult midgits are the size of normal children then maybe midgit children are the size a normal baby? (Holmes - have we ruled out that it's not a child midgit's prints?) This is a useful idea and no, it has not been ruled out!

However thanks to Holmes's advice I reviewed the Professors pondering over the finger prints. Very wise indeed!

Something struck me. After a bit of my own detective work I discovered something that, though enlightining has only prevoked more questions. It is a fact that Koala bears and humans have similar finger prints. So similar that one can be confused for the other. And Koala's are obviously the size of human babies.
Capital! Absolutely Capital!! What a wonderful piece of work. I concur with you one hundred percent on this matter. As far as I can tell, it is the only explanation that fits with the other pieces of this puzzling case. Koala Bears are unique in that they are the only creature to have finger prints identical to those of human beings! What a marvellous discovery you have made. (The Professor had read this in my own publication on the study of mammalian finger prints but could not quite recall what he had read but he knew that it was something significant and that was what had been bothering him.)

However I am not convinced that they are intelligent enough to be trained to steal jewels, though it might be possible. As I have said before my dear, “Improbable as it is, all other explanations are more improbable still”. I must attend to some business and so, I will leave you in the capable hands of Watson but will return to you soon.

Dr Watson
If the prints turn out to be a Koala's (can anyone think of a way to test this? - Watson have you come across any traces of ucaliptus?) then this obviously incriminates Jago the aboriginy (plase excuse my spelling I have something which, my dear Watson, I believe they will later establish as a kind of dyslexia).
Watson could you please establish whether any of the other suspects have been to Austrialia? Though I suppose anyone could get a Koala if they wanted it enough. Holmes has told me about the excellent progress you have made. He says you are correct at this stage to point the finger at Jago but now we need some evidence. We have not found any evidence of eucalyptus so far. (Holmes suggests that further personal research will come in handy here.)
Let’s consider: Where was the Koala being kept?
Remember, animals were banned by Maximus!
How was the Koala fed?
And a number of other issues that I am sure will come to you mind.



Right, off this Koala train of thought.
I am highly suspicious of Mary Roti. She has featured highly in this investigation and there's something niggiling me about her. She was obviously closely involved with Max but didn't seem too upset that he'd died, more upset about her lack of underware. Could she have used her mighty weight as a counter weight to see-saw the midgits over the fence? What an amazing notion – worth paying the entrance fee just for that! Holmes says that he knows the method used to eject the midgets but it wasn’t this one.

The knickers are probably being used to hold something. However as they have never been found during the searches (correct me if I'm wrong but isn't one pair always missing?) I suspect that they are either hanging in the treetops or being worn by someone, prime suspect: Mary. On anyone else fabric of such volume should be obvious. Could a search be conducted without prior warning and include, dare I say it, a strip search? And a search of the surrounding treetops. Yes there is one pair permanently missing and another pair that has been shuttling back and forth from its owner’s possession. Holmes agrees that one pair is being used as a container and is interested in your idea about the tree tops. We will conduct a search first thing tomorrow.

Hmm I've just re-read your last hint on the subject of the knickers Holmes, maybe I have the wrong end of the stick here. Please could you clarify whether all the knickers are returned just before a search? We have all become confused with this one and consequently, perhaps our comments have not been consistent on the matter. I can confirm what was mentioned above. One pair has been missing from the outset. The second pair has always been returned just before our searches. Currently, only the original pair is missing.


Sherlock Holmes
Also please could you confirm when the items were taken? Were some taken long before Max was murdered? Yes that’s right
If knickers, pebbles and sea-shells went sometime before then it seems as though they were being used for practice? Absolutely!
Maybe to train an animal? Absolutely!
A child shouldn't take too much training.

As for the matter of the neck wounds I think we need to search the stores for either a blowpipe or a long device to poke with. I think the latter!
Ah I've just had an idea. The problem of a blowpipe would be retriving the darts however if the darts were connected by fishing line all the perpatrator would have to do would be to yank them out. Perhap is was connected to that nail on the fence? Please could you remind me what side of the fence it was on? The nail was on the inside of the fence. I will not say to much but will allow you to consider this further, bearing in mind my comment about “the latter” above

Hmm, I think this might be it. So we must gather anything that could be used as a blowpipe, including musical instruments (circus's usually have bands?). Remember “the latter”

As for the non-fatal stab. Done after death due to lack of bleeding, perhaps in order to tell if Max was dead so it would be safe for whomever to steal the jewels? Possibly but I suspect that there was a more devious reason
It's also serves to confuse the actual cause of death etc. Absolutely and ..
Did you dust the returned stilt for prints? no and now it is too late but ..
This should reveal something. As for why the other one was returned, well, I'm stumped. Could it be just to incriminate the other stilt and confuse the search further? No – there is something substantial yet about the stilts

Oo and if it is a Koala (I so want it to be) Your wish has been realised!
it could climb the trees and hide, hence having never been found. Yes indeed it could!

Right, I think you need to clarify whether it really could be anything so spectacular as a Koala Holmes, before I get even more carried away. And that has been done.

Right then, back to my orange selling.

Best wishes,
and do be careful

Young Nell
Simon Downham (Beroean)
Posted on Sunday, January 02, 2005 - 3:30 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Beroean
Don't worry folks, this won't stay here much longer! Its disposal is well over due. There are only a few lateral leaps remaining and as about three quarters of the case has been solved, I will get Watson to work on writing up the full solution and post it in due course. What do you say Watson?

Watson
It will take me a while to recall all of the details including the evidence and rationale of the case and for me to thread them together.

Beroean
Do you think you can aim to complete your task on the anniversary of the puzzle's iception?

Watson
Yes indeed, I will have it ready for the 14th January. In the meantime there is sub mystery to solve. Sherlock Holmes already knows the true identity of Young Nell, but can anyone else exercise their deductive powers to unveil their person?
Simon Downham (Beroean)
Posted on Friday, January 14, 2005 - 7:57 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

SPOILER - PART 1

This is a complex affair. If you are inclined please take the time to read through the entire solution because then the whole thing will make more sense.

List of Characters
Maximus Pratt (Midget triplet and Circus owner)
Huppim Pratt (Midget triplet)
Muppim Pratt (Midget triplet)
Albert (The Zulu Warrior. Nobody can pronounce his Zulu name and so he adopted the name of the Queen’s late husband.)
Jago (The Australian Aborigine)
Kill Bodie (The American Cowboy)
Lilly Lustre (Kill Bodie’s assistant)
Harra Singh (The Indian Sikh)
Mary Roti (The bearded fat lady)
Cricket (The Chinaman)
Arty Morty (The gate keeper and maintenance man)
Bugsy (Midget Private Investigator) introduced by Forum Member Jane (Newgirl)
Professor Captain Gervaise Piltdown-Smythe, O.B.E (Professor of Natural History) introduced by Forum Member, Dryman
Eustace Piltdown-Smythe (Exotic primatologist and ovarian endocrine specialist) introduced by Forum Member Dryman.



Summary of the Mystery
Maximus Marley, a midget and rich owner of a Circus that employed a collection of bizarre characters, was murdered and robbed. His dead body was discovered on the floor of his caravan with the door locked and bolted from the inside. The only access into that caravan would have been through a steel barred window.

The corpse, which lay a number of feet from the steel barred window, had a stab wound to the abdomen and also a pair of puncture wounds to the neck.

The dead midget had been robbed of his priceless collection of gems. These had been taken from deep within the interior of the locked caravan, far away from the window.

Prior to the murder a number of miscellaneous items were reported missing. They included a pair of stilts, two pairs of large knickers, a collection of pebbles and seashells, fishing tackle (including fishing line & fishing hooks) and also a boomerang.

The Circus was situated in the clearing of some woods and was surrounded by a high and secure perimeter fence. Nobody could enter or leave the circus without being observed by the watchman who guarded the circus. Not a single person departed from the circus after the murder and robbery were committed. However the stolen gems were nowhere to be found.

Later on, when Watson and the Police were investigating the murder, three more midgets suddenly and mysteriously disappeared. Subsequently all three were found dead in the surrounding woods. Their corpses had been hidden in the trees.

When Sherlock Holmes sent his prototype fingerprint detection kit to Watson to assist in the detection, the only relevant prints that showed up were those apparently belonging to a baby. We were told that these prints were certainly human but were so small that they could only belong to an infant. The pattern of these prints formed a trail from the steel barred window, to the chest from where the gems were stolen.



Who Dunnit?
The original Murder and Robbery and also the later three murders were all committed by Jago, the Australian Aborigine.


A Full Explanation and the Sequence of events


Psycho-Social Profile of Jago (The Australian Aborigine)
He was reportedly polite, quiet and solitary. However, if we had probed deeper we would have discovered a highly intelligent individual with a deep passion for nature and meditation, but sadly also a man with a poor social conscience. In Australia he killed a man during an argument over a trifling matter, deserted his village and found passage to England on a merchant ship, whereupon he found a hiding place in the circus. He carried with him his pet Koala Bear which was his constant companion and also the only love of his life. Jago kept the koala out of sight by hiding him under his coat where the little creature mostly slept, nestled against Jago’s bosom. For the rest of the time the koala was discretely hidden in Jago’s caravan. There were some exceptions to this, which we will consider later.

The Motive for Murder
Unlike Jago, Maximus had a disregard for the natural world. He regarded himself as a freak of nature and was bitter. He hated animals. We learned that he forbade them in his Circus. Here is what the Police had to report early into the investigation: “Maximus would not permit animals to be used in the circus. It was strictly a matter of human performers only. In addition to that he would not allow any pets – cats, dogs and the like – as he felt very threatened by animals. This did cause some discontent among the staff but they agreed to abide by it, for the sake of their employment. However, Maximus made one exception to this rule. Paradoxically he had a fascination for snakes and he consented for Harra Singh to keep a cobra as part of his snake-charming act.”

Despite Jago’ efforts for secrecy, Maximus somehow discovered that he was hiding a Koala Bear. Maximus threatened Jago with expulsion from the Circus unless he got rid of the animal. Nobody else knew anything about this or indeed anything about the existence of the creature in question. Jago lied to Maximus, saying that he had disposed of the Koala, when in fact he continued to harbour the cuddly creature, and planned to dispose of Maximus instead.

Jago had never known wealth but during his stay at the circus he often witnessed Maximus gloating over the collection of gems when he peered through the steel bars of the barred window outside Maximus’ caravan. After a while Jago began to covet those gems. Jago was also homesick and was concerned about the health of his furry friend who was not so happy feeding on pine leaves & mistletoe. The natural and favourite diet of the Koala is eucalyptus leaves and these were not available in England. Therefore Jago planned to steal the collection of gems and use them to fund a new life back in Australia.

[See “Interesting Facts about the Koala Bear” below]



The Scene of the Murder and Robbery
Maximus, the owner of the Circus was murdered whilst in the apparent safety of his locked caravan. The only means of entry into that caravan was through the steel bars of the only window. The bars were spaced barely five inches apart, which made it impossible for a human to squeeze through.

The cause of Death
The body had a stab wound to the abdomen and a pair of punctures to the neck. Death was caused by the injection of a curare like poison which found entrance via the punctures in the neck. The poison was delivered on the tips of two small steel pins attached to the end of a wooden stilt. The wooden stilt was easily thrust between the bars of the caravan window and the pins sunk into the neck of the unsuspecting victim. As Maximus was so small and frail in constitution, he died from respiratory failure very soon after the poison was administered. Even so, Jago had sharpened the end of another wooden stilt and also thrust this through the bars of the window and into the fleshy abdomen of the dying Maximus.

Apart from stealth, the chosen methods of violence were selected so as to deflect any suspicion away from the murderer and cast it instead upon other members of the Circus. The stab wound was supposed to implicate Albert (the Zulu warrior) who owned an Assegai Spear, whilst the puncture wounds were designed to implicate Harra Singh (the Indian Sikh) who owned the snake. Jago was envious of Harra Singh because he was the only employee who was permitted to have a pet. It was a double layered ruse. Jago imagined that Albert would become the first suspect and that upon discovery of the puncture wounds Harra Singh would then become the prime suspect and that the Police would assume that Singh had manufactured the stab wound to falsely implicate Albert! Jago was sure that this line of reasoning would make the Police convince themselves of Singh’s guilt.

The modified stilts used for murder weapons, were the pair that had been stolen from Muppim. Soon after the murder, one of the stilts was returned. This was the stilt that was used to deliver the poison. If we had inspected that stilt closely we would have discovered two small holes in the base where the two steel pins had previously been inserted. The second stilt had been disposed of. This one had the bottom of it whittled to a sharp point and was stained with the blood of the murder victim. Jago got rid of this stilt simply by throwing it over the fence and into one of the trees in the surrounding woods. You may recall that we found this stilt towards the end of the case.

[“Notes on the Cobra” and “Notes on Curare” are available upon request]


An Ingenious Robbery
Jago was well aware that Maximus’ caravan was secure and formidable but he conceived an ingenious plan to penetrate the mini fortress. After a few months he successfully trained the koala bear to execute the robbery for him. First, he stole the collection of pebbles and shells that belonged to Lilly Lustre (Kill Bodie’s assistant). By using a reward system based on extra food and affection, he patiently trained his koala to pick up the pebbles and fetch them. On the night of the murder, the koala performed just as required. After Jago murdered Maximus he slipped the koala between the steel bars of the caravan window and after numerous trips the creature collected the gems from the open chest and delivered them to Jago.

An Effective Hiding Place for the Gems
Jago was well aware that the Circus compound (enclosed within a secure high fence) could lead to his downfall. If he became identified as the murderer, he would be trapped within. He didn’t wish to become a caged bird but nor did he fancy his chances as a hunted fugitive and so he decided against fleeing as soon as his crimes were committed. Instead he reasoned that his best chance was to deflect suspicion away from himself, hide the gems and lay low until the coast was clear.

However, one problem remained. Where could he hide the gems? He couldn’t risk holding on to them, nor could he keep them in his caravan. Neither could he risk hiding them inside the Circus compound for fear that they would be discovered upon thorough searches by the authorities. Therefore he had to hide them outside the compound. However, if he were to leave the confines of the circus Arty Morty (the watchman) would observe him and the game would be up.

The solution that the aborigine conceived was ingenious. After the robbery Jago crept into one of the storage trailers and wheeled out the cannon that fired the Human Cannonball (who was away on winter leave). He wrapped up the gems tightly inside a pair of knickers that he had stolen from Mary Roti (the fat bearded lady). Then he used the fishing line (stolen from Kill Bodie) to tightly bind it into a secure package. He also attached numerous fishing hooks around the outside. He did this to ensure that the bundle would snag onto its landing spot and stay put.

The idea was to shoot the bundle out of the cannon, over the fence and to land high up in the trees, where it would remain well out of sight until it was safe for him to depart from the Circus. In the event Jago did exactly as he planned. He fired the cannon, which catapulted his homemade missile beyond the fence. Thus the gems were conveyed into the trees on the outside of the camp.

He had no fears of losing the gems in the trees. He was certain that he could locate his valuable bundle at a later date because he had trained his beloved koala to sniff out and retrieve any article with a specific scent. He had even tested out the koala’s ability with Mary’s bloomers and it worked perfectly.

This is why two pairs of Mary’s bloomers were stolen. One pair was needed for wrapping the gems in and the other pair was required to provide the scent for the retrieving koala!

It also explains why every time the Police initiated a search of the entire Circus, the bloomers appeared back on Mary’s washing line and also why they repeatedly disappeared and reappeared. The article of underwear that ended up shuttling back and forth was essential to providing the scent for the koala so that Jago could be reunited with the gems. At the same time Jago could not afford to have the underwear discovered in his caravan, so every time the police conducted a search, he returned the bloomers to the washing line.

The thud that Arty Morty heard around 01.00 hours on the night of the murder was the sound of the catapult mechanism of the cannon, which shot the knickered jewels over the fence!

Early on in the Puzzle, Dryman instructed Watson to investigate the storage trailers but neither Dryman nor Watson knew what they were looking for. Unfortunately, Dryman did not ask Watson for a comprehensive inventory of stored equipment otherwise the existence of the cannon would have been revealed.

[See “Interesting information about Human Cannon Balls” below]


SPOILER - PART 2 Follows...
Simon Downham (Beroean)
Posted on Friday, January 14, 2005 - 7:59 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

SPOILER - PART 2

The Missing Midgets and their Deaths
Without going into too much detail, Huppim and Muppim must have had their suspicions about Jago who subsequently eliminated them by breaking their necks and disposing of their corpses by catapulting them over the fence and into the trees beyond. Once again he used the circus cannon to execute the task. The same fate befell Bugsy.

The corpses in the trees attracted flocks of starlings that fed on their carcases. The loud racket from these birds was heard and noted by Watson who assumed that the noisy phenomenon was caused by birds flocking together in preparation for seasonal migration. He failed to appreciate the real and very sinister reason for it.

The remains of these corpses were later found in the woods.


Extra Characters
Bugsy the Midget was introduced by “New Girl” (Jane), to act as a Private Eye to catch the Knicker Thief. Sadly Bugsy become another murder victim.

Professor Captain Gervaise Piltdown-Smythe, O.B.E. was introduced by “Dryman” to offer advice on Natural History. The Professor confirmed that the puncture wounds were not those of the Indian Cobra.

Dryman also introduced Piltdown-Smythe's cousin Eustace, the noted exotic primatologist and ovarian endocrine specialist. Eustace was familiar with the pertinent literary authority on mammalian finger prints (researched and written by Sherlock Holmes himself) but he could not recall the key passage that was required. Here is Watson’s report on Eustace’s remarks:
“He further states that, the prints of our unidentified miniature person at the murder scene are human, as far as he can determine. However Eustace is still scratching his head about something that he read in Holmes work on the subject. He knows that it is vitally important but is unable to recall what it is!”


The Mystery of the Finger Prints
Sherlock Holmes used this murder case to test his prototype fingerprint kit which he entrusted to Watson. Jago did not bargain on this.

The resulting investigation produced a clear trail of finger prints from the window to the empty chest from where the gems had been stolen. The prints were “unmistakably human” but were so small that they could only belong to a baby. They were even too small to be owned by a human midget. This “fact” produced considerable confusion and much speculation about the origins and presence of a baby in the whole affair. For example, was there a secret love child lurking as a motive for crime? Did Maximus have progeny that would inherit his fortune? However the notion of the existence of a baby proved to be a red herring.

Sherlock Holmes had studied finger prints in depth and his unsurpassable knowledge lead him to an instant and correct deduction that identified the culprit of both the murder and robbery.

Holmes knew that the prints of the finger tips of the Koala Bear are indistinguishable from those of humans. “In fact, the pattern, shape and size of the ridges on a koala's fingertips are so much like those of a person, it's almost impossible to tell the two apart.” Possessing this knowledge put Holmes onto the trail of the only antipodal employee of the circus, Jago!


[See “Facts about Finger Prints” below]
}


Summary of the Missing Items prior to the Murder & Robbery

Some of the Missing Pieces:

(1) The Dull Thud (heard around 01.00 am)
Arty Morty (the Circus Care-Taker and Watchman) said that he heard a dull thud at about 1.00 a.m. What he actually heard was the mechanism of the cannon (normally used to fire a “human cannonball”), which catapulted the stolen gems over the high perimeter fence and into the trees beyond.

(2) The missing Fishing Line:
Jago stole this line because it was ideal as a long leash for the Koala bear. Being nocturnal, the creature was active for a few hours at night and needed to feed. (Although its diet is almost exclusively eucalyptus leaves it can eat pine leaves.) The only way that Jago could safely feed the animal without being caught was to tie the fishing line onto a collar attached to its neck and then allow the Koala to clamber over the high fence, into the woods and then feed on the leaves of the pine trees. After a while, Jago would reel him back in, so to speak. In this discreet manner the animal was adequately nourished and nobody was any the wiser of its existence. During the day-time the koala was snuggled up in bed in Jago’s caravan.

During the puzzle we discovered this:

“On the inside of the fence there is a nail embedded in the timber with some remains of what could be some fishing line tied around it.”

This find was the telltale remains of where Jago had sent off his Koala into the woods for a nocturnal feed whilst securely leashed on fishing line.


(3) The missing Boomerang:
The boomerang belonged to Jago who used it as a ruse to deflect suspicion. He’d merely thrown it high into the trees outside to make it look as if he had also been a victim of the crimes that had been committed.


(4) Additional Missing Pieces
There are additional details that don’t need to be included here but if there appear to be any anomalies please let query them and I will gladly release further information that will likely explain the matter.
}


EXTRAS

The Geographical Location
The crime took place at “Rushmore Hill Wood” in the vicinity of the village called “Pratts Bottom”. These are real locations. The wood is just south of the village and may be accessed from thr lane called “Rushmore Hill”. “Pratts Grove” and “Pratts Bottom Wood” are also genuine locations that exist in the same vicinity.


Interesting Facts about The Koala Bear
Koalas are found only in the eucalyptus forests of eastern Australia. They frequent tall eucalyptus trees, feeding only on the leaves and flowers of certain species of tree, as well as on mistletoe and box leaves. The animal is lethargic and often remains in the same tree for days. The males are more active than the females and feed during the day; the females sleep all day and feed at night. Koalas sleep curled up on the branches of trees, firmly grasping the branches with their feet. The animal does not relax its hold even when it is mortally wounded by gunfire. Koalas were formerly killed for their soft, thick fur. They are now protected by law in Australia. They are so sedentary that they will not run off, even when kept in unfenced eucalyptus regions, as they are in several Australian reserves. A recent survey showed that there are far fewer koalas in the wild than was formerly thought.

Koalas eat eucalyptus leaves, but their preferred eucalyptus species vary from region to region. On Phillip Island, koalas prefer Tasmanian blue gum (Eucalyptus globulus - pictured), Gippsland manna gum (Eucalyptus pryoriana), manna gum (Eucalyptus viminalis), and swamp gum (Eucalyptus ovata) (Phillips 1990; Phillip Island Nature Park 1998). Koalas have occasionally been observed eating wattle, tea tree, paperbark, and pine species. The nutritional value of these alternative foods and what causes koalas to abandon their normal diet are not understood (Phillips 1990).

The Koala is a small marsupial that lives in eucalyptus (gum) trees in Australia These nocturnal (most active at night) animals spend 18 to 20 hours each day resting and sleeping. They are social animals who live in territories.

Koalas are not bears; their closest relative is the wombat. The genus and species of the koala is Phascolarctos cinereus.

Anatomy: The koala is up to 2-3 feet (0.6-0.9 m) long, weighing 10-30 pounds (4.5-13.5 kg). The soft, woolly fur is light-gray to brown, and has patches of white on the chest, neck. and ears. This fur protects them from cold weather and rain. They have rough pads on their feet and hands which are used for gripping the trees they live in. Baby koalas live in their mother's backwards-facing pouch for months.

Diet: These herbivores (plant-eaters) eat eucalyptus (gum tree) leaves. Koalas have a keen sense of smell which they use to make sure the gum leaves are edible and not poisonous. They store food in cheek pouches.

*Koala bear finger prints are almost indistinguishable from human prints - to the extent that they could be mistaken for human prints at a crime scene.*

Interesting Information about Human cannon Balls
I highly recommend that you view the clip at this website. It is typical of us British and one of the most amusing innocent capers that I have witnessed in recent times!

Mary Connors – Human Cannon Ball 1974

On the other hand if you are squeamish I recommend that you don’t view this Human cannon Ball mishap:

Cannon Ball Mishap

If the link above is not available you can find both videos here:

Very interesting site on Human Cannon Balls


Facts about Finger Prints
Before fingerprints were used as evidence, there was no proof positive way to identify and convict criminals. In the late 1800’s the discovery that every person had a unique set of fingerprints provided a major breakthrough in the criminal justice system. Fingerprinting was accepted world wide as a method of criminal investigation when Scotland Yard installed the first fingerprinting bureau in 1901. Because of their accuracy, fingerprints were introduced as evidence in the court of law.

During the 1870's, Dr. Henry Faulds, the British Surgeon-Superintendent of Tsukiji Hospital in Tokyo, Japan, took up the study of "skin-furrows" after noticing finger marks on specimens of "prehistoric" pottery. A learned and industrious man, Dr. Faulds not only recognized the importance of fingerprints as a means of identification, but devised a method of classification as well.

In 1880, Faulds forwarded an explanation of his classification system and a sample of the forms he had designed for recording inked impressions, to Sir Charles Darwin. Darwin, in advanced age and ill health, informed Dr. Faulds that he could be of no assistance to him, but promised to pass the materials on to his cousin, Francis Galton.

Also in 1880, Dr. Faulds published an article in the Scientific Journal, "Nautre" (nature). He discussed fingerprints as a means of personal identification, and the use of printers ink as a method for obtaining such fingerprints. He is also credited with the first fingerprint identification of a greasy fingerprint left on an alcohol bottle.


In 1882, Gilbert Thompson of the U.S. Geological Survey in New Mexico, used his own fingerprints on a document to prevent forgery. This is the first known use of fingerprints in the United States.

In Mark Twain's book, "Life on the Mississippi", a murderer was identified by the use of fingerprint identification. In a later book by Mark Twain, "Pudd'n Head Wilson", there was a dramatic court trial on fingerprint identification. A more recent movie was made from this book.

Sir Francis Galton, a British anthropologist and a cousin of Charles Darwin, began his observations of fingerprints as a means of identification in the 1880's. In 1892, he published his book, "Fingerprints", establishing the individuality and permanence of fingerprints. The book included the first classification system for fingerprints.
Galton's primary interest in fingerprints was as an aid in determining heredity and racial background. While he soon discovered that fingerprints offered no firm clues to an individual's intelligence or genetic history, he was able to scientifically prove what Herschel and Faulds already suspected: that fingerprints do not change over the course of an individual's lifetime, and that no two fingerprints are exactly the same. According to his calculations, the odds of two individual fingerprints being the same were 1 in 64 billion. Galton identified the characteristics by which fingerprints can be identified. These same characteristics (minutia) are basically still in use today, and are often referred to as Galton's Details.


Introduction of fingerprints for criminal identification in England and Wales, using Galton's observations and revised by Sir Edward Richard Henry. Thus began the Henry Classification System, used even today in all English speaking countries.

First systematic use of fingerprints in the U.S. by the New York Civil Service Commission for testing. Dr. Henry P. DeForrest pioneers U.S. fingerprinting

“Notes on the Cobra” and “Notes on Curare”
Are available upon request

I am indebted to all who took part in this puzzle.
Here is a list of participants, many who are not currently posting on the Forum:


A Big Thanks to all of you

Dryman
Scuba Ben
Newgirl
Krss
Fred
Woubit
Haenlomal
Tricky Martin
Sollen
Professor Yackle
Serges
Juicy Fruit
Lady Zinga
Alphadweeb
Young Nell
Simon Downham (Beroean)
Posted on Friday, January 14, 2005 - 8:05 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

The Spoiler for this puzzle was too large to insert in one post. It required two and this was partly due to the inclusion of information that supported some of the lateral leaps within the puzzle itself.

The additional material includes facts about the history of finger printing, Koala Bears and Human Cannon Balls. I chose to omit notes about the cobra family, curare and a number of other issues but please feel free to debate any point that is worth raising.

Most of the contributors to the puzzle are not currently posting on the forum and it maybe that current forum members do not wish to read through the whole solution above. However I do believe it is worth the read and naturally I encourage you to take it on.

At the very least, take a look at this reference to Human Cannon Balls:


It is typical of us British and one of the most amusing innocent capers that I have witnessed in recent times!

Mary Connors – Human Cannon Ball 1974
David Burn (Woubit)
Posted on Saturday, January 15, 2005 - 2:07 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Thanks, Simon. A veritable tour de force :)

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