Advances in technology—specifically, in blood spatter analysis and crash test dummies—have been harnessed to prove that it was, in fact, Lee Harvey Oswald who killed JFK.
Blood spatter analysis has, apparently, been around for a while, but only recently has it gotten good enough to know what the spatter actually means. (More here, if you need to know and don’t mind pictures of spatter.)
Reconstructing the scene for a documentary by the Discovery Channel also involved another key piece of technology: the lifelike dummy. Technically they’re called ‘artificial surrogates’ and they’re made by an Australian company called Adelaide T&E Systems (motto: “engineering the world’s most biofidelic test platforms.” Biofidelic is a fancy word for lifelike.)
The Frangible Ballistic Heads (a great name for a band) are made from three different materials which simulate the brain, skull and external soft tissue (skin), which goes to make the spatter more lifelike. (The brain is made from gelatin made from pig skin and then dyed green, in case you’re trying your own Grassy Knoll reconstruction at home.)
The head was custom-fitted, based on JFK’s hat size. It was then attached to the company’s Hybrid III neck (“for improved response,” according to the website.) This is then attached to the company’s latest product, the Human Thoracic Surrogate, which can be fitted with “loadcells, accelerometers and pressure gauges to facilitate injury scoring,” according to Wesley Fisk, a partner at A&E.
They then brought in a bunch of scientists who did not know that they were investigating JFK, although the mock-up of the Dallas, Texas crime scene, complete with depository, grassy knoll (using real grass), etc, might have offered a clue. They were impressed by the Frangible Ballistic Heads. “The heads they used were quite interesting,” said one of the experts. “They were considerably more sophisticated than anything I’ve seen before.”
After the fake Oswald shot the fake JFK, they were asked to look at the spatter of all the green-dyed pig-gelatin. Turns out the the key was the lack of back-spatter—the stuff that goes the opposite way you’d expect if you’d just shot someone in the head:
The general lack of back spatter and the preponderance of spatter in another direction are two of the clues, among others, that the investigators used to pinpoint the origin of the shots.
Conclusion: just one shooter.
PS: The program hasn’t aired yet, but already it’s being called ‘baloney.’ Unsurprisingly.
Illustration: T&E Systems