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Autopsy Table


John Dolva
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Measurements derived from various photographs. The table top is made up of plates with drainage holes.

Texture and Depth map (IAscale0.2)

Edited by John Dolva
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A few different views of the autopsy table top.

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A few different views of the autopsy table top.

Various features of the Autopsy table photographs

group1

drain hole

plate join with reflection in curved part of interlocking plate

various reflections on curved part

group2

crease like artefacts extending over floor, pipe, and implement

reflections on curved pipe

Edited by John Dolva
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A few different views of the autopsy table top.

Various features of the Autopsy table photographs

On the wound photograph are the following items:

drain hole

reflections

crease like artefacts that extend over the obvious skull portions and the area next to it

Edited by John Dolva
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The drainage holes are particularly interesting.

They are uniformly spaced round holes stamped out of sheets of SS.

______________

When one looks side on to a circle it becomes oval in shape. However it does so in particular ways. If one has a photograph that has a round hole in it and it is seen as an oval, then the widest dimension of the oval is the diameter of the round hole.

Further:: a round hole on a FLAT surface that is seen as an oval is widest in a direction that is PERPENDICULAR to the line of sight. In other words : it is impossible to see the oval side on. So the Photo is correctly rotated when the widest part of the oval is seen in two ways only. The correct way and its mirror.

Here it is reasonable to say that on this drainage table the surface is flat and level. The Plates do NOT overlap but fit against each other with a slight gap of varying width. The curved portion of the plates that sits over a stainless steel pipe has its edges stamped out so that the gap here is wider than on the flat surface.

The drainage holes provide an accurate means of orientating the photos in relation to where the camera was when it took the photo.

=========================

The parallel edges of the plates where they curve over the round pipe* are also obeying physics. In 3D if one views the edges where they curve over the pipe they will appear straight parallel. As one shifts ones point of view, the edges are still parallel in reality but they start to curve and no longer are seen as parallel, however they ARE parallel, and the way they are seen can provide an accurate measure of where the camera is in relation to them.

So here we have a grid of uniform round holes and parallel edges, curved and flat.

When a photograph that contain both of these indicators is oriented so that they are correctly understood then that orientation MUST be correct (forget about all else, lets not get ahead of ourlselves here.) Now the only thing left to consider is : is it a mirror of the correct orientation?

In Alan Eagleshams very interesting papers on Pitzer (all should read this), he writes about photographs that have been mirrored to hide the truth. This is not alteration but presentation.

What are the indicators that tell us whether the photos are mirrored?

There is a particular period in time when one can say that artists stopped using just one way to project images on to canvas. It is when the subjects predominantly stop being left handed. Off hand I can't remember, but lets say it was aroung 1600. At this time they started to use other optics as well to correct this. And, lo, most people in paintings are right handed from then on.

I'm not familiar enough with Kennedy himself but there are other indicators.

Frank raised the very interesting point about the photos being mirrored.

The ruler is good to help here.

On the back photo one can read the word centimetre indicating that this photo is not mirrored. By inference most other photos can then be cross referenced and given the all clear on this point.

_______________

The head wound photo as available has a poor quality ruler. However, where this word centimetre might appear there is a series of darker 'blotches' corresponding very closely with this location.

There are also faint indications of the numbers and graduations.

Is the ruler upside down or in other way wrong way around?

The ruler is not completely flat nor is it uniformely curved. The graduated edge is different from the other. At the far end of the ruler (opposite end to the centimetre writing) there is a black area that is probably a centimetre wide measuring gap of some sort.

So unless other indications arise, at this point I'd say the photo is not mirrored. However it must hence forth be kept in mind that this is not absolutely conclusive. Does anyone have a good version of this photo that shows the ruler clearly? If so please supply, it is very important.

* Lee Forman was the first to suggest here that the curved reflections on the wound photo is the joint in the edges. At the time, I rejected this as I didn't understand how the table was constructed. However with the understanding that can be had from reading Alan Eagleshams (see link in Robins post above) papers about where the photos were taken, I am now giving Lees suggestion the seriousness it deserves.

Edited by John Dolva
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One of the NEXT very important thing to consider is scale.

The autopsy pgotographs help here. I estimate the grid of holes to be 8 by 3 per panel. As can be seen the stirrup is centered but Kennedy's body is not. It is placed at different places for different purposes. In scaling the headwound photo there are three good indicators. The drainage hole. the curved plate joint, and the ruler.

If there is no problems with the ruler. then it scales easily to the other photos. Once this is done one can check the hole and the joint.

Once the curved joint is right, the hole can be referred to the hole visible on the table top on the 'top of head' photo.

*This is another good indicator that the photos are not mirrored.

The body is transferred on to the autopsy table from the right hand side. It ends up nearer this edge of the table.

It is likely that the doctors performing the autopsy are right handed, so they would want to work on the head with their right hand. Therefore they would stand at the left corner with the head in front of them and the body extending down the table to their left. They would not want to have to work leaning over the table so the head would be placed nearer this corner. This also makes it easier for two doctors to have ready access, one on each side of the corner. As can be seen in the back of the head photos (which includes the back photo) where the body has been rolled on to its side, the head is near this left hand corner of the table.

Edited by John Dolva
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"In Alan Eagleshams very interesting papers on Pitzer (all should read this), he writes about photographs that have been mirrored to hide the truth. This is not alteration but presentation."

John:

I appreciate your kind words.

If I implied that the reversal of the Pitzer autopsy photographs was to hide the truth, it was unwitting. I believe it was simply human error.

Below is a crop from one of the Pitzer photographs (October 30, 1966, Bethesda Naval Hospital), which may be of some interest. It appears to me that the stainless steel plates overlapped.

Allan

post-692-1138028027_thumb.jpg

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"In Alan Eagleshams very interesting papers on Pitzer (all should read this), he writes about photographs that have been mirrored to hide the truth. This is not alteration but presentation."

John:

I appreciate your kind words.

If I implied that the reversal of the Pitzer autopsy photographs was to hide the truth, it was unwitting. I believe it was simply human error.

Below is a crop from one of the Pitzer photographs (October 30, 1966, Bethesda Naval Hospital), which may be of some interest. It appears to me that the stainless steel plates overlapped.

Allan

post-692-1138028027_thumb.jpg

Hello Alan;

________________________________________________________________________________

________

I believe it was simply human error.

________________________________________________________________________________

________

Perhaps so, and, even a high possibility of mere "human error"

Of course the WC has also done this as well, and therefore I never completely dismiss the potential re-usage of a "good con" as they will always work again and again.

Tom

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Thanks guys for the interest.

Alan, when I first looked at the plates I did think they were interlocking, or overlapping because it does look like that in the photos.

However, please consider and comment on this:

*when one looks at this photo one can see two joints. Admittedly one is further away and at a different aspect angle in relation to viewer. But not by much.

Compare the two curved bits. The closer joint has a gap and the further is almost invisible indicating snugness.

Now the straight joint.

The closer one has a black strip below the lighter colored area while the further one does not.

Considering that the closer curved joint definitely has a gap showing the pipe it is 'draped' over, then it is reasonable to suggest this black strip is a gap as well. This wouldn't be so of one was over the other.

So, what is this lighter colored strip that gives an appearance of 'interlocking'?

_______________________

This is a work bench for a specific purpose. It is designed to meet anumber of needs

the autopsy crew and their aim of providing scientific doubt free precise data.

the maintenance crew who are charged with dismantling and cleaning.

Basically it is a work surface that must have efficient drainage of fluids and that doesn't interfere with, or add to data derived from the bodies.

A series of interlocking plates where each one over laps the next would introduce slight slope on each plate:: drainage, pooling problems. The joint would significantly mark the body and possibly interfere in some instances.

(having worked in commercial kitchens with large SS machines that need continual dismantling and cleaning, one does not want joints and fiddling with same.)

+++++++++++

What does make sense is that the plates fit up against each other, but not preciscion fit.

Why?

If the fit is snug with square edges and the plates are not locked then the plates will shift slightly as the body is manipulated:: pinching, possible false data.

+++++++++++

There fore:: a deeply bevelled rounded edge.

This as it is ground but then not polished reduces reflectivity, hence gray strip.

So:: not interlocking, separate plates with varying gaps.

_____________

EDIT:: I need to acknowledge that indeed it was in my reading an inference of intent to 'hide the truth' was perceived re the mirroring of photos in the Pitzer case. Alan doesn't say so.

It is an interesting issue though as Tom and Frank elsewhere have pointed out. And in relation to the headwound photo needs to be addressed. I believe there are strong indicators it is not mirrored (pls read above).

A better photo of the ruler would help a lot.

Edited by John Dolva
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Alan, ditto, and I may very well be wrong too, I don't think so in this instance, but I'm not 100% on it.

There are two clear gaps in the table photos. The same gap at different viewpoint. In both it can be seen that the reflection of the edge of the far curved plate on the pipe below it continues in a circle while the edge of the near plate curves to the flat table top. Also the gap widens as the camera 'rises.. So good indicator that the plates are not overlapping.

A minor point perhaps and not conclusive.

I don't think it will hinder going on to other things though. It will be kept in mind.

Edited by John Dolva
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