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Dead Men Do Tell Tales: The Strange and Fascinating Cases of by William R. Maples

By William R. Maples

From a skeleton, a cranium, a trifling fragment of burnt thighbone, Dr. William Maples can deduce the age, gender, and ethnicity of a homicide sufferer, the style during which the individual used to be dispatched, and, eventually, the identification of the killer.  In useless males Do inform stories, Dr. Maples revisits his strangest, finest, and so much terrible investigations, from the baffling circumstances of conquistador Francisco Pizarro and Vietnam MIAs to the mysterious deaths of President Zachary Taylor and the kin of Czar Nicholas II.

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I invited the students to have a look at the skeleton. They crowded over. “Here are his socks,” I said. ” At that point the twit vanished from the scene and so did most of his fainthearted students. I learned the power of cold reality, how it acts like a fly whisk to chase idle minds away; and I admired those students who stayed behind. You always have a fondness for your first cases, and I found this skeleton very interesting. Under analysis, it turned out to be that of a toothless elderly man with a lot of union or fusion of bones in his back, due to old age.

One formative childhood event sticks out in my mind. It involved the great 1930s woman outlaw, Bonnie Parker, of Bonnie and Clyde fame. She crossed my path twice, even though she died before I was born. Bonnie was from Dallas and she first met Clyde Barrow, a native of Waco, in “Cement City,” a rough part of Dallas near the Trinity River Bottoms, where she was working as a waitress. The pair went on to blaze their way across Texas and the Midwest and their legend was still fresh in Dallas when I was a boy.

With bolts of Bones, that fetter’d stands In Feet; and manacled in Hands Here blinded with an Eye; and there Deaf with the drumming of an Ear. A Soul hung up, as ’twere in Chains Of Nerves, and Artenes and Veins Tortura besides each other part In a vain Head and double Heart … —Andrew Marvell, A Dialogue Between the Soul and Body The unwary visitor to the C. A. Pound Human Identification Laboratory might be pardoned an involuntary gasp of shock.

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