Post-mortem Appearances—External.—The articles of clothing, if any,
on the body, should be removed very carefully and examined for the
presence of kerosene, petrol or some other combustible substance. They
should be returned to the police in a sealed packet especially in murder
The external appearances of burns vary according to the nature of the
substance used to produce them. Thus, the skin is whitened when a burn
has been caused by radiant heat.
Burns produced by flame may or may not produce vesication, but singe-
ing of the hair and blackening of the skin are always present.
A highly heated solid body or a molten metal, when momentarily
applied to the body, may produce only a blister and reddening correspond-
ing in size and shape to the material used, but will cause roasting and
charring of the parts, when kept in contact for a long time.
Burns caused by explosions in coal mines or of gunpowder are usually
very extensive, and are accompanied by blackening and tattooing due to the
driving of particles of unexploded powder into the skin.
Fig. 64.—The Effects of Burning caused, by the explosion of a hand grenade.
(From a photograph lent kindly by Dr. H. S. Mehta.)
Burns caused by kerosene oil are usually very severe, and are known
from its characteristic odour and the sooty blackening of the parts.
Fig. 65.—Death from Burning. Note the slight pugilistic attitude.
(From a photograph lent kindly by Lt.-CoL J>. Clyde, I.M.S.)