[00:15.95]Murder had come to the old house on the street called Rue Morgue!
[00:21.98]Murder had come and gone and left behind the dead bodies of an old woman and her daughter.
[00:30.68]It was a perplexing crime scene.
[00:35.02]The damage to the daughter’s body suggested a killer of superhuman strength.
[00:41.84]The knife that had killed the old woman, almost separating head from body, was in the room.
[00:50.19]But the old woman’s body was outside, behind the house.
[00:56.20]The door and windows to the house all firmly closed, locked on the inside.
[01:04.63]Voices had been heard.
[01:07.17]One voice was speaking in French; the other voice had not spoken even one word that anyone could understand.
[01:17.94]And yet, there was no one in the room when police arrived moments after the attack.
[01:26.32]My friend Dupin was now explaining to me what he had learned when we visited the scene of the crime.
[01:36.61]“I knew that what seemed impossible must be proved possible.
[01:42.82]The killer, and I believe there was just one, escaped through one of these windows.
[01:50.43]After the murderer had left he could have closed the window from the outside; but he could not have fastened the nail.
[01:59.40]Yet anyone could see the nails which held the windows tightly closed.
[02:05.33]This was the fact that stopped the police.
[02:09.32]How could the murderer put the nail back in its place?”
[02:13.60]“That’s the problem, Dupin! Perhaps — perhaps if you pulled out the nail…”
[02:20.25]“Yes! That is just what I thought.
[02:23.43]Two things seemed clear: first, there had to be something wrong with the idea that the nails were holding the windows closed.
[02:32.82] Second, if it was not the nails which were holding the windows closed, then something else was holding them closed, something hard to see, something hidden.
[02:44.97]So, I checked the first window again.
[02:48.45]I removed the nail.
[02:50.71] Then I again tried to raise the window.
[02:55.02] It was still firmly closed.
[02:57.25] There had to be a hidden lock, I thought, inside the window.
[03:03.09] I searched the window frame. Indeed, I found a button which, when I pressed it, opened an inner lock.
[03:12.88] I raised the window with ease.
[03:15.65]“Now I knew that the killer could close the window from outside and the window would lock itself.
[03:22.69]But there was still the nail.
[03:25.77]So, I returned the nail, pressed the button and again tried to raise the window.
[03:32.82]The nail held the window closed!”
[03:36.51]“Then…the window could not have been the means of escape!”
[03:41.87]“That window, no. The killer did not escape through it.
[03:46.41]But I went again to the other window.
[03:49.82]The nail there looked the same as the one I had just seen.
[03:54.33]I moved the bed so that I could look closely.
[03:58.52]Yes. There was a button here, too.
[04:01.41]I was so sure I was right that without touching the nail I pressed the button and tried to raise the window. And guess what happened?”
[04:13.76]I knew the answer but I let Dupin have the satisfaction of reporting.
[04:20.34]The window went up, he told me.
[04:23.83]“As the window went up, it carried with it the top part of the nail, the head.
[04:30.14]When I closed the window, the head of the nail was again in its place.
[04:36.61]It looked just as it had looked before.
[04:39.50] The nail was broken but looked whole.
[04:43.34]And, what is impossible is proved otherwise.”
[04:48.84]“So the murderer went out that window. Did he arrive in the room by that path as well?"
[04:57.09]Dupin answered, although it seemed he was speaking more to himself than me.
[05:04.38]“It was a hot summer night. Would the victim have opened the window to get some fresh night air? Most likely.”
[05:15.06]“So, the killer found it open and entered, I said.” Dupin nodded.
[05:22.09]“And, as he came, the window locked when it closed.
[05:26.11] The lock held the window closed not the nail, as it appeared to investigators.
[05:31.99]Again that which seemed impossible was actually possible.”
[05:36.66]Dupin’s eyes were shining with the satisfaction discovery brings.
[05:44.31]He was analyzing evidence and his unusual reasoning ability had found a great purpose.
[05:52.88]I suddenly understood:This is why going to the house on the Rue Morgue seemed “pleasing” to Dupin.
[06:02.51]The use of his sharp mental abilities made him happy.
[06:07.70]And, I had more work to provide that great brain.
[06:12.15]“Dupin — the windows are on the fourth floor, far above the ground. Even an open window…”
[06:22.42]Dupin shook his head up and down slowly.
[06:26.56]“Yes…yes. That is an interesting question: how did the murderer go from the window down to the ground and vice-versa?
[06:37.76] But I had looked around carefully outside you recall.
[06:42.22]And I knew a way.
[06:44.61]And the answer to this question told me still more about the identity of the killer.
[06:50.73]Do you remember, friend, the lightning rod attached to the house?”
[06:56.21]I paused. “Yyy…yes. A metal pole, and quite narrow. It protects the building from lightning strikes. But it is so tall and thin.”
[07:09.90]“True. It would take great strength and agility to get up the pole.
[07:15.76]Some kinds of animals might climb it easily, yes?
[07:20.63]But surely not every man could.
[07:24.16]In fact, maybe very few men.
[07:27.57]Those of very special strength and special training.
[07:31.75]“This helped create a better picture of the murderer.
[07:36.39]But still not sharp enough to recognize. I still had the question: who?
[07:43.39]“We know the killer climbed the pole, entered the room through the window, murdered and destroyed all order in the room.
[07:53.11]He managed to push one body up the chimney.
[07:57.73]He threw the other, almost headless, out the window.
[08:02.88]Then he left the way he came. We can answer the how of the crime.
[08:09.71]But who? Such unspeakable viciousness…what human could do this to another?”
[08:17.88]Dupin continued, trancelike again, seeming to speak to himself as much as to me.
[08:26.34]“Perhaps we can come closer to answering the question of who by exploring the question of why.”
[08:35.99]“But Dupin, the police said the motive must have been robbery.”
[08:42.25]“But my friend, what was taken?
[08:46.07]The police said they could not answer the question.
[08:49.33]They said they did not know what the women had.
[08:53.19]Maybe clothes and jewelry, the investigators proposed.
[08:58.24]But neighbors described the women as nearly hermits, rarely if ever, leaving the house.
[09:06.18]Of what use would fine clothes and costly jewelry be to them?”
[09:13.27]Dupin’s eyes were glistening, his brows pointing sharply down, as he circled me, thinking aloud.
[09:23.15]“But, what is more telling than what the killer might have taken is what he left behind…conveniently in bags in the center of the room…”
[09:33.70]“Of course, the money. You are right, Dupin.
[09:38.01]It makes no sense.
[09:40.20]All the money delivered from the bank to the old woman.
[09:44.59]Right there on the floor.
[09:46.84]Why would the attacker have passed on the riches?
[09:50.55]A thief certainly would not.”
[09:53.39]“So, I want you to forget the investigators’ claim that the killer acted out of a desire for money.
[10:01.62]They thought this only because they knew the money had arrived just three days before the killings.
[10:08.66]But that was just chance.
[10:11.32]If gold was the reason for the murders, the killer must have been quite a fool to forget and leave it there.
[10:18.67]“No. I think that there was no reason for these killings…except, perhaps, fear. The wild nature of the attack leads me to a motive of fear.”
[10:31.47]“Hmm, an interesting theory, Dupin. Fear can bring out the crazed beast in a person…”
[10:39.54]“In any living thing. Now let us look at the murders themselves.
[10:46.21]A girl is killed by powerful hands around her neck, then the body is placed in the opening over the fireplace, head down.
[10:56.63]Unusual, even by the standards of the most terrible criminals.
[11:01.71]Think, also, of the great strength needed to put the body where it was found.
[11:07.88]It took several men to pull it out!
[11:11.33]Also the hair pulled from the head of the old woman.
[11:15.78]You saw it on the floor yourself, and you saw the blood and skin still attached.
[11:22.30]It takes great force to pull out even twenty or thirty hairs at a time.
[11:28.61]But this was hair AND scalp!
[11:32.80]And there was no reason to almost take off the woman’s head just to kill her.”
[11:41.34]“It is extremely odd, I agree. Especially since there is no evidence that the killer knew the victims.
[11:50.48]No one could hate a stranger enough to carry out such torture.”
[11:56.22]Dupin’s eyes narrowed.