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In the Sign of Three, we learn of a murder and an attempted murder in which the assailant had hidden an extremely sharp blade on the inside of a belt. The blade is so sharp that the victim doesn't notice the resulting wound, and does not bleed until the belt is removed, at which point he exsanguinates.

  1. This is absurd, right?

  2. In the case of the first victim, why did he start bleeding in the shower, and not when he disrobed? Are we to understand that he didn't take his belt off until he was already in the shower?

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Personally, I have been cut by blades so sharp that I only notice it's happened when I see blood. Some people report only feeling pressure then later realizing they'd been shot. The speed and sharpness of objects can make them nearly unnoticeable during the moment of penetration. It's not as far-fetched as you may think. –  Meat Trademark Feb 14 '14 at 8:35
The shower would have sped up the bleeding even more than removing the belt already did. Hot water dilates blood vessels. –  user11375 Jun 28 '14 at 2:32
"This is absurd, right?" - This is not a question, right? ;-) –  Napoleon Wilson Apr 7 at 14:55

3 Answers 3

up vote 17 down vote accepted

Actually assailant didn't hide the blade inside the belt. He stabbed the victim with the sharp knife and because of the tightness in muscle victim didn't realize the wound until it began to bleed.

If you watch closely you can notice that Bainbridge's face was pale before going to the shower. So we can assume that internal bleeding had started. As he removed the belt bleeding started slowly. He just came out of a long over one hour guard without any muscle twitches. Thus not sensing external injuries. Even if you stand for 1 hour still you won't feel certain things.

Yes he had removed the belt before entering the shower but maybe he hadn't remove the inner shirt. So he can't see the blood.

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+1 Actually, they claimed that it was the tightness of the belt that kept the bleeding (mostly) in check until the belt was removed. Sort of like removing a tourniquet. They showed that the stab was in the back, so he may not have seen the bleeding if he removed his clothes rapidly enough after the belt. –  Wayne Feb 14 '14 at 1:11
He would have felt the blood I imagine, but more importantly he would have few the wound. If he had already started bleeding then he would also feel the effects of the wound. –  hmmmm Feb 14 '14 at 14:00
@hmmmm actually I don't think so. Did you ever sit or stand without moving your muscle for over an hour? If you do you won't feel your muscle for sometimes. This would happened to Brainbridge. Also Tom77 gave a real life example. –  Anirban Nag 'tintinmj' Feb 14 '14 at 14:04
Yes sometimes you loose a bit of feeling in your muscles when you stand still for a long time. However that does not mean that you will not feel a large knife stabbing you. –  hmmmm Feb 14 '14 at 14:06
The knife was sharp and also small. If you watched the scene you can see that Bainbridge felt something stung him but it was just like a mosquito bite and also the tightness works as anesthesia. –  Anirban Nag 'tintinmj' Feb 14 '14 at 14:08

The attempted murders in The Sign Of Three have some similarities with the real-life assassination of Empress Elisabeth of Austria, who was stabbed with a very thin blade.

Because of the sharpness and thinness of the file the wound was very narrow and, due to pressure from Elisabeth's extremely tight corseting, the hemorrhage of blood into the pericardial sac around the heart was slowed to mere drops. Until this sac filled, the beating of her heart was not impeded, which is why Elisabeth had been able to walk from the site of the assault and up the boat’s boarding ramp. Had the weapon not been removed, she would have lived a while longer, as it would have acted like a plug to stop the bleeding.

So perhaps it's not quite as absurd as it appears.

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"After Lucheni struck her, the empress collapsed. A coach driver helped her to her feet and alerted the Austrian concierge of the Beau-Rivage, a man named Planner, who had been watching the empress' progress toward the Geneve. The two women walked roughly 100 yards (91 m) to the gangway and boarded, at which point Sztaray relaxed her hold on Elisabeth's arm" –  hmmmm Feb 14 '14 at 14:13
From the same Wikipedia page, your quote is taken slightly out of context. It is not as if she showed not signs of being stabbed –  hmmmm Feb 14 '14 at 14:14

Yes, it is ridiculous. Also, I don't think that the blade was hidden on the inside of the belt but that the murderer stabbed through the belt with the "very sharp knife"

I also agree with you that the murder victim would not have turned the shower on and then dis-robed.

I'm also not sure that if this murder technique had worked that he would have died so fast.

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