Monday, May 20, 2013

Does Electrocution Kill?

Cortland Evening Standard, Monday, November 12, 1894.

Governor Flower Will Allow Doctors to Solve This Problem.

   ALBANY, Nov. 12.—Governor Flower is willing to allow experts to make a test to ascertain whether a man killed in the electrical chair can be resuscitated. He made this statement when his attention was called to the printed allegations that certain physicians would ask for such permission: "I am perfectly willing to allow the experiment to be made if it is in my power under the law. I think it would be a good thing to have this long standing controversy settled at once and forever."

   Ever since the adoption of the electrical execution act by the state, the Westinghouse people, whose dynamos are used, have declared that electricity was not the cause of death, but that death was assured by the holding of an autopsy directly after the body had been taken from the electrical chair.

   No less an authority than Nicola Tesla, the famous electrician, contended that he could bring back to life a man killed in at electrical chair, provided the attempt was made immediately after execution.

   George Westinghouse has always asserted that the electrical death was a sham and that a New York commission, headed by Elbridge T. Gerry, had added the autopsy clause to the law so as to make it certain that the man was dead. Within the past two weeks the agitation of the subject has again became prominent and an appeal is to be made to the governor to allow the next man condemned to death at Auburn to be experimented upon. This request is the one the governor says he will grant.

   The attempt if made will undoubtedly create great excitement and intense interest in the scientific world. It will also arouse curiosity among laymen, because if successful it will bring to life a new man who cannot be again executed, having once suffered the penalty of death. It will also prove that the state executioners have been the surgeons who have held the autopsy rather than the state electrician.
Sing Sing electric chair
Cortland Evening Standard, Tuesday, November 13, 1894.



Opinions Differ as to the Legal Aspect of the Question—The Governor's Authority in the Premises Questioned—Dr. MacDonald, of Wide Experience In Electrocutions, Thinks Death Results From the Shock.

   NEW YORK, Nov. 13. — Dr. Carlos F. MacDonald, who prepared a lengthy report on the first seven electrocutions which occurred in this state, was seen in his rooms at the Cambridge by a reporter.

   When told of the proposal of Dr. P. J. Gibbons to restore life to a person shocked to death by electricity in the death chair in Sing Sing or Auburn prisons, he replied: "If Dr. Gibbons succeeds in resuscitating anyone who has been electrocuted in the death chair at Sing Sing I will be very much surprised.

   "I will be very glad, indeed, if Governor Flower gives him permission to experiment on the next subject in Sing Sing, as I am confident it will put an end to the controversy as to whether the electric current causes death or only suspends animation."

   "Mind you," said the doctor continuing, "I don't say that it is impossible to resuscitate a person shocked to death by electricity, as I would thus make out that I am infallible.

   "I saw the first seven cases and made a careful examination of each body, assisted by several very able scientists, and I assure you that the method of dispatching criminals by electricity is the surest and least painful of any yet adopted.

   "No person can live after having had 1,750 volts of the electric current passed through him with a perfect contact. Of course, the first execution, that of Kemmler* at Auburn, was experimental, but since that time the method has been very much improved by the gradual reduction of the voltage after the first few seconds contact.

   "I am satisfied that the current renders the subject unconscious in an infinitesimal fraction of a second and destroys both conscious and organic life in a short space of time than by any other method.”

Cortland Evening Standard, Saturday, November 10, 1894

Arrest the Hoodlums.

   There is gang of young hoodlums infecting our village at night who are in crying need of the attention of the police. They ought to have been brought to justice long ago. Lately their performances have been so bold and outrageous that there is no excuse for winking at them as being boyish capers. During the past fortnight the sign of Maher Bros. has been hauled down and lugged off, and a stone from a slung shot sent through the show window of Forrest & Tenney. It is believed that most of this lawlessness is perpetrated after the electric lights are out, and there is strong sentiment in favor of keeping the lights burning till daybreak. This would certainly assist the police in the discharge of their duties, but whether it is to be done or not Chief Sager and his assistants should keep a sharp lookout for these doers of malicious mischief.

Depew Natural Gas Company.
    ALBANY, NOV. 10, 1894.—The Depew Natural gas company was incorporated with a capital of $10,000 to mine for natural gas in Erie county, with its principal office at Buffalo.

    Property owners of the village of Cortland are hereby notified that all privy vaults, cesspools and drains must be cleaned and disinfected also garbage, manure and ash piles removed on or before the first day of May,
By order of the board of health, W. J. MOORE, Health Officer.
Cortland, N.Y., April 16, 1894.

*Read details of the Kemmler execution in New York electric chair: This Shocking Story.

No comments:

Post a Comment