« Stuff You Should Know

How the Electric Chair Works

2019-04-11 | 🔗

The electric chair is an all-American invention. It spread almost nowhere else in the world as a capital punishment but worked overtime in the States. Despite the terrible sights and sounds an electrocution produces, it was created out of humaneness. 

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to begin your investigation had on over to the Iheart Radioactive Apple, pod, gas or wherever you get your podcast one crime for assessment. Can you solve it? welcome to step. You should now production I really has has to pay and working to the pod cast. I'm Josh Clerk, there's Charles of each a brain over there in his jerry over there in this study, should know over here, and I guess they pose a little to cheaper for what we're about to talk about, because it is good rim stuff It is- and I my friend have a fact that you probably know, but I don't know everyone else knows that the word electrocute is a portmanteau. That was coined during the war of current. You did I'm so happy with this,
in fact, two hours. They checks. Gonna love this. I appreciate you assuming that already knew it. Well, I assume you know everything. Let him have a check or yeah it's that comes from the words electric execution, and when I saw that I was like that can't be right. Back early. The word electrocute was around before then, but there was no before then, because there was no, like you know: mass use of electricity and another who exactly pointed, I couldn't find that, but it was during the war of currents yeah, I saw it in like a or from nineteen o eight that said that, and they said It is a matter of fact way as that
oh, how that is right, electro cute electro execution, it's like gum, this execution or like sex in the executioner, this execution yeah. That's also a word. I guess- gets misuse because a lot of people say someone's electrocuted if they just experienced a profound shock. But that's not the case. That's why I was confusing. I think first forest relinquish their stomachs. It's not sensible. I also saw another Electro Thin Asia, Kay I know it's not nearly as good as electric you for I want to toss it out to end this episode. It has what I believe may be the best if he should know ban name of all time. I know that one is to civil disenchanted had ok yeah. I saw their nose like there's checks by a name nip so returned
in electrocution, and now that you know electrocution what the word means you nowhere specifically talking about being put to death on purpose through electricity and as far as we know, the only way that anyone's ever been putting put to death using alike, facilities, cities in an electric chair, which is a specifically american invention, did you know that, before you research, this idea, and we should point out that the Philippines did uses for awhile I'll bet it was because we basically were like you guys- should totally use the electric chair here have one right back in like one thousand nine hundred and twenty six and they used it for fifty. Until one thousand nine hundred and seventy six and then they're like this, is really gross. We're going to stop using this and stop executing people all together in that right,
I did they altogether. I just assume they went to firing squad or something I think out of it was in seventy six, but I think they got rid of the death penalty. Perhaps how very simple so I'm with the electric chair We ve we ve had like a citizen american invention and spin around, since I guess the eighteen eighties, when it really started to kind of make a make it stay view. But it's it's really kind of basic and simple fur. Something is seemingly complicated, is harnessing electricity to put in to extinguish human life right. It's a chair there perhaps somebody to and run electricity through their body until they die. It's really about that simple yeah,
day. I mean if you ve, ever seen a movie or God forbid, if you ve ever been to an execution, can imagine doing something like that, but people do that and by the way near now, if I say things like that, I'm just speaking for myself, everyone, but we did like a whole lethal injection episode. New came out pretty strongly against the death penalty, if I remember correctly so so, is already out their guidest. If I seem like I'm turned off. While of this is because I am, but there are a lot of people in this country that when they hear about like shooting out of some one said in blood count coming up someone's eyeballs in the smell of cooked wash their liking heck here like zapper, again shouldn't it? Shouldn't killed those people you're getting what you desire So there are lots of people out there that feel that way, and I'm just not one of em.
Yeah I was reading about the execution of TED Bundy Hughes electrocuted in Florida, I'm pretty sure and there were yet was floating. There are people partying outside the prison where he was put to death. I remember holding like a barbecue what? What years is like ninety ninety, maybe or eighty nine I feel like. I was in college, but I remember seeing than on the news- and there was just like it seemed like a tailgate was going on yeah, that's what it says like from what I read in, and there is apparently zero Bundy supporters. It was all people who are therefore to cheer on his death, I'm so their death. People who feel that way out there for sure so yeah. That's what you're saying, though its it is very rudimentary. There was a metal cap that is the electrode and that is put onto a prisoners. Shaved head,
there is a natural sponge with salient salt water in that sponge and salt water is conductive and that's the reason they use that. But there have been a lot of problems with the wrong sponges too much salt too. Without too much water, too little water. But that's generally how works at goes in between the cap that metal cap and the persons and then there's another electrode debts usually on the leg of the prisoner, but sometimes it's on, like the foot or the base of the spine or something- and this all just allows electricity to flow freely through a person's body until they die right, because the wood, the lecture that goes into the head, that's where the electricity comes from, and then The other electrode, that's connected to the ground like through the leg, allows the current to pass through
through the body all the way right the ends debts. You know this is from that free flow of electricity. That's where you get these tremendously horror results ultimately culminating in the death of the person and then took. You said that they put a sponge on people's heads to be a natural sponges. You say that I did so Thirdly, they found is, as will see, that only unnatural funds will work. But one of the other purposes it serves. Besides acting as a kind of a reservoir for the salt water conductor, it also it fills the space between the metal cap and the the the victims head because you're like the metal capsules like this little mental cap in your heads, not a perfect cap shaped dome, so the sponge is meant to also kind of Philip space like get the elect
city everywhere, going through your head. Yet as far as the chair or the actual wouldn't share, I mean it could have been anything. It could have been some up right thing like Hannibal. Lecter was strapped to like a upright journey, but they settled on a chair generally this big heavy oak, chair and many times The irony is that chair is built by prison labour. I saw the two almost invariably called old Sparky, but there are so some they were called like old smoky and in the worst of all called gruesome gurdy, since called gruesome for a terrible name for a chair name for it's a perfect name for a electric chair. Actually, not I I think about it. Yeah, but- and I know that the sort of a guess, tradition of naming electric chairs he's cute names is also something that submitted return of yeah disappeared.
Didn't have it so you're strapped into this chair see your arms or strapped in your legs are strapped in most of the times you have a strap across Europe asked in growing area, and again the chair is just has now. To do it doesn't have electricity running through it at all. That is just a means to keep the prisoner strapped in right right, because when that switches thrown up your muscles this contract, to the point where you can discuss snap bow bones joint skid, this thrown out of joint literally, it is a huge Kint muscle, muscular country, throughout your entire body, because that's how you that's your muscles contract is through, the city and electrochemical reaction right. So when you introduce the huge amount of electricity, or by all at once, all the more in your body contract- and it is so much so that if you now,
Shepton you defy right over the chair, I think in it must have been our electricity episode. We talked about how, when people who have to an electrical wire their muscles have contracted so so strongly that they ve thrown themselves across the room, like a unit blown across the room by the electricity that your muscles contracting and shooting you across the room is that's why They have people strapped to the chair in the electric chair to keep them from shooting, the room in the electricity shoots through yeah and depending on stature- and you know there are gonna- have their own protocol for how to carry out in a like electrocution, and we should also point out to you this is. They are generally not used anymore. There only nine states which still have that option Alabama Arkansas Florida Kentucky Mississippi South Carolina,
Tennessee Virginia. Are you noticing a trend? I've had it and then fell we Oklahoma not the only state, not in the south, but but it's not something that is generally still used in the United States. Now but it is a back up and is not and a back up. I think, if, like lethal injection of work as a back above the prisoner specifically says Ottawa lethal injection, I want the electric chair rights. Depending on where you are. The protocol is gonna. Very this one is pulled from Tennessee. There was an execution last year that admin as a gorsky. I guess we asked for the air, because it was two thousand eighteen, and this was the protocol. The electric chair will release seventeen hundred and fifty volts of electricity for twenty seconds. We'll stop for fifteen seconds and then will release another. Seventeen hundred fifty votes
for another fifteen seconds after the first wave, electricity officials will wait five minutes and enclosed the blinds into the witness room. A doctor will check for signs. Life. If there are none, the doktor will pronounce them dead if he is still alive, fines will be raised. Another the basic like an encore. The curtain goes back up in another round of electricity will be administered in the doktor will be called in again right about that that that, on core think kind of got me I mean that's now the parallels are obvious: so the yeah yeah. But I think also in the lethal injection will be explained like the like the state witnesses, people who are hired to come and witness on behalf of the people, because the state is executing people on behalf of the people of that state. These are the representatives of everybody else who lives in that state of their. Yes, of course, is no
you wouldn't get weirdos, but if I remember correctly, they try to weed those people out but yeah. I asked Gary come from not trying to shoot your opinions down or anything like that you're. So one of the things like you There's like seventeen hundred votes have seen. That's woe. Liketh. I've seen two thousand at least is what you want, and then the Alps are real the big one because of is kind of like the water, sure in a house where the Alps are like the actual flow rate of how much is coming through. So the answer, what kill you they say, but you have to balance the Alps in that you want. You want to introduce enough ants through voltage into the inmate to kill them, quickly and painlessly, because I think we said the reason the the electric tube was brought around was is not to set somebody. Fires, your executing them. It was too because it was thought to be
like a painless inhumane, waited to execute a prisoner, the supposedly the point of executions. So you want a balance. A quick and painless death through enough absent voltages introduced way not so many AMS him, I not a high enough amount of voltage, they you cook the person and set them on fire. That's basically the tightrope that as state executioner who electrocute somebody is walking in figuring out how much too, to hammer juice to deliver for the electric chair yeah and dumb the tried to and if you know what I always heard, that there were dummy switches and that, like three guards will all flip a switch the same time. So no one knows if the one- and I think that was just- I didn't see- any support for that net. This. We built on the old thing of the firing squad where someone has blanks- and you know so, like one person,
Everyone basically can say, while I may have had the blank, I may not have actually had the bullet in my gun right, but that is clearly not the case with electric chairs and volunteer, throws one switch, the Ninos generally a prison guard. His has said it: something that I will do on volunteering. For this. You can't apparently force some one to do this. It's always a volunteer right and depending on the staff, two they might not actually work at the prison they might, that might just be their job, as an executioner may be a second job. They have, or something like that and from what I've seen their typically called electricians. Their electro executioner is called an electrician in New York, had some very famous and prolific ones, kind of it, the hay day of the electric, and like the first half of the twentieth century area, yet one of em killed, ready,
This is one of the most gruesome things ever heard. My life, one of em, killed seven men in secession in one day, while and they had all seven men in sing sing on death row like in the in the death house at the same time and so as one would be taken away. The other eleven would just be sitting there like Freaking like an index I'm with commonages, kept whittling down and they went through this day of executions that, like the does, the sense among the inmates they really almost losing their minds as one of the cruellest things have ever heard in my life, in the modern era. You now has no waited to execute prisoners, and I believe they really gotten away from there, you don't execute more than one person in a day at the same place, I think it's really kind of like more time to shine is your special day. You and I can assure
with eleven other earth. Eight six other people anymore, but the executioner, the Electrician for New York did that cameras. Name right now, but he actually ended up taking his own life is apparently He was doing this to pay the medical bills for his wife who, chronically ill and this pay, really really well in advance. She died and he abruptly quit and then went and took his took his lifestyle, yeah. I know it's not like it's like if you're in commissioner? You executioner, I were, I dont, think it's kind of like this is a fun thing like, I think, think kind of destroys everybody involved, basically yeah and so you mentioned that it was supposedly that the humane way killing people in what will get to happened in a minute, but the two
woman, Jean Louis we Provost and Frederick bitterly they by the way we got an email about someone who was not happy with my italian jeez yet, but we got We got a couple from people who were italian American, saying like I love it, don't ever stop near the one guy who said I went too far was also very upset about my characterisation of new englanders as liking Duncan doughnuts as well, while so assorted took that one with the grain assaults ethic. That's a big fat, that's assault, lick donut! jokes come on broken until it can do so any this gentleman did a lot of research into heart, deregulation and eighteen Ninetys, and the idea that. Time was hey what's going on here when you electrocute someone is, is it instantly sort of kills the prisoner by
a massive brain damage and a stoppage interruption of the heart, and so that's why they thought it was more humane than like hanging which will get too in a sack. But that is not the case, as we will see from the scores of botched executions over the years right. That's why? If you, if you read like these procedures for executing a prisoner using electricity, there is two rounds of juice. Invariably, the first one supposedly destroys the brain, but the second one remember. I said all the muscles in the body like contract well, one of the biggest in the body. Is your heart and you your heart contracts, which, ironically, protects it from dying, Anthracite YAP? So that's why stop with the electricity the electrical flow for several seconds to let the hearts like come out of seizure again and then, when they do the same
time, allegedly that is the one is meant to destroy the heart. So initially the first one is supposed to destroy the conscious mind, he then, ultimately, the brain and its supposedly happens fast a number you'll see bandied about is that happens in one two hundred and forty eight of a second which is faster than you consciously register pain, so you're you're dead you're at least unconscious in your dear dead right after that, before you can feel pain, but the person, I think I've seen it socio the vote, that is a guy named Fred Lucre, whose actually, like a well known, engineer of tendencies, electric chair and believe a hall Austin I or two, and I didn't anywhere else like legitimate study that showed that. So, but it's like somebody said it in everybody's, is gonna. Go with that, but supposedly that's what the first show you choose. Does his knock you out
and kill you brain wise, your brain dead and then the second one kills you're you're cardiac system, it was a remorse. Did a documentary bout him actually about? We tread Luther Loser, yes called me your death and parted was on. You know his work with the electric chair and in part of it, was on your right. The fact that he is a notorious holocaust denier, I'm and guess what he does now I have no idea he apparently is a works in the garden apartment of a home depot really in his old age. While will heed heed to heed, I'm correct that he built Tennessee, the electric chair. He wasn't an actual electrician right or an executioner. Now he is really document array, of course, because its Euro Morris, but I'm sure yeah, you should check it up. We want to take a break
I will take a break in, will come back and we'll talk about a very famous Supreme Court case and then a lot about hanging right after this new year's resolutions are very, very difficult to keep More exercise save more money. What about this? We have a resolution that you can really work with stop wasting time going to the post office that right, you stamps dot com instead because they bring all the services of the. U S: postal service, right to your computer, with your small business sinning invoices
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Ok, Chuck sewer back even to talk with the Supreme Court. You said goodbye eleven, your coy yet nineteen. Eighty five, the Us Supreme Court, chose not to review a case CV, Louisiana, which would have been a very big deal because it was on the constitutionality of the electric chair the whole.
The whole thing about cruel and unusual punishment is always been a talking point when it comes to whether or not people should be put to death and just how to do that and they chose like I said they chose not to review it, but very famously justice. William Brennan wrote a descent that described an execution like this and by the way, this this part is particularly gruesome. So if you, if you don't hear about this than just do not for like twenty seconds when this
which is thrown the condemned prisoner, cringes leaps and fights the straps with amazing strength, the hands turned red and white in the course of the next and out like steel bans, the prisoners limbs fingers toes and face, or severely contorted the force of the electrical current so powerful that the prisoners eyeball sometimes pop out and rest on his cheeks, the prisoner, often deficits urinate and blood and drool, sometimes a prisoner catches on fire, particularly if he perspired excessively and witnesses here aloud and sustain sound, like bacon, frying and the sickly sweet Bela burning flesh, permeates the chamber, and indeed we should point out like Brennan wasn't saying you know. In the worst case scenario, this is what happens? That's a pretty standard that standard for an electric chair execution and others like there is one other thing to that, I saw stolen the gruesome zone, everybody. You said that
Thea, while Brennan said that they, the person gurgles, often feel also sigh and apparently for reeks out witnesses because, like he's still alive and what happens again, though, the muscles contract. Whatever errors in the lungs gets trapped in their because you're epiglottis shuts tight, just it's not opening again. So then, when the electricity is turned off in your muscles, relax their areas expelled out, and it said sounds like you're sighing or your gurgling if there's enough fluid in there and it's just another terrible a facet of this. This is kind of execution. Yes, We promised talk of hanging and that's really how the electric chair came about in Europe. They had long used the guillotine, but here in the United States Can it from the beginning. I guess we're firing Squad
hanging was really the court Unquote Humane way of executing prisoners for a long time idea that, if it's in the case of a gallows that door would drop you would drop and your neck would snap basically and you would die very very quickly, but that was not always the case. The men in Canada, Tom catch him in nineteen o one, the New Mexico, New Mexico territory, his head was completely torn off of his body, yet that's just one. There are plenty of America actually happen to a woman named even Dugan Heather Inter in Arizona nineteen thirty as well- and it's not like it's it's not that's, not the only possible outcome from a box hanging like they can go the other way as well, where you're not like your neck, doesn't snap or you had doesn't pop off and you just slowly suffocating
there is a case of one guy. I think his aim is William Williams, who is just born to lose. Apparently he he dropped and didn't it didn't wrangle it didn't break. As I couldn't do. Anything in the prison officials had delayed, Scully strangled him with the with the rope to kill him, and so all this tough and there's plenty of em they're. All this stuff was making the news at the time- and it was kind of converging, with a public sentiment against the death penalty in general, serve the public's kind of like murmured, quite sure we should be killing. People. I don't feel very good about this and the news of like urged hangings are coming out, something's going to change, and there are basically two things can happen at a point in history like this either the society can say you know what execution in general is just bad bad news is endless does not do that anymore or me.
We do need execution. You bobby to find a better way to do it in Prato, because this is not ok any longer. Yet was. There is another kind of hanging you always think of the gallows and that trap door, but there's something called a suspension hanging where the person on the ground, with a rubber on their neck and waits are dropped over a poorly and then you are jerked up instead of being dropped in that supposedly will snap your neck, and that was the case that, with the execution, of Rock Solana drew's in eighteen, eighty seven- she was small, and so when that, when that rope was jerked up, her neck was not snapped and she slowly with strangle the death for about twenty minutes and she had killed her husband, and that was a case that was controversial for a lotta reasons. It was very much a pre planned killing, but she claimed
she had been abused? She had her children involved in the killing is. Is it it's a pretty interesting story? she sent her ten year old out and then had heard teenage kids help out. So one of the kids tighter around her dead neck, the The the woman, the mother, Roxana Iraq, Solana shot him, but I think you didn't use the the gun properly, so it didn't kill him gave the gun to her fourteen year old nephew. He shot him off more times. The when's laying their unable to move pleading for help, and then she comes barreling him with an axe and cuts. His head off cheese yeah, so she takes the head in the body to the parlor. They stay there for about a day than she cut the body up, burnt it and got rid of the ashes and then was was found out.
But the upshot of all this was when she was executed. She didn't die quickly and humanely. She died very slowly painfully and very important publicly at a time when the public In particular, New York was like we're better than this, and so I M not not strictly from her her botched execution, but definitely in part because The New York said. We need to find a better way to do this. How can we? How can we execute somebody better in said prominent lawyer Eldridge Thomas Jerry GO inside Jerry formed? Who is likely? You guys pick me first, so we're gonna call the commission that the commission and Adam. He is or to other guys, including a man named Alfred Peace Southwick. Who was a dentist who is interested in this kind of stuff? He was like you know it being a dentist, isn't scratching that
The district h right is basically like the founder of Ohio, ART Ina. They are exactly so he's it, so the then get together and they spent two years figuring out like looking at different ways of execution and they looked at all the man they release. This sum. This journal report, like a formal government New York State Government report, that deep in chronicles all the different ways that you could officially kill somebody from precipitation which is pushing him off a cliff. Two boiling them alive, whether you wanted to be ladder. Water doesn't really matter at that point, the crushing from heavy stones, and they looked at thirty four different methods of edgy execution in detail, and they concluded that none of them were an improvement on hanging that yes, some of them would definitely like, provide the public spectacle that would probably deter other people or make them think twice about killing. Somebody bite
definitely no more humane as inhumane is hanging could be especially a botched hanging, so they set a gate lower back to square one, but one of us, author of Alfred, P, south thinks he knows, of a method that we haven't hit upon yet, and it was electricity he had seen a march bothers me: and he said. Maybe we should just drop a safe on someone's head as they walked down sidewalk right there like a kind of work. But if your messages really maim, I'm terribly so he came upon. Electrocution is as what he felt was like the best way, because electricity was This is where we get into like kind of things aligning and cars. Arc lining becoming widespread in cities and people having street lights and electricity in their houses was in the big cities, a sort of a new thing by it was super dangerous and there are a lot of cases of people getting electrocuted those addressed.
In Buffalo had drunk man who grabbed hold of a generator justice or to see what it felt like died instantly and that's when Southwick was like wait a minute. I think, grounded something here. If it can people just instantly than that's kind of what we're after right. So the thing is is like that whole instantly thing, that's a little so directive I have been wanting to this guy right, yeah a happy one time and then also like this what an eyewitness standing you know ways away says happen: he died instantly. Are you fudging a little bit because instantly or not, really kind of counts. When you're looking for a new method of execution for a state to use over and over and over again and to spread thrill all fifty states, basically it's really important that its instant and there like its instantly to look into this one. Gotta be better than hanging, so they they did and when I found out that that when it
came public and announced that they were kind of forming a sub set to the Jerry Commission called Chuck. The electric death mission best their name of all time, We have arrived at the band name, everybody yet not a lot on this, even looked into this a little more and it's not it's all over the internet- surprisingly, no its not, but it's like seen it in some reputable sources. So it's not like it's totally made up of a myth or a legend or something like that yeah. I think it I think it was. It was basically they said: okay, there, the commission is, has done its job. We're gonna, set ourselves up in his own commission, the Electric Death commission to basically show that electric she is a good and humane way to alike, to take a life right of the state so Alfred. Southwick fell in with a guy named George fell appropriately enough edge,
which fell was a a surgeon, he was a tinkerer. An engineer and dumb. He became extremely interested in the applications of electricity to cause death as well and so Southwick and fell. Basically, got together and form this, like weirdo cabal, to figure out how to create an electric chair. Yet this part I dont quite get because I know that in it I can hardly than say this in its out loud, but I know that day practised on stray dogs. I can they. Turkey, hundreds of dogs, but it says here they were supplied by the Buffalo S PC a night, knowingly right. Yes, I saw somewhere chalk that for at this time Thanks to these guys, that became the method of euthanasia that the local animal shelters used on stray animals really yeah. So a bike
ass. They sort of testing on him and it became like so so useful. I guess that airspace yesterday, bring your equipment on over here, and they are doing it to execute straits. That's what I saw, while I'm sure they're, not proud of that part of their history of protecting animals from cruelty. I'm should have pay are not actually like. Please, please, stop dusky moving. I keep it and talk about Thomas Edison, while so at the end of this All these dogs- they they basically came to that conclusion we talked about earlier was that electricity will instantly disrupt the heartbeat in the rhythm and death will be instant and pain us, Nand New York passed a state law saying basically in eighteen, eighty eight that this is the way forward for US yeah and again. This is like this is long after the time when Post and potentially had shown this like the relating hundreds. I think that you could actually use electricity,
I think that you can actually use electricity to restart somebody's heart also now. We know that actually electricity doesn't instantly kill you by causing heart. Take it does the opposite. The heart becomes like goes into safe mode, to protect itself and You have to hit it again to make it spasm. Oh into fibrillation gives us a fibrillation is taken in non rhythmic heart beat to where you can pump any blood out, that's a heart attack grey or they have a relation, is cardiac arrest? That's not what happens when you get hit with the first jolt of electricity, so I don't know a fell and southwards is making this up or for to happen that it did kill dogs like that or what maybe they are using a massive amount or maybe they're, using just the right level of ample. I don't know by Adam. They definitely demonstrated that this was. This is something that could be done, but it wasn't just them simultaneous
to Southwick and fell who from everything I could tell were aside from the fact that they kill Lotta dogs with electricity were Jim it. Scientists who were during this defined a humane alternative to hanging. Another guy who was the opposite of legitimate, wasn't scientists and was a fairly shaded character named Harold Brown yeah. So after the side enough fell in Southwick built, the first will chair as just park that there for a moment and then we have to draw up a squat, take a seat and that no don't sit there sit in the other chair. So we have to talk about them. Of currents which we talked about on this. I think we did whole podcast on this right. Here we did like did, did Nikola Tesla changed the way we use electricity answer, yes, yeah. So we don't need to go roared again, but I'm just very quickly the war of currents. There was a big war between weather
we're gonna move forward as a nation with AC power, Deasey Power, Thomas Edison, wanted that DC power that he had invested heavily in that. So he was trying to make that went out. And then George Westinghouse, of course, in the other side was working had invest, AC power and Brown, who you mention he actually worked or Edison is right. Yes, but supposedly Amber notes even testified under oath that he did not work for Edison when he very well very much didn't had for years. By that time, I'll interesting yeah, who hears a shade ball and I one thing that I can't figure out Chuck is whether he would truly a crusader against Westinghouse and in power that can genuinely thought it was dangerous and Danny
with that is in or if he was in a decent operative from the outset, asked what I have not been able to establish, but he was definitely working for Edison secretly interesting. So the Electric Death Commission touch with Edison and then the grabs to put this together force- and I thought this is very kind of great comparison. He said you know what happened next is sort of like if the government said to Pepsi- hey, you guys are experts on soda how is how should we kill someone with a soda and Pepsi was like here will do lots of experiments. That will prove too. The Coca COLA will kill somebody very easily and drastically happiness is Harold. Brown working with Edison did all these gruesome public electrocutions to show how dangerous ac current was so they would adopt it for the electric chair, which would in turn in his mind
give Aisy current a bad name. Right I mean that's his owner handed is a gets like if you are in competition and businesslike goober, calling fake lift, rides, when they started out to remember that area, but this is one way way worse, but it's still in the same we'll house, but that's. Why that's what Edison was doing was like oh yeah, totally to the great. Apparently he declined first that participate have anything to do with this electric death commission and then he was like. Oh wait: yes, actually The great idea I would like to be involved. I really see I suggest that a sea current be used and he used Harold Brown to this basically carry out I think so much so that Harold Brown managed to convince the Electric Death Commission they dont, should a sea current be used for the first electrocution in the state of New York, a Westinghouse Jim, later, should be used to generate that electrical current and he tried to
eyes and generated from Westinghouse in their likened. No, no! You can't. We know you're gonna do it does so buying second hand ones and that kind of set the stage for the first execution, which vs me is a really good point to take. Our second break agreed. Hello. I mean both how, in time for the past year My dad has been coming clean to me about his decades long career as a big time pot smuggler and by big time it pretty big time. I think it was sixty. There's my dad and mom had to live a double. My plan is active school board members, doting parents to three heads and the other is outlaws. Like my parents had a secret,
like in the movies real, shaker room with a book, and you took over screwdriver my dad wasn't the most organised criminal. He once lost half a million dollars bearing the back yard. He smuggle during the war on drugs, find out how my dad was a pot smuggler for twenty two years and at what cost I'm rainbow Valentine for my heart, radio and school of humans. This is disorganized crimes, smugglers, daughter, listen to this organised crime, smugglers, daughter on the I hurt radial, app apple podcast or wherever you get. Your pod casts. I'm lorries Eagle, and I spent the last decade reporting on
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I am a radio out on an apple pie, chasms or wherever you get your podcast so Chuck. I weren't Auburn State prison its August eighteen, ninety and there's a guy named William Kevlar, who was convicted of murder, his common law, wife Tilly, with an axe and when he car. He apparently done it in a drunken region. I dont know if he felt remorse guilder was just bored with the whole thing, but he added quoth where he said something like come he, yes, I I struck her with a hatchet. I intended to kill her The sooner I am hung in its over with the better hanky panky how is ghip around here- the sooner I'm hanged,
and it's over with the better, and I I guess he, is not afraid of the news, but when he found out that they were going to use electrocution and that he would be the first a human being to be executed by the state with electric electricity. Here well well, well! Well! Well, talking about again inserted to file lawsuit, so he actually also became the first person to challenge the constitutionality of all the electric chair as a means of execution gear. This kind of crazy fact that the very first person to go to the electric chair was the first person to be like. I don't think this is right. Yeah. True, but the Supreme Court said no, no, they ruled against similar and said it. It does not I await the eighth amendment to the constitution and he went what about the excessive bail and they went I thought you were talking about cruel and unusual punishment. When I was in whatever you want to hear so his execution there
first. One was, by all accounts botched pretty severely in and of itself Yes, sir, you remember how was it? Harold Brown manage to get Westinghouse generators used for their first execution, but he had by second hand one yet the first jolt of electricity that was sent through William Temblor to kill him only lasted for seventeen seconds, because one of the belt started to fall off the generator, so they had to stop before it had kid. Them and by all accounts he was sitting there struggling with law left in him and the near times reported that quote strong men fainted fell like logs on the floor at the sight near it was by terrible thing to see, and also, if you look at the drawings of thee of the execution that were used in the newspapers that day he's a sinner in a chair surrounded by people like Brown and George fell and Alfred Southwick and then the
mrs are all just milling around like standing room watching, unlike their watch in some guide like in a drinking contest, her something that's how he was you did so. I would imagine, like you, don't it's bad enough to be a witness to an execution, day. Words real sterile in the really young, clinical and there's a glass glass, the class. Window between you and the current comes out too standing in the same room with somebody who's being electrocuted, just a few feet away. That's gotta be can I make it even worse in a year, and so you know, clearly not a more humane way after this first execution, but they press forward because anything Ed points out various stuteley, There was something about the fact that it was a use of technology that was it tire rope around them
ones neck or just put a bullet in their head that it seemed less offensive to the public at large. I think because it is not the kind of thing like they didn't if you're not a witness to it and you to read about, thing in the paper it may seem like there is an acceptable moral distance because of this technology right right, So, like hang, when hanging came when hanging was under fire, for you know not being humane new technology, that kind of put more distance between you there to see more advanced and because it was more advanced in this kind of technocratic way of thinking. It was more humane. It was more high tech. So it must be better that was kind of how the electric chair came to replace hanging, but even though the first one was so we budged the idea of it just made it. It made a allowed it to spread and firm. Like all,
not all the accounts, but most of the accounts that I saw of that first execution. We're just like this is terrible. Balance that I saw of that first execution. We're just like this is terrible. Gruesome, Pierre is probably never happen again and then other states were like you. You could electricity high like like that idea. Let me try that too, and it spread fairly quickly and became far. I am far and away the dominant method of execution in the United States in the twentieth century yeah and their been many many and I don't think there are any more legendary, then Willie, Frances and nineteen forty six He was executed in Louisiana for a murder that to call his trial questionable and suspect is like an understatement. It seems like this guy was totally railroaded and an understatement
it seems like this guy was totally railroaded and you mentioned gruesome dirty earlier. That was the name of the Electric chair in Louisiana. In this case for his execution, it was set up by total human error. So he goes down in history as to my knowledge, the oh human error, so he goes down in history as to my knowledge, the only person who has ever been executed technically twice or because he survived They couldn't the chair anymore and he actually live to fight to say: hey, you can't do this again, actually is: That is the definition of cruel and unusual. You tried to kill me once and it didn't work here in court can, and the You tried to kill me once and it didn't work here in court can and the crazy thing. I've ever heard crazy. So so the guy This wasn't like the guy.
Survived in there like quick, throw the switch again he's still alive? We need to. We need to you know finish the job or whatever you want to call it. This was the electric chairs broke after going through a full execution, the guy, he'll live and those for another year before they're, like I, we fix the electric chair it's time for you to die again, and they did it twice in that. Second, that was that, but he am that's dead. Is that the different of cruel and unusual. I agree with you entirely yeah just thing, though, is, if you look there were. Statistics together about four or five years ago. That shows that the electric chair, like you said we did want a lethal injection. That start. In a late seventies, Canna became one of the more preferred choices for most states, but as far as what you would consider botch percentage, the electric chair kind of leads the way, except for the firing squad
Only one point: nine to electrocutions are categorizes botched compared to seven point. One two percent for lethal injection yeah said, which is that's a pretty pretty good track. Comparatively speaking, I guess, but then there's a really big point here to it's like in a botched lethal injection, at least from the perspective of the witnesses. That's vastly preferred sure to a botched electrocution, where the person catches fire or something that night, absolutely but here's the problem with all these with comparing like partners and what's preferred in older ones, much more! That's a much more tasteful botched execution than this one. We because the medical profession
said where we don't have anything to do with this, like yeah doctor can be present to pronounce the person dead, but the doctor is not going to insist, assist in any way shape or form and still keep the medical license. We we cause no harm, so we can't assist an excuse right. Our understanding of execution is coming. It's like anecdotal, like what, to carry out an execution boy protocol, you she like it's it's done by the for her doing this, almost through trial and error or from people's data where they executed dog a hundred something years ago- and that was what was- you- to kill. You know hundreds, if not a thousand plus humans in actually put yeah, probably more than thousand area Hume humans in the United States in the twentieth century. The thing is this chuck, so so you can stop their pretty easily to say like so we don't know if there was ever humane. We don't know if it is caused instant death. People,
John Fire whatever, but you actually We ve never known whether it does cause instant death because when you, when you are topside after your execution, your brain is cooked. Like invariably does one of the by products of electrocution, your brain gets cooked basically through and through it can be like a hundred and twenty degrees Fahrenheit at autopsy. Still, you know dozens of minutes or an hour or so later, when your brain is removed. It still that hot right, so we We actually know if the electric chair isn't humane or isn't painless. We don't really know but then at the same time, execution and whether its taste fuller appears humane, it's it's yes, it's me. To be that way for the they inmate, but it really meant to be that way for society, because it has be palatable untasteful for society or a society in
We can't do that anymore, like we did with hanging and dead. What happened actually with execution because of some botched executions in Florida in the nineties, society said like You ve, got to find another way of heard about this lethal injection thing. Let's try that instead ya mean. Should we talk about some of these awful stories yeah. So let me see here. October, one thousand nineteen, eighty five in Indiana election use of William Van Diver, the first administration of twenty three hundred volts. He was still breathing. The execution took a total of five volts. I'm sorry, five jolts in seventeen minutes the smell of smoke of hair and flesh burning that formative corrections said this quote. The execution did not go according to plan yeah they like to be
roll. It sounds like about Horus Franklin, Duncan's Jr, one thousand nine hundred and eighty nine and Alabama to jolt of electricity. Nine minutes apart. The first jolt failed to kill him and the cat, ten of the prison guard, open the door to the witness room and said I think we ve got Jack's on wrong. They reconnect the cables correctly and death was pronounced. Nineteen minutes after the first charge, but the first charges Sally Get wasn't painful. If was probably more painful than the second one, because the second one produce death, but it was not, it couldn't possibly produce the kind of voltage that would kill a person. It was just basically torture like a little a little torture starter, they have a tv I Fridays and then that was followed by the Entre, which was death, which is not supposed to happen, so and if you kind of harking back to the all these new stories coming out
All this is not how we're supposed to be executing people what's going on. This list to go on in the eighties and then early nineties around the United States with a with electrocution. Here this one in Georgia eighty four alpha Oda Stevens. The first charge fail to kill him. He struggled to breathe for eight minutes and eight carried out the second charge after the first two minute power surge. There was a six minute pause, so his body could cool enough. So physicians could examine him and in that six minute period he took twenty three breaths, which do the math, you know and think about how intermittent those breaths are. And then the quote from the Georgia prison official was Stevens was just not a conductor of electricity, but about that, and then three check. There are three in Florida that really kind of galvanise public opinion against electrocutions Joseph Fur Jesse Joseph to fairer.
Pedro Medina and a guy named Allen Davis and to fair. Medina both caught on fire. I think to Pharaoh's head had like six inch flames putting out from under the crown under the electorate on his head. Medina had like a foot flames and like so much that is hope, he's just chart. His head was charred during the exit, fusion again, we don't know that he actually suffered, but that's not what the public wants to see. You read about where when we leave it to the state to execute people humanely, that's not supposed to happen, and then only Davis very famously had photographs taken of him after his execution in his face seems to be very clearly control and in a look of pain. He was a very big may, like three hundred fifty pounds and a tremendous amount of lead loss, it looks like it came out of mouth, maybe even his chest, but they laid determine that it was. It came out of his nose.
There's a lot of blood and they also said like, while the guy was on blood donors. So this is pretty clear. His hat but it doesn't really mean anything. He had a nosebleed during the electrocution and the public that we don't care. That's for three out of Florida alone go find. Something else is try this lethal injection thing. I did. I did a list. Actually. I think Nebraska in two thousand eight was the last state to stop using the electric chairs or primary source, but, as I was curious like which state just has exe
cute of the most people, by whatever means and Texas LISA Way to stats since one thousand nine hundred and thirty, and since one thousand nine hundred and seventy six but Texas has executed one thousand eight hundred, I'm sorry, eight hundred and forty one people, since one thousand nine hundred and thirty George's number to actually with four hundred and thirty six. But since one thousand nine hundred and seventy six Georgia has executed. Seventy four people to Texas is five hundred and sixty three, oh, my gosh and actually second and then Florida is third
of over a hundred- would not have guessed Virginia Florida. I probably would guess Texas, I knew, but while it's a significant, that's it that's a law gap between number one in two years and taxes is always mean- have been criticizes. Death penalty happy. I would say that affair characterisation. Sadly previous wrong, Texas. He can't you. So so remember, we said there, everybody was like no. No more electrocution, let's find something else when they went to the lethal injection yet, which is supposedly more humane. As reading this article by a law professor, named often Austin Surat, who basically said you, know those two two prisoners in Tennessee
in December, two thousand eighteen alone opted for the electric chair, because they didn't have faith, that lethal injection was going to be less painful, were less prolong. They want the electric chair instead and that up to this point, every time we ve changed what our method of execution is. It's been Techno generally speaking, socially speaking, a step forward in that in that kind of area, and that going back to the electric chair is a huge the backwards into him, it represents a major crisis. The legitimacy of the death penalty, and he was, I guess, can a wondering without saying it like, as this is the beginning of the end for the if penalty in the United States again interesting, I thought so too, but that's electric chair you can buy wonder you could. I think it's all once olden two dozen twelve tendencies old Sparky sullen, two thousand twelve- I'm not mistaken, really
yeah, I mean Oxford, twenty five thousand dollars, Marilyn Manson, I dont know I heard it was being put in a museum in Tennessee. So probably not you, but that's electric cheers, I said everybody, and if you I know more about him, you can go look around the internet. You can also just leave the spine forever it'll kind to be nice to shed this one causes some grim. Research, yes agreed in, since I say sorry for putting us through this when check this is a just pick but when he said I mean like halfway to re research into two thousand com. I feel this ban right now you now and then a penny and everything was ok yeah. It was a good containing Felicia, since we have been in its time for listener mail. I'm curious if you're gonna. This is the one Josh, but here we go hey guys. I just recently. I listened to the started: listen
podcast because apparently I may Luddite. So I've been waiting my way through the old episodes. I listen to the one on soundness, and I wanted to let you know there is a holiday in Saddam Toledo in Paris Burg. Did you see this email? The idea I responded actually okay well, but can wait to hear what happened. It's. It's called a holiday in french quarter, which used to be a hollow dome and to which it is possible to have, or was possible, to have a full membership in addition to three poles in a large The hotel has a large soda, and I am positive that this is the holiday end that Josh's dad took him to when he was a kid stable for over fifty years. Unfortunately, I will be closing the end of the month after losing its holiday and to a new build that is from Deanna Pollen. Europe is alone. Now not now, but I my family, my family used to go and stay occasions at that french
border holiday really like to tell over in any US like. It was pretty awesome when you're a kid I think she's kind of under selling. The three pools not like that Those were me answering and went all over the place of work like bridges over em, so he swam under bridges. They would go out so they really indoor outdoor pulls. It was pretty awesome. The my poor members inside of membership, was at the holiday in Near Southwick, mall, ok, wits. Holiday and is now a in assisted living tower. I believe but for a little while in between being a holiday in and being in assisted living tower, it was abandoned and why the coolest like photo set can look at her abandoned hotels in somebody went to the trouble of getting photos inside abandoned holiday and it's really cool, including the poor. So just look up abandoned holiday in Toledo, Io Southwick, more, maybe colleague, bring it up, or maybe Ellen their one day, bring it full circle. Yeah. I was depressed the french porters
and under though that was a great great laplace. I was talking to you shows like our man. Did. I ever tell you about my family thing at a french cautious. I guess he told me your family went on vacation, who turns over quality as against great there. I think the best and was the pull that was in the highway median ozone. This thought that was like the fourth bull I hate the use that you're on your at school. I was disconnected run like to get to it. That's right! Well, choking anything else. No, well, if you want to get in touch you this to, let us know about some part of my childhood being shut down forever. We love hearing about that kind of stuff you, can I go to stop. You should know that calm and look for a social links, and you can also
those in mail to stuff podcast. A host of works. Dotcom stuffy should know, is the production of I hurt. Radios housetop works for more part cast my heart. Radio isn't that I heard radio apple podcast or wherever he listened to your favorite shows. Are you a fan of pop culture? Are you up on game? Do you know the labs, if not the pollen their show, parkers keeping you in the know, with the latest, your favorite celebrities, current events and providing free gains? The listeners in need? Ok, this allows both MRS Berger's, when you maybe the obvious, since our love and care for bribery thing now make sure your jacket that ran loop. Ball are sort of able now, and I are very aware we do get your packets,
Transcript generated on 2020-01-01.