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1 Kemmler Dies by Electricity [1] (1890)

handle is hein.death/kemdelc0001 and id is 1 raw text is: 








             NUMBER 51.


     KEMMLER DIES BY ELEC-
               2RICITY.

 Sickening  Scenes of the Electrocution..
   AUBURN, N. Y., Aug. 6.-With a short,
 sharp shock-painless so far as the world,
 will ever  know -the  soul of William.
 Kemmiler was separated from his body at
 6:40 o'clock Wednesday morning. A cup
 adjusted to the head of a man bound capt-
 ive in a  strange-looking chair, a lever
 quickly swung around the are of a semi-
 circle, a quick convulsion, a sudden reviw
 al of muscular action, another turn of the
 lever, a pause, a room filled with sicken-
 ing fumes-and twenty-seven witnesses of
 the first electricide in history knew that
 the death  of Tillie Zeigler had been
 avenged in law and the crime of William
 Kemmler  expiated so far as human hande
 could force its expiation.
   The first shock was not successful. He
 revived and there was frequent respira-
 tion, though, the doctors claim, no con-
 sciousness. After some delay the  cur--
 rent was turned on and kept on for four
 and a half minutes,  the first contact
 having been  15  seconds. The current.
 was kept on the second time   intil the
 holy fumed  and  gave  off unpleasant
 odors.
   Dr. Spitzka, the  celebrated expert,
 said the experiment was a  failure anE
 that this would settle electrocution.
   Kernmmler displayed great bravery and
 helped to  adjust the  fasteninvs that
 bound. him  to  the  chair. When  the
 straps had been adjusted to  the body
 and limbs the warden placed his hand
 on Kemmier's head, and  held it against
 the rubber cushion which ran down tYA-
 back of the chair. A harness of broad
 leather straps was adjusted to the face-
 The   sight in the execution room was
 sickening. When   all was pronounced
 ready the electric current was turned on
 There wad a sudden convnlsion  of th-%
 frane in tre chair. A spasm went ove

 straps and springs that beldit firmly so
 that no limb or other parts of the body
 stirred more than a small fraction of an
 inch from its resting place, and the mut
 cles of the face twitchted.
 After  17 seconds tihe man  was  pro-
 nounced  dead, but  when  the electric
 current was switched off signs of reviv-
 ing consciousness appeared.
 *Turn   the current on instantly. This
 mtan is not dead, ctied Dr. Spitzka..
 Faces  grew white and  forms fell back
 from the chair. Warden Durston sprang
 to the doorway and cried, Turn on the
 cut-rent. But the current could not b-
 turned on. When the signal to stop
 had come, the operator had pressed the
 little button which gave  tite sign to
 the engineer to stop the dynamo.
 As  the group  of horror-stricken wit-
 nesges stood helplessly by, all eyes fixed
 on the chair, Kemmler's lifi began to
 drip spittle and in a woment more his
 chest moved and from his mouth  came
 a heavy, stertorous sound, quickening
 a ni increasing with every respiration--
 if respiration it was.
 There  was no  voice but  that of the
 warden, crying to the operator to tum
 on tihe current, and the wheezing sound,
 halfgroan, which forced itself past the
 tightly closed lips, sounded through the
 still chamber with ghastly distinctness&
 Some of the witnesses turned away fromxc
 the sight. One of them lay down, faint
and sick.
  When   the second  shock  came,  the
sound which had  horrified the listener-
about the chair was  ct  off sharply a-
the body once more  became rigid. The
slimy ooze still dropped from tihe mouth.
and ran klowly in three lines down the-
beard and upon the grey vest.
  The dynamo  was run up  to its highest
speed and again and again the full car-
rent 9f12,000 volts was sent through the-
body in tihe chair. No mine seemed  t-
want to take the responsiihity of giving
the signal to stop.
  As the anxious  group  stood silentlyi
watching the body, suddenly there aroe;
from it a white vapor bearing with it ft
pungent and sickenipg odor.  The body
was burning.  Again there were cries ta
stop the current and again the warden,
sprang to the  door and gave the quick
order to his assistants. The currentsatop-
ped and again there was the relaxation
of the body.- No doubt this , time that
the current bad  done  its work-Ifnc-
well, at least completely.
  And  thid endelt We firstva of capital
9'-i~hmisa  by eleotrbfitv.

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