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Who said: “Politics is more difficult than physics.”
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Thumbnail of Robert Ernest House (source)
Robert Ernest House
(3 Aug 1875 - 15 Jul 1930)

American physician who championed the use of scopolamine hydrobromide in criminology, which became known as a “truth serum.”


‘Truth Serum’ Involves Five in Axe Murders, Clearing Up 44 Crimes in Birmingham, Ala.

Dr Robert House, administering his “truth serum” drug to an arrested man in a Texas jail.
Dr Robert House, administering his “truth serum” drug to an arrested man in a Texas jail. (source)

The headline above appeared with a dateline of “BIRMINGHAM, Ala., Jan. 7,” on the front page of the Tuesday, January 8, 1924, issue of the New York Times. The article concerned the preparations for the early trial of “five negroes” held responsible for a wave of axe murders in Birmingham, that were committed during the past three years. The men were reported as having confessed to causing eight of those deadly assaults, and had been indicted on charges of murder.

The article noted that it had been announced that the confessions were made “while under the influence of a ‘truth serum’” but these were also corroborated by “the confessions after they came from under its influence.” The specific drug used as the truth serum was not identified in the report.

Apparently, the motive was robbery, and the choice of who would be the murderer from their group was made by drawing straws.

The men being held under arrest were identified by Solictor James G. Davis of the Jefferson County Circuit Court, as the “syndicate” he believed had carried out all the forty-four attacks that resulted in twenty-four deaths in the “axe murder” carnage.

Three more members of the gang, including the alleged leader, were still uncaptured, but “special officers” were in pursuit of them in Central Alabama.

Image added (not in original article) from source shown above, to illustrate Dr. Robert House, who suggested the use of drug scopolamine in criminology. Text written by Webmaster, based on New York Times article (8 Jan 1924).


See also:

Nature bears long with those who wrong her. She is patient under abuse. But when abuse has gone too far, when the time of reckoning finally comes, she is equally slow to be appeased and to turn away her wrath. (1882) -- Nathaniel Egleston, who was writing then about deforestation, but speaks equally well about the danger of climate change today.
Carl Sagan Thumbnail Carl Sagan: In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion. (1987) ...(more by Sagan)

Albert Einstein: I used to wonder how it comes about that the electron is negative. Negative-positive—these are perfectly symmetric in physics. There is no reason whatever to prefer one to the other. Then why is the electron negative? I thought about this for a long time and at last all I could think was “It won the fight!” ...(more by Einstein)

Richard Feynman: It is the facts that matter, not the proofs. Physics can progress without the proofs, but we can't go on without the facts ... if the facts are right, then the proofs are a matter of playing around with the algebra correctly. ...(more by Feynman)
Quotations by: • Albert Einstein • Isaac Newton • Lord Kelvin • Charles Darwin • Srinivasa Ramanujan • Carl Sagan • Florence Nightingale • Thomas Edison • Aristotle • Marie Curie • Benjamin Franklin • Winston Churchill • Galileo Galilei • Sigmund Freud • Robert Bunsen • Louis Pasteur • Theodore Roosevelt • Abraham Lincoln • Ronald Reagan • Leonardo DaVinci • Michio Kaku • Karl Popper • Johann Goethe • Robert Oppenheimer • Charles Kettering  ... (more people)

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