Dr. Moyer, Alienist, Thinks Czolgosz Sane; No
Mental Defect or Degeneracy in Face
T yesterday submitted to Dr. Harold N.
Moyer, the Chicago alienist, a photograph of Leon Czolgosz, President
McKinley’s assailant, and asked the expert to study it and prepare
a statement as to any indications of insanity or degeneracy found
in the Anarchist’s features. Dr. Moyer’s statement follows:
[BY HAROLD N. MOYER, M. D.]
The photograph that
is available for examination is a reproduction of a finished picture
which has probably been retouched, and it is possible that the art
of the photographer may have obliterated some of the important features.
The face and head, taken as a whole,
make a decidedly pleasing impression. At first glance they would
not be taken as belonging to a degenerate, but it is to be borne
in mind that any photograph taken full front may be devoid of some
distinctive characteristics which would be found in the original.
There are certain prominences of the jaw and irregularities in the
profile which would not show in a full front view. Hence and opinion
based on an examination such as is afforded by a study of this picture
may be at best only tentative.
The forehead is of medium
height, the hair line coming rather well down. The nose is straight.
The eyes are moderately deep set, and a line running from the inner
to the outer angle of each eyelid is exactly at right angles with
the long axis of the face. The nose may possibly be deformed when
seen upon profile.
The mouth is the best feature of the
face. The lips are curved, both upper and lower, and the groove
extending from the septum of the nose to the upper lip is well formed.
The chin is well formed, and is what
would probably be called a “weak chin.”
The projection of the of the jaws,
which is of such great importance in estimating degeneracy, cannot
be estimated because the picture is a full front view.
The ears are well formed and do not
set out from the head, but the details of their formation cannot
be described from the photograph. Their size corresponds with the
general facial development. They are not over large or under sized.
The general outline of the head, the
pose of the shoulders and neck, indicate, so far as the upper portion
of the body is concerned, a well formed individual. It is, however,
to be remembered that the photograph was taken while the individual
was posing under the direction of a photographer, and hence may
not represent a characteristic attitude. One of the characteristic
signs of a degenerate is want of symmetry between the two sides
of the head and face. So far as one can judge from this photograph
there is no want of symmetry. But the amplification is not great,
and with minute measurements it is easy to be at fault in this particular.
The left side of the face is in shadow, hence it appears smaller,
but it may not really be so.
The individual would
not be classed among degenerates from a study of his photograph
alone, nor does he present any characteristic signs of an insane
person. As a rule, the insane may be classified by a study of their
pictures. The main types of insanity have a certain expression in
common that would enable one to roughly group them. This would be
true of a majority of cases, but there are many insane individuals
who present nothing in their features characteristic of insanity.
Naturally a study of
this individual’s face recalls some of the great criminals that
have gone before—notably Prendergast, who assassinated Mayor Harrison
of Chicago, and Guiteau, who assassinated President Garfield.
Both of these individuals are now
regarded by those who make a close study of these subjects as insane.
These propositions were denied at the time, and there was much expert
testimony—apparently conflicting—in both of these cases.
Prendergast assassinated Mayor Harrison
as a result of his failure to receive an appointment for which he
was in no way fitted and for which he had not been considered. The
mere receiving of his application was sufficient, in his distorted
mind, to create an impression that he was in some way entitled to
The killing of President Garfield
had the same basic elements, plus considerable general excitement
growing out of party controversies at the time.
In each case—those of Mayor Harrison
and President Garfield—there was a motive, but it was of a sort
that could only have moved a mind incapable of reasoning correctly.
We are not now saying that in each case the mental defect was of
a sort that should absolve the individuals of responsibility for
their crimes, but we do say that to class them as normal persons,
capable of reasoning correctly, means failure to recognize the most
obvious of mental defects.
In this latest attempt at assassination
there is no personal motive, so far as is now known. The President
bore no personal relation—even in the slightest degree—to this individual,
and he reasoned as correctly as most of his class reason—namely:
that the taking of the life of the President was a furtherance of
the anarchistic propaganda. Judging this man by his surroundings
and the influences which have been brought to bear upon him, it
was a sane act, though the attempt being ever so foolish from the
standpoint of the ordinary law-abiding citizen. It was a crime the
outgrowth of adequate causes, and not a distortion of an inadequate
motive by an insane mind.