His End Near
HOW CZOLGOSZ IS TO DIE.
President McKinley’s Assassin to Be Electrocuted Early Tomorrow
Early tomorrow morning, in Auburn,
N. Y., will be carried into execution the law’s mandate’s [sic]
of a life for a life—Leon Czolgosz, the condemned assassin of President
McKinley, paying with his life the forfeit exacted by law and society.
During a trip to New York, not many
years ago, George P. Shiley and Earl R. Harris of this city, paid
a visit to Auburn prison, and were shown through the entire institution,
the execution chamber in which is located the chair of death and
all of its gruesome accessories being an especially interesting
portion of the trip. The “chamber of death,” as it is designated
by the prison attendants, is located in a portion of the mammoth
building isolated from the penitentiary building proper, and is
reached after passing through a long corridor. The cells in which
are confined condemned prisoners awaiting execution are within twenty-five
feet of the execution room.
The execution chair, the direct descendent
of the rack, guillotine and the gallows, is located in one end of
the room on a raised platform about a foot higher than the floor.
Immediately in front of the chair are grouped twenty-six chairs,
the law of the state of New York requiring that each of these chairs
have an occupant before the electrocution takes place.
During the stay in the “Death Chamber,”
the “Chair” is the center of all interest. The chair is made after
the fashion of a common easy chair, having a high back and wide
arm rests. The chair rests on a thick rubber matting which furnishes
complete insulation. The guard who was acting as guide, first explained
the general features attending an execution, and then requested
one of the party to become seated in the chair for the purpose of
making a more complete demonstration of the workings of the chair.
First the condemned man is securely
strapped to the chair. Located at the back of the chair and acting
as a head rest, is a sliding arrangement shaped something like a
figure “4.” From this is suspended a metalic [sic] cap, designated
as the head electrode. This b[e]ll shaped cap is lined with sponge,
which at the time of execution is saturated with a composition of
salt water. Instead of the “black cap” used in hanging, a thick
leather strap is used that serves the double purpose of hiding the
face of the subject as well as holding the head erect.
On the inner side of the head strap
are two small sponges, which when used are saturated with salt water
and then connected with the wires on the back of the chair. When
affixed these sponges press firmly on both temples and when the
current is turned on the brain is instantly paralyzed. The least
struggle on the part of the subject is prevented by the use of heavy
straps to bind the arms to the sides of the chair, as are the ankles
to the bottom of the chair. Another belt is fastened around the
bare calf of the left leg just a few inches above the ankle, and
when the current is turned on the body furnishes the circuit, the
electricity entering through the cap on the head and after pasiing
[sic] entirely through the body passes back to the dynamo through
the electrodes attached to the leg. The person manipulating the
deadly currents is not in the room in which the electrocution occurs,
but is stationed in a small ante room about ten feet distant, communication
being established by the use of electric signals. When the proper
signal is given, the handle of the switch completing the circuit
is dropped so as to complete the circuit and for the least fraction
of a second the deadly current passes through the body 2,200 volts
strong. This to all practical purposes produces immediate death,
but after a few seconds it is turned on again, and at a decreased
intensity leaps through the body of the condemned for nearly ten
seconds—entering the body at the brain and passing out of the calf
of the leg. For the third time the current is sent through the body,
the last time the voltage being increased to slightly over 2,200.
The guard acting as an escort for
the party explained the entire wo[r]kings of the mysterious apparatus
in the fullest manner possible for people unaccustomed to electrical
terms an[d] phrases. He stated that many horrible scenes had been
enacted within the narrow confines of the four stone walls surrounding
the death chamber, the condemned man weakening at the first sight
of the chair.
Czologosz will walk only a distance
of twenty-five feet, and within four minutes after his entry of
the room he will be on trial in a court higher than that presided
over by mortal man.