Today’s Cagey Yet Truly Morbid Fact!
Arnold Rothstein was born in 1882 and was king of New York’s Jewish underworld in the early twentieth century. He transformed organized crime from its thuggish origins into something run very much like a corporation, with himself as CEO. He’s widely believed to have orchestrated the Black Sox scandal, in which the Chicago White Sox threw the 1919 World Series by deliberately losing to the Cincinnati Reds, enabling Rothstein to profit from bets against the heavily-favored Sox. Rothstein’s lucrative but illegal activities continued until November of 1928, when he lost $320K (over $4 million in today’s money) in a poker game with fellow racketeer George McManus. Rothstein refused to pay, claiming (with some justification) that the game had been rigged. On November 4, Rothstein went to New York’s Park Central Hotel to meet with McManus, and shortly thereafter was discovered in a hotel stairwell, shot in the abdomen. He died in the hospital a day later. The murder of Arnold Rothstein remained unsolved. When questioned on his deathbed, Rothstein would only tell the police detectives “You stick to your trade, I’ll stick to mine” and when asked if he knew who shot him, he cagily replied “Me mudder did it.”
Culled From: Wikipedia
Submitted by: Aimee
In the Library Eclectica, I have a book entitled The Faces of Madness: Hugh W. Diamond and the Origin of Psychiatric Photography (edited by Sander L. Gilman), 1977. It contains a wonderful collection of photographs of asylum inmates taken in the 1850’s by pioneering medical photographer and psychiatrist Dr. Hugh W. Diamond, along with engravings that were made of them and used in teaching. There are also several case studies by Dr. John Conolly (the leading British psychiatrist of the mid-nineteenth century) for some of the patients. The portraits are beautiful and sad and the text reveals the psychiatric thought processes of the mid-19th century. Great stuff – so, of course, I must share! Here’s a case study – I want to turn this engraving into a t-shirt with the “Suicidal Melancholy” title underneath it.
At first sight the portrait seems only that of a plain face, almost vulgar. Examined more closely, it becomes affecting. It speaks not of despondency merely, but of some horrible vision that has arisen in the mind. The hands are not only joined, as in ordinary example of profound melancholy, but clasped, almost convulsively, the finger within finger, with a muscular energy the expression by which the engraver has most ably caught from the faithful photograph. By this wonderful art the muscles also of the right forearm are depicted as almost in immediate action; and the whole attitude of the patient shows the preponderating muscular strain existing on the same side of the body. The right shoulder is advanced; the right knee is drawn up and pressing on the left. The inclination of the head to the right, the staring muscles on the left side of the neck, the excessive corrugation of the integuments of the forehead, all tell the same story of intense and painful emotion. All this energetic contraction seems to be produced by some fearful feeling. A further perusal of the face tells more than is revealed to a careless glance. The features are unrefined; but the wide and high head indicates intellectual qualities that cultivation might have improved; so as to control, perhaps a now dominating ideality. The copious and disheveled hair, which we feel sure must be black mingled with grey, is parted with no care, but straggles in sympathy with the tortured brain. Those many and curved wrinkles in the brow are not wrinkles of ordinary trouble. The raised and equally curved eyebrows; the large, melancholy, and uplifted eyes, declare that the sense is fixed on some image of fear, which no other eye can detect; and the intensity of the prevalent emotion is forcibly expressed in all the other parts of the face. The upper eyelids disappear; the lower are strongly depressed; the muscles of the cheeks and the corners of the mouth are drawn down, the lower lip being, as it were, spasmodically acted upon, showing nearly all the front teeth of the lower jaw. The chin has been scratched and scarred by her own finger-nails. The very ears seem starting forward. Everything bespeaks terror. You see that the suffering woman moves not; and that she holds little communion with those about is, indeed, abstracted from the common world of sorrow and suffering, but lives in a world of dread alone.
A professed physiognomist, to which title I myself lay no claim, would say that in the face of this poor woman, a certain superiority of character was manifest, although subdued by disease. The long square jaw, the developed chin, the large nose, the compressed and long upper lip, would furnish a text for a pupil of Lavater; and a phrenologist would draw clear conclusions from the configuration of the head. There may be something of fancy, but there is much more of truth in both of these sciences or observation, some acquaintance with which every one desirous to be an accurate observer ought to possess.
The actual history of this patient too well illustrated the miscellaneous remarks which have been offered to the reader. She was born of a mother on whom wretchedness had already done its work; and who was eccentric in mind, and eventually became paralysed. Her sole inheritance was poverty and labour, and a brain disposed to disease. In the portrait she looks old and worn, her real age being only 34. She was industrious, and led a correct life, and for a time managed to earn a living by straw-bonnet making. But this kind of labour is not very profitable, and, in order to ensure food and clothing, and the shelter of a roof, it was necessary for her to work fourteen hours a day. No pleasures, no healthful exercise, were part of her lot. Her mind was of an anxious cast; and she ever felt, no doubt, that the intermission of toil for a day or two would entail difficulty upon her, or the prospect of starvation. What other fears haunted the poor creature we cannot say; but after her mind had quite given away, her often-repeated expressions were, “Oh! don’t kill me, dear doctor!” “Don’t let any one kill me!” At other times she would say, “I am too wicked to live!” and then she would humbly say that she had not committed any wickedness; but had always been an industrious and good girl. The dread, however, of being murdered grew stronger and stronger. She still worked on, with no salutary variety of any kind, until, with the inconsistency of insanity, she began to think she might escape the danger by destroying her own life. She made many and desperate attempts to do this; attempts only frustrated by the watchfulness of those about her, and by the arrangements of a well-ordered asylum. She would conceal bits of window glass and try to cut her throat; or tear off a strip of sheeting, and throw it quickly over one of the gas-burners in the gallery in order to hang herself. But vigilance saved her again and again from the first danger, and she was preserved from the second by the slight fixing of the burners, made with a prospective regard to such possibilities. The longest experience of the success of these and other attentions to the condition and propensities of the melancholic and suicidal, can yet scarcely make it intelligible how so very large a majority of these cases in asylums are safely managed throughout. If life can be preserved, the wish to die may leave the mind. So long as it remains, so long must the anxious solicitude of the attendants and the Physician continue. And still sometimes, after days and nights of care, a catastrophe may ensue. So fixed does the resolve of self-destruction remain in the poor distracted mind, and so preternatural an ingenuity is exerted in discovering the means of accomplishing it.