Tag Archives: Charles Dickens

8 Brilliant Minds in History and Their Favorite Drugs

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8 Brilliant Minds in History and Their Favorite Drugs

Brilliant Minds in History and Their Favorite Drugs

 

Whether it’s leading countries, being part of a creative community or just wanting to experiment – at some point, some of the most famous names in history have tried or been addicted to drugs of some kind. Here’s the round-up of the most brilliant minds in history and the drugs they were once addicted to.

1. Charles Dickens

In Dickens’ time, opium was common on the Victorian streets of London and it’s fairly safe to say that Dickens himself was a fan, even referencing the drug and provided a detailed first-hand description of the opium dens in his later, unfinished work The Mystery of Edwin Drood. Dickens used the drug in the form of laudanum for many years before dying of a stroke in the 1870’s.

2. Vincent Van Gogh

Whilst cutting off his own ear was one of the wackiest things Van Gogh did, being addicted to the prescription drug Digitalis and strong spirit Absinthe can also be added to the list. Initially using the substances to treat bipolar disorder, anxiety and temporal lobe epilepsy, he soon became addicted and the yellow spots affecting sight associated with both certainly explain a lot about his artwork. Some people also believe that the use of lead-based paints also resulted in lead poisoning, further affecting his substance abuse and it was once noted by Dr Peyron that the famous artist once tried to commit suicide by swallowing paint or drinking kerosene.

3. Adolf Hitler

It is a well-known fact that Hitler used a cocktail of drugs to suit his needs, through the help of his many men. A USA Military Dossier states that Theodor Morell would assist Hitler in his drug-taking needs, using barbiturate tranquilizers, morphine, crystal meth, bull semen and many others. Some accounts claim that Hitler took crystal meth before his 2-hour long rant during a meeting with Mussolini and in his last hours in the bunker, it is said that he took nine shots of methamphetamine.

4. Thomas Edison

Vin Mariani was invented in 1863 and was essentially, a cocaine elixir. The wine was made from coca leaves and the ethanol content in the Bordeax could extract cocaine from these leaves exceeding 7mg per fluid ounce of wine. During this period, it wasn’t uncommon to consume the wine that had been laced with Cocaine and it became popular with the late Thomas Edison.

5. Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs may have been a technological genius, but in the 1960’s he was also usingLSD. He was also said to think that certain people around him, who hadn’t tried recreational drugs, just didn’t understand him.

6. Stephen King

The famous horror writer is said to have been a practiced user of a self-made cocktail of cocaine, Xanax, Valium, NyQuil, beer, marijuana and tobacco. After an intervention by his family, King is said to have gone to Rehab to fix his problems and to this day, remains clean and sober. Apparently…

7. Winston Churchill

Whilst not quite as wild as others on this list, Churchill is said to have taken amphetamines on a regular basis in order to be able to stay awake to plan strategies in World War II. Add this to his reputation for smoking cigars and drinking whisky and it’s not hard to see how the previous UK Prime Minister died of a stroke in 1965.

8. Ernest Hemingway

If you’re familiar with Ernest Hemingway, it’s more than likely you’re aware of his alcohol problems. Although being one of America’s most famous authors and winning a Nobel Prize, Hemingway lost himself to alcohol consumption and turned to this after the lonely life of being a writer, apparently. Sadly, the drinking worsened his depression and caused a great deal of confusion, resulting in him eventually taking his own life.

With drugs and alcohol overtaking some of the smartest, most creative minds in human history, what hope does that leave for the rest of us? Whilst a lot of these claims can’t actually be verified, it’s still interesting to learn about the hidden past of some of these famous historical figures.

References:

https://www.distractify.com/brilliant-people-and-their-drugs-of-choice-1197892615.html

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HIWAY AMERICA-EASTERN STATE PENITENTIARY PHILADELPHIA PA. I-95 S.

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THIS WAS AL CAPONE’S CELL!

Known as being the most expensive building built in the U.S. at the time, the Eastern State Penitentiary became a prototype in design to 300 prisons.

The facility was operated under the Pennsylvania System from 1829 to 1913. This system, used by the Quakers, was designed to force the incorrigibles sent there to look inside themselves and find God. In reality, the system which placed inmates in complete solitude, drove many a sane man to madness.

Tough Time

Prisoners at Eastern State had a toilet, table, bunk and Bible in their cells, in which they were locked all but one hour a day. When the prisoners did leave their cells, a black hood would be placed over their head so they could not see any other prisoners as they were guided through the halls of the prison. Interaction and any form of communication between inmates was forbidden.

Inmates lived a life in mundane solitude and would only get a glimpse of sunlight, known as “The Eye of God” which came through a slit in the prison ceiling. In desperate need of human interaction, prisoners would tap on pipes or whisper through vents to each other. If caught, the penalty was brutal.

Harsh Punishments

  • The Water Bath

    The inmates who broke the rules risked being dunked in a bath of ice-cold water then hung from a wall for the night. During the winter months, when this punishment was most popular, the water on the inmates’s skin would form into a layer of ice before morning.

  • The Mad Chair

    The Mad Chair was named such because it was not uncommon for an inmate to go mad before his punishment ended. Inmates would be strapped into the chair with leather strips, so tightly that it was impossible for them to make the smallest of movements. They would sit for days, without food, until the circulation in their body almost stopped from the tightness of the straps and the lack of movement.

  • Iron Gag

    The most deadly punishment was known as the Iron Gag and specifically designed for those inmates who refused to obey the no communication policies. An iron collar was clamped onto the tongue of the inmate, and then chained to his wrists which were strapped high behind their back. Any movement resulted in a tearing of the tongue and severe bleeding. Many inmates who suffered this torture died from loss of blood before their torment ended.

  • The Hole

    Dug under Block #14, the hole was nothing but a pit in the ground where incorrigible inmates would stay locked, sometimes for weeks. There was no light, little air, and those thrown into its tortuous grip would receive water and a slice of bread, if they got to it before the rats and roaches.

It has been reported that the Quakers were not responsible for the punishments the inmates were forced to endure. The extreme penitence was something the hired staff in the prison designed and enforced.

Charles Dickens visited the prison in the 1840s and found the conditions appalling. He described the inmates at Eastern Penn as being “buried alive…” and wrote about the psychological torture the inmates suffered at the hands of their captors.

Prior to its reform in 1913, the prison which was designed to house 250 inmates had over 1700 prisoners jammed into tiny makeshift cells where there was little light and even less ventilation. Finding the conditions of the prison unacceptable, the prison was taken over and reformed and the Pennsylvania System was abolished. Finally, in 1971, the sprawling monstrous prison was closed.

Ghost Stories of Eastern State Penitentiary

Since its closure visitors, employees and those researching paranormal activity have reportedly heard unexplained eerie sounds throughout the prison.

The Locksmith

One major paranormal episode reported occurred to a locksmith doing restoration work in Cell Block #4. According to the tale, he was working to remove a 140-year-old lock from the cell door when a massive force overcame him so powerfully he was unable to move.

Some believe when he removed the key it opened a gateway to the horrific past and offered the spirits caught behind its bars a pathway out. The man spoke of experiencing an out-of-body state as he was drawn toward the negative energy which burst through the cell.

Anguished faces appeared on the cell wall, hundreds of distorted forms swirled around the cellblock and one dominating form seemed to beckon the locksmith to him. The man’s experience was so vivid, years after he would shudder in fear when he talked about it.

Today the penitentiary is opened to the public. In a typical year, maybe two dozen paranormal investigations take place in the cell blocks, and according to Assistant Program Director Brett Bertolino, they almost always find evidence of activity.

Tourists and employees have reported hearing weeping, giggling and whispering coming from inside the prison walls.