18 January 1803 – George Foster

Even in death, George Foster had the power to carry on killing, albeit beyond his control.

George Foster was executed at Newgate on this day in 1803. He’d been found guilty of drowning his wife and one of his children in Paddington canal. But it was in death that he caused another to die of fright.

Shock to the system

Following his hanging, Foster’s corpse was handed over for medical research, namely electric shock treatment.

When electricity were passed through Foster’s face, the corpse’s jaw began moving, the surrounding facial muscles made him grimace, and, eerily, one of the eyes actually opened. In a follow-up session, his right hand lifted up and his fist clenched, plus the legs and thighs started moving. One of the attending assistants, Mr Pass, was literally scared to death, popping his clogs when he got home after the experiments.

Also on this day

18 January 1917 – Lance-Sergeant Joseph Stones, Lance-Corporal Peter Goggins and Lance-Corporal John McDonald

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