Robert Cornish: A Scientist Who Try to Reviving The Dead

Robert E. Cornish was a California medical researcher, physician, and academic, also known for his attempts to resurrect the dead. He was born in December 21, 1903 in San Francisco and graduated from high school at the age of 15, then 3 years later he graduated from Berkeley and at the age of 21, he acquire the license to practice medicine. In the mid-20s, Cornish returned to Berkeley as a researcher, where he worked on a various projects, such as isolating heavy water, including one that allowed for reading newspapers under water with special lenses.

Image credit: Alchetron


Cornish was intrigued by the bizarre idea that he could revive the the dead in 1932. The basic method of his plan consisted of a see-saw or teeterboard, which was used to drain the blood of patients who recently died, while injecting a mixture of anticoagulants and epinephrine (adrenaline) into their bloodstream.

In 1933, he tried to ressurect the victims of heart attack, drowning and electric shock with the balancing board, but to no avail. Cornish decided to perfecting his method by applied his experiment on dead animals.

The doctor organized a public demonstration which Time magazine witnessed. He named his patients – five fox terriers – Lazarus after the mythical figure brought back to life by Jesus.

Image credit: Alchetron


Before re-animation, he would inject the animals with a concoction of saline, oxygen, adrenaline, blood as well as anti-coagulants and coagulants. Oxygen would be blown into the mouth via a rubber tube. Three of the unfortunate canines remained dead and surprisingly he managed to revive two dogs (Lazarus IV and V). The fourth dog – Lazarus IV – came back to life albeit blind and brain-damaged, Cornish reported that she recovered to near full strength in a matter of months. Lazarus V was the same but returned to normality in shorter time. However they clinically killed on May 22, 1934 and in 1935.

Cornish was feted in the press and a 1935 film, Life Returns, was made about his work. After lapping up the celebrity, Cornish returned to more mundane areas of research.

But in 1947, Cornish wanted to expand its clinical trials to include human testing. Thomas McMonigle, one of the San Quentin death row inmate contacted Cornish to provide his own body to be brought back to life after execution.

However, California law enforcement has rejected the petition from Cornish and McMonigle. There is another rumour however which seems to be justified by newspaper reports from the time. This relates to the courts fearing a ‘double jeopardy’ clause. Death by the gas chamber which would have released the convict from his conviction and therefore he would have been a free man. After refusing the petition, McMonigle was executed on February 20, 1948 in the gas chamber of San Quentin.

By the late 1950s, Cornish had retired from medical research and was marketing his own product: “Dr Cornish’s Tooth Powder with Vitamin D and Fluoride”.

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