DEATH // in the digital age

DIG 215 // Davidson College // Dr. Shrout

Month: October 2015

An Historical Shrout

“General Joseph Neville as Justice of the Peace, already referred to, had arraigned before his court at Moorefield, the first murder case to occur in this part of Hardy County. A man by the name of Shrout who lived near the Geisert place on the Morgantown road about one mile east of the “Mountain” was charged with the crime of killing his wife, which deed he committed by ramming a broom stick down her throat. A man by the name of Bowman, who then lived on the Parker Brothers farm near Mount Storm on the Morgantown road acted as constable.

Shrout was executed at Moorefield according to the method of executing a criminal at that time, which provided that the accused should sit upon his coffin, borne by about six men to the place of execution, usually a tree with an appropriate limb. The prisoner was allowed to carry a small stick to drop as a signal, when he felt that he was ready to take the step into that bourn from whence no traveler e’er returns to tell of tiding on yonder shore.

It is said that Shrout, instead of dropping the stick, threw it defiantly into the air.

This method of executing a criminal in Hardy County was an advanced step, compared to the method at an earlier date, when this part of the country belonged to Hampshire County. The crime of murder, according to old laws in that county, was unclergiable, i. e., the accused was not permitted to have the benefit of the clergy to console him in the last hours of his life. The idea of the law seemed to be to cut short the prisoner’s life “in the blossom of his sin”, and by this master stroke, put him out of commission for all time. in 1789 a law was enacted in Hampshire County making such crimes as murder, hog stealing, and feloniously stealing from a meeting house, and some others unclergiable, and the victim of these crimes was frequently burned with a hot iron before hanging”

From History of Mt. Storm Community


(see a data structure for this here)

Public hangings

Blogging commitments for part II

Here is a link to the blogging commitments for part II of the course.

Debating the Right to be Forgotten

Today’s Digital Death class debated the “Right to be Forgotten.” Both sides argued passionately for their positions  – that there is an intrinsic “Right to be Forgotten” on the internet, and conversely, that no such right exists.

Blog posts, part II (the bloggening)

A plan for endless life

While browsing the twitters (hashtag digitaldeath) I came across this “immortality roadmap.”  The gentleman who produced it posits that “If someone has died it doesn’t mean that you should stop trying to return him to life. There is one clear thing that you should do (after cryonics): collect as much information about the person as possible, as well as store his DNA sample, and hope that future AI will return him to life based on this information.”  Something to keep in mind for our resurrection project?

Mid-semester audit

For your final post of the semester, I want you to consider how the course has evolved so far.  Begin by reading all of the class’s posts. As you reread them, take notes, critically reading your and your colleagues’ entries as if they were assigned texts. You are not grading this work so much as commenting on it and noticing what you and the class noticed from week to week. Then, compose a short analysis and reflection. This meta-post is open-ended and the exact content is up to you, although it should be thoughtful and directed. You should quote briefly from your own or others’ posts. Some questions to consider might include: What has the class tended to write about in your posts? Are there broad themes or specific concerns that reoccur? Has the nature of the class’s posts changed in the past five or six weeks? What changes do you notice, and how might you account for those changes? What surprised you as you reread your work? What ideas or threads in your posts do you see as worth revisiting? What else do you notice?

Due by 5 PM on Friday, October 9th


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