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Mad Scientists: Monkeys and Human Experiments

In many of the experiments that mad scientists conduct, they use animals to test out their theories. For some, dogs were a logical choice, while others preferred monkeys. This was the case for Harry Harlow, who had a reputation for inflicting cruelty upon helpless animals. In this article, you will also learn about Andrew Ure, who experimented on the human body.  

Harry Harlow

In the name of science Harry Harlow [1905 to 1981] believed in using rhesus monkeys for his experiments, where his actions would go down in history. He actually fueled the fire for animal rights movements to gain momentum as they fought against scientific research that involved cruelty to helpless animals. As a psychologist, Harlow was greatly interested in maternal-infant bonding.

Harlow was famous for his monkey experiments that kept isolated infants away from their mothers. He then offered the monkeys the option of surrogate mothers, which came in the form of wire mesh constructs or a terrycloth covered construct. One of the “surrogates” provided milk and the other did not. To make matters more sickening, Harlow named the apparatuses that helped him conduct his tests, such as “rape rack” and the “iron maiden” , which is a term that originated in medieval torture practices. He also constructed an isolation chamber that he dubbed the “pit of despair.”

Interestingly, Harlow was able to establish the importance of maternal-infant bonding for humans. His work would also encourage officials to set up ethics regulations of scientific research. Throughout his lifetime, he earned many awards, including the following accolades: National Medal of Science (1967), Gold Medal from American Psychological
Foundation (1973), and the Howard Crosby Warren Medal (1956).

Andrew Ure

In some cases, the reputation of a doctor could include many worthy accomplishments, but when they cross the line in terms of their experiments , they risk their legacy. This is the case of Andrew Ure, a Scottish doctor who conducted four experiments on the body of a man named Matthew Clydesdale on November 4, 1818.

Before conducting his experiments, Ure had founded the Garnet Hill observatory in 1808. Heading the facility and residing in it for several years, he built up a reputation that was second only to Greenwich. It was revealed in 1818 that Ure had been experimenting on the body of murderer and thief Matthew Clydesdale after the man was hung for an execution. He believed that stimulation to the phrenic nerve could restore life after someone had been suffocated, hung, or drowned.

First, Ure made an incision in the nape of the neck and removed part of the vertebra. An incision was then made to the left hip followed by a cut to the heel. Ure placed two rods connected to a battery in the neck and hip. The result was intense convulsions that Clydesdale could not control. The second rod was linked to the heel, which caused his left leg to kick out with great force. By connecting the rods to batteries, he made limbs move uncontrollably and could force the chest to rise and lower , looking as if it were breathing again.