In the Kindred Spirits episode “The Executioner,” Amy Bruni and Adam Berry investigate the Buffalo, New York home of Alfred P. Southwick, the inventor of the electric chair. A dentist by trade, Southwick “was accustomed to performing procedures on subjects in chairs” so “his device for electrical execution appeared in the form of an electric chair.” After a series of botched hangings in the 1880s, newly elected New York State governor David B. Hill “set up a three-member death penalty commission to find a more humane form of execution.” Southwick was one of the three. Today, a young engineer named Jason lives in the house. Adam Berry says Jason “is completely terrified of his own house” and believes “something’s trying to kill him.”
When Adam and Amy arrive at the old Southwick house, Jason tells them he gets a very negative feeling in the upstairs bedroom, so he’s been sleeping on the couch for the past five years. And then there was that time he fell down the stairs, “or was pushed,” suggests Adam. Note: When the electric chair was first used in 1890 in a Buffalo prison, Southwick was present and reportedly said “There is the culmination of ten years work and study! We live in a higher civilization from this day.” Kindred Spirits airs Fridays at 8pm on TLC.