Wednesday, December 29, 2021

Scott Jackson.

Scott Jackson
Courtesy of The Cincinnati Enquirer

Phrenologist, Dr. S. E. Hyndman, performed measurements on the head of Scott Jackson, accused killer of Pearl Bryan, shortly after his arrest in February 1896. He came to this conclusion:
"My analysis of Scott Jackson reveals a bold, fearless, intense organization, with a perverted amativeness, and unwise gratification of this faculty has changed his physical, intellectual and moral condition and debased his higher mental qualities. He readily and quickly reasons from cause to effect; is intensely selfish in whatever he does; would mislead anyone to assist himself and has strong perceptive powers. He is a good planner and a fearless executer; once his mind is made up to do a thing, neither God, nor man, nor the devil, would prevent the attempt, every faculty would be perverted."

Dr. Hyndman’s assessment was probably influenced as much by public opinion as it was by the bumps on his heads In Cincinnati, Scott Jackson was viewed as strong, self-centered, and fundamentally evil. Jackson was the master manipulator who seduced the farm girl, persuaded the preacher’s son to send her to Cincinnati, and enlisted the country boy to help kill her. Some believed that Jackson had hypnotic power to impose his will on others and attributed that power to a property that even phrenology could not measure: his evil eye. 

Every written description of Scott Jackson referred to the power of his eyes. They were steel blue, some said violet, and had a mesmerizing power that he used to beguile Pearl Bryan into an intimate affair that she kept secret from her friends and family. She was—referencing the most popular novel of the time—Trilby to his Svengali.


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