[ Radiograph of head with bullet ]

E. Fleischmann, Osler Library for the History of Medicine, This early X-ray of a head shows a real bullet lodged in the brain. From United States Surgeon-General's Office, The Use of the Rontgen Ray... (1900), plate 11

Health and medicine are important to this mystery. Everyday life in the Redpath household at 1065 Sherbrooke revolved around health problems, and as you will see, the coroner’s report concluded that medical conditions led directly to the deaths of Ada and Cliff.

Sir William Osler — probably the single most important doctor of the era —argued several times in his textbook, The Principles and Practice of Medicine, that there was little physicians and surgeons could do to cure disease. This attitude, known as therapeutic nihilism, was just beginning to change in 1901. The use of laboratory-based medicine to scientifically evaluate treatments gradually made both physicians and patients confident in modern medicine. What does the prominent role of doctors in the Redpath story say about the role of physicians in 1901? How might a physician treat a gunshot wound?

Was Clifford Redpath really an epileptic? Today physicians consider epilepsy a neurological disorder, but in 1901 the link between epilepsy and insanity was as much a legal question as a medical one. Why did Dr Roddick say Clifford had an epileptic fit?

Ada Redpath suffered from many health problems, some of which we would associate with “stress” today. Other family health problems include the diagnosis of tuberculosis given to Cliff’s brother Peter. Who was sick and who was healthy?

Can a sickness justify a crime?


Diaries, Journals or Reminiscences

Journal Articles


Photographs, Paintings or Drawings