The Death Cell

Powell's time in the death cell was an experience of hell we can only imagine.    The cells in the Old Arsenal Penitentiary were tiny, measuring only around  7.5 feet long by 4 feet wide and around 7.5 feet high with arched ceilings.   In this would have been a mattress on the floor, and a bucket for the call of nature.   There were no windows,  and the only light that came into the cells was through the metal grills on the cell doors.     Added to the torture, Powell was forced to wear a padded canvas hood, which covered both ears and eyes.   His world was one of darkness, fear and anxiety.

As the trial progressed, the other male prisoners were allowed respite from their hoods.  All but Powell.   His stoic demeanor convinced the guards that the hood didn't bother him and so it was left in place for weeks after the others were freed from theirs.   The hood did bother him, very much, and this became manifest in his chronic constipation, which we now know is caused through  the body shutting down its digestive system in reaction to extreme mental and emotional stress.

However, as the trial came to an end, his hood was removed and he and the other male prisoners were afforded an hour's exercise each day in the Penitentiary grounds.   It was during one of these exercise respite's that Powell must have picked the wild white convolvulus (Morning Glory) and blue larkspur growing against the prison walls.    

He pressed these flowers into his bible.

15354larkspur   whiteconvolv