I’ve written about the dangers of nicotine before, and particularly about my theory of nicotine playing the part of poison in the death of Game of Throne’s King Joffrey. And lately e-cigarettes, or vaporizers, have become all the rage among consumers and media alike. So of course I’ve given my two-cents about potential e-cig and … Continue reading
Category Archives: Poisonous History
Homicidal Poisonings: Not Common, but Watch Out for the Chocolate Cremes
Homicidal poisonings are not nearly as common as people think or prime-time TV dramas would have you believe. The fact is, successfully poisoning someone takes work. One must first acquire the means to carry it out, which entails researching the poison and procuring it. Then a plan must be constructed so that the death appears … Continue reading
The JFK Assassination: A Book Depository, a Sniper . . . and a Poison Arrow?
Conspiracy theories abound in today’s society. They captivate people’s imaginations in all forms of art, whether it be books, movies or music. We voraciously read Tom Clancy novels and immerse ourselves in the spy world of Jack Ryan, we watch the Jason Bourne trilogy (also a superb set of novels, by Robert Ludlum), and pour through Tupac … Continue reading
Anabasis aphylla and Project CHATTER: A Secret CIA Cold War Poison?
The period of time right after World War II was a dark and shady time for the United States. We had just exited hard fought wars on two fronts with the help of the Soviet Union, our ally. But the United States, and the United Kingdom, never fully trusted the Soviets, and saw them as potential … Continue reading
Who Put Strychnine in my Beer?
One of the hallmarks of strychnine is its extreme bitterness (click for a review of the science, history, and toxicity of strychnine). So bitter, in fact, that homicidal poisonings are difficult to pull off. But with enough sweeteners and other flavors to mask the taste it is possible, as history has shown us. And with … Continue reading
Dr. William Murrell: What to Do in Cases of Poisoning
In the toxicology world, and especially when poisons are involved, Spanish born Mathieu Joseph Bonaventure Orfila is the man. He is essentially the Godfather of toxicology, and its medicolegal component, and started us on the path towards detecting poisons in biological specimens. And in the early 1800’s he wrote several important books on identifying and treating … Continue reading
Childbirth, Scopolamine and the History of Truth Serum
The phrase “truth serum” is a part of our lexicon, and we hear it in movies and read it in novels, but what does childbirth and scopolamine have to do with truth serum? I’ve written about scopolamine before, here, and briefly mentioned childbirth, but not truth serum. But trust me, they are related, and it’s … Continue reading