1963: Frederick Charles Wood, “Let me burn” 1819: Hannah Bocking, 16-year-old poisoner

Themed Set: Arsenic

March 22nd, 2014 Headsman

One of this site’s recurring themes and criminology’s iconic trappings, the poison arsenic carried off many a soul.

Poison has been around forever, of course, but “inheritance powder” was a slow-motion moral panic in the Victorian years — when a man on the make could be imperceptibly nudged into an early grave by a friend or a spouse or a maid using a product that could be had for pennies from the local apothecary.

Who can feel safe, when little old ladies could make a murder spree of afternoon tea?

For the next several days, we’ll remember a few of the arsenic era’s more notable nudges … and a few of the distinct minority of poisoners who found that stealthy powder equally fatal to the hand that stirred it.

Arsenic photo (cc) image from Curious Expeditions.

On this day..

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