The Poison Pen Letter: The Early 20th Century’s Strangest Crime Wave (2023)

Across the transatlantic world in the early decades of the twentieth century a terrible wave of poison attacks took place, cruelly claiming hordes of human victims. In contrast with the toxic chlorine, phosgene and mustard gases which armies put to such ghastly and inhuman use during the First World War, however, these particular poisons were not delivered via canisters and shells. Rather, the instrument through which these poisons inflicted their damage was the pen—the so-called “poison pen” (a term which encompassed as well that click-clacking symbol of modern business efficiency, the typewriter). For these poisons were words—words which, like weapons of war, could not only hurt but in some cases kill.

Hostilities seem to have commenced in the American state of New Jersey. There in 1909 at the city of Elizabeth, located near New York City, a sneaking individual possessed of a “serpent typewriter,” as the newspapers put it, launched a campaign of hurtful verbal harassment against some of the city’s “best people” with a series of anonymous letters, “some innocuous, some catlike, some downright indecent.” One of the letters that was made public hatefully accused a respectable Elizabeth matron of clandestinely prostituting herself to men in New York:

She keeps one or two roomers and does a little dressmaking to hide her double life. Look at her clothes of elegance. Yet her husband is a baggage checker on the P. R. R. [Pennsylvania Railroad] in Winter and purser on an Albany [Hudson River ferry] boat in Summer, never saw $80 a month in his life. Yet they keep a maid and she is on the go all the time. Once a week she meets an Elizabeth man over on Staten Island and once a week she meets a N. Y. man in N. Y. C., and in that way she makes $40 a month. She will do anything but honest work for money.

The Poison Pen Letter: The Early 20th Century’s Strangest Crime Wave (1)

The chief victim of this manic postal onslaught was another woman, Mrs. Florence Jones, wife of dentist Charles F. Jones, treasurer of the New Jersey State Dental Society, who lived on fashionable Madison Avenue. Not only did Mrs. Jones receive objectionable letters, the Jones household additionally was inundated with “free literature” on obesity, insanity, alcoholism and drug addiction, all of which information had been requested by notes with Mrs. Jones’s name and address attached to them. Shockingly in March 1914, it was the Jones’ next door neighbor, Mrs. Anna Pollard, the forty-three year old daughter of William Henry Harrison Dunn, wife of New Jersey Public Service Commission electrical engineer Nelson Pollard and mother of two daughters, who was arrested and charged with all this malicious activity. The highly esteemed Mrs. Pollard was nothing less than the president of the Elizabeth Ladies’ Aid Society and a member of Christ Episcopal Church and the Boudinot chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR).

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The Poison Pen Letter: The Early 20th Century’s Strangest Crime Wave (2)

At her trial Mrs. Pollard appeared with her face entirely swathed in a mummifying veil and Reverend Edward Lyttle, minister at Christ Episcopal Church, sitting beside her. The back-and-forth bickering between prosecutor Alfred A. Stein and Samuel Schleimer, counsel for the defense, grew so heated that the presiding judge broke his gavel in furiously silencing the squabbling attorneys. Under grueling examination and cross examination lasting for over ten hours, famed handwriting expert William Kinsley testified that the same machine which had produced the type on letters Mrs. Pollard had indisputably typed with her personal typewriter had done so as well with the poison pen letters. Type, he explained, could be, like handwriting, individually identified. In this case, imperfections in the letters “h,” “e,” “i,” “o,” and “u,” were identical in all the documents. The defense countered with testimony from Mrs. Pollard’s maid that many townswomen had dropped in at the Pollard house to use Mrs. Pollard’s typewriter, including Mrs. Jones’ estranged sister-in-law, whom the defense tried vigorously to implicate in the crime. The jury, whether genuinely perplexed over all the typewriter testimony or simply unwilling to accept that a woman of such standing as Mrs. Pollard could do such things, voted to acquit.

The Poison Pen Letter: The Early 20th Century’s Strangest Crime Wave (3)

As soon as Mrs. Pollard went free, the sending of poison pen letters recommenced, this time not in type but in the form of hand printed block letters and words cut and pasted from newspapers. (Once bitten, twice shy?) The unfortunate Mrs. Jones again stood at the head of the recipients. In October Mrs. Pollard, having fallen into a wily trap laid for her by the local Federal postal inspector, was again arrested and charged with the crime; and this time she confessed to having written the letters, her motivation for doing so evidently having been her keen social jealousy. (She desperately wanted to “keep up with the Joneses,” as it were.) At her sentencing a sobbing Mrs. Pollard was let off lightly by the merciful judge, who declined to give the Elizabeth matron any jail time and fined her only $200 (about $5000 today); but the disgraced woman was expelled from the Boudinot chapter of the DAR after her conviction, which some may have felt was sufficient humiliation to someone as painfully conscious of social standing as Mrs. Pollard. She died in 1947, still residing at the same house in Elizabeth with her two unmarried daughters, one of whom ironically had become a dentist.

This vein of epistolary venom, once opened, proved impossible for Lady Justice to stanch. A few years after the contentious affair at Elizabeth, in 1917, someone across the Atlantic Ocean began inundating the small French provincial city of Tulle with malevolent screeds, which were left at mailboxes, doorsteps and windowsills, slipped into women’s shopping baskets and even placed on church pews and in confessionals. In December 1922, Angele Laval, the thirty-seven year old daughter of a comfortably circumstanced shoemaker’s widow, was arrested for writing the letters and charged with defamation. Although Angele denied guilt, she was convicted, fined and sentenced to a term of penal servitude. Several suicides had resulted from the letters, including that of Angele’s own mother, who had been mortified by the accusations against her daughter. After her release from prison, Angele lived reclusively in Tulle until her death in 1967. French director Henri-Georges Cluzot’s classic 1942 mystery film Le Corbeau (The Crow) was inspired by the dreadful events at Tulle.

This vein of epistolary venom, once opened, proved impossible for Lady Justice to stanch.

1922 and 1923 proved banner years for poison pen cases in the transatlantic world. In May of the latter year, the internationally prominent George Maxwell, an expatriate Englishman who was co-founder and current president of the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP), was indicted in New York for “sending scurrilous and obscene letters through the mail.” The indictment claimed that over the course of a decade the handsome fifty-two year old Maxwell, styled a “gay Lothario” (i.e., serial womanizer) by newspapers, had mailed, with tragic consequences, nearly one hundred and fifty poison pen letters sexually defaming nine prominent East Coast socialites (Possibly there were as many as forty women involved.) It was said that as a result of the letters homes had been broken up, a man had gassed himself, a woman had swallowed iodine and another woman had been driven insane.

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Maxwell’s chief accuser was Manhattan stockbroker and aviator Allen R. Ryan, whom New York City Police Commissioner Richard E. Enright had appointed Special Deputy Commissioner for National Defense upon American entry into the Great War. Ryan, a recipient of one of the infamous letters, publicly accused Maxwell of having had an affair with his wife, oil heiress Sarah Tuck Ryan. Claiming that he was the victim of a high level conspiracy, Maxwell immediately sailed back to the United States from England to contest the charges, which a judge dismissed in July, having found there was no evidence that Maxwell actually authored the malicious missives. Seemingly vindicated, Maxwell continued to serve as president of ASCAP until 1941.

The Poison Pen Letter: The Early 20th Century’s Strangest Crime Wave (4)

Around the time that terror stalked Tulle and a great wave of spleen engulfed high society in the northeastern United States, a rash of spiteful and often coarse anonymous letters—some of them melodramatically signed “by the unknown hand”—began appearing across the pleasant and seemingly placid little seaside town of Sheringham in Norfolk, England. After five months of finger-pointing and recriminations, police in November 1923 arrested twenty-five year old Dorothy Myrtle Thurburn, daughter of artist Percy Cecil Thurburn and great-granddaughter of Roger Thurburn, who in the early Victorian era had been Her Britannic Majesty’s Consul in Egypt. A former Girl Guides leader who had arrived in Sheringham with her mother in 1921 and received scores of poison pen letters herself, Dorothy was described in newspapers, appreciative of the seeming incongruity between her appearance and her alleged wrongdoing, as a “pretty, demure little miss, very girlish in her appearance.” Dorothy categorically denied having written the anonymous letters, although she, an artist’s daughter, admitted to having drawn caricatures of as well as made frank written comments about Sheringham residents.

The letters which Dorothy denied writing, some of the less explicit of which were read out in court, were anything but demure. In sometimes shockingly profane language they accused Sheringham citizens of everything from having had extra-marital affairs and out-of-wedlock children to being “badly made-up,” “walking like a duck” and having “yellow-dyed hair” and “odd hips and twitching eyes.” The brazen letter writer, who seemingly lacked any sense of self-awareness, denounced local women as jealous old cats and she-devils. Her targets included even the local gentry, as embodied in Lady Brainbridge of nearby Haddon Lodge.

Dorothy Thurburn’s trial saga dragged out into 1925, as stymied juries twice proved unable to reach verdicts. At the first trial the prosecution argued that Dorothy had left vicious letters to herself in order to avert suspicion and a police constable testified that he had actually witnessed the “demure little miss” posting correspondence at a pillar box in which poison pen letters were shortly afterward found. Dorothy’s defense attorney declared that her caricatures had all been done in good fun and that she had sincerely apologized afterwards to anyone whom she might have been offended. He also argued that the drawing ink used to compose the anonymous letters was readily obtainable at ordinary stationers’ shops and that during the time they had been sent, Dorothy had innocently kept a mild diary which gave no inkling, if you will, of any wicked activities.

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The defense additionally offered as a character witness famed novelist Henry De Vere Stacpoole, author of the critically derided but bestselling (and later several times filmed) novel The Blue Lagoon (1908), giving rise to this amusing courtroom exchange between the judge and Dorothy’s attorney:

Judge: “You have written ‘The Blue Lagoon’?”

Witness (smiling): “Yes.”

Mr. Cassels: ”My Lord, he is not charged with that.” (Laughter).

At the second trial, Dorothy’s new attorney was Edward Marshall Hall, England’s so-called “Great Defender,” whose gallery of notorious clients included George Joseph Smith, the infamous Brides-in-the-Bath murderer. (He had also been briefed to defend accused wife slayer Hawley Harvey Crippen, but the two men fell out with each other.) The Great Defender made considerable headway in discrediting the police constable’s claim that he had seen Dorothy posting letters in the telltale pillar box. In summing up, however, Mr. Justice Sankey suggestively asked of letters which Dorothy had admitted to writing, “They are very funny letters for a young lady to write. Do you not think you are dealing with rather a peculiar lady who writes letters of that character? You may put it rather higher. Do you not think you are dealing with an abnormal young lady?” A torn jury again deadlocked.

At Dorothy’s third trial in early 1925, the prosecution declined to offer evidence and Sheringham’s “demure little miss” at long last walked free in fact, if not free from suspicion. Dorothy and her mother, who always stood by her, left the county, Dorothy proclaiming, “I never wish to see Norfolk again as long as I live.” Shortly before the outbreak of the Second World War, Dorothy lived alone on private means, still beside the seaside, in Eastbourne, Sussex, where she passed away, unmarried, in 1975, a half century after she had been acquitted of crime. Whether or not she really was the “unknown hand” who callously engineered one of the most paradigmatic of real life English poison pen mysteries still remains, well, unknown.

Nasty poison pen outbreaks continued to occur throughout the Twenties and into the Thirties, with no one knowing where the contagion would strike next.

Nasty poison pen outbreaks continued to occur throughout the Twenties and into the Thirties, with no one knowing where the contagion would strike next. In 1929 Frenchwoman Martha Gitton was sentenced to three months in prison and ordered to pay 15,000 francs in damages after she was convicted of inundating the provincial town of Gien with anonymous letters filled with wildly scurrilous passages. The case was considered an especially shocking one because Martha had appeared to all to have been a keenly religiously devout young woman. Indeed she was regarded locally as “almost saintly,” in the words of the newspapers, attending church daily, helping the pastor in his work and succoring myriad benevolent projects. Worse yet, Martha not only had spent her nights drafting poison pen letters, she had, after attending a pilgrimage at Lourdes, faked a miraculous cure from tuberculosis, for which she had derived much regional fame.

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Five years later (in November 1934), when Reverend John William Shaw, Archbishop of New Orleans, suddenly died from massive heart attack, friends said the fatal event had been brought on, in part, by the Archbishop’s agitation over a series of poison pen letters which had recently been mailed all over the city, wherein were contained “vicious charges against him and some of his priests.” The press left the nature of these charges tantalizingly unexplained and in three weeks the affair was overshadowed by another reported outbreak of poison pen letters, this time in Vermilion, Ohio, a town of under 1500 souls located west of Cleveland on Lake Erie.

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The entire Vermilion kerfuffle resembled something out of a classic mystery novel, like Ngaio Marsh’s Overture to Death (1939) or Josephine Tey’s Miss Pym Disposes (1947), where rivalries and feuds among women in uncomfortably close proximity unexpectedly produce intense jealousies and bitter animosities. For months, it seems, members of the Vermilion chapter of Sorosis, a women’s literary and social club, had been receiving “vile and obscene letters,” newspapers breathlessly reported, “the contents of which cannot be decently repeated.” Most distressingly, it appeared certain that the anonymous writer came from within the hallowed confines of the Sorosis Club itself. (Ironically, the Sorosis Club–which on feminist impulse had been founded by professional women in New York in 1868, after the so-called “lesser sex” had been chauvinistically excluded from an audience event with famed visiting English author Charles Dickens–had been created in order to promote among women “mental activity and pleasant social intercourse.”)

The Poison Pen Letter: The Early 20th Century’s Strangest Crime Wave (5)

Several outraged members of the Club who had received nasty letters—including Zella English, wife of Vermilion’s Congregational minister—collected samples of the writing of all the members of the Club and had them examined by experts from Cleveland, Chicago and New York. These experts unanimously pointed the finger of guilt at no less than the Sorosis Club president, Zenobia (Whitmore) Krapp, the forty-one year old daughter of the founder of Vermilion’s newspaper, George Whitmore, wife of local dairy farmer Fred Krapp and mother of a teenage girl. Indignant Club members promptly expelled Zenobia Krapp from their system, but that did not end the matter. The zealous Zenobia retaliated by filing a $10,000 defamation lawsuit against eleven of her former Club members.

And still the poison persisted, with several additional people receiving hateful anonymous letters, including Zella’s husband, Reverend English, and Mrs. Marvell Snyder, the newly-installed Sorosis Club president and wife of the local school superintendent. Marvell undauntedly reaffirmed her belief that Zenobia Krapp was the culprit, publicly declaring that the letters arose of the former president’s anger over not being asked to play the piano at a Sorosis Club sponsored church program. “Mrs. Krapp plays the piano,” Marvell explained phlegmatically. “There are several other Sorosis Club members who play it too, and in the opinion of some people they can play better than Mrs. Krapp. That’s what’s back of the whole thing.”

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Currently I am unclear as to the outcome of the lawsuit, but Zenobia Krapp lived determinedly and apparently virtuously on in Vermilion for a half-century after the unpleasantness at the Sorosis Club, passing away at the age of ninety-one in 1984. Fifty years earlier, a final anonymous letter to Marvell Snyder had with unconscious irony advised the outspoken Vermilion matron, “Why not clean up your own doorstop and curb your tongue?” However, Marvell again bested her rival and got in the last word, so to speak, passing away in Dayton in the year 2000, fully sixteen years after Zenobia, at the advanced age of 104—by which time the poison pen letter had been superseded by noxious internet comments from odious online trolls.


Given these outbreaks of poison pen letters in the United States, France and England, which coincided with the onset of the Golden Age of detective fiction and its extensive exploration of “malice domestic,” it is only surprising that poison pen mysteries seemingly did not pop up sooner in crime writing. However, 1930 saw the inclusion of the short mystery problem “The Poison Pen Letters” in The Third Baffle Book, a collection of brainteasers produced by American publisher Doubleday, Doran’s Crime Club. The first poison pen mystery novel of which I am aware, English suspense queen Ethel Lina White’s Fear Stalks the Village, followed two years later. Then over the next decade came Dorothy L. Sayers’ landmark mystery Gaudy Night (1935), Henrietta Clandon’s Good by Stealth (1936), J. J. Connington’s For Murder Will Speak (1938) and Agatha Christie’s clever variant on the poison pen theme, The Moving Finger (1942). All of them were set, like Fear Stalks the Village, in England. (The Henrietta Clandon novel, a drolly ironic inverted mystery told from the twisted perspective of the poison pen writer, is being reprinted.) In 1937 a play, tellingly titled Poison Pen, was successfully staged by Richard Llewellyn, future bestselling author of How Green was My Valley (1939) and None but the Lonely Heart (1943). A fine film by the same title, starring Flora Robson, Ann Todd and Robert Newton, was adapted from Llewellyn’s play in 1939, three years before Henri-George Clouzot’s poison pen masterpiece Le Corbeau appeared in Vichy France. (Otto Preminger remade the latter film in the U. S. in 1951, under the title The 13th Letter.)

The Poison Pen Letter: The Early 20th Century’s Strangest Crime Wave (6)

The first decade after World War Two seems to have been the high water mark for poison pen mysteries, with at least ten mystery novels on the subject published between 1946 and 1955, all of them taking place in England. Some of the most famous names in classic English mystery fiction—including John Dickson Carr (actually an American), John Street (writing as “Miles Burton”), Edmund Crispin, Gladys Mitchell, Nicholas Blake and Patricia Wentworth—contributed sinister tales of anonymous tattle-telling. Even children’s author Enid Blyton got into the wicked game, in more juvenile fashion, with The Mystery of the Spiteful Letters (1946). In Australian writer Max Murray’s clever The Voice of the Corpse (1948), set in the ingeniously named village of Inching Round, it is the objectionable writer of poison pen letters, Angela Pewsey, who is murdered.

The two-decade period from 1956 and 1976 saw the publication of poison pen mysteries set in France (Frank Horner’s The Devil’s Quill, 1959), and the Netherlands (Nicholas Freeling’s Double Barrel, 1964), as well as American Shirley Jackson’s classic, Edgar-winning short story “The Possibility of Evil” (1965) and Australian Mark McShane’s highly original The Crimson Madness of Little Doom (1966). English comic mystery writer Joyce Porter with Dover 3 (1965) had her egregious series sleuth match wits, in a matter of speaking, with an author of anonymous missives while W. J. Burley’s traditionalist mystery A Taste of Power (1966) returned readers to an enclosed English school setting somewhat reminiscent of that in Dorothy L. Sayers’ Gaudy Night. The late English author Robert Barnard provided a fine coda to vintage poison pen fiction with A Little Local Murder, which is set in the English village of Twytching. (Apt name that!) Barnard published this detective novel, his second in a long line, in 1976, less than a year after the death of Dorothy Myrtle Thurburn, the accused “unknown hand” behind the scores of poison pen letters that five decades earlier had so scandalized Sheringham. Too bad Dorothy did not live to tell the author, anonymously or otherwise, just what she thought of it.

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Some Poison Pen Letter Outbreaks, 1909-1934

Elizabeth, New Jersey, United States, 1909-1914

Convicted: Anna (Dunn) Pollard

Tulle, France, 1917-1922

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Convicted: Angele Laval

Northeastern United States, 1913-1923

Accused: George Maxwell

Sheringham, Norfolk, England, 1921-1925

Accused: Dorothy Myrtle Thurburn

Gien, France, 1929

Convicted: Martha Gitton

New Orleans, Louisiana, United States, 1934

Vermilion, Ohio, United States, 1934

Accused: Zenobia (Whitmore) Krapp

Two Dozen Vintage Poison Pen Mysteries, 1930 to 1976

“The Poison Pen Letters,” in The Third Baffle Book (1930), Lassiter McWren and Randle McKay

Fear Stalks the Village (1932), Ethel Lina White

Gaudy Night (1935), Dorothy L. Sayers

Good by Stealth (1936), Henrietta Clandon

For Murder Will Speak (1938), J. J. Connington

Poison Pen (1938), Richard Llewellyn

The Moving Finger (1942), Agatha Christie

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The Mystery of the Spiteful Letters (1946), Enid Blyton

The Voice of the Corpse (1948), Max Murray

Night at the Mocking Widow (1950), John Dickson Carr

Groaning Spinney (1950), Gladys Mitchell

The Long Divorce (1951), Edmund Crispin

Beware Your Neighbor (1951), Miles Burton

Poison Pen at Pyford (1951), Douglas Fisher

The Dreadful Hollow (1953), Nicholas Blake

Welcome Death (1954), Glyn Daniel

Poison in the Pen (1955), Patricia Wentworth

The Devil’s Quill (1959), James Horner

Double Barrel (1964), Nicholas Freeling

“The Possibility of Evil,” (1965), Shirley Jackson

Dover 3 (1965), Joyce Porter

A Taste of Power (1966), WJ Burley

The Crimson Madness of Little Doom (1966), Marc McShane

A Little Local Murder (1976), Robert Barnard

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Curtis Evanshate mailLe Corbeaupoison penpoison pen letterpoison pen mysteriesscandal


Why is it called a poison pen letter? ›

A poison pen letter is a letter or note containing unpleasant, abusive, or malicious statements or accusations about the recipient or a third party. It is usually sent anonymously. In the term "poison pen" (or poisoned pen), the word poison is used figuratively, rather than literally.

Are Poison Pen Letters illegal? ›

Although at present the person who sends a poison-pen letter may sometimes commit the offence of criminal libel if the contents of the letter are defamatory, more often than not this type of conduct will fall outside the scope of the common law offence.

Who wrote the poison pen letters? ›

James Forster (1933–2017) was an English academic and criminal who, between 1987 and 1999, orchestrated a hate campaign during which he sent 200 poison pen letters to residents of Manfield, district of North Yorkshire.

Who owns the Poisoned Pen? ›

Barbara Peters – Store Owner & Event Coordinator

Barbara Peters was born in Evanston, raised in Winnetka, Illinois,spent way too much time in graduate school, and founded The Poisoned Pen in 1989.

How do you respond to a poison-pen letter? ›

Respond effectively to office poison pen letters
  1. Protect the victim. It is important to offer the person as much support as possible. ...
  2. Conduct an investigation. ...
  3. Maintain confidentiality. ...
  4. Hire the experts. ...
  5. Take decisive, corrective action. ...
  6. Consider a civil suit.
14 Aug 2000

Why do people send anonymous letters? ›

Anonymous letters fall into many categories--threats, obscene messages, racial slurs, extortion demands, guilty conscience statements, stool pigeon letters, robbery or burglary notes, and so forth. These are examined by the document examiner for any information that may lead to the identity of the writer.

Is it illegal to open someone letters? ›

It is only an offence if you open someone else's mail 'without reasonable excuse' or if you 'intend to act to another's detriment'. For example, if you are receiving bank statements/cards in someone else's name then you should act on that immediately.

How do you play a poison letter? ›

In Poison Letter, girls selected a person to stand at the bottom of the steps. She called out a 'poison' letter ( letter of the alphabet). If your name had that letter in it, you had to take the appropriate number of steps down that corresponded with the number of times the letter was in your name.

What is poison most famous song? ›

Poison – “Every Rose Has Its Thorn

scored the band its only Hot 100 No. 1.

What was the poison put in mail? ›

Ricin is a white powder that can be produced as a liquid or a crystal. Ricin is an extremely toxic plant protein that can cause severe allergic reactions, and exposure to small quantities can be fatal.

Did poison write Every Rose Has Its Thorn? ›

"Every Rose Has Its Thorn" is a power ballad by American glam metal band Poison.
Every Rose Has Its Thorn.
"Every Rose Has Its Thorn"
Songwriter(s)Bret Michaels C.C. DeVille Bobby Dall Rikki Rockett
Producer(s)Tom Werman
Poison singles chronology
10 more rows

Who distributes poisoned Penpress? ›


How can you tell someone was poisoned? ›

How to Tell if Someone has Been Poisoned
  1. Very large or very small pupils.
  2. Rapid or very slow heartbeat.
  3. Rapid or very slow breathing.
  4. Drooling or very dry mouth.
  5. Stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.
  6. Sleepiness or hyperactivity.
  7. Confusion.
  8. Slurred speech.

How do you determine if the victim is being poison? ›

Signs and symptoms of poisoning may include:
  1. Burns or redness around the mouth and lips.
  2. Breath that smells like chemicals, such as gasoline or paint thinner.
  3. Vomiting.
  4. Difficulty breathing.
  5. Drowsiness.
  6. Confusion or other altered mental status.

What will be the best thing to do when there is an incident of poison in the eyes? ›

Flush your eye with water.

Use clean, lukewarm tap water for at least 20 minutes. Use whichever of these approaches is quickest: Get into the shower and aim a gentle stream of water on your forehead over your affected eye. Or direct the stream on the bridge of your nose if both eyes are affected.

Can a letter be traced back to you? ›

Unfortunately, there isn't a direct way to track a letter without a return address or a missing bar code. What you can do in such a case is to contact the post office or the courier and ask if it is possible that they further check the matter on your behalf.

Can anonymous mail be tracked? ›

An anonymous email address done right hides your true identity. From sender name to the IP address and metadata, an anonymous email can't be traced back to the sender.

Can you send an untraceable letter? ›

Is it legal to send anonymous letters through the post? Sending anonymous letters through the post is legal. On the other hand, sending threatening anonymous letters is illegal. If you ever receive an threatening anonymous letter by email, public post, etc., consider going to the nearest police office to file a report.

Can my wife open my mail? ›

Under the law, tampering with, hiding or opening mail addressed to someone else, even if to your spouse or ex-spouse, is a Federal crime.

Can you open mail addressed to your house but not your name? ›

Is it a federal crime to open someone else's mail? The short answer is “yes.” Opening or destroying mail that is addressed to someone else is a crime called “Obstruction of Correspondence.” It is a serious felony that could lead to prison time.

Can you open mail addressed to your house? ›

No, it is illegal to intentionally open someone else's mail. However, if you accidentally open a stray piece of mail that ended up in your mailbox, it's not technically a crime. Can I keep mail delivered to me by mistake? If you receive mail addressed to someone else and keep it, you're still committing a crime.

What happens if you touch the poison papers please? ›

The inspector dies if he touches the powder before it is applied to a passport or a temporary visa slip.

What does poison symbolize in the play? ›

Poison symbolizes human society's tendency to poison good things and make them fatal, just as the pointless Capulet-Montague feud turns Romeo and Juliet's love to poison.

What is alphabet slap game? ›

Letter Slap is a game that supports letter recognition skills. To play, you first identify a set of 3 to 5 “target letters” for your child to identify during the game. In the example below, the target letters were the five vowels. We were playing the “easy” version of the game.

What is the most brutal Poison? ›

Botulinum toxin

Scientists differ about the relative toxicities of substances, but they seem to agree that botulinum toxin, produced by anaerobic bacteria, is the most toxic substance known. Its LD50 is tiny – at most 1 nanogram per kilogram can kill a human.

What famous people were poisoned? ›

  • Socrates (d. 399 BC), Greek philosopher; according to Plato, he was sentenced to kill himself by drinking poison hemlock.
  • Artaxerxes III (d. 338 BC), Persian king; possibly poisoned by his vizier Bagoas.
  • Artaxerxes IV (d. ...
  • Bagoas (d. ...
  • Demosthenes (d. ...
  • Xu Pingjun (d. ...
  • Antipater the Idumaean (d. ...
  • Drusus Julius Caesar (d.

What was the first death metal song? ›

Death's 1987 debut release, Scream Bloody Gore, has been described by's Chad Bowar as being the "evolution from thrash metal to death metal", and "the first true death metal record" by the San Francisco Chronicle.

What is the deadliest biological weapon? ›

Anthrax. Anthrax is probably No. 1 on the list of most likely biological agents because it's naturally found in soil, is easily produced and lasts for a long, long time once disbursed. It's odorless, colorless and tasteless, meaning it's bad news as a sneaky weapon of mass destruction.

Can you survive anthrax? ›

Infection usually develops from 1 to 7 days after exposure. Without treatment, up to 20% of people with cutaneous anthrax may die. However, with proper treatment, almost all patients with cutaneous anthrax survive.

Who put anthrax in the mail? ›

August 19, 2008 • The FBI has revealed new details about the scientific findings that led them to suspect Army scientist Bruce Ivins was responsible for the 2001 anthrax mailings that killed five people. Ivins committed suicide last month. The case against Ivins rests in part on a complex genetic technique.

What is the story behind Every Rose Has Its Thorn? ›

In an episode to devoted to him on VH1's "Behind the Music," Michaels revealed that he wrote "Every Rose Has Its Thorn" as a way to cope in the aftermath of his breakup from then-girlfriend Tracy Lewis.

Who made Every Rose Has Its Thorn? ›

Nevertheless, Poison released “Every Rose Has Its Thorn” as a single on Oct. 12, 1988; by Christmas, it had topped the Billboard Hot 100, granting the group its only Billboard Hot 100 No.

What kind of Poison was used in the name of the rose? ›

Cowbane (Cicuta virosa), a plant used for preparing poisonous potions, contains cicutoxin which kills at a dose of 500 mg.

Why is the title of the writing a poison tree? ›

The idea of a tree that is poisonous recalls the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil from the book of Genesis (the first book of the Judeo-Christian bible). In Genesis, God tells Adam and Eve not to eat the fruit of this tree, which they end up doing despite this order.

Why is the letter Thorn called Thorn? ›

What is the letter thorn? Here's an example: in Old English, a letter called thorn (þ) represented the th sound (as in that) in Modern English. In the Latin alphabet, the Y was the symbol that most closely resembled the character that represented thorn. So, thorn was dropped and Y took its place.

What is the poison they put in mail? ›

If ricin is simply placed in an envelope where it could be inhaled, however, Brown says the poison “isn't much of a weapon.” That stands in stark contrast to anthrax, which, as bacteria, can be lethal when inhaled; in 2001 five people were killed by weaponized anthrax placed in mailed envelopes.

What is the logo of poison? ›

The skull and crossbones symbol means the product is poisonous. Licking, eating, drinking, or smelling a substance marked with this symbol can make you very sick or even cause death.

What does the poison tree trying to teach us? ›

A Poison Tree is a short and deceptively simple poem about repressing anger and the consequences of doing so. The speaker tells of how they fail to communicate their wrath to their foe and how this continues to grow until it develops into poisonous hatred.

What is the irony in A Poison Tree? ›

Since the apple represents human enmity and resentment, the line 'And he knew that it was mine' resonates with bitter irony, because in actual fact both the foe and the speaker fail to realise that the poisoned apple has infected both of them, and belongs to them jointly. Their mutual hatred has corrupted them both.

Which Bible story is the poison tree based on? ›

The allusion in “A Poison Tree” is to the story of Adam and Eve, the Garden of Eden, and the Fall of Man in the biblical Book of Genesis.

What is the most forgotten letter? ›

The six that most recently got axed are:
  • Eth (ð) The y in ye actually comes from the letter eth, which slowly merged with y over time. ...
  • Thorn (þ) Thorn is in many ways the counterpart to eth. ...
  • Wynn (ƿ) Wynn was incorporated into our alphabet to represent today's w sound. ...
  • Yogh (ȝ) ...
  • Ash (æ) ...
  • Ethel (œ)
25 Feb 2017

What letter is after Z? ›

English Alphabet
#Capital LetterSmall Letter
22 more rows

What is the demon thorn? ›

Thorn refers to an ancient, dark and supernatural demon or force that bestows great power upon someone who was possessed by it, dating back to the time of the druids.

What is the most brutal poison? ›

Botulinum toxin

Scientists differ about the relative toxicities of substances, but they seem to agree that botulinum toxin, produced by anaerobic bacteria, is the most toxic substance known. Its LD50 is tiny – at most 1 nanogram per kilogram can kill a human.

What are the 3 types of poison? ›

In regard to poisoning, chemicals can be divided into three broad groups: agricultural and industrial chemicals, drugs and health care products, and biological poisons—i.e., plant and animal sources. These three groups, along with a fourth category, radiation, are discussed below.

What does ricin look like on an envelope? ›

It is stained in blotches and speckles of light and dark brown, presumably residue from the toxic, powdery ricin poison authorities say was inside.

What is the radioactive symbol? ›

Ionizing radiation symbol
Radioactive sign

Why is the toxic symbol used? ›

Toxic (Symbol: skull and crossbones)

The toxic symbol represents chemicals that can cause a lot of damage even in low and very low quantities.

Who created the toxic symbol? ›

According to an article in the New York Times and an article in Science the Biohazard symbol was developed Charles L. Baldwin of Dow Chemicals and Robert S. Runkle of the NIH in 1966.


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