Saturday, September 15, 2012


Poisoners are the most dispassionate of murderers, killing their victims at a distance, sometimes over long periods of time. In the days when the deadliest of poisons were readily available and difficult to detect, they were used to eliminate unwanted spouses and paramours, and to hide indiscretions. Poison was the preferred tool of a particular type of serial killer. And a poisoner had a better than even chance of getting away with it.

Here, in chronological order, is the Murder by Gaslight poisoners hall of fame:

Lucretia and her Cuban lover were accused of putting arsenic in her husband’s chicken soup.
Cult leader Mathias was accused of killing his most ardent follower with poisoned blackberries.

Henry G. Green - 1845
Eight days after their wedding, Henry poisoned his wife Mary. His mother did not approve of the bride.
The mysterious Henrietta Robinson poisoned two neighbors by putting arsenic in their beer.
"The Poison Fiend," Lydia Sherman, poisoned three husbands, five of her children, and two stepchildren before getting caught.
Accused of poisoning and stabbing his young female parishioner and employee, Mary Stannard.
Accused of poisoning Jennie Cramer to cover up a rape.
After serving time in Chicago for a poison murder, Cream continued his crimes in England where he was known as the Lambeth Poisoner.
Poisoned seven members of her family and one landlord in Cambridge, MA.
Acquitted of poisoning her husband, Minnie married two others who each died under suspicious circumstances.
Poisoned his gay lover and left his body in a trunk in a St. Louis hotel.
Secretly married Helen Potts to get her into bed, then got rid of her by poisoning.
Mary Sheedy poisoned her husband’s coffee after McFarland beat him with a cane.
A review of James D. Livingston’s book Arsenic and Clam Chowder, about the poisoning of Evilina Bliss.


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