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Women and Poison
Women Who Kill
"There is absolutely no proof that poison is a weapon exclusive to women, but poison and women are closely linked in popular lore. Here's a quiz on the guilty and the not-so guilty."
15 Points Per Correct Answer - No time limit
For many centuries and in many different cultures, women's bodies have often been considered poisonous in themselves. For the Vish Kanjas, the poison maidens of Indian history, this belief was not folklore or superstition but literal fact. How did they kill?
With a kiss
With poisoned wine
With the touch of a hand
As 'Typhoid Marys', they spread infection
The most notorious poisoner of them all, Lucrezia Borgia, wasn't guilty. Most of the crimes ascribed to her were probably committed by her brother Cesare and perhaps her father. Who was he?
Pope Pius IX
Leonardo da Vinci
Lorenzo di Medici
Pope Alexander VI
The Queen of Poisoners was a real queen. She was fond of brewing her own potions and then testing them on indigent subjects who were given royal 'favours'. She then recorded their deaths in detail. One of her favorite means of dispatch was diamond dust. Who was she?
Maria Theresa of Austria
Catherine the Great of Russia
Catherine de Medici
The 16th and 17th centuries were the heyday of poisoners, both male and female. What was a euphemism for poison in 17th century France?
Signora Toffana provided a popular service for the ladies in Naples at the end of the 17th century. She sold them 'Aqua Toffana', an interesting and expensive liquid they were instructed never to ingest themselves. What was Aqua Toffana sold as?
A cure for venereal disease
A complexion aide
In the 1680s, the Affair of the Poisons scandal broke in Paris. A former midwife turned witch was hawking potions to the nobility and in some cases, more lethal wares as well. When it was discovered that the king's mistress was feeding him one of the witch's love philtres, the scandal broke. The witch's name became a byword for evil in France. Who was she?
Madame du Barry
Madame de Deffand
It was the trial of the century. Madeline Smith, a 22-year-old Glasgow deb, had been arrested for the murder of her somewhat unpresentable lover, Pierre Emile L'Anglier. The evidence was stacked against her - L'Anglier had some incriminating letters he was threatening to show her father and she had purchased poison. A diary L'Anglier had kept linked his terrible bouts of stomach cramps to visits from Madeline. Even her own lawyer thought she was guilty. The trial lasted from July 4 to 13, 1857, only 9 days, and the verdict was...
Guilty (25 years hard labour)
He was an American president facing iminent ruin and she was his highly intelligent, effective, and unconventional first lady. When he died suddenly in San Francisco, the whispers started... Who was he?
Warren G. Harding
William Howard Taft
It was perfect - a quiet, rural area in central Hungary, a cousin who was the medical examiner for the district, and lots of soldiers streaming back home after the Great War to make trouble for their wives. Julia Fazekas and her friend Auntie Suzi were soon doing a roaring trade in under-the-counter strychnine. After 15 years and an estimated 300 deaths, a potential victim blew the whistle and it was all over. What were Julia and Auntie Suzi?
Incidences of poisoning with murderous intent have dropped off dramatically in the last 60 years. What reason is MOST OFTEN given for this?
The shift from home to hospital care for the sick.
The media touched even remote outposts with civilization.
The more widespread availability of firearms.
Police forces have become more effective.
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Compiled Jun 28 12