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Quiz about Famous Poisoners
Quiz about Famous Poisoners

Famous Poisoners Trivia Quiz


Many murderers and would-be murderers choose poison as their weapon, thinking it won't be traced. As you'll see in this quiz, this is rarely the case...

A multiple-choice quiz by bullymom. Estimated time: 6 mins.
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Author
bullymom
Time
6 mins
Type
Multiple Choice
Quiz #
120,566
Updated
Dec 03 21
# Qns
10
Difficulty
Difficult
Avg Score
4 / 10
Plays
2947
Awards
Top 5% quiz!
Last 3 plays: Guest 203 (4/10), Guest 68 (7/10), Guest 35 (3/10).
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Question 1 of 10
1. One of the earliest poison victims on record, this Roman emperor was fed poisoned mushrooms by his wife. Hint


Question 2 of 10
2. Nannie Doss, known as "Arsenic Annie", died in 1965, having killed 11 family members. She fed them all arsenic embedded in which food? Hint


Question 3 of 10
3. Dr. Edward Pritchard of Scotland was convicted of poisoning both his wife and mother-in-law. What was notable about his execution? Hint


Question 4 of 10
4. This British poisoner, executed in 1873 for the murder of her stepson, has become the subject of a children's rhyme. Hint


Question 5 of 10
5. American killer Richard Kuklinski was known for using cyanide, in either aerosol form or in food, on his victims. By what nickname is this bad man better known? Hint


Question 6 of 10
6. This North Carolina serial poisoner had the distinction of being one of the few American women executed for murder, in 1984. Hint


Question 7 of 10
7. This famous defendant, who was tried for murder but acquitted, was proven to have attempted to purchase prussic acid, a poison, the day before the murders for which she was tried.

Answer: (Both names, or just last)
Question 8 of 10
8. Notorious killer Dr. Harvey Crippen was believed to have given his wife Belle this poison. Hint


Question 9 of 10
9. American murderer George Trepal got the nickname "the Mensa murderer" for his membership in the high-IQ society. Exactly whom did he poison? Hint


Question 10 of 10
10. Seattle (US) killer Stella Nickell was one of the breed of poisoners known as "product tamperers". With which of these products did she tamper? Hint



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Quiz Answer Key and Fun Facts
1. One of the earliest poison victims on record, this Roman emperor was fed poisoned mushrooms by his wife.

Answer: Claudius

Roman Empress Agrippina (15-59 AD) was both the niece and wife of the Emperor Claudius and the mother of the Emperor Nero. According to history, she was wicked and cunning, conniving to remove her uncle/husband from power so that she could have the throne for herself.

After Claudius succumbed to the poisonous mushroom dish, Agrippina ruled the Empire until her son Nero came of age. It was said that Nero later joked of 'shrooms being the "food of the gods". Agrippina is also suspected of having poisoned one Marcus Junius Silanus, and of engineering the executions of several other people.
2. Nannie Doss, known as "Arsenic Annie", died in 1965, having killed 11 family members. She fed them all arsenic embedded in which food?

Answer: prunes

Born Nancy Hazle in 1905, this rotund middle-aged woman was dubbed "The Giggling Granny" by the press because she always seemed to be laughing and smiling when photographed after her arrest. She is known to have killed four husbands, the last one, Samuel Doss, for whose murder she was eventually tried and convicted.

She is also suspected of having poisoned her mother, two of her four daughters, a mother-in-law, and other unfortunate family members. Her first victims are believed to be two of her daughters, who died in 1927 of (what was thought to be accidental) food poisoining. Nannie's method was to sprinkle arsenic in the form of rat poison onto prunes, her favorite food, and then serve them to a hapless relative.
3. Dr. Edward Pritchard of Scotland was convicted of poisoning both his wife and mother-in-law. What was notable about his execution?

Answer: His was the last public execution in Scotland

Edward William Pritchard, born c. 1825, was a surgeon, midwife, and country doctor. Apparently, he was also an adulterer and murderer. In 1864 he impregnated a 15-year-old servant girl, on whom he performed an abortion. His wife became ill in November 1864 and when her mother came to nurse her, she came down with the same mysterious malady.

The mother died in February 1865, Mrs. Pritchard a month later. An anonymous letter to authorities resulted in an exhumation of both bodies, which revealed that both had died as a result of antimony poisoning. Dr. Pritchard was convicted of both murders and executed in Glasgow in 1865. Attendance at his hanging, the last public execution in Scotland, was said to reach 100,000.
4. This British poisoner, executed in 1873 for the murder of her stepson, has become the subject of a children's rhyme.

Answer: Mary Ann Cotton

Mary Ann Cotton of County Durham, England, was convicted and executed for the murder of her 7-year-old stepson, Charles, to whom she had fed rat poison. Although Charles' was the only murder of which she was convicted, researchers guess that she actually killed between 15 and 21 people. Neighbors and family became suspicious when so many people who lived with or near Mary Ann succumed to "gastric fever".

The list of likely victims includes ten of her children by various husbands, three husbands, five stepchildren, her mother, her sister Margaret, and her lover Joseph Nattrass.

The next time you jump rope, you may want to recite this charming rhyme, penned in honor of Britain's first female serial killer: "Mary Ann Cotton --She's dead and she's rotten! She lies in her bed With her eyes wide open. Sing, sing! Oh, what can I sing? Mary Ann Cotton is tied up with string. Where, where? Up in the air -- selling black puddings a penny a pair" (rhyme from the Crime Library)
5. American killer Richard Kuklinski was known for using cyanide, in either aerosol form or in food, on his victims. By what nickname is this bad man better known?

Answer: The Iceman

Richard Kuklinski, the sociopathic Mafia hitman who had been killing since the age of 14, was the topic of both a book and an HBO documentary titled "The Iceman". He earned his chilly nickname after he figured out that freezing a body would make it more difficult to fix the time of death, thereby making the crime harder to solve.

In 1981, he tested this on a Pennsylvania "business associate", Louis Masgay, by killing him and stuffing his body inside of a Mr. Frostee ice cream truck freezer. The body went undiscovered for two years.

In 1988, he was convicted of the murders of Daniel Deppner and Gary Smith and given two life sentences in New Jersey.
6. This North Carolina serial poisoner had the distinction of being one of the few American women executed for murder, in 1984.

Answer: Velma Barfield

Although she was convicted only of the murder of her boyfriend, Stuart Taylor, Velma is believed to have killed at least four others, including her own mother. Her modus operandi was to feed arsenic- infested food to those under her care. While on North Carolina's Death Row, she attracted the attention of many activists, including evangelist Billy Graham.

She was executed by lethal injection on November 2, 1984, having confessed her crimes and written a memoir, "Woman on Death Row". When she was executed at the age of 52, she became the first woman executed in the US since 1962 and the first to die by lethal injection.
7. This famous defendant, who was tried for murder but acquitted, was proven to have attempted to purchase prussic acid, a poison, the day before the murders for which she was tried.

Answer: Lizzie Borden

Surely everyone knows the story of Lizzie Borden, who took an axe and... you know the rest. Although she was acquitted of the brutal 1892 murders of her father and stepmother (by an all-male jury), most followers of the case today believe that Lizzie really did it. During her trial, which was the nineteenth-century version of the OJ Simpson trial, the prosecution produced witnesses who testified that Miss Borden had attempted to purchase ten cents' worth of prussic acid from Smith's Drug Store the day before the murder.

However, the clerk refused to sell it to her without a prescription. The reason she wanted the poison? To kill insects which had taken refuge in her seal-fur cape. Today, the house at which the murders occurred in Fall River, Massachusetts, is a bed and breakfast; you can actually sleep in the room in which Abby Borden's hacked body was found on the floor.
8. Notorious killer Dr. Harvey Crippen was believed to have given his wife Belle this poison.

Answer: hyocine

Although his crime occurred in England, Dr. Hawley Harvey Crippen was actually an American, born in Michigan. He emigrated to London in 1897 with his wife Belle to begin a homeopathic medical sales career. However, one day in 1910, Belle "disappeared". Friends and neighbors became suspicious, especially since Crippen had been "carrying on" with his mistress, Ethel. Later inquiry revealed that the good doctor had purchased five grains of the poison hydrobromide of hyoscine at the neighborhood pharmacy just before his wife's disappearance. Hyoscine, of the poisonous nightshade family, was at the time used in very small doses to treat the "violently insane". Eventually, police started digging in Crippen's cellar and found the body of Belle, which contained both a gunshot wound and traces of hyoscine. The saga ended when Dr. Crippen and his mistress, Ethel, were arrested upon debarking from the "S S Montrose" in Canada. At her trial for complicity to commit murder, Ethel was found not guilty. Her lover, however, was not so lucky; despite his profession of innocence and his inability to explain how Belle's body happened to be buried in his cellar, he was convicted of his wife's murder and was executed on November 23, 1910.
9. American murderer George Trepal got the nickname "the Mensa murderer" for his membership in the high-IQ society. Exactly whom did he poison?

Answer: his neighbors

The ultimate meddling neighbor, Florida genius and Death Row resident George Trepal was convicted of the murder of his neighbor Peggy Carr. George had placed some Coke bottles laced with the poison thallium nitrite in the Carr residence; the entire family became ill, but unlucky Peggy died.

The reason? The Carrs made too much noise. Much was made of the fact that the bespectacled man was a member of Mensa and dubbed him "the Mensa murderer". (I was a member of Mensa at the time also, and can attest that we did not find this amusing). Apparently he drew suspicion to himself when, as the organizer of a Mensa "murder weekend", he made some sort of statement that neighbors should be careful of what they eat around their household.

This suspicious statement led police to the proverbial smoking gun, in the form of a vial containing traces of thallium in Trepal's garbage.
10. Seattle (US) killer Stella Nickell was one of the breed of poisoners known as "product tamperers". With which of these products did she tamper?

Answer: Excedrin

In 1986, Seattle residents Bruce Nickell and Sue Snow died of what would later be proven to be cyanide poisoning. Further research revealed that they had both partaken of cyanide-laced Excedrin capsules immediately before their deaths. Bruce Nickell's wife Stella was convicted of these murders in 1988, the prosecution alleging that she had tainted the pills with an aquarium product containing cyanide and then placing them on the grocery store shelves to make it look like a mad tamperer was on the loose.

The real target was supposedly her husband, who (not surprisingly) turned out to be heavily insured; poor Sue Snow was simply unlucky enough to have purchased one of the tainted Excedrin bottles. Sentenced to 90 years in prison, Stella, serving time in California, has never admitted her guilt. For more on Stella, read Gregg Olsen's excellent book "Bitter Almonds".
Source: Author bullymom

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