Poison has always been used as a lethal weapon both in novels and in real life. One of the reasons why it was so popular among killers is because it can be very efficient, while also being hard to trace. Yes, it’s difficult to know who poisoned someone, when the poison itself is very efficient and hard to track. Here you have a list of some of the most popular poisons ever used during human history.
Arsenic is widely regarded as the king of poisons. Why is that? Not only is it very discrete, but it’s also extremely potent. This poison took many famous lives, including Simon Bolivar, George III of England, Napoleon Bonaparte, and many others. Yet despite that, some people during the Victorian era were using it for cosmetic reasons. By using a few drops, women managed to change their complexion to pale and white.
Botulinum Toxin was used quite often in the Sherlock Holmes novels. It was generating Botulism, which ended up being fatal unless you were treating it right away. But it wasn’t just in novels, this was a real poison used to kill many people, especially during the Victorian era. It involved things like paralyzing the respiratory system, which rendered you inert basically. The bacteria would enter via open wounds and damage your system.
Cyanide was commonly used during the 19th century. Since it’s naturally found in tobacco smoke, apricot kernels, apple seeds, almonds, pesticides, and others, it was normal to be used as a poison too. The fatal dose of Cyanide for people is 1.5 mg per every kg of bodyweight. That being said, the gaseous Cyanide was used by the Nazis during the Holocaust. This is a rapid killer, it usually leads to people dying within 1-15 minutes at most.
Polonium is known for being a radioactive poison. It’s a slow killer, and there’s no cure for it. This is so dangerous that a single gram of vaporized polonium can kill 1.5 million people in a few months. It can be hard to identify due to its slow burn, which makes it even more dangerous than you would expect.
Hemlock is a very toxic flowering plant that we can find in South Africa and Europe. It was very popular with people in Ancient Greece, and they were using it as a means to kill prisoners. Ingesting 8 leaves would be fatal, the same thing would be valid for 100 mg. The way you die from Hemlock is via paralysis. Even if your mind is awake, the truth is that you’re unable to move, and that’s what makes this so damaging and powerful at the same time. Socrates died from it, after being given a Hemlock infusion.
There were a plethora of poisons used throughout history. This was always a method to kill someone either slowly or quickly, but without anyone knowing who did it. It’s interesting to see how many different poisons existed throughout the years, and how they were also a part of many creative outlets like poems and novels!