jump to navigation
  • Poison Jokes April 14, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern , trackback

    just poisoned

    Strangehistory recently ran a post on death by joke and Beach was surprised by just how many late nineteenth-century joke victims died by poison. Perhaps the strangest thing is that anyone would ever even dream of bringing poison to a joke, after all you don’t load the gun you use for a fake duel, do you? But that’s humanity for you.

    Now some of the cases of poisoning can be excused (albeit with raised eyebrows). For example, there was Mr Keogh on a tram in Dublin who, for laughs, sneaked a hip flask of whisky from his friend’s pocket and drank most of it realizing only too late that it was a deadly poison… (Oct 1891). Or what about the dwarf in the County Tipperary who was told that his terrible stomach pains could be cured were he only to take a little rat poison, advice the poor fellow decided to follow… (July 1882)

    In some other cases the jokers were stupid but perhaps can be pardoned by ignorance as to the effects of a given substance on the human body. For instance, there were the French polishers who put some French polish into the beer of a colleague, killing him (Oct 1882). Or what about the man who was so doused with alcohol that he died from what must have been alcohol poisoning (May 1882)? Or the chaps who put massive quantities of jalap (a laxative) into the beer of their friend (Mar 1864), a drug that would, as it happened, end his life?

    But in other cases there is no explanation and no excuse… How can anyone with two brain cells to rub together have thought that the following would end well. There was (Dec 1904) the soldier who gave his friend (and victim) Robert Bannerman a pint of ammonia instead of beer. One Mr Miles was killed after being given carbolic acid to drink by a teenager (Jan 1893). Then there was poor Joseph Waggott from Monkswearmouth who was given a bottle of ginger beer to drink only to find it was vitriol, a liquid that burnt his mouth and stomach and ultimately killed him (Oct 1895). Don’t forget the inmate in a workhouse somewhere in Hampshire who was given a bottle of carbolic acid to drink (5 Feb 1890). The man who gave his friend poison in Dublin (Jan 1911). Or the idiot who got some poison from a pharmacy (in a poison bottle no less) and put it in a gin glass for a drunk friend in a pub (Aug 1893): this happened, admittedly, in Huddersfield one of the three or four portals to hell in this world, but even so…

    Other poison jokes that ended badly drbeachcombing AT yahoo DOT com

    And remember the poison duels… medieval ordeal brought, with pride, into the nineteenth century in the guise of an affair of honour.