My grandmother, the poisoner


Best article on this year


I just watched ‘Gone Girl’ and it left me with this same distinct feeling I can’t quite put my finger on.

Jesus Christ in a sidecar.

I didn’t realize until I was an adult that my grandmother was a heavy drinker, but that’s nothing compared to that story.


My mother knows a woman that has been widowed five times. FWIW, she’s been married to husband six for a number of years.


They probably never made a humorous little statue labelled “World’s Drunkest Grandma.”


Shades of Arsenic and Old Lace.


World’s poisoningest grandma?


Eschew violence. Use poisons.

My daughter’s great aunt on her mum’s side has had four or five rich, now deceased husbands. She’s got a very nice house in Bermuda.


It´s funny how you don´t notice the oddities in your own family until you gain a certain distance from them. Until I was about 25, I thought my parents were morally sound, openminded people and that they had a wonderful, trusting relationship. I modeled my own idea of a functional relationship after what I thought theirs was like (and it´s working rather well so far). Turns out, they never talk to each other about their worries and problems, can´t take the slightest bit of criticism and are actually quite petty people. They never tried to poison me though, so there´s that.


Sure, all the circumstantial evidence does seem to add up to something, but the argument would have been a lot more convincing had the author noted what was in the mysterious vial mentioned early on.

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There’s really no evidence here that his grandmother deliberately poisoned anyone. It sounds as if she was a woman with a lot of problems, but at worst she may have simply not known about or ignored the fact that too much vitamin A really isn’t good for you. And people do tend to “pass out” (i.e. get sleepy and take naps) when they’ve gorged themselves on things like ice cream that can cause a blood sugar crash. (I don’t know what to think about the brother’s girlfriend who ate the cookies.)

Frankly, I’m a little worried about the author, who passively let all this stuff happen (including the brother’s girlfriend!), but now wants to blame the grandmother for everything bad that happened to people that she knew–including a miscarriage, drowning, and cancer, FFS–when it seems like she was basically a hoarder with weird food issues.

Speaking of which - I have never heard of disposing of anything via a Poison Control Center. I know you can’t throw out lead paint, and even flushing your meds may not be kosher, but I’ve never heard of poison control being the place to take that stuff.

three minutes of googling has so far not turned up any instances of a Poison Control Center as the place to dispose of your poisons.

Probably the advice to treat the vial as hazardous waste simply reflects on its status as an unknown. Whether it contains paint, windshield washer fluid, or laudanum, a hazardous waste drop off facility is the right place to take it

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I call B.S. on this one. How many humans could die of unknown cause in her house w/o any autopsies being done?

Before the era of computers, when there was no way to easily access deaths vs locations mapping, quite a lot. Remember the data were on paper, often in different buildings.

Even today you’d have to look (or have the software coded to show you the location correlations).

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Right. Almost anything organic, sealed in an anaerobic environment without being thoroughly sterilized first, can be a breeding ground for all kinds of nasty stuff. (That’s how botulism happens.)

Don’t throw out old stuff. Things that could have been commonly bought can be pretty difficult to find today, and who knows what it is and how handy it could be. We are few years before affordable Raman/FTIR spectrometer analysis devices, then it can be determined easily what it is, without anybody else having to know (and wanting to take it away, whatever it is).


The Young Poisoner’s Handbook (1995)

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Well, and the gifting of large amounts of recalled food. And the “crystalline powder” sprinkled over the lox.

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